Archive | December 2015

End of Year Giving

Today being the last day of the year, I always sit down and give money to the charities I care about, online of course. My husband even let me give to my local PBS station since I watch their evening news most nights as well as many other programs like Downton Abbey, Keeping Up Appearances, and Nova.

This year I also gave to a fascinating DNA project; the ongoing search for Y haplogroup A00 and its branches in Cameroon. I love crowd funding; what a fun way to support those things that interest you. Click the image to join me supporting this one.

Finding A00 in Cameroon

Here is an excerpt from the email my facebook friend genetic genealogist Bonnie Schrack sent out recently which caught my eye:

“On our next field trip, in January, Matthew will sample peoples to the
West, the Banyang and Ejagham.

Our exciting news is that Thomas Krahn will be traveling to Cameroon in
January, and will accompany Matthew! They’ll also visit villages
previously sampled, to return results to the men already tested,
something almost never done in traditional academic studies. We, as
genetic genealogists, see them as individuals, not just sources of raw
material. They are interested in learning about their paternal lineages,
and we are trying to learn as much as possible about the A00-bearing
families and their history.”

The Y haplogroup A00 was discovered by citizen scientists and that truly excites me. The history of the migrations of our ancestors is written in our DNA and I really love being part of this.

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Announcing my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter

Thanks to the crowd funding and testing support of the DNAadoption community I was able to write a new tool. Now it’s ready, it’s free, and it’s online, which means it works for Mac users too. You upload a text file in ahnentafel format and it creates a GEDcom file for you to download (or cut and paste). It was written to convert the DNArboretum output but with some massaging can take any ahnentafel text file, I hope.

Here is the URL (or click the image below) for my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter:


In my previous blog post about the return of DNArboretum, I suggested that if ten people gave me $5 then I would write this tool. It was funded within 36 hours. Thank you all for the quick response.

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DNArboretum is working again!

Thank you neanderling for fixing DNArboretum! We missed that tool so much. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I blogged about this chrome add-on that can turn those awful Family Tree DNA family trees into easily searchable ahnentafels this past September at

Recently someone brought to my attention these instructions for how to turn a text genealogy document, like an ahnentafel, into GEDcom format

This would let you load that ahnentafel into a genealogy program.

Perhaps I will quickly code a program to do this if people really think it is useful … let me know! If I get ten $5 donations (click button below) or 6 glasses of wine (click button in right column) I will do it!

GOAL has been reached and all the contributors have been sent the URL of the preliminary converter to try out. Of course it took longer than I expected so I have left the DONATE button up in hopes of recouping the cost of my time 🙂 Merry Christmas adoptees. Next blog post will have the link to the tool when I release it.


Endogamy: A book and a blog post and my own explorations

Endogamous populations are much harder to work with in genetic genealogy because you have double and triple 6th cousins who look like 2nd to 3rd cousins when you compare their DNA to yours. Ashkenazim (see my Ashkenazi DNA post), Mennonites (see Tim Jantzen’s project), and Polynesians (See Kalani Mondoy”s project) are a few of these intermarried groups. See the ISOGG wiki for a further discussion of endogamy.

A fellow genetic genealogist, Israel Pickhotz, has written a fascinating book about how he has confirmed and refuted many genealogical connections in his extended Ashkenazi family. He did this by testing every cousin he could. That story is an inspiration to those of us frustrated by using DNA to research our jewish roots. It is as easy to read as it can be, given that genetic genealogy is not easy to understand. Lara, blogging at her blog Lara’s Family Search, wrote an excellent description of the book in her review which is hard to improve upon.

Israel’s blog continues his story:

Another DNA expert, Jim Bartlett has just written an interesting blog post investigating the math of endogamy at his segmentology blog. As it is titled part I, I am looking forward to part II.

The problem comes when so many cousins marry each other as you go back up the tree that it gets difficult to calculate the shared DNA. Plus once you get past 3rd cousins, DNA inheritance becomes more and more random anyway.

On my Norwegian side, my Dad has a woman “MB” listed as a 2nd to 3rd cousin who upon investigation was found to be a fifth cousin three times and a sixth another time. She shares 49 cM over 4 segments with my Dad and a whopping 141 cM in 8 segments with my third cousin in Norway. That third cousin is related the same way to MB as we are, but he, like MB, descends from a cousin marriage within this group.

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