Genetic Communities at Ancestry are live‘s genetic communities are a good way to understand your family’s journey for the last few hundred years. Unlike the ancestry composition percentages, these communities are more recent and include a write up of the history of each group starting in 1700.

Many of my favorite bloggers posted about this yesterday. If you want to understand something about the science which combines the use of trees plus good sized matching segments, I recommend Leah Larkin’s analysis of‘s white paper here –

Since I frequently work with adoptees, I am really hoping this helps with that analysis. I am finding that people with deep American roots have far more communities than those of us with recent immigrant ancestors. The adoptee I am currently working with has six communities! Shown above.

He knows his mother’s father and that is the Deep South community. I suspect that the New Jersey and. Pennsylvania groups are from his Dad, based on other matches at Family Tree DNA. I will report back if this new feature helps for his case.

The reason this may be helpful with adoptees is the ability  to separate matches into the different communities. Clicking on a specific community name gets you to a page with a map for that group and its history stories. There is an icon called Connection at the top left of the page (my red arrow in the image example to the left). Clicking it takes you to a page with information about your connections.


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Family Trees are now linked to from the GEDmatch Tier 1 One-to-Many

The new Tier 1 one-to-many at GEDmatch includes a link to your match’s family tree when that is available. Clicking the word GED next to that kit’s email address takes you to the tree your match has uploaded to GEDmatch. The word WIKI links to the compact tree view at WikiTree.

GEDmatch GEDCOM link

Clicking on the GED for a match takes you to the profile of the individual in the linked tree at GEDmatch.

Here is what you would see if you clicked on the GED next to my Dad’s name. Note the words “GEDmatch Ref: “ followed by a long number. That number is the id of this GEDCOM which you can use to compare to your own GEDCOM in the “2 GEDCOMs “ function on your home page.

Of course, I immediately click on the pedigree button in the little menu at the top of this individual page and then look through the pedigree on the next page for familiar names and places. Here is what the top half of my Dad’s tree looks like at GEDmatch. Note the default number of generations shown is 5. You can change that to a larger number (I often go to 8) and then click submit to see more generations.

WIKI link

Clicking on WIKI next to a match in the Tier 1 One-to-Many listing takes you to that match’s compact pedigree at the collaborative world tree WikiTree. This is automated and the connection to Wikitree happens because a member of that site has added a GEDmatch kit number to a profile there. Here is the top piece of what you see when you click on my WIKI.

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GEDmatch Tag Groups plus new One to Many

Being able to group my cousins from different lines into colored “tag groups” on the GEDmatch site is a wonderful new feature. It makes it easy to quickly see which line a new cousin fits into because the new Tier 1 one-to-many display uses those colors to highlight the kits belonging to a group. See the image below for a colorful example of my own one-to-many.

Tag Groups

Tag groups are for everyone, not just tier one members,. They can also be used to select what to look at in the “Multiple kit Analysis” function. However they are not yet included in any of the other functions, like the people who match both kits, triangulation or matching segments and of course not the regular one-to-many.

Here is a quick example of how a new close cousin can be visually assigned to a line when you use the tier 1 one-to-many on their kit. My tag groups use yellow for close family, aqua for paternal first cousins, shades of blue for my Etne lines, green for my Munson line, and purple for my Wold line. Which line is this cousin on?

Right, she is a Munson.

Other New Features

I love that the newest pages at the GEDmatch site include a top menu. and use tabs to make for a more compact display

Also the new Tier 1 version of the one-to-many is outstanding. In addition to showing those colored tag groups. it has search boxes at the top of every column for just that column. The form to invoke the one-to-many is gone, instead the selection is neatly across the top so you can change it dynamically. The long details that used to be at the top of the page now only show up as a pop-up window if you click the tip button.

Yesterday I did a presentation on all of this, click here for the slides which show many of the details of these new features.

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The Power of Ancestry DNA circles

My cousin DM got a new 3rd cousin match, DB, on her DNA page that was listed in two of her DNA circles even though those ancestors did NOT appear on that match’s tree! Wow, is ancestry really able to make this call just from the DNA? There is no shared ancestor hint with my cousin. (By the way, each member of the couple who provided the DNA gets their own circle; in this case Sigri and Bard Nelson.)

After looking at DB’s tree I see that he has a Selmer Nelson on his tree who is a known descendant of the couple Bard and Sigri Nelson(Nielsson) who make these two circles. So he clearly does belong and his tree just does not go back that far.

Using the shared matches tab on this match’s page, I find that this new match, DB is in common with yet another match in these two DNA circles, BK with whom he is more closely related; they both have Selmer Nelson as a grandfather. BK does not have a green leaf with my cousin JM because he has spelled Bard Nelson and Sigri differently.

However BK is also a shared match with DK who DOES have a green leaf DNA ancestry hint with my cousin. DK shares Selmer’s dad J.B. Nelson with DB and BK. Aha, perhaps that is how this was figured out. Both BK and DK have Bard Nielson in their trees but DK spelled it the way we did. Now perhaps I understand how Ancestry put DB and BK in these circles! Continue reading

Endogamy and DNA

I really enjoyed the presentation Paul Woodbury of Legacy Tree Genealogists did about Endogamy last year at the SCGS Jamboree so I am delighted to present this guest post from him on that topic.

Personally I struggle with the endogamy in my mother’s family tree. My jewish grandad was an only child so there are not that many close cousins on his side. However due to endogamy my maternal aunts have hundreds of 2nd-3rd/4th cousin matches. No wonder I spend more time working with the easier Norwegian DNA from my Dad!

Endogamy and DNA By Paul Woodbury

Autosomal DNA testing is a valuable resource for genealogists seeking to overcome recent brick walls in their family history, particularly in instances where traditional historical research is limited or unavailing. At Legacy Tree Genealogists, we frequently use autosomal DNA test results to answer questions regarding adoption, unknown paternity, or ancestors who are difficult to trace. However, there are some factors that can complicate the use of autosomal DNA in tracing ancestors. One of those factors, which is what we will be discussing in the article, is Endogamy.

Endogamy is the custom of marrying only within the limits of a local community, clan, or tribe over the course of many generations. The reasons for this genetic isolation could be cultural or religious (as with Ashkenazi Jews and Low-German Mennonites) or geographic (as with island and tribal populations). Members of endogamous populations may descend from a limited pool of “founder” ancestors who represented the initial genetic makeup of their population. After many generations and hundreds of years of isolation from outside pedigrees, genetic profiles of population members can easily be distinguished from the DNA of outside populations. However, this can also cause pedigree collapse.

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