Saturday, November 11, 2017

GEDMatch - Lesson 1 - An Introduction

After attending the Central Florida Family History Conference last week I figured it was time that I spent a little more time on GEDMatch working on my DNA hits. I know many people are turned off by GEDMatch's basic appearance. They don't have flashy photos and graphics like Ancestry. Some of their results are confusing. It's not always obvious on how to use the various tools and what information they are providing. All they do is present the data. And many of us really don't understand what that data means. So, I decided to write up a couple posts on using GEDMatch. Hopefully these tips will help you in discovering your roots.

Since this is the first lesson we will start with the very basics and then work our way up. First of all, why should you use GEDMatch?

Well, my main reason is that GEDMatch allows people who have had their DNA tested by various companies to come together and compare information. For example, if you had your DNA tested at Ancestry, FTDNA, MyHeritage, 23 and Me, WeGene, or several other companies, you can all upload your DNA here and compare across those data sets. GEDMatch provides detailed instructions for uploading your DNA data from each company. So, all you have to do is follow the step-by-step process.

My second reason for using GEDMatch is the variety of tools that you can't find on the other sites. These tools allow you to discover more about your ancestry and DNA matches.

This first post is only an introduction to GEDMatch and focuses on the first things you should do. I will try to discuss the more advanced tools and other features in future posts.

So, let's get started. First of all when you go to GEDMatch you will see their very basic login screen. login screen

New user will have to register for an account. This is basically the same as many other sites - select a username and password, provide your contact information, etc.

Once you are logged in you will see news at the top of the screen letting you know of any new updates and below that you will see two columns of actions you can select from.

The first box on the left column is your profile.

The second box is Learn More. This is your area to access tutorials that will help you use GEDMatch's features and understand how genetic research helps you discover your ancestors. For example, under the DNA for Dummies link there are links to articles by CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger and Kelly Wheaton.

GEDMatch Tutorials

Below the tutorial is your list of DNA Resources. These are the DNA files you have uploaded. As you can see from my list, you can add as many files as you want. Each file identifies the original source (A=Ancestry, M=23 & Me, T=FTDNA, H=MyHeritage, etc.) and the person the DNA came from along with their alias.

GEDMatch DNA Resource List

I have uploaded DNA results for myself and from each of my parental lines as well as my wife and her lines. Having representation from each parent's line allows you to triangulate the results later.

Below your DNA Resources is your GEDCOM Resources box. This box lists the GEDCOM files you have uploaded. In this case, there is one for me and one for my wife.

GEDMatch GEDCOM Resources

You should upload your GEDCOMS and link your DNA results to the individuals so that they can be found more easily by others who match your DNA results.

In the second column we have the major tools that GEDMatch uses in their analysis.

The first box in this column are the features to upload your DNA and GEDCOM files. The upload process for each is fairly simple if you follow the step-by-step instructions provided in their tutorials.

GEDMatch File Uploads Tools

Following that, you will find the list of tools that GEDMatch uses.

GEDMatch Tools

The first tool you should use is the "One-to-many matches". This tool compares your DNA results to all of the other DNA files that have been uploaded. Due to the large number of files in GEDMatch, this comparison may take may take some time at first. Once you have some kits to compare you can begin to use the other tools such as the "One-to-one compare" which gives you high resolution comparison results, showing down to the individual centiMorgan matches. You also can compare the various GEDCOM files that have been uploaded to see if any of them match your ancestors.

If you start to get serious about your DNA research you can upgrade to the paid tools in the Tier 1 Utilities. One thing I like about their Tier 1 Utilities is that they only charge you for a month at a time. If these tools interest you, it is a one time payment of $10 for a months access. At the end of the month your access is removed and you can renew it at anytime later when you want to access those tools again.

GEDMatch's Tier 1 Utilities (Paid Subscription)

The last section is the Genesis Beta box. This box lets you learn more about what the GEDMatch team is working on.

GEDMatch Genesis Beta

The purpose of this blog post was to provide a very basic over view of what GEDMatch has to offer. I will try to provide some detailed posts in the future about the utility of the various tools and how you can improve your DNA research results.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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