My family members asked me to write a 23andme tutorial, so here it is. Let me know what else I should put here.
The three things most people like best at 23andme are learning about their health issues (currently disabled for new kits because of the FDA ruling), their ancestral places of origin, and finding DNA cousins (my term for people who share DNA that thus, must be related, however distantly). There is a wealth of other fun information available like how much Neanderthal DNA you have in you, but this post will mainly just cover those first three areas.
When you log in to 23andme you will see a page something like this.
You can click on Home in that top bar from any page on the site to return to this page. The ancestry composition box shown mid-page may not yet be ready for your sample if your results are just in.
To edit your profile, click on your name or photo on the far top right to get a menu with that option. If you have any messages the envelope at the top right will get a green background and show the number of messages you have as in the example below. Click on it to read them. I advise switching to email if you start to communicate with someone regularly as there are no tools to search the inbox unless you use chrome and the 23+ addon.
Finding cousins who can help solve genealogical mysteries are what many of us are hoping for when we do DNA testing. The various One-to-Many tools at GEDmatch Genesis list all the people who match the DNA kit you specify. These are cousins or even closer relatives.
The new beta version of the One-to-Many tool is found under the heading DNA Applications in the right hand column of your home page.
My red arrow points to it in the image to the left. It is a much improved tool, more like what was available on GEDmatch. When you click on it, you get a form as shown below which only needs the kit number added.
If you have set up some tag groups (click here for my GEDmatch tag group article), check the tag group box named “All” (shown with my red arrow above). Below is what my One-To-Many result looks like with my tag groups. The kit number is shown with the color of the group it belongs to. Note that when I have a person in more than one tag group, I get duplicate lines for them, one for each color coded tag group they are a member of:
One of the great features of this tool is that every column is searchable by putting text in the box above the column and then clicking the enter key. [UPDATE: this is a Tier 1 feature only and is more directly called a filter]. Another one is sortability via the up and down arrows at the top of the column. When working with my Jewish side, I sort by largest segment to get my closest cousins at the top. The reason I do that is that endogamous populations will often share many small segments from way back so the total cM make a triple 5th cousin look like a 2nd or 3rd ; however close cousins will always share larger segments.
This beta One-To-Many tool includes many of the features GEDmatch users are used to: the link to a tree*, the display of haplogroups, the estimation of generations difference, and the X matching. It also includes the new overlap number which lets you know how many SNPs are tested in common between the two kits. The overlap issue was discussed in my previous article about GENESIS
You can click on any kit number to get a One-To-Many for that kit or click on the underlined largest segment number to compare the cMs of the two kits for either autosomal or X. In both cases you are taken to a prefilled in form on which you can make changes to (don’t yet) before you click the Submit or Search button. On the X comparison, I recommend you click the “Prevent Hard Breaks ” because there is a large gap in the middle for many tests otherwise.
Here is a table with an explanation for all of the One-To-Many column headings:
GENESIS.gedmatch.com is a free 3rd party site of tools where you can upload your DNA test results and compare them with those from people who have tested at other companies. It is the new version of GEDmatch.com that can compare the data from many more companies than the original. Click here for my previous post written for GEDmatch users moving to GENESIS. Today’s article is to introduce GENESIS basics to the new tester.
One problem for many users is that this site is not intuitive. GENESIS does not hold your hand and does not build your tree for you. You have to learn how to use the tools there to the best advantage for your own research. I have many posts on this blog for GEDmatch, most of them are also useful for Genesis and I will list some of those later. UPDATE 17 FEB 2019: Click here for the slides from my presentation about the basics of using this site from Saturday Feb 16, 2019, in Carlsbad for the North County DNA Interest Group (DIG).
To get started at GENESIS, you have to be registered as a user. Currently that is still done over on the old GEDmatch.com site. Your login will be your email address with a password you create. Some people prefer to use an email which they have created just for genealogical research. Easy to do at gmail, hotmail, or yahoo, among others and it is a way to create some privacy. Note that GEDmatch is careful to warn you when you register that their site can be used by law enforcement to try to identify violent offenders and victims. Click here to understand how your DNA can out a distant cousin who is a criminal.
Before you can use GENESIS to explore your test results, you have to download your DNA data from your testing company. Click here for the help page that GEDmatch provides on how to download your DNA. The file of your test results is quite large (about 700,000 lines of data) and zipped. DO NOT UNZIP it.
To upload your results to GENESIS you log in and then click on Generic Uploads (23andme, FTDNA, AncestryDNA, most others) in the right hand column under Upload your DNA files. That takes you to a form to fill out before doing the upload. You have to enter the name your kit was registered under, but you can choose to use a pseudonym to appear on Genesis. Put it in the box for alias on this form. For example, all my cousins are called Kittys#CuzNN where the number sign is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, and NN is their initials so that I know who they are! You have to change the No to a Yes after “You authorize this data to be made available for comparisons in the GEDmatch public database” if you want your results to be visible to your matches. If you want to stay private, then leave it as is for now, but change it after it is uploaded to “Research” so you can use all the tools on the site but stay invisible. Once your or your cousin’s file is uploaded, you are assigned a kit id (2 letters plus several digits) which will also always show on your home page when you log in. You need a kit id to use the tools. You can upload multiple tests and manage them all from this one user.
You can make edits to any kit you own by clicking the pencil icon next to it on the left side of your home page. Click here for my presentation slide that shows you that edit screen and where to change the privacy to public or research or private.
It usually takes a day or two to fully process your kit so that you can run the most important tool: the one-to-many. That is the tool that lists your DNA relatives in the Genesis database. While you wait you can experiment with the ethnicity tools (called admix here) covered in my Gedmatch basics post and in detail in these slides (click here).
If some cousin, like me, asked you to upload and gave you their kit number, you can do a one to one compare with that kit before your kit is fully ready for the other tools. Click here for the slide that shows the form to make that comparison. There are slides following that one which have some examples. You can use all the defaults when you fill out the form with one exception: you may prefer to check the prevent hard breaks box at the bottom. That is particularly recommended for an X one to one. Personally I prefer to look at the image only comparison first, then I click back and select position only to get the numbers for each segment to put in my master spreadsheet.
Once you see a blue check mark on the line with your kit number on your home page (as in image above), you can run the one to many tool. That looks at all the other kits in the database to find people whose DNA matches yours. The more cMs you share, the closer the match.
A while back I did a blog post explaining how to navigate the new 23andme (click here to read that). A number of my complaints in that post are now fixed. Most importantly, the ability to search for people to compare on the DNA Relatives > DNA page is there plus a table view which gives the numbers.
I cannot agree with the genetic genealogists who are abandoning 23andme due to the problems with its change over to their new web site, as well as the perceived lack of response to genetic genealogists. 23andme never made a secret of the fact that they are in this to research the genetics of various medical conditions. That is fine with me, as my extended family has many medical issues to look into, most, thankfully quite minor. They did make some nice tools for genealogists to attract more users into their database, but we have never been their primary concern.
While I do recommend Ancestry.com DNA testing for most new testers, many of my cousins want the medical information and so are willing to pay the extra for 23andme. It also has the best ancestry composition of the big three.
Personally though, my main reason for being patient and staying with 23andme is that I have found so many Norwegian and Norwegian-American cousins there (over 30) while only one or two at the other companies. Maybe we Scandinavians just have more genetic health issues. I also like the ability to compare cousins to each other and look at the ancestry composition by chromosome (although that is currently gone on the new site).
While 23andme is changing over to their new system, those of us with kits still on the old system have struggled to contact and share with our new matches. Initially we could not send shares to new matches so had to message them and ask them to send us a share. Thankfully that is fixed.