Today there are many genetic genealogy tools available to help you learn HOW you are related to the genetic matches that result from DNA testing.
Every match shares some common ancestors with you. But the challenge has always been figuring out WHICH common ancestors are responsible for each match.
The testing companies themselves have been developing and adding genetic genealogy tools that you can use from within your personal account. Here are some of my favorites:
If you and some close relatives do the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA (or import raw data from another test) you can use their Family Matching tool that helps sort your matches into paternal and maternal sides based on linked relationships you set with known family members.
AncestryDNA has introduced a tool called ThruLines that uses Ancestry trees to show possible paths through common ancestors that connect you to a match. To make this work you need to have a tree on Ancestry and link it to your DNA results.
23andMe has an Automatic Family Tree Builder that provides a visual representation of how certain genetic matches might fit into your family tree.
MyHeritage has a Theory of Family Relativity tool that is similar in concept to the Ancestry ThruLines. It can highlight genealogical paths connecting you with genetic relatives. They also have Auto Clusters, which will group matches into clusters that likely descend from common ancestors.
Many independent users have created tools to capture and process meaningful information from your DNA test results. Most require you to download the raw DNA data from a test and upload it to their website. Others can link to your data on the testing company websites.
Many of these tools are free and others require a small payment.
GEDmatch accepts raw data uploads from all the autosomal DNA tests. If you have only done some of them, you will uncover additional matches here. Even if you have done them all, this site has many useful tools to analyze your DNA and automatically compare your family tree with those of others. If you have questions, see the GEDmatch User Group on Facebook.
The DNA Adoption website was created by adoption search angels, genetic genealogists, and IT professionals. You learn a powerful methodology and gain access to custom tools that make it easier to implement. They also offer reasonably priced online classes. The site is popular with genealogists as well as adoptees.
DNA Painter provides user-friendly tools for visualizing family trees and chromosome mapping to figure out which pieces of DNA you inherited from specific ancestors. They also have an interactive Shared DNA Table where you can see the possible relationships to account for a specific amount of shared DNA. There is a DNA Painter User Group on Facebook.
The Leeds Method, developed by Dana Leeds, lets you easily visualize matches through color clustering.
Genetic Affairs offers several tools to support genetic genealogists in making full use of DNA test findings. This includes AutoCluster, AutoScan, and AutoTree. There is a Genetic Affairs User Group on Facebook.