How To Research Your DNA Matches On Geni

If you have DNA results on the FamilyTreeDNA website, you can research DNA matches on Geni.com. You don’t need to have purchased a DNA kit from FamilyTreeDNA, because it accepts DNA results from companies like Ancestry and 23andMe.

This article walks you through getting access to Geni DNA matches by using your DNA results from other sites. You only need free accounts on FamilyTreeDNA.com and Geni.com to view your DNA matches on both sites.

Researching Your Geni DNA Matches

This is a summary of the steps required to view a list of DNA matches on Geni:

  1. Download your raw DNA results from Ancestry or 23andMe
  2. Upload your DNA file to FamilyTreeDNA
  3. Create a free account and profile on Geni.com
  4. Connect your FamilyTreeDNA account to your Geni profile

The first step is different depending on which company you’ve tested with. Once you’ve downloaded your file, the rest of the steps are the same.

So, pick the download section that’s right for you. Then skip to Step 2 in this article.

Can I Upload Ancestry DNA to Geni?

You cannot upload Ancestry DNA directly to Geni.com. However, you can upload to Family Tree DNA, and connect your transferred DNA to Geni. A free Geni account can work with Geni DNA matches.

Here is our walkthrough guide to downloading your DNA from Ancestry.

If you prefer a video walkthrough, there is an embedded video guide in the linked article.

When the file is on your local machine, skip on to the Upload section in this article.

Can I Upload 23andMe DNA to Geni?

You cannot upload 23andMe DNA results directly to Geni.com. However, you can upload to Family Tree DNA, and connect your transferred DNA to Geni. A free Geni account can work with Geni DNA matches.

Here is a step-by-step guide on downloading your DNA results from 23andMe.

Can I Upload MyHeritage DNA to Geni?

Geni is owned by MyHeritage, so it’s reasonable to assume that you can use a MyHeritage DNA kit to work with DNA matches on Geni.

But the Geni documents only list 23andMe and Ancestry as supported files. I used a file from Ancestry to test the process. I’m not sure if a MyHeritage upload to FamilyTreeDNA will work with Geni.

If you’ve tested with MyHeritage, I suggest that you transfer your DNA to the FamilyTreeDNA website. Then follow the rest of the instructions in this article to hook up to Geni.com. And please let me know in the comments if it worked!

Step 2: Upload Your DNA File to Family Tree DNA

Once you’ve downloaded your DNA, the next step is to upload it to the FamilyTreeDNA website. This is a quick video walkthrough of uploading DNA to FamilyTreeDNA.

The upload process will take you through creating a free account on the FamilyTreeDNA.com website.

Step 3: Create A Free Account And Profile On Geni

If you’re not familiar with Geni, it’s useful to know that they have a different philosophy to Ancestry or MyHeritage when it comes to researching family trees. They are more similar to FamilySearch.org as a collaborative research project.

Herere is an article on some of the background to the Geni World Family Tree.

The sign-up process for Geni includes creating a tree profile that represents yourself. This will eventually let you hook up your Geni profile with your DNA on FamilyTreeDNA.

You also have the option of uploading a family tree as a GEDCOM file. Because of the World Tree concept, there are a few quirks. Here is an article on uploading a GEDCOM to Geni – and avoiding pitfalls.

But you don’t need to upload a full tree at this point.

Step 4: Connect Your FamilyTreeDNA Account To Your Geni Profile

There is a video walkthrough of this step at the end of this article.

Log into your FamilyTreeDNA account. On the Home page, scroll down to the “Additional Features” section. You’ll see a link to “Partner Applications” under Other Tools.

At the time of writing this article, Geni is the only listed partner. Your status is currently unconnected.

Click on the “Connect” button to hook up your DNA to your Geni profile. I was already logged into Geni when I followed these steps, and it all flowed seamlessly.

If you’re not logged in (or haven’t created an account on Geni yet), you’ll be taking through the sign-in or sign-up process.

You will be asked to authorize the FamilyTreeDNA site to access your Geni account. Here, you must also agree to the terms of service and the privacy policy of this connection service.

You will return to the Partner page which shows you as being “Connected” to Geni. From here, you can click on the link to jump to your profile on the Geni website.

I think you can also make this connection from within the Geni site, but I did it from within the FamilyTreeDNA website.

View Your Autosomal DNA Match List on Geni.com

This article focuses on autosomal DNA matches. If you transferred your DNA to FamilyTreeDNA from Ancestry or 23andMe, then you are working with autosomal DNA.

Now that you are connected, you can view your autosomal DNA match list on Geni. You can get there from FamilyTreeDNA by using the link mentioned in the previous section.

Alternatively, you just need to pull up your tree profile page when logged into Geni. You can open the profile page from the drop-down menu under your account name. This is at the top right of every Geni page.

The last tab on the DNA Profile page is the DNA tab.

Scroll down to the end of the DNA page to see a count and link to your autosomal DNA matches.

This link opens the autosomal DNA match list page.

Researching Your Autosomal Geni DNA Matches

If you’ve been researching your DNA matches on Ancestry or 23andMe, you may recognize some of the names on your Geni list.

Then you’ll probably notice that the count of centimorgans is slightly different from Geni and the other sites. It’s probably higher than the Ancestry equivalent.

Privacy and Tree Profiles Of Living People

If you’re used to working with Ancestry trees, then you may be surprised to see the privacy policy that Geni applies to living people. It’s the same policy used by MyHeritage.

Both Geni and MyHeritage choose to display the surnames of privatized individuals. They hide the given name, dates, and locations. This is in contrast to Ancestry, which hides all details including the last name.

If you’re not comfortable with this policy, then you may choose not to use this site.

However, it certainly gives some benefits to researchers trying to figure out the connection with their DNA matches. Adopted adults, in particular, may find this level of privacy useful for their research.

Scanning Matches With Trees

The “Immediate Family” column is useful to identify which DNA matches actually have a branch on Geni.

However, the DNA Match List doesn’t give you a count of how many people are connected to the Match. This means you have to view individual trees. I don’t find the Geni.com website lightning fast, so be prepared for lengthy research sessions.

Some Matches Seem “New” i.e. Not From FTDNA

When I compare my Geni match list with Family Tree DNA, there seem to be some that are not on both sites. People may have used completely different account names. But I don’t think this accounts for all my discrepancies.

Geni did accept direct uploads of DNA for a period of time. But they have since removed that feature. I assume that some of my DNA matches were directly processed by Geni, and didn’t come from Family Tree DNA.

Some Matches May Have “Better” Trees on Geni

If you’ve recognized DNA matches from elsewhere, you may have already done extensive reviews of their trees. But if you haven’t identified the connection, don’t skip them on Geni.

Some people start building their trees on Ancestry or FamilyTreeDNA and then discover that they prefer Geni.com. Their Geni tree may grow to be bigger and better. It’s a pain in the neck to go back to other sites and keep your trees in sync!

I spotted one DNA match from Ancestry who had built up his maternal line in a public Ancestry tree. But he hadn’t filled in his paternal line. I assumed that this was a case of unknown parentage. Until I saw that his tree on Geni is extensive on both sides.

Some Matches May Be Hard Core Collaborative Researchers

You will have plenty of “test and forget” DNA matches on Ancestry or 23andMe. They may have been more interested in ethnicity results than in genealogy research.

But your Geni matches have gone to the effort of transferring their DNA to Family Tree DNA and then another hop to Geni.

Hopefully, your Geni matches are more focused on family research. And as the Geni.com website is a collaborative model, you may have a better chance to get replies to your messages.

A Video Walkthrough Of Researching DNA Matches On Geni

More Articles and Tutorials?

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Margaret O'Brien
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2 thoughts on “How To Research Your DNA Matches On Geni”

  1. I enjoy your posts and your advice, but I really hate the fact that this page has so many very large advertisements. If they were smaller and less intrusive, I wouldn’t have a problem with them.

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