Thursday, August 3, 2017

Uploading Your Tree to GEDmatch

GEDmatch has become an essential tool to everyone who is serious about genetic genealogy. I'm not sure how many matches you have there. But the last time I saved my match list as a PDF, it was 23 pages long. And the last time I checked, the last page of matches stopped at about 10 cM. As more people take these tests and upload their raw data to GEDmatch, making traceable connections to our distant cousins becomes easier every day.

But are you taking full advantage of everything GEDmatch has to offer you? If you don't have a tree uploaded, the answer is "No!"

Why You Should Have a Tree on GEDmatch

In order to take full advantage of what genetic genealogy has to offer, you need three types of information:

  1. Segment data
  2. A tree
  3. Shared matches
I like to compare this to a car. In order for a car to function, at the bare minimum it needs wheels, an engine, and a fuel source. Without any one of those elements, the car simply couldn't move. In genetic genealogy, these same three elements are THAT fundamental. Some testing companies create this data scarcity by not providing tools to convey this essential information to their users. And given that some of the newest testing companies are gravitating away from this bare minimum, it leaves some newcomers in our community at a disadvantage.

Whenever a testing company has refused to offer one of these necessities to its customers, GEDmatch has been the equalizer. AncestryDNA won't provide segment data? GEDmatch will do that. MyHeritage DNA won't provide segment data or shared matches? GEDmatch will do that. That same capacity for tree sharing is also available. The ability to cross reference people on all of the sites on which they've tested is there. But how many of us are taking advantage of it?

I've used trees on GEDmatch to match users there to their original testing companies. Once I know I have the right person on AncestryDNA, their shared matches become a powerful finding tool. I compare those shared matches to what I know about the segment data. A much clearer image of the relationships at work in my DNA begins to emerge. It makes my job on GEDmatch AND AncestryDNA easier. And when I invite these shared matches to upload to GEDmatch, and they accept that invitation, documenting and preserving this record becomes possible.

How to Upload a Tree to GEDmatch

Now that I've been focused on linking GEDmatch users to their original testing companies, I'm noticing a trend. Many who provide trees at their original testing companies haven't done so on GEDmatch. Some of these users may not realize the capability to add a tree exists, or how to do it. So I've made a video for our YouTube channel to explain the process.

The trees they produce are not fancy, by any stretch of the imagination. But they provide needed information to the discoveries we're all trying to make. If you haven't uploaded a gedcom to your GEDmatch kits, be sure to add one today!