One of the best ways to figure out how a DNA match is related to you is to examine your DNA match’s family tree, and so I always recommend attaching your family tree to your DNA results whenever possible. Many people don’t know that you can also upload a family tree to Gedmatch and link it to your DNA kit. If more people knew about this, and chose to upload their tree, it would help everyone in the entire community learn more about their ancestry. In this post, you will learn how why I think uploading your tree is a great idea, how to do it, and how to protect the privacy of your living relatives on Gedmatch.
Why you should upload a family tree to Gedmatch
If you have a family tree that you have built on another site, like Ancestry, for example, then it would be wonderful if you would consider uploading your tree to Gedmatch. I have several reasons that I believe that doing so will help you and your DNA relatives learn the most from each other. I, for one, have a few relatives that don’t respond to their e-mails, have someone else administering their kit, and don’t have Gedcoms uploaded to the site. (I’m looking at you, Zbigniew).
There is a tool on Gedmatch that allows you to compare your tree with another tree
If you and a DNA match both have family trees (also called Gedcoms) on Gedmatch, you can use their “2 GEDCOMS” tool to have the software compare your Gedcom to the Gedcom of your DNA match. If the software spots a match, it will let you know. This is a quick and easy way to have a computer do the heavy lifting, and is especially great if two people have large, complete trees.
You can compare your Gedcom to all the Gedcoms on the site
We don’t share DNA with all of our DNA relatives, since the more distant someone is, the less likely it is that we share genetic material. Even so, a distant cousin might have some really important information about an ancestor that could help you break past a “brick wall” in your research. If you upload your Gedcom to Gedmatch, you can use the “1 GEDCOM to all” tool to analyze your tree in comparison to all of the other trees stored on the site. It takes a while, but you will get results as they come back and you can see if your ancestors show up in someone else’s tree. Most times, these individuals are related to you in some way, or are related to another descendant of that ancestor.
When I run this utility on my Gedcom, I get hundreds of results, and have been able to find new clues about my ancestors this way. Of course, you always want to verify what you find with your own research.
Your family tree might help someone else learn about their ancestry
This is my favorite reason to build a family tree, and why I always encourage people to have public trees (when possible), and upload their tree to Gedmatch, if they can. Your DNA matches will be able to use several tools to analyze your tree against their tree and quickly spot a common ancestor. This is an especially important tool for people who are adopted or are searching for a biological parent. I am happy, as a person who knows my ancestry, to share what I know with my DNA relatives who might know less, and I would be thrilled if you would consider doing the same.
It can save you from unwanted e-mails from DNA relatives
If you have a family tree on Gedmatch, your DNA matches will be able to view it and figure out who your common relative is, without having to contact you about it. You might be one of those people who isn’t interested in forming relationships with new DNA relatives, and that’s totally okay. By having your family tree on the site, you will get less “let’s figure out how we are related” e-mails from DNA matches.
The more people upload their trees to Gedmatch, the more will upload their trees to Gedmatch
We are social creatures, and we usually like to do what others are doing. The more people upload their trees to Gedmatch, the more likely it is that others will upload their trees, too. And the more trees that there are publicly available on sites like Gedmatch, the better it is for all of us. I’ve noticed more and more family trees on the site lately, and I think it’s very exciting.
What about my Gedmatch Gedcom and privacy?
I’m actually working on an entire post about this, since I think that privacy is very important. While I am not concerned as much with my distant ancestors, I am very interested in protecting the privacy of my living ancestors, my spouse, and my children. This is why when you do upload your Gedcom to Gedmatch, you should make sure that you delete the names and other identifying information from the entries for your living relatives. It’s very rare for people in the genealogy world to use information that they find for unkind purposes, but I still think it’s important to be careful.
I hope that this post helped you see a few great reasons for uploading your tree to Gedmatch. If I missed any, or if you disagree with me, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you have found anything interesting or useful in the Gedcom of a DNA match on Gedmatch, I would especially love to hear your experience.
Thanks for stopping by!