Using DNA for Adoption Searches


Before I talk, I want you to start some background data collection.

Raise your hand at any time if you get stuck or just need help, use thumb down for a helper

Computers on and browsers open please

Log into Gedmatch

Title Text

Scroll down to box on bottom right
TIER 1 Utilities

Copy your Gedmatch id

Right click on Triangulation
Open Triangulation in a new tab

Enter the kit number

Check the middle box

This can take 30-45 minutes so leave it running,

switch to the main gedmatch tab

Right Click Matching Segment Search

Enter Kit and check box for no graphic

If you did not yet do this, use GWorks to gather Your Ancestry Data

Enter your ancestry username and password

Select Quick and 4th Cousin

Once you are logged in the profile name(s) show up

Gather Ancestry Data

Click Gather Matches, when it finishes click Gather Trees, when done click Gather ICW

Let's get to know each other while we wait
and get an overview of the methodology

Write your name on a blank piece of paper folded over

Are you an adoptee or helping someone else?

Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or advanced user of DNA data

Have you done the preparation for this workshop?

Please raise your hand thumb down whenever you need help

In 2014 I met Diane Wiley Harman-Hoog
retired founder

She told me how DNA could help adoptees

Look through the family trees of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousin DNA matches for a common ancestral couple or two.

Build private, unsearchable family trees down from each common couple to find someone in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes you get lucky right away

What relationship is 1,614 cM?

1,614 cM and 62 segments... this chart is in your handout from DNA adoption -

Half Sibling or Uncle/Aunt/Niece/Nephew (Nibling)?

  • Ages of the two people, what's possible?
  • How Many Segments > 100 cM?
    (half siblings will have 1-3+, niblings usually 0, rarely 1)
  • Number of Segments from DNAadoption chart
  • Can the X chromosome help?
    (Sisters with same dad = full X)
  • Can the haplogroup help?
    Same mother shares mtDNA as does any maternal sibling
    Same Y DNA haplogroup for a brother or paternal uncle

Blaine Bettinger Relationship Chart

My Dad at GEDmatch

If you have a second cousin match with a tree, try the mirror tree approach


If you can get a Gedcom of your cousins tree that is easiest.

Uncheck the box that lets the public see your tree

Clean up the Match type column

Change every Exact no Death to Exact
Then delete duplicate lines

Remove duplicate trees

Trees with the same name on them = different members same family

Tree Building

  • Click on one of those trees in Gworks manage your tree
  • Find that ancestor
  • Copy that ancestor and spouse(s) to your hidden tree
  • You may need to use tree hints to pull in more information
  • Right Click One-to-Many

    Tier 1 One-to-Many

    Ted's One-to-Many

    People who match both kits

    People who match both kits

    Try the A Matrix

    The first page of the 3D chromosome browser has lots of useful data

    Using DNA for Adoption Searches

    By Kitty Cooper

    Using DNA for Adoption Searches

    Slides for my workshop on using various DNA tools for adoption searches

    • 4,260