Welcome! We meet the second Tuesday of most months at 7pm Eastern Time, virtually via Zoom while we’re still social distancing. Come join us! Watch your GRIVA newsletter for registration links a week or two before each meeting.

June 13, 2023: The Men Who Contributed to our DNA

In honor of Father’s Day, we’ll talk about the men who contributed to our DNA, and how using Y-DNA can help with some of our genealogical puzzles.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/GRIVADNAJun2023

May 9, 2023: The Women Who Contributed to our DNA

Tracing our female ancestors can be difficult. We explored how mitochondrial DNA, X-DNA, and autosomal DNA can help.

Here are some helpful links, some of which we discussed.

New blog post FTDNA posted the day after our talk: “Genealogy Secret Weapon: How Using mtDNA Can Solve Family Mysteries” – https://blog.familytreedna.com/mtdna/

Some news we discussed:

Autosomal DNA:

Learning about X-DNA and some inheritance charts: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2008/12/21/unlocking-the-genealogical-secrets-of-the-x-chromosome/

Debbie Parker Wayne’s fillable X-DNA inheritance charts: http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2013/10/x-dna-inheritance-charts.html

Using DNA Painter’s trees:

Mitochondrial DNA:

The Legal Genealogist’s “Finding Margaret’s Mother” series:


Read about the Million Mito Project here: https://blog.familytreedna.com/join-the-million-mito-project/

You can also upload your mtDNA to http://www.mitoydna.org

Blaine Bettinger’s blog post about not sharing mtDNA with his own mother: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2018/04/21/heteroplasmies-polycytosine-stretches-mtdna-case-study/

Explore information from FTDNA:

When viewing the articles at FTDNA, you can also explore the other items offered in the menu on the left.

April 11, 2023: Working with Shared Matches

The testing companies call them different things, but they all provide lists of shared matches – people who share DNA with both us and a particular person on our DNA match list. We can learn quite a bit from exploring these matches and what they have to tell us!

One thing to keep in mind when working with shared matches at Ancestry is the “20 cM rule” – see this fun quiz to learn about when the 20 cM rule does and does not apply: http://twigsofyore.blogspot.com/2018/06/quiz-ancestrydna-shared-matches.html

Blaine Bettinger has a blog post about triangulation that does also illustrate some important concepts about shared matches: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2016/06/19/a-triangulation-intervention/

Ancestry has an article about the custom groups (“dots”): https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Grouping-and-Filtering-AncestryDNA-Matches

Dana Leeds has a blog post about ordering the dots: https://www.danaleeds.com/the-order-of-ancestrydnas-colored-dots/

We talked about the AutoClusters at MyHeritage. More information can be found here: https://education.myheritage.com/article/autoclusters-for-dna-matches/

MyHeritage’s tool was developed by the man who created Genetic Affairs, which also automatically clusters matches at FTDNA and 23andMe: http://geneticaffairs.com/

The DNAGedcom Client has a similar tool called the Collins Leeds Method. Here’s more about that tool: https://www.danaleeds.com/getting-started-clm/

March 14, 2023: New Tools at the Testing Companies

This month, we explored some new features and updates at Ancestry, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage. Here are some links to find more information about some of the things we mentioned.

23andMe‘s Family Tree feature that attempts to show you how you may be related to your matches based on DNA they share with you and each other:
Though not new, this can answer some questions if you’re new to exploring your tree: https://customercare.23andme.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045637854-How-to-Build-and-Edit-your-23andMe-Family-Tree
Also, 23andMe has added new genetic groups for those with Spanish and Portuguese ancestry: https://blog.23andme.com/articles/23andme-adds-more-detail-for-spanish-and-portuguese-ancestry




A word about prediction tools in general. Though some claim to be more “accurate” because they use ages or segment information along with cM information, and one may get us closer to the actual relationship than others, NO TOOL can tell us the exact relationship from DNA alone, not even for a parent-child relationship. We ALWAYS need documentary evidence to go along with the DNA. See this post from the Evidence Explained blog: https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/documentation-vs-DNA-false-argument

Also, during the Q&A, we talked about how the prediction tools typically assume you’re related in only one way. Here are a couple of projects crowdsourcing data for people related multiple ways, such as through endogamy or pedigree collapse:

Happy exploring!

February 14, 2023: Using the Tools at DNA Painter, Part 3

We spent the last couple of sessions learning about the tools at DNA Painter, but did not get to them all! This month, we talked about some of the other tools at DNA Painter, many involving bulk uploads. Here are some helpful links:

Use your chromosome map to explore traits in your DNA: https://blog.dnapainter.com/blog/use-your-chromosome-map-to-explore-traits-in-your-dna/

How do you use the import function? https://dnapainter.com/help/import

Painting Your Populations: https://blog.dnapainter.com/blog/painting-your-populations/

AncestryDNA Chromosome Painter Segments: https://dnapainter.com/blog/new-ancestrydna-chromosome-painter-segments/

Cluster Auto Painter: https://dnapainter.com/blog/cluster-auto-painter-unravel-your-dna-test-results/

Bucketing Tool: https://dnapainter.com/blog/bucketing-tool-at-dna-painter/

Library of Matches: https://dnapainter.com/blog/introducing-the-library-of-matches/

And even over three months, we couldn’t cover everything, so we highly recommend exploring their blog: https://dnapainter.com/blog/ and signing up for their free monthly newsletter: https://dnapainter.com/help/mailing-faq

We also reviewed some of the features we spoke about the last two months, so we encourage you keep scrolling to see the links we shared previously.

January 10, 2023: Using the Tools at DNA Painter, Part 2

This month we talked about the chromosome mapping tools at DNA Painter.

Here are some links with information about some of what we talked about:

You do need segment information with your matches to do chromosome mapping, so if you’ve tested at Ancestry, you’ll have to test at one of the companies that do have segment information for matches. You can also download your raw DNA data from Ancestry and upload it to FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage for free (with a small fee for some of the tools). You can also upload to GEDmatch, but read their privacy policies and make sure you’re okay with their policies regarding sharing DNA with law enforcement. These links provide information on how to get your data from Ancestry and how to upload it to FTDNA or MyHeritage:

FTDNA: https://www.familytreedna.com/autosomal-transfer
MyHeritage: https://faq.myheritage.com/en/article/how-can-i-upload-a-dna-file-to-myheritage

DNA Painter: http://www.dnapainter.com
Help: https://dnapainter.com/help
Blog: https://dnapainter.com/blog

Understanding DNA Inheritance: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Understanding-Inheritance?language=en_US

Blaine Bettinger: “A Triangulation Intervention” https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2016/06/19/a-triangulation-intervention/

DNA Painter’s tool to estimate Ancestry ethnicity chromosome painting: https://dnapainter.com/blog/new-ancestrydna-chromosome-painter-segments/

Jonny Perl’s Introduction to DNA Painter webinar: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=955

Blaine Bettinger’s YouTube video about DNA Painter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjcJxywTZI

December 13, 2022: Using the Tools at DNA Painter, Part 1

DNA Painter began as a website allowing you to map your chromosomes, keeping track of which segments of your DNA you inherited from which ancestors. It has now expanded to include several other tools to help us analyze our DNA, our matches, and our trees. In December, we talked about some of those “other” tools, and in January, we’ll talk about the chromosome mapping tools.

Registration link for Part 2:
January 10: https://tinyurl.com/GRIVADNAJan2023

As much as we wanted to, we couldn’t talk about every single piece of every feature as there’s only so much that can be said in an hour and a half! Here are some links to learn more about some of the things we talked about tonight:

General DNA Painter links:
DNA Painter’s blog: https://dnapainter.com/blog/
Jonny Perl webinar: https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar/four-ways-dna-painter-can-help-with-your-family-history-research/

The Shared CM Project:

What Are The Odds probability tool:
Jonny Perl webinar: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1288

Ancestral Trees:

Coverage Tool:
LegacyTree Genealogists blog post explaining coverage: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/introduction-autosomal-dna-coverage
LegacyTree Genealogists blog post about the new tool and how to use it: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/genealogy-tools-dna-painter-coverage

November 8, 2022: Summon Your Inner Sherlock Holmes

Last month, we talked about identifying matches when we don’t have much to go on. This month, we continued talking about our detective work, guided by some of Sherlock Holmes’s philosophies along the way.

Here are some links to things we talked about tonight:

DNA Painter’s new Coverage tool:
Blog post from DNA Painter: https://dnapainter.com/blog/how-to-use-the-new-dna-coverage-tool/
LegacyTree Genealogists blog post explaining coverage: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/introduction-autosomal-dna-coverage
LegacyTree Genealogists blog post about the new tool and how to use it: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/genealogy-tools-dna-painter-coverage

Thomas Jones’s “The Perils of Source Snobbery”: http://bcgcertification.org/skillbuilding-perils-of-source-snobbery/

Article about Sherlock Holmes and Empathy (notice links at the end to other articles about lessons to be learned from Sherlock Holmes): https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/lessons-from-sherlock-holmes-from-perspective-taking-to-empathy/

Blaine Bettinger’s “Putting the Milkman Joke to Rest” blog post: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2019/03/25/putting-the-milkman-joke-to-rest/

At the beginning, we chatted about using Geni and DNA. This explains how to link your FTDNA results to Geni: https://help.geni.com/hc/en-us/articles/229707687-How-do-I-link-Family-Tree-DNA-test-results-to-my-profile-

At the end, we talked about small segments. See Blaine Bettinger’s blog post: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2022/08/07/an-in-depth-analysis-of-the-use-of-small-segments-as-genealogical-evidence/

October 11, 2022: Identifying DNA Matches

Amazon’s Prime Day Sales are October 11-12, and DNA kits are on sale! Ancestry and 23andMe are 1/2 off, while FamilyTreeDNA’s Family Finder is $49. You do have to be a Prime member to get the prices. You can get a 30 day free trial if you’re not a member. If you’re shopping the sales for DNA kits or anything else, consider using GRIVA’s Amazon Smile link – click http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1258689 and then do your Amazon shopping. We’ll get a small benefit at no additional cost to you.

AncestryDNA has a new feature to help sort your DNA matches. We talked about that and other tools that can help identify your DNA matches, with or without attached trees!

Here are some helpful links:

and FamilyTree DNA’s Family Tree Matching feature: https://help.familytreedna.com/hc/en-us/sections/360001292676

Also, some tips on identifying those pesky matches with no or small trees. They’re both a little dated, but still have some helpful information:

Blaine Bettinger’s “Are You Doing Everything…” blog post: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2017/03/11/are-you-doing-everything-to-identify-your-matches/
RootsTech video with Diahan Southard and Lisa Louise Cooke: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2018-02-1010-a-dna-match-with-no-tree-no-problem
Family Tree Magazine article: https://www.familytreemagazine.com/premium/no-tree-dna-matches/

September 13, 2022: Using Chromosome Browsers

Last month, we talked about the ethnicity chromosome painters at Ancestry, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA – tools that show where in your DNA the company found DNA that corresponds to various ethnicity regions. This month, we looked at chromosome browsers at 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FTDNA, which allow you to see what DNA you share with your DNA matches. We’ll also explore using the two tools together to learn more about our ancestors.

Here are some links to resources that were discussed:

Ancestry’s new ethnicity updates: https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/ancestrydna-announces-new-regions-and-increased-precision-big-improvements-members-around
23andMe’s new ethnicity updates: https://blog.23andme.com/ancestry-reports/ancestry-composition-update-china/
DNA Painter’s Shared cM Project Tool Update: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2022/08/27/enhancements-to-the-shared-cm-project-at-dnapainter-com/
Submit to the Shared cM Project here: https://tinyurl.com/SCPSubmit

Chromosome browsers:
Blaine Bettinger: A Triangulation Intervention: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2016/06/19/a-triangulation-intervention/
Jonny Perl: An Introduction to DNA Painter webinar (FREE): https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=955
How to Use Chromosome Browsers for Genealogy: https://education.myheritage.com/article/how-to-use-chromosome-browsers-for-genealogy/
In response to a question about traits, I showed DNA Painter’s tool: https://blog.dnapainter.com/blog/use-your-chromosome-map-to-explore-traits-in-your-dna/

August 9, 2022: Chromosome Painters and other Ethnicity Tools

Ancestry recently released a tool that displays where on your chromosomes they have identified your ethnicity estimates, joining 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA, who have similar tools. We discussed them all!

Here are some of the links mentioned during the meeting:

Ancestry’s new chromosome painter:

Learn about Ancestry’s reference panels here: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-Reference-Panel
Learn more about Ancestry’s percentage ranges here: https://www.ancestry.com/cs/dna-help/ethnicity/bootstrapping
Ancestry’s white paper with scientific details about their ethnicity analysis: https://www.ancestrycdn.com/support/us/2021/09/ethnicity2021whitepaper.pdf
(Note: an upcoming update to ethnicity estimates may result in a new white paper, so bookmark https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-White-Papers which will link to the most recent white papers)

Learn about 23andMe here:

DNA Painter’s tool to estimate start & stop positions for Ancestry ethnicity segments:

FTDNA’s Chromosome Painter:

FTDNA’s Ethnicity White Paper: https://blog.familytreedna.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/myOrigins_3_WhitePaper.pdf

Also, one of the questions during the Q&A at the end was about testing artifacts such as envelopes or hair or teeth. Though my recommendation is to wait it out a bit for the technology to improve (and for prices to come down!), these are two companies offering the service now:

To the Letter DNA – https://www.totheletterdna.com/
Keepsake DNA, now acquired by Intermountain Forensics: https://www.intermountainforensics.com/post/keepsake-genetic-genealogy-files-coming-today

Always read the terms & conditions before sending your priceless possessions. Learn what they can and cannot provide and how they may use your data. Are they just providing it to you, or are they maintaining some sort of database and who gets to access it, if so.

And if you take me up on the suggestion to hang onto it, this blog post offers some great advice for preserving your items in the meantime: https://thefamilycurator.com/how-to-preserve-and-test-old-letters-for-grandmas-dna/

Here’s a blog post from Blaine Bettinger with his experiences testing letters: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2018/11/19/testing-artifacts-obtain-dna-evidence-genealogical-research/

July 12, 2022: Relationships, Predictions, and DNA

Understanding how people are related to each other and how much DNA those relationships should share is key to working with DNA in your genealogy research. We learned how to work with family structures and shared DNA, and how to spot some myths and misconceptions.

Here are some of the links we talked about:

FTDNA’s new Discover tool to learn more about your Y-DNA haplogroup: https://blog.familytreedna.com/introducing-familytreedna-discover/

MyHeritage’s Theories of Family Relativity update: https://blog.myheritage.com/2022/06/new-update-to-theory-of-family-relativity/

A cousin chart to help you determine your relationships with people: https://www.familysearch.org/en/blog/cousin-chart

ISOGG’s chart showing relationships and expected/average amounts of DNA based on models: https://isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_statistics

The Shared cM Project:

Blaine Bettinger’s blog posts exploring outliers and unexpected amounts of DNA for relationships, and how to do more research to tell the difference, avoiding confirmation bias:

June 14, 2022 Meeting: Father’s Day: Y-DNA

In honor of Father’s Day, we talked about the men who contributed to our DNA, and how using Y-DNA can help with some of our genealogical puzzles.

Here are some of the links mentioned during the meeting:

David Vance has a three-part video series talking about Y-DNA starting with this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqSN1A44lYU

He also has a book: The Genealogist’s Guide to Y-DNA Testing for Genetic Genealogy, which is available both as a paperback book or in a Kindle version. Here’s the link to find it on Amazon – it may be available elsewhere as well: https://www.amazon.com/Genealogists-Guide-Testing-Genetic-Genealogy/dp/B085HQXF4Z

I was asked about a book that explains Y-DNA for beginners – Blaine Bettinger’s The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy covers all of the types of DNA we use for genealogy and is an excellent starting place: https://www.amazon.com/Family-Guide-Testing-Genetic-Genealogy/dp/1440300577

Haplogroups map – http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf

A SNP Tracker I used to show the ages of haplogroups. This website may also be a way to find out origins of a particular haplogroup: http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html

I also used the Genetic Homeland DNA Pedigree tool to show differences between two specific haplogroups: https://www.genetichomeland.com/welcome/dnapedigree.asp

The Morley tool for estimating a haplogroup from Ancestry autosomal DNA data: https://ytree.morleydna.com/extractFromAutosomal

The YSEQ Clade Finder tool, which estimates a haplogroup from autosomal DNA data from Ancestry, 23andMe, or MyHeritage: https://cladefinder.yseq.net/

The form to submit to Blaine Bettinger’s crowdsharing project to examine Y-STR ranges for known relationships: https://tinyurl.com/YSTRResults

May 10, 2022 Meeting: Mother’s Day: Mitochondrial and X-DNA

Tracing our female ancestors can be difficult. On Tuesday, May 10, we explored how mitochondrial DNA, X-DNA, and autosomal DNA can help. We also talked about AncestryDNA’s new Ethnicity Inheritance feature!

Here are some links related to what we discussed:

Ancestry 1950 Search Index Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UEVz6W_Sg8

Ancestry Ethnicity Inheritance:



The Legal Genealogist’s “Finding Margaret’s Mother series:

Read about the Million Mito Project here: https://blog.familytreedna.com/join-the-million-mito-project/

April 12, 2022 Meeting: More of YOUR Case Studies

In April, we continued answering member questions.

Here are some of the links we discussed:


Ancestry’s suggestion box: https://www.ancestry.com/cs/suggestions
They of course cannot implement every suggestion, but they don’t know that we want a feature unless we tell them.

Next month: Mitochondrial DNA and X-DNA! Register at https://tinyurl.com/GRIVADNAMay2022

March 8, 2022 Meeting: YOUR Case Studies

In March, we focused on member questions. We got some interesting questions and hopefully we learned a lot from them!

Here are some of the links that were mentioned:

February 8, 2022 Meeting: Case Studies

This month, we looked at some examples of some puzzles solved using DNA matches and results.

Here are some of the links mentioned during the meeting:

January 11, 2022 Meeting: Learning from Our DNA Matches

We can learn a lot from our matches, even if they have no trees or trees that don’t agree with ours, but we have to do some work to listen to what they’re telling us.

The Shared cM Tool at DNA Painter: https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 – helps us determine how we may be related to a match based on how much DNA they share with us

Here are some resources to work with matches with no or small (or “wrong”) trees:

Explanations of why we won’t match all of our cousins:

A quiz illustrating when Ancestry’s “20cM rule” for shared matches applies and when it does not: http://twigsofyore.blogspot.com/2018/06/quiz-ancestrydna-shared-matches.html

We had some questions about Ancestry’s “Timber” algorithm and why we’ll see different amounts of DNA. Read more about that here:

December 14, 2021 Meeting: New Year’s DNA Resolutions

As we come to the close of the year and look forward to a new one, we’ll discuss some ideas for working with our DNA results, putting to use some of the features we’ve been exploring over the past few months.

Here are some links to things discussed during the December meeting:

November 9, 2021 Meeting: Getting the Most out of Your MyHeritage Results

In November, we talked about MyHeritage and the features of that site. Here are some helpful articles:

The labeling tool is now available! See https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/11/introducing-labels-for-dna-matches-on-myheritage/ for more information!

October 12, 2021 Meeting: Getting the Most out of Your FamilyTreeDNA Results

In October, we talked about the different types of tests done at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) and features of the website. Here are some handy articles to help you use the site.

September 14, 2021 Meeting: Getting the Most out of Your 23andMe Results

In September, we did a deep dive into the features at 23andMe.

Here are some helpful links – some shared during the meting, and a few additional ones that may be helpful.

First, from the news discussion:

Now, some 23andMe links that weren’t discussed, but may be helpful:

August 10, 2021 Meeting: Getting the Most out of Your AncestryDNA Results

Last month, we spent some time exploring some of the new features at the various testing companies and third-party tools. For the next few months, we’re going to do some deeper dives into each of the testing companies. If you’re new to testing or haven’t tried the company yet, you’ll get a good overview. If you have tested, you can get some ideas on how to best use the tools each site has to offer. We started with AncestryDNA.

Here are some helpful links – some shared during the meeting, and a few additional ones that may be helpful.

July 13, 2021 Meeting: New DNA Features and Tools

FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch have recently redesigned their sites, and Ancestry, MyHeritage, and DNA Painter have added some new features. We explored it all!

Here are links to some articles that explain more about some of the additions and changes we discussed:

Amazon Prime Day Sale is June 21-22!

Amazon is holding its annual Prime Day sale this June 21 and 22. Historically, 23andMe and Ancestry kits have been on sale during this time, so they may be again. It’s certainly worth checking out. Check on both days if you can, whether for DNA kits or anything else, since sometimes items are only on sale for part of the time.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the sale, please consider using GRIVA’s Amazon Smile link (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1258689). If you click your link just before doing your shopping, GRIVA gets a little benefit, at no additional cost to you.

June 8, 2021 Meeting: Father’s Day/Y-DNA

In honor of Father’s Day, on June 8, we discussed Y-DNA, the DNA on the Y chromosome that is passed from father to son.

Before I list links to things I mentioned during the talk, I want to point out a 3-part video series on YouTube from David Vance, talking about Y-DNA. The first in the series can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqSN1A44lYU, and you can find the other two videos from there. If you’re really interested in Y-DNA, he has also written a book: The Genealogist’s Guide to Y-DNA Testing for Genetic Genealogy, which is available both as a paperback book or in a Kindle version. Here’s the link to find it on Amazon – it may be available elsewhere as well: https://www.amazon.com/Genealogists-Guide-Testing-Genetic-Genealogy/dp/B085HQXF4Z

Here are some links discussed tonight:

Remember that FamilyTreeDNA typically runs a sale around Father’s Day. Check their website in a few days or follow them on social media to see if/when they have a sale.

May 11, 2021 Meeting: Mother’s Day

Tracing our female ancestors can be difficult. On Tuesday, May 11, we explored how mitochondrial DNA, X-DNA, and autosomal DNA can help.

Here are some helpful articles:

April 13, 2021 Meeting: Ethics and Privacy for DNA Testing

As genealogists, we’re used to the thrill of the hunt, but when it comes to DNA and the relationships it can reveal of living people, we need to consider that not everyone shares that thrill. We’ll explore ethical challenges, permission, and privacy when it comes to DNA testing ourselves and others.

If you’re purchasing DNA kits for DNA Day or anything else from Amazon, please consider using our Amazon Smile link. Click the link first (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1258689) and then shop to your heart’s content. Your purchase would then benefit GRIVA at no additional cost to you.

Here are some links discussed during the meeting:

The day after our meeting, I learned of a new academic article, “Four Misconceptions About Investigative Genetic Genealogy,” where Blaine Bettinger is one of the authors.

Next month’s meeting will be May 11. Register at https://tinyurl.com/GRIVADNAMay2021

March 9, 2021 Meeting: Sorting, Grouping, and Clustering Your Matches

Shared matches are the most powerful tool we have when working with DNA matches, known or unknown. We talked about what shared matches are and how to make use of them!

AncestryDNA and FTDNA Family Finder kits are on sale through St. Patrick’s Day! The tests are on sale through each company’s website as well as through Amazon. If you want to help GRIVA, consider clicking our Amazon Smile link before doing your Amazon shopping. GRIVA gets a small percentage of your sale (on DNA kits or anything else!) at no additional cost to you.

Here are some of the links shared during the meeting:

Happy grouping and clustering!

February 9, 2021 Meeting: Correlating Your DNA Matches with Your Tree

We have all of these DNA matches, but what do they mean? We’ll explore comparing your DNA matches and your tree, how to determine when they do and don’t align, and work toward identifying our genetic ancestors.

Here are some links shared during the meeting (plus a few that go with what we talked about!):

January 12, 2021 Meeting: New Year, New Matches

Maybe you’ve got new results, or maybe you tested awhile ago, but most of us will start to get new matches as those holiday sale kits get used. On Tuesday, January 12 at 7pm ET, we’ll explore working those new matches, with some emphasis on basic concepts that can either teach us the first time or serve as a reminder for those who’ve been at it for awhile.

Here are some links shared during the meeting:

I had also recommended availing yourself of everything available at your original testing site before considering uploading elsewhere, though the latter is encouraged once you’re comfortable with the concepts of DNA and matching. Here are the companies’ support and learning sites:

December 8, 2020 Meeting: ThruLines, Hints, and Theories

Hints based on trees can provide great breakthroughs or lead us astray. They should neither be accepted blindly nor shunned without even a look. Join us as we explore these tools and get some ideas for critically evaluating the clues they provide.

Here are some links shared during the meeting:

and a few links about ThruLines and Theories of Family Relativity:

November 10, 2020 Meeting: Chromosome Mapping

This month, we explored chromosome mapping, or the process of assigning inherited segments of DNA to the ancestors from whom we inherited them.

Here are some of the links shared during the meeting:

October 13, 2020 Meeting: Identifying Unknown Ancestors

Building on last month’s topic of “Quick & Dirty Trees,” we talked about using those trees to identify potential common ancestors with our matches.

Here are some of the links shared during the meeting:

October 13 also begins Amazon’s Prime Day sale, which often includes DNA testing kits from Ancestry and 23andMe. Whether you’re shopping for DNA kits or for anything else, please consider clicking GRIVA’s Amazon Smile link (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1258689) and signing in before shopping. This gives GRIVA a small percentage of your purchase, at no additional cost to you. You can help GRIVA just by shopping!

September 8, 2020 Meeting: Quick & Dirty Trees

Genetic genealogists spend a lot of time building trees for their matches. Learn how to use research trees to help figure out how matches fit in your tree… or how you fit in theirs! Here are a couple of recommended videos for additional viewing:

August 11, 2020 Meeting: Targeted Testing

Do you have a difficult research question? We’ll explore how testing specific relatives can help solve some puzzles. How to choose those relatives? We’ll talk about that, too.

July 14, 2020 Meeting: Ethnicity Estimates

The most heavily marketed aspect of DNA testing for genealogy is the company’s biogeographical or “ethnicity” estimates. As genealogists, we’re more interested in our match lists, but the often misunderstood and sometimes misleading ethnicity estimates can still be helpful and interesting. Learn more about how the estimates are calculated, and join us as we explore examples and get ideas of when to take the estimates with a grain of salt and when to pay attention to what they’re telling us! Some handy links we discussed include:

June 9, 2020 Meeting: Father’s Day and Y-DNA

We celebrate Dads in June, and so we will focus on the men who contributed one half of our DNA, and whose Y-chromosome can be a problem solver! A few handy links discussed during the meeting include:

May 12, 2020 Meeting: The Women Who Contributed to Our DNA

Continuing the Mother’s Day celebration, we’ll be talking about using DNA to explore the women in our family, including autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and X-DNA.

April 14, 2020 Meeting: DNA To-Do List items you can do at home!

In keeping with stay at home recommendations, the April meeting will be held ONLINE! If you subscribe to the GRIVA email newsletter, watch for an upcoming email with registration information.

We’ll offer some things you can do while you’re stuck at home. See you then!

March 10, 2020 Meeting: Collaboration

We talked about collaboration. From working trees, evaluating our shared matches, contacting matches, and target testing relatives, there are many ways to collaborate with people.

See https://www.legacytree.com/blog/13-secrets-to-getting-replies-from-dna-cousin-matches for some great tips for contacting matches. And, if you have a subscription to Family Tree Webinars, Blaine Bettinger has a webinar in their library, titled “Begging for Spit” that we highly recommend.

February 11, 2020 Meeting: Tools

We talked about tools to help us in analyzing and organizing our DNA test results. First, we talked about tools at the testing company websites, such as Ancestry’s ThruLines and Common Ancestor hints or MyHeritage’s Theories of Family Relativity. Some of the third party tools we discussed included:

September 10, 2019 Meeting: An Introduction To Using Chromosome Browsers

This month, we’ll be talking about chromosome browsers and DNA segments and how we can use them to help with our genealogy.

DAYTIME DNA SIG Meetings: July 29, August 12, and August 19, 2019!

To accommodate those interested in attending the DNA meetings but unable to attend Tuesday evenings, we’re going to hold a few daytime DNA SIG meetings! They will be at NOON at the John Rolfe Commons Publix.

Enter Publix through the door opposite the YMCA end of the store. Grab some lunch (hot bar, cold bar, deli, etc) then wind your way around to the right and find the elevator or take the steps up to the community room. Enjoy your lunch and friends. The program will start around 12:30. See you there!

June 11, 2019 Meeting: Tips & Techniques for Working with Ancestry DNA Matches

At our next meeting, we’ll be discussing AncestryDNA. It will be part review, part catching us up to the newest features, and some tips for working with matches who have no trees, or small trees, or private trees. See you there, 7:00pm at the LDS Church on Monument Avenue!

GEDMatch News

GEDmatch Genesis and GEDmatch Legacy have now merged into one site, accessible at https://www.gedmatch.com. No more confusion about two sites – there’s only the one, with all of the capabilities we’ve been getting used to at Genesis.

In addition to the merge, GEDmatch has now changed how your kit is accessible to law enforcement. For the past year, everyone who uploaded a kit to GEDmatch and made it public would have their DNA available to law enforcement agencies looking to solve cold cases. Now, they’ve opted everyone out of law enforcement matching (but still available to fellow genealogists!). You can opt your kit(s) in to law enforcement matching if you want your DNA to be available to law enforcement, or do nothing if you do not want your DNA used in this way. You’ll see more information as you log in to GEDmatch.

May 14, 2019 Meeting: Using Multiple DNA Testing Companies

Thanks to everyone who joined us in May! We talked about using clues from matches at more than one company to solve a puzzle, pulling together some of what we’ve learned earlier in the year.

April 25 is DNA Day!

April 25 commemorates the announcement of the discovery of DNA. The DNA companies typically celebrate by having sales and promotions, so watch the web pages for AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, and Living DNA on the 25th.

Sometimes, the sale prices are honored at Amazon.com. If you purchase DNA kits (or anything else) from Amazon, please consider using GRIVA’s Amazon Smile link. Simply click the link first, then eligible purchases at Amazon will benefit GRIVA, at no additional cost to you! The link is:

April 9, 2019 Meeting: Clustering our DNA Matches

Thanks to everyone who came to the April 9 DNA SIG meeting! We had fun talking about the different methods and tools for DNA match clustering!

Here are some blog posts and videos explaining and demonstrating some of the ways of clustering. The tools are essentially doing the same thing – grouping our matches, often visually, to help us see patterns that we might not see in a list of names. Just in preparing for this lecture, I found a cluster of people I have no idea how I match, and that cluster may hold the answers to some brick walls.

Clustering in general:
https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2017/01/03/clustering-shared-matches/ https://segmentology.org/2019/04/04/clustering-programs/

Genetic Affairs:
Genetic Affairs manual: https://www.geneticaffairs.com/images/Manual_Genetic_Affairs.pdf
Blaine Bettinger’s video describing Genetic Affairs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYRCK8ogW1k
Blog posts:

Ran Snir’s webinar recorded Apr 9: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1052
Blaine Bettinger’s video describing MyHeritage’s AutoClusters and Theories of Relativity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fk6h8-vv5o

Video from RootsFinder showing how to use the DNA tools: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0fUnBNSe2M


Clustering for hire – pay for professionally done clusters:

GRIVA DNA SIG Meetings are 7pm at the LDS Library on Monument Ave. 
2nd Tuesday of each month
May 14, 2019
June 11, 2019

March 12, 2019 Meeting – New Features from AncestryDNA and MyHeritage

Thanks to everyone who came to the March 12 DNA SIG meeting! We had fun talking about the new features at AncestryDNA and at MyHeritage.
Here are some blog posts and some videos with more information about the new features.
And, as I said multiple times during the presentation, and as Blaine says multiple times in his videos and lectures, tools are great at creating hypotheses, but they are NOT producing ready-made conclusions. It is up to us to research and verify what we find in any tool or any record. Here’s a blog post from Judy Russell on that: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/03/03/no-magic-wands/