I have done autosomal DNA testing from all three of the major testing companies (FamilyTree DNA, Ancestry, and 23 and Me). I spend most of my time with Ancestry matches trying to get them to transfer their results to GedMatch. This is to explain why and give me a place to give instructions without repeating them over and over again. 

   Ancestry only tells you that you match people. It attempts to tell you how you match, but it only does that by comparing your trees and finding a matching couple in both. Unfortunately that is not reliable because you may be related in more than one way and not know about other ways you might be related. Part of the reason we do DNA testing is to learn about ancestors we do not know about yet.  The matching is only as good as the genealogical work (whether good or bad) that has gone into constructing the trees. 

  The two other companies (FamilyTree DNA and 23 and Me) give tools that allow matches to discover on what chromosome and on what segment on the chromosome people match. It is then up to you to search the genealogies and attempt to discover the most recent common ancestral couple. If two people match on the same chromosome and segment and they discover a common ancestral couple, they can hypothesize

that the segment came from that couple (and certainly this is as far as Ancestry takes you although they don't identify the segment and chromosome). You can have much greater assurance of the identification of the segment if you have a third person who is also descended from the same couple (or an ancestor at a higher level) and matches on the same segment. None of this is possible to know with matches on Ancestry. 

  I have tested several other relatives in various lines only through FamilyTree DNA. But I've uploaded results to GedMatch for all of those relatives. Gedmatch accepts raw data from all three testing companies. Therefore you get a much larger pool of potential matches. Increasing the pool of possible matches is a great benefit for people testing with all three companies, but Ancestry testers derive the greatest benefit because they can finally see the "segment data," i.e., on what chromosome and segment their matches lie. For some of us who have proactively tested multiple relatives, we also may be able to tell you that you also match one of those relatives and therefore narrow the match to a specific branch. 


Under the DNA menu tab, choose "Your DNA Results Summary" from the drop-down menu. 

Click on "Settings" on the right side across from your name (or user name).

AncestrySettings2On the right sidebar, you will see the category "Actions." Under "Actions," click  "Download your raw DNA data."


You will be prompted to enter your password. Click "Confirm." You will receive an email with a download link. Pay attention to where the file is being downloaded to your computer. 
















Go to GedMatch. After the words "Not Registered?" click on the link to create an account. Once you have an account, log in 


   You will see this box for "File uploads" in the right half of the screen. Under "Autosomal raw DNA," click on the "AncestryDNA.com" link or better now to use the "Generic Upload" option just below. Insert name of the person who was tested. Use an alias in the second box if you don't wish the real name to be used. Choose the sex. Don't worry about the mitochondrial haplogroup or Y haplogroup questions. Click on "Yes" to allow your data to be used for comparisons. Click on the "Choose File" link to navigate to the location of the downloaded file from Ancestry. Once you've selected the file, click "Upload. Follow the instructions for not navigating away from the following screen until the upload is completed. 

   You will be able to do one-to-one comparisons right away. So do tell the person who encouraged you to upload  that you have done so, and give her the kit number. You will be able to see the kit number right away on the home page (the landing page after logging in.) She will be able to start comparing with those known relatives. It can take some time for the test results to be processed for doing the one-to-many matching. 




+1 #6 Patti Hobbs 2016-10-30 20:01
Terry, that's a good suggestion. I will add or replace that part. When I first wrote this, I don't believe the generic option was available.
+1 #5 Terry Maurice 2016-10-30 14:42
Thanks for a much needed and detailed set of instructions. It is probably this step that intimidates many users from uploading their DNA files to GedMatch.com

The only think I would add is that there is another option in the Gedmatch upload directory and that is to use the Generic Upload option. I used this on the last file I uploaded and it is much, much faster than the other options. If errors are going to occur they will happen during the slow upload process, but by using the fast upload these potential problems are minimized.
0 #4 Marilyn Clark 2016-05-05 14:14
Thanks for this concise explanation. I will send a link to 'new' relatives/match es to encourage them to upload their raw data to GedMatch.
0 #3 Jane Doe 2015-08-24 12:14
Like you and many others, I also spend a lot of time contacting matches and suggesting that they upload their results to GedMatch, particularly if they tested with Ancestry. If you have no objections, I would like to include a link to this post when I contact matches in the future..
+1 #2 Patti Hobbs 2015-05-30 16:30
Thanks, Jo. I tried to be short and not get bogged down in too much detail --which people tend NOT to read!
-1 #1 Jo Henn 2015-05-30 15:55
Interesting and a good explanation. I think now that I will have to do that. Thanks for sharing! I've included this post in my NoteWorthy Reads post for this week: http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2015/05/noteworthy-reads-15.html

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