GEDMatch - what it is, how to use it

GEDMatch is a free service that helps you find even more relatives than 23andme's relative finder.  That's because it also matches you with people who have uploaded their data from another genetics service called FtDNA (Family Tree DNA).  The great thing about this is that not only will you find more matches, the matches you find will be more likely to have an interest in genealogy than those on 23andme.  That's because, as its name suggests, FtDNA is more marketed towards helping people research their family trees than 23andme.  Note that while GEDMatch is free, they do accept donations and state on their web site that running the service is basically a full-time job!

Here's how to use GEDMatch, step by step.

1.  If you haven't already, you'll need to download your raw data from 23andme.  To do so, log into your 23andme account.  Along the top next to your name, click on "Account" and then "Browse Raw Data."  On that page, click "Download Raw Data."  Answer the security questions and download the "All DNA" data set.

2.  Go to www.gedmatch.com and scroll down on this page to the "Upload your Data Files" section.  Click on "Upload your 23andMe raw data file."  Fill out the information requested here.  To find out your mitochondrial haploidgroup, go back to 23andMe and click on Maternal Line.  Your mitochondrial haploidgroup is the same as your maternal haploidgroup which is displayed along the top of this page.  If you're male (or a female whose father, brother, or paternal uncle has been tested), find your Y haploidgroup the same way under your Paternal line (the Y haploidgroup is the same as your paternal haploidgroup).

3.  Make sure you wait until the upload is complete and all your chromosomes have been processed.  Then scroll down to get your assigned kit number.  BE SURE TO NOTE THIS DOWN AND KEEP IT SAFE.  Without this number you won't be able to access your results on GEDMatch.

4.  If you want to use some of the more advanced features on the GEDMatch site, you can follow the instructions on that site to upload your Ancestry File.  If you just want to find your "cousins" and keep it simple, you'll need to wait at least 24 hours for their database to update.  In fact, I found I needed to wait 2-3 days in order for all my matches to show up (I think the GEDMatch server must be quite busy).

5.  After you've waited at least 24 hours, go back to www.gedmatch.com and click on "Compare your FTDNA or 23andMe results with all raw DNA results in our public database."  Enter your kit number (you wrote this down, right?!) .  Enter your kit number and click "Display Results."

6.  Voila!  Your cousins should appear, complete with, for the most part, their email addresses!  This is so much better than 23andMe's relative finder because not only will you find additional cousins, you'll actually have a way to contact almost all of them right away.  And most of them will even probably email you back!  Enjoy, and don't forget that if you have any spare cash, consider donating a little to GEDMatch so this resource can keep running for all of us.
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