Getting Started with Genome Mate Pro, Part 12 — Use the DNAGedcom Client to Import FTDNA Data

In this lesson, we’re going to use the DNAGedcom Client to collect match data from Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and then import that data into GMP.

If you haven’t tested at FTDNA, you can transfer your raw data from AncestryDNA or MyHeritage to get DNA matches for free. You can then access the chromosome browser and ethnicity estimates at FTDNA for a one-time fee of $19. (Click here for instructions on how to transfer your AncestryDNA data to FTDNA.)


Use the DNAGedcom Client to Scan Your FTDNA Matches

The PC and Mac versions of the DNAGedcom Client are somewhat different in appearance.  In the screenshots below, the PC version will be on the left and the Mac version on the right.

  1. Open the DNAGedcom Client.  If you completed the steps in Part 11 of this series, you should already be logged in to your DNAGedcom account.
  2. Click FTDNA in the list of choices.
  3. Enter your FTDNA kit number and password (not your DNAGedcom credentials) in the designated boxes, then click the LOGON button.
  4. When you are logged in, you will see “Logged into FTDNA” below the LOGIN button.  In the PC version (not the Mac one yet, sorry!), you can set the minimum total centimorgans to be include in the scan.  In the example below, matches below 40 cM will be ignored.  Now click the GATHER MATCH (PC) or GATHER MATCHES/ICW (Mac) button to start scanning your FTDNA matches. Both the PC and Mac versions will automatically complete all the scans GMP needs.

  5. If this is the first time you’ve scanned this FTDNA kit with the DNAGedcom Client, the scans will take approximately forever.  Many hours, possibly even overnight.  (Remember that on the PC version, you can set a minimum threshold to make the scans go faster by skipping distant matches.) The good news is that subsequent scans will be a lot faster.
  6. When the scans are complete and the files have been written, you will see a message below the LOGON button to that effect, telling you where the files were saved. (You can change the designated location in OPTIONS.) Don’t quit the Client just yet, because we will need the “GMP ID” near the bottom of the window in the next section of this tutorial.


Add FTDNA Information to Your GMP Profile and Set Up the Import Templates

  1. Open GMP and back up your database.
  2. Switch to the PROFILES tab and select yourself in the list on the left.
  3. In the center bottom panel of the PROFILES window, use the “Source” pulldown to select “FTDNA”, and in the field to the right of the pulldown, enter the GMP ID from Step 6 above.
  4. Click the SAVE KEY button at the bottom right of the panel. Once you’ve done this, you can quit the DNAGedcom Client.
  5. Switch to the OPTIONS tab and click on IMPORT TEMPLATES at the top left.
  6. In the center panel, click the radio button for “DNAGedcom Client” under “FTDNA Extracts”, then click the ACTIVATE DATA TEMPLATES button at the bottom right.
  7. Three new templates will now be shown in black text in the right-hand panel, indicating that they are active.


Import Family Tree DNA Data into GMP

  1. Switch to the CHROMOSOMES tab, and make sure your profile is selected in the pull-down at the top left.
  2. In the Import Data menu, select “From DNAGedcom”, and “1: FTDNA Family Finder File”.
  3. Click OK to dismiss the popup with instructions.
  4. The next pop-up asks you to confirm that you’re loading the data into the correct profile. Double-check and, if so, click YES.
  5. Navigate to where the DNAGedcom files were saved on your computer and select the one with Family_Finder_Matches.csv in the name. Click OPEN.
  6. Wait for the records to import.  At the bottom of the GMP window, you can track the progress of the import.
  7. When the import is done, you will get a pop-up that summarizes the import. Click CLOSE to dismiss it.
  8. The view in the CHROMOSOMES tab will look the same.  Don’t worry!  This import added names, email addresses, haplogroups, surnames, etc., but not segments.  If you want to check that records were imported, switch to the RELATIVE DETAIL tab, and select FTDNA from the pulldown on the right. You should get a long list of names in maroon, the default color for FTDNA matches.
  9. Switch back to the CHROMOSOMES tab. Click on the Import Data menu option again.  This time, select “From DNAGedcom”, and “2: FTDNA Chromosome Browser File”. Click OK to dismiss the instructions, then confirm that you are loading chromosome data into the correct profile.
  10. Again, navigate to your DNAGedcom files. This time, select the one with ChromosomeBrowser.csv in the name. Click OK.
  11. Wait for the segment data to import. The progress summary will first list DNA Segments Processed then Triangulations Processed.  You will see a lot of “Skipped” data points. These are the small segments from FTDNA that are below our import threshold.
  12. When the import is done, review the summary and dismiss it. You should now see segments in the CHROMOSOMES tab.  The new imports will be highlighted in yellow.  The names for the FTDNA matches will be in maroon font, while the ones for the GEDmatch matches that we imported earlier will be in purple.
  13. Our final import for the day is the ICW (In Common With) file.  In the Import Data menu, select “From DNAGedcom”, then “3: FTDNA ICW File”. Dismiss the popup with instructions.
  14. Navigate to where the DNAGedcom files were saved on your computer and select the one with ICW.csv in the name. Click OK.
  15. Your ICW file is probably very large, so this import could take 15 minutes or more to complete.  When it’s done, review the import summary, then dismiss it.
  16. You won’t notice any changes from the previous (Family Finder and chromosome browser) imports.  The ICW import works much like the triangulations one did for GEDmatch, as described in the next section.


Working with FTDNA Data

  1.  GMP gives you the ability to view match data from all of the databases (GEDmatch, FTDNA, 23andMe, etc.) at once or to focus on one of them at any given time.  Right now, your CHROMOSOMES tab should show both FTDNA and GEDmatch segments.  To look only at FTDNA matches, use the “All Sources” pulldown at the top right of the chromosome browser to select FTDNA.
  2. Your chromosome browser view will change to only show the matches from FTDNA (in maroon font).  The filter is a great way to focus your efforts.
  3. If you have matches at FTDNA for whom you know the connection, you can assign an MRCA to their segments just like we did for our GEDmatch data.  For a refresher, review Part 9 of this tutorial series and scroll down to the section titled “Map a Segment”.
  4. FTDNA does not provide true segment triangulation data; instead they give ICW information.  ICW matches are people who match you in the same place and who also match one another somewhere.  To view ICW matches, right-click on a person or segment in the CHROMOSOMES tab and select “Show ICW DNA segments”.
  5. The chromosome browser should filter to show only matches who both overlap the segment you selected and are ICW that person.  These are my matches who are ICW Carol.

    There is no guarantee, however, that Carol, Wendy, and Robert match one another on the segment in question.  If you come from a non-endogamous population, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re looking at a true segment triangulation.  On the other hand, if you come from an endogamous population like I do, you cannot be sure at all.  In the screenshot above, it’s possible that Carol and Wendy both match me in the same place by chance and only match one another on another chromosome.  People with endogamous backgrounds should be very careful when working with ICW data.
  6. If you are confident that your ICW matches represent true triangulations, you can easily assign “Side” and “Group” using the right-click options in GMP, similar to what we did in Part 10 for GEDmatch data.  First, assign a “Side” (M for maternal or P for paternal) to one of the segments in your ICW group from Step 5.  Then, right-click on that match and select “Mark Shown DNA Segments”. This will automatically label all of the visible ICW segments to have the same Side as the person you selected.
  7. Finally, there is a way to do true triangulation with FTDNA data if you manage multiple accounts there.  You will need to set up a GMP profile for each FTDNA account that you manage, import the data for each profile as described above, and then you can use “Show Possible Triangulations” to view matches who triangulate with you and one or more of your other FTDNA-based profiles.  (For segments that don’t also match another profile, you will have to make do with ICW.)  You already have all the skills you need to do this on your own (see Part 2 of this series for how to set up a profile and Part 10 to use the “Show Possible Triangulations” feature), but if you have trouble, please let me know in the comments.

Getting Started with Genome Mate Pro Series


32 thoughts on “Getting Started with Genome Mate Pro, Part 12 — Use the DNAGedcom Client to Import FTDNA Data”

    1. This post was accidentally published while still in draft stage. My apologies. It has now been updated.

      1. Thank you – this is super helpful and great screen shots. I was just working on Family Tree DNA so what magical timing.

        This whole series has been wonderful for explaining some tricky set up things and getting us going.

  1. Hi, Leah. I have a quick question about your “Getting Started with GMP, Part 12. You have an example on page 3, where the “Minimum cM” was set at 40. You indicate that with that setting, matches below 40 cM will be ignored. Are you suggesting that we put 40 in the cM field, even though the default seems to be 5?

    1. I’m not making a recommendation, because the minimum will vary by the goals and genetic background of the profile person. People who have a lot of matches, and especially those from endogamous backgrounds, may want to raise the minimum to speed the imports and avoid importing matches they may not want to work with. On the other hand, if you don’t have many matches or are trying to work with distant cousins, you may prefer to have all of your matches. Note that the minimum here is not the minimum segment size but rather the minimum total share amount. At FTDNA, the minimum total is 9 cM, although the minimum segment size is 1 cM. In my example, the minimum total was 40 cM although the minimum segment size in my OPTIONS tab is 7 cM.

  2. This is confusing. If I am using CLIENT, why am I not just using the “GMP Id” provided from CLIENT?

    1. This post was accidentally published while still in draft stage. My apologies. It has now been updated.

  3. Boy, people need these – Thank you for your series on this.

    I am confused on the section above on setting up the FTDNA profile. I suspect the GUI has changed and this part of the documentation needs updating?

    1. This post was accidentally published while still in draft stage. My apologies. It has now been updated.

  4. Any tips on how to assign the TMRCA of the grandparent of Double-Cousins?

    As a temporary measure I picked the grandfather from one grandparental couple and the grandmother from the other grandparental couple, while in reality, the segments may come from any of the four grandparents. I also made a group for them and named it Surname-Surname-Surname-Surname (replace Surname with the surnames of the TMRCAs; the surnames of the grandparents of the Double-Cousins).

    Future triangulation might make clearer which segment came from which grandparent of the double-cousins.

    1. Personally, I would so what you’ve done so far: created a Group to flag those segments but not assign an MRCA until I had further evidence of which MRCA each came from.

  5. Thank you so much for the mention/explanation on endogamous population! I was not familiar with that term so went and researched it. As soon as I started reading the explanation research, I realized that this is what I am dealing with in two lines of my family. Both of these lines have brick walls that caused me to go further in depth with the dna research. To add to my frustration, these two lines then mixed with each other to create an even bigger dna maze for me to work through!

      1. At the point I’m at, I would have to agree with you! I know that I have spent the past year or two cursing at all of the ancestors that have helped create this spider web for me to be caught in!

  6. I manage my cousins FTDNA account. When I ran DNAGedcom client to export the files as outlined in part 12. The relative file shows 6670 records and took about three hours to import into GMP. The next file did not take to long to import but then I started the ICW. It showed over 724,800 records to process. Is that possible? It has been running about 6 hours and is just over 123,000. I’m not sure if it will ever finish. Is there something wrong?

    1. I don’t think anything is wrong; it’s just a kit with a lot of ICW. In the future, you set a minimum threshold for the FTDNA scans to limit the size of the file.

  7. What would cause the ChromosomeBrowser.csv file to be empty? It is 1KB in size and adds no records to the system?

    I ran the DNAGedcom-FTDNA operation twice with the same result.

  8. I’m still having problems with the Getting Started, Part 12. When this lesson was first released I imported my data one evening, and it was done the next morning. I then tried to do it for my wife, and after running all night, it was only 5% completed the next morning. I gave up. Last night before I went to bed I tried it again on a different relative. By 7:30 this morning it was 5% completed, but I let it continue to run. 3 1/2 hours later it had only been able to do 126 of the matches. At that rate it would take me 4 days to finish, and my computer is virtually unusable on other applications because it’s going so slow. Do you have any suggestions? Do I need to wait until I next take a vacation, and let it run the entire time. I currently have the three sets of files in the same folder. Do you think that I should try to store each person’s files in a separate folder? The do each have different file names, based on each person’s FtDNA user number.

  9. This series is very helpful. Clear and concise explanations with good screenshots. I look forward to more. Thank you for doing this.

  10. Hello, wondering when the next one in this series will be posted? I have been following them and find it very instructive! Thanks!

  11. Leah, just a quick question on FtDNA imports; what is the advantage/disadvantage of using DNAGedcom instead of just importing directly from FtDNA?

    1. GMP uses “keys” to distinguish one match from another. Because FTDNA doesn’t provide unique identifiers in their download, GMP uses the person’s name as the key. If you have two matches with the same name (e.g., John Harris), GMP can’t tell them apart and will merge them. That’s bad! The DNAGedcom Client, on the other hand, is able to determine the unique identifier for each kit, so even if you match two people named John Harris, they won’t be automatically merged in GMP.

  12. Thank you a million times over for this series! GMP is a great tool, but I would certainly have been confused and overwhelmed without your wonderful clear step by step instructions and screen shots. I am anxiously awaiting the promised blog about getting Ancestry data into GMP. Thanks again.

  13. This series has been so useful in simplifying something that was mystifying. I’d really love to be able to progress learning about all of the different features in a safe and organised way. Any more news on when the next part may be available ?

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.