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Get More DNA Matches Without Doing Another Test!!

Guest blogger, Alyson Gunner Johnson, shares a continuation of her previous blog regarding DNA resources. She shares her input on what she finds is her go to resources she has used to date. Please note this is her personal opinion, please respect her choices as we know eveyrone has a preference.

As promised in my first blog post, I am going to share with you how to get more DNA matches for FREE by downloading your raw DNA data file and uploading it onto other DNA testing sites and a 3rd party site called GEDmatch.

But first, I know the question has been asked – which is the best DNA company to test with? It depends on what you are looking for. I have found if you want health/wellness reports and physical traits info, then you should test on 23andMe. However, the number one most helpful test for adoptees to find their birth families is AncestryDNA – hands down!! This is because:

  1. Ancestry has more DNA testees in their database (10 million +), which means

  2. You get more DNA matches (as of 12 June 2018 I had 77,954 matches on Ancestry as compared to 5,605 on MyHeritageDNA, and 1,365 on FamilyTreeDNA on the same date)

  3. With SOOOO many more matches than the other sites, you have access to more trees from your matches, and more of them are helpful (23andMe does not do trees at all; on FTDNA and MyHeritage a few of my matches have helpful trees). Now, this does depend on whether you have a subscription to Ancestry, since without one you cannot see your matches’ trees. Hopefully you know how helpful your matches’ trees are when trying to build your own tree.

  4. While Ancestry does not have every DNA tool available, it does have some great ones, and once you have transferred your DNA to the other sites for free, you have access to their tools as well.

  5. Ancestry allows you to give access to your DNA results and any trees you have created to others (like family and search angels) without having to give them your password.

Okay, now onto the technical, procedural type stuff.


Here are some helpful directions based on which company your raw data is with. In all cases, download the raw data .zip file to your own flashdrive/computer.

Ancestry– go to your DNA HOMEPAGE, then click SETTINGS on the top right. On the next page click on DOWNLOAD RAW DNA DATA. You will then enter your password, check the box and click CONFIRM. You will then receive an email with a link to click on to download your raw DNA data file.

23andME– sign in, click on TOOLS < BROWSE RAW DATA < DOWNLOAD < SUBMIT REQUEST. You’ll get an email with instructions for downloading.

FTDNA – after signing in click on DOWNLOAD RAW DATA near the lower right corner. Scroll down and click on the latest build for Autosomal Raw Data.

Easy, right? Now for uploading. Please note you CANNOT upload raw data into Ancestry or 23andMe. You can only take their tests, not transfer your DNA in.


Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)– the benefit here is getting matches to people who didn’t test with your original testing company, and you can see who matches you on the X chromosome (especially helpful if they’re male because then you match them on their mother’s line, as men only inherit the X from their moms.) To access their chromosome browser and other tools when transferring in, you have to upgrade for $19, but you can see your matches and lots of good info without doing that.

After logging in, go to the gray box showing YOUR ACCOUNT and click on FREE AUTOSOMAL TRANSFER. Then follow the instructions. It will send you an email with a Kit # they assign to you as well as a temporary password that you can login with and then change it. Keep that Kit # handy!

Note – Ancestry tests since August 2017 are not compatible as is for the upload to FTDNA.

Use this link, to convert your raw data zip file to a format that will work with FTDNA. Save this new .zip file to your computer, renaming it to distinguish it from your original file. Then use the new file to upload to FTDNA.

MyHeritage– the benefit here is they have an awesome free chromosome browser where you can see what segments on each chromosome you share with the matches of your choosing. Here is a link to show you how to use it:

After logging in, click DNA < UPLOAD DNA DATA < START, then click the appropriate circle and squares, then UPLOAD.

GEDmatch– is a 3rd party tool where users from any of the major DNA testing companies can upload their raw data here to be matched to any other participant. The benefit is you can get matches who tested on Ancestry or 23andMe – whichever one you didn’t test on. You also see who matches you on the X chromosome. There is a chromosome browser on this site too, along with some other fun tools like Are Your Parents Related?, and there are additional Tier 1 utilities available for $10/month.

On the page after you login, in the LEARN MORE box, there are some tutorials for USING GEDMATCH.

On the homepage and under the login boxes click on NOT REGISTERED? CLICK HERE. For those with raw data from any company except 23andMe, after registering go to the blue box that says FILE UPLOADS and click GENERIC UPLOAD FAST. You will then fill out some information and indicate whose raw data you are uploading, then click CHOOSE FILE to browse your computer and select the .zip file, then UPLOAD. People uploading 23andMe raw data will have to scroll down to the blue box on the home page that says GENESIS BETA then click GO DIRECTLY TO GENESIS and follow the instructions for uploading.

It will take a couple days for each of these companies to process your data upload and produce matches, so check back. When you go in to look at your matches on GEDmatch, click on the blue box labeled ANALYZE YOUR DATA, then ‘ONE-TO-MANY’ MATCHES to see a chart of your matches (it shows your 2000 closest matches). Keep in mind that the letters under KIT NBR correspond to the original testing company –

A = Ancestry, M = 23andMe, T = FTDNA, H = MyHeritage

It will take you a little bit of time to figure out how to use the tools available on each site, so make time to learn and practice. It is worth the effort to do these uploads – I tested on Ancestry but I found my closest match, who turned out to be my birth uncle, on FTDNA, which broke it open for me!! SO WORTH IT!! Good luck with your search!

Adoption Reunion Search & Support is very thankful for our guest bloggers as we are all full of knowledge to share! Thank you Alyson for sharing your insight regarding DNA matches and the different website resources available. If you are interested in guest blogging or have questions regarding the different websites available to you, please message us here.


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