Link Your DNA Matches to Family Trees

Diahan Southard

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Organize your DNA matches by linking them to your family trees on AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. Here’s how.

Genetic genealogy companies are ramping up their efforts to help us integrate our genealogy with our DNA. The easier they make this for us, the easier it is for us to make progress using our DNA to do genealogy goals.

This is all due to the fact that your known DNA Matches are the backbone of all searches for unknown ancestors. We use our known matches to sort and filter our match list. That means the better able we are to organize and keep track of our known matches, the better able we are to find the DNA matches who are the most vital to our genealogy research.

Two of our companies, Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA, currently offer a way for you to assign your DNA matches to their rightful place on your family tree. Here’s how to do this at both companies.

Link Your DNA Matches at Family Tree DNA

At Family Tree DNA, you need to start by uploading your family tree to your account. Then, click on myFamilyTree at the bottom of your Dashboard.

Dashboard Family Tree Tool Arrow.png

At the top, click on Link Matches.

FamilyTree Tool Header arrow.png

You will see a list of your DNA matches on the left. To link any DNA match to their rightful place on your family tree, simply drag the name of the person from the box on the left and drop it on top of their name in your family tree (you need to have your match’s name in your tree before you can do this!). Then a pop-up box will appear asking you to confirm the link.

Family Tree Confirm link.png

Once linked, you will see a little link icon next to your DNA match in this view.

FamilyTree Link List circle.png

If the match you have linked is a close family member (parent, grandparent, or various forms of first cousins), it will activate the Family Matching feature on your Main Match page. This will do two things:

  1. Activate an icon next to this DNA match and all of their shared matches. It will reflect whichever side of the family you share with this match.
  2. Populate the Maternal/Paternal/Both tabs in your DNA match list by using the In Common With tool to identify matches that share DNA with the linked match, and placing them in the corresponding tab for easy access.

FamilyTree Sharing Icon circle.png

Link Your DNA Matches at AncestryDNA

At AncestryDNA, you can click on any match to view their profile page. Then click on the pedigree icon following their name.

Link Match Pedigree icon.png

This will bring up a menu for you to search for this DNA match in the tree that is linked to your DNA sample. (Here’s how to upload a family tree and link it to your AncestryDNA test results.)

Link Match Find in Tree.png

Once the link is made, the icon next to your DNA match’s name will show confirmed.

Confirmed Tree Link Edited.png

Additionally, you may want to go into the profile for your DNA match in your Ancestry family tree and tag that match as a DNA Match to remind yourself that this person is in fact a DNA match.

Link Match Tree Showing Add Tag Button copy.png

Link Match Tree Tag DNA Match.png

Once a match is linked, you will also be able to see that on the main match page.

Link Match 2C.png

So far, the process of linking your DNA match to your tree at Ancestry doesn’t necessarily activate any new tools. But it is a great way to organize your DNA matches and keep track of your known matches.

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guides to Your DNA Test Results

Get the most out of your DNA testing investment by using my popular, inexpensive quick reference guides for 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage. These guides walk you through explanations of how to take advantage of the features that each company offers (and include more helpful tips and tricks like the ones above).

Take me to those Quick Guides!

<a href="https://www.yourdnaguide.com/author/guideyourdnaguide-com" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.

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1 Comment

  1. Alva BALTER Noonan

    My problem with most of my dad’s side is Ashkenazi endogamy. I’m linked for matches. On his side other than my brother and my kids I don’t know for sure where any go on tree. If may say 3rd cousin but what does that really mean when putting them on a place on my tree. They’re just a name to me, as I am to them.

    Reply

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