DNAgedcom: What it is and How to use it
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What is DNAgedcom?
Well first, a GEDCOM is a type of DNA data file which contains information on your family tree, and allows you to transfer this data between different software that analyzes your genealogy. DNAgedcom is a website that offers an analysis of these files. Using tools on DNAgedcom, you can analyze your family tree in greater detail than sites like Ancestry.com allow.
Using DNAgedcom to Find Ancestry Information
In order to use DNAgedcom.com, you first must have a GEDCOM file. Most DNA testing companies do not offer a GEDCOM file, as they are most often used only by genetic genealogists. However, for an amateur of genetic genealogy, this type of file is easy to acquire, although it requires some advanced steps to better understand your family history.
To start, you must download your raw DNA data file from the company which has tested your DNA. Many companies offer this option including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), and most other major DNA testing companies. Many of these companies offer the ability to find DNA matches through a DNA test, however, they do not allow you to analyze how your genetic tree is intertwined with other genetic trees. To do this, you must take your raw DNA file and complete several steps.
First, you must upload your data to GEDmatch.com. This website allows you to find genetic matches in their database using your raw DNA data. The site also allows you to create a GEDCOM file, which details the aspects of your family tree needed to make comparisons. Then, you must upload this file to GWorks, the DNAgedcom client used to analyze these files. Alternatively, you can log into your Ancestry, 23andMe, or MyHeritage account directly using the directions on this website. This website also provides information on how to find clusters, which can group your DNA matches into results which show different branches of your family and how much DNA you received from each source.
How Do You Use DNAgedcom?
While the site does offer a low-cost way to analyze your genetic ancestry in much deeper ways than the simple matching features of most genetic testing companies, there is a steep learning curve. In fact, there is a 25-page installation guide which details the complexities of subscribing and downloading the DNAgedcom software to your computer. Steps include paying the subscription, installing the software, and uploading genetic data. Unfortunately, none of these steps are user-friendly and many must be done in a particular order to get accurate results.
What Can DNAgedcom Tell You?
In addition to the tools allowing you to cluster your DNA matches into different branches of your family, DNAgedcom has tools which can provide additional family finder tools, and allows you to see which segments of DNA you have in common with other users. For example, the site is great for adoptees searching for their family because it can give information on different sides of your family based on your DNA results. The software will produce several types of files which can be used to locate more family members.
For instance, DNAgedcom will produce an ICW file, which gives you all of your matches name’s and where to find them. Using this file, you can search for people directly on databases such as Ancestry.com to find and connect with living relatives. Below, you can see an example from the Kitty Cooper Blog on how the results of a DNAgedcom match file looks:
As you can see, each match contains how much DNA you share with each person, measured in centimorgans (cM). Then, each match is also compared with other matches to see how closely related those people are, presenting different colors for each user group of matches. This can help you track down different sides of your family.
What is the difference between GEDmatch and DNAgedcom?
GEDmatch is a (mostly) free website which allows users to find family matches within the GEDmatch database. DNAgedcom takes this process a bit further by allowing users to compare the matches against each other. As you can see in the image, this can lead to groupings of your various family branches. While GEDmatch has many tools for finding and researching relatives, DNAgedcom allows users to take a broader look at their family tree and the relationships between different family members.
Both tools are useful for amateur genealogists researching their family trees. Both tools have a chromosome browser, which allows you to compare your autosomal DNA directly with another sample. Further, the sites are very similar in that they have an advanced set up to access complex DNA tools such as the Leed’s Method.
What Other Sites Can I Use to Analyze Raw DNA Data?
While GEDmatch and DNAgedcom are both intended for more advanced users, many of the companies offer a free analysis of your DNA file and do not require a degree in genetics. Plus, several of these companies offer health analysis in addition to ethnicity estimates and family matching. Check them out to find the service best suited to your needs and abilities!
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"