GEDmatch has just introduced a great new tool – automated tree matching. You’ll find it under the “Find common ancestors (MRCA) from DNA matches” on the application menu under Tier 1 tools which are available for a $10 monthly subscription. (Yes, you can subscribe month by month.)
Of course, you’ll need to have your tree uploaded so that GEDmatch can match ancestors in your tree against ancestors in other people’s trees.
I wrote about how to upload a GEDCOM file, which holds your family tree information, in the article, Download Your Ancestry Tree and Upload It Elsewhere for Added Benefit. Step-by-step instructions for uploading both DNA files and a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch are included in this article.
MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestors) Search Tool
Clicking on the “Find common ancestors (MRCA) from DNA matches” link takes you to a screen where you’ll enter your kit number.
The default settings work fine. 10,000 is the maximum number of kits it will compare.
Next, you’ll see the processing screen.
In my case, of my highest 10,000 matches, only 1036 had associated GEDCOM files. That’s only about 10%. Imagine how much information would be available if everyone uploaded a GEDCOM file.
Of those, I had 136 hits of people where potential common ancestors could be identified in our trees.
When processing is complete, you’ll see a list of your matches complete with your common ancestors. How cool is this!!!
I’ve obscured private information. Looking at this information, column by column:
- I can click through to my match’s tree by clicking on the green tree icon.
- The cM column shows the total matching cMs over the threshold of 7. In the case of my first match, that 52.5 cMs is broken into 2 segments of 19.6 and 32.9.
- The Common Ancestor in Primary GEDCOM is my ancestor.
- The Descent Path to Primary Kit is how I am descended from that ancestor.
For example, clicking on the 5G in the first row shows me that I’m 7 generations removed, so Agnes Muncy is my 5th great-grandmother.
- The next column, Common Ancestor in Row GEDCOM shows the relationship of my match to the person shown in their GEDCOM file. In this case, the names are spelled exactly the same, but that’s not always the case.
- The Up/Down Path shows how the two of us are related to each other and descended from our potential common ancestor.
- The Compare GEDCOM link provides information about all of the common individuals in our trees. I don’t think the GEDCOM IDs are any type of security risk, but I’ve obscured those numbers anyway. At GEDmatch, you can request to compare by GEDCOM ID.
- Finally, the Score column ranks the matches from 1 to 10, with 10 being highest.
The Up/Down Path information illustrates the challenges in making computer comparisons. The information in our trees is similar, but not exact. I’ve spelled Samuel’s name Claxton and my match has spelled it Clarkson. Both are accurate. There was no consistency and descendants spell it differently. Even his military papers were elusive for decades when his widow filed a claim because the name was spelled both ways.
What Else Can I Do?
For those of us using DNAPainter to paint our segment matches, this new tool is a goldmine of ancestral segment information that can be attributed to specific ancestors, especially for matches who tested at Ancestry where segment information is not available.
I wrote about DNAPainter, here.
I know what I’m going to be doing for the rest of the day!
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