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?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Why Surname Project Admins. Drink

YDNA surname project administrator sounds like a pleasant little hobby/project. It would be easy if everyone with the same surname actually matched when expected. Meaning everyone descended from the same ancestors actually matched. The first half dozen men who tested in our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie DNA project all did match one another. Even those not known to have descended from the same ancestors matched. Our luck ran out a few weeks ago when someone did not match anyone in the group and actually descended from a maternal line. I thought the odds would be against this happening again with our next test results. Unfortunately, it happened again. Our batch number finally came up, our kits were in the 562 weekly batch at FTDNA. Results were posted around 8:00 pm Friday night on Good Friday/ Black Friday. I was completely floored when one of our testers didn't match anyone else. We expected him to match either our line or the line of their supposed distant cousin. Their distant cousin didn't match anyone in our group either, they had tested outside our group a few years ago. This cousin tested as I1, better known as the Viking Haplo group. The rest of  our group belongs to the I2, Scottish clade. Our last Forgy result Friday turned out to be R1. This is the most common haplo group in Europe. His STR signature is also very common with 761 perfect matches. So we had no match at all between the I1 and R1 cousin.

The Correct Forgety family
Friday we also got a result for our Forgety tester. It was thought this family had changed its name from Forgey to Forgety due to a family dispute. This turned out not to be the case with our tester testing positive for the Haplo R1. That is turning into a happy ending with this family now linking themselves to there correct line of Forgety or Forgaty. This tester didn't have a common STR signature; he only got 28 matches with 12 markers tested. 

We have one more result coming in soon. This tester is in batch 563, so should not be far behind the others. This was a 37 marker test so it may take longer.Our previous tests actually took 6-7 weeks. The kits sat unprocessed for several weeks before being check in. 

It would be great to have one confirmed Haplo group for every individual Forgey/ Forgy & Forgie line. Our phase 2 of testing hasn't not brought us any closer to this goal due to the NPE's (non paternal events). I think one of the two testers on the Robert Forgy and Elizabeth Beatty line must carry Robert's haplo based on the odds? I might be wrong and both families may have a break in the paternal line? With these two family representatives not matching we need a third descendant from a different child than these two to test. I'm hoping such a person turns up eventually. We need to do some reverse genealogy to find one. 

Last Tuesday I got my Ancestry.com results back. They came in just short of 3 weeks from the time Ancestry received them. This kit didn't sit at Ancestry waiting to be checked in so this test came back in half the time FTDNA took. I am finding the layout of the Ancestry DNA site to be outstanding with many great features. After the NPE's in our Y project I've been looking to my autosomal DNA results to verify my paper trails. I have had about 12 or so matches at FTDNA which have helped verify our family stories and paper trail. I'm finding even more cousins at Ancestry. The trees posted by my matches have been very helpful. Some people say you can't rely on these mostly unsourced trees. Well if you match the person and find a common ancestor on their tree I would say their tree is right. I have such unusual ancestry that it's easy for me to determine where I connect with most of my matches. One of my Grandmothers was Nicaraguan, and one of my Grandfathers was from Burgenland, Austria, a Great Grandmother was from County Galway Ireland, and a Great-Great Grandfather was from Quebec, Canada. One of my Grandfather's, on my maternal side, had purely early American lines. The only early American line on my father's side belonged to his Great-Grandmother. If a person's ancestors all come from the same general area it's much more difficult to determine how you connect with matches. 

Hopefully, next week the new FTDNA Population Finder will have been unveiled. Possibly by this time next week we should have our next DNA Y result. I will be completely discouraged if this person doesn't match anyone. I may then give up Genealogy and take up bird watching?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Here is where we stand with our DNA testing

The world of genetic genealogy is really the booming segment of genealogy now. The ethnic results presented in detail by 23andme and Ancestry.com with visually appealing charts can be understood by everyone. Many people not interested in genealogy before have ordered these autosomal tests. Many will go no further, but some will become involved in more in depth research. So it is great news that Family Tree DNA will be offering  a similar ethnic breakdown now by improving their Population Finder. This should increase interest among non genealogists in testing with them. I can't wait to see this improved Family Finder tool myself!

I've been wondering since I became involved with DNA testing and gotten some unexpected results how accurate the results given by all these genealogy related companies really were? Human error is always a possibility. I had never heard of someone getting a completely wrong result before. I've heard of very slightly off results. This week someone came forward with news of getting a completely different haplo group from Family Tree DNA which didn't match the results they got from 23andme. A number of people have tested with both Family Tree DNA and 23andme so they have verified their Y and mtDNA Haplos. I don't think a majority of people test with more than one company. So we really don't know exactly what the error rate is? It's a good idea to test with more than one company to verify your haplo if yours turns out to be an unexpected result, which can't be explained using other sources. One member of our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie group tested his Y DNA with Ancestry.com. His results matched what we got from Family Tree DNA. My mtDNA result matched my cousins at 23andme.

A little over a week ago we received our first DNA result back from the 2nd Phase of our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie Y DNA testing. We got the results back exactly 21 days after the lab received his kit, on a Tuesday. Unfortunately, the results were useless because this person's surname came through a female line. I didn't explain how this test worked in enough detail to the tester, and they didn't know that fact would affect the results. In the future before I buy a test for someone I need to verify their descent from a strictly male line.

I'm hoping our next results come in this week which will be 21 days after they were received by the lab. The next two kits are in batch 562, and we have another one in 563. All of the results are going to be useful, but the first 2 have us on pins and needles. We have a Robert Forgy descendant who didn't match half dozen other testers. The options here are old NPE (non paternal event) and no blood relationship to us, or another Ferguson line took the name Forgy, but aren't blood relations to our Ferguson line, or the name Forgy came through a maternal line? This result is of great interest for those reasons. The other exciting result will be for the Forgety family. Are they blood relatives of our Forgey family as a family story suggests, or are they really descendants of an unrelated Forgaty family in Virginia? Hopefully we will be put out of our misery soon?

I have an Ancestry.com test in progress right now. I've been trying to gage when it might come back. From other testers I've gleaned results come back at about 30 days after they receive the kit. So they generally come in before the expected date of 6 to 8 weeks, if they don't there is a problem. I find this is also true with Family Tree DNA with test results coming in 3 to 4 weeks after the lab gets the kits. My experience also has been, with Family Tree DNA, that they batch the kits on a Wednesday and the lab generally gets the kits a day before they are batched. It can take them weeks to batch a kit after they receive it in the mail.
We'll see how long it takes for our results to come back? We will be in suspense until we see the new Family Finder Ethnic breakdowns and get our long waited DNA results!

The Autosomal test coverage for our surnames is nearly complete