In the 21st century, if you’re serious about genealogy, then let’s face it: You will engage in DNA testing. 

In fact, if you’re really serious, you’ll get as many of your older relatives tested as possible. Why? Because their DNA will contain more lengthy segments connected with the lines you’re likely trying to test. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. You’ll have a much easier time solving genealogical mysteries on your dad’s side, for example, if you’ve actually had your dad or one of his siblings tested. 

If you’re blessed with living grandparents or great-grandparents (or siblings of any of the above), then by all means, run out and get them tested right now! 

You have to try this!

Enough preface material. Once you do have your DNA tests completed, you’ll want to be familiar with some of the really cool things you can do with it that go beyond  just checking your (ever-changing) ethnicity estimates and those long lists of cousins you never knew you had. 

FamilyTreeDNA FREE Autosomal Transfer

Did you know you can expand your DNA horizons if you’ve only tested with AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or a company other than FamilyTreeDNA? You can! All you have to do is upload your kit FOR FREE to the FTDNA site. 

While you can transfer your kit for free and see your matches, you’ll need to pay $19 to unlock the FTDNA chromosome browser. That is totally worth if if you want to use DNAPainter on your FTDNA matches who may not have kits on Gedmatch.

https://www.familytreedna.com/autosomal-transfer

Gedmatch Genesis

Regardless of where you had your DNA tested, I recommend uploading your raw DNA file to Gedmatch Genesis. (http://genesis.gedmatch.com). Everything below will be easier if you do and you’re really limiting yourself on possible matches if you only use the company that tested your DNA. 

To sign up, just go to the site and click on the  link below the Log In box that says, Not Registered? Click HERE to register at the main site.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll want to upload your raw DNA files from wherever you’ve tested. 

If you want to make things easier for others who are searching, you’ll also want to upload GEDCOM(s) and link it (them) to your kit(s).

Once your kit has been processed, you can take advantage of the wide variety of FREE options available. 

DNA Applications

For $10 a month, you can unlock the Tier 1 tools. 

The Segment Search and the Clusters, Single Kit input, Basic Version are two of my very favorite Tier 1 tools and now that I’ve used them, I can’t imagine tackling genetic genealogy without them!

The Lazarus tool is one I look forward to using, but they’re making some updates to it right now. It will allow you to create a DNA kit for a deceased ancestor provided you have a DNA kit for at least one of their children and other cousins unrelated to the spouse of the parent for whom you’re creating a kit. I’ll write a post about that as soon as I am able to do so.

DNAPainter

If you’d like to learn more about using GEDMATCH, here is a playlist that can introduce you to some of the features.