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.

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

  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *