My third cousin Irene (found with DNA) complained to me via email that her ethnicity results at 23andMe were very different from Ancestry; what was going on? Irene’s recent ancestry is known to be half Norwegian (my side) and half Scottish with some Irish (about 6% expected) mixed in.
Ancestry’s predictions are on the left, 23andMe’s estimates are on the right
So I looked and saw that 23andMe (above right) has a very low estimate for Scandinavian for her, while the British and Irish (her Scottish) is fine. Ancestry DNA (above left) has the Scandinavian predicted correctly but calls her Scottish both Irish and Western European. At least it includes her in a Scots genetic community which is correct and very cool.
Family Tree DNA’s predictions
Since I had also uploaded her DNA results to Family Tree DNA, I checked there and saw that they correctly predicted 49% Scandinavian. However the Scottish shows as 36% British Isles followed by some traces including 9% East Europe? No one else saw that!
One of the problems is that our Viking ancestors visited and even settled in various parts of the British Isles making it hard to tell British from Scandinavian. Also there was more migration within Europe many hundreds of years back than we might realize. Finally each company uses different reference populations and techniques for their ethnicity estimates.
Predicting where your ancestors originated based on your DNA test is just not that accurate yet. The broad strokes are pretty good, but since the actual percentages vary quite a bit from company to company it is easy to see that there is much improvement needed.
Somewhat alarmed that 23andMe, which I had always thought was the most accurate of the three, did not predict Irene’s Scandinavian correctly, I decided to double check the predictions for my Norwegian-American Dad, as well as my brother who is tested at all three of the main companies.
Did you know that you can get a nice text pedigree tree at Ancestry.com to send to your relatives? Recently a new cousin, who had tested her DNA elsewhere, sent me a screenshot of her tree at Ancestry. That really wasn’t very useful because it showed just names and years, no places or exact dates.
For many, exporting a GEDCOM and sending that is best, but if you do not have the software to privatize or export just a section of your GEDCOM, try sending a text pedigree. Your closer DNA relatives might prefer that anyway as it is easy to scan for common surnames.
Here is how to do this.
First go to your tree at Ancestry.com on your computer, not your tablet or phone.
Find the person whose ancestors you wish to share with your new cousin. Click on the name or photo in the tree and a box will appear with more about them that includes several buttons along the bottom.
Click the button with the tools icon. That gets a little menu which includes the item “View her family tree.” Click that. The example above shows the box and the menu. Note that you will not get this menu item if you are already viewing the tree from the person of interest, in that case just continue with the next step.
If you are not already using the pedigree view, click the pedigree icon at top of the icon strip on the left side of your tree to get it.
Next click the print icon at the bottom of that icon strip. Now you will be on a page with a nice simple looking text pedigree that has all the information a relative would want, as in the example below. Continue reading
No I am not planning a Friday Finds as a regular feature, just an occasional one. Many articles caught my attention this week so I thought I would share some of the posts I plan to read or reread this coming weekend.
How to organize your DNA data is a perpetual and perplexing question, touched with at the end of this excellent article from Legacy Tree Genealogists, “Going Beyond Ethnicity Estimates in DNA Testing”
Another article that might help you organize your results demonstrates a visual way to show the shared DNA among family members. Read this recent guest post by Lauren McGuire on Blaine Bettinger’s blog “The McGuire Method – Simplified Visual DNA Comparisons” to learn more.
The Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JOGG) has resumed publishing under the editorship of Leah Larkin and there are a number of articles that interest me in the most recent issue.
On my reading list are CeCe Moore’s The History of Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Research, Blaine Bettinger on citizen science and a review of GenomeMate, a tool many researchers use to organize their data. Personally I use spreadsheets because I started out that way. One for each family members’ segments, a list of contacts, plus a list of known relatives with kit numbers and email addresses. Click on DNA spreadsheets in my tag cloud to learn more.
And for my Norwegian research, I have already read and plan to reread this terrific article by Martin Roe, Let’s wring the census records. Most of these census records are online at the Norwegian archives (see my post on those archives)
In two recent blog posts I have shown how your WIKItree pedigree can be linked to your DNA results at GEDmatch.com and 23andMe, but I forgot to emphasize that you must set the privacy level to public tree for that to be useful.
One of the great features at WIKItree is the many privacy levels but the default for a living person is completely private which means that your family tree, starting from you, cannot be seen. Please reset that to private with public tree. This preserves the privacy of all the living just fine; for example, my brother is listed on my chart as private brother 1950s – unknown (see previous blog post for image).
To change the privacy level, go to the page for that profile which you must manage or have trusted access to. Click on the tab that says Privacy.