What is Gedmatch? Gedmatch is an helpful website with many free DNA analysis tools, as well as advanced paid tools.
In this post, you will learn a little bit about the history of Gedmatch, as well as:
- The basics on how to use Gedmatch
- Which tools or applications are available on Gedmatch
- How and why Gedmatch is useful for genealogy
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. Most of the tools can be accessed for free, which makes it easy for beginners to get started.
Gedmatch is one of my favorite DNA sites. It was one of the first websites for DNA and genealogy that I learned how to use, and I am so grateful to the site for helping me learn as much as I have about DNA and my family tree.
Who founded Gedmatch?
Gedmatch was founded by Curtis Rogers and John Olson and was run by volunteers for about nine years. The main stated purpose of the site, was to serve as a resource for amateur genealogists and it has not wavered from this goal.
Indeed, Gedmatch quickly became a very popular website with genealogists, who almost imediately realized that DNA analysis, especially using DNA matches, can be a valuable tool for family tree research. More than one million people have created Gedmatch profiles.
In 2019, Gedmatch was sold to Verogen, Inc., which has promised to keep the site true to its original mission of offering free DNA analysis tools for the purpose of genealogy.
For a period of time, Gedmatch and a site called “Gedmatch Genesis” were run as separate, yet connected, sites. The sites were eventually merged into one, called simply “Gedmatch”, a few years ago.
All of the information in this post is relevant to the modern, updated Gedmatch site, which underwent a major cosmetic update in 2021. It now has a fresh, modern look and is easier to navigate.
Who can use Gedmatch?
If you’ve already had your DNA tested with Ancestry DNA, 23andMe, My Heritage DNA, Family Tree DNA, or certain other DNA testing companies, you can use Gedmatch. It only takes a matter of minutes to create a new Gedmatch account and upload your DNA data, which you can easily obtain from your DNA testing company.
Gedmatch is not a DNA testing company. You will have to test your DNA with an autosomal DNA testing company, such as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe, 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 will need to opt-in to DNA matching in the database.
You should be aware that by opting-in to DNA matching on Gedmatch, you might show up in searches that other users perform, including those searches done by researchers working on behalf of law enforcement to identify victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. The most common way that Gedmatch is used is for looking for DNA matches, and so you might show up in a list of DNA matches for other Gedmatch users.
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, even companies that you did not do a test with.
DNA testing, as you may know, can be expensive. Testing with more than one company is something that not everyone can afford to do, especially if each test costs around $100.
This is exactly the reason 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.
I have found relatives from all over the world on Gedmatch. It’s a great way to find family in other countries.
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 first 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 raw DNA file downloaded from Ancestry DNA just has a bunch of numbers that will only make sense to a computer in it, so it won’t mean anything to you if you try to read it. Trust me, it doesn’t mean anything to me, either!
However, sites like Gedmatch have specialized software that can read it just like Ancestry DNA can.
This file is your raw DNA!
The first step to using Gedmatch is to download your raw DNA file. If you need instructions about how to download your raw DNA file from your testing company’s site, the following posts will help:
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, so be sure to leave it exactly how it downloads.
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 complicated to understand at first, 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 DNA matches, from closest to furthest.
You can adjust some of the tool settings, such as the number of matches you would like to see on your list (between 50-3000), the size of the smallest segment that you would like the tool to consider to be a match, among others.
You will be able to see if you have any close relatives who have tested with other companies and uploaded to Gedmatch. Along with close relatives, you are almost sure to find extended and distant relatives on the site.
You will see the amount of DNA you share with your match, as well as details about your shared DNA and your match’s contact information. Plus, if your DNA match has a family tree on Gedmatch or has built it on another site, you will see a link to it on your list.
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?
The Gedmatch One to One comparison tool can tell you how much DNA you share with a specific Gedmatch user.
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.
To read more about the Gedmatch One to One tool: What does the Gedmatch One to One comparison tell me?
What is the Gedmatch Admixture (Ethnicity) Calculator?
The Gedmatch Admixture tool estimates where your ancestors lived based on the DNA that you inherited from them. The results are similar in style to those that you received from your DNA testing company.
DNA ethnicity results are only estimates, and the estimates are only as good or useful as the sample population. If you are interested in learning more about where your ancestors may have lived, definitely check out the Gedmatch Adxmixture calculators.
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.
Sometimes we are able to see very small percentages matching regions that don’t show up on our main ethnicity estimates.
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!)
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 genealogical purposes 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, born in 1884, was a very dedicated genealogical researcher, and I can only imagine what she would think about all of these tools we now have available.
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.
Thursday 1st of July 2021
Wow sounds interesting but if the DNA file is uploaded does that mean it doesn't exist anymore on the platform you upload it from.I'm awaiting Ancestry DNA results so if I upload after seeing results.Is this then removed from Ancestry forever?
Tuesday 6th of July 2021
@libby, I have uploaded my file to many other sites, MyHeritage etc (you can't upload to Ancestry if you get it through another company). It's like taping a record, you are just making a copy of the file and not removing the original from Ancestry.
How to Understand the Gedmatch Are Your Parents Related Tool Results - Who are You Made Of?
Thursday 28th of January 2021
[…] and run your DNA through the “Are Your Parents Related” tool. If your DNA is already on Gedmatch, you can access this tool from your main homescreen. The only information that you need is your kit […]