As of September 2023, it will be five years since I launched subscriptions at DNA Painter. In this article I’ll summarize why you might want to subscribe, and what you get if you do.
Why do genealogists subscribe to DNA Painter?
There are two simple reasons:
- To take advantage of subscriber-only features
- In order to support the site and contribute to its continuing existence
How much does it cost?
It costs 55 US dollars, which gives you access to subscriber-only features for one year.
While I’m keen to make as much as possible free, I’ve made certain features subscriber-only so that I can continue to work full-time on the site. A subscription is needed for the following:
Creating additional chromosome maps
Everyone gets one chromosome map for free, but an active subscription is required to create more than that.
Having additional chromosome maps can be very useful. For example:
- If you have multiple family members tested, you might want to map each person’s matches
- You might want to try out different analysis and mapping methods, such as:
Using bulk import features in your chromosome map
Often, you’ll want to map matches individually as you identify them, but a DNA Painter subscription means you can also import a large file of segments in bulk.
This will normally be a file downloaded directly from your testing company containing the coordinates of every segment you share with every match on that site. But you can also compile custom files to upload using the simple site template. The following help page explains how this works: How do you use the import function?
Some benefits of bulk importing segments include:
- Seeing the areas of your genome where fewer people match you
- Identifying areas where you seem to have more matches than expected (also known as personal pileups)
- Focusing on a specific chromosome (for example, you can restrict import to just the X or any numbered chromosome)
- Finding other people who match you on specific segments where you’ve successfully identified the source
- Importing matches you’ve narrowed down as likely maternal or paternal based on the results of the Bucketing tool
- Importing just matches above certain thresholds.
While loading too many segments into a map can make it hard to manage, the recently released cM slider can help by hiding segments below a given size.
Creating additional ancestral trees with restrictions removed
An ancestral tree at DNA Painter is an elegant, shareable summary of your direct line. It includes several useful features for keeping track of your research, including a search facility; tree completeness and pedigree collapse reports; and DNA inheritance path overlays. Another powerful feature, dimensions, was released in the last couple of years.
As with chromosome maps, all registered users get one ancestral tree for free. Free users can import ancestors up to 4th-great-grandparent level from a GEDCOM and can then add further ancestors manually. They can also add one dimension.
DNA Painter subscribers benefit as follows
- Create up to five dimensions in each ancestral tree
- Import your entire ancestral line from a GEDCOM file
How to set up a subscription at DNA Painter
To subscribe, just click the link in the top navigation.
This will take you to a landing page that details the benefits of subscribing and features some testimonials from existing users.
Clicking the ‘Subscribe now’ button at the top right of the landing page will take you to the payment form.
You can pay via Credit/Debit card:
- Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover/Diners
Or via PayPal. If your credit/debit card payment fails, it might be an international transaction requiring additional authorisation. You can use the same card to pay via PayPal without having a PayPal account.
You can get a one-time $5.00 discount on a subscription by signing up for the free monthly mailing list. This consists of:
- Site updates
- Links to interesting news and updates from across the world of genetic genealogy and history
- Occasional guest articles about different aspects of DNA
Renewing and cancelling DNA Painter subscriptions
Am I locked in?
- If you would prefer your subscription to expire after one year, simply un-check the ‘auto-renew my subscription’ box when subscribing
- You can also stop an existing subscription from auto-renewing at any time by unchecking the box within My Account
- If you’ve subscribed via PayPal, you’ll see a link to the page where you cancel renewal at PayPal rather than a checkbox
For those whose subscription is set to auto-renew, I’ll send an email two weeks before to alert you. For those with expiring subscriptions, I’ll send you an email afterwards to let you know.
If in spite of the above your subscription renews and you didn’t want it to, just email me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll cancel and refund you. To be completely clear: I do not want you to pay if you’re not using the site! I always try to refund as quickly as possible; my record is under one minute.
To reiterate what I said above: if your DNA Painter subscription is not what you expected and you don’t want to carry on with it, just email me (email@example.com) within the first couple of weeks and let me know. I’ll then cancel it and refund you as soon as I can, normally within a few hours.
A quick note on fairness. I’ve had two people over the years go in, import their DNA and GEDCOM data and then ask for their money back immediately, hoping to keep the new maps and trees. I refunded them happily on the understanding that I would also be deleting the newly created maps and trees. They ultimately agreed that this was fair.
I hope this has been informative. If you think a subscription might be useful to you, I’d be delighted for you to try it out. Just visit the subscription landing page in order to get started.