Changes to the 23andme DNA Relatives Displays

There have been some good changes to the relative matching displays at 23andMe. Finally when I get a new match, I can quickly compare them to several other known relatives from that first DNA comparison page. One of the features I have always loved, that 23andMe has but not the other testing companies, is the ability to compare my matches to each other. Seeing how much DNA they share can often help resolve how they are related.

I was surprised and delighted to see that the granddaughter of my Dad’s favorite brother got a DNA kit for Christmas and her DNA results are just in at 23andMe. So I will use her kit to show the new 23andMe displays. For privacy I will call her Nan.

When I click DNA relatives under Tools, the page it goes to no longer has two top tabs. Perhaps that confused many users. Instead there is a long sentence up top where the last few words are linked to the chromosome browser page that I like to use. I have put a red box around those words in the image below of Dad’s best matches. Of course there are other better ways to get to that browser.

When Dad gets a new relative, I typically click on their name to see how they compare to him. That next page is the one that is vastly improved.

Continue reading

An Awesome Ancestry Add-on

One thing I have always wanted when looking at my ancestry DNA matches was to list just the unstarred matches or matches that I have identified as being on a specific line. Well there is a new add-on for chrome called MedBetterDNA that will do that for you now, among other great features. Thank you Blaine for mentioning it in your Genetic Genalogy Tips and Techniques Facebook group today.

Another thing I love from this add-on is that it displays the notes you have made for this match directly on the match page so you no longer have to click each little notepad. Here is what my brother’s page looks like now:

Notice the little multi-colored people icons next to the green leaves? That is from another chrome add on called the AncestryDNA helper and a mouse-over on those icons shows the DNA relatives in common, but that is another blog post not yet written.
Continue reading

Do a little bit every day

My dad skiing at Stowe in 1947

This New Year’s Eve I have resolved to remember my father’s advice, “Don’t let a big project overwhelm you, break it into small manageable parts.”

Personally, I have often put off starting a huge project because it seemed to be way too much to tackle. It is amazing how many other things get done when I am procrastinating!

If you had told me five years ago how many hours I would spend working with my family’s DNA results, I might never have started. That would have been sad as I would have missed out on the endless pleasure genetic genealogy has brought me and the many others I have helped.

If I had known twenty years ago where writing down the family stories would take me, I could not have imagined the thousands of hours I would spent on genealogy. I have enjoyed just about every minute of it, except perhaps going to the library or archive and not finding the record I was searching for.

Both of these hobbies are easy to break into small manageable parts. One family line at a time or one location at a time or one group of connected matches at a time or even one chromosome segment at a time. Whatever works for you.

I had been overwhelmed thinking about organizing and tidying up my office. Two years ago my New Year’s resolution was to reorganize it. I have a whole small bedroom with closet space and plenty of light, why such a shambles!

In that spirit, a week ago I started doing a little bit of office clean up each day. This is working, even if somewhat slowly.
Continue reading

DNA makes a Merry Christmas

Yesterday was a very very happy day. Thanks to DNA testing, an 82 year old man who thought he had no kids, now has two wonderful adult children plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Merry Christmas Billy (my pseudonym for him)! Here is the story.

An accomplished and successful Florida business woman, let’s call her Cheryl, discovered at her father’s funeral that he was not her biological dad. His relatives told her and were not particularly nice about it. Cheryl knew that her dad, let’s call him Larry, had married her mom when she was three months along, but Cheryl had not known that Larry had a paternity test done and knew that she was not his child. He loved her mom very much, so chose to love and cherish Cheryl as his daughter. They were always quite close.

Her mother was long gone and could not be asked. In disbelief, Cheryl took the Ancestry DNA test to confirm or deny this tale. She also got her half brother, her mother’s son from an earlier marriage, to test. That way she could separate out the matches on her mother’s side from those from her Dad’s line.

Her DNA results had no matches to anyone in Larry’s family, which disappointed her, even though it was not a surprise now. However she found what looked to be a half brother, let’s call him Joe, an adoptee born and raised in Australia. Her other paternal side matches, two second cousins, and several third cousins, all had roots in a small town along the Mississippi River. Surprisingly. the second cousins had no ancestors in common with any of the others. So Cheryl contacted me for help back in early October.

Continue reading

GENESIS from GEDmatch: the new chip

Technology never stands still. The latest change affecting all of us who love using DNA for genealogy is a new chip from Illumina. The past six or so years of autosomal DNA testing have shown that the current chip is great for testers with European ancestry, but does not have enough SNP coverage to figure out the details of the ethnic make up for people from other parts of the world. Many more and different SNPs are tested in this new GSA chip.

All the 23andMe tests done since this past July use that chip, as does Living DNA (highly recommended if you have British ancestry since it does local regional breakdowns). I imagine eventually the others will follow along. The bad news is that there is not that much overlap between this chip and the previous ones, which affects cousin matching.

Debbie Kennet wrote a blog post describing the new chip at https://cruwys.blogspot.com/2017/08/23andme-launch-new-v5-chip-and-revise.html

Because the SNPs are so different the DNA results from these kits cannot be uploaded to GEDmatch, however our friends there have built another site to handle these new kits called GENESIS. They have come up with a whole new algorithm for relative matching that works with lower SNP counts.

At the recent i4GG.org conference (videos coming in February), I gave a presentation on what’s new at GEDmatch, the second part of it went into much detail about GENESIS, starting with this slide:
http://slides.com/kittycooper/gedmatch-10-13-23#/38

The functions available at GEDmatch are being gradually implemented at GENESIS. Most of the key ones are there now. Plus there is some new functionality. One major addition is the showing of the number of SNPs actually overlapping between kits. Very important to know since the overlaps can be as small as 108,000 SNPs or as large as 580.000.
Continue reading