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DNA day sales end today!

Dna-splitNational DNA day on April 25 celebrates the day that Crick, Watson, et al published their papers on the structure of DNA. There is an article in Wikipedia about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_Day

Both Ancestry.com and Family Tree DNA have been celebrating this date with sales of autosomal DNA test kits that end today. So buy a few!

23andme did not have a sale, but has sent a $50 off coupon out to people who have already tested there as a mother’s day sale or gift and that is good through next Sunday.

See my DNA testing page for a comparison of the sites. Remember that if you test at ancestry you can transfer those results to Family Tree DNA (click here for my post on that with the details)

DNA testing has been a blessing for adoptees

I can only imagine the pain of not knowing your family’s medical history or origins or why your mother gave you up for adoption.

DNA testing has reunited many adoptees with their birth families. Some get lucky and find their biological parents within days of their test results. Others work on it for years before succeeding. There are some wonderful reunion stories at DNAadoption.com – Trish’s story moved me to tears, as did many of the others. That web site has a tried and true methodology and classes for using DNA in these searches.

Richard Hill, an adoptee who found his biological roots, has just published an excellent two page summary of how to use DNA testing for adoptees. A great starting point, it is available at http://www.dna-testing-adviser.com/support-files/seven-guidelines-for-adoptees.pdf

Also if you have not read his autobiographical story of his search, I highly recommend it; click on image at the left to get that book from Amazon. It reads like a good mystery novel.

Times have changed now and for many it is no longer an embarrassment to have a child out of wedlock. These days an adoption can be open, which solves the medical and ancestry issues for the adoptee (see http://www.adoptionhelp.org/qa/what-open-adoption ). But back in the 1950s and 1960s, being unmarried and pregnant was a huge social stigma, so many of those women still want to hide that fact today.

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A Success with my DNA Spreadsheet

The other day I got an email from Katy, a new close cousin match for my Dad at family tree DNA, a 2nd to 4th cousin. I went and looked at where she matched Dad and saw two quite large segments,  34.47 cM and 18.87 cM. So I added those segments to Dad’s master spreadsheet and saw that the smaller one overlapped an 11.9 cM match with a known 3rd cousin on my WOLD line. But he was tested only at 23andme so I could not compare them. However because I am tested at both, as well as Dad, I could use the comparison with me to determine if they matched each other (see my post on alternate triangulation) and yes we all matched. So I wrote Katy back that she looked to be related on my WOLD line and she replied oh yes, my grandmother was a Wold!

My Gg-grandparents Jorgen and Anna Wold from another cousin

My great-great-grandparents Jorgen and Anna Wold

Her grandmother was the granddaughter of my great-great-grandparents whose pictures are shown above. So they are her gg-grandparents too, making us 3rd cousins and my Dad her 2nd cousin once removed. I had received these photos from another 3rd cousin some time ago. My family no longer had those pictures. One delightful thing about finding new 3rd and 4th cousins is that they often have photographs and stories of ancestors that are new to you.

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What does shared X DNA really mean?

Since familytreeDNA added X chromosome matching to their family finder, all my favorite bloggers have been writing about how to use it. There is a list of their terrific articles at the end of this post.

Of course those of us who have many family members tested at 23andme have been working with the X chromosome for a while and have some thoughts on how useful it might or might not be.

  1.  Smaller matches on the X will usually be too far back to find the relationship because the X chromosome does not get recombined when a father passes his only X chromosome on to make a daughter. Thus segments can stay together longer in time.
  2. A match on the X can eliminate many ancestors from an autosomal match BUT a small match on the X can be from a different line so this is not guaranteed.
  3. There seems to be less recombination on the X. I have heard of cases where a child got an unrecombined X from their mother. In my own family, the number of recombined segments is quite small. So it seems to me that on the female to female line the X behaves like a sluggish autosome and is not quite as actively recombined as the other chromosomes.

Less recombination examples

Because our maternal line (1/2 Ashkenazi, 1/2 Bavarian Catholic) is from two different population groups, my brother and I can learn which maternal grandparent we got our X DNA from just by looking at the ancestry composition for that chromosome at 23andme:

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