What do you need in order to use the site?

All you need to use DNA Painter is an interest in family history!

Ancestral trees

To use trees, you just need to know the names of some ancestors. If you have an existing tree, you can export a GEDCOM file and upload it to DNA Painter. For more ideas on how this feature can help, please read the blog post Eight ways you can use ancestral trees at DNA Painter.


To use the shared cM tool, you need the number of centimorgans you share with a match. You can also enter a percentage if this is more convenient (e.g. for 23andme matches). If the match is on FamilyTreeDNA, you should ideally copy and paste the segments into this tool in order to get a revised total cM shared. This is because FamilyTreeDNA include small segments that are very unlikely to be valid in their totals.

To use WATO, you will need the number of centimorgans you share with two or more matches, and in addition you'll need to know how they are related to each other.

Chromosome Mapping

To map your chromosomes, you need for you or someone close to you to have taken an autosomal DNA test (such as the ones sold by 23andme, AncestryDNA, FamilytreeDNA, Living DNA and MyHeritage).

Of these leading testing companies, AncestryDNA does not currently provide the segment data that you need in order to paint your matches. So if you've tested with AncestryDNA, you'll need to:

  • Download your DNA from the website of the company you tested with
  • Upload your DNA to a site that provides segment data, and accepts transfers (currently FamilyTreeDNA, Gedmatch, Living DNA and MyHeritage)

Please note: you do not upload your raw DNA to DNA Painter; the only data you need is the segment data that you can get from 23andme, FamilytreeDNA, Gedmatch, Living DNA and MyHeritage (more info).

Even if your testing company does provide segment data, you might like to take advantage of additional matches and different tools available on FamilytreeDNA, Gedmatch and MyHeritage.

In terms of costs:

  • Gedmatch is free (an additional set of tools is available for Tier one members)
  • Autosomal transfers to MyHeritage are free, but in order to access segment data you'll need to be a MyHeritage subscriber or pay a one-time $29 fee
  • A similar arrangement exists at LivingDNA.
  • You will have to pay a one-time fee of $19 per DNA kit to access the chromosome browser at Family Tree DNA
  • DNA Painter is a 'freemium' site, with additional trees, profiles and import functionality available to paid members.

Downloading your raw DNA

Uploading your DNA

Next: Why would you map your chromosomes?