Archive | 2021

More DNA news and a virtual conference

It has been two months since my husband died and I am still not back but there is so much interesting genealogy and DNA news that I am making the effort to blog today. Forgive my lack of original thought; my brain is not working well yet, other widows call it “grief brain.”

SCGS Jamboree 2019

DNA expert panel at the 2019 SCGS Jamboree: L to R: Brad Larkin, me, Tim Janzen, Angie Bush, David Dowell, and the organizer Alice Fairhurst

First of all, my favorite local conference, the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree has been restructured as a two weekend virtual event. This coming Friday and Saturday are about DNA and yes I managed to record a talk on finding cousins which explains some of my favorite techniques at the major sites. Next weekend is the Genealogy portion, again on Friday and Saturday. Plus, as always, there are some free events; for example, Monday next week has virtual round tables and I will be hosting one. Click this URL for more information about all this conference: genealogyjamboree.com

Next, MyHeritage has been doing some exciting things with your old photos. The latest is automatic repair. I am eager to try it. Previously they added colorization and automation. Click here for the blog post on the new magic photo repair tool

 

23andme has come out with an interesting report on the genetic basis for why some people lose their sense of smell with COVID. Click here to read it (it requires you to log in)

Finally GEDmatch has released their updated prettier site. You have the option to use the new site which still has a few small bugs or the old, familiar, but clunky site. Yes the changes are mainly cosmetic and making help more available. As soon as I have some energy I will blog about them. In the meantime be sure to try the new site and send bug reports to support@gedmatch.com

DNA Day and some DNA News

Sunday April 25 is DNA Day. Every major company is having a sale to celebrate. Family Tree DNA is even having sales on the upgrades to their various Y tests. This is a great opportunity to get that done. Click here for their price list.

Click the image below for a very interesting post on the history of DNA day from the 23andme blog.

There has been much exciting news in the genetic genealogy world while I was away (I still am on a break). So here are some of the announcements you might want to read about.

  • GEDmatch has collaborated with Genetic Affairs to improve their clustering tools and to include auto-tree building. Click here for that news release. The next blog post I intend to write will evaluate these.
  • DNApainter is sending out a free monthly newsletter, the most recent had information about a couple of new releases. Go to that site and click the green banner at the top of the homepage to sign up if you’re interested.

If you haven’t tried Deep Nostalgia, the new tool to animate family photos at MyHeritage, maybe click here to read all about it.

Ancestry has reorganized their Match list page. More of your notes will now show up since they have been moved to be below each match.

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Taking a Break to Mourn

My husband Steve died on March 30 of his advanced prostate cancer. It went to his brain and his bone marrow, making further treatment futile. The last few months have been very difficult.

I just cannot imagine life without him. Click here for the obituary I wrote for him on the Bridge Winners web site.

I truly love this work with DNA and genealogy but it takes brain power, of which I have very lttle at the moment. So I am going on hiatus for a while. I hope to be back in a month or two.

Steve and Kitty at her son’s wedding in 2010

More on Ashkenazi DNA

It is time to update my recommendations on dealing with Ashkenazi Jewish DNA, the DNA of those who are Jewish of Northern European origin, often abbreviated AJ. The usual goals of DNA testing are to find out where your ancestors were from, to find cousins who might have good family stories, to confirm your paper genealogy, and perhaps to check on health issues. There are some special considerations for AJ DNA.

First, for Ashkenzi Jews, the ethnicity results are usually not very useful as they look like this:

Image of Typical Ashkenazi Jewish DNA Origins

Typical Ashkenazi Jewish DNA Origins as shown at Ancestry.com

Of course for some with a larger than 2% non-Jewish percentage, it can confirm a non-Jewish ancestor.

Another deep ancestry goal for the Jewish male is to confirm or look for Cohanim or Levite roots. If your Y haplogroup belongs to one of those (see below) then best to do full Y testing over at Family Tree DNA which has projects for Levites and various Cohen groups. 23andme gives you your high level haplogroup but the other testing companies do not. If you tested elsewhere, click here and scroll end of this article to learn how to get your Y haplogroup: Why Y?.

Diaagram of Jewish Y Haplogroups

Slide on Jewish Y Haplogroups – image from a Y haplogroup crative commons image at wikipedia, no longer available

Finding relatives is difficult because all of us Ashkenazim are related multiple times, both way back when and more recently. Most AJs look like 4th or 5th cousins to each other even when that is not the case.  Cousin marriages, uncle-niece marriages, and other close family marriages abound in our trees. In my own family, on my Jewish line, my great grandmother fixed up her sister with her husband’s brother to get that dowry for the family business so I have double third cousins. Click here for my article from back in 2014 that suggested that we are all descended from 350 people in the 1300s.

This means the Shared Matches feature at Ancestry is useless to us because it does not show how the two matches are related to each other and that can be quite distant. Both MyHeritage and 23andme are kind enough to show how the shared matches are related to each other.

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Virtual RootsTech 2021 is Almost Here

The excitement is building… RootsTech, the largest yearly genealogy conference, has gone virtual and what’s more it’s free this year! Over 400,000 people from all over the world have registered for RootsTech Connect. It starts this Thursday February 25–27, 2021, at rootstech.org [UPDATE 23-Feb-2021: Due to time differences, in the USA it starts the evening of Wednesday the 24th: the Expo Hall officially opens at 5pm Mountain time and the main stage and classes at 9 pm Mountain time… and yes I updated the number of attendees and will continute to do that].

Many companies have sales or specials at the time of Rootstech. One of the most exciting ones is that DNA uploads of tests from other testing companies will get the DNA tools for free this week at MyHeritage (click here to learn more). Be sure to go to the virtual Expo Hall, once it is open, to check out all the other specials.

Title slide from one of my presentations. Photo by Anne Call House from a past RootsTech. Click image for my speaker page

My own talks are a two part series on unknown parentage, as well as a presentation on one world collaborative trees: FamilySearch, GENI, and WIKItree. I saw a really large number of talks in my areas of interest:  DNA, Norway, Jewish, and Germany. Fortunately the talks will be available long after the conference ends. There are far too many for me to manage in just three days!

How are they going to handle the online conference?
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