GEDmatch: A Free Tool for Your DNA Results and Genealogy

 

The genetic genealogy community has a crush. A big one. Everyone is talking about it. “It has such great features,” says one. “It has a chromosome browser!” exclaims another. “It’s FREE!” they all shout. What’s all the hype about? GEDmatch.

GEDmatch

GEDmatch is a mostly free online tool where anyone with autosomal DNA test results from 23andMe, FTDNA, and AncestryDNA can meet and share information. All you need to do is download your data from your testing company and upload it into your newly created GEDmatch account.

GEDmatch Set-up

gedmatch-find-matches

Gedmatch Find Matches

GEDmatch is set up just like your testing company and provides two kinds of reports: ethnicity results and a match list. Remember, ethnicity results, meaning those pie charts that report you are 15% Italian and 32% Irish, are based on two factors: a reference population and fancy math. GEDmatch has gathered data from multiple academic sources to provide you with several different iterations of ethnicity reports. This is like getting a second (and third and fourth, etc) opinion on a science that is still emerging. It is a fun exercise, but will likely not impact your genealogy research very much.

The more important match list does allow you to see genetic cousins who have tested at other companies. Of course, only those who have downloaded their results and entered them into GEDmatch will show up on your list. This means GEDmatch has the potential to expand your pool of genetic cousins, increasing your chances of finding someone to help you track down that missing ancestor.

Many also flock to GEDmatch because they were tested at AncestryDNA and so do not have access to a chromosome browser. A chromosome browser allows you to visualize the physical locations that you share with someone else (see below). Some find this a helpful tool when analyzing their DNA matches, though in my opinion, it is not essential.

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Example

GEDmatch also has some great genealogy features that let you analyze your pedigree against someone else’s, as well as the ability to search all the pedigree charts in their system so you can look specifically for a descendant of a particular relative. However, even with all of these great features, GEDmatch is still yet another website you have to navigate. With that, there will be a learning curve and certainly some frustration.

GEDMatch or Not?

So, is it worth it? If you are fairly comfortable with the website where you were tested, and you are feeling both curious and patient, I say go for it!

It’s too much to tell you right this minute how to download your data from your testing site and upload it to GEDmatch, but you’re in luck! I’ve put step-by-step instructions for getting started in a free tutorial on my website at www.yourDNAguide.com/transferring.

A Blizzard of New and Updated Genealogical Records

It’s snowing like crazy in some parts of the U.S. this week and it’s blown up a blizzard of great new and updated genealogical record collections! Take a look at this week’s round-up  for Bishop’s Transcripts in England, Veteran Memorials in New Zealand, and records for Peru, United States, and Canada.

dig these new record collections

England – Devon – Bishop’s Transcripts

England, Devon Bishop’s Transcripts, 1558-1887 is a collection found at FamilySearch. Though a rather small collection, these Bishop’s transcripts contain an index from the county of Devon and cover the years of 1558-1887. Availability of records will vary by year and locality.

Starting in 1598, parish priests were to make a copy of their parish register and send it to the archdeacon or bishop each year. Many priests stopped producing bishop’s transcripts with the beginning of civil registration in 1837, but they did not fully disappear until after 1870.

As bishop’s transcripts generally contain more or less the same information as parish registers, they are particularly valuable when parish records have been damaged, destroyed, or lost. However, because bishop’s transcripts are copies of the original records, they are more likely to contain errors than parish registers might be.

This collection refers to baptism, marriage, and burial records. Baptism record entries are the most common in the index, followed by burial records, with marriage records being the smallest portion.

England – Worcestershire – Probate Records

The Worcestershire Probate Index 1660-1858 at Findmypast contains over 51,000 records taken from four types of probate documents. Each record includes a transcript only, however the transcript may include some or all of the following information:

  • First and last name(s)
  • Sex
  • Date
  • Occupation
  • Place
  • County
  • Country
  • Document type

England – Buckinghamshire – Marriages

The Findmypast collection titled Buckinghamshire Marriages contains over 49,000 records. The collection consists of transcripts covering 26 parishes within the English county of Buckinghamshire. These transcripts will cover the years between 1538 and 1838. Here is the list of parishes and years covered within this collection:

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  • Amersham 1561-1812
  • Aston Clinton 1560-1812
  • Bradenham 1627-1810
  • Chalfont St Giles 1584-1812
  • Chalfont St Peter 1538-1812
  • Cheddington 1552-1812
  • Chenies 1593-1836
  • Chesham 1637-1838
  • Cholesbury 1576-1810
  • Edlesborough 1568-1812
  • Fingest 1607-1812
  • Hawridge 1600-1812
  • Hedgerley 1540-1811
  • High Wycombe 1600-1812
  • Hormead 1575-1813
  • Instone 1665-1812
  • Iver 1605-1812
  • Ivinghoe 1559-1812
  • Masworth 1591-1812
  • Mentmore 1575-1812
  • Pitstone 1576-1812
  • Slapton 1653-1812
  • Soulbury 1575-1812
  • Stoke Poges 1563-1812
  • Turville 1582-1812
  • Wendover 1576-1812

New Zealand – Church Records, Veteran Memorials, and Civil Service Examinations

Three new databases for New Zealand are available at Findmypast. The first, New Zealand Officiating Ministers 1882 is an index containing over 600 records and covering 13 religious denominations. Each record includes a transcript that will reveal the officiator’s official title and the church they served.

The second collection titled, New Zealand Waikaraka Cemetery Memorial 1902-1940 will help you find out if you have military ancestors who were memorialized as veterans who fought for the Empire and died at the Auckland Veterans’ Home between 1902 and 1940. Each record includes a transcript that will list their birth year, death year, age at death and force or regiment.

Lastly, the final collection at Findmypast is the New Zealand Civil Service Examinations 1906-1907. More than 700 records are available to explore and uncover the details of those who sat for the annual examinations for admission to, or promotion in, the Civil Service in mid-December 1906 and mid-January 1907. This collection is of transcripts only, but may contain the following information:

  • First and last name(s)
  • Examination location
  • Notes

Peru – Puno – Civil Registration

Also at FamilySearch this week, Peru, Puno, Civil Registration, 1890-2005 has been updated. This collection includes births, marriages, deaths, and indexes. Some of these records have been indexed and are available for search. It should be noted that these records are written in Spanish.

Civil registration for new and updated collections

Civil registration record for a birth in Peru via FamilySearch.org.

Within these records you may find any of the following helpful information:

Birth records:

  • Date and place of registration
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date, time, and place of birth
  • Legitimacy
  • Religious affiliation
  • Parents’ names, ages, origin, and residence
  • Presenter’s name, age, civil status, occupation, origin, and residence
  • Witnesses’ name, age, civil status, and residence
  • Sometimes, grandparents’ names

Marriage records may include the following:

  • Date and place of registration
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom’s age, civil status, nationality, race and occupation
  • Names of groom’s parents, origin, and residence
  • Bride’s age, civil status, nationality, race, and occupation
  • Names of bride’s parents, origin, and residence
  • Bride and groom’s religious affiliation
  • Names, residence, and ages of witnesses

Death records may include:

  • Time, date, and place of registration
  • Name, gender, and age of the deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Date, place, and time of death
  • Civil status, and occupation of deceased
  • Nationality, origin, and residence of deceased
  • Parents’ names of deceased if a minor
  • Presenter’s name, age , and occupation
  • Presenter’s origin, nationality, and residence
  • Names of witnesses

United States – California – Cemetery Transcriptions

California Cemetery Transcriptions, 1850-1960 is a small collection at FamilySearch, but keep an eye on it as it will likely be added too. The collection consists of abstracts from cemeteries for 1850-1960 in the following counties:

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You can do a search for your targeted ancestor, or you can browse through the collection. To browse through any of the FamilySearch collections, you can read our article here and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Cemetery abstracts are actually quite useful to genealogists, especially if there has been a loss of death records in the targeted area.

Cemetery abstracts may contain the following information:

  • Name of Cemetery
  • Location (Town, County, State)
  • Full name of deceased
  • Lot number
  • Age
  • Date of Death
  • Place of Death
  • Names of Parents, Husband or Wife
  • Other Important Facts
  • Place of Birth
  • Date of Birth

WWII Veterans – Interviews

We have found a free collection of oral histories and interviews of WWII veterans from around the world. Chronicles of Courage: Stories of Wartime and Innovation is an online video archive of in-depth interviews put together by the Flying Heritage Collection. The project, which took 15 years to complete, went live Wednesday on the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. All 335 video interviews — some of which are two hours long — will be available on the Flying Heritage Collection’s website at www.flyingheritage.com/chronicles.
Another free collection includes eyewitness accounts by U.S. military personnel and family members in Pearl Harbor at the time of Japan’s 1941 attack. You can now access this site online. The Pearl Harbor Archive (http://1941.mapping.jp/), also carries photos of U.S. warships ablaze and sinking. The interactive website material was gathered by Katrina Luksovsky, 49, an American living on Ford Island in the center of the harbor. The website was created by Hidenori Watanabe, 42, an associate professor of network design at Tokyo Metropolitan University.
The website works similar to Google Earth and is really quite remarkable. If you are a WWII buff, this is right up your alley!

Canada

The Canadian Museum of History and Library and Archives Canada collaborate on new exhibition gallery. This gallery is named Treasures from LAC and will showcase some of Canada’s most historically significant documents, making them more accessible to Canadians and enhancing public understanding of Canada’s history and heritage. Many of the documents showcased in the gallery will be referenced in the Canadian History Hall, a new permanent exhibition opening July 1, 2017 at the Canadian Museum of History. The LAC documents will complement the Hall and add greatly to the visitor experience.

Hire a Professional at LegacyTree

If you don’t have time to scour these records yourself, why not hire a professionLegacy Tree Genealogistsal? The team of expert genealogists at Legacy Tree Genealogists can help bust through your brick walls! They do the research and you enjoy the discoveries!

 

We have a WINNER! Family Tree Magazine Giveaway

Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of our Family Tree Magazine Digital Subscription Giveaway!

We did the giveaway to celebrate my article in the December 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine, co-written with Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton. The article is all about collaborating on our genealogy research.

family history genealogy blogs are cousin baitI think it’s cool that Amanda’s big on collaboration herself. She blogs about her research at ABT-UNK. (Yes, that’s the name of her blog: it combines two common genealogy abbreviations for “about” and “unknown.”) Amanda points us to a recent post, “a really good example of collaboration via my blog.  The two photos in the post http://www.honeytraveler.com/pharmacy/ were provided by two cousins of different degrees who found me via my blog, and five different people (so far) have been involved in identifying the people in the “Christmas Cousins” picture.  I’ve connected with lots of other kin who found me via my blog (including a distant cousin in Lithuania, who helped me break through a brick wall there), and they have provided a wealth of information and wonderful photographs!”

Congratulations, Amanda, both on winning our giveaway and on your excellent research and blog. Keep it up! And thanks to Family Tree Magazine Editor Diane Haddad for donating the subscription.

LaVar Burton to be Keynote Speaker at RootsTech 2017

RootsTech 2017 is already wowing us with their recent announcement of Friday’s keynote speaker, LaVar Burton. Not just known for favorites like Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation, LaVar has been known by millions for his role as Kunta Kinte the 1977, ABC mini series, Roots.

2017 RootsTech keynote speaker

I can hardly wait until Friday, February 10th, 2017 when LaVar Burton is introduced on stage as a keynote speaker at RootsTech! One of my childhood favorites, I grew up listening to him share his love of reading in Reading Rainbow and teaching his best friend, Data, how to be more ‘human’ in the popular TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Mr. Burton is excited about the opportunity to speak at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, and his Reading Rainbow foundation. He also plans on sharing stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him. He says,

“The story of Roots traces a family’s journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I’ll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience.”

RootsTech Keynote Speakers and More

Lbooth_imageaVar Burton is the first RootsTech Keynote Speaker to be announced for 2017. More speakers will be announced over the coming weeks.

If you haven’t heard, registration has already started for the RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. Visit www.rootstech.org to register or learn more.

Be sure to come by and visit the entire Genealogy Gems team in the Expo Hall. We have some very special things planned for the event. Stay tuned!

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