Tag Archive | GEDmatch

Important Changes at GEDmatch

If you have not logged into GEDmatch recently, please do so and either accept the new terms and conditions or don’t. Unless you are clearly USA based*, your kits will not be visible to your relatives any more unless you accept. I have linked to numerous other blogs at the end of this article to help you make your choice. I recommend reading either the one from Roberta Estes or EU users, the one from Debbie Kennett. Both look carefully at the new terms and conditions which are not very different from before.

Frankly, I was surprised by the panic expressed last week by some in the genetic genealogy world on FaceBook due to the sale of our beloved GEDmatch DNA tools site to a forensic science company. Personally, I hate knee jerk reactions so I did some research into this company, Verogen, as well as communicated extensively with Curtis Rodgers, one of the GEDmatch founders, and Kim Mohr, a spokesperson for Verogen.

To remind you all, GEDmatch is the best place to compare DNA tests done at different companies to each other or just to see the actual chromosome locations shared by two Ancestry testers. While both Family Tree DNA (ftDNA) and MyHeritage accept uploads of tests from other companies so you can compare on those sites, neither has the extensive tools of GEDmatch. FtDNA compares down to very small segments which can be useful in a family project but leads to inaccurate relationship estimates. MyHeritage does not show the X chromosome and neither company shows the fully identical segments (FIRs) that full siblings will have, which can be so helpful (click here).

The DNA Applications menu at GEDmatch

GEDmatch has many useful additional tools, such as “People who match both or 1 of 2 kits ,” an “Are your parents related?” test, the ability to see who matches you on a specific segment, being able to check for full siblings rather than half, and automated triangulation, to name a few of my favorites (click those words to go to that post when I did one or click here for my more general GEDmatch articles). Plus it has GEDCOM comparison utilities. Compare yours to all the ones in the database or to just one other.

GEDmatch became a center of controversy when it was discovered that genetic genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, working with law enforcement (LE). had solved the Golden State Killer case (click here) using that site. Since that time, there have been more controversies around law enforcement’s use of the site and many overblown scare articles in the press. Personally if my DNA outs a distant cousin who is a murderer or rapist, that’s fine with me. Genetic genealogy techniques are used as a tip; no one is arrested without getting their DNA from discarded materials and seeing if it is a match to the crime scene. I know some people are afraid of the possibility of false arrests, but that just does not happen with these modern techniques. You can, as before, choose to opt out of allowing LE to see your results on GEDmatch when looking for cousin matches to the dna of the perp or the unidentified victim.

In recent months, there have been more problems, news stories and controversies, including a Florida search warrant being granted. One has to feel for the two retired hobbyists who founded GEDmatch to help in their research and ultimately help us all, keeping most of the features free. Clearly getting the site owned and managed by a more professional group would be of great advantage to the users. Curtis spent several months looking for the right partner that would respect the original misson of GEDmatch and yet deal appropriately with LE, the EU, and security issues. He and the programmers, the two Johns, will continue to work on the site as consultants.

So who or what is Verogen? Two years ago this company was spun off from Illumina (the maker of the chips and machines that all the consumer oriented DNA testing companies use to sequence your DNA). It has 50 plus employees and plans to continue growing. Their office is in a small office park near UCSD here in San Diego. Continue reading

Make a combined DNA kit for yourself

Have you ever wanted to make a kit combining all your DNA tests at the different companies so as to get the most SNPs for comparisons? Well GEDmatch GENESIS is now providing that for paid members. So of course I made one of these superkits for myself! I combined my LivingDNA with my V3 23andme and my current Ancestry kit. Now to investigate what I have gained from this.

The first thing I did was compare this new kit to my recent Ancestry kit. All looked fine. It has the expected small differences, many of which disappeared (including the black lines) when I checked the prevent hard breaks box on the form. The older 23andme kit comparison had more black spots and mismatches.

My next thought about my new superkit was that I might get a better comparison to cousins who tested more recently at 23andme but none of them have uploaded to GENESIS yet. So I checked how my comparison to an Ancestry tester, my second cousin once removed Jeanie, looked. The superkit gets the same result as my recent Ancestry kit. When I compared her to my 23andme kit and my Living DNA kit however, there were small differences.

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Basics: GEDmatch reinvented part 1

UPDATE 18-AUG-2019: Since the GEDmatch site and GENESIS are one and the same now I have updated this post to say GEDmatch rather than 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 the new version of the GEDMATCH basics to the new tester.

GENESIS Home page for my cousin who has only 2 kits migrated and is not a Tier 1 member

One problem for many users is that this site is not intuitive. GEDMATCH 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, . 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 GEDMATCH, you have to be registered as a user.  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 GEDMATCH 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 GEDMATCH 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 GEDMATCH. 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.

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Time to move to GENESIS!

At my recent GEDmatch talk for i4GG, I warned the crowd that soon Genesis would be the only place at GEDmatch where you could upload new DNA kits. Well that day has actually come! Although your kits will migrate from GEDmatch, you may want to upload to Genesis if you cannot wait to see the comparisons. By the way, your GEDmatch login will work just fine at Genesis. Note that Genesis has the GEDmatch logo with an apple core next to it.

So why do you have to move to GENESIS? The problem is that some companies are using newer chips which test for different not completely overlapping markers: LivingDNA and 23andMe since August 2017. Why you may ask? Because the new chips test more SNPs and have more non-European ethnic coverage.

So how do you compare apples to oranges? Well Genesis seems to do a good job of it and the new one-to-many warns you when there are not enough SNPs in common for confidence in the results by highlighting in red. Have a look:

Notice that the last three columns are new. One shows how many SNPs overlap between the kits (in other words, how many SNPs are in common between the two sets of test results so can be compared), the next shows the date compared, and finally the company where the test was done is listed. The latter is needed because kits uploaded directly to GENESIS get assigned kit ids that start with a pair of random letters so the origin is not known from that. Note that migrated kits keep the A,T,M, and H single letters. Also many recently migrated kits will show an overlap of 0 because that has not yet been compared for them.

You may also notice that many columns are missing like haplogroups, gedcoms, and X matching; nor are the columns sortable. Hopefully these features will be added back soon. The display is more compact with the confusing clickable L replaced by clicking on a kit number to see its list of one to many matches. By the way the Tier 1 version of the one-to-many looks exactly the same as the one on GEDmatch.

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New Compact Chromosome Browser on GEDmatch’s GENESIS

Today GEDmatch launched a version of my segment mapper which is integrated with their database. It can be used as a way to easily visualize multiple matches on GENESIS. This first version shows how everyone compares to the first person on the list, like the current 2D chromosome browser but more compact. Also each color is a person.

My Munson cousins in my new compact segment mapper at Genesis

Above is the screenshot of my Munson cousins which even shows one of the boxes that appears when the cursor is placed on a segment. Click on this image to see a copy of the html version (edited for privacy) where you can put your cursor on any segment to see the details. (N.B. when you put your cursor on a segment and the information pops up via javascript that is called a mouse over in geek speak. )

One way to get a display like this at Genesis is to check the boxes (tier 1 only) next to your best matches in the one-to-many (up to 40 of them) and then click the button “Visualization” at the top of the page. Another way to get there is to use the Tier 1 tool “MultiKit Analysis” and select the kits you want to look at. Remember the first kit listed is the one that all the others will be compared to.

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