DNA connections and record keeping

I look after 7 DNA kits from Ancestry and all are uploaded to Family Tree DNA, My Heritage DNA and GEDmatch DNA. How do I keep a record of my matches, chromosomes and common information?

I have a spreadsheet on my google drive  which synchronizes across all my devices. This means whether I am at home on my desktop PC, or in a library with my iPad or my laptop then I can always get to that spreadsheet to make any changes.

I mainly work on my father’s DNA connections or my mother’s as they will be one generation closer to the Most Common Recent  Ancestor (MCRA) than if I work with mine or my brother’s.

The main DNA spreadsheet has lots of sheets relating to Dad

The first sheet has a copy of the first 2000 links from GEDmatch using the one-to-many test. This is just a straight copy/paste. I have then gone through the first 100 people using the one-to-one test to find out the chromosomes shared with my dad.  I am starting to colour code people who match each other when using the share 2 kits test. At least once a moth I update this sheet by checking the people marked in green on the main GEDmatch page for Dad. These will be the recent people who share his DNA.

The second sheet is a copy of the share 2 kits test for Dad and Kevin (his half brother)  This is a straight copy/paste. This means everyone on that list is from dad’s paternal side as dad and Kevin share a father. This list includes names and emails of the matches as well as the amount of cM shared and the generations between the matches. I am in contact with 3 people on this list so far.

The third sheet is one I have to create from information on available trees from the people in the Dad/Kevin list. I find their trees on any of the DNA websites. On this sheet I list the name of the person, the surnames at 4 or more generations away and where and when those people were born and died.

The fourth sheet is the share 2 kits test for Dad and Ruby. Anyone on this list relates to my dad’s maternal grandmother.

Dad/Patrick is because Patrick is the closest unknown link on the GEDmatch list at 3.9 generations.

I just found a great video from Ancestry explaining shared cM, mirror trees and a lot more. The sound is not too great and sounds a bit tunnelly.

My future plans

I will be starting a new spreadsheet for Mum’s DNA at some stage to keep all her information there.

On Ancestry, I have lots of trees, one labelled DNA Dad’s tree. It is here that I use the information from dad and Kevin matches to create mirror trees to find out where they link. So far I have about 6 trees started but none link yet. This will certainly be an ongoing project.

I also keep a separate spreadsheet with all those people I have already found a match to with DNA from either Mum or Dad. But I also include matches with the other people whose kits I look after eg Ruby, Dorothy and Kevin. The information in this is then sent to Blaine Bettinger’s shared cM Project via this Google form. The MCRA is usually a grandparent couple rather than an individual except in the case of my father’s grandmother. Most of my dad’s matches are half relationships and in the note column I will mention if the match is double cousins as I have on one side of mum’s tree. As Ancestry doesn’t give the largest number of cMs, I just put Ancestry in this column. When I have uploaded data to the shared cM project I put the year in the Done column. Anything highlighted in yellow is dad’s side but more information needs to be included, green is same but mum’s side.

Readers: How do you record your matches for DNA from all the websites or do you just use one website?

5 thoughts on “DNA connections and record keeping

  1. I used Ancestry for my DNA test, nothing else…….. I was content with just proving the identity of my maternal Grandfather……. Have been in contact with some of my DNA matches, some do not respond to my contact…..

    Your record keeping is to be applauded……… It seems a bit too complex for my eighty odd year old brain.

    Keep up the good work..


  2. Wow – that sounds amazing, Sue . I am a bit like Sam I think- its a bit complex for me. I would imagine that it will be a great tool in seeking unknowns.
    I congratulate you on your initiative and wish you all the best.

  3. Hi Sue, Thanks for sharing how you keep a check of DNA matches from Gedmatch.
    I have started to follow what you have done by copying and pasting my one to many matches from Gedmatch on a spreadsheet.
    This will save me the many pages of printouts I have. My DNA test was with Ancestry and I have uploaded to My Heritage, FTDNA and GEDMATCH. I wish Ancestry had different colour stars to mark if matches are maternal or paternal. Thanks to you I now have a starting point where I can colour code matches. I use DNA painter as well. I am trying to break down a brickwall on my paternal side. No luck so far. All the best on your DNA journey.
    Cheers Val.

  4. Hi Sue, I have missed your posts but now I can see you have been very busy. I have been reluctant to explore the whole DNA adventure but perhaps it could help me find my ‘Thomas’, a name and one date on a piece of paper and an occupation are all the clues I have so far. The Grandies have just shown me how to use colour coding to hypothesize and compare and contrast findings for their assignments. It is such a simple idea and I am amazed at how it can help to identify and clarify the issues requiring further investigation. Regards Marg

  5. Hi Sue,

    That is amazing record keeping! I have done my DNA and my Dad’s. I have purchased a DNA kit for my Mum and have received it but we live four hours apart so I haven’t been able to utilise this one. I have my tree on Ancestry and I printed the DNA matches for me and then printed them for Dad, I matched the ones that were the same so I guess the other ones will be Mum’s.
    It’s a massive job as there are hundreds of matches!

    Kind regards,

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