How can I get DNA information on ancestry for free?

While there is no free DNA test, several companies do allow you to get many useful features of their platform simply by uploading your previously acquired DNA data. No genealogist? No problem! The companies below will allow you to explore different aspects of your family story simply by setting up a free account and uploading a raw data file! 

Here’s some features with free access from various companies:

  • Search for family members
  • Conduct genealogical research
  • Use search engine operations to find free family tree information

Whether your relatives are Canadian, Indian, Jewish, British, Irish, Native American, or a mix of them all, there are some free tools below which can help you find vital information and records on free genealogy sites. Check it out!


Family Tree DNA

This company accepts tests from:

  • 23andMe (Versions 3-5)
  • AncestryDNA (Versions 1-2)
  • MyHeritage

FTDNA allows you to upload a file from any of the sources above to access their Family Finder Matrix. The Matrix is a program on their platform intended to find your closest relatives. This free tool may help you build your family tree, discover you family history, or conduct simple genealogy research. However, the free upload does NOT give you access to the full range of Family Finder features.

For only $19 you can get access to these extra features which include the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins ethnicity estimate, and the ancientOrigins maternal and paternal haplotype test. You can check out their raw DNA data upload page here: https://www.familytreedna.com/autosomal-transfer


MyHeritage

This company accepts tests from:

  • 23andMe
  • LivingDNA
  • AncestryDNA
  • FamilyTreeDNA

MyHeritage is one of the largest DNA genealogy sites around, competing with Ancestry.com and other testing companies. MyHeritage allows customers to upload data from any of the above companies for free, and free users can get access to living genetic matches to conduct a recent genealogy search. MyHeritage users are largely based in Europe. So, if you are looking for a British uncle, a cousin in Ireland, or a half brother in Germany, this is a good choice. With the free service you can also use the Chromosome Browser, and get an Ethnicity Estimate based on 42 different regions.

Before the days of DNA testing, MyHeritage focused largely on creating software for genealogy resources such as family trees and a database of genealogical records. Records kept in the database include censuses, death records, military records, and passenger lists from European countries. To access these features, however, you must subscribe to the company’s service, starting at $139/year (the price jumps to starting at $189 in your second year of subscription). To learn more about uploading your data to MyHeritage, see the page below: https://blog.myheritage.com/2018/09/new-myheritage-supports-23andme-v5-and-living-dna-uploads/


LivingDNA

This company accepts tests from:

  • AncestryDNA
  • 23andMe
  • MyHeritage
  • FamilyTreeDNA
  • Gene by Gene
  • Geno 2.0

LivingDNA is a genetic genealogy company based mainly in the United Kingdom. Using raw data files from any of the companies above, you can upload your sample to the LivingDNA platform. With a free account you will be able to access the DNA Matching portal, which will give you access to any DNA matches present within the LivingDNA database.

However, with a free upload users will NOT receive the detailed ancestry reports provided to paying consumers. LivingDNA offers autosomal, mtDNA, and Y DNA tests which can analyze everything from your recent ancestry to deep ancestral information such as your DNA haplogroup. For this, you will have to purchase a DNA test kit. To see more information on uploading to LivingDNA, see the following page: https://support.livingdna.com/hc/en-us/articles/360012509652-What-format-does-my-file-need-to-be-in-to-successfully-upload-

GEDmatch

This company accepts tests from:

  • 23andMe
  • FamilyTreeDNA
  • AncestryDNA
  • Most other companies

The GEDmatch platform is not nearly as user-friendly as other sites. However, it can be far more powerful if you learn how to use it. A lot of genealogy enthusiasts upload to GEDmatch to look within its expanded pool of people for more DNA matches that may not exist in their original testing company’s database; the ability to transcend the barriers between many testing companies is a clear advantage of the GEDmatch platform. 

Plus, many of the most powerful tools for genealogy research are completely free on GEDmatch. These tools include an admixture analysis (aka ethnicity estimate), autosomal DNA comparison with matches, X-DNA comparison, and even tools to compare GEDCOM family tree files created by other sites. This tool could be an extremely powerful free ancestry DNA test if it is used properly.

For a donation of $10/month, the site will also give you access to a number of “Tier 1” tools. These include an enhanced DNA comparison, the ability to separate your maternal and paternal autosomal DNA, and the ability to estimate a deceased person’s DNA using the Lazarus tool. If you’re interested in learning more in specific detail about how to use GEDmatch, see our blog post on this topic.

Other Ancestry Options

Many genealogical/DNA sites are focused on European ancestry. However, if you are American or your family is from Canada, you may have better luck finding genealogical records (historical records, census records, national archives) from North America by using Ancestry.com. However, it is not a free genealogy website, and the cost of accessing their U.S. records starts at $19.99/month.

Besides the free sites listed above, there are a number of other sites which show you many other aspects related to your DNA, such as information about your metabolism, personality, intelligence, physical traits, and various health reports. Many of these sites are also free. You can check a compiled list of DNA upload sites here.

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