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.