Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Info on Timber

No, I've not joined the logging industry, I'd rather climb the trees :)

For those of you still struggling to understand why GEDMatch shows you some large ancestry matches that you then cannot find in your match list at Ancestry, have you heard about their timber algorithm?

Debbie Kennett posted on the DNA Newbies list a link to a blog post about it by an Ancestry employee so I thought it timely to mention it here.

What is actually most interesting about it are all the comments along the lines of stop making decisions on our behalf and give us our data, warts and all, AND a chromosome browser so that we can make up our own minds.

The usual advice holds, if you are interested in your autosomal DNA results, make the most of your investment, regardless of company, and upload the appropriate file to GEDMatch - full instructions available there once you've registered and clicked the appropriate file upload link.
This cartoon explains why you should, particularly if you tested on Ancestry.
Even if you aren't that interested in your matches, think of those of us that are.
In my experience (I've heaps of kits there), you wont be swamped by enquiries if you are worried about lack of time to respond.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

FTDNA Summer Sale

FTDNA's Sizzling Summer Sale starts now!
View this email in your browser
Summer is the perfect time for sun, fun and family…so jump into the gene pool now with sizzling hot savings from Family Tree DNA!


Lowest Price Ever!

Sort Your Paternal and Maternal Matches!
All of our DNA tests are designed to deliver superior results with the most advanced technology to tackle any genetic genealogy challenge. Plus, our new parental phasing tool allows users to further refine DNA matches like never before. The more matches the better, so be sure to tell family and friends and take advantage of this incredible offer.

For even more bundle specials, check out our Sizzling Summer Sale! With savings this hot, what better way to discover, match and connect more dots on your family tree! All that, and no subscription fees! For more information, visit

The Family Tree DNA Team
Shop Sale Now

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Leveraging DNA and trees

Many of you will have received notifications of the new partnership on the block, that between FamilyTreeDNA and Geni.
If you are comfortable with linking your DNA to your tree (which you may already have done at FamilyTreeDNA and Ancestry - but only for your matches), then you may care to explore.
The free account seems to work just fine, although I do confess that I renewed my expired Geni-Pro subscription as I just couldn't resist attaching some source records, tidying up a bit and making sure at least my direct pedigree is there, along with a bit more family around my brickwalls of particular interest.
To do the latter quickly, without re-keying, I used the SmartCopy chrome extension, to pick up my data already on WorldConnect.

As for the DNA:
Early days as teething problems are still being ironed out.
Geni is obviously like a swan, paddling rather hard under the surface, and already improvements are noticeable.
Initially nearly all my matches showed up as predicted 2nd to xth cousins, 2ndC 1times or 2times removed, but with only 8cM or so segments shared that seemed unlikely.
That has already been improved to more realistic relationship predictions - even if my matches continue to only be the distant cousins I have no hope of ever finding the tree links too.

One of the benefits I can see is in the ability to find potential candidates for y/mt/atDNA for any theory you may wish to prove, or brickwall to crack.
But the caveat here is that the current propagation of potential candidates is rather conservative for atDNA - WikiTree wins hands down on those stakes.

I confess to being a little grumpy that ySearch and mitoSearch were mined and the publicly available
data from there has been imported - which means I have heaps of duplicated trees to tidy up and merge*, AND any more current yDNA data subsequently linked from FamilyTreeDNA is not currently over-riding the ySearch imprecise haplogroups.
* where most of them are marked as <Private> (Surname here) to make that an interesting challenge, and I'd rather be researching, finding DNA candidates and merrily triangulating segments to find those matches that will crack my brickwalls.
See below for a subsequent update from Geni **

Check out Roberta Estes' DNA-explained blog for the official announcements and her exploration of the Terms of Service at Geni.
And the Legal Genealogist's two posts as she tries to sort out the differences between Geni and its owner, MyHeritage, and to explore the new offering.
The latter, part-ii, includes information on some of the privacy options, and has a number of very useful comments and answers.

Don't forget WikiTree. It has a much wider range of useful charts, the same One World Tree concept, and useful DNA links as well once you indicate which test you took, just no actual DNA matching.

** Subsequent Update
Geni Support Team, Jul 20, 1:12 PM PDT:
Hi Lorna,

Thank you for contacting Geni Support. The ancestors of Robert Richardson have been switched to public. We also recently started switching all other deceased imported profiles public which should help you and your family with merging duplicate profiles as well as other Geni users with merging duplicate profiles.

We are planning for Family Tree DNA to send emails to YSearch and Mitosearch users so they can claim their imported profiles on Geni, however we do not know when the intended emails will be sent.

Kind regards,
The Geni Support Team
FAQ, Community Help, Feature Requests & Bug Reports -

Friday, 15 July 2016

Dividing up your atDNA matches just got easier...

... provided of course that you have some close known relatives tested as matches
AND have provided FamilyTreeDNA with at least a basic tree
AND linked the known relatives into their proper place in the tree.

Pity that 2nd cousins don't seem to count in the phasing.
That's the closest I can get on one side of my family.
Update: 2nd cousins now do "count" towards the phased matches.

Some relevant blog posts for your bedtime reading:

Well worth the effort of providing at least a basic tree.
It doesn't have to be an all bells and whistles, fully sourced, documented tree.
All FTDNA needs are the relationships to you of your known tested relatives and matches.
All your matches need to know are relationships, and approximate dates and places.
If they want to know more there are heaps of places where trees can be shared and collaborated on - check out WikiTree (great DNA links), the FamilySearch FamilyTree, and Geni. All are free, although Geni does also have a few additional smarts for subscribers.
WikiTree and Geni both have useful DNA tools.

We don't own "our" ancestors, so why not share at least the basic info on them with others and document your shared ancestors'  lives together.
We owe it to them.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Ancestry autosomal DNA transfers to FTDNA

This in from FamilyTreDNA

Ancestry Autosomal Transfer update:

As you may know, Ancestry has changed to a new chip for their testing, and has also recently changed the format of their autosomal raw data files. This new format is currently incompatible with our database, preventing holders of these new file types from transferring their autosomal data to us. We are working to adjust and make those files compatible with our system as soon as possible, and we have this placed at a high priority so that those Ancestry testers who have tested under their new chip may transfer to our database.

Please note that this issue only affects those who have recently tested with Ancestry- people who have tested with Ancestry prior to the recent change in their testing chip are still able to transfer.

------- refers.

All who have invested in autosomal DNA testing should also consider uploading to GEDMatch (free) to maximise your investment in genetic genealogy.
GEDMatch has many wonderful tools for analysing DNA and finding matches with those who tested at other companies.
Ancestry test takers in particular may find this cartoon instructive:

Anyone concerned about privacy may be reassured by reading this:

Can't find a direct male line descendant for your surname of interest brickwall?
Try autosomal DNA testing and learn about all your ancestral lines along the way.

Upgrade sale/discounted bundles

Great time to explore your paternal lines.
Find a direct male line descendant for your surname of interest and grab these sale prices.

Also good to get an upgrade to at least Y-67 to see how your DNA37 matches hold up at the next level.

Dear Group Administrators:
The Father’s Day Sale is almost here!

As promised, we are offering discounts on upgrade pricing during our Father's Day Sale. Starting at midnight tonight and ending on Monday, June 20th at 11:59pm CDT, sale pricing for the discounted upgrades will be as follows:
HVR2 (mtDNA Plus)-FMS

In addition to the discounted upgrade pricing above, we also have discounts on these select testing bundles:
Y37 + Family Finder
Y67 + Family Finder
Comprehensive Genome (FF+Y67+FMS)

Please note that while invoiced orders (Bill me later option) can be placed during the sale, we will only be able to honor the sale price for those orders if they order are paid by the end of the sale.

As always, thank you for your work with your projects and your support. We appreciate you! 

The Family Tree DNA Team

Wednesday, 25 May 2016