I Tested My DNA

How can it help my research?

By Kitty Munson Cooper
Blogging at blog.kittycooper.com

Get familiar with the tools provided by your testing company

  • Most have a help center or FAQ
  • Use the ISOGG wiki- https://isogg.org/wiki/
  • You can always Google any question you have

Your autosomal test data is about 700,000 lines of data in a spreadsheet so best to use tools to analyze it!

Google for the instructions on how to download your DNA results from your company

This will be a zipped file that you can later upload to other sites


To get the health results available in your DNA test results use this site (small fee)


Upload results to other sites for free to get more analysis
and find more cousins:

* $19 for the full tools
**Only free until December 1,2018

How can DNA testing help your genealogy?

New found 3rd and 4th cousins may help you break through a brick wall

My great grandmother Maren Wold from Drammen was my brick wall

One day I got an email from Mike who said I think my g-g-grandfather was the brother of your great grandmother Maren

My new 3rd 1R sent me photos of Maren's parents


I had been searching the records in the wrong county! She was born in Skoger, Vestfold not Drammen, Buskerud

Newly found "DNA" cousins can help you with your genealogy

They may have family stories and photos you do not have


ruins of WOLD home, Skoger 2015

Do you have a good tree online?

Tree view at WIKITree.com - no login needed, so you can send a link to a DNA match who may not be able to see ancestry trees

How deep is your tree at ancestry?

Default tree view at Ancestry - try the pedigree view

Best to have a tree back to at least your 16 g-g-grandparents (further is better but much DNA drops off further back)
A tip from Michelle Trostler is to print the pedigree out and use gold stars to show lines with DNA matches - http://blog.kittycooper.com/2016/08/michelles-ancestrydna-tips/
Very few Germans have tested which explains my lack of maternal stars

Other approaches are a DNA image on the photo or to use the suffix field to show the ancestors you share with DNA matches

An icon in the suffix field will not affect matching

I use quick edit to cut and paste my icon from one profile to another

Do I really have to look through a thousand cousins?


Start with the low hanging fruit, 3rd cousins and closer

(90cM and larger)

Enter the cMs and get probable relationships https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4

Not every cousin further out than 2nds will be a match

The number of centimorgans can be found by clicking on the "i" in a circle next to the confidence level on the match page

CINDY has an Ancestry Tree "Green Leaf" Match

  • Hints gets you matches who have trees with matching ancestors
  • New shows you the matches you have not yet looked at
  • Starred gets you matches that you have clicked the star on
  • Search lets you find matches by surnames in their tree
  • Regions gets matches from that area or ethnicity
  • To see the newest matches click Date
  • Assignment 1: Pick a first cousin or a parent or a half sibling

    Star every match you share through "high" 4th cousins
    Click the shared matches button to see the matches you share


    Using the regional search for Germany, belgium, etc, I found a cousin with a familiar name in her tree

    The surname Bomeisler was familiar so I looked Carl up in my tree and found him! Then I remembered he was my Thannhauser grandfather's cousin who met their boat when they immigrated

    Moral of this story: Build your ancestors' trees down in time for better matching

    The top right corner of your Ancestry DNA home page has some important icons

    • Be sure to click on the envelope with the blue number to read your messages
    • Be sure to connect your DNA test to your tree (click the gear icon, settings, to get to that page)

    Get your family memnbers and cousins to share their DNA results with you

    At the bottom of the Test Settings page there is the DNA Result Access box

    When you see Unlinked Tree, click on View Match to get to the match page where you can select a tree

    clicking on the tree name in the drop down will put that tree pedigree on this page

    Clicking the username on a match takes you to their profile page


    Clustering is the technique where we sort our close matches into groups to help identify new or more distant matches

    My cousin JM has 11 second cousin matches

    Second cousins will share great grandparents

    Leeds Spreadsheet of her 1st and 2nd cousins

    Color coded by great grandparent line,
    pale green on left = tree match

    Likely Relationships for 208 cMs

    Leeds Spreadsheet of her 1st and 2nd cousins

    Color coded by great grandparent line,
    pale green on left = tree match

    Leola shares 443 cMs

    Putting Leola on Sveen side with ?? for relationship

    Note that Avery is actually a first cousin twice removed in the latest

    Chrome add-on for match labeling - https://tinyurl.com/MatchLabeling

    I used 4 of the same colors on the Leeds sheet as I have with this extension and then added those colored circles to the known cousins

    Another useful chrome addon is MEDbetterDNA


    Let's figure out ...


    Make your own Leeds Chart either on paper or use mine

    Cousin Matches

    1. How much shared DNA in centimorgans (cMs)?
    2. Who else do they match?
    3. How many segments? (More than 2 is best)

    Getting New Cousins to Respond to You

    • Have a family tree online
    • Upload friendly picture of yourself
    • Include details of who matches whom (they may have multiple kits)
    • Offer them information when you write to them (which family line, that you have pictures, documents ...)

    Do not be disheartened by lack of responses, some rarely log in 

    Where is the 23andme Cousin Matching Page?


    23andme Cousin Matches

    Click through to a Match gets a long page with much information

    The match page also

    shows your population

    break downs side by side

    The match page shows a chromosome map of where the matching DNA is BUT no numbers here

    At the bottom of the 23and me match everyone who matches both of you is listed and a YES indicates that there is overlapping DNA between these 3 people (automated triangulation)

    Clicking that YES gets this, segment data (numbers) at bottom 


    Family Finder matches has your cousin matches at Family Tree DNA


    Family Tree DNA

    Family Tree DNA Cousin Matches

    Check the boxes next to the cousins of interest then click chromosome browser

    5 known cousins compared in ftDNA chromosome browser

    Click the DNA tab, then DNA matches at MyHeritage

    My Heritage is vastly improved

    MyHeritage DNA Cousin Matching

    MyHeritage Pedigree Display

    MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser on the match page

    MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser when you click the triangulation icon

    Cousin matching via the "One to Many" tool at GEDmatch

    More at http://blog.kittycooper.com/tag/gedmatch/


    Clicking the blue A on the one to many gets a one to one comparison

    Working your DNA cousin matches

    By Kitty Cooper

    Working your DNA cousin matches

    How to use your DNA test results for your genealogy research

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