If you’ve submitted DNA to a genealogy site, you can download your DNA file and upload it to free sites and possibly get more DNA matches. Yes, it’s totally free. You won't even be asked for a credit card. Popular free sites include: GEDmatch.com, myheritage.com, familytreedna.com and others. They will advertise paid features on those sites, but they are completely optional. Uploading data and viewing new matches is 100% free. Don’t pay anything if you don't want to.
Here’s an example of how it works. Let’s say you did Ancestry DNA. Normally, you would only be able to see DNA matches to other people on that website. You probably have other matches who chose to use the 23 and Me website instead. You won’t be able to see them unless you have an account at both sites, OR if both of you have also uploaded to a free site. I recommend that everyone do this.
Sometimes you might not see any new, close relatives, but I have helped people who’ve had great success with this. Someone I helped had nothing closer than second cousins on Ancestry, and they didn’t want to pay for an account on 23 and me. I suggested they upload to GEDmatch and they got lucky. A first cousin who had a 23 and Me account also uploaded to GEDmatch. It helped solve a mystery.
GEDmatch is the most popular site that accepts DNA uploads. Millions of people use it and it’s been around since 2010. It’s also quite fast. You’ll see new matches in just 2 days. Here are the instructions for downloading from Ancestry and 23 and Me and uploading to GEDmatch.
• If you have an account with Ancestry, Click the DNA menu, then click
"Your DNA results Summary".
• Click Settings, then scroll down to Download DNA Data.
• It will save a Zip file to your computer.
• There’s no need to open this zip file. I recommend leaving it alone and saving it in a safe place. This is the file you’ll upload to GEDmatch.
• If you use 23 and Me, Log-in, then click your profile picture on the upper right.
• Click Browse Raw Data
• Click the Download tab.
• Click Submit Request.
• You will receive a Zip file that you can upload to GEDmatch or other sites. There’s no need to open this file. Keep it in a safe place.
NOTE: If you have accounts at BOTH Ancestry AND 23 and Me, you do not need to upload your DNA twice. Download it from either site and do one upload to GEDmatch. The results will be the same no matter which site you download from.
• Go to www.gedmatch.com and click "Join For Free".
• After you’ve created your account and are logged in, click the menu on the upper left and choose "Upload DNA".
• It will ask you to choose a file from your computer. Choose the Zip file you downloaded earlier.
• It will also ask for your name and the company you downloaded your data from.
• After your file is uploaded, you simply wait a couple days.
The site is not that user friendly. Here’s what you need to know to view your results...
• Go back to the GEDmatch home page in a couple days and scroll down to "Your DNA Resources."
• You’ll see your name and a kit number, something like PR123456. When the results are ready, you’ll see a check mark next to your name, then you can click the kit number.
• A form will appear with a submit button. You don’t need to do anything except click Submit then scroll down.
• You’ll see all your matches’ information including things like: Name, email address, days they’ve been on the site, etc. The most important column is "Total cM."
A nice feature of GEDmatch is, anyone can see anyone else's matches. All you need is the person's kit number. For example, let's say you had a DNA match who appeared to be a second cousin. If you want to see how that match compares to someone else, you can click that person's kit number and their match list will appear. This makes it easy to compare data and see how everyone is related to everyone else. Hopefully you’ll see some big numbers. Don't forget to upload to other sites too. MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA will allow you to upload that same file. You might get lucky and find new matches on those sites as well. I've heard that MyHeritage has a large European database. If you're looking for matches outside the USA, that might be a good site to try. Let me know if you need help. Good Luck!
Next, I'll discuss Non-ID info for adoptees.