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!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

DNA Day at Jamboree 2014

I attended the Lab Tour session this morning via live stream. I tried to attended the Advanced Autosomal session at 5:00, but I had lots of problems with the feed.

The Lab Tour session was very interesting and included a demonstration on how DNA is extracted using a strawberry. The presenter then explained a little about the different tests available. Volunteers carrying colored circles were enlisted to demonstrate how mtDNA results are produced. Autosomal DNA lab analysis was explained in the same way, but this time the volunteers carried large cards with colored dots representing SNPs. Apparently the cards weren't correctly printed, so there was a lab failure as an audience member put it.

I didn't know that the Y DNA and mtDNA samples weren't analyzed using a chip? Only the autosomal testing is done with a chip. That's probably why the autosomal tests come back so quickly.

All of us are wishing for more accurate ethnicity results; but, as the presenter explained we are a long way from that goal at this time. As she stated all the DNA companies use different reference populations; which is the reason all the companies produce different results. For instance Family Tree DNA uses these data sets GeneByGene DNA customer database, Human Genome Diversity Project, International HapMap Project, Estonian Biocentre data. 23andme uses the Human Genome Diversity Project, International HapMap Project, and 1000 Genome Project. Ancestry uses the Human Genome Diversity Project and the Sorenson database. All of the companies use their own customer sample collections. So we don't get consistent results.

To explain why it's so difficult to accurately predict ethnic origins the presenter used a US Map game. She asked which states are associated with football? Many states are. So we can't pinpoint one. If we have some additional information like a Football state and the Fighting Irish we can confidently pinpoint the state. Not being an expert on the subject I interpret this as meaning we need to find certain combinations of SNPs in order to establish a link to a particular place. I also suppose we don't have all of these combinations mapped out yet. We need larger sets of data from every ethnic population in the world in order to find the unique SNP combinations shared by these groups. That may be a wrong interpretation? It's the way I understood it (I shouldn't have napped in biology class). We are still in the infancy of ethnic prediction. The data is still being collected, and the analysis process is still being refined. From this explanation it seems like eventually we will get the accurate results we are looking for.

The presenter also shared a story about when she didn't follow lab procedures and temporarily blinded herself. That was in the early days of analysis when goggles were required so your eyes wouldn't be damaged by ultra violet light. The process is safer now.  DNA and the Genealogical proof standard will be live streamed at 2:30 pacific time tomorrow. It's a free session.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DNA News Update: Genome Mate's Segment Mapper

Kitty's segment map

Genome Mate now allows you to download a CSV file to Kitty's DNA mapper site.You can also use the mapper provided at the Genome Mate site itself. This is an important tool to keep track of your shared segments. Autosomal DNA, for genealogy, is all about the finding shared segments. Matching segments establishs a genetic relationship between you and your matches. Triangulation is an important part of genetic genealogy because it allows you to find matches who share segments in common with you and your matches. Sharing DNA on a small random segments with another person doesn't prove you are related to them. To confirm a relationship you need to find a shared ancestor. The best proof is having a shared ancestor with your match, and more than two people from the same line matching on the same segment, or segments. CeCe Moore gave more clarification regarding her statement about sharing multiple segments, and its implication that you share a common ancestor more recently. She said the segments should be larger ones; 7 cMs and over. Although there isn't any hard and fast rule regarding how much DNA anyone past 3rd cousin should share in order for the match segments to be IBD.

The segments maps at Genome Mate and Kitty's Mapper are both great. You can download a CSV file from Genome Mate with your selected segments. This is great. Otherwise you would have to select the matches 5 at a time from Family Tree DNA's chromosome browser, or slowly copy them off a spreadsheet. Both more time consuming. Before you upload the file you can open it and change the segment names if you would like (you actually do need to open the file anyway to rename the segment headings Start and End).

All of Genome Mate's tools are very helpful. It's an indispensable program for Genetic Genealogy.

CSV file

Sunday, June 1, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Very Low Confidence Matches? Plus Genome Mate

My Mom's Segment Chart. I found I can add segments using Paint shapes

Last week I said that I had found a very low confidence match at AncestryDNA who shared a 20 cM segment, and the others I looked at, in that confidence range, shared 10 cM segments. This week I was contacted by a very low confidence match who shared only one 6 cM segment. That doesn't sound like a very promising match? As it turned out she also matched my mother at FTDNA, and shared much more DNA with her. She shared a 28 cM segment with her. I looked at her tree and found a Rhea on it. I then did more research to see whether her Rhea might be related to our Wrays? I did find that her Rhea ancestor was indeed related to our Wrays. I also found another Rhea matching on the same segment. So very low confidence matches sharing small amounts of DNA can be related. It just takes verification through a stronger match with another proven relative.

Lucky I was able to compare with my latest AncestryDNA match before the site went down for a few weeks. Here is their statement about the site status:
"GEDmatch temporarily down. As most of you know, website reliability has been an ongoing problem. In an effort to improve reliability, we are starting the process of changing the location of our servers. It is anticipated that this transition may take at least a couple of weeks. Thank you for your patience and support during this process. As we know more about an anticipated restoration date, we will post that information here. Please do not send emails asking when the site will be back online."
I'm hoping I don't need to do another comparison until the site is back up again; if I do then it's going to be a long wait.

Another DNA project I have been working on this week is at Genome Mate. I happened to see this announcement from the software developer: 

"Expanded the Segment List to show a chromosome map and added an export button to format data for use in Kitty's mapper. Click on Segments on the main page."

So I went ahead and highlighted all my match segments properly by selecting the ancestor our lines match through, and also selecting the Paternal or Maternal radio buttons. I did all of this for both my Mom and myself. After completing this I found I was not able to download a CSV file to use for Kitty's mapper? So I went back to Facebook to look for more information and found this:

"Segments need to be marked as permanent before they can be exported. I often will mark a segment but not make it permanent until I have it triangulated."

So I went back and couldn't find a button to mark the segments as permanent. I went back to Facebook again and found more instructions. You need to right click on the segments in the segment map, which takes you to a dialog box with the save button. So I finally got it downloaded and went over to the Kitty's mapper site. I then discovered it wouldn't work because the formatting wasn't correct and the full segment numbers weren't included. So if I want to use the Genome Mate's CSV file with Kitty's mapper I need to add the information. I decided that would be too time consuming. I might as well just download to information from FTDNA 5 matches at a time them combine it all in one CSV file. I may do this when I get a chance.

I did manage to accomplish a great deal DNA wise this week. Now I have another Wray cousin. After some triangulation I also managed to find more likely Wray matches. I have segment maps at Genome Mate. I also have another Irish match at FTDNA. This match has ancestors from Tuam, Galway, Ireland. Two other matches share the same segment; a third shares a segment with one of them. One of these matches is adopted so this new match should provide her with more ancestral origin information. My Mullen family came from the Tuam area of Galway, so this is probably a IBD match.

I'm looking forward to the streaming sessions from Jamboree which begin on Thursday. The first day is DNA day, and there is a $30 per session charge for viewing. The next 3 days are free.

My segment chart.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Are those Cousin Predictions Accurate?

I registered for this.

23andme had its first G+ hangout this week, see the video here. It was an overview of the types of tests they perform on your sample and how to navigate their site. I now have a better understanding of how to navigate their website. I manage my cousin's account. The Q & A at the end raised some interesting questions. CeCe Moore is a genetic genealogist and is very knowledgeable on the subject; most of the hangout was devoted to her site overview. Her answers during the Q & A were very enlightening. The answer to the question about segment size and cM totals, for use in deciding which matches deserve further examination, sparked my interest. I have thousands of matches to review. That list needs pruning if I want to work through the list in my remaining lifetime. I tested with FTDNA in the summer of 2012. Before I read all of the instructions on interpreting results I took the predictions literally. After identifying ancestors out past the 5 generation cut off I actually read the instructions, and found out that remote 5th cousins can be related to you somewhere around 500 years ago.

According to the answer CeCe gave regarding how to pick out your most promising matches she recommended looking for matches who share multiple segments. She also said that large single segments can be very old ; she called them sticky segments. I have a number of matches who share single large segments and we can't find any connection. I assume these are sticky segments from hundreds of years ago. I went into my results and looked for someone who shared multiple segments. I found one with 6 shared segments. I took CeCe's advice on tailoring an email, and sent that person a query. I noticed that match had Tennessee ancestors so I brought that up in the email. I'll see if I get an answer?

I'm new to AncestryDNA and their match confidence predictions. Their predictions are also sometimes quite far off the actual relationship. They try to limit the number of IBS segments by phasing results. This process attempts to identify which segments come from your mother, and which from your father. Long compound segments may actually be made up of smaller segments from your mother and father. Phasing is supposed to identify these segments and break them down to their true size.This phasing process doesn't aways produce accurate predictions. I believe they should do the phasing; but, also let us see where the segments are just in case the phasing didn't produce an accurate result. I found a very low confidence match who I shared 28cMs with. I believe she may relate on my mother's line? She may not be as low confidence as it appeared after phasing. I've noticed that very low confidence matches can share long segments of DNA, or small segments down to around 10 cMs. Phasing isn't perfect, so some good matches can be rated very low.

28 cMs very low confidence match AncestryDNA

Another issue brought up at the 23andme G+ hangout was the low response rate of 23andme matches. Less than half will respond to queries. That is a difficult problem to resolve. I was thinking maybe they need to exclude people who don't share any information from viewing the trees? If you don't share any information at all maybe you shouldn't be able to see other peoples' information? Or maybe they could offer an incentive to customers? If you share your surname or family tree you get to use some cool feature? Maybe some sort of chart function or Gedmatch type utility? I am not going to test with 23andme until more information is given about matches.

I'm looking forward to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree live stream this year; which takes place June 5. Glad to see a full day is being devoted to DNA. I got my all day viewing pass for the DNA live stream from Jamboree you can register here .

Sunday, May 18, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Can DNA lie to You?

Well, my DNA has never lied to me. I've had people lie to me, but my DNA has been honest with me. Looking at my health related DNA results it show an increased risk for Thyroid disease, and I did get Graves disease 10 years ago. A news report shared by Elise Friedman at Facebook regarding Family Tree DNA brought up this particular question. The reporter said DNA doesn't lie. True, it doesn't but the results are open to interpretation. The report did provide some information I'm always excited to hear about. Bennett Greenspan was briefly interviewed and stated that 1.1 million people have tested through Family Tree DNA and the Genographic project. He also stated they are processing 200 to 300 tests a day. Really great news for those of us who have tested with them. You can listen to the report here.

An interesting blog post regarding the phasing of atDNA results was posted this week. Phasing may help to reduce the Identical by State matches. Read more here at  DNA Genealogy.

I had a very exciting week DNA wise. Larry Forgey's DNA results finally came in after two months of waiting. His results provided very important data for our group at Family Tree DNA. He didn't share the rare mutation my Uncle had. No one else in our group, or our close matches at the Ferguson group have this mutation. It's on a slow mutating marker. If Larry did share this mutation it could have caused a reconsideration of the circumstantial case we've put together for the family. Larry mismatched the modal by one marker. The mutation was on a fast mutating marker. Roger Forgey remains the only person matching the modal exactly. We now need someone to test in the William Forgey of PA line, and we need more testers to help resolve the NPE's in the John Forgy PA line.

One of the best tips I got regarding working with the AncestryDNA results is the AncestryDNA Helper. It a chrome extension which gives you more tools to work with to analyse your results. You can download your matches along with their ancestral info. You can also use the search functions which the extension adds to your pages to search using user name. You can also search your notes. The surname search, however, doesn't work as well. The Ancestry search actually works well now. 

I was able to see, visually, the difference between the number of matches at Ancestry and Family Tree DNA when I made these charts. Ancestry has a much larger pool of testers to match with. Here are the notes I made when reviewing my results. 


Family Tree DNA

I have found more connections at Ancestry. I do have some good matches at Family Tree DNA also, just not as many. 

I had two great matches this week. My first confirmed DNA match from Burgenland, Austria showed up this week. It was at Family Tree DNA so I was able to triangulate, and found two more possible Burgenland related matches. I also got my first Del Castillo match (my grandmother Forgey's maiden name). I had an Arguello match before. This Del Castillo match is Del Castillo Arguello. They are also related to the Chamorro family. Violetta Chamorro was President to Nicaragua. My Del Castillo family was also part of the ruling class in Nicaragua. 

Hopefully we'll have more testers soon, and more results to look forward to!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DNA News of the Week: What is really Provable?

The names in red  represent lines I've had DNA matches on. I've had a Forgey matches out past  my paper trail.

An important statement recently regarding DNA standards and ethics, which was recently drafted, was brought up at  last week's NGS conference. You can read more about it here at The Legal Genealogist's blog. It raises questions about how test results should be used and interpreted. I was aware of the possibility of NPE's back in 2011 when I started DNA testing relatives. I didn't have to deal with any of these events until recently. The possibility of uncovering long forgotten family secrets is a bomb shell issue, and not my favorite part of the process. So we are all trying to navigate this booby trapped maze. Advice on handling our results is appreciated.

Another very interesting bit of information coming out of the NGS conference regards ancestral predictions at AncestryDNA. AncestryDNA had been using megabase matches to predict relationship degree. Fall 2013 they switched to using centimorgans. Anyone testing earlier than that still has results based on megabases. Another hint coming out of the conference was that Ancestry does intend to offer more tools to better analyse your results. Doesn't sound like a chromosome browser? We'll have to wait and see how useful they are? You can read more about what was gleaned regarding AncestryDNA at NGS from CeCe Moore's "You Genetic Genealogist" blog.
It was confirmed in the past week that Family Tree DNA did give a couple of customers the wrong DNA results due to samples becoming switched. I think the error rate is generally low, from what I hear. It is probably best to confirm your results with a second company if your results don't make sense. 

Since myOrigins came out last week I've done more reading about the admixture results the DNA companies provide. As everyone agrees the sample populations are still too small to base any definite conclusions. Also as the Genographic project puts it if you are very mixed ethnically, the results can become very complicated. 

A very interesting blog post about the new myOrigins utility was posted at the DNAeXplained-Genetic Genealogy blog. I borrowed Roberta Estes' idea, and chart, to see if I could infer my father's likely results. I came out with a 30% difference, meaning I didn't inherit this DNA from my mother. It was an interesting exercise, the differences became very apparent when I charted them. All of this is really speculation at this point. We'll see how much more unambiguous the results can become?

I borrowed Roberta Estes' chart to compare our results. Undetermined was 30. 

So what can we definitely prove with DNA without question? 
  1. With Y DNA we can prove a definite relationship between two men. We can only estimate when that relationship occurred. 
  2. With mtDNA we can also prove two people are related, and estimate when.
  3. atDNA can prove relationships in the past few generations, and we can speculate on possible relationships beyond that. This test requires a family tree going back at least 5 generations and preferably 11. 
  4. As far as admixture results we can only predict European, African, Asian and Native American ancestry with a high degree of accuracy. We can't reliably predict any more precisely than those broad areas. 
  5. Y DNA is more reliable in giving us more precise ancestral locations. SNP's provide us with the possibility of finding a very specific ancestral locations.
  6. Solid DNA matches can prove our paper trail. DNA without a paper trail proves nothing, and a paper trail without DNA confirmation doesn't prove a blood relationship. 
My DNA goals:
  1. After attempting to reconstruct possible results for my father I've decided I need to find a stand in for him. I will try to get one of his 4 sisters to test.
  2. We need more Forgey/Forgy & Forgie men to take the Y DNA test. We need at least one confirmed haplo for each line. We can also use more atDNA testers
  3. I would love to find more Owens DNA matches. So far I do have one moderate match at AncestryDNA. We may need to recruit more Owens relations for DNA testing.
  4. I don't have any matches on Urmey, Brower, or Hicks. Since AncestryDNA's surname search doesn't work reliably (meaning it doesn't bring up every instance of the name you are searching for) I need to page through all my matches looking for these names
  5. I am also attempting to breakdown my Sarah Campbell brickwall. I found a couple of moderate DNA matches at AncestryDNA which may lead to a breakthrough. 
So what have I proven to date using DNA? I now know that my Forgey family was Scottish. We used SNP DNA testing to prove this. We also know that the most common Haplogroup for the Forgeys is I-L126. We know Andrew Forgey of Maury County, Tennessee, Andrew Forgey of Hawkins County, TN and Samuel Forgey of North Carolina are definitely related. These men were also related to a Forgie family of Co. Down , Ireland. The surname did derive from Ferguson and our group has close matches with the surname Ferguson. My Forgey family, along with the others have had no NPE's since around 1600. I've confirmed my blood relationship to a number of my lines (see pedigree charts). I've discovered Native American, and African ancestry. 

Still waiting on a YDNA result at FTDNA. This test is taking much longer than usual. I'm hoping they don't have to rerun it? I was thrilled to learn I may be able to breakdown a brickwall on my Thurman line when a descendant in my line takes a Y 37 marker test. Hoping his test comes back sooner than our last test! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DNA Extra: Ancestors Falling through the Cracks

My Grandfather Rudolph and children
The Inzenhof Koppel Family had an interesting look.
Some family tended to a dark complexion, others were very fair.

Well I seem to have found my Iberian ancestors at myOrigins. The heat maps now include Spain. It still puzzled me why my Mom only has 10% Mediterranean? The description of population reference groups at the Genographic project cleared my confusion up. The average Iberian only has 48% Mediterranean. Their DNA is so similar to Northern European you can't tell it apart. They also have some small amounts of Southwest Asian.

This may also apply to my Kapple or Koppel ancestors? Koppel is an Ashkenazi surname. The family lived on the border between Austria and Hungary. Everyone believed they were Ashkenazi based on the surname and the Semitic look of some of our family members. This is not showing up in my DNA. Ancestry did find less than 1% of Ashkenazi DNA. I have 4% Middle Eastern DNA which may related to the Kapple side of my family? It's not showing up in my Mom's results. Her Middle Eastern isn't from North East Africa like mine. I do have 8% Eastern European, but I'm sure which side this is from? I know few people in the Koppel village area have taken any kind of DNA test. A few have taken a Y test. My Kapple cousin Darryl's Y DNA is J2B. I'm thinking the problem using DNA to find our Koppel ethnic heritage relates to not enough data. The chart Doug McDonald gave me a few years ago showed areas marked not enough data which may relate to the Koppel DNA?

More Koppel Family

Monday, May 5, 2014

DNA News of the Week: MyOrigins vs AncestryDNA


Finally we got a look at the new myOrigins ethnicity charts, which replaces Population Finder at Family Tree DNA. Sorting through all this brings to mind talk show guests who purport to communicate with dead relatives. They ask audience members, for instance, do you know someone with an R in their name. Is it a male? Is his name Robert or Roger? Not too impressive. The DNA companies do tell us instead of asking about our ancestors origins. At the same time giving themselves plenty of wiggle room by not completely committing to anything specifically. You might be told some your ancestors were from Italy. The fine print says give or take a few thousand miles. Basically your ancestors were from Europe somewhere, but who knows exactly where? That's difficult to exactly pinpoint with DNA. Broad regions can be predicted reliably however.
Actually the old Population Finder results came close to committing to a specific area. My mother was said to be 18% Mozabite with an error rate of less than 1%. Her new results have completely backed away from that. She now has 10% Mediterranean and  8% Middle Eastern. Only 2% is now in the Morocco/ Algeria area. My Middle Eastern is only 4% now, and it was 13% with a high level of confidence. So the old Population Finder was quite inaccurate. We should have been given margins of error close to 50%.
Turning to our head to head competition between AncestryDNA and myOrigins; we find we need to translate the regional descriptions in order to compare. Western Europe seems to be covered by European Coastal Plain.

Round 1. European Coastal Plain at myOrigins and Western Europe at AncestryDNA. This is where we see the most stark contrast. Ancestry only gave me less than 1% for this area. My Origins gives me 50% for this region. Both could make some sense. I do have a substantial number of French Canadian and German matches, which could point to my inheriting more DNA than would be expected considering how far removed I am from these ancestors. Ancestry does say I could have plus 3% since they do present a margin of error. If you calculate shares of inheritance based on generations I could have around 3% of German and combined French? I could have inherited more than that, but I would not think it would be 50%. I would have to give that round to Ancestry.

Round 2. Our next round considers British Isles ancestry. Ancestry breaks that down between Britain and Ireland. Combine these two result I get 60% British Isles. MyOrigins gives me 29%. I would say 29% would be closer if you break my heritage down by generation. That round goes to MyOrigins. Ancestry gave themselves lots of wiggle room on this one with high margins of error however.

In Round 3 we compare Eastern European results. Here we have a tie with both results around the same percentage. AncestryDNA gives me 6% with a high margin of error, and myOrigins gives me 8%.

Round 4 Scandinavian. I am not aware of any Scandinavian in my family. I've heard that Ancestry gives unusually frequent results, and high percentages for Scandinavian. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume this relates to the Vikings in Scotland. This round goes to AncestryDNA.

Round 5 Finland/ Northwest Russia. May relate to Hungarian? This round goes to AncestryDNA. No comparable myOrigins result.

Round 6 European Jewish. I would give to AncestryDNA because I believe there should be a trace of European Jewish which myOrigins does not show. I would like to see myOrigins show more trace regions.

Round 7 Pacific Islander Melanesia. Don't know what to make of that? It's only 1% but is completely puzzling to me? myOrigins didn't show an equivalent. I'll just scratch this round.

Round 8 Middle East is another tie round with both results very close. AncestryDNA gives me 5% and myOrigins gives me 4%. The edge does go slightly to myOrigins because they gave me a more specific area. Half point extra myOrigins.

Round 9 Native American is also very close. AncestryDNA gives me 6% and myOrigins gives me 3%. I'll give this round to AncestryDNA because FTDNA pulled their old estimate of 5.2% Native American and their specific result of Central American Native American. The old estimate had a low margin of error and I don't know why they are backing down on that?

Round 10 Africa. This result leads me to believe that the myOrigins populations are becoming more accurate. I had no African with their previous Population Finder. My mtDNA turned out to be African, so it's confirmed we do have some African. Both AncestryDNA and myOrigins give the exact same result of 2%. Half a point to AncestryDNA for a specific location Senagal. It's a tie round otherwise.

Round 11 Mediterranean. Ancestry gives me 7% and myOrigins 3%. I tend to go with the higher results because my cousin's Y DNA of J2b pointed us in that direction. I would give this round to AncestryDNA.

Round 12 Iberian. This isn't an area well covered by the new myOrigins. Ancestry gives me 5%, which I believe should be higher since one of my Grandmother's, Graciela Del Castillo, would have had a high percentage of this regional DNA. This round goes to AncestryDNA.

Final results Ancestry gets 7 1/2 points and myOrigins gets 1 1/2 
Plus 3 tied Rounds. 

myOrigins is brand new and I'm sure changes will be made at some point which may reconcile some of my results. 

Below are some charts I made. The first compares my percentages between AncestryDNA and myOrigins. The second would be a chart I made showing my known ancestral breakdowns.

Comparison Between myOrigins and AncestryDNA

My knowledge of my Ancestry

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My DNA News of the Week: SNPs and AncestryDNA Search

Many SNPs available for sale in the R Haplo

Last Friday, April 25, Family Tree DNA began to offer again for sale individual SNPs. They also expanded the number of SNPs available for purchase by including newly identified SNPs which have been discovered in partnership with the Genographic Project. These SNP markers are useful in identifying ancient migrations of the human population.
DYS425 Null for
Several of our testers in our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie Project have done deep clade testing to determine the origins our family. Our surname sounds vaguely French, and the spelling looks a little French. According to Lucille Wallace, the author of an extensive family history, the surname was most likely derived from the surname Ferguson and was Scots-Irish. It was still possible that the family had been Norman. A distant cousin Roger Forgey took an SNP test recommended by the Ferguson group administrator, which turned out to be positive for the SNP L126/S165+. This suggests our family has been in Brittan for thousands of years. This particular SNP also points to the family being in Scotland for 1500 to 5000 years. So our family wasn't Norman. Testing a single SNP was an inexpensive way to answer our question about family origins. Even after the release of the expanded SNP tree at Family Tree DNA that SNP is still a terminal one with no options for further testing at this time. Our question has been answered to my satisfaction at this time anyway.   I think SNP testing is worthwhile only if you can test an SNP that is unique enough to be useful. I suspect many are too broad ranging to be useful.

I was inspired by all this SNP talk to Google our SNP again and see what the latest research has uncovered about it. Sounds like the definition of this SNP is the same as in 2011. I did however find an interesting Forum post about the determination of the broader Haplo M284. Dr. Kenneth Norveldt explained that a null value on marker DYS425 was a hallmark of this Haplo. Only one person in our group tested 67 markers and the DYS 425 marker. I did find the null value which confirms this haplo. Nice to see that confirmation.

My AncestryDNA search isn't working correctly again. I searched Forgey and two of my matches aren't showing up. I searched another surname I had problems with before and it's not displaying correctly either. I suspect more accounts may have the same problem; but, some of these customers probably aren't aware that some of their surnames aren't showing up. Bugs in these massive databases seem to be common and difficult to repair. Here is an example of my current issue:

These are the results I got when the surname search worked correctly

These are the results I'm currently getting. Two matches are missing and they still are in my match list.

I was hoping we would have the new Population Finder at Family Tree DNA by now. They may not release it until a conference in late May? Our Y DNA project is still awaiting another result in batch 563 which may come in this week?