Back in September 2014, I wrote a post on our experience with "the wait" for various DNA tests from two of the DNA/Genealogy testing companies. I had delayed making that post so I could include "the wait" for an autosomal transfer from Ancestry to FamilyTree DNA.
Very recently, FamilyTree DNA made a change in its autosomal transfer option for FamilyFinder. Prior to this an autosomal transfer from AncestryDNA or from 23andMe (V3 chip tests prior to December 2013) cost $69 at regular price.
Now FamilyTree DNA is offering an autosomal transfer for free. Information on FamilyTree DNA's own website is surprisingly lacking about what you get for free. So from what I can tell from other sources and from my own experience, here is the deal.
For free, you get to upload your raw DNA data and after it is processed you get to see your first 20 closest matches. Essentially it is a look at what is behind the curtain. [Note: After uploading one test at about 4 p.m. on a Friday, it said I should have results in one hour. I imagine FamilyTreeDNA might be a little busy today. It has just passed one hour and my results are not in yet. (I'll let you know how long it really took in the comments for this post or in a follow-up post.)]
Now you don't have a lot of options of doing anything with these matches. You can't contact the matches, see their trees, you see your own results in the chromosome browser (which Ancestry does not offer) but I believe you can not do any comparisons with those 20 matches. You also do not get to learn your ethnicity mix based on FamilyTree DNA's recipe for determining ethnic ancestry.
But once you have your transfer results, for $39 you can unlock your test and have the complete FamilyFinder experience: that is see all your additional matches, have the ability to contact your matches, do comparisons in the chromosome browser, view your matches' trees if they have one and see your ethnicity mix as per FamilyTree DNA.
But there is also the option of referring four friends (who have had their DNA tested at Ancestry or 23andMe) to upload their autosomal DNA data with a special link created for you that will unlock your full FamilyFinder test for free once you have four friends use that link when they upload their data.
So essentially, FamilyTree DNA has cut the price of an autosomal transfer from $69 to $39. And has given an option to possibly get a fully unlocked transfer for free with a referral program.
(Hint: So that your friends (a.k.a. cousins) use your link, do not pick them all from the same surname that way they too might be able to get their test unlocked for free also. You can also refer just a friend-friend that you know has done autosomal testing.)
Here are some blogs the deal a lot with genealogy and using DNA testing. Most of them have some information on the latest DNA conference, this new offer from FamilyTree DNA and coming changes to your AncestryDNA match results.
The Genetic Genealogist by Blaine Bettinger
Kitty Cooper's Blog by Kitty Cooper
The Legal Genealogist by Judy G. Russell
DNA eXplained by Roberta Estes
NOTE: Just to be clear, no person or company asked me to write
this or payed me to do so. It is something I saw and thought
others may be interested in knowing too.