New Utilities at GEDmatch: Tier 1 for paid members

There are four exciting new utilities at which I plan to cover in depth over the next several days. These are only available to for people who have donated  at least $10 (every additional $10 gets you these for another month). A good way for GEDmatch to pay for their extra server costs. The rest of the site will remain free. The utilities are:

  1. A Matching Segment Search – Get a list of all your segment matches suitable for cutting and pasting into a spreadsheet
  2. A Relationship Tree projection – calculates probable relationship paths based on Autosomal and X-DNA Genetic Distances. It is experimental, try it and give them feedback
  3. Lazarus – Construct a kit to represent a close ancestor, wow!
  4. Triangulation – takes your top 300 matches and finds which ones match each other with details. The format can be copied to a spreadsheet

Yes I have used Lazarus to construct a kit for my mother from me, my brother and her two sisters but I have not experimented enough with it to report yet. Soon.

But Blaine Bettinger has reported on his experiments with Lazarus so read:

I have not tried the relationship tree tool yet either. Later.

The Matching Segment Tool

The Matching Segment Tool is what we have all been asking for. It aggregates all the segment matches for a specific kit at GEDmatch into a spreadsheet format. To get this you enter your kit number on the form and whether or not you want the graphic (best to say no if you are planning to cut and paste to a spreadsheet). Here is an excerpt from Dad’s after I lowered the threshold to 500 SNPs and 5cM:


The colors in the graphic section just indicate where the logical breaks are in the overlaps, they are not otherwise significant. The names and kit numbers have been deliberately obscured for privacy.

The Triangulation tool

The Triangulation tool is the one that excites me the most. The concept is to show where you have two or more people who match each other at the same location as you match each of them. A three-way (or more) match means that all of you share a common ancestor from whom you got that DNA segment. As you can imagine, this takes a while for the computer to crunch its way through.

You start with a form that sets the Upper Segment Threshold Limit. The default of 3000 gets rid of your close family: brothers, sisters, parents, children who would clutter up the results. You can get rid of first cousins or other close relatives by lowering this even more. Look at the shared cMs in your one-to-many to see where to set this if you want to exclude more family. The other selection on the form is which way you want the output. I suggest you use both the first time. Else just use the Show results sorted by kit_number, chromosome, segment start position because it has more details and you can always resort it in your spreadsheet

Here is what the output looks like when you select both outputs (click on any image to see a larger version):


The first section with the graphic does not show the names or email addresses for the matching kits. The next section, without the graphic, is sorted by kit number and it does give you all that information. I just erased a bit of it from the image for privacy.


You can select either or both these outputs from the form.

I prefer to use the second one, the Triangulated results sorted by Kit Number, etc and then I cut and paste those results to a spreadsheet. Next I make a copy of that spreadsheet sorted by chromosome and start position which shows me the triangulation information that I was looking for. I can use these results with my Segment Mapper or One Chromosome Mapper to make a picture.

I am working my way through this and emailing new DNA relatives. More posts on Tier 1 soon.

80 thoughts on “New Utilities at GEDmatch: Tier 1 for paid members

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  1. A great combination is to start with the Segment Matching Tool and then use the Triangulation Tool to note the Triangulated Groups. Often there will be more than 3 Matches in a TG, and this lets you easily form those larger TGs. Some segments in the Segment Matching List won’t be in the Triangulation list (because of the threshold), but use can easily use the one-to-one utility to determine which TG each one is in (if neither, it’s IBS)

  2. Pingback: FamilyTreeDNA: A Look at the Matching Segment Search (GEDmatch) | Avotaynu Online

  3. Danette –
    Tell me more about what you are looking for. Did you try Blaine’s blog? This time of year I have been busy with the holidays so I have not followed up this blog with more depth

  4. So what exactly does this mean? I’m a little lost. So let’s say I dna test with you. What does it tell me? Will it give me beyond the 14th cousin nonsense I can’t make heads or tails of, I get on the other sites? I am looking for my adopted sisters birth parents. I have gotten no where in the three years I have poured my time and energy in finding someone to leader me in the right direction.

  5. Kitty! I am just trying to figure out what my country of origin is and maybe if I have caribbean decent. How do I do this??? I’ve taken Ancestrydna and FTDNA and also have the tier 1 version of GedMatch! Any help would be appreciated!

  6. I have a Gedmatch account, but I don’t see these Tier 1 offerings. How do I sign up for them? Another blog said that a $10 donation gets you these tools. I see the donation button, but not anything about Tier 1 tools.

    Thanks for introducing these tools!

  7. Hi
    If you donate the $10 it is only for a month. Does it allow you to see different uploaded if you are the one supporting those tests or do you pay for each kit you support? I am researcher for 5 different people. 4 lus me.
    have not read any of your stuff yet. just looking to see what you have. sounded like you have simple instruction on how to use Gedmatch tools.
    Thank you.
    i just paid for another test wish I had looked at your site before I did it.
    All 5 people I research for are on FamilyTreeDNA 4 yDNAs + FF & 1 FF and 1 FF +FMS

    Peggy Gunter

  8. Peggy –
    The payment covers one login id and you can see ANY kit from that user so no need to log in to another account. I have all the kits I manage under my email address and give them aliases like Kittys2ndCousinR
    I have lots of posts about GEDmatch (click the tag n the cloud on the right) and a manual in my downloads area.
    Family tree DNA is a fine company with good tools but these days I recommend doing ancestry and then uploading to family tree DNA in order to get more matches.
    Ancestry, due to their great advertising and large genealogy customer base, has a way larger DNA database. Besides, I love the genealogy programs they sponsor on PBS.

      • Lana – It should be right away but they just came back after being down for a week. Is your paypal email different from the email you registered with? If so that is the problem. You can email their support gedmatch at gmail dot com

  9. Thank you mskitty. I doubled checked and realized that I didn’t hit the donate tool. Very simple and now I have Tier 1 benefits.

  10. the $10 donation is for use of the tools for 1 month only? So if I need to use them for a time period longer than that I will need to donate another $10 for another month?

  11. I’m confused over the difference between the Segment Matching Tool and the “People who match one or both of 2 kits” using the chromosome browser. Can you explain why the SMT would be different? Thank you!

  12. The segment matching tool shows the actual segments where your kit matches specific kits which is invaluable for figuring out which line someone is elated on or ancestor gave you which piece of DNA. Of course the triangulation tool is even better.
    The people who match list ine or both kits is just a form of ICW, no segment information

  13. I have been searching for my biological father for 40 years. I have tested with Ancestry, 23andme, and uploaded my results to ftdna. I found gedcom and have been trying to learn as much as possible about it but I am completely confused about how to best use the site. When I look all I see is my FTDNA results listed. How do I use any of this information to differentiate between my mothers side and my father’s side.
    I have my mother’s tree back to 11 generations.
    I am female and have had heard that finding dna specific to my father is impossible and will never happen. I’ve spent close to ten grand hiring people, joining sites, testing many different people. I’m beginning to believe they are right. Would you know of a person or a site that can take all this information and make sense of it? Ancestry Pros failed after 2500.00 spent. I can no longer spend hundreds of dollars looking and I’m not getting any younger.
    Thank You for your time.

  14. Tanya,
    This is a very new field and we are all still learning. has had some remarkable successes and there are search angels there who will help for free. Also DNA detectives on Facebook.
    Have you tested your mother or maternal relatives to help separate out your Dad’s DNA?

  15. I just got done donating but for some reason I used the wrong email and donated 10 dollars with it reoccurring every month. I emailed them and gave them all the correct information such as my account email and such. Should I be worried or will it get fixed pretty quickly.

  16. Just to be sure I’m understanding the following from Kitty’s site:

    “Upper Segment Threshold Limit: The default of 3000 gets rid of your close family: brothers, sisters, parents, children who would clutter up the results. You can get rid of first cousins or other close relatives by lowering this even more.”
    So, if I were looking to confirm a grandfather’s identity, then I would raise this to…???

    • Carlab,
      I do not follow your question.
      Why not use a one to one compare for the suspected grandparent? Or use the compare a group with the chromosome browser to compare him to your immediate family?
      What do you want to accomplish with the triangulation tool?

  17. Kitty,

    Please. Is there a tortial that states this is what, this is how, this is where you gather the info, this is how you gather your info.

    I have purchased the Tier 1 monthly donation. I have sought for months to understand Gedmatch matching thru the FREE arena, but with only mass confusion.

    I now move to the PAID tier. WHERE DO I GET TUTORIAL WITHOUT ALL THE SELLING OF TIER 1 ? i’m here in the DONATION side. I’m in. HELP ME TO MOVE FORWARD.

    KD Flowers

    • KD –
      GEDmatch is a set of tools for the geeky genetic genealogist. It sounds like your confusion comes from expecting GEDmatch to do the work for you like ancestry does. In practice, you use the tools there to look at your DNA and your matches according to your own goals.
      There is a basics manual here in my downloads section. Needs updating but has the general idea of what you might do there.
      I have two presentations on GEDmatch at
      The original discusses ancestry composition and some basics. A summary of hat I said with the slides is in my downloads area.
      The 2016 version was given last week and is more of a step by step usage of various tools. I think I will do a blog post for it this week

  18. Kitty,
    Spreadsheet? I have Microsoft Excel. I do not know the cell factors to enter. where do i collect the cell factor information?

    kd flowers

    • KD-
      Use to download a spreadsheet of your match data if you tested at family tree DNA or 23andme. If you tested at ancestry then upload to family tree DNA for $39 and then download the spreadsheet of your matches.
      After you have the initial spreadsheet, you can add each new person as you find them from the one to one compare at GEDmatch
      Click on DNA spreadsheets on the right to look at various articles on using them. You might also try genomemate, a program that organizes this information for you.

  19. HI, I’m so lost. I just can’t seem to compute the difference between the Triangulation and the matching segment search. I do notice that the same names come up for the same segments on the triangulation utility. What is the difference? I know there is a difference and I understand it’s important, but I don’t get it 🙁 Thank you

  20. Hi Mskitty,

    I’m sorry if this question(s) is too simplistic. I ran my dad’s X matches on GEDmatch but only got the headings with no list of names, etc. I am not the administrator of my dad’s account but would like to be. How do I accomplish this? Also, do I need to use the newer 37 instead of the older 36? Does this mean that I need to download my dad’s raw DNA again and upload to GEDmatch? Would I choose the concatanated option then? Thanks, Nancy

    • Nancy –
      You do not need to be the administrator of your Dad’s account to look at his data. But if you wish to be, do you have the email address it was registered under? You can send a password reset to that address.

      It used to be that the autosomal and X were separate uploads. So if he never uploaded his X you might get that problem. Have you run the “DNA File Diagnostic Utility” to check?

      You will need to select the Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated file at family tree DNA if you wish to upload his data again.

  21. Why do I have 5 kit numbers and my brother only has one on GedMatch? I had to try several times for mine to upload. We both tested at 2 sites and then uploaded to GedMatch.

  22. Dear mskitty,
    I always read the comments, as there are often questions answered that I have as well. No question this time, just wanted to say how incredibly patient you are with all us “DNA Dummies”. Most of what I have learned in the past year has been from experts like yourself who are very generous with their knowledge. Thank you!

  23. Unfortunately, none of the tools on gedmatch (any tier) are very good.
    The only tool I’m aware of out there, that attempts to separate IBDs into their appropriate strands is

  24. Rock, I considered deleting your comment since it seemed designed to get a link to your document or perhaps start an argument. It contained no useful criticisms and while GEDmatch may not be useful to you, it is extremely useful to others.

    Since I do love as well as GEDmatch and found your document useful, if family tree DNA-centric, I left your comment.

    The problem with family tree DNA is that you cannot directly compare your matches to each other so unless you have multiple family members tested there you cannot do true triangulation. The ADSA utility at DNAgedcom is a good visualization and approximation for those without endogamous ancestors but it is useless for those of us with Ashkenazi as we all match each other and have far too many matches. GEDmatch lets us directly compare our matches to each other thus providing a mechanism for confirming triangulation even without that tier 1 utility.

    In my opinion, GEDmatch has far more tools of interest for genealogists but DNAgedcom is an essential site as well with its ability to download matches from all sites. If you click on GEDmatch, you will find many more articles about that site here.

    • The document seems to use the term IBD (inherted by descent) where the accepted term is TG (triangulated group) for a group that all share the same segment

      I love the statement “Each company has an algorithm for estimating how closely you might be related to a match. Unless you are a very close match to someone, those estimates are usually way off. Pay no attention to them. ” SO TRUE after 3rd cousins it just cannot be predicted accurately.

  25. hi .I already took a dna test thru ancestery last year in2016 ..I heared that gedmatch was free and it would help me find any family maches easy .as I am searching for info on my dads side of family …and I am stuck on my great grand dad alexander mc gowan …need all the help I can get …

    • There is nothing easy about GEDmatch. Lots to understand before it is useful to you.
      There much help on Facebook and on various mailing lists, try the DNA NEWBIE yahoo mailing list. Also there is the User Group at Facebook for GEDMatch specific questions and the Ancestry-GEDmatch-FTDNA-23andMe-Genealogy-DNA group for general help. Always read past posts and files before jumping in.
      If you want to hire me for some coaching, that is another possibility, see my consulting page at – I prefer to teach people how rather than do the work for them.

  26. Thank you for posting this information. I just did the Gedmatch Triangulation and I am so lost. I am trying to find the identity of my mothers birth father or anyone who is related to her. She is now 77 and time is running out. I have spent hours and hours trying to figure this out. My grandmother (her mother) never had anymore children and so went can’t even test anyone else, except me, which we have done. I contacted Ancestry genealogists and $3,500 as a retainer is ridiculous. If you can please help and point me in the right direction or give me any advice, I would appreciate it. Thank you so much.

  27. First off my parents are not related to each other. I have a female first cousin once removed and myself that has our DNA data on this site. This female relative is from my father’s side. But I have since found out she also has connections to 2 different lines from my mother’s sides. I am trying to find any info on my father’s side since my 3rd great grandfather is unknown. What I would like to know is if I was to get the Tier 1 if that would help me more on finding the info I am needing to find for my father’s side?

    • At this point tier 1 may not be much additional help. The most helpful thing for your search is to get the oldest relatives descended from the mystery 3rd grandad to test. Probably at Ancestry

      These tier 1 tools are for the more sophisticated user who is using segment matching and triangulation. More useful to you when more relatives are tested

      • Including myself 6 have shown up for that side. I emailed them and asked for info along if I could access to their matches. They did not reply. I do have access to 2 of those relatives matches.

        Thanks for your reply.


  28. Best to test old people using the cheek swab so family tree DNA … Get him tested plus a few cousins who share only the 3rd grandad line … This will be difficult with so many sharing multiple lines

    • As I had mentioned I’m not very close to my family. And at $230 each is a but pricey for the Y-DNA test.

  29. So far I have found all of my lines are all connected that I have access to. Even from my mother’s 2 sides they also link together.

    Plus I’m not very close to many of my family members.

  30. Hi, Thanks for your helpful blogs. I guess it’s time to buy you a glass of wine for sure 🙂
    So I’ve been discovering the hard way I can’t take all matches of matches for granted (ie in people who match one or both of 2 kits). So I’ve just gone into the triangulation utility but can’t figure out if the green stripe for 2 people means those 2 people plus me? Or just those 2 people?
    Thanks so much.

  31. I am still confused with ‘Join Tier 1’. If I pay another 10.00, will my gedmatch be updated every month? What’s the benefit from ‘Join Tier 1’? Thank you, Laurie

    • Laurie,
      The benefit of paying the extra $10 is getting access to the additional tools called Tier 1. Personally I find the matching segment search and triangulation very useful plus I love the supercharged one to many.
      You inspired me to make a tag that gets all my articles about tier 1 functions, click GEDmatch tier 1 in the tag cloud to see them

  32. I am posting an issue of mine, to get an expert opinion (analysis) from someone in the group who maybe an expert on small segments. I’ve read there is a lot of debate on the topic and is usually negative. I’ve read ISOGG and Blaine Bettinger’s blog. There is an issue, where a surname line came from the same small town as my same surname line came from. I really believe we were related as 4th to 5th cousins. Ancestry match results, bottom’s out at 6 cM. With the background on my line, some of the matches with my surname, I would say the cM’s shared were really low in that my grandfather and my great-great grandfather did not pass much shared DNA down to me according to a chart, ‘DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart’ and other online statistics charts. I was wondering to myself, how would I match to 4th to 5th cousins, or have the same common 4x great grandparents.
    So I uploaded the results to GedMatch which you can lower the Centimorgans to 3. I compared myself to the other line with start to end as follows: 23,278,836 to 28,530,339, 4.5 cM, 900 SNPs on Chr.5 and 27,093,528 to 47,702,256, 5.0 cM, 1,220 SNPs on Chr. 16. I compared myself to the other line’s Aunt with start to end: 23,568,400 to 28,355,305, 4.2 cM, 823 SNPs on Chr. 5 and 27,273,899 to 47,576,695, 4.4 cM, 1,126 SNP’s on Chr.16.
    I checked my niece’s kit to the other line realizing that she would be a generation offset(more distant) and this dropped the Chr. 5 results. I compared her to the other line with start to end as follows: 27,729,894 to 47,573,693, 3.5 cM, 1,021 SNP’s. I compared her to the other line’s Aunt with start to end as follows: 27,729,894 to 47,573,693, 3.5 cM, 1,015 SNP’s on Chr.16
    All three of us have common, somewhat overlapping segments on Chr. 5 and 16 with somewhat strong SNP’s, with at least 4 cM, not 3cM’s. Even my niece’s less than 4 cM’s results, hung in there with Chr.16 with rather large SNP’s. In some study on small segments that quote, “When utilizing small segments, I generally don’t drop the SNP threshold below 500”. SNPs are larger than 500.
    My ancestor did change his first name when he came to America on the boat, but there are documents such as parish/church records from here and in Germany. Why he changed his name, not sure why, but it could be a confirmation name, which are not documented in parish records in Germany.
    Would you think that my line and the other line with the same surname are related (Identical by Descent)?

  33. yes your 4cM matches which are triangulating could be relevant but they could also be from much further back and be “population specific.” So no they do not prove this ancestry but are highly suggestive that you are on the right track.
    Are there Y lineages for this relationship that can be tested? Y reaches that far back while autosomal gets more and more random past 3rd cousins.
    Most genetic genealogists tend to recommend ignoring small segments because the majority are false. However they do come from somewhere so …
    Here are some blog posts in support of smaller segments
    and against

  34. Frankly Bradly my first reaction is why would you want to? However you can use the tier 1 one to many to see them all
    change “with this limit” to the largest number and then
    scroll through by changing the number in “with this offset”

  35. Relationship Tree projection has variables I,J,A and X with values for each person in the tree. I kinda have a idea what A and X represent but what do I and J mean and how do I apply them to my tree?

    • Anthony
      That is a Beta thing and not one I use. Send your question to gedmatch at gmail and when you get an answer please post it here for all of us.

    • Linda –
      That is a really interesting idea but no, so far not so.

      However only 23andme has the ethnicity shown by segment so that is the only place you can even do it manually. Also their one to one shows the one to one ethnicity although not by segment

  36. Using the Triangulation Tool – I used my Ancestry kit, but I also have a FTDNA kit – I did not lower thresholds to get rid of close family because I did it before reading this – I notice that it captured my FTDNA kit in the bottom sort and gives me a long list of all who triangulates to my FTDNA kit – would it be safe to assume that is the data I need to cut out and save to a spread sheet and then sort by segment (as you mention). This would be instead of saving entire bottom half. Would I be better off lowering thresholds and running again? Thanks

    • Best to mark one of your kits as research, then it will not appear here or in other people’s one to many. Do that in the edit kits, left column, home page

  37. I have a question about triangulation. I enter my kit number and then another kit I am interested in, and then the triangulation results show every that is related to both?

  38. Hi. This may be a stupid question but I just need to know if I am understanding this tool correctly.

    When I use the MKA option and do triangulation, I enter three kit numbers: My own, person A and person B.

    Then when the results come up, it only shows that Kit 1 (Person A) matches Kit 2 (Person B).

    If they match me as well, will my name also need to be reflected in the table, or is it automatically assumed that (because it is triangulation) the segment the two kits (A&B) share, is also shared with me.

    In none of my triangulations done thus far has my name appeared as well. I need to be 100% sure of how it works, as I am trying to search for an ancestor.

    • An-Mari
      They will only be listed in the triangulation where they match you as well. That is what makes it a triangulation. All are in relation to the first person in the list, in this case you.
      If you do a one to one of A to B you will likely see other places they match each other.
      No questions are stupid when it comes to GEDmatch. The site is very powerful but not at all intuitive.

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