Whatever Happened To The AncestryDNA Helper?

This was supposed to be a product review of using the AncestryDNA Helper chrome extension to download matches. It’s turned into a bit of a detective hunt instead. The big reveal: the extension has been discontinued by the developer. Read on for more…

Looking For An Alternative?

Before we get into the skinny on AncestryDNA Helper, you’re probably here because you’re looking for a way to download your Ancestry matches. Check out the link for a tutorial.

Still On The Chrome Store

At time of writing, the Ancestry DNA Helper is still the first extension to appear when you search the Chrome Store for “AncestryDNA”.

Ancestry DNA Helper in the Chrome Store

I remember using it in 2017. I’d been looking for tools to help me download matches from Ancestry DNA. The main references in the FB groups were to the “Snavely tool” which turned out to be this chrome extension.

It Still Installs

I installed it again today from the Chrome store, then logged into Ancestry. For a brief moment I saw a big green “SCAN” button, and then the Ancestry page refreshed and the button disappeared. And I couldn’t figure out how to proceed.

A look at the reviews and comments on the Chrome Store told me that it wasn’t working for other people either. One clue is that the extension was last updated on 14 November 2017. Ancestry has been through a lot of changes since then.

Going Back To The Source

A bit of searching took me to the application’s website which has this statement:

“Due to the changes made by Ancestry on July 1, 2019, the atDNA Helper Extension no longer functions. There are no current plans to make atDNA Helper Extension compatible with the new version of Ancestry.”

Yes, this is the same tool. The page later refers to “atDNA Helper Extension (formerly known as AncestryDNA Helper Extension)“.

This tool certainly helped many people over several years. I’m sorry it’s gone, but am grateful to the developer, Jeff Snavely, for his work in sharing what he had first created for personal use.

Further Back To Yahoo

I do think that the extension should be removed from the Chrome Store to avoid causing frustration to unsuspecting wannabe users. The web page also refers to a Yahoo support group, and I thought I might make the suggestion there. The Yahoo page told me that “Starting December 14, 2019 Yahoo Groups will no longer host user created content on its sites.

Undeterred (and not sure what the statement meant) I tried to join the group. I may have had a Yahoo account, but it is lost in the mists of time. I went through the hoops of creating a new Yahoo email address and account, but still couldn’t access that elusive group. This article is a clue as to why.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

8 thoughts on “Whatever Happened To The AncestryDNA Helper?”

  1. The Ancestry DNA Helper extension was disabled by Ancestry when they changed their website. It was not disabled by the developer. This was after Ancestry threatened us about using the name, which was changed to atDNA Helper. I did the documentation from Jeff’s notes for it. The documentation was later updated by Bob Pittman who also volunteered to create the support website that used to have a lot of information about it. Anyone who has their old files can still use them with SQL if they are techie. I learned how to do that and used it for awhile, but over time, the files are so out of date now that I’ve moved on.
    The best other alternatives are the dnagedcom.com tools, which have a small subscription fee.
    Barbara Taylor


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