Father’s day is always an occasion for the DNA testing companies to offer discounts on their kits and this year is no different. Give Dad a DNA kit is the message. Why should you? Well his autosomal DNA might find cousins you had lost track of, discover ethnicity you were curious about, or solve an unknown parent mystery. After all, he is one generation closer to your ancestors. I tested my late father long ago and am grateful to have that information. Click here for my evaluations of the different autosomal testing companies.
Dad and I in about 1953 (he was in the Air Force)
Only men have a Y chromosome and there are tests for just the Y. Those tests can give you information about your surname and your deep father line ancestry. Family Tree DNA is the place to test just the Y although both LivingDNA and 23andme will give you a high level Y haplogroup, plus there are tools to determine the haplogroup from an AncestryDNA or MyHeritage test (discussed at the end of this post).
If you know what a Y haplogroup is you can skip this paragraph … The 23rd pair of chromosomes is an XX for a woman and an XY for a man. The problem or benefit is that there is no second Y for that Y to recombine with. Thus unlike the other 22 chromosomes a man’s parents give him, the Y is unchanged from his Dad’s and his Dad’s and his Dad’s and so on, except for mutations. Those little changes accumulate over thousands of years and allow scientists to catalog the Y and trace the migration of mankind around the globe. Each set of Y mutations is assigned to a haplogroup, and subgroup, which can tell you where your ancestors came from thousands of years back. Here is the latest diagram from the
wikipedia article on Y
Y haplogroup world expansion – start at the big Y in Africa (A was the first haplogroup) -image from wikipedia by Maulucioni [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
If you are of European origin then click here for the Eupedia articles on each haplogroup
Family Tree DNA has updated their chromosome browser with a new sleek modern look that allows seven simultaneous comparisons. What’s more, you can click the chromosome browser on the home page and go straight to a page where you select the people to compare. The Family Finder section on the homepage highlights the new browser:
The new selection page sorts by any column just like the Family Finder Matches page:
This new chromosome map it produces is much more modern looking and intuitive to use, plus every segment can be clicked to see the information about it.
It’s working again! At last …
You can upload your DNA test results from Ancestry.com and/or 23andme to Family Tree DNA again! You get a free look and then can pay a mere $19 to get all the tools and information.
Click here for an old blog post of mine for help on getting your DNA data and transferring it. You have to be logged out of any account you have there with family finder results (mtDNA and Y are OK), before you upload. First you sign up for a new username and password (each test result has its own log in). Also be sure to use the zipped download of your data.
I recommend that you download your raw data again to do this. When I rezipped an old ancestry file and tried it, I was told that it was the wrong format but when I downloaded it again, the new version worked just fine.
Click here for more details at Roberta’s blog.
Family Tree DNA has some terrific new features for its Family Finder matches as well as for its tree. The most exciting addition is the ability to automatically assign matches to your mother’s and father’s sides via close relatives, even if you do not have a parent tested.
In my case, my Dad is tested as well as two of my maternal aunts, so my aunts provide me with matches on my late mother’s side. This is how my family finder match page looks now. Notice the Paternal and Maternal tabs each showing the number of matches assigned to that side. Also each match gets an icon indicating which side. Of course my brother is related on both sides. Clicking on a tab shows just those matches.
So how do you get a page like this? Well you need to assign your parents or other close relatives on your tree. If you do not have a tree at ftDNA yet, you can upload a GEDcom from your genealogy program.
GENI.com has added DNA to its world collaborative tree not just by displaying haplogroups on profiles but also by using DNA to confirm relationships and to match you to other DNA kits. As always, GENI makes it look pretty. There is a DNA marker line in the top profile section that includes badges showing haplogroups and whether autosomal tests are available. Directly under the relationship path at the top it will also note when a relationship is validated by DNA!
Look at the top of my Dad’s new profile below. Notice the Y haplogroup R-P312 and the AT badges in the DNA marker line and the part under the relationship where he really is my Dad.
To get this I connected the GENI profiles for my Dad, my brother, and myself to our family tree DNA results. Since Family Tree DNA is partnering with GENI the data was available instantly via a login to the other site. One important trick is to log out of Family Tree DNA between doing each profile, else it claims you are still connected. I uploaded a few other DNA tests done at 23andme and Ancestry for relatives who gave permission, but I am still waiting on those to finish processing [update it may be a month or more]. By the way, in order to upload test results for the living, I had to log into their profiles. Dead relatives that I manage or were in my family group were not a problem. I also uploaded my own 23andme results to make sure that I could have two tests on GENI.
You may wonder what you see if you click on the view details link, well it takes you to all the test and matches information you get in the new DNA tab as shown below.