Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DNA News: Two Outstanding Genealogy Shows And Evaluating Matches

Last night I binged watched two excellent family history shows. CNN's "Roots Our Journey Home" and PBS' "Finding Your Roots". Didn't go to bed until 1 am (again).

"Finding Your Roots" episode 5 was one of the best of the this season. Celebrity chefs were featured in this all male episode "The Melting Pot". My Mom loved the show "Simply Ming" so he is very familiar to me. Great to see the role his family played in Chinese history. His enormous family tree was great to see rolled out. Wonderful that a stele with his ancestor's names was the only one which survived the cultural revolution in his particular ancestral location. He is very fortunate. Tom Colicchio's immigrant ancestors were much like mine. My Great-Grandmother traveled back and forth from America to her Village in Austro/Hungary. Her husband was working first in Allentown, PA then Chicago, Ill. She often made the trip with several small children accompanying her. Aaron Sanchez' family's roots are in Sonora Mexico, not far from border with the US. The family was a target of hostility during the Mexican Revolution which forced the family to flee with their large herd of cattle to the US. Aaron's DNA results were very interesting to me since I have some Central American heritage. His mix of European, Native American and African were typical for Central and South America too.

The "Roots our Journey Home" show on CNN borrowed heavily from "Finding Your Roots". The Anderson Cooper segment repeated many facts first presented when he was a guest on "Finding Your Roots". It was interesting to see Anderson visiting family graves. I thought this show was a nice mix of emotionally connecting with ancestors and tongue in check segments. They also used DNA results to fill in the blanks.

23andMe Zombies
It was announced this week that 23andMe would be partnering with My Heritage. If they integrate the trees with the DNA results like they do at AncestryDNA it could make 23andMe a more useful resource. The biggest problem at 23andMe is the lack cooperation of those who have tested with them. More than half my cousin's matches won't even share their own names let alone any ancestral surnames.

Last week a test result came back for our Owens line. Sadly Ancestry doesn't release segment information. Fortunately a descendant of John Melvin and Mary Redden (my fifth great-grandparents) agreed to compare with us at GEDmatch. We compared with his grandmother and him. We shared varying amounts of DNA from as small as 4.6 cM's up to 50 cM's total. We can now call a segment five of us share on chromosome 1 a Melvin family segment . We are all around the fourth cousin range relationship to his grandmother. After doing a few comparisons of Ancestry results at GEDmatch  I'm finding their prediction process occasionally works, but some valid cousin matches aren't showing up as close matches? Also some of the high confidence matches aren't as good as they look when you compare at GEDmatch.

The Family Tree DNA process for determining matches isn't any better. The scientists at Family Tree DNA aren't as well versed with autosomal DNA as they are with Y and mtDNA. As one of them stated at an ISOGG presentation, paraphrasing, what I tell you now may turn out to be wrong in hindsight. From a past presentation by the founder of Family Tree DNA his scientists don't believe autosomal DNA is useful beyond 4 generations. That demonstrates a lack of knowledge of the subject. Most of our matches are at 4 generations and beyond. Their use of total shared cMs as a criteria for determining matches causes many good matches to be discarded. Looking at my proven matches at Ancestry a few haven't shared the 20 total cMs required by FTDNA. I can't find any common ancestors with most of my Family Tree DNA matches. If they eliminated the 20 cM requirement and instead gave us all our matches sharing 7 cM segments or higher it would help us find more cousins.

John Melvin and Mary Redden were my 5th Great-Grandparents
I've assigned chromosome 1 to them

Saturday, October 18, 2014

DNA News: Episode 4 of "Finding Your Roots" & Overwhelmed With New Information

Episode 4 of "Finding Your Roots" was another interesting episode with fun DNA results. The episode theme was Civil Rights and Freedom. Ben Affleck's mother was a Freedom Rider in the 1960's.  It was so funny to hear the former President of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is mostly white only 18% African. On the flip side Khandi Alexander had more African than she expected, she seemed to change her identification from black to African. The most moving story in this episode was how one of Ben Jealous' ancestors purchased his freedom, and that of his wife and children. He was able to do this because he was a trained shoemaker, an unusual occupation for a slave.

It was great to see an explanation of how DNA testing works in this episode. Instead of showing the stock film blood vials they showed the accurate testing process and explained that saliva was used. I'm sure more people would pursue a saliva test rather than a blood test. I hope this encourages more people to test.

Looking at Ben Jealous I could predict he had a high percentage of European. Another guest on a previous show was quite dark complected and turned out to have more European than he expected. This brings me to my current projects. Predictions based on appearances can turn out to be correct or incorrect. The genealogical proof standard requires inferences drawn from appearances to be checked out by doing a reasonably exhaustive search. I'm turning more and more to DNA to support my inferences.

In  mid 2001 I began focusing my genealogy research on the Mason family line. I found some information about the family posted on message boards, which were the popular social networking media at the time. I received some great leads from a 3rd cousin, Sophia Preston. She posted some information about our common Mason line. She referred me to another Mason researcher with additional information. With their help I discovered the locations of our Masson family in Quebec, Canada. It was easy to trace the family back hundreds of years due to the fact that transcriptions of the extensive record collections in Quebec were available online at this point.

After quickly putting together a huge family tree for the Mason line I moved to my ancestor Peter Mason's American wife's family. His wife was Mary Owens. That's what I started with in 2001. I had a great lead on her parents when I found two of her sister's living with the Mason family in 1880 in Mattoon, Il. It was easy to find them  living with their father in 1870 in Mattoon, Il. His name was William F. Owens. I later found a Nancy Owens wife of William F. buried in a local cemetery. She would have been in the right age range to be the mother of my Mary Mason, and her siblings. Their mother was not in his household in 1870, she was probably the Nancy I found in the cemetery who died in 1865?

According to the children of William F. he was born in Kentucky, and their mother was born in Ohio. I looked for a marriage for a William F. Owens to a Nancy. I found such a marriage in Clermont, Ohio. A William F. Owens married a Nancy Hicks in Clermont, and they matched the Census description regarding where they were born. I found them in 1850 with two sons , James H. and John W. living in Clermont, Ohio. From there I looked for them in 1860. At that point in time the online Census information was sparse and the search function didn't always show matches with similar names. It took many months before I found them listed with the name spelled Owen and initials used instead of full names. I found Mary and all her siblings including James H. and John W. from the 1850 Census. These eldest siblings had disappeared from the area in Mattoon, Illinois early on.

By March 2002 I was able to find proof that Mary's mother's maiden name was Hicks. It came from a marriage record for her sister which listed her mother as Nancy Hicks, and her father was listed as William F.. Her own marriage record from a decade before did not contain her parents' names.

It wasn't until fairly recently that I found out what became of William F. and Nancy's eldest sons. I found some information about them at Find-a-grave and made contact with descendants through this site (you can read my 2012 post here. I later exchanged info with Pam and Justin.) I also found more information posted in Ancestry trees. Pam and Justin provided me with loads of additional information. I also discovered that one of the male Owens in my line Y DNA tested which helped confirm some of my inferences about this Owens ancestral line.

I was fairly confident I had traced this line correctly. I was a little apprehensive because I didn't have very much info about my Great-Grandfather Mason. I had heard he was French Canadian and used this knowledge to find his family in the Census. I believed I found him with the correct family. I had not known that he was originally from Mattoon, Ill. I was only aware of the family living in Chicago. I asked an Aunt and she said she believed I was on the correct track, and he was from Mattoon.

All of my apprehensiveness disappeared when the third cousin I had located on the message board years earlier tested at 23andme. We compared at GEDmatch and there was absolutely no doubt we were from the same Mason family from Mattoon. We shared more DNA than most third cousins. So the Mason line was confirmed with DNA.

Darrell Owens 3rd cousin 1x and me
I purchased an AncestryDNA kit on sale in August. I decided to give it to an Owens/ Hicks line cousin to confirm this relationship and hopefully find additional cousins in these lines. The results came in on last Wednesday, exactly 3 weeks after it was received. We were predicted to be 3rd cousins by Ancestry (great news!). We are actually 3rd cousins once removed, good prediction. Unfortunately Ancestry's raw data download feature was down until yesterday. It was so hard to wait for this to be fixed. I was on pins and needles the whole time. It was incredible to see how much DNA we shared in common. We had some 30 cM segments. There was a chance we wouldn't share any DNA at all. Our Cousin Sophia shared a 9 cm segment on a different chromosome, a lot less than either my Aunt or myself. That's the fickle nature of DNA inheritance.

Susan and Nan's Aunt
Another great match came in on the same day. My 5th cousin Nan Harvey's Aunt's results also came in on Wednesday. She turned out to be a much stronger match with my Mom and I than Nan. So now we have some good sized segments for triangulation. She was predicted to be a 4th to 6th cousin to both my Mom and I, which is the correct range. My cousin Susan is actually Nan's aunt's strongest match.

With our growing segment collection I'm hoping to reconstruct some of these lines.

There are so many changes occurring in the genealogy industry. Family Tree DNA released news about many new features which will be offered to customers at their group administrator conference. They rolled out one of those changes this week offering those who upload raw data from AncestryDNA or 23andme (only v.3) the opportunity to try their service for free. They can see their highest ranked 20 matches for free. The price to see all of your matches is $39, which doesn't include the myOrigins feature. They also announced a social networking platform will be added to the site. Sharing photos and documents etc. should make the site more interesting to use. The ability for the public to search Family Tree DNA trees for their surnames should boost interest in testing. I would love to see the number of testers grow.

GEDmatch is undergoing some changes too. You will be able to access more tools if you donate $10. Using family kits to create ancestors' kit sounds interesting.

I mentioned finding an Owens cousin at The value of the trees and information attached to them can't be over estimated. Most of my breakthroughs at Ancestry have been through documents attached to trees. A Wray line cousin contacted me to let me know she uploaded some pictures and manuscripts she found at their Kansas family home. I've never been to Kansas and would never have seen all of this had it not been for the networking opportunity provided by The old forums and mailing lists were helpful but didn't allow you to share documents and photos. It's been great with sites like Ancestry and Facebook that we can share information and coordinate DNA testing and find cousins to test.

I've had so much information coming at me so fast I need to stop researching for a while and start adding my new facts to my tree and my new segment information to Genome Mate .

Sophia's only shared segment with our 3rd cousin 1x removed

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

AncestryDNA Phasing FFFFF..ail!

I listened to the explanation of the AncestryDNA phasing process via a video from i4GG. It seemed like a good idea. Now I'm thinking it's not really a good idea; especially when there is no way to see the segments you share with matches. I don't want phasing unless I can see the segments!

I found several new Ancestry matches at GEDmatch. I was shocked to find that one very low confidence match shared a 22.4 cM segment with me. I later checked to see if he matched my Mom and he shared the same 22.4 cM segment with her. This was a phasing fail because obviously I received this segment from my Mom. This was judged to be a "very" low confidence match for both of us. I can't find a common ancestor at this point. It may be that this person matches us many generations ago. It could be what CeCe Moore called a "sticky segment" which remains intact for hundreds of years? I want to see matches like these ranked higher? When AncestryDNA prunes our matches I'm hoping they don't eliminate matches with shared segments 10 cMs or larger?

We need to know more about the segments we share with matches. There is no way to get around 10,000 matches to compare at GEDmatch. If everyone at AncestryDNA uploaded to GEDmatch the servers would probably crash and burn, so that's not an option.

PS My Cousin Susan also shares the same 22.4 cM segment with the very same match (thanks Nan!)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

DNA News: "Finding Your Roots Ep.3"Light Bulb Moment Plus Improvements at FTDNA and Ancestry?

The much improved tree at FTDNA

Episode 3 of "Finding Your Roots" featured guests known for story telling. The episode focused mainly on Civil War ancestry, which was very fascinating. I love Anderson Cooper so I found his segments very interesting. I had thought his Dad also came from a wealthy family, and was surprised his roots were Southern and humble. Interesting that one of his ancestors was killed by a slave. I'll have to keep his ancestor Robert Fletcher Campbell in mind as I trace my Campell line. I'm stuck on Sarah Campbell who was born around 1810 somewhere in the South? It would be fantastic to be related to Anderson Cooper. Great to see there is a relationship between Ken Burns and Abraham Lincoln. Glad that Ken Burn's Y DNA could be linked to Robert Burns, which he had been wanting to know. The most moving parts of the episode dealt with loss of Anderson Cooper's father and brother, and Ken Burns loss of his mother.

Anna Deavere Smith's ancestors were also interesting. One of her ancestors was involved in the burial of Civil War troops at Gettysburg. Her mtDNA was used to trace her maternal line to a tribe in Africa. A light bulb went off in my brain, and I thought maybe I can use mtDNA on my Kappel/Kurta line and possibly my Owens line to glean more insight into the ethnic origins of these families. This all hinges on someone carrying the mtDNA for those lines agreeing to test. There is a good possibility I might be able to persuade a 2nd cousin or 1st cousin 1x removed to test. However, it may take some time because they don't know me and I don't know them. The Y and mtDNA tests are the most straight forward tests when it comes to interpreting the results. It's nice to get a simple answer sometimes, especially after wrestling with the admixture results from autosomal DNA.

Immediately after the show ended I began searching for information about Grandfather Rudolph Kapple's sisters. I knew one sister's married name was Salamon, and so I began Googling her full name, Bertha Salamon. I couldn't believe I immediately struck gold! I found her obituary which gave her sister Rose's married name, which I didn't have. Bertha's Obituary named her own children giving me candidates for mtDNA testing. She had 4 living named children in 2002, which included 2 daughters, and 15 grandchildren. Rose's full name, Rose Varnak, led me to her obituary in which 4 children were named and of those 2 were living. It was stated she had 15 grandchildren and 45 great-grand children. I did look for death information for them in the early 2000's and couldn't find anything. I know why I couldn't find anything then, they were still alive. I didn't expect them to live into their 90's since their brother Rudolph died in his 60's, and their parents died well before that age too. All of this is so great! I'm hoping this leads to some kind of meaningful contact with their descendants. I would love to see more pictures of my Grandfather Rudolph. I've never seen any photo of his parents or siblings, and would love to see those too. If I had known the sibling were still alive when I started out researching I would have tried to make contact immediately. I feel like I missed a great opportunity to get more information, and also just connect with some of  my Great Aunts. I was only aware of my Great-Grandparents having 11 children? One obit said there were 12. Now I'm wondering if this is true, and if so what happened to that child?

Another line which may benefit from mtDNA testing is the John Owens Indian Trader line. We know John Owens Sr. traded with Indians during the mid 1700's in Pennsylvania. We know, from a contemporary newspaper account, that he had an Indian wife. He had at least two wives. We don't know which wife our family descends from or even whether both wives were Indians ? If we could identify at least one of his wives with mtDNA we might be able to confirm whether at least some of John Owens children were half Native American. It isn't known whether he fathered any children with his Indian wife. We know he had at least a couple of daughters, and if a straight maternal line of inheritance can be found we may find the smoking gun information.

After locating the names of children and grandchildren of my great-aunts I searched on these names at Family Tree DNA. I located a tree with one of the names on it and was happy to see a new detailed view which saves time. You don't have to click to get details about an individual now. The names are now in larger print, so when you zoom in you can still read them. I'm still not crazy about the new tree layout (still too scattered), but it's easier to use with the larger names and details. I also found that one of my our Brenneman matches at AncestryDNA just showed up on my Mom's FTDNA match list.

AncestryDNA customers are in suspense right now over the impending changes that will radically change this product. Most of the details are still secret. One thing which is known is the number of matches will be drastically reduced. This was also discussed at i4gg. Ancestry had been identifying ancient segments of DNA shared by thousands of people, but supposedly not helpful because they are out the genealogical timeframe. Everyone is aware of the fact that the very low confidence matches are the most abundant, and impossible to sort through because of their number. I'm hoping this is a good change and they don't weed out good matches? Lucky I have downloaded the information for a majority of my matches. The unlucky thing is I'm waiting for more Owens DNA results at Ancestry and I'm wondering how these results might be affected? I'm hoping the changes don't go into effect until we get those results. The test kit was received on September 24, and I'm also wondering if the results will be held up by the changes?

I seem to have a pile up of segment matches on chromosome 19 at FTDNA. Reviewing these matches again, I've noticed none of them match me on my Mom's side? I'm wondering if these matches relate to me through either the French Canadian population or Ashkenazi populations?

No chromosome browser is apparently still the mantra at AncestryDNA. I don't now where the Geneticists at Ancestry got their degrees? They don't seem to understand the mechanics of segment matching for ancestry.

You can read more about the coming changes at Ancestry at Roberta Estes' blog post "DNA Day At Ancestry."
Some Segment pile up from FTDNA

Monday, October 6, 2014

DNA: Geneticists vs. Anthropologists

American's are competitive  Android  users vs. iPhone users for instance. In the academic community surrounding the human population field of study it's Geneticists vs. Social Scientists. These studies should be interdisciplinary, but the personalities of these researchers tend to clash. Does cultural identity make you a member of an ethnic group or is it genetics? It's a very interesting question. I had been identifying with Jewish community based on the perceived origin of my surname. Genetic testing isn't supporting that connection. Actually I might be Sephardic Jewish, but that's difficult to prove through DNA.

I listened to this UC Berkley lecture "From Blood to DNA, From "Tribe" to "Race": Science, Whiteness & Property."A very interesting discussion. The differences in approaching  the subject of ethnic group membership are apparent in this lecture.  I'm in the Social Sciences camp because that was my undergraduate major. Social Scientists feel cultural identity is as important as Genetic inheritance. I believe Social Scientists feel like this view point isn't shared by the Geneticists. Spencer Wells came under some criticism because Prof. Tallbear felt some of his remarks were culturally insensitive. She also questioned the scientific methods employed by the Genographic project? "Skip Gates" came under even more criticism in this lecture than Spencer Wells. The lecturers felt the results of the consumer DNA tests were questionable.

Prof. Tallbear stated that in the past land had been the commodity that was sought after by the European Americans, now it's Native American DNA. She questioned whether modern Native American DNA would be useful? It's impossible to find unmixed North American Native American populations.

Another aspect of DNA that was discussed is how some Tribes are using it to determine Tribal membership. In the past they used the blood rule of 1/4 Native American to admit someone into a tribe. This was solely based on tracing the family tree. With casino money in play the casino tribes want to limit membership. Casino tribes tend to use DNA tests for membership because this keeps the tribal membership numbers low, and payments to current members high. I thought Prof. Tallbear said the Casino tribes were using parentage DNA testing and ethnicity testing, not sure if they use the ethnicity tests? The non Casino tribes sometimes use parentage testing, but don't always require it.

The 1 drop rule and 1/4 rule were strange categorizations. Why would 1/4 Native American legally make you native American; yet one drop of African blood make you African? Racism and the need to limit the number of Native Americans created these categories.

The Lecturers also brought up a court case involving African Americans who were Naturalized as Cherokee but weren't genetically Native American. This has brought up the question of whether Cherokee membership should be based on Naturalization or genetics?

As they stated in the video they are Social Scientists and not Geneticists, so some of their statements about what can be discovered using DNA were wrong. Full sequencing individuals with large amounts of Native American ancestry would be helpful. They're right about DNA testing helping those with mainly European ancestry; and Tribes worry about the US Federal Government using the results to determine Tribal recognition. The Natives American have little to gain and potentially could lose land and benefits, but their results would help identify Native America admixture. Will those Europeans ever stop pestering the Native Americans because they need something from them? I'm feeling a little selfish now.

I'm definitely going to add Kim Tallbear's book to my reading list

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DNA News: "Finding Your Roots" Review And Very Low Confidence Comparisons

I enjoyed the 2nd episode of the new season of "Finding Your Roots" on PBS. The last show focused on finding out more about absent fathers' lines. This show focused on sports heros. I could relate to Derek Jeter in the fact that I didn't know the origins of my Kapple surname until I did some research in the 1990's, which started my genealogy obsession. When you have an unusual surname people always ask where the name is from? It was great that it was possible to determine the origins of the name Jeter. That's a great gift for the Jeter family.

The only reservations I had about last nights episode was the language used when presenting DNA results. When Rebecca Lobo was told exactly which line her Ashkenazi admixture came from, I thought Dr. Gates was over stepping a little. It does seem, most likely, she got the admixture from the stated line (an Austrian line). Documentary evidence leads to that belief too, but you never know for sure unless you test more family members. Working with my DNA admixture results I was fooled a few times when trying to make an educated guess about where an admixture came from. It wasn't clear to me that I was wrong until I had more relatives tested. Ashkenazi is one of the admixtures which is easy to identify. The percentages are tricky though. She is predicted to be 10% Ashkenazi, so Dr. Gates surmised from that percentage that this came down from a particular great-grandparent based on rough inheritance percentages. Since inheritance is random, the only percentages we know for certain are that we inherit 50% of our DNA from each parent, after that generation there can be more variation in inheritance. For instance last week we learned that someone's father was substantially Ashkenazi according to available documents. This person's DNA results came out to be 12% percent Ashkenazi. So if we based our prediction of where this DNA came from we would guess farther back in time than parent based on estimates using average inheritance. Admixture percentages can fool you, and you can get admixture from more than one line. There is no way to say with 100% confidence which ancestor you got a particular admixture from, unless you test many relatives. When I watched this show before I got involved in autosomal testing and I heard, for instance, Dr. Gates say that a tradition of Native American ancestry was wrong based on DNA testing I believed that to be true. Since then I've learned that we don't inherit DNA from all of our ancestors; so it's possible a family tradition of Native American ancestry may be true even if you don't see it in your DNA results. So it's still possible Billy Jean King has some Native American roots?

Dr. Gates did use the word "suggests" when talking about results sometimes. The word "suggests" is often the best word to use when talking about results.

I'm convinced that Derek Jeter is descended from the family that owned his family. Y tests are more reliable than autosomal (autosomal testing is most reliable for close relatives). He is also most likely descended from the slave owner as stated. However, it's not 100% positive. I believe Dr. Gates did say that this connection was most likely the case, but didn't say 100% certain like he did with Rebecca Lobo. You can't look at DNA and say it came from a particular person or line with 100% certainty. With Y DNA you can only say you are definitely related or definitely not related using the test. It would be tricky to do a TV show and explain the intricacies of DNA testing. The general public probably isn't interested in learning about predictions either. They want to hear about definite conclusions. They might come away disappointed if they took a test after watching some of these episodes? Otherwise, I love the show and listen to the DNA test results with great interest.

Another point of interest is the DNA tests the guests took were blood tests. I wonder which company they used?

I was so happy to hear from someone in the Brenneman family line at Facebook. He and some of his family members had  their DNA tested. He, his sister and father were low confidence matches at AncestryDNA. We compared at GEDmatch and I found out he shares a 7 cM segment with my Mom. His sister and father shared an 8.9 cM segment in the same place. I would say low confidence is a good prediction based on the amount of DNA we share. I'm always interested in comparing at GEDmatch with AncestryDNA matches because the phasing process that produces the confidence levels doesn't always work. I'm very interested in the Brenneman line. I've found trees connecting my family to this one, but I can't find documentary evidence? Hoping DNA will help?

I'm hoping these segment on Chromosome 16 are from Brenneman line?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Think I Understand the AncestryDNA Methodology Now?? i4GG

Some of my own SNPs
One letter comes from Mom and one from Dad in a random order

I watched the i4GG video "AncestryDNA matching: large-scale findings and technology breakthroughs". I've been curious and confused about the methodology used by AncestryDNA. From the start their autosomal testing process has been a mysterious and secretive process, which has given rise to suspicions. They wouldn't release raw data to customers in the beginning. Many people felt they were hiding the fact that most matches were spurious. The fact they still don't have anything like a chromosome browser still leaves us wondering about the validity of the results? On the other hand the fact they phase their results should lead to better, more confident matches than the other companies. The phasing process hadn't been completely clear to me until I listened to Dr. Julie Granka's presentation. She explained the process in greater detail. I believe understand it now?

This is my understanding of the phasing process (I never excelled in science or math in school). If anyone has a better understanding please let me know:

Dr. Julie Granka emphasized the large size of the AncestryDNA data collection, generated from over 500,000 customers, which is leading to more accurate results. The phasing process attempts to separate your results into groups representing your parents. On a position of an SNP you'll get one marker (ACGT) from your mother and one from your father. If for instance you are an AG on a position and your mother AG at the same position of an SNP, but your father was AT at that same position we can infer the G is from your father and the A from your mother.  So your genotype, the marker combinations, come from both parents. The phasing process is designed to separate your single genotype into haplotypes  you got from your mother and father. The phasing process relies on the comparison of your genotype with those of people with known haplotypes (haplotypes are just strings of markers (SNPs) shared by groups of people, ACGT's, the building blocks of DNA).  Your haplotypes are then inferred from the results of these comparisons. This process is complicated by the fact positions contain markers for which they don't know which of the two markers we got from which parent, so they cannot be read in a continuous line. There is some sort of formula for reading these scrambled marker pairs, and separating them into haplotypes for Mom and Dad.  The process can misinterpret a block of DNA as a haplotype when actually it's a mix of different markers inherited from both parents, ACGTs, that happen to look like a known haplotype. It's also possible that one of your haplotypes has not been seen before. When a mismatch occurs it throws the rest of the phasing off. So it's important to limit mismatching. Their old phasing process took 7 to 10 hours for 1000 tests, and resulted in 3 errors per 100 heterozygous sites, the new process takes 5 minutes and results in only 1 error. So the process continues to be refined. Still around half of our thousands of matches are IBS, so it's not perfect.

The haplotypes are very important in the AncestryDNA matching process. In order to be a high confidence match your match has to share a certain amount of DNA plus belong to the same haplotype on that particular segment.

Sometimes these haplotypes proliferated because they were advantageous. Dr. Granka used the example of lactose intolerance. Ancient populations were all lactose intolerant. When animals were domesticated and their milk began being used the genetic mutation which allowed milk to be drunk was an advantage. This gave that person and their descendants an advantage which allowed them to get more nourishment and reproduce at a higher rate. So we all share some of these blocks because they provided a genetic advantage.

The fact that many people share the same DNA blocks presented AncestryDNA with a problem. Do all of these people share a common ancestor in the genealogical time frame? They determined blocks shared by huge numbers of people were IBS and should not be used for matching. This led to a smaller number of matches? I still have 11,000.

Some other very interesting points:
  1. In a group of 200 people there is a 97% chance of finding a pair of 4th cousins
  2. If you can't find evidence of an ancestor in your DNA (and they are several generations removed from you) it could be you just didn't inherit any perceptible DNA from them.
  3. "Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence."
  4. We have 120,000 7th cousins, which increase your odds of finding a match at that distance
  5. There are 30 million 4th cousin matches at AncestryDNA out of around 500,000 in the database
  6. The average person has 5  3rd cousin matches at AncestryDNA ( I don't have any. My Mom has 7)
  7. The average person has 147 4th cousin matches at AncestryDNA
  8. At 20 generations we share DNA with around 1200 of our 1 million ancestors

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Understanding Autosomal Biogeographical Ancestry Results" I4GG

I could be doing a number of things as I wait for a Nurse visit ( for mom). I could have cleaned the house or microwaved IPhone. Instead I decided to listen to Doug McDonald's I4GG conference presentation titled "Understanding Autosomal Biogeographical Ancestry Results".

This was an excellent presentation. I followed his suggestion and analyzed and compared the chromosome painting charts, from GEDmatch, using my Mom, Aunt, and my own kits. My Aunt represents my deceased father's line. Comparing all of our results I have a better understanding of our results. Family Tree DNA showed substantial Eastern European roots for my Aunt. Looking at one of the charts I can clearly see she has more Eastern European than I do, that's probably why I didn't have any Eastern European at Family Tree DNA. What the tests confirmed is that we are mainly European. We can infer just a little more beyond that point. The companies still have a ways to  go in order to provide us with more than vague predictions.
Notes from Presentation:
  1. 50,000 to 300,000 markers are tested (should be to 700,000?)
  2. They're all right (tests) in the big picture
  3. Use 3rd party tools for analysis GEDMatch
  4. You may not inherit an exact 1/4 DNA from your Grandparents due to recombination
  5. At 6 to 10 generations back most of our ancestors lived in areas where their ancestors and relatives lived
  6. There is a 20% chance that you would, for instance, inherit DNA from a Native American ancestor who lived 12 generations ago.
  7. At 6 generation the probability is 100% that you have inherited some DNA from that Native American ancestor, but it can be hard to identify
  8. The tests go back at least 2000 years in time
  9. Too much overlapping of populations in Europe makes identification difficult
  10. Populations less than 500 years old are too mixed to provide useful data
  11. We should consider known probabilities; i.e., we should pick and choose which test results we accept based on what we already know about our ancestors
  12. Certain groups are easier to differentiate like Ashkenazi
  13. All companies use Monte Carlo method for best population fit
  14. Important to use demixed populations
  15. Use chromosome painting at GEDmatch to better understand and analyze your results
  16. 23andme and AncestryDNA are the best when it come to ethnic breakdown
  17. Should be 50/50 cut, in the painting, for most accurate results
  18. Only trust conservative at 23andme
  19. Look at where your strong matches come from
  20. Not enough data for Native Americans
  21. Don't trust the 3 big companies for African data they use the wrong chip
  22. Don't trust African Ancestors unless you are around 90% African
  23. Affymetrix  chip is only reliable chip for Africa
  24. AncestryDNA provided him with the best ethnic fit. He feels they have the best methodology
  25. His results skew French but his ancestors were from Scotland, which points to ancient continental ancestry
  26. Chromosome painting at 23andme very good
  27. "Fully sequence lots more people in lots more groups." "400 people each in 250 groups." Look for rare mutations shared by less than 2% overall, but common to a group
  28. Results should be analyzed by humans

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DNA News: "Finding Your Roots" Premiere And X Chromosome Match Browning

I enjoyed the first episode of the new season of "Finding Your Roots" on PBS. Stephen King's experience was very much like my own. Some of his ancestors migrated to Indiana from Tennessee; just like my ancestors. Like him, I had no idea I had southern roots until some cousins shared their research with me. That information was never passed down in our family. I also found Gloria Reuben's story very interesting. Her father's ancestry was Jewish. Apparently many Jews fled Spain during the inquisition and migrated to Jamaica, where Gloria's ancestors also settled. I was very interested in her admixture results, curious to see how much Ashkenazi would show up?  I replayed her segment and could see what I believe is 12% Ashkenazi. I suppose European Jews have substantial European admixture, and not as much Middle Eastern as I expected? Also I expected to see a higher percentage of Ashkenazi in her results? I was surprised that more Ashkenazi didn't show up in my own results?
Browning family Tree mostly circumstantial evidence

Edna Kapple 2nd to 4th cousin
Browning match
I was so surprised to find a new Browning match at Family Tree DNA. This match shared a large segment on the X chromosome with Mom, but zero on the X with me. My Mom shared an 18.9 cm segment with this Browning match, and a 5 cm segment. The 18.9 segment is the largest X chromosome share I've found in our matches. My Mom shared substantially more DNA with this match than I did. My relationship prediction, with this match, was 5th cousin remote. The prediction for my Mom was 2nd to 4th cousin. This match is a 3rd cousin 1x removed to me Mom. This same person also matches us at AncestryDNA, and is predicted to be a 4th cousin there. We also have another Browning match at Family Tree DNA. This person is a more distant cousin, and didn't match our closer cousin.

I noticed a glitch in the surname search at Family Tree DNA. Our new match has Browning in their tree, but this match doesn't show up when you search on that name?

Annette Kapple Distant Remote
 5th Cousin Match Browning
My goal on our Browning line is to confirm a circumstantial lineage. It's believed that Roger Browning of Greene County, Tennessee is the same Roger Browning mentioned in Benjamin Browning's estate records. Benjamin died in Maryland. I haven't found any source material verifying the fact Roger of Tennessee migrated from Maryland?  Unless a document surfaces we will need to support this inference with DNA testing.

My Mom and I have a remote cousin match with a descendant of Francis Browning and Rachel Marriott who were supposed to Grandparents of Benjamin Browning. My Mom shares a 16 cm segment with this match. This would be a 7th cousin to my Mom. At AncestryDNA we have a moderate match with a descendant of Benjamin's parents Edward Browning and Elizabeth.

List of Browning matches
  1. Match through Roger Browning and his Daughter Malinda. AncestryDNA very low confidence for me and moderate for my Mom.
  2. The match I talked about above is through Richard W. Browning and Obedience McPike, and son William Jennings Browning. AncestryDNA. Predicted 4th to 6th cousin to my Mom, and 5th cousin remote to me. Actually 3rd cousin 1x removed to my Mom. Family Tree DNA.
  3. Match through Roger Browning and Mary, and their son  Amzi. Down through Amzi's daughter Emma. At AncestryDNA.
  4. We have a match through Richard Washington Browning, my great-great grandfather and his son William Jennings Browning at AncestryDNA. Predicted 4th cousin, but actually 2nd cousin twice removed to my Mom.
  5. A possible match down the Francis Browning and Rachel Marriott line through son John. This tree is quite mixed up. This is a predicted 4th- 6th cousin match to my Mom, which would actually be 7th at AncestryDNA.
  6. We have another match through Richard Washington Browning, my great-great grandfather and his son William Jennings Browning at AncestryDNA. Predicted 4th- 6th cousin, but actually 3rd cousin twice removed to my Mom.
  7. Match through Edward Browning and Elizabeth  moderate match. AncestryDNA.
  8. Match through Francis Browning and son John. Ancestry DNA. Low confidence to Mom.
  9. Match through Francis Browning and daughter Catherine. Ancestry DNA. Low confidence to Mom.
  10. Another match through Nathan Browning and Obedience McPike and son William. Ancestry DNA. Very low confidence to Mom. Actually 3rd cousin 2x removed.
  11. Another match through Francis Browning and Rachel Marriott through Catherine. Ancestry match. Very low confidence to Mom.
  12. Yet another match through Francis Browning and Rachel Marriott through Catherine. Ancestry match. Very low confidence to Mom.
  13. A match through Francis and Rachel and son John. AncestryDNA. Very low confidence to Mom.
  14. Another match Edward Browning and Elizabeth through son Nathan. AncestryDNA. Very low confidence to Mom.
  15. Match through Nathan Browning and Obedience McPike and their daughter Mary (Polly). AncestryDNA match very low confidence. Actual relationship 3rd cousin 2x removed to Mom.
  16. Another match through Nathan Browning and Obedience McPike through daughter Elizabeth. AncestryDNA very low confidence match. Actually relationship 3rd cousin 2x remove to Mom.
  17. Another match through Roger Browning and his daughter Melinda's line. AncestryDNA. Very low confidence to Mom.
  18. A match through Francis Browning and Rachel Marriott through their daughter Catherine. At Family Tree DNA 4th cousin remote to Mom. Would actually be 7th cousin.
If anyone reading this matches us on the Browning line at AncestryDNA please let me know if you'd like to compare at Gedmatch? If I could get our Browning matches to compare at Gedmatch, and we can compare notes, maybe we can confirm our circumstantial lineage. I'm finding that some of the Brownings, among my matches, settled in Culpepper County, Virginia. I'll have to see what I can find in their records.

Something else that struck me is how cousin removals affect the amount of shared DNA. My Mom has many cousins in the 3rd and 4th cousin range who are removed from her by 1 to 3 generations. Most of these cousins are very low confidence matches, although some are more confident. I'll have to examine a chart showing the amount of DNA generally shared by these cousins. I wish I could see how much DNA we share, and where it is on the chromosomes at AncestryDNA.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DNA News: The Awkward New Tree At Family Tree DNA

The new Family Tree DNA pedigree chart was unveiled yesterday. I attended the introductory webinar. Looking at the tree via the webinar I couldn't tell how difficult the tree was to navigate. After the webinar I tried it out immediately and had difficulty navigating my large tree. I had to do a great deal of screen dragging to see everyone. I tried making the tree smaller which helped, but when I got to the best view the names were too small. Also when I resized the tree I would sometimes lose my place completely.  I didn't like the old tree much better. In the past I used the Gedcom DNA site to download gedcoms and I would view them in my family tree software, which provided me with the best pedigree chart for review. Apparently this feature has been disabled at the Gedcom website.

I hate the bottom up layout of the Family Tree pedigree charts. The top down old layout was a little better, but I prefer the left to right layout.

There are some positive features. I was able to search a match's tree for a surname, which helped me find it without having to drag the screen. I knew a match had the name Browning in their family tree, but the name was farther back in the tree than could be viewed with the old setup. The new tree displays more generations. A definite positive.

You can drag and drop matches on to your tree from a list on the left of the screen. I've attached my Mom and Aunt as matches on my tree. I was going to build out the tree and attach more matches, but I could not because all of my dozen or so positive matches are out past the Family View generations, which can be displayed.

What I do miss regarding the old tree is a more compact screen view, and the ability to shine the mouse over a name to see more information without clicking on the name.

It would be great if Family Tree DNA could partner with one of the genealogy software companies to create an outstanding, user friendly tree. The best DNA related tree layout is at AncestryDNA. I would, however, like to see details when I shine my mouse over a name . The layout at 23andme is OK, but doesn't display enough generations on one screen. So my ideal tree would be the left to right layout, with the maxim number of generations on one screen, and the ability to see more detail when you shine your mouse over a name. I also prefer scrolling to dragging the screen.
AncestryDNA Tree

23andme Tree

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DNA News: MyOrigins Grade

My Aunt's DNA test results came back August 7, which was a month after they received the kit back. She had 22 pages of matches. Around 220 matches. I haven't found any useful matches on the Owens line yet. She also shared DNA with the same Owens descendant at GEDmatch as me, but on a different chromosome. I'm hoping the Family Finder match database increases in size so we can find more relevant matches? You can't beat tools like the chromosome browser at Family Finder. I've been trying to get AncestryDNA matches to compare with me at GEDmatch. So far only one out of a dozen requests I've sent has been answered.

I was very interested how my Aunt's ethnic origin percentages would turn out. Based on my knowledge of our family origins I would give MyOrigins a B-. Her ethnic breakdown was 70% British Isles, 29 % Eastern European, and 1% Middle Eastern. My Aunt does have substantial British Isles ancestry but it definitely wouldn't be more than 50%, and certainly not the 70% she got from MyOrigins. Her mother's ancestry was around one quarter French Canadian, one quarter British/Scots Irish mix, and 50% Irish. . My Aunt should have gotten a little European Coastal plain like I did.  My Aunt's father was born in Hungary (now Burgenland, Austria). It's highly unlikely that any of her father's ancestors came from the British Isles. I've never heard of a migration pattern in that direction. I've researched the Kapple family back to the 1700's and every line was from Austria or Hungary. The 29% Eastern European my Aunt got is at least closer than my result which were only around 8%. This still leaves 20% of her father's side out, considering she had to inherit 50% from her father. The 1% Middle Eastern supposedly goes back to Asia Minor. This result is plausible since my Kapple cousin's Y DNA haplo is J2b2. However MyOrigins gave me 2% Middle Eastern, African Asiatic, which would be from the line I share with my Aunt.

Diaspora Jewish is also missing from our results. It's more than likely that we do have some of this ancestry. AncestryDNA did pick up a trace. When I ran the J test at GEDmatch my Aunt had a result of around 2% Ashkenazi.

My Grandmother Kapple believed we had some Native American ancestry. MyOrigins didn't show any? However, trace amounts of 1% to 1 1/2 % were found at Gedmatch. I tend to think GED match is correct. I believe our Native American comes through John Owens, the Indian Trader's wife.

MyOrigins is much more accurate than the old Family Finder ethnic predictions. However, the results are far from completely accurate, and tend to be inconsistent when comparing with family members, even taking into account the fact not all family members share the same DNA.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DNA News: Pushing The AncestryDNA Scan Across The Finish

A few months ago I installed the Google Chrome browser extension AncestryDNA Helper. I was never able to finish either the detail scan or the summary scan. I did get through a little over half on both, and did find even that limited amount of information to be helpful. When my mother's results came in last week I decided to try again. I don't know why but I was able to finish the summary scan for both of our kits on my first try. I moved on to the detail scan which also appeared to be working now. It was only scanning 4 to 7 matches a minute so the progress was slow. After letting it run all night it still hadn't completed. I left the house for a few hours that day, and when I came back, unfortunately, the scan had stopped. The screen message said feature not available? So I tried again and the scan started from the beginning instead of resuming where I left off. The next day it stopped, again, before completing. This time I kept refreshing the screen until it restarted. Unfortunately that night Ancestry took the site down for a few hours for maintenance. I wasn't sure if I would have to start from the beginning? After the down time ended I tried again, and luckily this time it started from where it left off, and I was able to fully scan both kits.

The size of the files created was large. My file was 44mb and my Mom's was 38mb. I sorted the files by surname. This is such a time saver. I was now able to see all of the same surnames grouped together, and I could easily look for variant spellings. Now I didn't have to click twice to see my matches shared surname ancestors. I could see the exact lineage of my matches quickly.

I know Ancestry would prefer everyone access the DNA results strictly from their site. They don't have an incentive to make the process of reviewing the matches quick. The more time people spend at their site the better for them. Clearly the point of DNA testing for Ancestry is to encourage people to subscribe and continue to do so. If this drives the price down I can't criticize them too much. For my particular family lines Ancestry is producing the best matches, and the most matches. The other companies have really slowed down now and aren't producing many significant matches. Ancestry is the only game in town for me now.

When I do another scan I  know now to keep refreshing the screen until it continues. Glad to have finally gotten all of this information downloaded. Productive week. Thank you very much Jeff Snavely!

Friday, August 1, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Ancestry Test Results

I like the icons added showing common matches between my Mom and I

My Mom's AncestryDNA test results came in on Monday July 28; exactly 3 weeks after I mailed the kit in. I wasn't confident she would pass the test on the first try. It took half an hour to collect the sample from her, and I wasn't sure if there was enough saliva. I guess all was good because she passed.

It's taken a few days for the surname and place search to be fully functional. My mom and I share 2658 common matches out of around 7000 matches a piece.

I called Ancestry when I couldn't get the search to work the day after the results came in. They came to the same conclusion I did that the search takes time to make all of the connections. I was told that better sharing tools would be coming out soon.

I'm very happy with the results. Her ethnic breakdown looks plausible. Her range for Spanish/Iberian was between 0-24%. I believe it is around 24%. The only thing left out were her German DNA roots. When I looked at the heat map Great Britain does overlap on to the continent.

My primary objectives in testing her with Ancestry were met. I had some things I wanted to clarify by testing her. I had noticed one of the Owens descendant match's was possibly related to me through my father and mother's side. I assumed that this person shared DNA on my father's side. As it turns out they match on my Mom's side. So this person being a low confidence match probably shares only Callahan line DNA and not Owens. I have already confirmed my Callahan line with DNA testing. I need more DNA support on my Owens line. I had one more Owens match which held up after testing my Mom. She didn't match this particular person; supporting paternal origins for this match.

Another line I wanted more DNA support for was Urmey/Brower. I had a Brower match on the correct paper trail line. My Mom was also a moderate match with the same person. She also had Urmey matches which provides additional support. I have always been troubled by the fact that my Eve Urmey was not named in her father's will. This could have been a recording error?

I am always looking any DNA matches supporting our Forgey circumstantial case. My mother got some Forgey matches I didn't have. My Mom also had a  Duer match which might connect with Margaret Reynolds-Forgey? Her mother was said to be Ellen Duer. Right now I'm looking for firm matches on the Fisher and Reynolds lines. We already know that all the Tennessee Forgeys are related, so matching strictly on that line doesn't mean as much. If I could collect Forgey segments it would more useful.

I'm still waiting for my Aunt's DNA test results. Her sample was received a week before I mailed my Mom's to AncestryDNA. She is testing with FamilyTree DNA. I regret not having her tested with AncestryDNA now. I'm hesitant to ask family members to do a saliva test. Also the saliva tests sometimes have to be repeated. AncestryDNA has a better database to compare with. I wish they had a swab test.  In the future, as long as GEDmatch is around, I think I'll use Ancestry instead of Family Tree for autosomal tests.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Solving Problems With Segments

I had not been able to finish watching the last half hour of the Jamboree Webinar I purchased until last week. For some reason (maybe the fact I use Wifi?) I kept losing the video signal half an hour into it, and could never advance passed that. I purchased the session "TECHNIQUES FOR USE OF AUTOSOMAL DNA TESTS TO BREAK THROUGH GENEALOGICAL BRICK WALLS" (link to syllabus1, syllabus 2).

The techniques used by Dr. Janzen focus on establishing a good foundation for drawing conclusions using shared segments. Having your parents tested allows you to do phasing which is extremely useful. Even if you only have one parent test it's very useful. The more close cousins you test or compare with, such as 1st through 3rd, puts you in a better position when it comes to making connections with more distant cousins. The segments shared at these cousin levels tend to be large, and more conclusive than the much smaller segments shared by distant cousins. You can extend the length of your ancestral segments if your matches shared segment extends beyond yours. When you find others sharing smaller segments at 4th cousin and beyond you can then more confidently label those segments. Unfortunately, 23andme and Family Tree DNA are on different builds, with 23andme on the 37 build and Family Tree DNA is on the 36 build. This just means more positions have been added to the chromosomes by 23andme, making them longer. This can lead to problems when comparing between companies. Family Tree DNA may eventually move to the 37 build or advance to a 38 build.

Dr. Janzen emphasized the need to take great care before assuming you received a segment from a particular ancestor. You need to look for all possible connections going back as far as possible. His example was the surname Broshears (which coincidentally has a connection with my family). This name isn't very common so he assumed that was his connection with one of his matches. Doing more research he discovered it was not their shared ancestral line. Instead it was Alexander.

Our Mullens lived 15 miles from one
of my matches Mullens
As an aside, interestingly this week I received an email from a representative of an adoptee. He concluded the same thing I did. This person is related to me through my Irish line due to the fact several others with the same roots match me on that segment. He also collected gedcoms from the other matches and found out that we all shared ancestors with the surname Mullen. Three of us do. Mullen being very common, the population of Ireland not being very mobile, and a paper trail going back only around 150 years makes, confirming our connection is through Mullen nearly impossible. We are hoping advances in segment identification will solve this problem. He also concluded we were likely 3rd cousins based on the amount of DNA we share in common. This can be misleading due to the fact the Irish population is fairly endogamous.

Use with caution (from ISSOGG site)
Dr Janzen also spoke briefly about endogamous populations. Isolated populations, such as those living on islands, tend to marry blood relatives. This leads to even distant relatives sharing large amounts of DNA. Autosomal DNA testing as it currently stands is not very helpful for those with ancestors in these populations.   The French Canadian population is like that,  since everyone is descended from a small population of founders. The founding population of the US was much larger and tended to be always on the move (and receiving new infusions of DNA from immigrants). My ancestors, anyway, were constantly on a westward move until we hit the Pacific Ocean. So far, along my US line, I've only found one match sharing with me through more than one line.

Someone asked a question at the end directed toward the medical side of testing since Dr. Janzen is a medical doctor. They wanted to know how useful 23andme type testing is. He said it can provide useful information, but isn't really that informative at this time. As he said a majority of illness is due to factors not related to DNA. Lifestyle is the number one contributor to disease and illness.

Dr. Janzen's session points up the need for easy access to segment information. Without it we can't confidently draw conclusions. He stated we need to put pressure on the testing companies to release this information.
(Another aside, I just finished listening to Dr. Janzen speak again about the use of segments. He said he feels testing 2nd cousins offers more bang for your buck).

Monday, June 30, 2014

DNA News of the Week: New AncestryDNA tools? That Work?

Watch live streaming video from ancestry at

This weekend I listened to The Barefoot Genealogist's Livestream video titled "DNA Bio Connections". I had heard information, coming out of NGS, that new tools were in the works at AncestryDNA. The Barefoot Genealogist spoke about that, briefly, in this presention. She said they would be coming out sometime this year. I'm hoping that they give us a tool which allows us to see where we share DNA with out matches?

Matches that come up when searched

 by surname Forgey, the one below doesn't, and should

I'm also hoping one of the old tools will get fixed or replaced. The surname and place search doesn't always catch every match with the surname or place you are searching for. If you would like to find every instance of a particular name you will have to look at every match. That is far too time consuming for most people. I thought the search problems were fixed until it surfaced again recently; I had a new Forgey match that didn't show up in the search. After this I decided to go through my match list and search for
names one match at a time again (the leaf hints do work however)
. I still have 100 pages of matches to search.
I'm hoping we get a  fixed or a revamped search soon!.

I do recommend the Ancestry Livestream video I posted above. Some very good advice is provided.

Right now, with the present tools, finding and evaluating matches is extremely time consuming. Proper evaluation requires uploading raw data to GEDmatch. Most of my matches will not agree to compare there; which presents a problem. Without seeing the segments we share it's difficult to confirm who our shared ancestor is. It would be a nice gesture for to make a generous donation to GEDmatch since their customers rely on this site so heavily.

Here is my most recent list of connections I found at AncestryDNA. I've found many, and do recommend testing with them. At this point, as I stated before, it can be time consuming digging out all relevent matches. Hopefully the new tools will be aimed towards providing information to help compare DNA segments with matches, and we get a surname and place search that finds what we are searching for every time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Taking Steps Forward and Backward

A few weeks ago I said that I thought I may had found an match relating to my Thurman family line. It was a very low confidence match and this person traced their Thurman line back to a Baze Thurman. I looked this line up at the Thurman DNA project and found they were in the R1b haplo group. The Y test results for my Thurman line came in this week. His haplo group wasn't R1b (thank goodness). My Thurman line is in the I1 Haplo group. So now it appears we are actually related to a Richard Thurman and Sarah of Prince Edward County, VA. We are still not certain whether my John Thurman was their son or nephew?

 Going back to my false assumption that a very low confidence Thurman match may have related to my own line brings up an issue I've been wondering about. Does Ancestry use your tree information along with DNA results when assigning your matches? I would think they should not. What made me a little suspicious about this possibility is the fact I have a number of matches with ancestors who have similar last names as mine. One of my lines is Kapple. I have Capel, Capple, and Chappel matches. The spelling of my surname changed  from Koppel to Kapple. I looked at the matches with the similar names, and found they would most likely have no relationship to my own surname. This could all be a coincidence because I have 5000 matches? Don't really know?

Our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie surname project is inching forward with a new result this week. We got a result for a Samuel Forgey and Sarah descendant. This line was specifically through their son Jonathon Forgy of Laurens County, SC, and his son Asa. He matched the main group. This line now has a branch tag which is 10 on DYS391. Nice to get a result which matches their paper trail.

I also got a 95 percent confidence match with a confirmed descendant of Andrew Forgey and Anna Roller. Really great news. I would love to compare with them at Gedmatch.

We also got more great news on the Forgey front with a descendant of Andrew Forgy of Maury County, TN matching a descendant of Andrew Forgey and Margaret Reynolds. More confirmation that those lines are related. This will also help us map the Forgey segment position on Chromosome 2. I believe this also suggests that Andrew of Maury County, TN may be a son Alexander Forgey, brother of Andrew Forgey.

I heard from a match whose mother was born in Nicaragua this week. Some of her ancestors also came from Granada Nicaragua.

I listened to another session from Jamboree DNA day this week; "How DNA will change the face of Irish Genealogy". The most interesting take aways regarded the ancient Irish genealogies and The People of the British Isles project. DNA might help us link up with others who have confirmed lines of descent which trace back to these ancient genealogies. Regarding the People of the British Isles project and their autosomal DNA data collection, they have been able to use this data to divide Britain into 29 genetically unique populations. These areas were isolated due to geography. In a year to 18 months everyone may be able to compare their results with these sets of results.

I will soon have an Autosomal DNA result to stand in for my Father. My Aunt agreed to test. I took the opportunity to buy a test during Family Tree DNA's Fathers' Day sale. I can't wait to get the results.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DNA News of the Week: SCGS Jamboree 2014

Another news worthy DNA week has passed. Big announcement that is now out of the mtDNA and Y DNA business. A distant Forgey cousin tested his Y DNA with Nothing really came of it that I know of ? It was never a popular company for that kind of testing. The set up for the projects wasn't as helpful as Family Tree DNA which has many great tools. AncestryDNA would be much more respected in the genetic genealogy community if they showed their costumers the positions of segment matches.

The streaming at Jamboree got off to a bumpy start this year. DNA Day streaming buffered constantly because of a slow Internet connection at the hotel. Many of us still had buffering problems on Friday. This may have had something to do with an AT&T service problem.  By Saturday all of the streaming problems were resolved.

One of the best tips I got from this year's Jamboree was from Cyndi Ingle's presentation regarding One Tab. This Google Chrome Extension saves memory and stops tab clutter. I tend to have large numbers of tabs open at once, which can get very confusing. 

Some of the Live Stream sessions I viewed, and what I picked up from them:

  1. "DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard" which was presented by Blaine Bettinger. As he stated DNA is an important part of proving a lineage to the level of the GPS. As he said going back 200 years there is an 8 percent chance of a non paternal event. The farther back you trace your family the more chances there are for a break in the line. He also brought up the fact that DNA can't prove everything; the tests have limitations. It is just one aspect of the proof standard. Testing is cheaper than it was; but, can still become very expensive if you want to test every family line, as he also mentioned. Choose tests and testers wisely. He also mentioned what a hassle it can be to convince someone to test, and get them to actually return the kit. I know someone who still hasn't returned a kit after 3 years. 
  2. The Internet: A Genealogist's Printing Press presented by Cyndi Ingle. This was presented differently than I expected. I was expecting information on publishing a book with an online publisher. Instead the presentation dealt with query forums, blogs and other places where we post information or interact with fellow researchers. I thought this was an excellent presentation. My communications, over the years, have become more slap dash due the fast pace of Internet communication.I do need to take a little more time with my communications. Cyndi also brought up blog naming. My blog name isn't very catchy or informative. I could have put more thought into. 
  3. Rights and Responsibilities presented by Judy Russell was very interesting. The video of her presentation along with the others will be available until July 5th. 
  4. Your Irish Ancestry Online I collected some new site links from this presentation by Dr. Maurice Gleeson. I thought the site for the Trinity College  1641 and 1671 landowners' search was particularly interesting.
  5. Dr. Maurice Gleeson: Ireland and the Slave Trade Was another interesting Irish related presentation. The connection between Barbados and Ireland is fascinating. I believe a distant Forgie relation served as an indentured servant there. I had no idea that Irish women and children were sent there as slaves. It's not known yet whether they were enslaved for life. 
  6. Resources of the DAR: Beyond Revolutionary War Soldiers  presented by D. Joshua Taylor was another interesting presentation I viewed. Interesting to see the website's new look.
  7. The Future of Genetic Genealogy presented by Bennett Greenspan founder and owner of Family Tree DNA. Many interesting points were brought up in this great presentation
  • The Big Y Project will produce closer terminal SNPs for all of us (meaning closer in time. Hopefully to within a couple hundred years)
  • Convergence was also discussed. Convergence occurs when mutations separate you from your correct line and make it look like you are related to a different line; which doesn't share your surname. Having a matching terminal SNP eliminates the possibility of connecting with the wrong line.
  • I learned that our Kapple/Kapple J2 Haplo split from J1 10,000 years ago. 
  • Y DNA and MtDNA is a science; but Autosomal DNA is an art and a science. 
  • It isn't known for sure how much of what Autosomal DNA purports to tell us is actually just hype? Some of the claims may not be true? (we need Geneticists not affiliated with the testing companies to take a look at consumer testing and evaluate the accuracy of the whole process.)
  • The problem faced when Autosomal testing inbred populations was also brought up. Current testing filters frequently misidentify the level of relationship. 
  • Larger Autosomal DNA chips would make the process more accurate. The cost of the chip at this point is too high. 
  • Full sequencing may become affordable in 5-10 years
I appreciate these livestreams because I'm a caregiver, and can't leave home for very long. I've been attending by livestream for several years now. Hopefully I can attended in person next year!