FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) is a DNA testing company that specializes in ancestry testing. FTDNA offers autosomal DNA ancestry testing, giving you reports on your ethnicity composition and potential migration routes your family may have taken. The company also offers Y-DNA tests for researching your paternal line and a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test for researching your maternal line. You can also search for living relatives within their DNA database for free by uploading raw data from 23andMe or MyHeritage. If you haven’t purchased a DNA test kit yet, check out our full review of FamilyTreeDNA.
If you already used FamilyTreeDNA to analyze your DNA ancestry, you are in luck. FTDNA allows you to download your raw DNA data, which you can use with GEDmatch to do even more genetic genealogy research!
Below is a quick review of the differences and similarities between FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch.
A great site for learning about your ancestry
Research your maternal and paternal haplogroups
See migration routes your family has taken
Easy to use
No way to customize your search
No complex analytical tools that are found in GEDmatch
FamilyTreeDNA is a great DNA test for users who are trying to get a look at their family history. With FTDNA, you will get a typical ancestry report based on your autosomal DNA. The report will give you an ethnicity estimate and will show you maps of migration routes your family may have taken. If you choose to take their Y-DNA or mtDNA tests, you can learn about where your maternal and paternal lines originated back to the beginning of humanity.
Basic features are free
Powerful tools for analyzing genetic genealogy
Upload your DNA from many major genetic testing companies
Adoptees can find DNA matches for free
Be ready to tackle professional-level analytic tools
Not user-friendly; plan on learning a lot about genetics
GEDmatch.com is a website with multiple free tools available to users who upload their raw DNA data. With GEDmatch, you can use a chromosome browser to see a one-to-one comparison and find matching segments of DNA information, based on DNA kit numbers assigned to each person’s sample. It can also analyze your haplogroup and your admixture, which is similar to an ethnicity estimate. Users on the GEDmatch database post an email address, so you can get in touch with any matches you may find.
Pay the $10 per month for the ‘Tier 1’ advanced tools, and you can really get serious about researching your family tree. Advanced tools include analysis of parental composition, recreation of a common ancestor genotype through triangulation of close relatives, and even the ability to match family trees with a GEDCOM file.
You can see which genes came from which parent, figure out your great-grandfather's genotype, or even find a new branch of your family tree. That being said, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time learning how to use the powerful software, as it is worthy of a genetic genealogist. Law enforcement also uses GEDmatch database to help identify suspects in cold case files, because it is powerful software.
GEDmatch And FamilyTreeDNA Compatibility
FamilyTreeDNA is a great ancestry DNA test for users to research their heritage. Their most powerful genealogy tools, the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, are also their most expensive. However, if you simply get the cheaper autosomal DNA test, then upload your raw data to GEDmatch, you can get the same or better answers with a lower cost.
After you have taken an FTDNA Family Finder test, simply follow the steps below to download the DNA data file from your DNA results.
- Sign in to your myFTDNA account.
- On the menu bar, click myFTDNA > MyDNA > Family Finder > Download Raw Data.
- Click on the data and build you wish to download.
Then, head on over to GEDmatch and create an account. Follow the prompts to find the correct place to upload your FTDNA data. The site may also prompt you to download a specific version of the file, which can be selected on the Download Raw Data page in your myFTNDA account.
Before getting lost in GEDmatch, it could be useful to read our article on How To Use GEDmatch first. Then you can find test results like a pro!
Do More With Your Raw DNA Data!
FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch make a powerful team for researching your genetic genealogy and finding DNA matches. Unfortunately, FTDNA is not yet compatible with Genomelink. However, an FTDNA raw data file may be compatible with some of the companies listed here. If you have not yet purchased a DNA test kit, consider getting one from 23andMe, MyHeritage, or Ancestry.com, as these files are compatible with Genomelink and many of the companies below.
These companies can give you insights into ancestry, health, wellness, lifestyle, and dietary traits, and many of them are free to get started with with a DNA file. Check them out below!
Know "More" About Your DNA Data
1. Genomelink — FREE
2. Promethease (genetic health risk)
3. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) — FREE
4. MyHeritage DNA — FREE
5. LivingDNA — FREE
6. GEDmatch — FREE
Nutrition and Fitness
If none of these sites spark your interest, check out this page on all the different options you have for exploring your raw DNA data!