Finding matches with other Family Tree DNA Customers


Here is a tip about making the most of your DNA matches with other Family Tree DNA customers. You can only do this if you are a Family Tree DNA Customer.

First, go to the Thompson DNA Project homepage at and read the section titled "The Thompson Surname."  This has a long list of variants of the Thompson surname from the most authoritative books on English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh surnames.  There are more than 150 surname variations on the page that all mean "son of Thomas" and have been used interchangeably with Thompson in the past. You will probably be surprised at some of them. When I was adding the entries to the homepage, I found some surname variants I had never seen.

You will now check to see if there are any Family Tree DNA customers with Thompson surname variants who match your DNA profile. If you have restrictions on email notifications, please do a quick verification of all the matches without any restrictions. You
can do so without it affecting your e-mail notifications, as long as you go back to a more restricted mode after you check your personal page for the results. Here's how:

Go to and login with your kit number and password. Click on Setup Preferences. Look for the words
"Please choose your preference for matching purposes:" then click the button for  "I want my matches to be set against the entire database." Below that click all the boxes for 12-marker, 25-marker, and 27-marker matches. Click "Update" at the bottom of the page. 

Now click on the orange "Y-DNA Matches" tab, and scan through the list of people who match your profile.  Are any of them variants of the surname Thompson (e.g. McTavish, Tomlinson, etc.)?   If so, you may have found an  ancestral match. Many of these people will not realize that they have Thompson surname variants, and you may want to invite them to participate in our project.

If you do not want to be contacted, go back to Setup preferences and return your settings to their previous state. If you want to be contacted by people whose DNA profiles match yours, keep these new settings.

Do this every few months because Family Tree DNA is testing large numbers of people worldwide from the Genographic Project.  The number of our matches is expected to grow dramatically.  Many of the matches will be from people whose surnames do not look like Thompson (e.g. Tomlin, Townson, MacTavish, Combs, or MacComb), but are
nevertheless variants of our name. We expect to make some exciting discoveries in the near future!