Help with uploading DNA - privacy issue?

+4 votes
Is there any way I can upload someone else's DNA who doesn't have an id? I just got my parents tested.  They are nearly 90 and certainly unable to manage computers or anything (they live in a dementia unit). My sister and I decided to get their DNA tested before it's too late.  I want to confirm relationships by uploading their DNA but it seems I'm unable to, unless they have an id on Wikitree.  There's no way that will happen, do I have any other recourse, or was the DNA testing just a waste of time?  Bummer.
asked ago in The Tree House by Kim Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (10.1k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes

Oh, Kim, testing your parents' DNA was absolutely not a waste of time!!!

There are several things that you can do with their results:

  1. The website of the place where it was tested will have tools to help you find people who are related to them.  It will also allow you to download what is called the "raw dna" file to your computer.
  2. While you can't do much (if anything at all) with the raw data file on your own, you can upload it to, where it will be compared to everyone else who uploaded data there, no matter which test company they used, so there will be a much larger field of possible matches to explore.
  3. WikiTree does not accept raw data files and does not have tools to match people based on their dna.  What we do have here is the ability to enter the test taker's ID (usually called a kit number) on whatever sites their raw data files are stored (i.e., the site where they were tested and  That way, other people can click a link here to compare their own data to the person.  WikiTree also propagates notice of a dna test to profiles of other family members who would be expected to match.  You still have to enter the "paper trail" of the relatives in order for that to happen.

The rules about whose dna results are permitted to be placed here changed recently in order to ensure that WikiTree cannot be found in violation of privacy of any living person.  Unfortunately, to comply with the new rules, now only members are permitted to enter their dna test information on their profiles, so in order to add your parents' dna information, they have to be members.  You can still do it, though.  Here's how:

  1. You would have to get an email address for each of them because each member must have a different email address from all other members.
  2. Add their profiles and enter the email address - an invitation to join will automatically be sent to the email address.
  3. Go to each email account and accept the invitation.  You will have to enter a password for each one, but those could probably be the same if you want to keep things as simple as possible.
  4. Log into one of their accounts and now you can enter the dna test information.  Then do the same for the other.

Once you have done that, you don't ever have to do anything else with their accounts.  Just make sure that you are still manager of their profiles - I think you'll automatically be removed as manager when they accept the invitation, although you'll still remain on the trusted list.  While you're logged in as one of them, you'll want to add yourself back as manager.  Click the Privacy tab and you'll see how to do that easily.

answered ago by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (511k points)
Is that not going against the Honor code Gaile?

While I do get that it is legal, and I understand why it has to be done that way - I would want to be sure that it does not go against the honor code, before I perhaps do this myself for my mother.
Robynne, I would certainly agree that it is wrong - VERY wrong - if someone decided to open a WikiTree account for a family member or an acquaintance, without the knowledge or approval of the acquaintance.  This case, however, is very different.  Kim and her sister are obviously taking many actions on behalf of their parents, who are not competent, and I am sure that they are legally entitled to be doing so.  Opening WikiTree accounts for them would fall into the same category.

Perhaps, just to cover all bases, Kim could write to and ask if they have any objection to her doing this.
OK thanks Gaile. I wont do this for my mother since she is still perfectly coherent and does not have dementia.

It may have to wait until after she passes.
The implication is that Kim and her sister are making decisions for their parents who cannot.  Otherwise how could they even have consented to DNA testing in the first place?

If they are empowered to make decisons, that could include WT profiles with approprIate privacy settings for living members.  Do others object to this line of reasoning?

P.S. Never re-use a password on another account—big security risk.  Write everything down!
+2 votes
My mother is in her 80's and she has also done a DNA test this year. Like your parents, she too is not comfortable being online other than emails and facebook. And no she is not on wikitree at all.

 So you could do what I did to confirm her connection

1 - do your own DNA test

2 - get a first or a second cousin tested - preferable one from your mothers side and one from your fathers side, and have the cousins join wikitree as family members. they can enter their DNA details and once that is done the system should propagate their DNA to your parents and you and then your DNA via your parents to your cousins.

It will take some time since DNA takes as much as 4 to 6 weeks to be tested, but this is what I have done to get my mothers DNA confirmed with her biological family - because she was adopted.

I also have one more cousin whose DNA test is currently on the way back to the USA to be tested and hopefully that will add and support my mothers connection to her new found family.

Hope this helps.
answered ago by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (430k points)
Robynne, your mother doesn't sound like she is in the same situation as Kim's parents - if she's using a computer for facebook and email, then there is no reason why you couldn't sit with her and guide her through opening a WikiTree account and, with her permission, managing it for her.
I couldnt sit with her - we are in different countries!!  LOL

I might ask her later and maybe wait a while until my sisters next trip to see mom.

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