GENESIS Basics: GEDmatch reinvented part 1

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.

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. 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.

Here is a slightly condensed version of the one-to-many for my LivingDNA kit:

The overlap column shows how many SNPs the kits being compared have in common. It is color coded to indicate whether there are enough of them for it to be a good comparison; the redder it is, the worse it is.

The other columns are:

  • Kit – The kit number of your match. Click it to see their one-to-many matches. Kit numbers that start with two letters have been uploaded directly to GENESIS and one letter kits are the ones migrated from GEDmatch.
  • A checkbox column is there for Tier 1 members only – you can check a number of kits and then look at them with the Multi Kit Analysis (MKA) tools by clicking the visualize button at the top of the page.
  • 1:1 – This column has an underlined A which you can click to do a one-to-one comparison.
  • Name – This might be an alias or a real name. It’s whatever the user chose to use.
  • Email – Cut and paste this to send an email to the person who uploaded that kit. Be sure to include the kit number in the message to your relative.
  • Largest Seg – Close relatives will always share large segments. If this is less than about 12 the match may be too far back to find.
  • Total cM – This is the most important piece of information in the report. It is the total in centimorgans of the matching half identical segments that you share with your match. Look up that number at the online calculator here:  https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 – a word of warning if this is the same number as Largest Seg then you have a single segment match which can be anything from a 4th to a 14th cousin. Work on other matches first!
  • Gen – This is Genesis’s guesstimate of the distance in generations between you and your match. A parent or child will be 1 and an aunt/uncle/niece/nephew will be 1.5 while a first cousin is expected to be a 2. A good rule of thumb is to subtract one to get the approximate cousin level. Less accurate than the calculator above, but a good approximation.
  • Overlap – See above
  • Date Compared – This is the date that the overlap was calculated. If you are looking at a the one-to-many for a migrated kit some of these will have N/A.
  • Testing Company – This is the company which did the DNA test. If it is a kit migrated over from GEDmatch it will say something like “Migration – F2 – A” where the final letter indicates the company: A for Ancestry, M for 23andme, T for ftDNA, and H for MyHeritage. Only the M kits will show different chip versions like V3 or V4.

By the way, you can use the User Lookup on the top right of your home page to check if your match has uploaded a tree with a GEDcom. Use the email address in the lookup as the person may have multiple kits not all of which are attached to their tree. Trees are currently shown and linked to only from the Tier 1 version of the one-to-many tool.

There are also tools to help interpret your results like the “Are Your Parents Related” tool (click here for that blog post) and the “People who match both, or 1 of 2 kits” which gives you the matches you have in common with (ICW) another kit.  That can help narrow down which family line your new cousin belongs to. More about those in part 2 to come soon.

Frequent questions I get asked:

  • Should I upload again to GENESIS or just use the migrated kit? The new template is slightly different so you will get better results if you upload again. Up to you.
  • I have two kits for the same person now, should I delete one? It is better to mark the migrated kit as Research; that way any cousin who made a note of that kit number won’t be surprised when they try a one-to-one.
  • Why are the columns not sortable? And where is the wikitree or gedcom link? Currently those features are only available in the Tier 1 version of the one-to-many, so treat yourself to a month or two of a Tier 1 membership. It’s not free for them to run this site, so you can feel good about contributing. But see the update below!

Useful GEDmatch posts:

This post was getting to be far too long, so I will put the rest in part II, after my presentation this coming Saturday.

UPDATE 12 Feb 2019: Try the new Beta one-to-many. It has sortable and searchable columns and links to trees. No sooner had I finished this post than that started to work for free users! So part 2 may be sooner including that and part 3 next week.

Disclaimer: I occasionally do paid programming work for GEDmatch and have a complimentary Tier 1 membership in return for which I give some support help. I often blog about the site because I am definitely a heavy user of their tools. I was asked to write this GENESIS basics blog and they also offered to pay me to do a video… we will see 🙂 i4GG will have a video of my GENESIS talk at the last conference soon.

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    • You can get to the chromosome browsers and many other tools from the Multi Kit Analysis which is a Tier 1 function OR from the new beta one to many by using the check boxes. This will be covered in part 2 of this series.

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