23andMe customers have two sections for family tree information: the genetic tree and the family background section in account profiles.
You can view some details from other people’s trees on the 23andMe site. This article shows how to find the available information.
Can You View Other People’s Genetic Trees On 23andMe?
If you want the background to this feature, check out our review of the 23andMe genetic tree.
You cannot view the genetic trees of your DNA relatives. This is the case even when that relative is in your own genetic tree.
Can you export or share your genetic tree?
If you’ve used other DNA-testing sites like Ancestry.com or MyHeritage, you’re probably aware that you can download or share family trees on those sites.
But don’t go searching for the same feature on 23andMe.
23andMe does not offer the ability to export your genetic tree. You also cannot share your tree with others e.g. by sending them a link.
You have the option of taking a screenshot of the genetic tree. Unfortunately, when you zoom out for the full tree, the names and any avatars become tiny.
You may not be missing out on much
It can be frustrating not to be able to view these genetic trees if you suspect that they could break down a brick wall in your research.
But don’t be too despondent. These trees may not be as useful as you think.
Mine has the amazing total of one DNA relative. That’s all, folks! This would be useless for all my other DNA relatives.
My lack of entries in the tree is because my highest relative on the site is a 3rd cousin.
Many other customers with plenty of 2nd cousins on the site will have larger and more useful trees. But many customers will be like me!
How To View Family Tree Information For DNA Relatives
The easiest way to view people’s family tree information on 23andMe is to open their dedicated page.
Find the person on the list of your relatives, and click on the specific person. This opens the DNA Relative page.
When you scroll down the page, you’ll come to the Family Background section.
What can people put in their family background section?
23andMe customers can enter several kinds of background detail on their account profiles.
Some customers don’t bother. But others enter lots of pedigree detail in this section.
This is what you may see:
- family surnames (as many as you want)
- birth locations of maternal and paternal grandparents
- other birth locations
- link to a family tree elsewhere (I’ll discuss this in the next section)
23andMe displays this on your DNA relative’s page as a side-by-side comparison with your own details (so go enter them!).
Here are some birth locations from the display of one of my relatives.
Yes, I circled the matches myself. 23andMe doesn’t highlight similarities for you.
Hopefully, you’ll see some surnames listed below the birthplace details.
I notice that many people stop at the grandparent level i.e. they add four surnames. There’s no reason to limit yourself to this generation. Go back as far as you can!
Here’s an example display from my list. Unfortunately, Smith is the common surname here – that doesn’t make things easy!
Drawbacks of the 23andMe display
But wait! Are my relative’s Smiths from Sligo and her Reillys from Cavan? Or is it vice versa?
Well, there’s no way I can tell from the 23andMe information. Because it isn’t a proper family tree!
But it’s better than nothing.
Wouldn’t it be great if the DNA relative had a family tree elsewhere that you could find? Read on…
Viewing People’s Linked Family Tree
23andMe lets customers add a link in their profile to a family tree on another website. There is a restricted list of accepted websites.
As far as I’m aware, this is the current list:
If you weren’t aware you could set this up, we have a full tutorial on linking your 23andMe account to an Ancestry tree.
If you see a link in this section on the DNA Relative page, then the person is basically inviting you to check it out.
All of these sites let you create a free account to view other people’s trees.
Checking trees on Ancestry.com
If this tree is on Ancestry.com, then you will need to create a free account on the site.
During that process, you may encounter pages that are looking for payment or want you to sign up for a trial (with a credit card).
You can click past these pages and continue without providing any payment details.
If you need more help, check out our article on the free guest accounts on Ancestry.com.
The GrandTree is a somewhat obscure tool.
If your grandparents have tested with 23andMe, this tool shows you how much DNA you get from them.
You cannot see the GrandTree of DNA relatives.