Playing with Gedmatch Tier 1 2024 Finding Common Ancestors

I have one of my many colds this winter, so I’ll take some time and sign up for Tier 1 of Gedmatch.

MRCA Search Tool

I don’t remember using this tool before. Before I used it, I had to make sure my Kit# was associated with my family tree. My famiy tree was uploaded in 2014, so it is quite old. I suppose that I should update my tree at Ancestry. I’ll look at what I got, and then update my gedcom at Gedmatch.

This is the first part of my list:

What I first noted was that the path to the primary kit (mine) was very long. I am seeing 6-13 genertaions. After watching a video on this utility, I see that the last column is important. It gives a score of how accurate it thinks the matching is out of 10. So the first on my list, Hannah Bartlett has a match of 2 out of 10 which is not good. John Spooner, further down, gets a 7 out of 10.

Our Path to John Spooner

Here is the path column:

I have not checked this Wilhelm Line, but it does not look unreasonable. I would like to see what the DNA match looks like, but I do not see a link to find this on this utility. I ran a one-to-one match between myself and my match with Spooner ancestry:

The match shows on Chromosome 11. To make sure this was a paternal match, I ran my paternal phased kit against this match and got the same results. Here is my Chromosome 5 mapped by DNA Painter:

I have an arrow where the possible Spooner DNA would be. I say possible because at 9 generations away, a lot could have happened. I think that SImone tested at 23andMe.  I am tempted to add this match just for fun. All the green matches are my second cousins. A few are first cousins once removed. Here is what I have for John Spooner on my tree:

Here I added in Spence on DNA Painter under SImone:

James Hartley was born in 1862, so the gap between him and John Spooner is over 200 years.

Updating My Tree at Gedmatch

First, I need to download my tree from Ancestry:

Before I got here, I had to choose Export Tree. When I chose download your Gedcom file, I ended up with two files as the Export already created one. First, I deleted my old Gedcom at Gedmatch. I’m not sure if this was the right way to do it.

When I uploaded the Gedcom, I got some errors based on not putting down the sex of the person:

There were other errors, but I just let the software do what it did.

Running a New MRCA Report from Gedmatch

This time I will use a minimum match score of 3 as recommended in a video I saw. This report is taking a while to run – perhaps because the gedcom I have now is larger. The report gave me 84 potential MRCA’s:

Here is a name on my list that catches my eye:

William Bradford gets a score of 8 which is very good.

However, I see an issue as there are two William Bradfords born 11 Mar 1654. I show to be 9th cousin once removed to this match. However, it appears that these two William Bradfords are the same which would move our connection closer by one generation. However, there is a disconnect. The death date of my William Bradford is very clear as he died in a carting accident in 1687. That means that he could not have had a daughter named Bethia born in 1692. Perhaps the Gedmatch scoring system is not the best.

Hiller MRCA?

Fifth on my list of 83 ancestors is a Hiller:

I recognize the match name (not shown here) from Ancestry. Here is the path:

I am a mere 7th cousin to this Hadaway on paper – and a DNA match. Here is where I match Hadaway:

My family seems to be related to other Hillers at Ancestry, so I think that this is a good match for me. I’ll add this person to DNA Painter:

My belief is that Hadaway (shown in purple) shares Hiller DNA on my Chromosome 2 with myself and my father’s first cousin Maury. This is likely shared with some of my other siblings.

Elizabeth Warren

The second match on my list is Elizabeth Warren:

This match is different as only the wife is mentioned in the match.

I assume that it came out this way as she descended from one of the Mayflower Pilgrims. To keep this consistent, I’ll enter this in DNA Painter under the husband who was Josiah Finney:

This is a fairly large match at Gedmatch:

Here as in other of my Hartley areas, this has connected my 1860’s common ancestor 2nd cousins, shown in green above, with my 1660’s cousin (seen in a bronze color).

So far, I have added to my colonial side on Chromosomes 2, 5 and 10:

The genealogy is fairly easy for these colonial matches. These matches are also helpful as it tell where my Hartley DNA from Lancashire, England is not.

Edward Richmond – Out 11 or 12 Generations

All this DNA has to come from somewhere. This is my first MRCA match:

I do show an Abigail Richmond in my tree. I also show that Edward Richmond married Abilgail Davis. I’m am liking Gedmatch’s MRCA utility as it is so easy to use. Next, I’ll map this match with Audrey:

However, this match with Audrey is showing a problem as there is an overlap with one of my Frazer relatives, Brenda. Further, when I have mapped my Chromosome 22, it has come out as being all Frazer, so this Hartley match cannot be right here. Let’s try to figure out what went wrong here.

When I look at Audrey’s tree, she has matches from County Sligo. My guess is that her match is on my Clarke side that I have not found many ancestors for. Or it could be on the Frazer side where I have some missing wives. Some of these names and places in Audrey’s tree have come up before, but I have not been able to place them within the genealogy:


In addition, some of my McMaster ancestors were from Dromore, County Sligo. That could be the best explanation for the connection. I have deleted Audrey from my Chromosome 22 as a Colonial American match, but she likely matches my McMaster ancestry. Interestingly, my fourth potential MRCA is with Dave. He matches on Chromosome 22 also. He must be related to Audrey.

An Almy Connection?

Matches 6 and 7 on my list have this connection:


I don’t have the inclination to check out the genealogy here. The DNA match is here:

I already have Debra in that spot. I had our conection on the Hatch side. From a Blog I wrote, I see that there was also a Palmer connection in Rhode Island. This connection is certainly on the Rhode Island side. Actually Debra is match #7, so is the same person. Match #6 must be her son.

I’ll just change the ancestors to Almy at DNA Painter. At 1601, that would likely be my oldest painted DNA and perhaps the most suspect for that reason!

Resolved White 1615

This match goes back to the Pilgrims.

First, I’ll check the DNA:

This is Chromosome 19 which is Frazer territory for me:

My Frazer ancestry is Irish, so clearly not Pilgrim material. It is possible that I have this Pilgrim connection, but not based on the shared DNA.

Benjamin Bartlett with a Score of 6

I’ll be sure to check the DNA match:

The match is out on the right side of the paternal copy of my Chromosome 7:

I have a lot of Frazer DNA on that Chromosome, but room for some Hartley on the right side.

I don’t show Ichabod Bartlett in my tree, but my tree may be incomplete. A book I have shows that Benjamin Bartlett had three wives and 6 children. The first three children were born from Sarah Brewster (including Rebecca Bartlett). The first wife apparently had no children. The last three children including Ichabod may have been from a third wife named Sisilla.

I’ll add Blair and Bartlett in pink to my DNA Painter profile:

It is not a large match and I could not put two ancestors down as I am only sure of the Bartlett ancestry.

One More? Joseph Sylvester

Joseph gets a rating of 5, but that is just on the genealogy match. I have checked the DNA to confirm that the match is on my Hartley side.

Joseph is on the Pilgrim side, born in Plymouth Colony. I do see an Amos on my genealogy tree, so that is good. I’ll add this match into DNA Painter.

Here i have added a small clump of DNA to my profile which I have said is either from Joseph Sylvester or Mary Barstow.

Summary and Conclusions

  • This is an easy tool to use
  • I needed to check my DNA matches to make sure that they were in the right area and right side – in this case paternal side.
  • I have a lot of colonial genealogy. Many others likely do too, so the bias is to match on those genealogies.
  • I did not go through the whole list, but I would guess that at least half of the matches would not pan out due to genealogy, DNA matches in the wrong area or other problems.
  • It is easier to disprove that a DNA match could not go with the shared genealogy than to prove that it does.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *