What is Gedmatch? Gedmatch is an helpful website with free DNA analysis tools.
The tools available on the Gedmatch site can help you analyze your DNA and that of your matches, find new family matches, and learn even more about your ancestors.
Gedmatch was founded by Curtis Rogers and John Olson and was run by volunteers for about nine years. In 2019, it was sold to Verogen, Inc., which has promised to keep Gedmatch true to its original mission of offering free DNA analysis tools for the purpose of genealogy.
For a period of time, Gedmatch and Gedmatch Genesis were run as separate (yet connected) sites. As of June 1, 2019, the sites merged into one site, now known as simply “Gedmatch.
All of the information in this post is relevant to the modern, updated Gedmatch site.
Who can use Gedmatch?
If you’ve already had your DNA tested with Ancestry DNA, 23andMe, My Heritage DNA, Family Tree DNA, or other DNA testing companies, you can use Gedmatch.
Gedmatch is not a DNA testing company. You will have to test your DNA with a DNA testing company (such as Ancestry DNA) in order to use the website.
In order to use Gedmatch, you must be willing to download your raw DNA file from your DNA testing company and upload it to Gedmatch. Additionally, to use many of the tools on the site, you need to opt-in to DNA matching in the database.
How to 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. Testing with more than one company is something that not everyone can afford to do.
This is why Gedmatch is such a valuable website. We are able to find biological relatives on Gedmatch who have tested with other companies.
People from all over the world can upload their DNA to the site and connect with each other, if they so desire. We can find relatives in other countries who we may not have learned about had it not been for the Gedmatch site.
To get started using Gedmatch, you’ll need to have access to your raw DNA file. Fortunately, all of the major DNA testing companies allow you access to this.
Read on to learn more!
I tested my DNA with Ancestry DNA, 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. Need help with this?
On Ancestry DNA, 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.
Uploading Raw DNA to Gedmatch
In order to begin the process of uploading your raw DNA to Gedmatch, you will first need to create an account. You can create your free account via the following link:
Next, you should follow the instructions to upload your DNA to the site.
Once you have completed the process of uploading your DNA file,It usually takes a day or so for your DNA to process and for you to have complete access to all of the tools. Before the processing is complete, there are some tools that you can use right away.
Read below to find an introduction to the most popular Gedmatch tools.
Introduction to Gedmatch Tools
Did I tell you that Gedmatch is amazing? These tools, while sometimes appearing 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:
What are Gedmatch 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.
If you want to specify the number of DNA matches on your Gedmatch One-to-Many list, just click the “Beta – Give it a try” link next to the One-to-Many tool on your dashboard. You’ll have the chance to change some of the search parameters.
What is the 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.
It is very important to use this tool to compare your kit with people on your One-to-Many DNA match list before you reach out this them. This is because you will learn more details about your connection with your match with this tool.
What is the Gedmatch Ethnicity Calculator?
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.
What is the people who match one or both of two kits tool?
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 is the best Gedmatch tutorial?
I’ve written a complete Gedmatch tutorial which you can access for free using the link below:
Can I use Gedmatch for Genealogy?
One of the top reasons that Gedmatch is such a useful website is because the tools available can help you learn more about your family tree. You can use information that you learn to build your tree and discover new ancestors.
It is most helpful for genealogcial purpsoes when users of Gedmatch upload their family tree to the site. While this is not required to use the site, I wish more people would consider doing it.
Gedmatch accepts family trees in the “GEDCOM” format, which is basically just a file containing their family tree.
What are the benefits to you in uploading your Gedcom?
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.
How to make a Gedcom for Gedmatch
The best place to build a family tree that can be easily downloaded as a Gedcom file is on Ancestry. It’s free and easy, too!
If you want to have access to records, documents, photographs, and other member family trees, you will need a subscription (completely worth it).
In order to learn how to download your Ancestry tree into the Gedcom format, you can read the following post:
How can Gedmatch help you?
Gedmatch can help you connect with living relatives, discover more about your family tree, research trace ethnicity regions, and more!
Below, I share a few stories of how Gedmatch has helped me.
Connect with living relatives
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 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
Discover even more about my family tree
I found a Vietnamese 3rd cousin to my grandmother and helped connect them with their biological family.
Find trace ethnicity regions
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.
Additionally, I figured out a way to identify specific DNA segments in my husband’s DNA that can be traced to his distant Irish ancestors.
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.
Did this post help you learn about Gedmatch? Do you have any questions about something that you read here? I would love to hear from you in the discussion below.
Don’t forget to check out my DNA tools page for lots of links to free articles to help you get more from your DNA results.
I can’t wait to hear your Gedmatch story!
Thanks for stopping by.