Family  Association












The Y-DNA  Database

(based on Facts & Genes article, Volume 2, Issue 11 and Volume 3, Issue 1)


Much has happened since Y-DNA testing first became available commercially through Family Tree DNA in February 2000.  Many thousands of people have been tested to find family connections as well as family origins.  Since then, other testing labs have entered this market.  As a result, the number of men who have had their Y-DNA tested has grown rapidly.  The use of DNA is becoming more and more accepted as an important tool for family research, by enhancing traditional genealogy research methods.

In December 2003, Family Tree DNA introduced a Web based database and the associated tools for searching and analyzing Y-DNA results.  The Y-DNA database is located at the following URL: is a service for those men (and their sponsors) who have obtained Y-DNA testing (at any lab).  Ysearch permits you to enter your test results, and to search and compare your results with other men with the surname Knowles (and all variations) who have been so tested as well as men with surnames other than Knowles, who have exact or very similar Y-DNA profiles.  The Ysearch database offers the ability to enter results for up to 43 Markers.  These 43 Markers represent those currently used by commercial testing companies as well as scientific laboratories.

To permit people who have been tested by the different companies (see DNA 101 for a partial listing of companies) providing Y-DNA tests, and to make their results available for comparison, Family Tree DNA is offering Ysearch database usage for FREE as a public service.

At Ysearch, you enter your Y-DNA test results, and then a powerful set of search tools are available for your use.  For Family Tree DNA customers who have taken a Y-DNA test, a selection appears on your Family Tree DNA Personal Page allowing you to upload your data to Ysearch (see note below).  You simply click the Ysearch Upload selection, to have your Y-DNA test results entered into the Ysearch database.  You can then select what additional data you would like to enter, submit it, and then use the search and analysis tools at Ysearch.

FTDNA has recently added several tools to the Ysearch database to permit participants to compare their results side-by-side with other participants (YsearchCompare) as well as view a Genetic Distance Report and some other features, including the ability of uploading your ancestry via a GEDCOM file.

At, you can now add your GEDCOM file.  GEDCOM is a standard that was developed for the exchange of genealogy data between programs. Most family tree programs will create a GEDCOM file.  A GEDCOM file has ged extension on the end of the file name.

A GEDCOM file can be uploaded for a record in  Information on persons born in 1900 or later is automatically hidden and not displayed, unless you select the option to display this information.  Up to 13 generations of ancestors can be added to a Ysearch record.

The information imported into Ysearch from your GEDCOM file is: name, birth date and place, death date and place, burial date and place (only if death information is unavailable), and the relationships between individuals.  Ysearch now includes surnames found in GEDCOM files in the results for a Surname Search, and Pedigree information can be displayed.

At Ysearch you can also enter your Haplogroup, as well as perform a Haplogroup search.  Ysearch also provides you with the ability to enter information on the progenitor, or founder, of you family tree.  You can also search the Ysearch database by surname, surname variants, and ancestral information.  Unique features of Ysearch are the Genetic Distance Reports as well as the YsearchCompare, a tool that allows you to compare side-by-side different results.

Ysearch is a resource for genealogists to find others who have utilized DNA testing. To enter your results at Ysearch, either click on Upload at Ysearch on your Family Tree DNA Personal Page, or go to:


NOTE:  To facilitate the Knowles Surname Project, the Project Manager, Robert B. Noles uploaded the Y-DNA results data for all participants (who have signed an FTDNA release form) who had not uploaded their data to Ysearch as of October 15, 2004.  If a Knowles Project Participant wants to manage his own entry at Ysearch, you will need to contact Robert B. Noles to obtain the password for your Ysearch account.




GEDCOM  File  Uploads

GEDCOM is a file format that permits genealogists to exchange information about their ancestors.  GEDCOM files are produced by most modern genealogy software programs and in most cases a GEDCOM file produced by one program can be read by another program, allowing you to open files that were created by a software different from the one you are using.  In the same way, other researchers can open your files when you have saved them as a GEDCOM file.  GEDCOM files have a .GED extension to the name of the file.

Because of the ability of GEDCOM files to be read and understood by a variety of genealogy software programs, GEDCOM files have become the standard format for genealogy reports for the Internet.  If you upload or download a file from or from one of the other genealogy sites on the Internet, it will be a GEDCOM file.  Therefore, it is important for you to become familiar with the creation and use of GEDCOM files with your genealogy software.

Creating a GEDCOM file for your family information is quite easy, assuming your genealogy software produces GEDCOM files and you have entered your family data in the programís database.  In most cases, once you have your data open in the software that you use, you create an outline descendant tree starting with the oldest ancestor, and then choose the EXPORT GEDCOM command (or a similar command such as SAVE as a GEDCOM file) from the programís menus.  You will then be prompted to give the file a name and an opportunity to tell your computer what folder (subdirectory) to place the new file.  Itís this new GEDCOM file that you would upload when prompted by Ysearch.

GEDCOM files can now be uploaded to  For those of you who already have their account established at, instructions are found on the "Edit" page:

For those of you who don't have your account established at, use the following link to create a new account, including your GEDCOM upload:

The first step to adding your GEDCOM file is to make a current GEDCOM file using your family tree program.  Make sure that the person whose Y DNA record you will update with the GEDCOM file is included in the GEDCOM file.  The next step is to make sure that your GEDCOM file does not exceed 5 MB.

When your GEDCOM file is ready, log into your account at

After you log in at, you are on the Edit User Page.  At the top of the page are the directions for uploading your GEDCOM file.  To upload your GEDCOM file, follow these directions.



Entering Results in Ysearch

If you had a Y DNA test done several years ago through, your results for Marker Y-GATA-H4 have probably not been restated in the new protocol. If this Marker shows a result over 14, it has not been restated with the new protocol.  Therefore, to enter your Y-GATA-H4 result into Ysearch, you must subtract 15 from the result that shows for Y-GATA-H4. For example, if shows a 28, you would subtract 15, which would result in 13. The 13 would be entered at Ysearch. The highest value Y-GATA-H4 reported under the new protocol is 14.

Haplogroup Pie Charts

A recent enhancement to provides a pie chart display of the percentages for each Haplogroup associated with the records in the database.  To view the Ysearch Haplogroup Distribution graph, from the main page of, click the tab Statistics in the upper right of the screen, and then click the selection Ysearch Haplogroup Distribution.

This new pie chart shows the percentage for each Haplogroup in the Ysearch database, based on the Family Tree DNA proprietary Haplogroup prediction system.  The proprietary Haplogroup prediction system compares each of the Y-DNA results in to the Haplogroup Prediction database at Family Tree DNA, and then predicts a Haplogroup for the Y-DNA result.

The percentage distribution for each Haplogroup shown on the pie chart does not necessarily represent the percentages of those Haplogroups in the world population.  The pie chart represents the percentages for each Haplogroup for the records in the database.  The records in the database most likely have a sampling bias, since most of the people who have utilized DNA testing for genealogy are of Western European origin.  In addition, some Surname Projects uploaded all their participants to, while other Surname Projects only uploaded one person per Y-DNA result.  The database results would not represent the world population for these reasons.


Significant Enhancements Have Been Implemented

(based on Facts & Genes article, Volume 3, Issue 5)


Ancestral location latitude/longitude coordinates

Ysearch has been enhanced so that the location for your most distant male ancestor can be entered using latitude and longitude coordinates.  Once the coordinates for your most distant ancestor are entered, your most distant ancestor will become a pin on the new HaploMap, which is described below.

It is important to update your Ysearch record with this information.  Please take a moment now and add this information.  Follow the directions in the section below, titled Ysearch: Update for Latitude/Longitude.  The directions include a link to a web site where you can look up the latitude and longitude coordinates for your ancestral location.


Ysearch now provides a new tool called HaploMap.  The HaploMap displays a pin on a map of Europe for the location of each most distant ancestor for a Haplogroup, as long as the latitude and longitude coordinates have been entered.

These maps are quite interesting, and can be a useful tool for genealogists.  Make sure your ancestor is represented on the HaploMap by following the directions in the article below to add the latitude and longitude coordinates to your Ysearch record.

The HaploMap currently shows Europe.  If your most distant known ancestor was located somewhere else, they will not appear on the map, and will appear in the statistics shown below the map, in the category labeled Users Off Map.

To view the HaploMap, go to:

click the tab "Statistics", click the selection "Ysearch Haplogroup Distribution". Above the Pie Chart on the page, after the words "Show the Haplomap for", select a Haplogroup, and click "Go".

Haplogroup Distribution Pie Chart

The data for the Haplogroup Distribution Pie Chart will be updated monthly, and the date of last update is shown below the Pie Chart.

Search for Genetic Matches

The Y-Search "Search for Genetic Matches" feature has been enhanced to include an option to search by Haplotype.

At, click on the tab "Search for Genetic Matches".  Then click on "click here" to search by Haplotype.  Directions are provided on the Search by Haplotype page.  You enter a string of values for each DYS # and then set the criteria for the search.

Ysearch: Just Click Upload

Family Tree DNA customers simply click Upload on their Personal Page, to automatically upload their Y DNA results to Ysearch.  If you then upgrade your Y DNA test, such as from 25 Markers to 37 Markers, the Upload selection will reappear on your Personal Page, as a reminder to upload the additional Markers.

Ysearch: Update for Latitude/Longitude

Ysearch has been enhanced so that the location for your most distant male ancestor can be entered using latitude and longitude coordinates. It is important to update your Ysearch record with this information. For Europe, the latitude and longitude coordinates will give your ancestor a pin on the HaploMap.

Please take a moment now and add this information. Follow the directions below, which include a link to a site to look up the latitude and longitude coordinates. Log into your record at

For those who don't have a account at, if you tested with Family Tree DNA, go to your Personal Page, and click "Upload to Ysearch" to create a record at Ysearch.

For those who don't have a account at, and you tested at another vendor, here is the link to first create a record for your result at

On the Edit User page, page down until you see the heading: Most Distant Known Ancestor.  You can enter any information known for your most distant ancestor. For example, you may not know their Port of Arrival, so leave that item blank.

Find where there are boxes with the words Latitude and Longitude on the left.  Right below these boxes, click on the link "Click to look up latitude and longitude".  This link will take you to a site to do the look up.

A new browser window will be opened, which will take you to the Global Gazetteer site. You most distant ancestors location could be a village, town, or townland.  You want to look up the coordinates for the most specific location known.  You will start your lookup with selecting a country.  Click on your ancestral country.  You will then get a list of regions in that country.  If the region for your most distant ancestor is not on the list, page down the screen to the alphabetic choices at the bottom of the screen, and click on the letter that represents the first letter of the name of the city, region, town or village.

Once you have the latitude and longitude coordinates from the lookup, enter these coordinates in the boxes on the Edit User Page at  The Edit User Page provides space to enter Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds.

Do not enter minus signs.  Do not put alphabetic characters, such as W for West in the boxes. The direction associated with the Latitude and Longitude is indicated by clicking the small circle to the right of the boxes where you enter the Degrees.  For example, indicate West by clicking W to the right of the boxes. Then page down the page, and click "Save Information".

Once the coordinates for your most distant ancestor are entered, your most distant ancestor will become a pin on the HaploMap.  To see the HaploMap and your ancestor's pin, click on the Statistics tab at the top of the screen. Then click on: "Ysearch Haplogroup Distribution".

The Pie chart on the Haplogroup Distribution page shows the percentages of each Haplogroup represented in Ysearch. The Haplogroup has either been determined by a test, called a SNP test, or by a proprietary algorithm provided by Family Tree DNA. This proprietary algorithm predicts the Haplogroup based on the results from the first 12 Markers of a Y-DNA test.

To see a map for a Haplogroup, with pins showing the most distant ancestral location, look above the Haplogroup Pie chart, and select a Haplogroup where the screen says "Show the HaploMap", and click Go.

On the HaploMap Page, below the HaploMap, are statistics for the Map, and a place to select another Haplogroup map.

The Haplogroup that accounts for the largest percentage of the database is R1b, so this map naturally has the most pins.




Webmaster:  Robert B. Noles

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 Date of last edit:   Monday, March 12, 2007
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