Saturday, May 13, 2017

For serious genetic genealogists

The revered, peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Genetic Genealogy, has been revived with a new editor. See this blog for details.

Friday, April 21, 2017

German ancestry?

Are you, like me, frustrated by the lack of DNA matches to distant German relatives? Modern-day Germany has not welcomed DNA testing for genealogy, but there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

A newcomer in the field is teaming up with another company to focus on DNA testing in Germany in order to build a database for matching. They have completed a similar project in the British Isles and provide location-specific results for that area. They are seeking out testers whose four grandparents lived nearby each other in Germany and offer a discounted price to those who qualify. My hope is that their German project will bring more light to what can only be called the secret world of genetic genealogy in Germany.

If you want to encourage this effort, you may want to order a DNA test from Living DNA. They have a sale on right now. Their matching service is not available yet but they promise it soon will be. Meanwhile, let's get those Germans testing so we can make progress with our genealogy searches.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quick DNA Sale at FTDNA

To mark National DNA Day, Family Tree DNA traditionally holds a sale, this year from April 20 through April 27 at 11:59 pm Central Time. (National DNA Day celebrates on April 25 the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953.)

Notice that you may only upgrade existing kits to the Big Y, SNP Backbone and SNP Packs. Other product sale prices are for new customers only.
Please note that all Items must be paid for by that time, including items ordered though the invoice system (Bill Me Later)

Here are the items that are on sale. Especially note the Family Finder test for a mere $59 (55 euro, £46), the Y-DNA-37 test for $129 (121 euro, £101), and the SNP Packs for an unbelievably low price of $89 (83 euro, £70).

If you want to dip your toe in the genepool, now is the time - do the Family Finder test. It will give you your ethnic makeup estimates and connect you with cousins on all of your ancestral lines.

If you have thought about researching your surname, or buying a Y-DNA test for a relative, now is the time! Consider the Big Y at a greatly reduced price or,
 if you have been advised to upgrade to a SNP Pack, they have never been cheaper.
 To learn if you might benefit from a SNP Pack, log into your MyFTDNA page and scroll down to the Y-DNA section. If you see a box similar to this just below it, then you are eligible: 
Get 137 SNPs related to M343 for only $79!
  • Remove the guess work. Save money!
  • Test 137 SNPs related to M343.
  • 137 total SNPs including M343.

Happy DNA Day!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ancestry Communities

For those who have tested with, there is a new game in town. You may notice now or later that you suddenly belong to a new "community." Here is an article describing the new feature.

Looks like fun...

Monday, March 13, 2017

GINA under attack

This important law that protects us all from invasions into our privacy, especially our health and DNA, is facing extinction.

Write your congressman, senators, president... Stop this bill HR 1313:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

DNA testing after death

As interest in genealogy and family history grows, more and more families are faced with having postponed that DNA test of a relative until it's too late. Or is it?

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, provided simple guidelines a few years ago on what you can do in this event, giving you one last chance to collect that precious DNA. Who knew? Just a few Q-tips and a paper bag (not plastic).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

23andMe, or how to succeed

If your main interest is in genealogy, it is worthwhile now to test with 23andMe. (I know, I know, I too gave up on them more than once.)

Now that most of their users have been converted to the "new experience," it is significant that they have also upgraded some of their tools for matching, chromosome mapping and even for triangulating matches. They've also introduced a new pricing model so that one can order just the Ancestry testing for the standard price of $99. Like the other two of the Big Three companies, they occasionally have a sale that brings the price down to $79.

So, once again, the formula for success with genetic genealogy is:

1. Males should have a Y-DNA test at Family Tree DNA. (Join an apporopriate surname project first, if possible.)

2. Males and females should have an autosomal test at all three major companies: Ancestry, 23andMe and FTDNA (Family Finder). If you test with one or both of the first two, you can transfer the raw data to FTDNA's Family Finder for free (or for $19 to get full access).

3. Upload your family tree (names, dates and places) to all three testing companies and to Gedmatch and make it publicly available.  Be sure to include your tested relatives in your tree, use the FTDNA "phasing" feature, and link tested relatives at Gedmatch. Note that your tree for 23andMe will actually be at

4. Communicate with your matches. Try to find common lines and, eventually, common ancestors.

5. Test your oldest relatives first. You may not have a chance to later, and their DNA is less diluted than yours.

6. If you are interested in your mother's deep ancestry, have an mtDNA test at FTDNA. This is less useful for genealogy than the Y or autosomal test, but it can be helpful in certain situations.

7. Take advantage of all the tools available to analyze DNA matches and expand/validate your tree.