By Richard Weiss, Director of Programs, DNAadoption.com
Ancestry.com does a great job of finding common ancestors between DNA matches when both parties have trees. The layout is easy to navigate, intuitive, and well integrated, but sometimes the WRONG person or couple is shown as providing the shared DNA. This problem can occur when you share multiple common ancestors with a match but you or your match have have not yet found all of them.
Let’s look at an example of this.
In September 2016, I received a new match at AncestryDNA – B41. Based on a comparison of B41’s tree and my tree, Ancestry provided a “Shared Ancestor Hint” indicating that Barnabas Pratt was our common ancestor and that we were 5th cousins three times removed (5C3R) as shown below.
Figure 1: Ancestry’s “Shared Ancestor Hint”
Note that Ancestry’s “Shared Ancestor Hint” in the above image indicates that B41 and I match through my paternal side.
Two days of talks in sunny San Diego with headliners Cece Moore and Blaine Bettinger, what a pleasure for the roughly 275 genetic genealogists attending. I always enjoy any talk by either of them but I had to miss a few to go to other talks, so I am really looking forward to the videos. The people who missed the conference will be able to purchase them in a few weeks from the i4gg site.
Cece presenting the keynote
Those of you who overflowed the room for my talk on GEDmatch, thanks! My slides are always available at slides.com/kittycooper – this talk is called GEDmatch Basics. I also have a handout in the downloads section here on my blog.
So what other talks did I enjoy besides Cece and Blaine? Barbara Rae-Venter’s presentation of the Lisa project story had me on the edge of my chair and actually gave me nightmares. I don’t think I have ever had that happen before from a genetic genealogy lecture! Congratulations to all those DNAadoption.com volunteers who helped sort out that case!
Leah Larkin presents endogamy
I loved that Kathy Johnston pointed out the ancestors that you can inherit X from come in a Fibonacci series of numbers for each generation.
But the surprise delight was Leah Larkin’s endogamy presentation. She is the new editor of the Journal of Online Genetic Genealogy (JOGG) at JOGG.info and has endogamy on her Cajun side. This is a very hard topic to explain and to deal with in your genes but she aced this talk and her slides were terrific.
The i4GG genetic genealogy conference is coming to San Diego next weekend and it features a track for adoptees as well as one for genealogists. For those of you who want to hear me speak, I will be doing a talk about the tools at GEDmatch on Saturday morning.
DNA testing has broken many brick walls for family historians and has been a miracle for the adopted, helping them find their biological families where traditional methods have failed.
Cece Moore, the i4gg conference organizer, has pioneered this field and has developed a methodology that succeeds over and over again. She described this in her cameo appearance on a recent Dr. Oz episode that featured an adoptee who found her birth family with Cece’s help. Click the image to the left to go to the online clip of the episode.
A simple explanation of the methodology is as follows. An adoptee tests their autosomal DNA at all three major companies (see my DNA testing page) and then uploads those results to all the free third party sites as well. Sometimes they get lucky and find a close family member who has tested and who is willing to help. More often they must look at the family trees of their 2nd and 3rd cousin matches to see what ancestors are in common. Once a shared ancestral couple is found, they build a family tree forward in time, looking to see if one of the couple’s descendants was in the right place at the right time to be the adoptee’s parent.
To learn more about this methodology come to the conference, or buy the videos of it, or go to DNAadoption.com or join DNA detectives at Facebook and read through the files there. Or do all of those things.
My Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter, Ahnen2GED, apparently has more uses than I realized. It was initially written to convert the output of DNArboretum (a tool to create ahnentafels from Family Tree DNA trees) to a GEDCOM, but many people are using it to convert other text files as well. So I have enhanced Ahnen2GED to accept any date format that ends with a space followed by the four digit year, so for example 10 jan 1920. I also fixed the known problem where it did not work properly if the lines for the grandparents were not there.
The URL for my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter is:
Below is the documentation of the format Ahen2GED expects. Hopefully this will help you create text files that will easily convert to GEDCOMs using my tool. Especially DNAgedcom.com users!
Congratulations to WIKItree for getting sources added to more than 22,000 profiles. Read the wrap up here – http://www.wikitree.com/blog/sourceathon-2016-wrapup/ … No thanks to me though, as I got tangled up in my first one before finally moving on to do a few more.
The WIKItree source-a-thon was really fun. I loved checking in to the hangouts (although I was not really there just at Utube and often after the fact) and hearing about how well all those other teams were doing, hundreds of profiles sourced. How wonderful! Never anything for team Europe, my team. Perhaps our sourcing is just harder or it was that we had no captain reporting in. In three hours I managed to source four people!
Maybe the first one I picked was just too difficult. So here is my sourcing experience.
I went to the unsourced profiles page and clicked on Europe. Within Europe I clicked on Norway since I figured my expertise with the Norwegian online archives plus all the copied farmbook pages I have on hand would help. None of my farms were listed on either page of 200 names except for one in the 1500s, too long ago. So I chose a person with a surname (usually a farm name) that a cousin of mine married into, Foss, which is actually a pretty common name in Norway.