GEDMatch is a raw data analysis services that does relative matching between the databases from different genetic genealogy companies. This is to date the only online free tool to offer this service.
- Allows relative matching between 23andMe, Ancestry DNA, FTDNA databases.
- It is a free tool.
- Associated with many ongoing active genealogy projects.
- Difficult user interphase.
- Incompatible with 23andMe v5 chip.
- Some terminologies are difficult to understand.
GEDMatch: DNA Matching Open Source Raw Data Analysis Software
GEDMatch: Full Review
I came across GEDMatch in my search for a genealogy website that offered more than just DNA analysis. I had taken a couple of DNA tests in the past, and although they provided some valuable information I found that the feeling of belonging that I’d always assumed followed finding out your roots still eluded me.
I came across GEDMatch then; a website that proposed to use the data I had already gotten from my previous ancestry tests to provide an added layer of genealogical analysis aimed at locating my living relatives. As you can imagine, this seemed like the answer to all my prayers, and I quickly scanned the website to see all that would be required.
I found that people who wanted to have their genetic data matched by GEDMatch had to have had a DNA test done with either AncestryDNA, 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, as these are the three DNA testing companies with match by databases.
Luckily for me, I had already had a test done with Ancestry DNA in the not so distant past, and I was able to have the data from this test uploaded to their database and run against people who had had a similar test done in order to see if I had any matches. So anyone with their DNA raw data from companies like 23andMe, Ancestry DNA or Family Tree DNA can upload to GEDMatch.
To be frank, I had pretty much no expectations from this service, like I said, I had done DNA tests in the past, and while I got a lot of scientific data that sounded good on paper, I had never really gotten a personally satisfying experience and I had gotten over searching for it on the internet.
With that said, I was cautiously optimistic, the idea behind GEDMatch seemed feasible, and the chances were that it would work, at this point I didn’t really have much to lose.
Moreover it was free and open source. My interest was also piqued when I learned that genealogical researchers and genetic genealogists routinely used this service in creating genetic profiles and family trees.
My experience with the GEDMatch website did not do much to allay my fears, it wasn’t exactly filled with information and the little information I could gather came from internet forums. What I heard though, was that GEDMatch offered a myriad of exciting sounding features like the ‘Admixture Analysis’ and some Tier One tools like the ‘Evil Twin’ feature although these cost money.
This has always been the most straightforward part of every DNA test experience I’ve had and this proved to be no different. It took a few short minutes for me to log in, validate my email address, and upload my DNA data.
I was them shown how my data would be processed, and provided with a kit number.
Well, I have to tell you. I was impressed.
There were a lot of tools available to me, and to be frank, they all looked so promising so I spoiled myself a little; I ticked all of them. The ‘one to many’, the ‘one to one’, the ‘admixture’, the ‘predict eye color’ all sounded amazing, so I ticked them. Sue me.
One To Many Matches Results
I’m going to skip over the long and technical detail to get to the point: I got matches! First I was told to specify just how much I wanted the confidence threshold to be, which I dimly understood, and then to select between autosomal or X, which them completely lost me.
Either way, I got matches!
680 whole people who were related to me in some way, and 20 people who were close enough to be actual family. I felt like the whole DNA testing process had led up to this, and I was only on the first result.
Even better, I was able to send messages to the people I matched with and they seemed very open to conversation.
Truly amazing, if the test had ended here it would have already been well worth the money.
One on One Comparison
This feature basically helped confirm if the people I shared some genetic material with, shared my ancestry. It allowed me to cross-checked DNA data of people whose kit numbers I had with my own genetic data to see if, and how much, and how exactly we were related.
This tool helps analyze the DNA data you presented in order to identify the population groups you share your genetic material with. To be honest, I wasn’t as interested in this section, and most of the results seemed rather too technical for my tastes.
I’d recommend that the makers of this test try to dumb it down, at least a little so that the layman could easily understand what was being said.
I get the feeling that what the results were saying was important, I just didn’t understand it.
People Who Match One or Both Kits
As far as I could figure, this section was meant to help people figure out which of their closest matches could also be matched to their immediate family members.
It was a bit complicated to use, but at the end I was able to find a particular match who was related to me on my long estranged fathers side of the family. I couldn’t get more out of this tool because of the limited nature of the data on the members of my family, but I’m quite certain that as time goes on and the database increases in size, this would be a valuable tool to use to help discover familial relationships.
In essence, this test has quite literally changed the way I used to regard DNA testing from a soulless means of gathering technical data, to something that could be used to forge personal relationships and bonds that could stand their test of time.
GEDMatch was in the news recently owing to the Golden State Killer Case. The news of the American police force using GEDMatch to nab a serial killer evading the law for a long time threw open privacy concerns. I guess that is still a point on which there are valid arguments on both sides.
Truly worth every penny, and I’ll definitely recommend this to anybody in search of lost relatives or closer familial bonds.