How to use the AncestryDNA Helper extension for the Chrome browser

Page updated: March 13, 2018 -- Current version of the AncestryDNA Helper extension is 0.7.16 (released 11/14/2017).   

Full PDF "How To Use" PDF document link below.  Please read it completely before asking for help on the Yahoo email group to save yourself from frustration and to save others from answering the same questions over and over and over ....

NOTE: The Mac version of the Helper does not work currently; no expected fix date. 

Quick Tips: 

After you install a new version - either automatically by Chrome or by clicking on Settings, Extensions, Update Extensions Now ...  be sure to CLOSE and RE-OPEN Chrome before trying to scan.  

If the extension buttons are not showing on your DNA home page, do a screen refresh (F5) and they should show up.

If you have many tests or a lot of matches, it may take some time for the extension to "warm up" and be ready to work.  Give it 15-20 minutes before expecting all the buttons and icons to be shown.  

Full trouble-shooting tips and alternatives for the Ancestor file are available in the PDF "How To" guide

Simpler instructions for those who are just learning about DNA:

Additional Tools to use with the AncestryDNA Helper database:

color bullet We strongly suggest reading through all the documentation before you do a full scan.

Recent Updates:

Update:  March 13, 2018.  First volume of new User Guide by Bob Pittman, Installation and Scanning.  

Update: February 12, 2018 - Added note that the Mac version does not work at present; no expected fix date. 

Update: February 4, 2018 - Updates to the "How to Use" file only. 

Update: November 14, 2017 - Version 0.7.16 to compensate for Ancestry changes.

Update: November 6, 2017 - Version 0.7.15 to compensate for Ancestry changes.

Update: August 5, 2017 - Version 0.7.14 works with the Chrome Browser version 60.

Update: July 13, 2017 - "Download Ancestors" button has been removed.

  1. The ability to download ancestors has not worked for a long time.  With this latest update, that button has been removed from the DNA home page.  The PDF file has been updated with that change as of today. 
  2. If you need to download ancestors, go to an individual match page and download there.  For close relatives, you can also use the DNAgedcom client.  There is a small charge to use that program. 

Update: February 22, 2017 - Odd looking buttons on DNA home pages

  1. There is a problem with the buttons since Ancestry changed the DNA web pages.  The buttons on each person's DNA home page are squished to the right of the 3 boxes.  All the buttons and features still work correctly.    

Update: December 25, 2016 - changes with version 0.7.11 and .12:

  1. New fields added: total cMs and number of segments.  These new fields will be added for new matches only.  To have them added to individual people, open the match page.  To get them for everyone, do a full scan of the test.  
  2. New domain countries were added.  
  3. Version 0.7.12 resolved issues with Ancestry format changes on the DNA test home pages.

Update:  Jan 22, 2017:  Workaround for the same name showing on the pink/blue heads for multiple tests (from the Yahoo support group):

  1. Go to your own DNA Home Page.  
  2. Select the first DNA test you manage and go to that kit's DNA Home Page.  Then, go to the first page of the list of matches (page number 1 should show in the upper right corner).  Press F5 to refresh the page.
  3. Go back to your own main DNA page, select another test, open the first page of matches for that kit and press F5 to refresh the page.  
  4. Keep doing that on each test that you manage or that is shared with you and it should reset the names so they show properly.
  5. Several people report that fixed the problem.

Explanation about why this happens: Apparently, the pointers sometimes get messed up.  If you see a name duplicated on the list of tests your own home page, go through them one by one in the order they are shown.  

Update: April 2015:  There are currently two known issues due to a change in the Chrome browser in mid April, 2015:

  1. Ancestors files will not download or take a very, very, very long time to complete.  For most people the Ancestors file will not download at all and even if it did, the file would be too large to open in most software.  
  2. Surname searches do not work or take a very, very, very long time to complete.
  3. Additional issue not related to the April 2015 change:  Some people report that multiple tabs stay open in Chrome when the Helper is scanning.  Some users report that the add-on Tab Wrangler is helpful for this issue.  

Older versions of the extension will no longer work because changes the structure of their website periodically.  Also, once you install the extension, you need to either refresh any AncestryDNA pages that were already open or restart Chrome, which has the same effect.

You can download the current release of the Chrome extension by going to the Chrome store and searching for the “AncestryDNA helper” add-on.

If you do not already have the Chrome browser installed, you can get it here:  If you have the 64-bit version of Windows, you can get the 64-bit version of Chrome here  

     Download the full documentation file in PDF format here    

  March 13, 2018:  Bob Pittman has offered to update the documentation in a new format.  They will be posted here as they become available.

Volume 1: Installation and Scanning.  Download PDF file.  You can provide feedback in the Yahoo user group (link below). 


color bullet  Support:   There is a group on Yahoo for discussion about the Helper  You can also subscribe by sending an email to [email protected] 

color bullet Cost:  There is no charge for this extension.  If you would like to make a contribution to say thanks and to encourage further development, the easiest way to do that is to use the Send Money feature in PayPal to send a “family or friend” payment to Jeff’s email address: jsnavely [at]  Donations are very much appreciated. 

color bullet Credits:  This document is based on information from Jeff Snavely, edited and updated periodically by Barbara Taylor.  Examples added by Barbara Taylor.  

color bullet Background: I do not know Jeff except through his posts to the Yahoo group.  I did the documentation originally for myself to help me understand the extension when I first started using it.  I  shared the documentation  with a few friends, then was asked to make it public so I have done that by posting here in an easily accessible web page and continue to maintain it as best I can.  

color bullet Copyright: Permission given to anyone to use and share this documentation for personal use.  


Page updated: March 13, 2018

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