Compare DNA Matches to Each Other

Sunny Morton

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There are times you want to compare DNA matches to each other. Not just to yourself. Knowing how your matches compare to each other can be SO helpful when you’re trying to place them on your family tree. Here’s how you can compare DNA matches to each other at MyHeritage, 23andMe and AncestryDNA.

How to Compare DNA Matches to Each Other

When you can compare DNA matches to each other (not just to you), you can learn more about where they fit together on their family tree. This can be especially helpful when the match you’re exploring hasn’t posted much of a family tree, but perhaps their close match HAS posted a tree or other helpful identifying information.

MyHeritage and 23andMe both allow you to compare DNA matches to each other in terms of how much DNA you all share with each other. Ancestry doesn’t currently allow that, but they have created a new tool that at least allows you to compare ethnicities and Communities. Keep reading to see how to do these comparisons. And, if you really want to take full advantage of all the marvelous tools provided by your DNA testing companies, take our guided Tours of AncestryDNA, MyHeritage DNA, 23andMe or FamilyTreeDNA!

MyHeritage DNA: Compare Shared DNA

Under the DNA matches tab, click on any match. Scroll down past any Theories of Family Relativity, possible relationships, Smart Matches, shared ancestral surnames and shared ancestral places. (You may or may not have some of these.) Then you’ll see your Shared DNA Matches list. Mine is shown below. For each of these shared matches, I can easily compare how much DNA I share with them (on the left) with how much my selected match shares with them.

Better yet, if I sort by the amount of shared DNA with my selected match (where the red arrow is), the top of the list on the right will show their closest matches that we share. Now I can see that this match’s daughter has tested, along with other close relatives. I can use that information to help build this match’s tree toward my own.

Just as a reminder, the genealogical relationships shown here and below are estimates based on how much DNA you share. There’s always more than one way you can be related, so you need to do the research to confirm the actual genealogical relationship.

Take a Guided Tour of MyHeritage DNA

23andMe: Compare Shared DNA

Those who have tested with 23andMe can also compare how much DNA a match shares with the relatives they have in common. Choose a DNA match, then scroll down past your genetic relationship, family background, ancestry and haplogroup comparisons. When you get to the Relatives in Common list, click the big button for finding relatives in common. You’ll see a list of matches you both share, as shown below:

The second column shows you how much DNA you share with each of these matches, reported in a percentage (rather than actual shared cM), and an estimate of your genealogical relationship. (See the note above about verifying that yourself.) Unfortunately, you can’t re-sort your match’s column to see the ones they’re most closely related to. You just have to scroll down and look for their closer relatives, like BB, who is your match’s first cousin (-ish), if you’re trying to build their tree.

Take a Guided Tour of 23andMe

AncestryDNA: Compare Ethnicities and Communities

AncestryDNA just added a new feature to allow some comparison between DNA matches. You can compare ethnicities and Communities across up to 10 matches (or with anyone else who has shared their results with you). This is fun to do with friends and relatives, to see how your ethnicities and Communities compare–and to get clues as to which global places pertain to which branches of your tree. For example, I can see at-a-glance in my results below which places are on my mom’s side and which on my dad’s side, and even that the Northern Utah and Southeast Idaho Communities continue up my dad’s mom’s side of our tree.

While it’s especially great to be able to compare Communities, which are more specific than general ethnicity results, it’s disappointing that Ancestry doesn’t compare shared DNA between our matches. For example, if I didn’t know who my dad’s mom was, I would only know that we are both related to my dad, and that I share 1722 cM with her.

Take a Guided Tour of AncestryDNA

Learn different things with different tests

As you can see, each testing company provides different tools to help you use your DNA to find relatives and build your family tree. At each company, you may also find different relatives, because different people test at different places. The more places you are able to test (or transfer, for MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA), the better! And with every test, take one of our unique guided Tours so you can learn the most possible from your results.

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