To begin you need a software program. Any program will work and the two most popular are Microsoft Excel and Open Office. I keep all my spreadsheets in one folder and I make a spreadsheet for every surname that I work on. Spreadsheets can contain multiple pages and I always have two “Master” page that use the design below and an “Email” page (instructions at the bottom of this page)
Open Office is a free program that works like Excel and has the option of saving as a whole list of file types including the Microsoft file types.
You can learn more about it and download it for free here...
The items you will want to include are:
- Tester's name
- Tester's Id
- Tester's email address
- Tester's gedcom or tree address
- Segment information
- Segment length
- SNPshis information will depend on the sources that you have available. Gedmatch supplies the maximum amount of info at this time and Family Finder rates second. If you know how to find most of this on 23&Me, please...teach me.
|M111111(*user name)||1||5,605,419||7,108,912||3||540||B111111 (*User name)||1||61,117,597||63,340,244||4||815|
|Email address||1||20,756,403||22,410,236||2||616||Email address||1||70,714,938||73,262,084||1||773|
|Gedcom Id||1||22,605,731||24,318,715||2||501||Gedcom Id||1||93,971,444||94,840,685||1||761|
|Names researching||1||166,960,836||168,445,688||2||639||Names researching||1||97,704,844||99,324,396||2||665|
Tester's name, Id, email address and Gedcom Id are all available on the User Information Utility if you have at least one piece of information.
The One to One tool provides the chromosome, segment, segment length and SNP's. Refer to the page on how to change your settings to get the best results for your individual project.
The X One to One tool provides the chromosome, segment, segment length and SNP's for the X chromosome only.
Entering the data is relatively simple. Using your Id and the person that you are interested in seeing if you are DNA cousins Id go to the One to One tool. Enter your search criteria or settings. If you want to find more recent cousins do not change anything which leaves all boxes but your Id's blank. Gedmatch has already set the tool with default settings. This might be good for searching for adoption etc. If you are a family historian, you may want to lower the settings. As the generations pass, it appears that we get smaller bits of DNA from each previous generation. There are exceptions to every rule and when you share more than one set of common grandparents, you may have longer or more segment information show up. Almost all of my personal research is from 1800 back so I use low settings of 500 for Minimum SNPs (this is a unique bit of DNA material that provides for a specific trait) and 1cm for segment length. Highlight the result table and copy/paste it into your spreadsheet. Allow room for the name and the color tool bar, so start in the third column. I then return to my results and copy/paste the Id and name exactly as it is for consistency. I may then add the personal name after a few emails and we have worked together.
Do the same for the X chromosome. Check them all but you will have better results with a female but user names do not necessarily reveal sex. If when you go to the user Id, copy all user names as you may have a mother or sister available and that would give you a chance to find the X matches but you can always run the User utility a second time if this is a good match and you want to explore it further.
I am a very visual person so I came up with a color coded system to mark the matches. I have thought about a database but I am finding that I can now spot segments that seem to turn up a lot for me. This can be a clue for further research. I chose 22 colors to make a toolbar and you can use any colors you like but use the same toolbar for all spreadsheets. It will be very useful when you start seeing that the same person fits into five or six families.
I then chose a color for segment length and three colors for SNPs. I mark all segments over 4cm in length. Sharing longer or multiples can indicate either a closer relationship or multiple lines. The number of SNPs reveal the amount of exact DNA that you carry that is the same as this individual, such as red hair or brown eyes. You can actually share a lot of the same DNA packed into a small segment and there is a growing conversation about which is more important. I do not get too involved in this type of thinking because this is still a new field and changes quickly but do believe that having this info available if there is ever a breakthrough on this debate, I will be ready with it in my spreadsheet.
I then go through the chromosomes and mark the matches using the “fill tool”.
In the sample above person A is a cousin from the 1760's with our grandfathers being brothers. Person B is someone I found in a Gedcom search that belongs to her grandfather's wife who is a Sizemore. I match this person but have no idea how and since it is an X match we share a grandmother. Person C is a person found in a Gedcom search that is a Bunch which is the grandmother of our shared Grandfathers, time period. 1700.
What I did not expect was to match the Sizemore but I do. I will do two things. Create a Sizemore spreadsheet and collect six to ten random Sizemores using the Gedcom search tool and see if I match more of them. If I do then I can check out there gedcoms or contact them. The second option is to contact them first. I always do the spreadsheets first as I have better luck when I know more about a family before making contact.
The second thing that I did not expect was for the Sizemore and the Bunch to match. Here would be a good time to just contact this person to see if they know of having Sizemore or Bunch in their grand-parental lines. Perhaps one of my ancestors married a Bunch and his sister married a Sizemore. We would all be sharing the same DNA .
In the end, it is always necessary to confirm that each person is in fact a direct line descendent of the surname you are working with or that they think it might be the name of one of their “unknowns” that was living in the same area at the same time.
I begin in the Matches by using the “Ancestral Surnames” and do a search. I usually spend some time looking at any available trees to see if I learn anything there. I then choose one to start with (my reasons can vary), and do the “Run Common Match tool” Last icon on the toolbar below the name. I search for “in common with” and write down those names.
Next, I go to the chromosome browser. Reset the Cm down to +1 and compare five of the names.
Select “view data in a table” and you get a pop up. I then copy/paste each of these in a spreadsheet.
I return to the matches pull up my original person and rerun the “Run Common Match” tool. This time click on the name and copy paste the email address into your spreadsheet. There is also a list of surnames available that you might like to copy for further reference but if you have the name and email, you can always find them again if it works out to be a good match.
Segment length and SNPs is not available but it is not critical in finding your relatives. I do keep a list of these email address or if I have time, go to Gedmatch and using the email address, I can check to see if this person has registered with Gedmatch. If so, you may find more matches and some original 23&Me testers that could help you build a family group or compare them to sample of grandparents hat are you think may be the shared line.
Using Family Finder, I copy paste all emails in column one. I then can add a column for contact made, note or the surname list if they posted one at FF.
On Gedmatch, my Email pages contains my Gedcom searches. See Gedcom Seaches for tips and tricks.