Creating a GEDCOM from a text file

The purpose of this post is to announce new features for my Ahnentafel list to GEDCOM Conversion Tool. The link for this new version is: https://kittymunson.com/dna/Ahnen2GEDv2.php
Once I am confident that it works as it should, the previous version will be replaced with this one.

So why would you want to use this tool?

One way to look for any ancestors you might share with a DNA match is to take a GEDCOM of their pedigree and add it to a copy of your genealogy database to see if there are any duplicate profiles. Other ways are to use DNA2Tree or GWorks (click either for those posts). Often I just visually scan a compact list of my match’s ancestors using the new feature at 23andme, WIKItree’s compact tree, or an Ahnentafel list. Unless, of course, Ancestry‘s ThruLines or MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity have found the common ancestors for me already.

This is the Ancestry tree for the grandmother of my new South African cousins with Pedigree Thief

Did you know that you can get an Ahnentafel list of a person’s ancestors from almost any online family tree displayed in pedigree format via a Chrome add-on called, appropriately, Pedigree Thief?

Better yet, did you know that you can make a GEDCOM from an Ahnentafel list via my tool, Ahen2GEDcom. Click here for my old post about that.

Although my program was originally written to turn the output from DNArboretum and Pedigree Thief into a GEDCOM, some people have found more uses for it.

For example, you might have a document that your Uncle Fred made and you would prefer to use ‘replace all’ in a word processor to cutting and pasting each bit of information into a genealogy program or website. Or you might be collecting information from relatives via spreadsheets or google forms (which can make spreadsheets). Any plain text file can be used as input to my tool, including a CSV file, as long as it is formatted the way the program expects it.

Debbie Parker Wayne is using an online form to collect information for a project of hers, so she asked me if I could enhance my tool to add marriages and sources. I said, “Sure but it is not trivial and I charge more for programming than DNA work.” She said that her book was doing well and she could pay for this. So we did it.

A computer program like this needs the format to be exact in order for it to work. So here are the details.
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South African Cousins! Thanks to DNA

Recently my maternal aunts, cousins and I had a strong DNA match at 23andme to a woman whose name was not familiar to me, Sharon, born in South Africa. This was exciting because I had thought that I had no family left there. I knew that my Jewish great grandmother Charlotte Langermann Thannhauser had had three brothers who went off to South Africa to make their fortunes. None of whom were thought to have any living descendants.

Extracts from the chromosome browser at 23andme comparing Sharon to my family

One of the brothers, Max Langermann, of Johannesburg and London, did become very rich but had no children of his own. Another, Jakob, also of Johannesburg, died in his 30s in 1898, unmarried, and his will names his five living siblings at that time as his heirs, each of whom received 105 pounds (about $20K today). The third brother, (Ernst) Isador, died in his early 40s, on board ship returning from India to his home in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harere, Zimbabwe). His son Frederick was adopted by Max. My mother had told me that Fred was Jakob’s son but since Jakob died a few years before Frederick’s birth, that could not be. Documents I found seemed to indicate that Fred was Isador’s son but Frederick had no children of his own, So who could this new relative be descended from?

from Jakob’s will – note that Isador’s given name was Ernst – all documents are also on GENI

Frederick Edward Langerman signed Max’s will, 8 years after Isador’s death, he was about 18

Since Sharon was listed as 28% Jewish and her mother has no Jewish DNA, she deduced that her father’s mother, whose name she did not know, had to have been Jewish. I sent her my Langermann family tree. Sharon consulted with her mother and sent me this:

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23andme Now Connects to the FamilySearch World Tree

You can connect your family tree at FamilySearch to your 23andme profile as part of a Beta test of this exciting new feature. Then your DNA relatives can see the names of your grandparents (if deceased), great grandparents, and so on, via a nice compact list where every generation is clickable to see the full names, dates, and locations. Plus they can even click on a specific ancestor to go to that profile at FamilySearch! Only a preview is shown until they log in there.

Click on any down arrow in the compact ancestor list to see the names for that generation.

Clicking on my Grandparents displays them, all clickable to their profile at FamilySearch

Click on any person of interest from that list to go to their profile at FamilySearch. Then maybe the View My Relationship tool, at the top right of a profile, will find the relationship. This is somewhat limited at the moment. Although it shows the pathway, it does not name the relationship.

This can make it easy to find your common ancestor although I have to wonder why 23andme does not do that for you. It would be incredibly simple to program that, since there is only one copy of each person on the one world tree at FamilySearch. In other words, it is nowhere near as difficult to do as ThruLines from Ancestry or the Theory of Family Relativity from MyHeritage.

If you opt in to Beta testing at 23andme, your DNA relatives list will show a special little green icon of the FamilySearch logo on the far right next to anyone who has connected their tree. Clicking on that person to go the detailed match page will now include the FamilySearch tree information there as shown above.

The Beta test also includes an family search label and icon at the bottom of the left column on the DNA Relatives list which indicates how many of your matches have connected to FamilySearch. Dear cousins, get to work, five is not very many yet!

So how do you make this connection?
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Using the new Ancestry DNA match features

The other day I walked two different second cousins through using the new Ancestry DNA features to work with their match lists. I showed them how to figure out which line matches are related on and how to use colored dots to mark known relatives by surname group. I promised them I would write it up but promptly left on vacation. So here it is, a bit late…

On the DNA matches page, Ancestry gives you a list of people you share DNA with, ordered by the most to the least amounts and grouped by expected cousinship. These are your relatives, often previously unknown to you, but be aware that the relationships listed are just guesstimates based on the centimorgan (cM) totals. Someone listed as a second cousin may be another relationship, like first cousin once removed, that has similar amounts of shared DNA. You can click on the little “i” in the black circle after the cM and segment numbers for a list of more possible relationships as well as an indication of how probable they are. Alternately you can look up the cM total in the online calculator at https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 based on Blaine Bettinger’s shared cM project.

Ancestry’s new DNA match display is nice and compact. Look at the examples above and below. On the left is the person’s picture, if provided, and their name or initials. Next is the relationship guesstimate with the actual shared cM and number of segments plus the previously mentioned little “i” in a solid black circle. The next column shows if the person has a tree; if it is green with the number of people it is linked to their DNA, else it is gray with a lock icon if it is private. The words unlinked tree appear if there is no tree linked to that person. When ancestry finds a common ancestor that is listed under the green linked or gray private tree.

A realy nice new feature is that final column. For each match, Ancestry shows the first sentence or so that you put in the notepad for that match, plus whether it is starred (also known as a “favorite”), and best of all, one or more color coded dots if it has been assigned to any groups.
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23andme Basics and an Update

My favorite capabilities at 23andme are: finding new relatives with DNA and comparing them in the chromosome browser, looking at my ancestry composition in depth, and having the ability to look up specific genes. Most of the recent changes at 23andme are to the ancestry composition tools, specifically there is more granularity in the areas it shows for your ancestors’ origins.

With three generations of Munsons on 23andme, thanks to my niece’s recent test, I can finally evaluate the GrandTree. This tool, found on the Family & Friends menu, lets you look at what you inherited from each grandparent. Not surprisingly my niece LM got way more from my mother, whose mother she strongly resembles, than from my Dad. There is no guarantee that you will get exactly 25% from each grandparent. In my case, I got more from my maternal grandfather which I deduce from my 28% jewish ethnicity.

This tool will look at the traits and health items tracked through the generations even if you did not buy the health reports. This will be discussed in more detail later in this article. Meanwhile, I will do a quick review of the current 23andme basics as a guide for my niece and any other new testers reading this.

Finding DNA relatives and comparing them in the chromosome browser

Click on DNA relatives on either the Ancestry menu or the Family & Friends menu to look at your cousin list. Here are my previous posts on this topic, still fairly accurate:

Looking up a specific gene

You can look up a specific gene or marker in the Browse Raw Data function which is found on the menu under your name. Click here for my blog post about the AIDS resistant gene which details how to  do that type of look up.

Ancestry Composition

The great thing about the ancestry composition display at 23andme is that it shows you the details by chromosome. None of the other testing companies do that. What’s more if you put your cursor on a specific ethnicity, it will highlight just those segments on the diagram. Click on Ancestry Composition on the Ancestry menu to get to the page with the most details, including the chromosome by chromosome display.
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