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.”
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Yesterday, December 15, was the last day of Yahoo groups. Those mailing lists were places where we could ask questions and be answered by others who had already solved similar problems. We also got news about things of interest to the particular group we were following.
Yes there was plenty of notice that this would happen, but still, I was not really ready, were you? Most of the groups I belonged to sent me emails telling me where they had moved to, often long ago. The top two providers chosen were Google Groups and Group.IO– you can always search each of them for your old group name and then sign up again when you find it.
However, much of that asking for help activity has long since moved to FaceBook. Personally I prefer the old style mailing lists because it is easier to find what I am looking for in their archives. Maybe I am just too 20th century still.
2020 has been a horrible year so far, in more ways than I can count. However, one good thing is that more of us are staying at home working on our family history and using DNA tools to help with that. Here is my summary of the latest genetic genealogy news for you, both the good and the bad. First the good…
Family Tree DNA updated their ancestry composition estimates to version 3 which includes 66 new reference populations. Click here for the blog post Roberta Estes wrote about it. I will write a post soon that compares results at all the companies for my brother like I did six years ago (click here). For my extended family, version 3 is not an improvement, although I like the new Magyar population predicted for us which fits into my 25% Bavarian ancestry.
My new ethnicities at family Tree DNA. My father was Norwegian and my mother German (half Jewish). No British.
Ancestry also moved that wonderful new Longest segment feature (click for my blog post about it) and at first I could not find it. An appeal to the hive mind at FaceBook resolved my problem. As shown in the image below, you have to click the amount of shared DNA in blue to see that and another new feature, the “Unweighted shared DNA.“ That is the amount of matching DNA before their algorithm removes the DNA assumed to just be from your particular population group. That algorithm has vastly improved my Jewish side matches, as it would for anyone with endogamy in their tree.
My known third cousin who shares Jewish great great grandparents with me
This Saturday I am one of the speakers at the Geneaquest Conference just outside of Chicago, but of course it is now virtual. I was really looking forward to meeting genetic genealogist Maurice Gleeson of Ireland. He is the mainstay of the annual Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference which posts their talks online. He also does much work with adoptees and even occasionally writes a post (click here for his blog).
Personally I had given up traveling to conferences before COVID, but my husband and I decided to see the New England foliage one last time so we had planned a September RV trip and Chicago was on the way. Oh well, maybe next year.