GEDmatch is primarily a free website and a powerful genealogy tool that lets users upload their DNA raw data files to find related individuals. It offers a bunch of free tools as well as some paid tools. Read on to know how to get started with GEDmatch for in-depth research about your family history!
What is GEDmatch ?
GEDmatch is a free genealogy website where users can upload their DNA raw data files to track down family members and learn more about their family history.
More reading: What is a DNA raw data file?
Who owns GEDMatch?
Cofounded by Curtis Rogers and John Olson in 2010, it is now owned by Verogen and is based in San Diego, CA. With a global genealogical database and 45+ genetic tools, GEDmatch focuses on genealogy research to provide accessible and effective data to its consumers.
What are the different services offered by GEDMatch?
GEDmatch allows you to compare your DNA raw data using a variety of easy-to-use applications, most of which are free. The services include 45+ genetic tools which help understand and explore your DNA and ancestry.
Is GEDMatch free?
The following are the free tools offered by GEDMatch:
One-to-Many DNA Comparison:
The One-to-Many DNA Comparison tool can be a great place to start. This tool provides a list of people that you share chromosome segments with, along with their email IDs for quick contact. You can also sort and filter your matches.
"Total cM" (centimorgans) refers to the total length of all substantial DNA segments you share with a DNA match. The larger the number of centimorgans you share with another user, the more closely you are related.
"Overlap" is the total number of SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms that you share with your match.
One-to-One Autosomal DNA Comparison:
A one-to-one autosomal DNA comparison enables you to make detailed comparisons of two DNA profiles. The results include a list of shared chromosomes and their locations on the genome. You can view your results in tabular or graphical format, or both.
How to use the GEDMatch Admixture tool?
This tool allows you to see the percentage of each ethnicity in your DNA, displayed as a simple pie chart. There are also different calculators which provide specialized results for specific ethnicities.
There are 7 projects to choose from in the Admixture (Heritage) tool.
- MDLP: Global calculator
- Eurogenes: European background
- Dodecad: Eurasian background
- Harappa world: South Asian ancestry
- Ethiohelix: African ancestry project
- puntDNAL - Ancient DNA
- GedrosiaDNA - Eurasian background
3D Chromosome Browser
With this tool, you can examine segment matches between several individuals at the same time (up to 10). You can quickly identify shared common segments, which may indicate a single common ancestor for multiple people. The graphics used to display the results may not work in certain browsers.
What are the different premier tier tools in GEDMatch?
Segment Search: With this tool, you can search your top matches for overlapping segments. This can help you identify matches that share the most recent common ancestors.
Q-Matching Enhanced One-to-One: This tool is similar to the one-to-one comparison tool and compares your DNA with the DNA of a match. Additionally, it examines the quality of the shared segments.
Phasing Tool: It attempts to separate your paternal and maternal autosomal DNA.
Cluster Tool: This is a sorting feature that groups your matches into clusters based on the degree of similarity, indicating descent from a recent common ancestor."
These Tier 1 tools enable complex genealogy research and help investigate your DNA at a much more advanced level.
How to use GEDMatch?
- Sign-up and create a new user account
- Once that is done, you will receive an email containing a 6-digit code that you need to key in to complete user registration.
- Once the registration is complete, you can log in to your account.
- The display page will provide a link for new users providing information on how to use GEDmatch.
The page also displays the following information for signed-in users:
- Profile Information
- A list of free tools
- A list of Tier 1 tools
- Membership Upgrade Details
- Links to other information, including terms of conditions
How to upload your raw data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA or Family Tree DNA to GEDMatch?
- Click on "Upload" from the header section of the home page.
- Fill in the form with as much information as you have.
- Click on the "Choose File" button at the bottom of the page.
- Choose the correct file from your device - Your data must be Build 37 (GRCh37/hg19)
- Click the upload button and wait until you see the word "Finish."
How much does GEDMatch analysis cost?
GEDmatch is predominantly free, with an option to pay for access to more advanced tools.
Three basic genealogy analysis tools (one-to-one, one-to-many, and admixture), along with 45+ other genealogic analysis tools, are available for free on your account.
Apart from these, you can gain access to more complex tools from the Tier 1 subscription priced at $10/month. The Tier 1 plan offers a choice between auto-renewal and an on-demand payment option.
Is it safe to upload your DNA raw data to GEDMatch?
GEDmatch collects your name, an optional alias, and email address for your registration. Once registered, other personal information such as your sex, genetic information, genealogy data, and payment information can be provided with consent.
GEDmatch automatically collects certain information regarding visitors to their site, solely for internal purposes, such as site improvement. This includes your IP address, browsing actions, information about your equipment, and usage patterns.
The site may use third-party tools to help understand statistical data about its visitors. GEDmatch does not reveal any personal information to these tools.
When you upload your DNA to GEDmatch, you can opt for one of the four privacy options:
Private: DNA data is not available to other people.
Public + opt-in: DNA data is available for one-to-many searches, including law enforcement searches.
Public + opt-out: DNA data is available for comparison to any raw data in the GEDmatch database, except law enforcement searches.
Research: DNA data is available for one-to-one comparison with public or research DNA. It does not allow one-to-many searches.
GEDmatch is a standard tool that is recommended among various genealogy groups on Facebook. It has also proved to be useful for law enforcement investigations to solve crimes. GEDmatch helped with the arrest of the Golden State Killer, responsible for more than 50 rapes and at least 13 murders in California in the 1970s and 1980s. Ever since this case was solved, GEDmatch has transformed into a popular crime-solving tool.
The FBI and the police in California worked with a professional genealogist, Barbara Rae, to match DNA samples from the crime scene to GEDmatch profiles of the killer's third and fourth cousins.
Since then, GEDmatch has helped solve around 70 violent crimes. However, the site's new prominence as a crime-solving tool has divided genealogists concerned about this practice invading user privacy and those keen to work with law enforcement.
Summary - The Pros and Cons
- It has an expansive database consisting of 1.4 million users
- Access to most tools is free
- The results have high accuracy
- It allows comparison of consumers' raw data with public DNA data
- The experience is completely customizable
- It is not very user-friendly for beginners
- GEDmatch requires a fee to access advanced genealogy tools
- There are some privacy concerns