My avocation is autosomal DNA analysis blended with classic genealogical research methods. To help my friends and relatives I share steps I recommend to get the most from the investment of purchasing a DNA test.

The DNA test most people have done is called an Autosomal test. This is the only test Ancestry, MyHeritage and 23andMe provide.

There are three basic tests used for genealogy today:

  • Autosomal DNA (at-DNA) - most genealogically useful; matches to all your cousins, as distant as 10 generations but in a consistent random manner (called random recombinant DNA); this is the test I most often recommend.
  • Y-DNA - matches to the male ascendant line - often provides clues to the surname or to family groups within a surname study
  • Mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) - matches to the maternal ascendant line (mothers mother, etc)

There are five companies that currently are providing the Autosomal DNA tests (at-DNA)

  • Family Tree DNA (offers all three tests)
  • Ancestry
  • 23andMe
  • MyHeritage
  • Living DNA

And one comparison website: Gedmatch

I share recommendations in the order of 'priority'. The steps assume you have done an autosomal DNA test.

One. Upload the raw data from the test performing company to Gedmatch. Gedmatch is a free site that provides analysis tools that allow one to compare your test to others that may not have been done at the same performing company. Even if you do not want to run the analyses, other genealogists may run them and contact you. Gedmatch provides a list of your closest 2,000 matches as well as other tools. Steps below will provide you with screen shots of the steps to follow to upload from the various test companies. You will only need to upload one test result, even if you tested at multiple companies as you are one individual and duplicate entries fill the match lists of others with multiple entries for one person. Refer to Links below for suggestions on how to run analyses using People Who Match Two Kits.

Two.Upload to Family Tree DNA, also free. If your test was done by a testing company OTHER than Family Tree, upload the data file into the Family Tree DNA database as an autosomal transfer Family Tree DNA Autosomal Transfer . It is $19 to utilize their Chromosome Browser. The same file may also be uploaded to the MyHeritage database if desired. MyHeritage Autosomal Transfer

Three. Have a tree linked to your tests. If your test is on Ancestry, Family Tree DNA or MyHeritage, you can build a tree within the site or import a GEDCOM of at least your direct line. On 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, go to your profile and copy the link to a WikiTree, FamilySearch or Ancestry tree so matches will know to go look at your tree. See Links below for how to link your Ancestry DNA Test to a Tree.

Four. Build a tree on WikiTree. Enter your DNA test was performed at xyz company and Gedmatch ID on Wikitree to link the test and the tree. If the most you have time for is just your direct ancestral line that will be sufficient. WikiTree is a one world tree concept where one human body appears once in the tree, a collaborative site. A big advantage at WikiTree is it will generate a tree of which lines could contribute to an X Match and also cue you to which of your ancestors have 'others' with tests that may well match to you. It enhances collaboration when utilized.