What is Gedmatch? Gedmatch is an absolutely amazing website where you can analyze your DNA and that of your matches, find new family matches, and access other cool genealogy and DNA tools. If you’ve already had your DNA tested with Ancestry DNA, 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA, or other DNA testing companies, and you’d like to see what else you can learn from your DNA, Gedmatch is the place to be!
Gedmatch is not a testing company. You will have to test your DNA with a DNA testing company (such as Ancestry DNA) in order to use the website. It is a website run by volunteers and uses donations to pay for operating costs – so it’s free for you to use!
Why Use Gedmatch?
One of the best things about Gedmatch is that they accept DNA uploads from many testing companies. This means that you will be able to find DNA family matches that have tested with other companies. DNA testing, as you may know, can be expensive, and testing with more than one company is something that not everyone can afford to do. That’s why Gedmatch is such a valuable website. People from all over the world can upload their DNA to the site and connect with each other, if they so desire.
My Raw DNA?
I tested my DNA with Ancestry DNA, and that’s what I’m most familiar with. So I will use Ancestry DNA in describing my examples. After Ancestry DNA completes your test, all of your DNA information is stored in a file. The file just has a bunch of computer mumbo-jumbo in it, so it won’t mean anything to you if you try to read it. Gedmatch (and a few other websites) have specialized software that can read it just like Ancestry can.
This file is your raw DNA!
The first step to using Gedmatch is to download your raw DNA file. In Ancestry, you can do this from your DNA settings page. Your file will download in a .zip format. A .zip file is just compressed information, so don’t unzip it. You want to keep it just like this for Gedmatch.
It usually takes a day or so for your DNA to process and for you to have complete access to all of the tools.
What can I do on Gedmatch?
Ah, did I already say that Gedmatch is amazing? These tools, while sometimes a little complicated, will really help you with genetic genealogy. Whether you are searching for your biological parents, or just trying to make sure that the family tree that you are building is correct, Gedmatch can make it happen. With a little research and elbow grease from you, of course.
Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite nifty Gedmatch easiest-to-use tools, and a short description of how to use them:
- One-to-Many Matches
- This is the “best” tool to start off with. Using this tool will provide you with a list of your first thousand or so DNA matches, from closest to furthest. You will be able to see if you have any close relatives who have tested with other companies and uploaded to Gedmatch.
- One-to-One Compare
- This tool is cool when someone gives you their Gedmatch”kit#”. You can then see if there is a relationship between your kit # and theirs.
- Admixture (heritage)
- DNA ethnicity results are only estimates, and the estimates are only as good or useful as the sample population. This tool will allow you to analyze your potential ethnicity using different sample populations, which can sometimes return very interesting and useful results. At the very least, it’s a second opinion about your ethnicity, which is nice.
- People who match one or both of two kits
- If you have a mystery DNA match on your list – we all do – you can use this tool to find people who match both of you. This can help you determine which side of your family this match potentially belongs to. Not every person who matches both of you will be through the same line, but it’s an excellent starting point for trying to figure out how you are related.
There are many more great tools, and there is even more than I can write here about each tool. I’ll make more posts on the tools if you are interested (let me know in the comments if you are!).
What About Genealogy?
Many people also upload their “GEDCOM” to Gedmatch, which is basically just a file containing their family tree. This is so helpful, and I wish more people would do it. There are some genealogy tools you can access, too, such as “One GEDCOM to All”, which compares your GEDCOM to all families trees on the site looking for common ancestors, or the “2 GEDCOMS”, which is a way to quickly compare your GEDCOM with that of someone else. You can also do a search that will find all GEDCOMS that belong to your DNA matches.
It’s a whole new website to learn, and it can be a little technical at times, but wow – so much power at our fingertips! My great-great grandmother was a very dedicated genealogical researcher, and I can only imagine what she would think about all of these tools we now have available.
What Has Gedmatch Done For Me Lately?
So many things, but I’ll list a few here:
- I was able to have contact with a 2nd cousin once-removed in my maternal grandfather’s family. I had never met any cousins, aunts or uncles on this side of my mother’s family before this.
- I found a Vietnamese 3rd cousin to my grandmother.
- I was able to find a small amount of Native American and East Asian in my grandmother’s DNA sample that did not show up in Ancestry’s estimate.
- I met a distant cousin who, completely by coincidence, lives in the same rural county where I grew up, in a far-away state. I was able to find our connection by comparing our family trees (via an Ancestry subscription (affiliate link, thanks for your support! Start Your Free Family Tree! 14 Day Free Trial)
None of this is mind-blowing, but there are thousands of people who have found mysterious siblings, discovered new ancestors, and found out trace ethnicities they never knew that they had using Gedmatch.
I can’t wait to hear your Gedmatch story!
Thanks for stopping by.
Featured image photo credit: b r e n t