What makes the SCGS Jamboree so special? For me it is DNA day and all the attention paid to DNA at a first rate local genealogy conference. Of course we genetic genealogists also have the I4gg conference, which is returning to San Diego this coming December 9-10.
Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage and Kitty
This year at Jamboree I made sure to go to presentations from the two newest DNA testing companies: MyHeritage (the European answer to ancestry.com) and LivingDNA. I also visited their booths and talked with both groups.
I also enjoyed finally meeting DNA expert Debbie Kennett and listening to her talk (both the lovely British accent and the presentations).
Daniel Horowitz made a convincing case for the future DNA features at MyHeritage (chromosome browser, family tree matching, etc), so yes get your DNA results uploaded there while it is still free! If your recent ancestors are not from North America, it might make sense to use that site for your tree and DNA testing. Plus the test is a cheek swab which is easier for old folk. Yes, GEDmatch takes uploads of the DNA results from MyHeritage and I just saw my first kit starting with an H in a one-to-many.
On the other hand, if you have British roots, LivingDNA may be the test for you and it is also a cheek swab. They have built on the academic research for the people of the British Isles, so can pinpoint the areas of Britain and Ireland that your ancestors came from. They are gathering more data from other countries but currently my Norwegian and German ancestors seem to have a large presence on the British and Irish coasts (think vikings and Saxons) but I will save those results are for a future blog post.
The first release of a new feature, is always exciting but just as often it is also disappointing because it is missing functionality that you expected. I am told that the things I missed the most – search by surname, sorting options – will be implemented, but I did not get a commitment on getting a place to put notes.
If you previously uploaded your DNA kit, you can now see your DNA matches at myHeritage by clicking on the tab Discoveries and then on DNA Matches in the drop down (the red arrow in the image is mine as usual). When you have more than one kit there is a drop down to select which kit’s matches to view (a tiny down arrow to the right of your name after the words DNA matches for).
Your matches appear in an attractive list, each in its own box with some information. My known second cousin John is shown below. Scrolling to the bottom gets more matches. There is no paging yet.
If you have not yet uploaded your DNA then go to your tree and find the person whose DNA test you wish to upload. Click on the words Upload DNA data and then follow the instructions.
MyHeritage announced the release of this DNA matching feature in today’s blog post at
where they explain that they are using imputation (DNA.land uses a similar technique) to match people from all different companies and chip versions and that they are confident in their accuracy.
So how do these matches look? My close family looks fine. Dad, myself, my brother, and a second cousin who uploaded his data. Cousin John is listed as a second cousin to my brother and myself but he shares 294.9 cM with a largest segment of 81.5 over at GEDmatch. Somewhat different from the image above where his largest segment is close enough at 81.1 but the total is lower at 211. Perhaps that is because I used my brother’s ancestry kit. Checking my own match with him, there is also less shared DNA at MyHeritage (188cM) than at 23andme (283 cM). Even if we remove the 14.4 cM on the X from that total.
But the less close matches are not looking quite so good.
So what is the impact of MyHeritage doing the family trees for 23andme? We can all agree that the previous family trees at 23andme were difficult to use. So this has to be an improvement, right? Maybe not.
To try it, I connected my own 23andme account to my existing MyHeritage tree and then looked at it from my aunt’s account, after logging out of MyHeritage. It was hard to find it on my profile. All the way at the very bottom were the words Family Tree next to which were the linked words View Kitty Cooper’s Family Tree. When I clicked on it I saw this:
Oops. My Dad is set as the home person. Maybe Google can help me figure out how to change that. Clicking on the image above will take you to my tree so you can judge for yourself how well you like it.
MyHeritage is an excellent site in many ways, but to take advantage of the record matching you have to buy a premium membership. Also if you want more than 250 people in your tree, payment is required after those first free 6 months for 23andme folk. The premium or data membership gives access to many European records not on ancestry and also some newspaper articles I have not seen elsewhere.
For me, the biggest issue with MyHeritage is having no pedigree view on the family tree. When generation after generation had eight or more children, their tree view is very unwieldy.
In the rest of this post I will walk you step by step through setting up your 23andme tree at MyHeritage which you must do by May 1, 2015 to take advantage of the offer.
Updated Chart February 18, 2017
The idea of a one world tree is to collaborate with other genealogists who are researching the same ancestors and so have just one copy of each person on the tree, rather than each of you having your own separate family trees. My plan is to compare the three online sites that I am using in this post.
The advantages of using a one world tree are:
- You are not constantly duplicating research that has already been done.
- It is online and searchable so distant cousins will find you.
- Other descendants of your ancestors may have pictures and documents to share that are already posted.
- You will find distant cousins to collaborate with on some of your family lines who may be able to read records you are having trouble with or otherwise work with you to solve questions you have.
- When you connect your line into the tree you may find new ancestors that you did not know about before.
- You can often figure out immediately how you are related to a new “DNA” cousin.
- It is easy to send family members and distant cousins links to the family tree.
- After you are dead and gone your research will live on.
The disadvantages of a one world tree can be that:
- Other people will change facts and information that you knew were correct.
- How can you be sure that another person’s research is reliable?
- You need to be sure that living people have their privacy protected.
Personally, I have my family tree on three different one world tree web sites: FamilySearch.org, Geni.com, and WikiTree.com and I like and use them all for different reasons.
WikiTree has really pretty online charts, widgets for your website and shows DNA connections. It is the easiest one to use for sending possible new “DNA” cousins your family tree. GENI has the most intuitive user interface and has the best way to add source information. It is the prettiest of them all, plus it matches records with its partner site MyHeritage.com. FamilySearch connects to its own enormous record repository and there is a wonderful third party web site for visualizing your familysearch tree: puzzilla.org.
Many of the Rootstech sessions will be streamed to the internet and then available for about a year online. The schedule of those sessions is at the familysearch web site: https://familysearch.org/node/2519 so I will add this video symbol to the sessions I am going to that will be online.
Today is the last day for my readers to win a free pass to Rootstech 2014 …
In my last post I had looked through the schedule for Rootstech up until Friday at 1:00. Below I have laid out the rest of what I plan to attend.
I am excited to finally meet Daniel Horowitz with whom I work remotely on the IAJGS cemetery site. He is the Chief Genealogist at MyHeritage.com, of which I am a big fan. One of the problems for those of us with recent ancestors from Europe is finding online sources and our distant relatives abroad. MyHeritage and GENI.com, who are partnered now, are two of the best sites to assist with that.
So this is a must-go-to session for me!
Finding Family and Ancestors Outside the USA with MyHeritage New Technologies RT1278
Learn how MyHeritage tools can help break down brick walls in your research of ancestors outside of the United States by harnessing the power of an international family history network.
|Friday, 2:30 PMRoom: Ballroom Hall
Hopefully I will find some time for the Exhibit Hall