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No match notification emails - for years!

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  • No match notification emails - for years!

    I am the administrator for four accounts, including my own. I never noticed exactly when, but some time ago (a year or two, not weeks) new match notifications just stopped coming.

    I recently logged on for another reason, and noticed all four accounts had a flag on them in the updates panel, saying "Correct email issue", which claims my primary email address is unsubscribed. I followed the instructions to update it, but could see absolutely nothing wrong - the email was correct, and had a tick in the checkbox. I tried unticking and ticking it again, just to force my choices to be re-recorded, and hit Save.

    I knew it wouldn't be instant, as there aren't new matches every day, but expected within a few days to start getting notifications again.

    A week has passed with no notifications, so I logged in and found the accounts do have recent matches that should have triggered an email, but they are reporting "Correct email issue" still/again. Once again, I can see nothing wrong with the email subscription - it's a valid email and it's mine.

    The notifications definitely haven't been going in Spam, as I do check that quite reliably a couple of times a week.

    So how do I re-enable notifications?

    I'm not sure whether it's related or just coincidence, but I can't recall the last time I ever got an email from a match asking for help tracing our relationship, either. I understand a lot of people only sign up for the ethnicity estimate, and aren't interested in pursuing how they and their matches might be related, but it seems odd never to get any enquiries anymore. Might this have got disabled in the distant past, along with the notifications?

  • #2
    You probably did not change your notification preferences, but just in case, you might check to make sure it is set up to receive notifications. If you go to the FTDNA Learning Center page for "Account Settings – Notifications Preferences," it shows that for Family Finder the notification settings are only for "Close" and "Immediate" matches. Therefore, FTDNA definitions for match relationships show that a match would need to be estimated as 3rd cousin or closer in order to be sent a notification.

    I manage 12 kits besides my own, and all of those are closely or immediately related, either paternally or maternally, and including three groups of siblings. Two other known close (second cousin once removed, or 2C1R) relatives have also done a FF test independently at FTDNA. I checked through my old notifications from FTDNA; for Family Finder matches for any of the kits I manage, the notifications seem to have come in groups of emails on the same day and month in a given year. Some of these had subject lines of "New Family Finder Match," others had "We Found a New Family Finder Relative!"

    Since the new match's name is not given in any notifications, but the name and kit number of the account is given, I checked the groups of notifications against when other kits I manage had completed testing. The groups' dates were obviously for notifications for the most recent close or immediate relative tested, thus the matches were to the existing close/immediate relatives already tested.

    I have not had a notification for a Family Finder match since 2018, when one of my last known close relatives FF test was completed (one of the 2C1Rs to me, whose kit I do not manage). It seems to me that notifications are really only sent when the test of a very close, or immediate, relative is first completed, so perhaps that is why you haven't seen any. You can check your match list for the "Match Date" to see if it aligns with the dates of your last email notifications for a new Family Finder relative.


    • #3
      As far as contacts/inquiries from matches, I haven't had any for myself or my immediate relatives at least within the last year or so at FTDNA. I use the same email address as a contact for all the kits I manage at FTDNA. I have had inquiries from people who were related to some of my known relatives whose kits I manage, but not from the side on which that relative and I are related. I forward those inquiries to the appropriate relative.

      Yes, many people test just for the novelty of the ethnicity estimates, and some of those aren't interested in contacting matches for genealogy. But overall, the number of people doing DNA testing has been slowing down the last few years. Roberta Estes wrote a blog post about the situation last year, "DNA Testing Sales Decline: Reason and Reasons."

      It's somewhat the luck of the draw. Most people see advertisements from Ancestry and 23andMe, so they test at those companies vs. FTDNA. And MyHeritage is very popular in Europe; I get a lot of matches who live in Europe at MyHeritage, who match both to me and to my close elder relatives who have transferred to MyHeritage. Those older relatives obviously share more DNA than I do with matches who are descended from the same common ancestors, but in this case the matches are descendants who remained in Europe and test with MyHeritage, vs. a U.S. company. I even had one key match at MyH. who broke a brick wall for me, in my paternal German branch.

      FTDNA has for many years sent kits to more countries worldwide than the other companies (with MyHeritage and LivingDNA now sending to almost as many), but that hasn't resulted in the number of people testing here being competitive with the larger companies, which I'm sure is primarily due to not having the same advertising budget/name recognition. The DNA Geek comes to the conclusion (under "Lessons Learned" at the link) that if a person has ancestors who were not from an "Anglosphere" country (USA, Ireland, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand), then testing at FTDNA first and transferring to MyHeritage would be the best course (vs. the common advice to test at Ancestry, then transfer to others).


      • #4
        Thank you KATM, for your detailed answers.

        I had missed that FF now only notifies on a maximum of close and immediate matches. I think it most unlikely that we would encounter many more of those at this stage, so that would go some way to explain why there haven't been new notifications in a very long time.

        However, it's not a complete explanation, because even if there were no qualifying FF matches, I should still be getting MtDNA notifications for myself, and Y- DNA for my brother. For my brother, I'm opted-in to every level of Y-matching, even the least exciting of 12. On my own account, I've somehow managed to make the warning message about being unsubscribed disappear, but I can't get it to go away on the other three. All of them have the same valid email address I've always used, and the notification preferences are correctly set. I don't understand the warning that I'm currently unsubscribed. Practical experience seems to bear that out, because the notifications don't come, but I can't see anything else on the accounts to check or adjust.


        • #5
          That does sound like something is amiss. I do get Y-DNA and mtDNA match notices, but since you do not, I think it would be best for you to contact Customer Support (using the link at top right of these forum pages) and explain your situation. Perhaps there is something they can do to reset your accounts, or another fix to rectify the problem. It sounds very strange!

          In the meantime, check this page in the Learning Center: "Why didn’t I receive a notification email when I got a new match?" Also, double-check that your email address doesn't have any extra spaces, misplaced period, or something else that might cause it not to work correctly.


          • #6
            Tmason feel free to contact our Customer Service Team 713-868-1438 Mon through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central time for assistance.


            • #7
              This is not meant to insult anyone's intelligence, but is just a warning about e-mail servers: I also co-admin a project. and I use POP3. I stopped getting notifications recently, and determined that my e-mail server was routing FTDNA notifications into spam, before they could even get through my PC filter (mailwasher), where I normally control and identify the wheat from the chaff.

              I had to explicitly add Trusted Addresses and Allow from lists at that level, because their absence was notable from my Mailwasher Inbox..


              • #8
                clinton Thanks for the tip - I'm not operating a mail server or mail washer, or anything fancy like that - just plain old Gmail, but I'm sure your advice might be relevant to some who are having the same problem.

                John - I'm in the UK and don't have free international calling, but I've raised a ticket via the webform instead.


                • #9
                  John - I'm in the UK and don't have free international calling, but I've raised a ticket via the webform instead.[/QUOTE]

                  Did you receive a ticket number from FTDNA?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jim Barrett View Post
                    John - I'm in the UK and don't have free international calling, but I've raised a ticket via the webform instead.
                    Did you receive a ticket number from FTDNA?[/QUOTE]

                    Yes, an automated one, instantly. It says I will receive a response within 72 hours, or next business day. Those two don't mean the same thing to me, so I assume worst case is 72 hours, but I might be lucky and hear tomorrow. As I've gone two years without it working, an extra couple of days isn't worth worrying about.

                    By trawling through my email archives, I can pinpoint when they stopped to April 2019. Does anyone know anything that happened about then that might have broken it? I can't rule out that I got fed up with too many notifications, and turned them off at some point, but I have no recollection of doing so. And anyway, it should be a simple matter to turn them back on again, but I haven't succeeded.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tmason View Post
                      Yes, an automated one, instantly.
                      This tells you the problem isn't with your email address. If you receive a follow up from them within a week you'll be lucky.

                      I did receive a mtDNA match email within the last week, but I don't receive match notices very often. I have received a Y-DNA match message within the last month for a kit I manage.