Getting the most out of your AncestryDNA Results

The information provided by Ancestry DNA is very limited, and several of the most useful tools, are often missed, by users.

Ancestry has introduced several changes since this page was written, and already displays the match details against each entry now.

A recent newer version of the Ancestry DNA match now also provides lots of extra tools to allow the user to identify matches, and sort by Maternal, and Paternal matches.
Information on these new features will be added over the next few weeks.

They have also introduce 'Thru Lines' that show you how a relationship can be traced.


This is the process as of early 2018:

On the main 'DNA' page select 'View All DNA Matches' to view the 'Member Matches page'.

This contains a list of about the first 50 of all your matches, in order of close relationship. I found that the first page contained 25 'No Family Tree' entries and a further 10 trees that were 'Private'. This can be quite frustrating and needs some way of searching for the useful entries.

For each 'Match' on the the the 'Member Matches page' click on the Green "View Matches" button, and work your way down through each entry, checking names, and recording info.

Saving 'Notes' to User Matches.

Click on "Add Note" and type in the text - don't forget to click "Save" when finished.
It is important to work down the page and review each match, and attach notes showing what you have found, if you don't keep notes you will find yourself repeating the checks at a later time.

I usually record the match details as explained below, and list any 'shared matches'.


Viewing the 'Notes' from the 'Member Matches Page'.

On the 'Member Matches Page' the Members that have notes attached, will have a small "Note" icon displayed next to the username.


Viewing 'Notes'.

Click on the 'Notes' Icon and the details will be displayed.


Viewing Other 'Shared Matches'.

The SHARED MATCHES button previously only appeared when you accessed the matches through clicking the Green "View Matches" button on the AncestryDNA Results page. This has now been fixed.
Now the 'right mouse click', "Open Link in New Tab" will also display this button allowing yoiu to open each match in a new tab. This 'Shared Matches' button displays a list of all other Ancestry DNA matches, based on the same approximate chromosome matches - but does not explain how it determines those matches.
It can be very useful where a user has "No family tree" , or a private tree (the black padlock symbol). In this way you can make a calculated guess about what the 'match' is before contacting that user.

Under each user match item you can collect and record 'notes' with extra information.


Clicking the Info button


In each match you have to click the (i) symbol to see the number of centimorgans and segments.
These terms will be explained later.


It does not display which specific 'Chromosome' or 'Segments' are part of the match.


This is important because there is no indication which family branch is involved. You cannot even determine whether it is from your Paternal (Father's) or Maternal (Mother's) side.



Make sure your DNA is linked to your Tree.


For Ancestry to display matches to other users correctly, you must ensure that the correct Person (exact Name) and Tree is connected to the DNA result (on the DNA Settings Page - see below).

I have found that frequently, if a user has forgotten to connect their tree, you may find a public tree listed under the "User's main profile page".
Many users it appears are not interested in tracing relatives, and they only did the DNA test to learn their 'Ethnic Mix'. Ancestry specifically promotes the DNA Test for this purpose.
I also communicated with two users who were adopted and were just hoping for clues.
In other cases the users are just getting started, and don't know where to start.
The above hints will help you to investigate and document all your matches on Ancestry DNA. Using these hints, many of the 'No family tree' and Private Tree users can still provide valuable clues to their relationship.
This following web-page describes in greater detail many of the points above:
-- Are You Doing Everything to Identify Your Matches?

Why Upload your Raw DNA data to GEDmatch?

Although the above hints in AncestryDNA are helpful; they are far from complete. By retrieving, and uploading, your 'Raw DNA' to GEDmatch - you can actually identify which Chromosomes, and segments, are involved in each match, and relate that to the actual branches in your family tree.
You can also perform deep Chromosome based analysis such as "triangulation" to isolate individual chromosome, and segments, matches, and through this find extra family tree connections.

You should not have any concerns about privacy, as your Autosomal DNA sample is just a very small portion of you total DNA, and deliberately leaves out many of the genes that could be genetic health related.


What is GEDmatch?

To quote an excellent article by Louise Coakley: Tips for using gedmatch: " is a free, volunteer-run website for people who have already tested their autosomal DNA for genealogical purposes at AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage DNA ...".
You should read this article now!.

Retrieving Your Raw DNA from Ancestry.

Before you can upload your Raw DNA data to GEDmatch you must retrieve it from Ancestry onto your local PC.

Go to the DNA Settings.


On the Ancestry DNA page you must click on the "Settings" button up in top right hand corner of the page. This will take you to the DNA settings page.


Select 'Download Raw DNA Data'.

When you click the 'Download Raw DNA Data' button you will be prompted for your normal Ancestry Login Password, which you must enter.
When the password is entered an email wil be sent to your 'registered email address'. This email has a button to confirm the 'Download'. If the email does not arrive you will have to resolve why Ancestry does not have your correct email address.
The Raw DNA will then be downloaded to your usual download directory as a ZIP file. Make sure you know where it has been put and what it is named. Mine was named "".
Leave it Zipped for now.

Uploading Your Raw DNA to GEDmatch.

To support more DNA testing companies, GEDmatch have upgraded their software to Genesis - GEDmatch. All new users must upload their DNA to Genesis, and all previous users have had their 'Kits' transferred to GEDmatch - Genesis. Most original GEDmatch users,will now have the same 'Email Address", and 'Password' in Genesis GEDmatch.
The login address for the new Genesis version of GEDmatch is GEDmatch - Genesis:
Uploading Raw DNA


Watch this older YouTube Video that shows how to download your raw DNA from Ancestry, and upload it to GEDmatch, as the overall approach is the same.
The video shows an older version of Ancestry, and older version GEDmatch that has now changed, as GEDmatch now uses Genesis.

As shown in the youtube video, you must create an account and password on GEDmatch, and login to that account.

The "File Uploads" option on GEDmatch (Genesis) site have been updated and you must select "Generic Uploads (23andme, FTDNA, AncestryDNA, most others)".


Fill in the Upload Page Form.
Just fill in your details. The name of the Donor should normally be your real name. You can however enter an 'Alias' in the next box, which is all that other Members will see.
You should also enter the 'Sex of donor', and tick whether it is your DNA or someone else's 'authorized' DNA.
You should also have to further agree that you are allowed to upload the DNA.
Unless you have tested for a Mitochondrial haplogroup or a Male Y haplogroup leave those boxes blank.

Setting your DNA Data to Public.

Data Public
Reminder: The DNA kit must be set public, and an email address is required - many uses prefer to use a secondary (disposable) email address from Gmail, Yahoo, or any of a number of other free email providers. Don't forget to check this email frequently as GEDmatch members will contact you through that address to discuss matches.


In general SPAM is not a problem as the email address is only available to other members who either match you - or others who know your Kit Number.

It is also good if you can to upload a simpliied GEDCOM file with at least your direct line ancestors in each branch. (Do at least three or four generations: Mother, Father, the four Grandparents, the eight Great-Grandparents, and if known, the 16 GrGr Grandparents, together with their birth location). You do not need Siblings for any generation, as you did not inherit any DNA from them. Most experts think that it is not useful to include more than 10 generations, as the DNA connection is very weak at that distance.

Links for GEDmatch:

Free upload of your Raw DNA to Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA allows people who have tested with other companies (such as AncestryDNA, 23amdMe or MyHeritage) to transfer their autosomal DNA data to "Family Tree DNA and discover new matches for FREE". They say "After transferring, you can unlock all Family Finder features, which include the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins for only US$19".
You will have to create a user login with name, Email Address before you start.

Background on DNA Testing for Genealogy:

DNA Testing has now become affordable to assist in the mapping of Family Trees.
There are three different types of DNA testing (Autosomal, YDNA, and Mitochondria DNA. The last two are best for distant Ancestor family line 5-12 generations back, whereas the Autosomal is best for 1-6 generations (cousins).
There are several companies providing Autosomal DNA testing.

Using Ancestry DNA Data to Estimate Y-Haplogroup:

The Ancestry DNA data includes the Y-Chromosome as "chromosome = 24".
NOTE: The 'Y' Chromosome only exists for Males. This test is not applicable for Females.
This information page explains how to use the 'Third Party Tools' to
process the Y-Chromosome data for Males, and estimate the most likely Y-Haplogroup.
Using Ancestry DNA Data to Estimate Y-Haplogroup


Some further discussion on Autosomal DNA and GEDmatch.

Last updated: 30-SEP-2010 7:23 PM.
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