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 is a mix of excellent information and ridiculous speculation. Very odd!

Portions of'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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hitting The Earth: AncestryDNA Reality Check

Reality struck me yesterday when I learned approximately how much DNA I share with some of my AncestryDNA matches

There were many thousands of weak matches. Most are gone. Some extremely low confidence matches remain and they are now called moderate? With the old version moderate actually meant your match was strong. These old moderate matches are now generally called good to high. The moderate designation is now given to those sharing 6 cM's or less??? My designation would be Extremely Low for the moderate matches. As Ancestry states you may not be related at all to these matches.

Looking at some of my starred matches I've discovered that most are in the Good category, sharing approximately 6-12 cMs. I've actually compared with one of these matches and we shared a 14.7 cM segment. Another one of these matches in the Good category shares an 8 cM segment according to FTDNA.

I've been wondering how strong my important Owens line match is. I asked this match to compare at GEDmatch. They haven't yet. Now I see we are a Good match so I'll keep pursuing this match (this is a distant 7th cousin so I'm satisfied with 6 -12 cMs). Others that have dropped down to moderate I'll check against my Mom's matches to see if they have a better confidence level a generation back.

Our Browning matches look very strong ( High and Extremely high) and should help to extend our tree further back. It would be great if we could compare in GEDmatch?

Really the best thing coming from the changes for me is seeing exactly how strong a match is. That's the meat and potatoes of  all this.

Now that I have a better idea of how many cM's we share I can decide where to focus my attention. When they give the cM approximations, however, they aren't clear about what the total represents? It seems to represent the largest segment or segments?

My conclusion is based on the fact that when you include smaller segments the totals are much higher. I know this from looking at the same matches at Family Tree DNA. I share 41 cM's with a cousin at FTDNA but the probable range at Ancestry is much lower around 12 cM's -20. So, at least, they aren't totaling in tiny segments.

Extremely High Confidence
According to AncestryDNA the extremely high matches are at nearly 100% confidence level that you share a common ancestor in the past 5 to 6 generations. I figure this is the best place to start trying to establish connections. Going back over these matches I'm still only able to confirm a link with 3 out of 8 extremely high matches. I can't establish matches for 5 of these for various reasons. Mainly because my matches don't have trees going back far enough.

I am seeing 2 Campbells in the extremely high group which is my brickwall line. I'll be working on trying to find a connection with this line. Both of these Campbell lines are from Tennessee.

I understand that the AncestryDNA system for determining matches is more complicated than comparing segment size. For my own piece of mind I like using triangulation because the phasing process is not fool proof. I feel sorry for people like some of those at today's live broadcast who are relying completely on Ancestry to name their ancestors for them without questioning the process at all. An AncestryDNA "scientist?" is writing a blog post to tell us why we don't need a chromosome browser. Can't wait to see what the BS arguments are against it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Finding Your Roots" Ep. 9 & AncestryDNA Giveth and Taketh Away (So Far So Good)

My AncestryDNA circles

"Finding Your Roots" Ep.9 created a challenge for the shows research staff. This show focused on Greek ancestry and featured the guests George Stephanopoulos, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris. With very little to go on in Greece due to invasions, which resulted in records being destroyed. It took some serious digging to unearth anything. Record loses are something we've all had to deal with. Ireland is a real bear when it comes to family history research so I understand the problem. Like Ireland smatterings of older records survive for Greece, so some of the guests lines were extended back into the late 1700's. Greece has such an illustrious history it's sad that lines can't be extended back to ancient Greece. Some interesting details were found linking some of the guests to the fight for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. Tina Fey had no idea she had some British ancestry. which also linked her to early Philadelphia, and the American Revolution. Her British American Ancestor came to the attention of Benjamin Franklin just like a member of my Owens family (not for murder like my line). I really love George and Tina so I found the episode interesting.

AncestryDNA Initial Verdict (You win some you lose some)
AncestryDNA was as good as their word and released the latest version of their DNA product today. I knew this was coming, probably today, because a live broadcast was planned for tomorrow. Last night I was working on the site and I got a message that new changes were rolling out. So far I love the changes and I'm hard to please. My Dad would always ask "what do you want egg in your beer?". I did lose some matches I would have liked to see stay around, but I gained some very good new matches.

My total matches are down to 1,456 from around 10,000. I have 30 pages of matches. Before the change I had more matches than my Mom. Now she has around 100 more matches than I do.

I immediately checked to see if my critical matches were still there. All but one were still there.

The circles are a great new feature. Both my Mom and I share the same 9 circles. There are no circles representing my Dad's side. If you share matches with a number of people on the same ancestor a circle group is created showing those who are a DNA match, and some who are not but have DNA tested. It's great to see who else has tested, but hasn't isn't a match.
Will the circles be unbroken?
Cousin Confidence levels
The only problem with circles would be name variations which may not show up linked with an ancestor, and slight date differences or place disagreements which may throw this feature off. 

I have not included some suspected ancestors in my tree. I think I will have to add some of my unproven ancestry just to see if I can establish a DNA link.

Another circle downside is you have to be a paid subscriber to see your circles.

Another great feature is the improved ancestral cousin estimates. My cousin Nan was a moderate match, and is now called high. They are breaking down the estimates to a much finer degree. We can now see how much DNA we likely share. If you read the new confidence levels you can see they give you a much clearer idea of how good the match is. The new algorithms eliminated the low confidence matches so the lowest confidence is now called moderate.

I received a message from a match I messaged 2 months ago. It appears the new features are attracting testers back to the site.

I'm happy with the changes so far. I think my 1,456 matches will be more manageable to deal with. I lost some matches and gained some new better ones. Overall a good thing. Good job Ancestry!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Finding Your Roots" Ep. 8 & The Autosomal DNA Tangle: Is AncestryDNA Right?

I really enjoyed episode 8 of "Finding Your Roots" focusing on British ancestry. I love to watch anything involving the British Empire. I mostly watch British TV programs when I watch TV. I've read more British novels than American. I have not found any proven English ancestry and would love to find some. I do have Scottish and Irish ancestry.

Sally Field's ancestry was the most fascinating. Some of her ancestors were loyalists, and one of her several times great-grandfather's was executed for treason during the American Revolution. His wife took the opportunity to relocate to Canada where she could receive free land for her family's loyalty. Sally Fields also has Mayflower ancestry that she was unaware of. One of her ancestors was a leader of the Plymouth Colony for many years, and presided over the first Thanksgiving. Sting's ancestors' lives revolved around the shipyards in England. He also had mariners in his family. The sea played such an important role in British history. Britain being an island meant they relied on sea trade to bring in commodities not available on the island. One of Stings ancestors was drowned, along with the rest of the crew, when their ship sank. Shipping was also important when it came to the lucrative Indian trade. Deepak Chopra's family benefited from the British colonization in some regards, but also suffered from some of the repercussions because of it. Deepak's father became a renowned Physician with the assistance of the British Governor of India. He was able to attend Medical school in Scotland which was a center for cutting edge medical training. When the British pulled out the unrest and relocations which resulted did negatively affect his family. As his Grandmother said the British came into India and reduced the native population to servitude  which caused the native population to lose the advanced knowledge they had previously attained. It would take generations to regain that knowledge.

Sally Field seemed to have traces of Native American ancestry in her DNA? Very likely to be true considering how long her ancestors have been in America

Rethinking the use of Autosomal DNA. I knew there were minor differences in segment size when looking at them in the company sites as compared with GEDmatch. I thought they were mostly slightly off, which is generally the case, but as I've now learned from a co-administrator of GEDmatch there can be significant differences (according to Family Tree DNA the differences are insignificant?). Entire segment deletions can occur. So this leads to the problem of who's numbers do you use when calculating relationships? If 10 cM segments and over are 99% IBD, and under that a significant number are IBS, then what if GEDmatch pronounces a segment to be over 10 cM's but Family Tree DNA has it significantly under 10 cM's? AncestryDNA has a point when they caution people about third party comparisons. The companies use complex calculations rather than just  cursory segment comparisons. They have better resources than the 3rd party citizen scientists' sites. I would still like to see a chromosome browser at AncestryDNA. If they had a chromosome browser at their own site they could oversee it, which would insure the segments are in line with their own findings, instead of risking misinterpretation at a 3rd party site.

AncestryDNA leans heavily on the often inaccurate trees, posted by testers, to suggest relationships. These tree connections can be wrong. Right now I'm dealing with a problem related to an AncestryDNA suggested relationship to a low confidence DNA match. This low confidence match is somewhat of a contradictory finding. A cousin of this Forgety match had taken the Y DNA test and did not match our Forgey testers. We assumed the close spelling of the name and proximity of the Forgetys and Forgeys on the map led to the mistaken idea they were related. This low confidence match of a Forgety to my Mom, who is a Forgey, is leading to speculation that there is a relationship after all. Since we cannot see how much DNA we share I'm not certain how valid this match is? Plus I noticed they have a Campbell line in Tennessee, and our Forgey line has a Campbell line said to have come from Tennessee.

So the problem making connections with the trees is few of us have trees going back 7 to 10 generations on every line. Sarah Campbell is actually only 4 generations from me, and 3 generations from my Mom. We don't know anything at all about her parents or ancestors. The only thing I have to go on is that Sarah Campbell/Wray lived in Indiana, while married, and died in 1847 at a young age. Her only child to live long enough to give an opinion on her place of birth was Polly T. Wray/Hall. She lived until 1920 and always claimed her mother was born in Tennessee. She was only 6 yrs. old when her Mom, Sarah, died. This leaves me with some uncertainty as to whether she would have any first hand source knowledge about where her mother was born?

We are in for a very interesting several weeks at AncestryDNA. No new matches will be posted until the reprocessing of over 500,000 tests is complete. In a couple of weeks from now we should be seeing the new results with the "false" matches eliminated. This could either turn out to be great or could be a complete disaster? We'll see. Read more here.

I'm getting ready to plunge into a Time magazine special publication called "How DNA Shapes Your Life". I just got it today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day 2014 To All Veterans!

It seems like I always make progress on my Family's Veteran ancestors around Veterans' day. Maybe it's because the genealogy sites promote their military collections around this time of year. My grandfather was a Veteran of WWI. He has come to mind especially this year because it's the Centenary of WWI this year.

 This time another event spurred further research into our Military history. I was so peeved that my great uncle William Kappel was misidentified by the Margraten  Netherlands American Cemetery site that I was forced to gather more information about him to prove he was indeed my great uncle. As I stated in the past my Kapple grandparents divorced and my grandmother brought all of her children to California in the late 1940's. Her ex husband, my grandfather, remained in Illinois and remarried a couple times. My father didn't talk about his father or his father's family very much, unless I asked. He never mentioned his uncle William was killed in WWII. My dad was always interested in WWII history. My mom and I were forced to sit through many documentaries about WWII. He probably knew his uncle was killed and just never wanted to talk about it.

My genealogy obsession began in the late 1990's when I started searching for more information about the Kapple line. Early on I found out  my grandparents changed the spelling of their name from Kappel to Kapple. I was so surprised when I found out my grandfather Rudolph was from a family of 11 (now I hear possibly 12). I then gathered up all the information I could find online about his siblings. I found most of his brothers in the Social Security death index. It was then that I found out William Kappel had died in 1945. I was pretty certain that entry was his because the date of birth was exact.

I asked my aunt June if William may have been killed in WWII? She said yes he was and his widow and her grandmother were locked in a battle over benefits after his death. Before the war William had been living with his mother in the family home along with his wife and son (just like my own grandparents lived in the Kappel household for a few years). William worked as a steel inspector at a steel mill in Chicago before the war, along with his brother-in-law. Mary had relied on her youngest son a great deal after the death of her husband in 1937; which was why she felt she was entitled to benefits when he was killed at the end of the war. The detail my aunt June provided left little doubt that the William Kappel who died in 1945 was my great uncle. A few years after I identified him I found out he was buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery. That puzzled me because aunt June said he was killed in the South Pacific? At  this point I did more research and discovered the soldier buried at that cemetery was from Chicago, Illinois and was Catholic like my great uncle's family. I could find no other William Kappel's sharing his birthdate who were killed in the war. I felt confident the man buried in that cemetery was my great uncle.

I've always wanted more information. A few years ago a Facebook friend found a battalion history which gave a narrative of the circumstances of William's death. He was killed at the end of the war when he was pursuing a sniper. Another Facebook friend, and distant cousin on my Forgey line, visited the Cemetery this past summer and took some great photos and a rubbing of William's cross. All of this added information has been so rewarding!

My quest to prove William Kappel was my Uncle beyond a reasonable doubt led me to consider writing for his Social Security application which would contain his parents' names. Since a few years ago privacy laws were tightened requiring proof of the applicants death, and his parents deaths, it has become more difficult to unlock that information.  I was assembling the needed information when I stumbled on some evidence which met my own standard of proof. It was the application for a grave monument. William's widow's name was given as Belle Kappel which was also the name of his wife on the 1940 Census when they were living with my great-grandmother Mary. My father's birth certificate contained the same address in 1933. This is good enough evidence for me. I'm satisfied. The cemetery site has changed William's parents from Gabriel Kappel  and Rose Kappel to my great-grandparents Frank and Mary Kappel. The wrong family was added to William's page from an tree. The mix up was a good thing because it got me searching again, if I had not taken up the search again I never would have found the wonderful original documents posted at Ancestry.

Why my great uncle appears on a  National Jewish American Board record is a mystery? He was likely part ethnically Ashkenazi, but the family was Catholic for at least 200 years. My grandmother Kapple said the name Kappel was generally perceived as Jewish. The surname may have led to the mistaken belief that he was Jewish?

The entire research journey with William Kappel has been very rewarding. I appreciate his service and I'm honored he is my Great Uncle.

I would like to hear from William's son Ronald Kappel born around 1937 in Chicago. That would really be the icing on the cake!

Happy Veterans' Day to all Veterans!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

GEDmatch Says 14.7 cM's FTDNA Says 8.68? Who's Right?

Our Owens match contacted me yesterday. I found out that I was comparing with the exact same kit at GEDmatch as the one at FTDNA. So there was a 6 cM difference in the segment my Aunt shared with this match on chromosome 19. It could have something to do with the fact this kit was a transfer from AncestryDNA to Family Finder at FTDNA?

I have no idea why the results look so different at GEDmatch? I don't know if FTDNA is more accurate or GEDmatch? I just know the results don't match. If GEDmatch is less accurate than the testing companies than it may not be a good place to compare AncestryDNA results? It may be better to transfer your results to FTDNA and compare there. Although it may be that errors occur when raw data is uploaded to FTDNA? However I have compared with other transferred kits and don't see any unusual results?

Like I said before there are always slight differences in the cM numbers at GEDmatch. If anyone else has seen a cM difference of 5 or more on a segment please post a comment. I'm curious about how often this happens?

Friday, November 7, 2014

GEDmatch Segment Size May Be Different From That Reported by Your Testing Company

I found a long  awaited match on our Owens line at Family Tree DNA yesterday. This person evidently transferred her results to Family Tree DNA immediately after this service was announced in October. I copied her email address and went to GEDmatch to see if she appeared in my Aunts results. I found her listed with two kits. I compared her two kits.  Both kits showed identical results with my Aunt. Compared against my Aunt at GEDmatch I noticed their longest shared segment was 14.7. Her longest segment with my Aunt at Family Tree DNA was reported as 8.68?

A basically 6 cM difference. I've emailed this match to be sure we're comparing apples to apples. If there really is a 6 cM difference for the result on 19 (see their charts below) then there is a big problem somewhere?

Comparing results from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and GEDmatch there is a consistent 1 cM difference at GEDmatch with the occasional 3 cM difference. I checked to see if 23andMe was any closer to GEDmatch, but they also differ by 1 to 3 cMs (see above). I don't know how well 23andMe results compare with Family Tree DNA outside GEDmatch?

If we're using cM's to determine our relationship to a match and to triangulate it's important to have consistent numbers. Hope we can eventually compare with equivalent, agreed upon, standards. Right now I don't know whether I should accept the 14.7 result as correct or the 8.68 result? Or are we looking at different kits? Hoping to get answer soon?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

DNA News: "Finding Your Roots" Episode 7 and Tying Loose Ends

Chart pinpointing DNA matches

Episode 7 of "Finding Your Roots" featured guests with Jewish roots. It was a very moving episode because of the stories of the persecution of the Jewish population in the 19th and 20th centuries. Ancestors of the guests were forced to leave their homes because of the poverty and persecution they suffered in Eastern Europe. The Nazi officials were psychopaths which was clearly demonstrated by the fact that a massacre they carried out, in which some of  Tony Kushner's ancestors were murdered, was called a Wedding and those murdered guests. I'm not a fan of Alan Dershowitz at all. It's to his credit that his firm aids the underprivileged; but, the fact he represented a heinous  murderer, OJ Simpson, is unforgivable. Alan's family was quite gifted at working the system and were able to rescue some relatives from the Nazi's. Carol King's story demonstrated the difficulty of tracing Jewish ancestors in Eastern Europe because, as explained, few records survive. She was extremely lucky that some records for her family were found which took one of her lines back to the 1790's. So never give up even though you've been told it's unlikely the records survived. Also Carol's family had a complete change of surnames which adds to the challenge of tracing the family.

A statement made by Prof. Gates about it being more convenient to convert to Christianity made me think about my own family. I believe my family converted to Catholicism because of persecution. I also believe they became very committed Catholics. One of my Great Grandparents' children was named Francis Xavier which demonstrates a deep affinity with the church.

I missed the fact Episode 7 didn't feature DNA results. I just finished listening to a webinar about "Finding Your Roots" and understand that episode 10 will focus much more on DNA testing, which should be interesting. Another interesting fact is 3 to 4 hours of interviews with guests are shot for each episode. According to Prof. Gates all of the guests are overjoyed by the family information they get from the show. Like most people the guests have a personal knowledge of their family history going back only a generation or two.

The changes to AncestryDNA are coming soon according to their blog. Another AncestryDNA blog post referring  to the issue of IBS matches stated that cousin matching using their current technique produced too many false matches for Hispanics and Jews. This is probably why I have so many Mexican matches when my family came from Nicaragua. Similar over estimations were found with other ethnic groups. According to the AncestryDNA blog we will be notified regarding downloading our current match information so we can keep the notes etc. on our current matches.

I've been slowly listening to the i4GG conference videos. I watched the "Getting the Most from AncestryDNA" presentation the other day. Using a fan chart to see where your matches are on your tree was a great idea I got from this presentation. It clearly shows that most of my matches are out at 5 generations and beyond. This is because we have fewer close cousins.

Another highlight of the "Getting the Most from AncestryDNA" presentation was the portion about admixture. The presenter showed her admixture results side by side with her sisters. Of course these results seemed to match up as expected (an employee of Ancestry wouldn't show any that didn't).It was so funny when someone asked from the audience what if a child had more Irish admixture than both her parents? Of course this got a laugh from the knowledgeable audience. This wasn't easily answered. It was only explained that admixture was still being worked on.

I have really enjoyed Hoosier Daddy's blog posts. His November 3 post really hit home. His experiences communicating with matches are so relatable. I've often noticed the same thing he discovered, that many of my matches on certain couples are actually close relatives to one another, who may have tested together. I've had relatives tested and so have many other people, so multiple matches with one ancestral couple actually come from a single descendant line.

Hoosier Daddy's post also made me wonder if telling matches you are looking for adoptee information is a good idea in your first communication? I'm thinking some people may be fearful of becoming involved with a possibly  touchy situation?

I'm impatiently waiting to see what happens with the AncestryDNA changes and also waiting for another sale on their kits.