Feb 28, 2020 - Ancestry

23andMe’s Latest Feature Automates Genetic Family Trees

Family Tree

23andMe is boosting the way you see your family connections with a new feature.

The feature, Family Tree, will automatically start your tree based on your list of DNA Relatives. With a new algorithm, 23andMe’s Family Tree predicts how you might be connected to your genetic relatives, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

“23andMe’s service strives to help customers explore their family ties, known and new,” said Hilary Vance, Family Tree product manager at 23andMe. “We hope our new Family Tree will make understanding your relationships easier than ever, so our customers can focus on what’s important — connecting with family.” 

Quickly see the big picture

According to a recent study conducted by 23andMe researchers, more than 50% of respondents wanted to learn more about their family history and family tree from a DNA test. Despite the high awareness and interest in family trees, very few people play an active role in developing their own tree, as 52% of respondents cited difficulty to create and not knowing where to start as the main barriers to creating one. 

With 23andMe’s Family Tree, users can see at a glance how family members are related to each other, with very little initial manual work.

To start your Family Tree, opt into DNA Relatives to see and be seen by your genetic relatives on 23andMe. Then, the Family Tree’s algorithm populates a tree in one go with your predicted genetic relatives, so you can get a head start figuring out whether cousins and other relatives are on your mom’s or dad’s side of the family.

How to edit relationships and add family members

The Family Tree algorithm offers a best guess at what your family tree could look like, but it’s only a starting point.

For example, upon first look, a second cousin may be in the wrong spot by a generation. If you see an unexpected relationship on your tree, we provide resources to help you understand the available DNA evidence and edit the prediction if needed.

Using different editing tools, you can move individual people and groups of relatives elsewhere in the tree. If a relative hasn’t participated in 23andMe’s services, you can still represent them by adding information about additional relatives to your tree.

Fill in your story by adding details about your ancestors, such as a name, photo, and place of birth. You can send a message to a relative on 23andMe, who may offer you more information to fill in the gaps.

More on the way 

In the coming months, customers will see improvements and updates to the Family Tree. 

“Throughout 2020, our team will be hard at work bringing new Family Tree features to make building your family story easier than ever,” Vance said.

The joy of genetic testing is that it can introduce people to new relatives. But sometimes it can be challenging to determine how, specifically, they’re related. Take some of the guessing out of building your family tree, and let 23andMe get you started. 


Want to see your Family Tree? Check it out on the Family & Friends page of your account, or buy a kit to get started.


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