There is no way of knowing which company your unknown relatives might decide to test with. How amazing would it be if you had a half-sibling who had tested? And how frustrating if they had decided to use a company other than Ancestry, so you had no idea they existed?
The main DNA testing companies are:
- My Heritage
- Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)
Living DNA is a UK based DNA company, but has a very small number of customers, so (at present) is unlikely to be of much help in searching for relatives. GEDMatch is not a testing company, but a site where people can upload their DNA results if they wish to do so, find matches and use analysis tools.
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay for a test with every company. Once you have your Ancestry DNA results, you can use your Ancestry data to find matches on some of the other sites free of charge (the companies do offer extra features for a fee, but viewing matches is free).
The short version:
1. Download your DNA data from Ancestry
2. Create accounts on the sites that allow free uploads/read through the T&Cs and privacy options
3. Upload your Ancestry DNA file to each of these sites
4. Wait for your data to be processed, which can take a few days, then review your list of matches for new relatives
You cannot upload your Ancestry DNA data to 23andMe – if you still need more matches to help your search, you would need to purchase a DNA test from 23andMe.
The more detailed version…
1. DOWNLOAD YOUR DNA DATA FILE FROM ANCESTRY
Downloading your Ancestry DNA data file is easiest to do on a computer/laptop. It is not impossible to download it using a phone, but you need somewhere to store the file (eg, Dropbox) and you need to sign in to the Ancestry website on your phone via a browser, rather than using Ancestry’s app.
- Sign in to your Ancestry account
- Click on DNA on the black bar at the top of the screen, then click on Your DNA Results Summary
- Click on Settings (top right corner of the screen)
- Scroll down until you find the Actions section
- Next to Download Raw DNA, click Download
- Type in your password and click to add a tick to the box next to the message about keeping your data secure. Then click Confirm
- Ancestry will send you an email with a link (the email can take up to 24 hours to arrive)
- Click the Confirm Data Download link within the email, which will take you to the Ancestry website
- Click the Download Raw DNA Data button
- The file will be a zip file with the name:
dna-data + the current date
- You need to save it somewhere where you will be able to find it again easily (your computer will probably automatically try to save it to your Downloads folder)
- There’s no need to open the zip file – it contains a lot of letters and numbers that represent the raw data from your test, so it’s not too interesting to look at!
For more details, see Ancestry’s Support guide to Downloading your AncestryDNA Raw Data:https://support.ancestry.com/…/Downloading-AncestryDNA…
2. UPLOAD TO MYHERITAGE
- Click this link. https://www.myheritage.com/dna/upload
- Answer the questions and then click Upload
- Select the DNA download zip file from your computer and click OK
3. UPLOAD TO FTDNA
- Click this link: https://www.familytreedna.com/AutosomalTransfer
- Sign up for an account by entering your email/creating a password
- Click on the type of DNA results you are uploading (select the “23andMe/Ancestry” option)
- Click on Browse File and locate, then select the DNA download zip file from your computer, click Open, then the Submit button
4. UPLOAD TO GEDMATCH
- Go to https://www.gedmatch.com/login1.php
- Click on Not Registered? Click here.
- Complete the questions, then click the Register button. You will receive an email with a link to click to confirm your registration
- Log in to the GEDMatch site, then look half way down the screen on the right-hand side to find the heading Upload your DNA Files then click Generic Uploads (23andme, FTDNA, AncestryDNA, most others)
- Fill in the information on the next screen, click Choose File (or Browse) select the zipped DNA file that you saved to your computer, then click Upload
- Make sure you wait for the next screen, and the progression display that shows as each chromosome is processed. This process takes several minutes. If you don’t wait for it to finish, your data will not be usable.
Although you will have to wait a couple of days to fully use GEDMatch, you can perform One-to-One Comparisons almost immediately. This means that if you know someone else’s kit number, you can generate reports very quickly.