Say you took a DNA test with AncestryDNA but your cousin tested at 23andMe, MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA or Living DNA. How can you compare your DNA test results to each other?
Recently, we heard from a woman who is trying to identify her birth father. She tested at AncestryDNA, where she found a close paternal match. Through that match, she learned that additional relatives on her paternal side have tested at 23andMe. She asked me whether there is a way for her to compare her test result to theirs, since they tested at different companies.
When your relatives tested with another DNA company
Her question is right on target! The best strategy when trying to confirm a DNA connection to a specific family (especially to a specific person, like a birth father or a biological mother) is to find as many close and close-ish matches to that family as possible.
She could choose to test at 23andMe to confirm those matches. Another strategy is to collect ALL of your family’s test results in one place. But re-testing everyone at one site can get expensive quickly.
Why upload your DNA tests to MyHeritage
My recommendation is to upload all your DNA test results to a site that allows you to upload and see your matches for free. These include MyHeritage DNA,* Family Tree DNA and Living DNA. (I do not recommend the free website GEDmatch (here’s why).) My preference is MyHeritage because there’s room to grow there with:
- its relatively strong international testing base (you might find even MORE matches!);
- its suite of DNA tools (get access by paying a modest fee to unlock them when you upload—your relatives don’t need to bother doing this unless they want to use them, too)
- its family-tree building tools and historical records (though you’ll have limited availability to them without a site subscription).
- their robust commitment to this community and the protection of your privacy
First, download your raw autosomal DNA test results from wherever you (and your relatives) have already tested. Here’s how to download your raw DNA from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage.
Use your DNA to build your family tree
Whether you’re building out your existing family tree or exploring your biological roots, you’ll want to organize your DNA matches into genetic groups that reveal individual branches of your family tree. Learn more about how to do this with our free downloadable guide, “4 Next Steps for Your DNA.”
Take your DNA matching experience to the next level with my do-it-yourself manual, Your DNA Guide—the Book. This is the textbook we use in the ultimate DNA education experience, my DNA Workshops at Your DNA Guide Academy. Explore these to see what you’re ready for!