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.
October 11, 2022: Identifying DNA Matches
AncestryDNA has a new feature to help sort your DNA matches. We’ll talk about that and other tools that can help identify your DNA matches, with or without attached trees!
Register at https://tinyurl.com/GRIVADNAOct2022
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
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:
- Article explaining the project: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2020/03/27/version-4-0-march-2020-update-to-the-shared-cm-project/
- PDF (also linked in the above article) showing LOTS more information, histograms, etc.: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Shared-cM-Project-Version-4.pdf
- The Shared cM Tool at DNA Painter: https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4
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:
- Blaine Bettinger’s “Unlocking the Genealogical Secrets of the X Chromosome” – https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2008/12/21/unlocking-the-genealogical-secrets-of-the-x-chromosome/
- Jared Smith’s “X Chromosome Recombination’s Impact on DNA Genealogy” – https://smithplanet.com/stuff/x-chromosome.htm
- Debbie Parker Wayne’s fillable X-DNA Inheritance Charts: http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2013/10/x-dna-inheritance-charts.html
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:
- Learn why Y-DNA matches might have different surnames: https://dnaandfamilytreeresearch.blogspot.com/2016/05/y-dna-matches-with-different-surnames.html
- Information about triangulation: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2016/06/19/a-triangulation-intervention/
- Blaine Bettinger’s blog post about genetic networks: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2015/07/25/creating-dna-circles-exploring-the-use-of-genetic-networks-in-genetic-genealogy/
- These might help explain how to use chromosome browsers:
- Jonny Perl webinar about DNA Painter: https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar/an-introduction-to-dna-painter/
- Legacy Tree Genealogists blog post about using chromosome browsers: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/chromosome-browsers-genealogy
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:
- FTDNA is having their St. Patrick’s Day sale on Family Finder tests, but here are some coupon codes from RootsTech that are good through March 31: https://blog.familytreedna.com/rootstech-2022-exclusive-offers/
- RootsTech is over, but recordings are available: https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/
- New features at DNA Painter: https://dnapainter.com/blog/new-features-for-maps-trees-and-wato-at-dna-painter/
- Puerto Rico Genealogy: https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/Puerto_Rico_Genealogy
- Endogamy: https://www.yourdnaguide.com/ydgblog/endogamy
- Exploring Family Trees visualization tool for endogamy: https://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/
- Shared cM Project information and histograms: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Shared-cM-Project-Version-4.pdf
- Webinar about the What Are the Odds probability tool: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1288
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:
- The Shared cM Project Tool at DNA Painter: https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4
- More about the Shared cM Project: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2020/03/27/version-4-0-march-2020-update-to-the-shared-cm-project/
- Contribute to the project: https://tinyurl.com/SharedcentiMorganProject
- You won’t share DNA with all of your cousins: https://isogg.org/wiki/Cousin_statistics
- Blaine Bettinger’s blog post about analyzing a lack of sharing in a 2C1R relationship: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2017/03/05/analyzing-a-lack-of-sharing-in-2c1r-relationship/
- Webinar about the What Are the Odds probability tool: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1288
- Information about Ancestry’s custom groups: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Grouping-and-Filtering-AncestryDNA-Matches
- Video from Blaine Bettinger about grouping matches a Ancestry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ApidzEyA_k
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:
- https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2017/03/11/are-you-doing-everything-to-identify-your-matches/ (old and some of it is outdated, but concepts can stll be helpful)
- Building Quick & Dirty Trees – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmOZXCxsqNU
- Quick & Dirty vs. Mirror Trees – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8rUlZbmeA
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:
- Ancestry’s Timber Algorithm is Better Than You Think – https://www.beholdgenealogy.com/blog/?p=3581
- Ancestry scientific white paper explaining Timber in great detail: https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/sites/default/files/AncestryDNA-Matching-White-Paper.pdf
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:
- Labeling at MyHeritage – https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/11/introducing-labels-for-dna-matches-on-myheritage/
UPDATE: I mentioned they were looking to add improvements, but didn’t realize it’d be so soon – see https://blog.myheritage.com/2021/12/labels-for-dna-matches-now-improved/ for some additions to the functionality.
- New interface at Ancestry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8biRUMCmfoY
- How to Ask Good Research Questions – https://bcgcertification.org/ten-minute-methodology-how-to-ask-good-research-questions/
- Eight Ways You Can Use Ancestral Trees at DNA Painter – https://blog.dnapainter.com/blog/eight-ways-you-can-use-ancestral-trees-at-dna-painter/
- The Shared cM Project: https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2020/03/27/version-4-0-march-2020-update-to-the-shared-cm-project/
- Submit your entries to the Shared cM Project: https://forms.gle/sg45AMGynMsvxfzU6
- Family Tree Webinars – https://www.familytreewebinars.com
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:
- MyHeritage Knowledge Base: https://education.myheritage.com/
- Information about uploading to MyHeritage, what’s free, and what needs a one-time-fee or a subscription: https://blog.myheritage.com/2018/12/starting-today-new-dna-upload-policy/
- MyHeritage’s blog: https://blog.myheritage.com/
- If you have DNA kits at MyHeritage and are considering uploading a new tree, upload the new tree first, then follow these instructions to move your DNA kits to the new tree before deleting the old one: https://faq.myheritage.com/en/article/how-do-i-assign-a-dna-kit-to-someone-else. Otherwise, your DNA kits lose their names and matches until they’re reassigned to the new tree – it’s much easier when you know whose kit is whose first!
- I recommend following MyHeritage (and all of the DNA testing companies) on social media. Find MyHeritage on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/myheritage and Twitter – https://twitter.com/MyHeritage
- For an introduction to chromosome mapping, see Jonny Perl’s “An Introduction to DNA Painter.” Yes, it’s focused on using the DNA Painter tools, but it’s helpful for understanding segment information in general as well. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar/an-introduction-to-dna-painter/
- MyHeritage owns Legacy Family Tree Webinars, so their webinars typically remain free: https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar-library/?category=myheritage
- This webinar gave a preview of the upcoming labeling/grouping tool: https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar/new-tools-for-dna-matches-research/
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.
- FTDNA has a blog – see https://blog.familytreedna.com
- FTDNA has a constantly growing Learning Center: https://learn.familytreedna.com/
- Here’s a guide to uploading your autosomal DNA to FTDNA: https://help.familytreedna.com/hc/en-us/articles/4402392808463-Autosomal-DNA-Transfers-Guide#new-customer-upload-process-0-1
- We had a question about linking your FTDNA to Geni. This explains more: https://help.geni.com/hc/en-us/articles/229707687-How-do-I-link-Family-Tree-DNA-test-results-to-my-profile- and this blog post also explains how DNA can be used there: https://www.dataminingdna.com/how-to-research-your-dna-matches-on-geni/
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:
- And Ancestry’s YouTube channel can be a good place to learn about new additions and tools and updates from Ancestry – Crista Cowan does “What’s New at Ancestry” videos each month. See https://www.youtube.com/c/Ancestrycom/videos
Now, some 23andMe links that weren’t discussed, but may be helpful:
- https://blog.23andme.com/ – much focus on health, but does cover ethnicity and feature updates
- https://customercare.23andme.com/hc/en-us – 23andMe’s Cusstomer Care center – has LOTS of great information about 23andMe features
- https://customercare.23andme.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045637854-How-to-Build-and-Edit-your-23andMe-Family-Tree – some information on editing 23andMe’s Family Tree that they build for you based on your DNA matches
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.
- Ancestry’s Terms of Service update: https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/making-our-terms-and-conditions-clearer-modifications-our-august-2021-update
- Leah Larkin’s blog post about the new terms and how similar they are to the terms at other major genealogical companies: https://thednageek.com/the-molehill-and-the-mountain/
- AncestryDNA’s Reference Panel for ethnicity estimates: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-Reference-Panel
- AncestryDNA Communities: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/DNA-Genetic-Communities
- Blaine Bettinger’s video explaining the difference in the amount of DNA you’ll see for the same match at different companies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Veb6vn_BFRY (note: the small segment issue at FTDNA that he discusses is no longer as much of an issue as it was at the time he did this video)
- Grouping and Filtering AncestryDNA Matches: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Grouping-and-Filtering-AncestryDNA-Matches
- Sub-Clustering Your AncestryDNA Matches video from Blaine Bettinger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ApidzEyA_k
- Ancestry’s YouTube channel – featuring “What’s New at Ancestry” videos each month, and more: https://www.youtube.com/c/Ancestrycom/videos
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:
- Crista Cowan explains the new relationship tool and other things new at Ancestry in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBB_OgWJZBY
- https://blog.kittycooper.com/2020/03/automated-tree-building-with-genetic-affairs/ – we discussed the similar tool at GEDmatch, but that is based on the tool at GEDmatch, so this blog post explains what they’re both about.
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:
- MyHeritage – New: View the Genetic Groups of Your DNA Matches
- Ancestry – Discover more with AncestryDNA communities
- Ancestry – Crista Cowan will soon be posting the June “What’s New at Ancestry” video that should talk about the new feature to work with DNA matches (that’s being rolled out so not everyone has it yet. Check the YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/Ancestrycom/videos and you should see it when it is posted. In the meantime, blogger Fiona Brooker has written about her experiences with the feature here: https://memoriesintime.co.nz/blogs/news/how-do-you-match-your-dna-match
- A SNP Tracker I used to show the differences between two haplogroups. This website may also be a way to find out origins of a particular haplogroup: http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html
- 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
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:
- Using X-DNA – https://www.legacytree.com/blog/x-dna-autosomal-dna-inheritance-paths
- Myth of the GD0 – https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2017/11/26/the-myth-of-the-gd0/
- Judy Russell’s “Finding Margaret’s Mother” series:
- Part 1: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/04/28/keeping-that-dna-resolution/
- Part 2: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/05/18/finding-margarets-mother-part-2/
- Part 3: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/05/25/finding-margarets-mother-part-3/
- Part 4: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/06/29/finding-margarets-mother-part-4/
- Part 5: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/07/07/finding-margarets-mother-part-5/
- Part 5a: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/08/10/finding-margarets-mother-part-5-2/
- Part 6: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/11/16/finding-margarets-mother-part-6/
- Part 7: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2021/01/03/finding-margarets-mother-part-7/
- The End: https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2021/01/31/finding-margarets-mother-the-end/
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:
- “A Conversation About Privacy Protections at 23andMe” blog post
- Leah Larkin – “Correcting the Record About Privacy” blog post
- Blaine Bettinger’s “DNA, Genealogy, and Law Enforcement: All the Facts” video
- Brianne Kirkpatrick – “Mental Health Awareness and My Thoughts on ‘Baby Doe’ Cases” blog post
- Brianne Kirkpatrick – “Birth Fathers Share What It Is Like to Find Out They Have an Adult Child They Never Knew About” blog post
- Genetic Genealogy Standards
- Blaine Bettinger – “Informed Consent Agreement and Beneficiary Agreement” blog post and forms
- Also, Debbie Parker Wayne has forms you can also use – see here for a PDF and here for an editable Word document
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:
- Genetic Affairs for AutoClusters of FTDNA and 23andMe matches – http://geneticaffairs.com/
- Genealogical DNA Analysis Tool (formerly Genome Mate Pro) – https://www.getgmp.com/
- Paul Baltzer’s Facebook post (you have to be a member of Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques to see it, but it’s free to join!) with a link to an Excel document for colors that you can use to correlate your Ancestry dot colors to spreadsheets, Lucid Chart, etc. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/geneticgenealogytipsandtechniques/permalink/853403205123381. There is also a comment in the discussion thread from Cyndi Ingle listing the RGB color codes
- And though I didn’t mention it, Blaine Bettinger has a YouTube video about sub-clustering matches, using a similar process that I used to whittle down a large group of shared matches into smaller ones. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ApidzEyA_k
- And I also didn’t mention it, but DNA Painter has a Cluster Mapper tool that will map segments of clusters of matches. The tool is here and you can read more about it here.
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!):
- DNA Painter blog post about the new feature pointing out most distant ancestors – https://dnapainter.com/blog/recent-updates-most-distant-common-ancestors-and-more/
- Press release from 23andMe about their merger and going public: https://mediacenter.23andme.com/press-releases/23andme-merges-with-vgac/
- DNA Painter blog post about using their ancestral trees feature: https://dnapainter.com/blog/eight-ways-you-can-use-ancestral-trees-at-dna-painter/
- Graham Coop blog post “Where did your genetic ancestors come from?” – https://gcbias.org/2017/12/19/1628/https://isogg.org/wiki/Pedigree_collapse
- Diahan Southard blog post “Pedigree Collapse and Your DNA Matches” – https://www.yourdnaguide.com/ydgblog/2019/7/26/pedigree-collapse-and-genetic-relationships
- Paul Woodbury’s blog post about endogamy: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/dealing-endogamy-part-exploring-amounts-shared-dna
- Paul Woodbury’s webinar about dealing with endogamy and DNA – https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1292
- Learn Forever Learn tool for visualizing endogamy – https://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/
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:
- Press release announcing FamilyTreeDNA’s merger with Australian health company myDNA – https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pharmacogenetic-and-genealogy-pioneers-merge-for-historic-partnership-301202798.html
- MyHeritage announces new Genetic Groups feature – https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/12/myheritage-launches-genetic-groups/
- 23andMe’s recent ethnicity estimates update, originally only given to those with newer V5 kits, is now available for those who tested earlier. Here’s their original blog post explaining the updates: https://blog.23andme.com/ancestry-reports/algorithm-gets-an-upgrade/
- The International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) Wiki’s explanation of centiMorgans – https://isogg.org/wiki/CentiMorgan
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:
- Ancestry – https://support.ancestry.com/s/. See also their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/Ancestrycom/videos
- 23andMe – https://customercare.23andme.com/hc/en-us/
- MyHeritage – Help Center is at https://www.myheritage.com/help-center/en and they also have an Education Center at https://education.myheritage.com/
- FTDNA’s Learning Center – https://learn.familytreedna.com/
- Living DNA – https://support.livingdna.com/hc/en-us
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:
- Tom Jones’s “Perils of Source Snobbery” – http://bcgcertification.org/skillbuilding-perils-of-source-snobbery/
- More about the Genealogical Proof Standard – https://bcgcertification.org/ethics-standards/
- The Shared cM Project tool at DNA Painter – https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4
and a few links about ThruLines and Theories of Family Relativity:
- Using AncestryDNA’s ThruLines to Further Your Genealogy Research – article from Legacy Tree Genealogists
- Introducing ThruLines – video from Crista Cowan
- The Theory of Family Relativity for DNA Matches
- If you’re on Facebook, MyHeritage’s Daniel Horowitz recently did a Q&A about the Theories of Family Relativity tool – see https://tinyurl.com/DanielTheories
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:
- 23andMe’s ancestry composition reports update: https://blog.23andme.com/ancestry-reports/algorithm-gets-an-upgrade/
- DNA Painter: http://www.dnapainter.com
- Jonny Perl’s “An Introduction to DNA Painter” webinar at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=955
- Jonny Perl’s upcoming December 2, 2020 webinar, “Four ways DNA Painter can help with your family research: https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1289
- Blaine Bettinger’s “Advanced DNA Techniques: Deductive Chromosome Mapping” webinar at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: Advanced DNA Techniques: Deductive Chromosome Mapping: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1233
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:
- 23andMe’s new 23andMe+ Subscription offering: https://blog.23andme.com/news/inside-23andme/23andmeplus/
- FTDNA’s myOrigins 3.0 biogeographical estimate update: https://blog.familytreedna.com/myorigins-3-is-here/
- MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity update: https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/09/update-to-theory-of-family-relativity-
- The Leeds Method – color clustering your matches: https://www.danaleeds.com/dna-color-clustering-the-leeds-method-for-easily-visualizing-matches/
- DNA Painter’s What Are The Odds? probability tool: https://dnapainter.com/tools/probability
- Jonny Perl’s webinar with Legacy Family Tree Webinars, exploring the What Are the Odds? tool: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1288
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:
- Blaine Bettinger – Building Quick & Dirty Trees
- Crista Cowan & Angie Bush – AncestryDNA and Mirror Trees
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:
- https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-Reference-Panel – describes the reference panels used by Ancestry to calculate its ethnicity estimates
- https://customercare.23andme.com/hc/en-us/articles/212169298-23andMe-Reference-Populations-Regions – describes the reference panels used by 23andMe to calculate its ethnicity estimates
- https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/AncestryDNA-White-Papers – scientific white papers elaborating the processes used for Ancestry’s ethnicity estimates, genetic communities, and matching in general. UPDATE: the ethnicity and matching white papers have both been updated between June and September 2020
- https://dna-explained.com/2020/02/28/sneak-preview-familytreednas-myorigins-version-3-0/ – blog post from Roberta Estes including photographs of slides from FTDNA’s RootsTech 2020 presentation about its upcoming MyOrigins 3.0 estimates
- https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/06/myheritage-ceo-gilad-japhet-reveals-exciting-new-developments-during-keynote-talk/ – talk from MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet giving a preview of MyHeritage’s upcoming ethnicity estimate updates
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:
- https://ytree.morleydna.com/extractFromAutosomal – allows you to upload your Ancestry autosomal raw data and get a high-level Y-DNA haplogroup estimate
- https://cladefinder.yseq.net/ – another haplogroup estimator, can also use MyHeritage autosomal data
- https://tinyurl.com/YSTRResults – Blaine Bettinger’s “Examining Y-STR Ranges for Known Relationships” project, aiming to collect Y-STR genetic distance values for known relationships in hopes that the big data can be as helpful for Y-DNA as the Shared cM Project is for autosomal DNA
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:
- DNA Painter’s Shared cM Tool
- The DNAGedcom Client
- Genetic Affairs
- DNA2Tree for iPhone and iPad
- DNA Painter‘s other tools, including its chromosome painting tool, its trees, and the What Are the Odds probability tool
- Genome Mate Pro
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 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:
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
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
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
- Video from Blaine Bettinger demonstrating the new features from AncestryDNA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6FpqIQATms
- Crista Cowan’s talk about AncestryDNA’s new features at RootsTech: https://www.rootstech.org/video/what-you-dont-know-about-ancestry-crista-cowan
- https://memoriesintime.co.nz/blogs/news/5-tips-for-using-ancestry-dna-custom-groups has some suggestions for using the new custom groups
- Roberta Estes’s suggestions for archiving your DNA Circles: https://dna-explained.com/2019/03/06/archive-ancestry-dna-circles-and-new-ancestor-discoveries-now/
- Roberta Estes’s post about ThruLines: https://dna-explained.com/2019/03/11/ancestrys-thrulines-dissected-how-to-use-and-not-get-bit-by-the-gators/
- Kitty Cooper’s post about ThruLines: https://blog.kittycooper.com/2019/03/ancestrys-new-dna-feature-thrulines/
- Webinar from MyHeritage’s Ran Snir explaining their new features: https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=1051
- Video from Blaine Bettinger demonstrating the new features from MyHeritage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fk6h8-vv5o
- AutoClusters blog post from MyHeritage: https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/02/introducing-autoclusters-for-dna-matches/
- Theories of Family Relativity blog post from MyHeritage: https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/02/introducing-the-theory-of-family-relativity-a-genealogy-game-changer/
- UPCOMING (April 9, 2pm) webinar from MyHeritage that will be discussing AutoClusters – see https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1052 for more information and to register to attend