Wednesday, December 2, 2015

23andMe Shared Matches A Week Later

Still early as far as the introduction of the new open sharing feature at 23andMe. So far 7 people are open sharing on my mother's match list, and 10 are open sharing with me. I'm hoping the open sharing numbers grow. Anyone interested in using 23andMe for genealogy should agree to open sharing. You do need to check a box in order to participate. You are not automatically included in open sharing. (See this blog to get instructions for participating in open sharing "How To Opt In")
I'm hoping more people agree to open sharing? The wording for the opt in wouldn't encourage many people to share openly.
"By selecting open sharing, it is possible there is the risk that other DNA Relatives or other users will be able to identify certain information about you, including specific genetic variants related to health."
I'm not confident that many people will agree after reading this disclosure?
Before the changes I had access to the exact location of over 1000 shared segments. Half of those contained a match name, and the other half were anonymous. The anonymous matches could also be helpful since they listed the origins of all grandparents. Many of the segment matches were substantial in size. Of those either open sharing, or just sharing with us, most share smaller amounts of DNA. I do like the fact 23andMe provides a chromosome browser. The lack of trees and cooperation of matches makes 23andMe more difficult to glean useful information from.

Below is the now eliminated Countries of Origin information. You can see one match shares a 71.6 cM segment and another a 63.4 cM segment etc. This was very useful information because many of these matches did not agree to accept my sharing invitation. Sadly this information is no longer available. I still think adoptees should test with 23andMe, since you can get some pretty close matches. The more distant matches I'm looking for are more difficult to confirm now. I wouldn't recommend this test to those looking for cousins past 2nd. The cost is too high for the limited information you're likely to get.

The fact AncestryDNA now provides some segment and total cM information does make this product more useful. Today I found a match on my Lambert line. When I looked at the segment information and total cM's I discovered I shared 7.6 cM's on two segments. This doesn't look like a very promising match. Since Ancestry is using the Timber filter further comparison at GEDmatch is needed to see if we actually share more DNA. I would recommend testing with AncestryDNA, but comparison at GEDmatch is often needed to confirm matches.

 23andMe can make their test more useful for genealogists. Providing a good tree function at their site would be a step in the right direction. Right now AncestryDNA is the best place to test.