How to get the most out of your DNA results

by Paddy Waldron

Last updated: 22 November 2017

URL: http://pwaldron.info/DNA/nextstep.html

Introduction

Please use your DNA and your known ancestry to help your long-lost cousins to find you and to find your and their long-forgotten ancestors!

I have given a number of talks on this topic, one of which you can watch on YouTube.

DNA testing is not a substitute for genealogical research; rather the two approaches help to corroborate each other. Not so long ago, genealogical co-operation was based on the sharing of pedigree information with no genetic information; in a short number of years, many attempts at genealogical co-operation have become based on the sharing of genetic information via various websites with no pedigree information.  Both types of information are of far more use to potential relatives and other researchers when they are presented together. Please consider the following advice before you start bombarding your DNA matches with incomplete or irrelevant information. And if your close DNA matches volunteer only incomplete or irrelevant information, do not hesitate to ask them relevant questions and to recommend that they also read this page.

From the point of view of any of your DNA matches, the most helpful way to share whatever you already know about the ancestors from whom you inherited your DNA is in the form of a pedigree chart, i.e. a chart with yourself at the left, your parents to your right, your grandparents to their right, your greatgrandparents to their right, and so on, giving each ancestor's name and places of birth, marriage and death. There is a wide variety of genealogical software which will help you to organise the relevant information.You can follow these links to see examples from Ancestral Quest, AncestryDNA, ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch. These are just screengrabs of my own pedigree chart. In general, mousing-over or clicking-on the names in the live versions of these charts displays additional date and place information.

These sample charts include examples from three websites that are widely used for re-uniting long-lost cousins whose DNA and/or pedigree charts have been compared and found to match: namely GEDmatch.com, FamilyTreeDNA.com and AncestryDNA.com. For best results, you must fish for your long-lost cousins in all three of these pools. If you are already an AncestryDNA customer, then you don't have to spit or swab or pay again to get into all three pools.

You can pay FamilyTreeDNA.com and/or AncestryDNA to extract the relevant data from a DNA sample. These companies turn your spit or swab into a simple data file, hidden away on the relevant website, that can be used on other more powerful free DNA comparison websites.

You may even be lucky enough to find a generous relative who knows that your DNA potentially contains the answer to a family history puzzle and is willing to pay for the analysis.

Whichever company you employ to create the data file, you and others can use GEDmatch.com and FamilyTreeDNA.com free of charge to analyse your data. In addition to the free tools, both of these websites provide further analysis tools for a small fee.

Once the data file is available online, then these great tools can (and should) be used to extract the maximum useful information from the raw data. If you don't have the time, patience, interest and/or technical skills necessary to do all the follow-up analysis, then you should at least be able to find a known relative or a DNA match or some other kind soul who will talk you through the process or even do everything for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

If you have gone to the trouble of submitting DNA to one company, then you owe it to your relatives to help them to figure out how they are related to customers of the other labs by copying your results to GEDmatch. A match who shares the same DNA segment with you and with one of your known relatives must be related to both of you through your known common ancestors. Conversely, a match who shares a DNA segment with your known relative but not with you must be related to the known relative through his or her other parent (the parent not related to you). While this information may not be of direct interest to you, it may be a vital clue to the other two parties to the comparison. GEDmatch is the only website which allows this type of comparison between any three kits.

GEDmatch.com and FamilyTreeDNA.com immediately give you an e-mail address for your DNA matches. AncestryDNA gives you two or three buttons to use to contact your matches via an internal messaging system so that you can request their e-mail addresses:
There has been some debate as to which of these buttons is most likely to catch your match's attention.

You must initially use Ancestry's internal system to exchange e-mail addresses. Note that Ancestry requires you to have a current paid subscription or short free trial (in addition to the charge for processing your DNA) in order for you to use the internal messaging system. If you don't wish to pay a subscription, save your free trial period until after your DNA results arrive. You should exchange e-mail addresses with as many of your close DNA matches as practical while you are a subscriber or in your free trial period. Then you can keep all your DNA-related correspondence together in your e-mail archives where it will be easily searchable in future. There is no working facility to search AncestryDNA messages, even at the most basic level, such as to check if you have previously sent a message to a DNA match.

One of the greatest advantages of GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA is that they enable one to keep all of one's DNA-related correspondence in one searchable e-mail archive, rather than scattering it around Ancestry, Facebook and other inferior messaging websites. By all means, look for your DNA matches on Facebook, but keep all your DNA-related correspondence together in your e-mail archives.

Like most websites, the DNA websites are much easier to use from a computer with a keyboard and large screen than from a smaller mobile touchscreen device. I have had several reports of people giving up in despair on touchscreen devices and reverting to a normal computer (Microsoft or Macintosh or Linux).

There is another website which might also have been discussed on this page, namely 23andMe.com. However, it can not currently be recommended to genealogists for several reasons:
There seems no point in providing further details of 23andMe on this page. For those who wish to create a link between their DNA results at 23andMe.com and a family tree on an external website, see Kitty Cooper's blog post.

I have become increasingly frustrated since I became involved in genetic genealogy back in 2013 by hearing frequently about people who are in just one of the online DNA databases and have no online pedigree charts. Without this critical information, it is impossible to place anyone precisely in my family tree or to identify which DNA segments they may have inherited from which ancestors. I have put together this page in an attempt to gather all the relevant instructions and advice in a single place and to make it easy for others to get maximum benefit from their DNA purchase.

Outline

Step 1: Submitting your DNA sample

If you have not yet been persuaded to submit a DNA sample to one of the DNA companies, then please read why I think you should do so.

The two companies with the largest customer bases are AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA (where the entry-level product is called Family Finder).

The DNA company to which you pay your money and send your sample has a number of priorities, in this order:
  1. separating you from your money;
  2. assigning ethnicity labels to percentages of your DNA; and
  3. sending you elsewhere for help in finding cousins and ancestors.
This page is designed to help you to find those cousins and ancestors.
There will always be some customers of the DNA companies who do not comprehend others' need and desire to go through the subsequent steps in the process, but the breakthroughs made by co-operation between those who do comprehend will more than compensate for the frustrations of trying to explain things to those who do not.
Once you have submitted your sample and received your results, there are some other steps which you yourself must take in order to maximise the chances that your long-lost cousins can find you, so that you and they can then combine your information about your long-forgotten ancestors and use that combined information to learn more about those ancestors in the archives and through the DNA databases.

Step 2: Sharing your DNA results

There is a trade-off between increasing your chances of finding long-lost cousins and ancestors (and being found by long-lost cousins) and maintaining the privacy of your DNA results. If you keep your DNA results or known family tree private, then nobody will be able to find you and you will not be able to find any DNA matches. If you want to be found, then you must let your potential cousins see your DNA results and your known family tree.

Some customers of the DNA companies appear to wish to maintain a certain degree of privacy and anonymity.Others find it paradoxical that those trying to identify their anonymous ancestors can be so concerned about anonymising their own identity.

Most people inherit DNA with their birth surname, so you should as a minimum identify yourself by your birth surname with an initial or a title, e.g., P Waldron or Mr Waldron or Miss Durkan. It is also very important to reveal the gender of the person who provided the DNA sample, as valuable additional inferences can potentially be drawn once it is known whether two X chromosomes (female) or one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (male) are potentially available for comparison. Your first name, married surname, adopted surname or marital status reveal nothing about your DNA, so you may keep these private if you wish. If you use a pseudonym, then you will reduce the chances that your matches will bother to look at your family tree, contact you or share the information about your ancestry that they have and that you do not have. While women are encouraged to recruit their male relatives to provide Y-DNA, they must NOT attach a female name to a male DNA sample, as this causes untold confusion.

Further confusion is often caused by using different names and different e-mail addresses in different DNA databases. Please try to be as consistent as possible. In one case, it took me 300 days to recognise that kits using different pseudonyms at AncestryDNA and GEDmatch were from the same person. Delegating management of your DNA kit on a particular website to somebody else is better than not being there at all, but if you are prepared to accept e-mails from one website, then you should be prepared to accept e-mails from all.

You should allow those who are willing and able to help you to find your cousins and ancestors to see and to analyse both your DNA match lists and your pedigree chart. These may be people with knowledge of your own extended family or people with a more advanced knowledge of genetic genealogy in general. You can allow people to see your results in various ways at GEDmatch.com, AncestryDNA and/or FamilyTreeDNA.com

GEDmatch.com

If you want your relatives to find you using your DNA, then you have to put the DNA where they will find it, which is at GEDmatch.com, the first place that all serious genetic genealogists will look.

The basic one-to-many report at GEDmatch.com will show you your 2000 closest matches (with more remote cousins dropping off the bottom of the list as closer cousins appear), whereas the commercial DNA companies have fixed thresholds for determining your matches (so that your match lists there grow and grow over time). But GEDmatch.com has many other more useful reports than the basic one-to-many.

If you have sent a DNA sample to one of the commercial DNA companies, then you must copy the raw data generated by the commercial company to GEDmatch.com in order to obtain the full value of your purchase, both for yourself and for your relatives who are in the DNA databases. You must also upload a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch.com and link each of the DNA kits that you upload to the relevant individuals in the GEDCOM file.

You will be issued with a GEDmatch kit number when you upload your DNA file; it might have been better if GEDmatch insisted on both the DNA file and the GEDCOM file being uploaded together before issuing kit numbers, although that would pose a problem for adoptees.

Once you have your own kit number, you can run a one-to-one comparison from the main menu with the kit number of anyone that you think might be related to you. For example, my own kit number is T205074.

One huge advantage of GEDmatch.com is that it accepts uploads from all the commercial DNA companies and so also allows one to fish for possible relatives in the potential combined pool of interested, patient and technically competent customers of all the competing DNA companies. On the other hand, it seems that some customers of the commercial firms are lacking the interest, the patience and the technical competence or just the confidence to copy their data to GEDmatch.com. If you are one of these people, then you belong to the audience for whom I have written this page. I hope that it will inspire your interest, give you confidence in GEDmatch and in your own ability to use it, and provide you with simple instructions for the once-off procedures required to start using GEDmatch. If you like to follow hard-copy instructions, just print off this page before you start.

If you have doubts as to the massive benefits of copying your data to GEDmatch, then you may want to read Kitty Cooper's thoughts on the subject.

If you have not already created a GEDmatch.com account, you will need to create one before you can upload your data. You can upload data for more than one person under the same e-mail address. To get started, type GEDmatch.com in your browser address bar, then find "Not Registered? Click HERE" and follow instructions.

AncestryDNA Customers

In general, you can delegate the technical aspects of managing your DNA data to anyone whom you trust with the password for your DNA kit. In the case of getting your raw data file from AncestryDNA, however, only someone with the password for whatever e-mail address you use for your AncestryDNA account can get at your raw data file. Most people will be far more reluctant to give someone else access to their e-mail than to their DNA data, so you will probably want to either (a) download the raw data file yourself; or (b) sit beside the person helping you to download it; or (c) set up a new e-mail address that you don't use for anything other than AncestryDNA; or (d) forward the relevant e-mail to whoever is helping you.

AncestryDNA provides instructions for Downloading Raw DNA Data. I will repeat the details here also. Having downloaded the file, you must now upload it to GEDmatch.com (and also to FamilyTreeDNA.com; see below). Now be patient while your data is being processed at GEDmatch.com.

The next step for AncestryDNA customers is to upload to FamilyTreeDNA.com.

The next step for FamilyTreeDNA.com customers is to add your kit to relevant new or existing projects.

FamilyTreeDNA Customers

If you are an FTDNA customer, then you must download your Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated (GZIP, CSV) and have the file handy on your device before you go near GEDmatch.com.

FTDNA gives a choice of Build 36 or 37 specification for your data download of these files, but GEDmatch.com works best with Build 36 files.

To Download DNA Data Files from FTDNA, log in to your FTDNA account in another browser window or tab.  Then click here to go to the Family Tree DNA Download Your Data page.

You will see this:

FTDNAdownload.jpg

You must download exactly one of these six files - the Build 36 Raw Data Concatenated (GZIP, CSV) file at the bottom right.

When prompted, save the .zip file somewhere on your device that you can find it; on many devices this will be your "Downloads" folder. You do not have to open or unzip it (Macintosh users should disable auto unzip in the Safari web browser).

GEDmatch.com expects the data exactly as it is downloaded from FTDNA.

Accept the prompt to name the file 36_I_Surname_Chrom_Autoso_yyyymmdd.csv.gz (where "I" denotes your initial, "Surname" denotes your surname and "yyyymmdd" denotes the date on which the download took place).

Remember the location where you have saved the file for the next step, which is exactly the same as that for AncestryDNA customers described in detail above.

Note that the raw data files usually don't show up for about a day (and sometimes several days) after the match list.  So you may see this error message when you try to download for a newly processed sample:

uh oh...

Houston, we have a problem!

There was an error while attempting to load the page
you requested.

Details:
/my/family-finder/downloads.aspx
xxxxxx
The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found.
500

If this happens, just wait 24 hours and then try again, or at least be as patient as you can.

AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA has a firm policy of NOT providing its customers with the types of DNA analysis tools available at GEDmatch.com.
However, Ancestry has offered three very different options to share:
  1. share a family tree;
  2. share ethnicity estimates; and
  3. share DNA match lists.

The last-mentioned is the most useful and was once the best hidden. Follow these steps to share your match list:

An invitation to view someone's AncestryDNA match list takes the form of an e-mail with a
Review Invitation
button.

Clicking on this button in the e-mail asks you to confirm your AncestryDNA login details before allowing you access to the match list.

You should click only once on the button; clicking again asks you again to confirm your Ancestry login details, but then diverts to
https://www.ancestry.com/dna/403
which says
"403 Error
You Are Not Authorized to Access This Page".
This is a bug in the Ancestry set-up.

The button above is not a real invitation and will also take you to https://www.ancestry.com/dna/403 if you click on it.

Once you have accepted an invitation to view someone else's match list, you will see a dropdown menu headed "VIEW ANOTHER TEST" on your AncestryDNA summary page
and the full name of the person who invited you to view his or her match list will appear on that menu.

FamilyTreeDNA.com

If you have employed AncestryDNA to extract the data from your DNA, then you must copy the data to FamilyTreeDNA.com via the free Autosomal Transfer. This merely involves uploading the same file that you should have already uploaded to GEDmatch.com. You can pay a small fee (USD19 as of 18 May 2017) to unlock all the analysis tools.

(Technical aside: Ancestry and FTDNA now use different sets of SNPs.  The overlap is only around half the size of the FTDNA set.  It is naturally much harder to find long runs of half-identical locations in a much smaller set of SNPs.  The consequence is that Ancestry transfers with the different set of SNPs on average seem to have only around 10% of the number of matches of native FTDNA kits, but these include all the closest matches. Ancestry originally used the same set of SNPs as FTDNA, so early AncestryDNA customers will have essentially the same matches to their autosomal transfer as if they submitted a DNA sample directly to FTDNA.)

The easiest way to share results at FamilyTreeDNA.com is by joining an existing project (such as the Clare Roots project which I administer for those with roots in County Clare, Ireland) or by setting up a new project. The procedure is the same whether you have sent a DNA sample to FamilyTreeDNA.com or merely transferred your data file from AncestryDNA.

Project administrators and co-administrators can view and advise on the results of all project members; they cannot change the primary e-mail address or download the raw data file.

If you have ancestors from County Clare, then you can join the Clare Roots project by logging in to your FamilyTreeDNA kit and going here, where you have to click a JOIN button to the right of the ruin in the banner photograph.

If you want to see how many of your Family Finder matches are in any project that you have joined, then just go to the Advanced Matches page and tick the Family Finder checkbox and select the project in the "Show Matches For" dropdown.

You should search for relevant surname projects. The easiest way to find projects is to use Google and search for, e.g., Waldron FTDNA project.
Some surname projects welcome anyone with the surname in their ancestry; others are confined to men with the surname who have bought Y-DNA products.

If you are working, on your own or with others, on several DNA samples, then you can apply to set up a private project to facilitate access, and can make your collaborators administrators or co-administrators of the project.
There is a simple five-step application process (which actually consists of only four steps!).
I recommend that you prepare your application offline and copy and paste into the online form when you are ready - this will save time if you later want to set up another project for a different family group or if for any reason you need to resubmit your application.

Step 3: Sharing your pedigree chart

The usefulness of DNA results is vastly increased when they are directly connected to a pedigree chart showing the known direct ancestors of the DNA subject.

Your pedigree chart must be uploaded, by yourself or by a more experienced genealogist (if you are lucky enough to have one helping you), to every website on which your DNA results appear.

In fact, this is an essential part of the process, except for adoptees who start out not knowing anything about their birth parents.

One can see in 30 seconds by comparing two online pedigree charts something that could otherwise takes several days of exchange of e-mails to find.

If you wish, yourself and any of your ancestors who are still living can be marked as "Private" in your pedigree chart. Even if only one generation of deceased ancestors is included, that will usually be enough to enable the more experienced genealogists amongst your matches to trace additional generations of your ancestry and work out how they are related to you. In fact, sharing information on a limited number of ancestors with your DNA matches is a great way of getting a more complete and detailed family tree compiled, completely free of charge, by someone else!

Your initial pedigree chart can be replaced with an updated version from time to time as new information about your ancestors is discovered.

In fact, if everybody shared what they knew by sharing pedigree charts, then there would be no need for e-mail queries. The only need for e-mail contact would be to alert people to actual breakthroughs in confirming relationships.

Conversely, sending e-mail to a DNA match with no obvious relationship who has no knowledge of his or her ancestry or who is unable or unwilling to share his or her knowledge is unlikely to elicit any useful additional information.

In other words, the main reason to initiate e-mail correspondence should be to volunteer new information, not to request information.

Unless your DNA matches can see the gaps in your full clear pedigree chart, they will not realise what information you are missing, and will not think of volunteering that information.

With millions of people in the DNA databases and many people managing kits for multiple family members, this philosophy is the only way to keep the volume of DNA-related e-mails to manageable proportions.

Some people share lists of unlinked ancestral surnames on DNA websites, and this is even encouraged by FamilyTreeDNA.com, but this is not enough. Rather than waste your time entering your surnames manually, you should record your pedigree chart in a format known as GEDCOM using standard genealogy software and upload the GEDCOM file, from which the FTDNA surname list will be automatically populated.

While I strongly recommend using standalone desktop genealogy software to create your GEDCOM file, this can also be done using the AncestryDNA website and similar websites.
If you do not have the basic genealogical knowledge, computer hardware and technical skills required to create a GEDCOM file, then the genealogist in your family may be able and willing to help.
Your own favourite genealogy software should allow you to create a GEDCOM file containing whichever individuals you wish from your family tree. Some of the more primitive software will allow you to include only your full database (e.g the ancestry.com website) or may not even allow GEDCOM export at all (e.g. the FamilyTreeDNA.com website).
You may include whichever individuals you wish in the file, but I recommend that you create a single GEDCOM file, including only all of those individuals whose DNA kits you manage and all of the direct ancestors of each of them, and including just the basic, but essential, names, dates and places for these individuals. Other individuals and other details of your direct ancestors are initially irrelevant to your DNA matches and including them only increases the file size, confuses your matches, slows processing and display, and risks offending living individuals who may not wish to be included due to concerns about privacy. (Many financial institutions and other bodies work on the assumption that genealogical information about an individual that an experienced genealogist can locate in seconds is known only to that individual; one should of course avoid doing business with such institutions.)
If you wish to choose a subset of your database and your software does not permit this, then you can always install better software, such as Ancestral Quest, which I use, or probably RootsMagic or Reunion or Family Tree Builder or any of the numerous other programs listed on Wikipedia. Apart from Ancestral Quest, I have not checked which of these products allows the export of a GEDCOM file including just one or more selected individuals and all of their known direct ancestors. The free version of Ancestral Quest both imports and exports GEDCOM files. You can continue to use your existing software for data entry, but use the new software merely to import your full GEDCOM, select the relevant individuals and details, and export the desired subset of your information.
Once you have a GEDCOM file, it must be linked to your DNA results (and the DNA results of other relatives which you manage) at GEDmatch.com, FamilyTreeDNA.com AND AncestryDNA as relevant.
Your DNA results will not attract the attention of those who may be in a position to help you if they are not connected to what you already know about your ancestors.

It is not practical for me to include and maintain here full up-to-date instructions on how to create the required GEDCOM file from all of the myriad of genealogy software packages and websites on the market. Here are some examples:
Ancestral Quest Version 14.00.32
On the File menu, select Export.
From the "Export for import into" dropdown menu, select "Other".
If you wish, untick all the "Include" checkboxes except "Names on Living".
In the "Selected Individuals" pane, select the Partial button (Alt-P) and the Select button (Alt-S).
Find the DNA subject.
In the "Selections by Relationship" pane, choose Ancestors on the dropdown menu and the Select button (Alt-S).  Set "Descendant generations" to zero and make sure the "Include spouses" and "Include all parents" boxes are not ticked.
Select OK, OK and Export
Save the file and note carefully where you are saving it so that you will be able to find it again when you want to upload it elsewhere.
Ancestry.com
Go to the Family Trees page.
Find and select the "Manage tree" link for the relevant tree.
Find and select the green "Download your GEDCOM file" link towards the bottom of the right-hand column.
Save the file and note carefully where you are saving it so that you will be able to find it again when you want to upload it elsewhere.
FamilySearch.org
Familysearch.org apparently does not allow you to save your work directly in GEDCOM format.
Instead, you must import from the website into your compatible desktop genealogy software and then export from there to GEDCOM.
Choose one of the Family Tree Management programs.
Again, I use Ancestral Quest Version 14.00.32 as an example.
First, go to the Tools menu and select Preferences, FamilySearch, Enable FamilySearch features.
Close and restart Ancestral Quest.
Then go to the new FamilySearch menu and select Import Family Lines, Sign In, Import (i.e. Download My Ancestors, or choose whatever individuals you want to import).
[This takes a while, so go and do something else until it completes.]
Now follow the standard instructions above for Ancestral Quest.
Some people find it disconcerting that others publish nonsense online masquerading as family trees. Some websites hosting family trees facilitate the dissemination of such nonsense by failing to implement basic error checking, such as ensuring that a child is born after its parents. Some websites even encourage the copying of such nonsense by some customers from others by a system of "hints", so that the nonsense quickly goes viral. Those whose family trees and photographs are copied into such online nonsense can be reluctant to leave their information online. Just because some people misuse or abuse a good service is no reason for others to refuse to use it properly. Those with qualms about publishing all their genealogical research online should be reassured by the principle that only basic information on the direct ancestors of DNA subjects is required for very effective use of the DNA comparison websites.

GEDmatch.com

Once you have made a GEDCOM file including the desired individuals, you must use the
GEDCOM
genealogy Upload
Fast Beta version

link at the top right of the GEDmatch main menu to upload the file.

There is no need to upload multiple GEDCOM files if you manage multiple DNA kits for related individuals. This will just confuse and delay people who match any of your kits. Instead, just include all of your DNA subjects and their direct ancestors in a single GEDCOM file and create the relevant links between the single GEDCOM file and your multiple DNA kits.

Anyone who has your ancestors in a genealogy database can carryout the first step of creating the GEDCOM file for you, and can then use "Click HERE to manage other GEDCOM resource details" at the bottom of the left-hand column of the GEDmatch main menu to transfer the GEDCOM file to your e-mail address.

Then you must link each of the DNA kits associated with your e-mail address to the relevant people in the GEDCOM file. The DNA kit and the GEDCOM file can not be linked unless both are associated with the same e-mail address.

To link the DNA to the relevant pedigree, first select the relevant GEDCOM file number (e.g. 7989365) under "Your GEDCOM Resources" at the bottom left of your GEDmatch home page.

This will bring you to the current "point person" (or "home person") in the GEDCOM file.

If the person whose DNA kit you wish to link to the GEDCOM is related, or connected by marriage, to the point person, then just navigate through the tree to the relevant individual and when you get to the relevant individual "enter this person's GEDmatch DNA kit number" in the box as instructed.

If you manage kits for friends or any unrelated person, then the person whose DNA kit you wish to link to the GEDCOM may not be related or connected by marriage to the point person, in which case you will have to use the SEARCH link at the top right of the "Individual Detail Display from GEDCOM" page to find the DNA subject.

Note these quirks of the navigation system:

If one of your DNA kits has become associated with the wrong person in your GEDCOM file (e.g. a long dead ancestor who became the point person in the GEDCOM file), then you can "Click HERE to unlink this DNA kit from this individual's GEDCOM entry" on the page for the wrong person.

If you wish to change the point person in the GEDCOM file, go to the individual detail page of the new point person in the online tree and click the "Point Person" button at the bottom of the page.

AncestryDNA

Even AncestryDNA itself gives you this advice every time you look at a DNA match until you link your pedigree chart to your DNA results:

To get the most out of your DNA results, link them to your family tree.

Your DNA results and your family tree belong together. Each one alone is terrific, but combined, they give you so much more.

I recommend that you use this form to upload your GEDCOM file, but you may also choose to enter your information manually on the AncestryDNA website. You must choose whether to "Allow others to see my tree as a public member tree". Even if you choose to untick this box, your AncestryDNA matches will be able to see your tree.

If you choose to edit your family tree on the Ancestry website, then you will have to download your GEDCOM file, both
To download your GEDCOM from the Ancestry website:
The Ancestry GEDCOM export procedure does NOT allow you to select which individuals to include in the GEDCOM file, which is one of the reasons that editing your family tree on the Ancestry website is not recommended.
Once your pedigree is available on the Ancestry website, whether by GEDCOM upload or manual entry, you must link it to your DNA:
One would expect that any photograph of the individual linked to the entry in the family tree would now also be linked to the DNA kit, but this does not automatically happen. If appears that if the DNA kit appears to matches as "managed by", then it is impossible to associate a profile photograph with the DNA kit. I have certainly not figured out how to do this. If you know how, please tell me.

FamilyTreeDNA.com

Make sure that you are logged in to the relevant account, go here and click the Upload GEDCOM button near the top right of the screen.

What next?

If you want to get more deeply involved in genetic genealogy, you might like to read A Beginner's Adventures in Genetic Genealogy.