Archive | 2016

Last day for Family Tree DNA Sales!

This is it, your last chance for the amazing price of $59 for an autosomal test from Family Tree DNA, on this final day of 2016. Click here for my November post about all the sales with more details.

Happy New Year to all of you

I hope to see some of you at Rootstech in February at my Triangulation 2017 talk.

A special thank you whomever used my family tree DNA link to buy so many kits. My cost for running this blog is now paid until April. (Don’t stop now friends!)


Norwegian Pancakes for Christmas

This blog was intended to be a personal blog with many gardening, cooking, and genealogy posts. However after I tested my DNA and talked other family members into doing it too, I found that they needed explanations of how to do things at blogcategoriesthe various DNA companies. Unlike me they were not willing to spend hours and hours experimenting, so I added a number of tutorials for my cousins which are linked to from the top menu here under DNA testing as well as from under Resources. Soon I found myself writing more about DNA: tips, techniques, and success stories. Thus this blog morphed into being mainly about genetic genealogy. The numbers for each category shown on the left tell the story.

So enough DNA for now. To me the holidays are about love, family, friends, and food. Happy Holidays to all of you. Now for some food …

My late father always made us “Norwegies,” the family nickname for Norwegian pancakes, on Christmas morning as well as on many other special occasions. So guess what I cooked on Christmas morning for my jewish husband. No I will not make them on every day of Hannukah! Yes he did say that they were just like blintzes.

norweegiesWe stuffed them with strawberry jam and then sprinkled them with confectioner’s sugar. Click here for the family recipe in a previous year’s holiday food post (towards the end).

My New Year’s resolution is to write more food and garden posts, maybe as often as once a month, in addition to the usual weekly DNA post and the occasional genealogy post.

Ancestry Composition Numbers by Segment at

Did you know 23andme now provides the segment data for its ancestry composition assignments? This is a pretty recent feature and might even be useful. Unlike the other companies, 23andme does its admixture (aka ancestry composition) in chunks. This may make it more accurate than the others but in any case it means that they can give us the segment numbers. Then we can compare those to our matches.

To get these numbers, first pull down the reports menu and click on ancestry. On the initial ancestry page click on Ancestry Composition or the > symbol next to your highest group. Both are marked with my red arrow below.


The next page, the ancestry composition page has the pretty chromosome picture with ancestries displayed where you can change the confidence level from speculative (50%) to conservative (90%). To get a CSV file of the segments you click on Scientific Details at the top or the bottom of this page.


Then scroll all the way to bottom of that next page until you see this. You can select your confidence level as well for your downloaded data.


Continue reading

DNA lecture videos are now available from i4GG

Cece Moore organized a conference just for genetic genealogy this past October in San Diego. It was terrific, the only problem was that I could not go to every lecture! Now that the videos are out, I can watch the ones I missed, including my own talk on GEDMatch.

For those of you who did not attend the conference, you can purchase all 19 videos for the amazingly good price of $99 or individual ones for $10 each. Click on the image below to order them. The quality is excellent.


Those of you who were at the conference get them as part of the package so check your email inbox for the link and password.

Using Spreadsheets

In recent discussions with a few of my genetic genealogy students, I discovered that many need some help with understanding how to use spreadsheets. So I went looking and found a series of excellent youtube videos that even taught me a few things. Here is the first one in the series.

He uses OpenOffice Calc which is free and happens to be the spreadsheet that I use.

The basic idea of a spreadsheet is to make a list of things that you want to keep track of, with the information about each of them listed next to them in columns. As you use it, you may decide to insert more columns, the things you are tracking for each, or more rows, the items you are interested in. You can also delete any of these and best of all, sort them.

For DNA tracking purposes, the only other important function to understand is formatting cells so that the numbers don’t surprise you by turning into dates or fractions when you do not want them to. Click here for a recent article claiming that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors because of this type of reformatting!

Personally I reformat the start and stop points to have commas so I can read the numbers more easily and make the centimorgans column (genetic distance) default to two decimal places so that they line up well. I also change the font to Arial.

Suppose you want to keep your match list in a spreadsheet. There are many articles on this blog that explain how to do that. Use the tag DNA spreadsheets to find them by clicking here –
Continue reading