Friday, 17 February 2017

Transfers into FamilyTreeDNA

This is indeed something we've been waiting for.
Points to note:
  • You cannot transfer an Ancestry or 23andme test to an account that already had a FamilyFinder test, and anyway, 
  • if you already have a FamilyFinder test at FamilyTreeDNA there is no real benefit in transferring an Ancestry test as well - it just duplicates results and clutters up match lists needlessly
  • FamilyTreeDNA requires an individual account per kit, but if you do already have an FTDNA kit number for eg a yDNA (direct male line) or mtDNA (direct female line but NOT atDNA (autosomal DNA aka FamilyFinder which is what is being referred to here), then yes your Ancestry or 23andme kit can be transferred into the same kit number.
  • Expect delays initially as data cannot be processed immediately. The Ancestry kit I wanted most to be able to see segment data for has been transferred with attempts to see the match list advising it was processing and to trry again for the match list in 24 hours. It took less.
  • Unlocking the more recent Ancestry and 23andme tests will show your matches up to predicted 5th cousins (shows as third to fifth cousin). To see the smaller matches testing at FTDNA is recommended, and a reduced price of $59 offered for that - which has the added benefit of being able to add eg yDNA testing to the same kit for males to explore their direct male line ancestry.
  • All on FTDNA should see an increase in their match lists as previous unlocked transfers, and new transfers, unlocked or not, are showing in the match lists already
This is a rightly popular option we've been waiting for.
Please encourage your Ancestry test takers in particular to use this transfer and take advantage of the ability to actually check where and who else they match.
None of this negates the benefit of GEDMatch - your match list on FamilyTreeDNA can only show you people who have tested on, or transferred to, FamilyTreeDNA.
Pay the $19 and actually see the segments of DNA involved!
Also refer to this post by Roberta Estes (DNAExplained blog)

The announcement below was received by project admins today.
Dear Project Administrators,
You’ve all been waiting for it, and it’s finally here - transfers for 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 files!
Here are the details, point by point.
  • Customers can now transfer 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 files in addition to the 23andMe© V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 files that Family Tree DNA accepted previously. MyHeritage and Genographic transfers will be supported in the coming weeks.
  • Family Tree DNA still does not accept 23andMe© processed prior to November 2010. A Family Finder test will need to be purchased.
  • 23andMe© V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 now receive a full list of matches and the ability to use the Matrix feature FOR FREE. For only $19, the customer can unlock the Chromosome Browser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins.
  • 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 receive all but the most speculative matches (6th to remote cousins), also for free. After transferring, if the customer wants to receive speculative matches, they will have to submit a sample and have a Family Finder run at the reduced price of $59.  
  • Matches should take somewhere between one and 24 hours to appear, depending on the volume of tests in the autosomal pipeline.
  • myOrigins update will be released in the coming weeks. Until then transfers will include only broad populations.
  • Additionally, all previously transferred files that have not been unlocked will receive their matches and have access to the Matrix feature for free as long as the release form is signed. These kits will be also be able to unlock the other Family Finder features for $19. If the transfer was on a kit with another product where the release form has already been signed, then the matches will appear with no further action necessary.
  • The Autosomal Transfer webpage has been enhanced to include a new image and a FAQ section. The FAQ section is displayed towards the bottom of the page.
  • If a customer tries to transfer the same autosomal file a second time, a message will be displayed that the file is a duplicate and will list the kit number of the original kit.
  • The main Autosomal Transfer topic in the Learning Center has been updated. This topic contains the most recent information and now includes all transfer subtopics on the same page. Additional FAQ information will be added to this topic as needed in the future.

As always, we appreciate your work with your projects! Thank you!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

BigY "matches"

As a complete layperson when it comes to interpreting BigY matches, I rely on the people on the DNA forums,, and the wonderful work of Alex Williamson and his BigTree (for R-P312 and sub branches). Wish there was an equivalent to Alex for I1-Z60!

This post is me thinking out loud as I explore why the yDNA67 group of matching RUNCIMANs are showing up in the BigY Match lists for the yDNA67 group of matching FAIRBAIRNs.

Back when both projects began individual SNP testing we learnt that both were I-Z60, so on the same branch back within recorded history.
They subsequently diverged.

From FTDNA's Learning Centre on

Big Y – Matching

The Big Y – Results,  Matching tab displays your Big Y matches. A person is considered a match if they have four or less differences in SNPs with you.
Known SNP Difference   
This column displays the number of known SNPs within your subclade that you do not share with the specified match. The following values are possible:
  • 0 – Indicates that you share all known SNPs with the specified match.
  • 1 – Indicates that there is one known SNP in the subclade that you do not share with the specified match.
  • 2 – Indicates that there are two known SNPs in the subclade that you do not share with the specified match.
  • 3 – Indicates that there are three known SNPs in the subclade that you do not share with the specified match.
  • 4 – Indicates that there are four known SNPs in the subclade that you do not share with the specified match.


A subclade is a subgrouping in the haplogroups of the human genetic trees. This may be either the Y-chromosome tree or the mitochondrial tree. Subclades are more specific to a location or population group than the major branches (haplogroups).
Which I suppose explains how come the newly tested FAIRBAIRNs are showing up in the already tested RUNCIMANs matches and vice versa if you take "your subclade" back far enough, although I'm not altogether sure I consider 4000+ years before present a "match". Perhaps I'm too used to working with atDNA these days!
Both surname groups were I-Z60 back when we were doing individual SNP testing to advance down the tree, formed 4300 ybp according to YFull. 
But then the RUNCIMAN matches headed off down I-Z160 to their own newly created SNP I-Y22033 (YFull, formed 500 ybp).
We knew back at the individual SNP testing stage a while ago that the FAIRBAIRNs are I-Z140 (which YFull estimate as forming 4100 ybp)
A brief overview of some of this structure is available on DNASurnames under the I haplogroup chart which shows selected branches, the patriarch for the line, and the tested participants who agree to be so shown.  Branches can be expanded or collapsed for a better overview by clicking on the + - symbols.
Looking at the latest set of FAIRBAIRN BigY results, 5 of the 6 RUNCIMAN tests show in their match list as having 4 SNP differences PR1457 Z140 Z141 PF3832, with one not showing Z140 in their list!
Shared novel variants range from 30 to 41 for the RUNCIMAN matches, compared with 57 and 61 for the two other tested FAIRBAIRN matches with zero known SNP differences.
An interesting exercise in timeframes.
yDNA matches don't tend to appear in Autosomal match lists
BigY matches don't seem to appear in yDNA STR matches (although for this one I have noted some exceptions). 
Not at all sure what I've really learnt from here but it is fascinating watching the developments on the respective yDNA haplogroup trees at FTDNA, YFull and Alex's BigTree.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Discount time


In the spirit of the holidays, Family Tree DNA has slashed prices on our most popular products. Plus, we’re sending you free Holiday Rewards every week of the sale so you can apply your Rewards to the already reduced prices for a bonus discount!

Best of all, make the season even more special by sharing your Holiday Rewards with friends and family. You’ll receive bonus coupons every time you share, so ‘tis the season to share the joy and get rewards.

With holiday savings this huge, your DNA has met its match. But hurry, this coupon is valid for 7 days only! 

From our family to yours… Happy Holidays.

The Family Tree DNA Team
The discounted prices are visible at the normal product page
and spare coupons available are being added to a communal spreadsheet at 
In addition BigY is $50 off, with coupons providing further discounts.
Which is a great opportunity to place your direct male line of interest onto the tree of mankind AND contribute to the ongoing science of yDNA discovery.

If your pedigree has any of the surnames listed in the top right "related sites", do please join the relevant project to assist our overall understanding of connections between documented lines.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

MyHeritage Cont.

Some links about MyHeritage's planned DNA offerings:
Recent DNA announcements from MyHeritage:
As CeCe Moore (Your Genetic Genealogist) says, you may care to consider uploading your DNA from other companies while you still can.

I have not yet found a way of sharing a DNA match list with anyone, even if they are a member of your site - and have lodged a request that you can do so.
Update 14 Nov 2016:
To which, I received this response, which indicates it is one of the future changes:
As a webmaster (site creator), you are able to upload DNA files for yourself as well as your family members and see only these files.
As a family site member, you can only upload and see your own DNA file. You will also be able to see if there is a file that has already been uploaded by the site webmaster.

In the future, if you choose to participate in DNA matching, you can decide if you want to share your DNA information with potential relatives (users whose DNA information matches yours).

Sunday, 6 November 2016

MyHeritage DNA out of Beta, now live

MyHeritage have announced they've gone live with their (revised) DNA matching:

My 477 matches from the beta are now reduced to 12, with one of them there simply to record that we had been in contact, but is now clearly shown as "Not related"
Sorry though I am to have lost matches, most of whom weren't actually matches anyway,  that does seem rather a drastic drop!

But at least I recognise most of them, and now have much greater confidence that they may well be real matches.

Prior post,. now redundant, about the Beta matching refers.

Cousin Bill now only has 15, 2 of whom are people in contact during the Beta now showing as Not Related.
My maternal Aunt more interestingly has 20, three showing as Not related because of contact during the beta.
Pity that one of the latter is a papertrail relative (4th cousin once Removed) and that the other maternal aunt does match him :)

Friday, 14 October 2016

FTDNA tree change

Something we've been waiting for a long time.

FTDNA have released an update that replaces the hard to navigate "ancestry view" with a quickly viewed landscape pedigree.

Adding that the glitch that causes matches to have the tree symbol activated (in your match list) when they only have their profile created but no tree, is still being worked on. Which is also good news.

If you are a fan of the DNArboretum extension to Chrome to get a quick overview of the pedigree of the match you are looking at, you'll be pleased to know that it works on the new landscape format, with the dates/places available on all as before, even though the pedigree view on the screen hasn't room to show that data at the earlier generations without your clicking on the person concerned.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

MyHeritage DNA "discoveries" - updated - again

Nov 2016 Update - MyHeritage out of beta - problems below fixed
An email arrived from MyHeritage overnight advised me that my DNA matches had arrived for the three kits I'd uploaded there, my usual trio of DNA family guinea pigs: myself, a maternal aunt, one of my closest paternal cousins (2nd, I don't have any closer paternal relatives).

I'm shown as having 477 DNA matches listed under my Discoveries tab from the link in the email.
In comparison:
FTDNA shows me 936 matches
23andme 1719 but the bulk of those are anonymous; only 200 open sharing; 195 previously public, not yet shared with; 359 sharing)
Ancestry too many to count, the VAST majority of them very small matches, although the latter does include some known relatives I've found as a result of a tree search having found them on GEDMatch with reasonable sized segments!

Top of the MyHeritage list are the two known relatives.
Following them the top six matches showed their largest segment match as being over 30cMs, and I only recognized ONE name.
Now I'm a double junkie, dna and genie, and work with the matches on all three companies for myself and a heap of family kits.
So I was (very) surprised.*

The report seems to be ordered by shared DNA in descending order ob cMs within the overall percent (with no immediately obvious way of filtering the report or obtaining a usable summary but I've only just started looking).
More 30cMs+ segments appeared further down the list.

Comparing results with other companies:

My maternal aunt is shown on MyHeritage as
Possible relationship Aunt

Shared DNA
23.7% (1,716.9 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
109.5 cM

FamilyTreeDNA reports my aunt as
Total shared 1642.96
Largest segment 120cMs

Shared 24.3%
Shared segments 49
Largest 124 cM

Looking at the name I recognized
Possible relationship 3C to 3C1R
Shared DNA
0.8% (56.1 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
31.2 cM

Shared 22%
Segments 1
Size 16cM  (Gedmatch 16.5)

Another as I scrolled well down the list for familiar names:
Total 45.73cMs
Largest 16.25 (1 segment)

Shared DNA
0.6% (46.1 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
17.1 cM

so that's comparable between sites.

So far, this has not imbued me with confidence that this will be a useful site, but it has to be said these are early days, and on the positive side, I could simply not have noticed all those new closer matches - well close by my standards outside the known relatives recruited to test :)

I do find MyHeritage trees completely and utterly unnavigable.
At least Geni has a pedigree view, as does FamilyTreeDNA although the latter does need the DNArboretum Chrome extension to be readable
And there's always with it's wonderful array of DNA focused charts.

Kitty Cooper has also blogged about MyHertiage DNA matches:

* Updated 7th Sep 2016
I started again at the top looking at the matches I didn't recognize, searching my projects and match data for anyone who may match them (I manage several projects and manage many kits).
First 2, not recognized anywhere.
The third, supposedly a 3C to 3C1R and sharing

Shared DNA
0.8% (56.3 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
31.9 cM 

with me might be someone who matches some of my matches on 23andme but hasn't appeared in mine unless anonymous there - which they can't be as that data came from the old CoA report with segment data.
Next is the first known match above, 31cM on MyHeritage 16cM on 23andme/GEDMatch
Then 3 not found anywhere, or insufficient information to determine if the same person
Then another 3C - 3C1R

Shared DNA
0.7% (52.8 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
24.8 cM

Where a match could be found on FTDNA identified by the trees attached on both MyHeritage and FTDNA. But the match on FTDNA is to one of my distant cousins, not me.
Lowering my search criteria from 10cM to 7 brought up a kit I help with, not related to me, but still no match to me.
Next 2 couldn't find.
The next might be a 26cM match to a distant cousin of mine on FTDNA but no candidates presented themselves for me and no tree was attached to confirm the id.
Next 6 couldn't be positively identified
We're still at 20 cMs and up here.
Then a
Shared DNA
0.7% (51.4 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
25.6 cM

looked to be found on FTDNA - but again as a match to another person, not known to be related to me.
Next couldn't be found, but the next looked promising.
Shared DNA
0.7% (51.2 cM)
Shared segments
Largest segment
30.7 cM

Name unusual enough to be the one showing up on FTDNA as a match around 13cMs to three of my 2nd cousins. But no match to me there down to 7cMs
No tree on MyHeritage but a match on Ancestry (via GEDMatch) to one of the above cousins.

I gave up checking at this point, rather disillusioned about the discrepancies/accuracy of the "match" criteria on MyHeritage - but on the plus side, will follow up on this last match, even though only 13cM on FTDNA/16cM on GEDMatch, as anyone matching that set of 2nd cousins always shows promise to chip away at some of the brickwalls that got me into DNA testing in the first place.

** Updated 9 Sep 2016
(as I posted to the DNA Newbies list)
as saying that they're taking all data, whatever build, from whichever company, to the same base set of data, imputing the bits that they haven't received from the kit you've uploaded.
(so given a choice you should upload the one from the company with the most tested SNPs)

Surely if you've tested on all three companies, and can't find the top matches in any of your match lists, the imputations of the missing bits to this common standard for comparison of eg your FTDNA test uploaded, can't be correct if it doesn't match the values from your independent test at ancestry or 23andme.

I'll keep looking further down my "match" list to see if I get any better hit rate of recognition.