Old Genealogists Never Die-Or Do They?

As genetic genealogists and family historians we constantly deal with dead people- our ancestors. What we usually don’t do, however, is consider our own mortality. That is one thing for certain that we will never get out of this world alive.

But, what happens when we do die? One of our major interests in life is trying to discover our ancestors and we as genetic genealogists do so with our own DNA accounts. Our DNA accounts do not go away when we die but they do just sit dormant and no one can touch them unless someone has been notified how to access and carry on the research you began.

There is a way to carry on our research and legacy when we leave this world when we have an account with Family Tree DNA.


  • Just go to your FTDNA personal page.
  • Look for Manage Personal Information (it is located just under your name and address)
  • Click on Beneficiary Information on the item bar and complete the information. It asks for a person’s name, phone and email address
  • Don’t forget to click on Save.

Be sure to let the person you designate as your beneficiary know you have done so.

Be sure to give your designee your password

Your beneficiary can be anyone you wish- your spouse, child, cousin, another relative or even the administrator of one of your projects. Since anyone can die you might wish to appoint more than one person be your beneficiary. Most project administrators stay for years, but, they die, as well. So, you might say “current or future administrator of the “whateveryournameis” project”.