Monday, September 11, 2017

Will imputation help or hinder?

DNA testing for genealogy is at risk. Only Family Tree DNA has resisted using the newest chip offered by Illumina, the only viable company making such chips for autosomal testing.


The new chip is comparable to the old in only 20% of coverage! The companies using it are now forced to apply “imputation”, a means of inferring results. I find that shocking and a severe blow to the efficacy of genetic genealogy.  For a detailed discussion, see  https://dna-explained.com/2017/09/05/concepts-imputation/

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mayflower connection?

Family Tree DNA and the Mayflower organization are partnering to validate genealogies with DNA. Read the announcement by the GSMD here:  https://www.themayflowersociety.org/blog/item/309-new-partnership-with-ftdna-and-gsmd.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Growth of DNA testing

Good news for genealogists and family historians everywhere!

As more advertising brings in more of the curious, DNA testing is beginning to grow at an exponential rate with Ancestry having now passed the 5 million mark. It was at 4 million just in April of this year. If you haven't yet done so, I hope you will join the growing hordes. The more who test, the more likely we will all find new cousins, new family connections, and grow our family trees.

But don't stop with an Ancestry test. Order a free transfer at Family Tree DNA to find still more matches, more tools, and the opportunity to do more testing -- Y-DNA (males only) for the direct paternal line, mtDNA (males and females) for the direct maternal line, advanced Y-DNA testing to take part in cutting edge science. A free transfer is also available to My Heritage.

If you are interested in health reports, you might also want to test with 23andMe. They offer a combined health and ancestry test.

Once you have tested, be sure to join Gedmatch (free) and upload your raw data from any one of these companies. It provides a treasure chest of tools to manage and evaluate your matches, as well as an ever expanding database.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Are you getting the most out of DNA testing?

I know that we are all involved with autosomal DNA (Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Finder from Family Tree DNA), but are you supplementing it with Y-DNA and mtDNA? Don’t overlook their value.

For example, you might learn about your early family roots through archaeological studies and haplogroup projects that often start with haplogroup studies at Family Tree DNA. A brand new study is dear to my heart. As a fan of early Greek history and mythology since early childhood, I was thrilled to see that my GG grandfather, whose Y-DNA haplogroup is J2b2, shared the J in this tested group of 14 women and five men, four of whom were J and one was G. You can read about it here.


Another reason to test the Y and mt DNA is to help confirm suspected relationships in your atDNA matches. Since the Y tests only the direct paternal line, an atDNA match that is also a Y-DNA match can add strength to an argument for (or against) a particular relationship. Likewise, the mtDNA for a direct maternal line match. 

Notice that Y-DNA and mtDNA are best tested with Family Tree DNA, which also permits free* transfer into Family Finder from the other main testing companies, thus providing access to more atDNA matches. For the nominal fee of $19*, you can also have access to FTDNA's many tools, including Family Matching (that can help align matches with your maternal and paternal sides), chromosome mapping and more. 

Of course, an essential element of DNA testing is a family tree. Make it as full and deep as you can, excluding living persons but including cousins and their children, complete with dates and places of birth, marriage and death at a minimum, or as much as you can find and back as far as you know. Upload that tree everywhere in the form of a GEDCOM. If your only tree is online (that is, you do not have one on your computer in your own genealogy program), you can usually download a GEDCOM from the hosting company (Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc.), then upload it to other sites.

If you haven't already joined Gedmatch, do so! Once you have a Gedmatch ID, be sure to post it everywhere. I have mine on my public profile at Ancestry, FTDNA, 23andMe, DNA.land, MyHeritage, Wikitree and more.  To post it at FamilySearch, I had to add it as a custom fact to each of my deceased parents' pages.

Happy ancestor searching!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Y-DNA and advanced testing

Are you ready to see what more you can learn about your DNA? Notice! This applies only to male testers and Y-DNA. (Of course, women can participate by finding a male relative to do the actual testing.)

Family Tree DNA launched the Big Y a few years ago, and a handful of other companies have followed, slowly expanding databases and providing the means to learn more about the Y tree of mankind. At the same time, some dedicated genealogists are beginning to make inroads into tweaking large family databases and solving long-standing questions about descent lines from 500 or more years ago.

To learn about what might be done in your own family project, see Blaine Bettinger's blog. Also, this link will take you to a new study just published in the Journal of One-Name Studies.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sale prices at FTDNA

These sale prices let you upgrade and order new tests across a broad spectrum of tests, including Big Y,  at Family Tree DNA. Here are the prices that start today and run through the end of August:


Thursday, July 6, 2017

A gentle reminder

If you, like me, sometimes forget the old and true genealogy sites, take a moment to revisit Rootsweb, WorldConnect, Genforum, Cyndi's List, New York Post Cards (Old Futon), and more. Don't forget the local genealogical and historical societies. Some of these are hanging by a thread. They need our support and, most of all, to know they're still loved. Otherwise, they must disappear into the mist and that would be a devastating loss to all.