Tuesday, February 17, 2015

RootsTech 2015

RootsMapper uses your Family Search Tree to map Ancestral locations.

I enjoyed watching the live feed from RootsTech 2015, as usual, this year. I appreciate Family Search making this available to us for free. The keynote speeches this year didn't appeal to me as much as in previous years. I would like to hear more about tech or genetic genealogy during the keynote presentations. I enjoyed Donny Osmond's presentation. I know he, and his family, have been actively involved in researching their family history. I'm sorry an episode of a Welsh show called "Coming Home" is no longer available at Youtube. Donny Osmond was featured in a show episode where his family history in Wales was presented to him. They unrolled a long family history pedigree chart for him at one point; he seemed genuinely moved. I enjoyed his upbeat, energetic presentation at RootsTech.

The "Innovator Summit Challenge Event" was interesting. The second place winner was my favorite. It allows searches on handwritten pages even in foreign languages. This would allow searching without indexing, it's called "ArgusSearch". I personally have zero interest in the event winner "Story Worth". I might use the 3rd place winner sometime? It's called "GenMarketplace". You post a problem and researchers bid to solve it.

Any technology that helps me  Systematize and Analyze my research is what I want to know more about. The streamed sessions, at RootsTech, which appealed to me the most were:

  1. 30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without Favorite website shared in this presentation ArchiveGrid which allows you to search archives for family information.
  2. Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox The best link from this presentation was Wolfram Alpha helps calculate relationships and provides other kinds of data computation. Good for nicknames.
  3. Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy Great for those starting out in Genetic Genealogy, I enjoyed it also.
  4. What's New at FamilySearch I thought this was an interesting presentation. I will continue to attach information to their tree but I'm hoping it's not a complete waste of time? Their are so many duplicates that need fixing I'm hoping my attached info doesn't get thrown out when merging occurs. The ability to search all of the trees for photos and other special content is nice. The best links to come out of the presentation were: "RootsMapper" my favorite toy from this year's RootsTech. "Find-A-Record" is another partner of Family Search with an app. for finding possible documentation for your family tree. It also spots problems on your Family Search tree. The problems found are so massive it would be a full time job for months to fix them (it's about as massive as tearing my house down and rebuilding in my case).
You can watch some of the previously streamed sessions here.

My dream app. would be a page like the old iGoogle which would display messages from all sites, with messaging, including Ancestry.com. It would also display all of my DNA matches as they come in, and allow me to click to view their surnames. I would also like to see blogs like GeneaWebinars display their content directly on the same page. A list of new record content from all of the research sites would be great to see on the same page too. Genetic Genealogy is the future and RootsTech needs to focus on this area even more. We need help understanding how to use our results and integrate them with our traditional research. We need more apps. for genetic genealogy and I hope future innovators address our needs.

I personally need an app. that cuts my internet connection after a certain number of hours, or at a certain time in the evening. Time to cut myself off and do come grocery shopping. Bye for now.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The McDonald's Of DNA Does It Again!

You can stop researching your family tree AncestryDNA has made it unnecessary. Just take their DNA test and they'll find your ancestors for you. They may not be the correct ancestors, but you can't have everything. Where did I learn of this latest innovation? You can read more about the announcement here.

"Building on DNA Circles, in 2015 we will launch a new experience that will use the latest genetic technology to discover new ancestors without the customer having to search records or build a family tree. This new feature will transform how family history research is done by providing valuable hints to help experienced genealogist looking to break through brick walls, as well as open family history to a whole new segment of the population. Through this new experience, AncestryDNA customers will be able to discover new ancestors as far back as the 1700's by connecting into existing DNA Circles."

Sounds like a dream come true for those uninterested in doing research? It is just a dream. You can't avoid the research process. AncestryDNA cannot manufacture a tree for you using DNA alone. There are some wonderful trees attached to DNA results which can produce accurate Circles. In other cases, for instance, many people have the wrong ancestral information copied from old published genealogies. Those trees will contribute to inaccurate Circles. I'm not saying the Circles are a bad idea. I think they are a good idea if used properly; as hints only. Although they will never replace segment information for confirming matches.

If you don't read the latest Ancestry press release carefully you may miss the fact that Ancestry is only providing hints. In their first sentence, describing the Circles, they state a customer can discover ancestors without doing research or building a tree. If you read further it says they are providing hints. This contradicts their first statement and suggests research is required. A few people were misled yesterday believing Ancestry could now correct all the bad trees on their site. That would be great, but is impossible at this point in time.

The DNA testing companies are going to accentuate the positive when trying to sell their product. That's understandable. They shouldn't be grossly misleading however. The founder of Family Tree DNA has been openly critical over claims about what some say autosomal DNA can do. He has integrity. I would like to see AncestryDNA continue to grow their database in a way demonstrating they have some integrity. Many people walk away, after spending $110, dissatisfied with the results they receive. This happens when people don't understand what they are buying. This happens most often at AncestryDNA because they over state the accuracy of their product.

I have to say I get a kick out of the ridiculous statements that seem to pour out of Ancestry.com. If they made reasonable statements about their product I would miss the comic relief. I wouldn't fall off my chair laughing anymore. On the other hand, I hate to see people spend money expecting to get one thing; but, instead walk away with something they aren't happy with.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

AncestryDNA Sells 100,000 Kits In December 2014 And Comparing Cousins Results

Ancestry.com reported their 4th quarter earnings, and year end earning results, on February 3rd ( you can listen to the full report here).  I guess the AncestryDNA boycott hasn't caught on yet because they sold 100,000 kits in December of 2014 alone; that's double what they sold in the same month last year which was around 50,000 kits. Most of these kits, I suspect, were purchased by the Millennial generation who are interested in the Ethnicity results. This seems to be reflected in the Ancestry subscription numbers which are declining instead of growing. Ancestry lost 25,000 subscribers in 2014. I'm not sure whether adding a subscription requirement to see your matches' surnames will increase subscriptions? The young people testing for ethnicity don't seem interested in looking at match information. I had planned on subscribing to the trees using the "Ancestral Insights" subscription. That was before they instituted the new subscription requirement for new accounts. I don't like to be coerced into buying a subscription so I'm thinking that purchase over now.

Revenues are up for Ancestry.com in the 4th quarter. Losses are down compared to a year ago. There were some great sales last year apparently due to slowing sales. With such incredibly high kit sales recently I don't expect to see another sale, at least until they process all the kits purchased in late 2014. AncestryDNA is driving revenue growth at Ancestry. AncestryDNA will be expanding into Germany and Mexico this year.

Sounds like more novelty features will be added to the AncestryDNA product. Maybe a Neanderthal prediction? As I understand it these new features will not include the sharing of segment information. An interesting blog post was published this week about the DNA Circles and their weakness as a tool for determining how you are related to matches. The post  Anatomy of a DNA Circle explains the problems faced when drawing conclusions based on Circles. When I contact matches at AncestryDNA, sadly, most don't understand the benefits of triangulation with DNA matches. AncestryDNA misleads their testers into believing they don't need to do anything except attach a tree.

Like so many genetic genealogists I've been trying to figure out possible cousin relationships based on the amount of shared DNA. My Mom was born in Granada, Nicaragua to Charles Lynn Forgey, a US Marine based in Nicaragua, and his Nicaraguan wife Graciela Del Castillo. My mother was 4 years old when she came to the US. I have very little information about my Nicaraguan family. Luckily the civil registration records for Managua, Nicaragua are online. Unfortunately the records for Granada, Nicaragua aren't, and that's where most of my ancestors lived. I've been examining my Mom's Nicaraguan matches at AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. I had been contacted, a couple weeks ago, by a distant cousin whose Aunt matched my Mom at AncestryDNA. She is a "Very High" confidence match for my Mom, and my family was acquainted with her great-grandfather Francisco who lived not far away from my family here in Southern California. AncestryDNA predicts they are 3rd to 6th cousins. Her 2nd cousin, on her only Nicaraguan line, also matches my Mom at FTDNA. Her 2nd cousin doesn't match my Mom as closely however. He is a 5th cousin remote sharing an 11 cM segment. Looking at both of these predictions, plus the fact our families were acquainted with each other, I'm guessing 4th cousin? Don't know if I will ever be able to confirm that? If the Granada records still exist, and go back far enough, I may be able to discover our exact relationship..

I've been analyzing my cousin Darryl's results. These comparisons, again, highlight the fact it's nearly impossible to predict relationships past the 2nd cousin degree of relationship. The first chromosome chart compares him with his Aunt Loretta. He shares 1704 cM's total with her. The longest segment is 162 cMs. My mother and her niece share 1769 cMs. Longest segment is 156 cMs. Generally those who share this degree of relationship share between 1500-2000 cMs. (got most of the cM averages from this ISOGG page here)

Aunt Loretta and Nephew Darryl

A comparison of Darryl and I. We are first cousins. We share 1074 cMs. Our longest segment is 156 cMs. I share 1041.81, total cMs, with another first cousin. And the longest segment is 75 cMs. First cousins generally share 548-1139 cMs. 
First Cousins Darryl and Annette
Moving on to a third Cousin to Darryl. He shares only 27 cM's with our  third cousin; the longest is 16 cMs. Vastly smaller share than his Aunt Loretta and I. I share a total of 149 cMs with our third cousin. The largest segment is 69 cMs. Aunt Loretta share 182 cMs with the largest segment being 88 cMs. Third cousins generally share 16-111 cMs,  I believe my Aunt would be a 2nd cousin 1x removed from this cousin. Second cousins once removed generally share 19-197 cMs.
Comparing between 2nd cousin 1x removed and 3rd cousins

Darryl's 3rd cousin 1x removed shares 35 cMs and the largest segment is 14.9.  I share 91.5 cMs and the longest segment is 32 cMs. Our Aunt Loretta shares 65 cMs the largest segment being 37.9. I share more DNA than my Aunt and cousin with this match. The average 3rd cousin 1x removed shares 0-99 cMs.
3rd cousins 1x removed and 3rd cousin

Darryl shares DNA in the same place on chromosome 1 as a 5th cousin on our Melvin line. We have great triangulation with this Melvin match. Again Darryl's segment is smaller at 7 cMs but is in the same location. The rest of us share about 15 cM segments in the same place.

4th and 5th cousins to Melvin match

Apparently Darryl's father, Thomas Kapple, inherited some segments from his father that my father, Robert Kapple, did not get. We don't know which line or lines of our Burgenland family this DNA was inherited from? This match shares the surnames Jost, Kurta, and Koppel. Since my Aunt inherited half of her DNA from her father I would have thought she would have inherited the longer segment. Instead her nephew Darryl shares the large 32.5 cM segment, and Aunt Loretta shares an 11.8 cM segment in the same place.
Unknown relationship with several possibilities

Sunday, February 1, 2015

AncestryDNA Non Subscription Accounts Downgraded Plus People Behind The Segments

I wrote last week that AncestryDNA now requires a $49 annual subscription to review matches for non subscribers. It's been very difficult to get specific details about this new requirement. After basically insisting on getting answers, I with the help of others, was finally able to get more details. October 1, 2014 is when this change took affect. If you purchased a kit before this date your account is considered an "old account", and you can still see partial trees, surnames and maps. Future kits activated in old accounts also have access to the old features. The "new accounts" (those who purchased kits after October 1, 2014) now require a subscription to view any part of a match's trees, or surnames. In the past AncestryDNA representatives said the DNA portion of the Ancestry site would be maintained as a standalone product which would not require a subscription? (See an explanation of the changes below, and a video about what was available to non subscribers before and what non subscribers see now when they click on matches, see above.)

Another problem I have with AncestryDNA's decision, to require a subscription, is that you can build and access your own tree at Ancestry without maintaining a subscription. They allow you to add value to Ancestry's site with your research, pictures and documents but won't allow you to use your tree to make connections if you are a non subscriber. The DNA tests aren't free and generally cost $110. I don't see why new non subscribers can't see what the old non subscribers can see? If a non subscriber attaches a tree to their results their matches can use it if they are subscribers, but the non subscriber can't. Unfair. I've removed my trees from my own results.
 Ancestry has had a rough start in this first month of the New Year. Their Chief Product Officer is leaving at the end of this month. They are now offering their DNA product for sale in the UK. Apparently the price is higher there than in the US, which isn't going down well with some people. Some records recently added to the Ancestry.com site didn't have any source information. When someone asked for a source citation they were told they couldn't provide one for contractual reasons. They did later offer a partial citation. I've been doing more research at the Ancestry site than usual the last few days. I've noticed the same problems others have reported; the search at Ancestry doesn't always find everything searched for. I've gotten some results that took me to the wrong page. I don't always get the same results with the same search? When the settings are set to show like matches this feature also fails to find some like matches that should be included. I've been using MyHeritage this week and find their search is the best available. I'm finding things using their search that are not coming up with any other search. The problem with MyHeritage is that you have to pay see the results of your search and the results are generally located on free sites.

On the positive side Ancestry's President and Chief Executive Officer, Tim Sullivan stated, at the "Personalized Medicine World Conference 2015",  they now have 700,000 people in their database. They are now beginning to move in a direction which may eventually lead them to provide health results to testers in the future. A new app was talked about at the conference which allows users keep a record of their health history. He stated that DNA was the "core to company mission." The importance of the DNA product at Ancestry, I believe, will lead them to release segment information at some point. I think once new testers become more familiar with what the segment information can do for them they'll start demanding this information.

There are many interesting stories behind our DNA matches. Many DNA testers test to solve a family mystery. Their stories are often fascinating. I love mystery novels, so I love hearing about how people use DNA and genealogy to solve long standing family mysteries. The Genealogy Roadshow highlights and helps solve family mysteries which makes this show so fascinating. A distant cousin contacted me this week and his story reminded of some of the stories featured on the Roadshow. A relative of his matched my Mom at a "Very High" match confidence level at AncestryDNA. This cousin's Great-grandmother met a Nicaraguan cousin of mine in the 1920's. He owned and operated a dance studio in Nevada. She had a whirlwind romance with him and they eloped. This was a short lived marriage probably owing to huge cultural differences. One party being Latin and the other Anglo, one Mormon and the other Catholic, which would have been huge differences in the 1920's. This distant cousin seems to have been a ladies man having affairs with women in many states. He didn't provide his true identity to his Reno wife. This family has had to do some research to find out his true name and learn more about their family. More research is needed to find out exactly what happened to him, and his true family's identity. This would make a great story for The Genealogy Roadshow.

I have spent a lot of time writing about AncestryDNA, mainly because of all of the changes they've made. Some people think DNA testing is a team support. As Leo Leporte often says people who own smart phones think they belong to a team. "I'm team Android, I'm team IPhone." DNA testing isn't a team support either. All of the companies provide nearly the same quality results with a few exceptions (some provide better tools for reviewing matches).  I would recommend testing with all the companies if you can afford it. I might have a fit of pique with these companies from time to time, but they all provide matches that help with my genealogy. I don't think there will be much more to say about AncestryDNA for a while at least. I'm curious about their performance in the 4th quarter. We'll find out on the 3rd when they release the 4th quarter financial report. Otherwise it's time to move on and evaluate some new matches.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bait-And-Switch At AncestryDNA

Correction: the requirement for a subscription only applies to new tests after last fall's changes. You will get the screen shown on the right if you recently tested and try to access trees. You will be required to pay at least $49 a year to see any portion of a tree.

I was absolutely blown away yesterday when my cousin's DNA results came back and we couldn't even view partial trees for his matches. I set up a free account for him. In the past you could view the first 7 generations of a match's pedigree without subscribing. You could even see more if you clicked on the names. Now you can't see anything without subscribing. I think this is highly unethical. When I bought my kit I understood that I would be able to see at least a partial tree without paying a dollar more. This test has suddenly become the most expensive test offered by any company. Without the trees the test is useless, other than getting the highly controversial ethnic results, there would be no reason to use their test. If you maintain the minimum subscription of $49 to see the trees the test would end up costing you more than $500 over 10 years. I would rather use that money traveling to ancestral locations. The test results, which are often changed for the worse, the glitches, and no segment information in the AncestryDNA database mean this test is absolutely not worth that amount of money.

After learning about this bait-and-switch move by AncestryDNA I've decided I will eventually make my tree private. If Ancestry decides to make viewing partial trees free again I will unlock my tree. A number of people have linked to my tree so I will have to invite them to my private tree.

So now when you buy an AncestryDNA kit for someone as a gift they will be required to maintain some kind of subscription to continue to see the trees. A gift that keeps on taking?

In my last blog I shared the fact that a 3rd cousin 1x removed disappeared from my Mom's match list. It seems she purchased a test for another relative, and that relative now matches my Mom at the Extremely High Confidence level. Their result came in yesterday. This person appears to be a 2nd cousin 1x removed to my Mom. I will contact this match and see if she would be willing to compare at GEDmatch. I have a feeling they both share large segments.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Which DNA Company Has The Best Matching System?

I am now finally able to evaluate the new matching system, at AncestryDNA, which uses the Timber filter to eliminate supposedly IBS segments. I was quite shocked to find a 3rd cousin 1x removed, who was a 95% confidence level match, now missing from my Mom's match list. This match is in a Circle with us and definitely isn't considered a match anymore.  A cousin lost a total of 8 matches who were previously 95% confidence level matches, which no longer match at all.

Now that I have this comparison information I can evaluate the 3 companies I have experience with i.e: Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe.
  1. 23andMe's system appears to be the best. Their matching procedure isn't as rigid as the others, which may result in false matches,  but I believe they have a good confidence rating system which should provide enough guidance when it comes to establishing the likelihood that you are actually related.
  2. Family Tree DNA uses IBS small segments to determine matches. This sort of rating system can cause good matches to be lost.
  3. I rate AncestryDNA well below the others when it comes to matching. They phase results and now use a Timber filter to determine IBS segments. AncestryDNA processes as many as 30,000 kits a month. I believe the extra processing they do with the kits affects the accuracy of their match results. They claim their processes have a low error rate. I personally think the error rate is higher than they claim. Their computer system is full of glitches which may also affect the match results? Both my Mom and I lost 3 previously 95% confidence matches ( one was a 3rd cousin 1x removed). A third cousin of mine lost 8 matches in the previously 95% confidence level. After phasing these matches looked strong, the Timber filter eliminated them completely. Timber also pushed a few 95% confidence matches into the Extremely High confidence level. A couple of these matches have extensive trees going back 8 generations. I can't find a common ancestor or even common places with them?
I have to say I was sold on phasing after listening to AncestryDNA representatives talk about it. I believe it works well on a small scale, with more quality control than is  possible when working with a high volume of kits.

I think it would be best if all of the companies would use the same match criteria as 23andMe, which is at least one segment which is 7 cMs and 700 SNPs. 23andMe sets a cap on the number of matches to avoid the problem AncestryDNA had with massive numbers of matches. I think the cap is a better idea than trying to filter out IBS segments and in the process losing good matches.

Ancestry.com is more of an entertainment site rather than a serious genealogy site. A great blog post explaining the pitfalls of this approach was published this week "Ignorance is Bliss at AncestryDNA". I would still test with them; it's just important to realize their match procedure and confidence levels are flawed. I probably lost half a dozen matches I felt were likely true matches at AncestryDNA when the Timber filter was used. That's not a good thing, but I can live with that because the trees are so helpful.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

DNA News of the Week: 23andMe Digs Out Of Hole & No Chromosome Browser at AncestryDNA

My first Exam for a Udemy Genetics course

News out of the "Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management " conference in Salt Lake City, from a blog post by the "The Legal Genealogist", AncestryDNA will not have a chromosome browser and that's final ( unless there is a management change at some point). I would never pay $99 for the test without the chromosome browser. I believe it's worth $49. Ancestry's DNA business is the only thing driving new subscriptions at this point. I feel like this will help to keep Ancestry afloat for a while. Long term I think sales will slow down. Ancestry's database subscriptions are too expensive to maintain for years on end. You only save money if you subscribe to them for a limited time. If Ancestry had images of Deeds I would definitely maintain a subscription longer. I will have to cancel my monthly subscription soon. I just have too many other financial obligations to continue. I'm going a spending diet for a while.

23andMe announced a deal with big pharma to examine the role of genetics in the Parkinson's disease process. It's a $10 million deal. I have no problem with 23andMe's use of customer information for research purposes. I believe everyone testing with them is aware that their primary goal is to collect DNA and use it to help customers understand health risk factors they may have, and compile customers' health survey information to find common genetic characteristics of people with certain diseases.

Listening to a Youtube video presentation by 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki did bring up some good points. She was asked shouldn't the testers be paid for their contribution instead of the other way around? I don't know about offering free tests. I think that would be highly unlikely. I think $30 would be a fair price for the kind of information 23andMe offers, plus the fact they are profiting form the results. I'm considering testing with them but feel $99 is too much considering the results are still subject to debate. I was shocked when I read, in the "Time" article, that the number of testers dropped by half after the FDA suspended the health portion of the test. I think a drop in price would help to rebuild their database. Testing with 23andMe for genealogy purposes has been helpful for some people. My particular family doesn't seem to be well represented in their database judging by my cousin's results.

ISOGG updated their identical by descent information. I think the phasing that AncestryDNA does is helpful in weeding out IBS segments, as stated by ISOGG, even though it's not perfect. However I'm skeptical of their approach when it comes to filtering pile up matches. Reading "How Phasing Works and Determining IBD Versus IBS Matches" blog post at the "DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy" blog it sounds like what defines a "pile up" is variable. As few as 25 people sharing DNA in the same place may be considered a "pile up". So someone sharing 24 matches in the same place on a segment wouldn't be a "pile up"? I'm wondering exactly what the arbitrary cut offs really are? It seems ridiculous.

I'm taking a Udemy Intro to Genetic Genealogy course. It's very interesting so far. Got 100% on my first examine. I love the ancient theory of preformationism. The idea that there are little preformed bodies in sperm is so funny.

We got a new match at Family Tree DNA this week. This is a predicted 2nd to 4th cousin for my Mom. I found a dozen people triangulating on segments shared with this match, which I believe may be related to our Browning line. If I verify this it would cut my list of unidentified matches at Family Tree DNA by around 12. I know that at least one match shares the same Browning line with my Mom and I. Several members of the same family tested with Family Tree DNA, and they share the same Browning match with us. I was thinking they shared this same family line hundreds of years ago. Now I'm thinking it may have been more recently as the 2nd to 4th cousin prediction would suggest. I noticed their Combs line lived in Lawrence County, IN  and Monroe County, IN where some of our Browning relatives settled.

My cousin's AncestryDNA kit is being processed now. Hopefully we'll see results in a couple weeks?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Year in Genetic Genealogy: Looking Backward And Looking Forward

Family Tree DNA myOrigins was introduced this year

Happy New Year 2015!

We began the year 2014 with a push to grow our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie Y DNA project. We did grow it by several additional members. We added two additional men to the main grouping, and three are now outside the most common Y haplo group. We need to solve two of these NPE's. Hoping an autosomal test will show a female line of descent for one of these lines?

My Mom and I tested with AncestryDNA this year. I tested in March and my Mom in July. I've found a couple dozen matches through Ancestry. I had a few taken away recently with their new pile up elimination filter. It's going to take a few years before we know how accurate Ancestry's methods really are.

My Aunt Loretta tested with Family Tree DNA. Their new myOrigins ethnicity estimate was very far off for her. The estimates for my Mom and I are closer to correct.

My DNA Personal Highlights 2014:

  1. My Aunt matched an Owens descendant through the George Owens line.
  2. Confirmed a 3rd cousin once removed in my Owens' line. No breaks in our Owens line to William F. Owens b. abt. 1820 & Nancy Hicks.
  3. We triangulated with a Melvin match. Feel confident about our blood relationship to that line now. That takes the confirmed Hicks/Melvin line back to John Melvin b. abt. 1776.
  4. I match a couple of Scrouf descendants and Darrell matches one. If this is a true DNA match it would take us back to John Owens b. abt. 1730.
  5. We confirmed Archibald Forgey is related to everyone else in the common Haplo Forgey/Forgy & Forgie grouping at Family Tree DNA. I also confirmed that my own family had a rare mutation on a slow moving marker that the Archibald line doesn't share.
  6. I found out our Thurman line is descended through a Richard Thurman and Sarah. The Y haplo for this line is the Viking Haplo I-M253.
  7. We still have a Forgey/Roller AncestryDNA match who is a 1st cousin once removed to Archibald Forgey's descendant Christy. Nan, her brother , and Aunt are also matches on the same line.
  8. Another important remaining match at AncestryDNA is with a Descendant of John Forgey son of Andrew Forgey and Margaret Reynolds. This is a very strong match for my Mom. This would confirm the Forgey line back to Andrew Forgey b. 1732 and Margaret Reynolds b. 1741. It's difficult to evaluate the validity to this match at AncestryDNA without seeing the shared segment.
  9. We have a different Samuel Forgy b. 1726 match now (lost a previous one). This seems to point to a relationship at around 7 or 8 generations.
  10. We've had several Moses Wray descendants match at both AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. I feel this line is confirmed back to Moses Wray b. abt. 1725 and Elizabeth Morris. We've had some Morris matches also, one additional generation back.
  11. I was able to identify a close match that was a mystery for a couple of years. She descends from Mary Magdalene Roller.
  12. We may have matches with a couple of Francis Browning b. 1672 descendants? I believe only my Mom matches these descendants? Her reach is much farther back than mine.
Looking forward to some new AncestryDNA results in the New Year. My 1st cousin on my father's side, Darryl, is testing and a 6th cousin, Forgey line, is testing right now. My cousin Judy is also considering testing and would be able to compare with our Aunt, Darryl and I.  I would like to see a Huvane line cousin test. So far that line is not represented at Family Tree DNA or Ancestry. I would also like to see an Owens male in my line test to at least 37 markers on the Y test. Right now we only have one in my line testing at 25 markers. I will also look into having another Forgey male tested. I'm hoping someone who stated he was previously interested, is still interested?

What I will be keeping my eye on, from this point, is ethnicity estimates and brickwall related matches. Campbell, Owens, Forgey, Browning and Urmey are the names I'm focusing my DNA research on. I'm hoping the AncestryDNA Circles are fixed and expanded to make them more useful.

On a non genetic genealogy note, it was nice to find the marriage date and place for my Kapple grandparents. They had divorced and the date, and place, of their marriage had been forgotten. Found some new family picture posted to trees at Ancestry.com. Hope to find more pics posted this year.

Our collective Year In Genetic Genealogy and the Year to Come:

New episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?" are due out early this year (beginning February 24). According to Ancestry.com the ratings for the last season of this show were down from the previous season. Ancestry also said the CNN special about their anchors' family history stories was very successful. Ancestry also felt the last season of PBS's "Finding Your Roots" was a good investment for them. Expect to see more Ancestry commercials on FOX in the New Year. The FOX audience is a key demographic for them. I'm wondering if the DNA test sales will slow at some point? If they lower the price I believe their sales will continue growing. At the current $100 price I've found most average people aren't interested in testing. When they've had their $49 sales they've had blowout months. AncestryDNA is expanding their testing service outside the US this year, which will bolster sales this year.

We had some wonderful learning opportunities online this year. Spencer Wells gave a fascinating keynote speech early last year at "Roots Tech". Jamboree featured some great DNA presentations. One of the best was "The Future of Genetic Genealogy" presented by the founder of Family Tree DNA Bennett Greenspan (full sequencing and IDing rare SNPs is the future). The International Genetic Genealogy conference (I4GG) also offered presentations online and was, and is, another great opportunity learning. These presentations are still available for purchase. Family Tree DNA and Ancestry also offered several webinars, and livestreams, regarding DNA and interpreting their products. 23andme offered a couple of live hangouts which were also very interesting. Several conferences in the British Isles also featured DNA presentations which are still available for viewing at Youtube. I found these presentations excellent.

I've learned so much from the Facebook group International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) this year. This group is such a good place to keep up with current news about genetic genealogy. You can also ask questions. Sometimes flash DNA sales are announced here. You have to be quick to cash in on some of these sales, as we found out, because they can end as quickly as they are announced.

I'll be listening to "Roots Tech" presentations available online in February. I think it's a mistake to have former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna, speak. This should be a non political event. Introducing politics will just cause hostility. What happened to the tech part of "Roots Tech" anyway? The speakers should have some involvement with the Tech community, or at least genealogy.

23andMe and MyHeritage will be collaborating in the new year. If 23andMe gets the green light to resume presenting medical results their database will grow faster again.

AncestryDNA seems to be moving in the direction of reconstructing ancestral genomes, hence the new Circles centered around specific ancestors. This could be a difficult undertaking because of serious errors in some of the Ancestry trees. Many people just copy information from other trees. Everyone in a circle may have information from the same wrong tree. Everyone in a Circle may be related, but not in the way they expected? They may have misidentified their common ancestor. The results of Ancestry's first attempt at this kind of ancestral genome reconstruction were released late this year.

2014 has been an incredible watershed year in genetic genealogy. We'll see if it can be topped in future years?

Family Tree DNA introduced a new tree interface this year

Sunday, December 14, 2014

AncestryDNA Circles Rolling Right Off The Page & Other Oddities

Ancestry and the little genealogists?

I've been working on those novel AncestryDNA Circles, which are currently deep in beta. Why am I  doing this when they aren't currently very interesting? Probably because I'm avoiding doing hated Christmas chores?? Ha, Ha, Ho! Ho!

When I examined my Cousin Nan's Circles I noticed she had at least one that my Mom should be in. Upon further examination we should have 3 more than we have (that we even know about?). We've each had 9 Circles since the Circles started. In an effort to forget Christmas chores I plunged into the Circles. I tried changing the information to match the Circles we should be in. This hasn't resulted in creating any new circles yet? I heard that the Circles cycle every few hours. So I would think I should see any new Circles showing up within a day or so?

I contacted Ancestry via Facebook messaging yesterday. They attempted to fix my Circles problem. Apparently they were not able to add any Circles. What they managed to do is replace one Circle ancestor with another. It appears our Circles are stuck on 9 ( I thought we had 7 but it's 9). Something is wrong which isn't allowing us to gain anymore Circles? This is what I saw last night when they tried to remedy the problem. You can see (below) one ancestor is replaced with "feature not available". This ancestor was later replaced by another ancestor.

Looking at the member trees for one Circle we're looking to join I noticed that one person doesn't even have the ancestor the Circle is based on in their tree. This person hasn't logged in since June? I take it he couldn't have changed the tree since the Circles were created?

After even brief examination it's clear the Circles are deeply mired in Beta. We hope they can fix these problems because previous search function problems remain. I got another message from Ancestry recommending I call them about the problems with our Circles. I learned to call them well before or after lunch. Backup phone Reps. apparently answer around lunch? I believe so because I called about a DNA test kit one time and the person seemed confused. They were like DNA test? Then they remembered, "Oh yay".

So now I have a new Circle but I'm still missing 3 Circles we should be in? If we can get them all at once I would be satisfied. The Christmas chores are looking better now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DNA: Grading Autosomal Testing Companies

What I've been doing so far with my test results is supporting my paper trail trees with DNA evidence. I haven't broken down any brickwalls yet, but I'm finding some evidence which may do that in the future.

Having worked with the Autosomal DNA tests since 2012 I've formed some opinions about the different companies I've had experience using.
Here are my grades based on my experience:

Click to enlarge

Since the point of testing for me is to confirm relationships my overall scores reflect the tools provided by the companies to do this. Some explanation of my scores:

Family Tree DNA: B Overall. Because they have good tools. If they used phasing they would get an A- overall. They need to improve their family tree interface and ethnicity predictions.
AncestryDNA: C Overall. They would get an A if they had tools for confirmation of relationships. The trees here can be so horrible which creates a problem. Some are great, but others just make me crazy. They do have a new tool called Circles which is mainly a novelty. They provide good matches; which, unfortunately need confirming elsewhere.
23andMe: C Overall. This grade reflects the low query response rate, and the low level of family knowledge of the database matches.

I looked at this review of AncestryDNA yesterday and it inspired me to grade the companies: My AncestryDNA Review: A Cautionary Tale. Interesting post.
The International Society of Genetic Genealogy has a great page comparing the DNA testing companies.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Are The New Moderate Matches Good?

I had to correct this post again. Timber is a filter that AncestryDNA uses and could be a reason for the segment size differences? Breaking up of compound segments through phasing is another possible reason You can view an explanation of Timber here.

Some people feel the Timber system is flawed? I would like to know more about it.

Because of the possibility of a phasing error I wouldn't completely disregard moderate matches. Some of these share large segments of DNA not reflected in the phased results. There is a phasing error rate of 1 for every 100 heterozygous sites in a sample.

Since GEDmatch is now working again I decided to do some research on my AncestryDNA matches. I was curious about those Moderate about 6cM and under matches. I did some searching on my Moderate match usernames to see if I could find any to compare with. A few had uploaded to GEDmatch and I quickly discovered the cM ranges they gave for Moderate matches were way off. I found that one of these matches shared a 15 cM segment and another an 18 cM segment, while yet another shared an 8 cM segment. Why put out these estimates at all? Why not explain these are Timber filtered and phased so the results can't be compared elsewhere?

The illustrations below demonstrate the differences between the Timber filtered and phased results from AncestryDNA and the unphased, unfiltered GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA results.

The Extremely High match I found is obviously extremely good. Good call here.

Now we move to a Very High Comparison. We share a couple segments so I'd agree.
Just plain High. Ok we just have on segment so I'll go with that. It's near the range.

Now we move to Good matches which are sometimes better than High? I noticed that these Good matches also match me at Family Tree DNA and the segment sizes are basically the same there, and they declare these matches to be 2nd to 4th Cousins instead of distant.

Good Confidence match

Good Confidence match
Good confidence match
Moderate matches are all over the place cM wise. Likely range from 5 cM's to 20 cM's.
Moderate Confidence
15 cM segment Moderate Match

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How DNA Segment Data Has Helped Me

Big time triangulation

When I first took the Family Tree DNA, Family Finder autosomal DNA test, I had no idea how I could use the segment information to prove my matches. It seemed very complicated. I quickly found out the mechanics of it weren't that complicated at all, and it's necessary to prove relationships with cousins.

The first cousin I confirmed through DNA was a 5th cousin I had been collaborating with for several years. We could be fairly certain our segments came from our paper trail lines because we don't appear to have any other relationship according to our trees. When my Mom tested and shared the same segments we knew for certain they were IBD through my maternal line. We also could be sure we were not related through my mother's maternal side which is Nicaraguan, and my cousin has no Nicaraguan ancestry.

When examining the segment information for my 5th cousin we notice she shares more than one segment. I have found if someone shares more than one segment, including one over 10 cM's, and the others about 5 cM's or over, a relationship within the past 6 generations generally can be found. Also my 5th cousin has had her brother and aunt tested adding confidence to the IBD segments. We can see her brother shares a 5 cM segment which is IBD because 4 of us share on the same segment, and the others segments are in the high confidence, IBD size, range. All of us sharing these particular segments are descended from double first cousins. So we cannot say from which ancestral couple we received these segments? If we can find other cousins who match on these segments and they are not in our double first cousin line we could then say we got these segments from a particular ancestral couple.

I've been able to identify how other cousin matches are related in a similar way by fishing for them in my matches. I was only aware of one cousin in the Family Tree Data base when I started. By looking at the trees of my matches at Family Tree DNA I was able to find possible connections. When I spotted a shared ancestor I would use the "in common with" feature provided by FTDNA to see others who share DNA on the same segments. I would then check to see if we had triangulation by using the chromosome browser tool. By comparing these matches 5 at a time I can spot individuals who share DNA on the same segment. If this person, sharing on an identified segment, had no tree posted I would email them to let them know we may share a common ancestral line based on segment sharing. I've been able to identify additional cousins sharing on the same segments that way.
I also check for ICW matches when I get a new match and the cousin relationship is closer than remote cousin.

Attempting to identify every possible match helps to firm up the segment data, and cross off some matches from the list. This could help brickwall related matches to surface by reducing the number of matches.

Matrix showing nearly
everyone matching
Through the process I described I was able spot 15 people sharing DNA in the same place on Chromsome 18. All of the shares are in the presumed IBD cM range. This could be a pile up area, but one person also matches with me on another chromosome, suggesting a closer ancestral connection rather than a pile up. Most of these matches don't have trees so it's impossible to draw a conclusion on who the common ancestors are?   It appears that the 2nd to 4th cousin match sharing a 33 cM, and 18 cM, segment might be related through the Wray family? The Wrays migrated to Allen County, Kansas in the 1850's. This particular match also had family in Allen County, Kansas. The surname Ray appears in another common match's tree. The places listed on a few other ICW matches trees also point to Wray/Morris being our shared line. I can't say all 15 people are from this line without more proof. I was reading Roberta Estes' blog the other day and was reminded about the Matrix which is another tool at Family Tree DNA. With this tool I was able to learn that all of the matches on segment 18 also match my 2nd to 4th cousin, with the Allen County, KS roots. This is encouraging me to pursue this further.

Triangulation of matches
from the same area in Ireland
I have not been able to give my Irish and Nicaraguan segments family names. The only family surnames I know of in Nicaragua are Del Castillo and Garcia. In Ireland the only family surnames I know of are Mullen and Huvane/Huane. I have one Del Castillo match. I haven't found any cousin matches based on the other names. I always keep an eye out for these names.

The Nicaraguan matches don't usually have exact locations in Nicaragua. I know my family is from Granada, Nicaragua, so I keep an eye out for those matches. My Grandmother Graciela Del Castillo-Forgey had a number of Nicaraguan friends. I am familiar with their surnames, and I'm finding those names in our matches, names such as Lacayo and Chamorro. According to my Grandmother first cousins often married in Nicaragua so it may be difficult to separate out these DNA segments due to so much intermarriage. This may also be true on my Irish side, because the population was small in our ancestral locations. My family came from the Townland of Pollaturick in Galway, Ireland, and the Townland of Kilvine in Mayo, Ireland. I find it rewarding when my matches ancestors come from the same small area of Ireland as my family. I have a triangulation with several matches from the same small area of Ireland. Since most genealogical relevant records for Ireland have been destroyed I don't expect we'll ever find the names of the ancestors who passed these segments down to us. It's great to have the ancestral locations confirmed through DNA anyway.
Itty bitty Owens segment. An unnamed company would call this a moderate match??

When it comes to brickwall lines and segments I haven't been able to use the segment data, yet, to absolutely prove a relationship. We need more segment matches to add weight to our paper trail inferences. Right now I only have segment data for single segment in a particularly challenging brickwall line. I have brickwall related matches at fill-in-the-blank -------- Company. They don't provide segment data. So I have no segment data on for these matches, I won't be able to triangulate or confirm these matches. The segment I have is only 5 cM's, which I can't be confident is IBD. It would be great to find more and larger segments, and triangulation on the brickwall lines.

How segment data has helped me:
  1. They've provided actual proof that I'm related to a cousin. Without having the segment information there is no proof you are related to anyone. If a company provides you with a list of match names it's meaningless. We need to cite the DNA evidence like we cite documentation on our tree. We need to cite numbers and chromosomes. Not having this information is like only looking at an index to records without seeing the actual records. You don't have possession of the evidence without segment data. 
  2. I've been able to infer, then prove, a relationship with several matches based on matching on the same segments. Some of these people didn't have trees. When I emailed them they would often confirm the relationship through a particular line.
  3. The segment information allows me to evaluate which matches are the most promising for further study; such as those sharing more than one segment.
Problems with segment comparison
  1. Segment comparison in an endogamous population is not useful at this time. It only works well in mixed populations where there are more differences in the DNA
  2. Many of us with Early American ancestry find a web of relationships among our matches which is hard to untangle. If you test enough family members this can often be over come.
  3. Segments under 5 cM tend to be IBS and should not be used to draw conclusions. Some people are unaware of what the differences in segment size mean, and draw conclusions using IBS segments.

I've been able to work the DNA results by dividing them into piles based on ancestral locations. My family has such a varied ethnic heritage, making this possible. I can also divide matches by my maternal and paternal sides, because my Mom tested. My Mom's line can be divided in half because her mother was Nicaraguan, and her father was Northern European American. If I find a Nicaraguan match I can be confident it's from my Del Castillo/Garcia line. When I name segments I assign them to a couple based on the earliest shared ancestral couple on our trees.

The segment information has been the most useful, to date, in supporting my paper trails. Sometimes my paper trail is confirmed through shared ancestral names, other times it's shared places.

I have to say seeing the shared segments is rewarding. I mean actually seeing the shared segments with my own eyes. I think it's more exciting than seeing a list of match names.

Some blog posts about segments from authorities on the subject:
  1. "The Folly of Using Small Segments as Proof in Genealogical Research" Part One. By CeCe Moore
  2. "Small Matching Segments – Friend or Foe?" By Blaine Bettinger
  3. "Chromosome Browser War" By Roberta Estes

Friday, November 28, 2014

Dear Myrtle Video Leads To Revisiting Of My Own Ethnicity Results

Looking at the AncestryDNA ethnicity results again after watching Dear Myrt's video I see that the Scandinavian population does overlap into Germany. Great Britain extends into France and Germany also. This would make more sense when it comes to interpreting my own admixtures. The ranges are so broad they really can't miss.

Looking at my Aunt's DNA ethnicity results from Family Tree DNA there are missing portions. My Grandfather Rudolph Kapple, my Aunt's father, was born in Hungary. His family lived in the Austro-Hungarian empire for centuries. Since my Aunt got half of her DNA from him half of the pie chart should reflect his ancestry, but 20 percent is missing? The 29% would be correct. I'm giving the 1% Asia Minor to him also. He didn't have any British ancestry that I could find. The other half of the pie chart representing my Grandmother Dorothy Mason should show some Central European ancestry, since my grandmother was a quarter French, and the rest would be British Isles which is accurately reflected.
Kapple Grandparents Family Tree DNA
The suggested ethnic breakdown for my Forgey grandparents looks quite accurate at AncestryDNA. My Mom's pie chart should divide in half to represent her parents, and it nearly does.. I'm giving the Middle East result to my Grandmother Graciela Del Castillo believing that would more likely come from her line. The Native American has been identified as Mayan, and would be from her line too. She was born in Nicaragua. Her mtDNA is African so that would be her admix also.  My Grandfather Charles Forgey was born in Indiana and his ancestry on paper is Scots-Irish and German. Half of my mother's results are representative of Northern European ancestry which would have come from my grandfather's line. I decided to label this pie chart according the admixtures of my grandmother, and just called the rest Northern European representing my grandfather.
Forgey Grandparents AncestryDNA

These admixture estimates have come a long way since I first tested. They are getting much closer to correct. Although the margin for error they give themselves leaves room for interpretation in many different directions.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Finding Your Roots" Season Finale & What is AncestryDNA V.2 Worth?

Chart Produced from Family Tree DNA results and Excel

The "Finding Your Roots" Season finale was one of their best shows of all time. I love seeing other peoples' admixture charts, and this episode focused on them more than usual. As promised DNA played a central role in this episode. Diversity was the theme of episode 10. DNA was used to show how interrelated we actually are.

Looking at the DNA charts presented for Jessica Alba you can definitely see the settlers of Mexico, like Central America in general, did mix with the Native population and African slaves. Central America is where my 2% African came from. The earliest settlers of the Spanish colonies in the New World were mostly male. They would often take local women or African slaves as concubines. The Caribbean had a longer history of slavery than Central America and a higher slave population; therefore, the African admixture is generally higher in those parts of former New Spain, than Mexico or Central America. So we see traces of African in Jessica's results, and her father's DNA, which are small compared to the Caribbean.  Also it's common for Iberian descendants to have some Jewish admixture.

It's interesting that I listened to the Epilogue of Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" yesterday. A portion of the episode tied in with Malcolm's family's experience in Jamaica. Malcolm's mother was racially mixed. Instead of that being a barrier for her family it was actually an asset. When white slave owners took African slaves as wives their children actually moved up the social ladder and the children were no longer slaves. They weren't ostracized like the children of white slave owners in this country. This fact benefited his family for generations to come.

The opposite experience can be seen when looking at the Mulatto ancestry of Prof. Gates' and his relations in Virginia. CeCe Moore, the show's genetic research specialist, uncovered through DNA, a fascinating ancestral story. Looking for white ancestry in his tree she found a white slave owner who freed his female slave then did the unthinkable, he took her as his wife. This was so unheard of and the local population was so dumbfounded by this, they couldn't decided how to categorize him? To them he was no longer part of the white community. They assumed he must be mulatto? His race was in flux on Census records during his lifetime. This slave owner's unusual position in society put his family in danger. They were forced to create their own settlement of Mulatto's in an isolated area. It's great to see that relatives still live in the same area. Descendants of this community come together for family reunions. The reunion shown in this episode was very moving.

Another surprising revelation during the show was that Gov. Deval Patrick's (first African American Governor of Massachusetts) direct line Y and mtDNA ancestors were white. Their haplogroups were European. He discovered what we all have, that we are no longer predominately from a single ethnic group in this country. This transformation began early on in American history. We are becoming more and more ethnically mixed. We are truly Americans. We hope this leads to better relations between different factions in this country? 

My man Anderson Cooper had a brief appearance in this episode. He was happy to see some Chilean Indian blood in his admixture results.

It was great to finally see CeCe Moore, a professional genetic genealogist, appear on the show. Her contribution to the show was great. She was so composed on camera she should get her own genetic genealogy show.

During the final moments of the show Prof. Gates said goodbye "until next time" which we hope will be soon!

Just a few more words about AncestryDNA V.2. I was pretty happy with the results initially . Going through them a little more I'm finding cousins I've compared with, at GEDmatch and FTDNA, who shared more than 10 cM segments missing. Fewer matches isn't panning out to be better matches. I saw someone else post that the Extremely High confidence matches aren't as close cousins as the definition would suggest. There seems to be problems with their rating system and algorithms? We've lost some good strong matches, and they left in some terrible 6 cM and under matches? I guess that's what you'd expect from the company that declared everyone in the world is part Scandinavian and defended this finding when they were criticized.

Another factor diminishing the usefulness of the AncestryDNA V.2 product is the fact you can no longer download your matches. For a limited time you can download the V.1 matches, but you can't download your current match information. You could do this previously with the Ancestry Chrome DNA extension, which no longer is functional. CeCe Moore demonstrated how important it is to be able to easily sort through data about your matches' ancestors. She was able to find a pattern of shared ancestry which aided in finding the fascinating ancestor and story that was eventually uncovered for Prof. Gates. It would be great to be able to download names and locations so this kind of pattern can be uncovered. I don't expect AncestryDNA to ever do anything like this. AncestryDNA focuses on the superficial. They want to over simplify the process, to make it look like you only have to take the test to get all the  answers without anymore effort on your part than posting a tree. Getting a true picture of your ancestry with DNA requires some effort, and can't be mass produced in factory assembly line style. People often don't read the instructions on how to interpret the results and assume the cousin relationships are exact. They don't feel the need to check the exact relationship. The entire product at Ancestry.com is a mix of excellent information and ridiculous speculation. Very odd!

Portions of Ancestry.com's site should be labelled "for entertainment purposes only". If they had some serious DNA tools it would scare people into thinking that more than just testing is required of them. Some thinking may actually be required, god forbid?

Factoring in the diminished value of the AncestryDNA V.2 product I would say $49 is what it's worth to me in its present state. I don't feel like its worth $99 at this point.

Family Tree DNA has some great tools for the serious researcher, which make it worth the price. Unfortunately it has a much smaller database to compare with. We hope many more AncestryDNA testers take advantage of their raw data transfer offer, so we can confirm Ancestry's sketchy results. By the way, Family Tree DNA is having a Holiday sale right now.

I was in pie chart heaven while watching "Finding Your Roots" last night. I decided I need to make some of my own based on my results from AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. I realize that these results aren't cast in stone, but I enjoy looking at them anyway. I used Excel and the Kids' Zone graph maker that Randy Seaver had recommended for a "Saturday Night Fun" project.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Does AncestryDNA Respect The Genetic Genealogy Community?

For as long as Ancestry had been in the Autosomal DNA business the genetic genealogy community has been requesting the addition of a chromosome browser. Why should Ancestry cater to this community? What has this community done for them? Here is  partial list:
  1. They are the best unpaid spokespeople the company has. They explain how the product works and how best to use it with presentations at conferences, on videos posted online, and in blogs.
  2. They increase sales of the product through the same presentations.
  3. The Facebook International Society for Genetic Genealogists group has 5,975 members (and growing). Whenever Ancestry has any kind of announcement or sale the news is posted here, and everywhere by genetic genealogists. 
  4. Serious genetic genealogists buy multiple kits. Using the ISOGG Facebook site as an example if, say, 3,000 of these members buy an average of 5 kits that's 15,000 kits sold.
  5. I know that those who head the genetic genealogy community have increased sales for AncestryDNA by much more than 15,000 kits.
  6. The word of mouth at sites like Facebook is probably one of the best advertising tools Ancestry has. The genealogy community in general at Facebook is very large. The genetic genealogy community members have non community members as friends, and they read our posts about testing at AncestryDNA and become interested themselves. I would think I have probably been responsible for around 12 (maybe even more?) people testing with Ancestry, and I'm not as influential as the others.
  7. The genetic genealogy community also contributes some of the best researched, and most extensive trees that Ancestry has.
Why do we need a chromosome browser:
  1. A majority of the members of the genetic genealogy community use a chromosome browser to compare their segments.
  2. Comparing shared segments helps us to identify which family lines we are related on.
  3. The size and number of segments is an important factor when it comes to determining how strong a match is.
  4. Remember we had twice or three times more matches just a week ago. Many of us wasted a great deal of time on low quality matches that are now gone. Let us see the quality of our matches with our own eyes so we don't waste valuable time.
  5. Working with a chromosome browser is educational and expands our minds. It's great to show this feature to children, and grandchildren, to get them interested in science. My Circles are fairly static so far. Some people have no circles. Don't think they will generate long term interest.
  6. Sustaining interest is another good reason to introduce testers to segment comparison. Collecting segments gives people a reason to come back to the site. Static circles won't. New matches will mean more segments to compare. These new matches may not fit into a Circle.
  7. The best argument is "Trust but verify" your results. You can only do this with a chromosome browser.
Genetic genealogy can be compared to stamp collecting or keeping a baseball scorecard while watching a game. Baseball enthusiasts record all of the game statistics, hits, runs etc. This is part of the fun for them. Genetic genealogy enthusiasts collect DNA segment information. This is also part of the fun of the process. Like stamp collectors we like to see the segments. Not seeing them is like a stamp collector buying stamps while the seller actually keeps them. You own them but can't see them? It's like the seller keeps telling you how nice the stamps you own are but you can't see them. AncestryDNA has our segment information locked away leaving us in the dark.

The new tools are a step in the right direction, but not good enough.

The argument against providing a chromosome browser has often been privacy. So why not do what 23andMe did and require those comparing to consent to do so?

AncestryDNA would get more positive word of mouth at social media sites if they provided  a chromosome browser. I see a great deal of negative posts about AncestryDNA's refusal to provide a chromosome browser. Imagine the boost to sales if the posts were more positive!

Please demonstrate your appreciation to the Genetic Genealogy community for all they've done for AncestryDNA and add a chromosome browser.