Thursday, October 26, 2017

A New Tool for FTDNA! The Triangulator

Goran Runfeldt, this brilliant computer guy over in the UK, who is also a genealogist, has made my day. His latest development, The Triangulator came to my attention at two a.m. this morning.  

I found out about it on the amazing Roberta Estes’ blog, DNAEXplained. You can link to her post here.

It wasn’t like I wanted another night without sleep, but once I started playing with it I couldn’t stop.

The Triangulator is for everyone who has their data at FTDNA. (There is no reason not to have it there  when FTDNA offers free transfers from most other companies. ($19 one time cost for full use of the tools. FOREVER!)

As soon as I read Roberta Estes’ article I couldn’t connect the Chrome extension fast enough. (I already use Chrome.) And it WAS fast. All I did was click a button and the extension attached to my Chrome browser. I knew it was installed because in the upper right corner of my browser screen was this colorful little icon.
I logged in to FTDNA and there The Triangulator was, waiting on my toolbar ready to go to work, just like Roberta promised.

One of my favorite pastimes on FTDNA is clicking the little box next to a match, selecting “in common with” and then looking at how people compare in the chromosome browser. Now all I have to do is the same thing, but instead of clicking on the chromosome browser, I click on the Triangulator tool!

I made a folder for all of my different comparisons using my name and FTDNA Triangulator. I did the same thing for the people whose kits I manage. (Otherwise I blunder and end up with files scattered all over my desktop.) 

It's a good idea to insert an extra column in the Relationships spreadsheet to make a note for the level of grandparents to ask about when a match is contacted. (The matches names are removed in this screenshot for privacy.)

That way I can word my emails on behalf of those people whose kits I manage along these lines,  “The Triangulator extension on FTDNA indicates the match shared of (give name) is 3rd  cousins, to (give name) therefore the common ancestors are 2nd great grandparents. Could you tell me who yours are, or share your tree with me? By the way the segment they share is on Chromosome (number) Segment size is ( number). It says (fill in some names) also share this same common ancestor.”

You can find the chromosome and  position information is on the CSV file you download from The Triangulator.

When I am contacting personal matches, I give them the names of my known grandparents. If you write everyone you have never confirmed, you may be an angel unaware and providing desperately sought after information. Please, be an angel and contact everyone.

How much easier can get get?!!!!

Happy Finding!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

GEDmatch + Gedcom = FUN!

Another FYI.

GEDmatch is a free site full of tools.

Gedcoms are filled with trees.

WikiTree works the magic and makes one huge tree grow.

To use the tool on GEDmatch called Gedcom + DNA you simply enter your kit number and it will produce all the people who have trees that match your DNA. (You still have to search for your common ancestor.)

If you upload your Gedcom (tree) you can then perform a "compare one Gedcom to all" and it will search all of the Gedcoms in the entire database (whether you share DNA or not) and provide a list of possible common ancestors you share. It gives you close date, time, spelling comparison so it can take awhile if you have a big tree.

This one tool alone is a good reason to upload a Gedcom directly to GEDmatch and also have one at WikiTree.

On WikiTree you can post your DNA verification (Y, mtDNA, and atDNA) and GEDmatch Kit number to your profile and your entire tree and all names connected to your tree will populate with your kit number. Others can then test against the profiles in your tree.

If you haven't yet compared your GEDmatch kit number to everyone on WikiTree's Brady DNA list (or any other surname list want), please do so. Just type in the surname Brady (or other) which will take you to a list of ALL of the Brady (or other) surname on WikiTree.

At the top of that surname list page are pull-down menus. Choose the one that says DNA connections.

This provides a list of every Brady (or other surname) who have taken some sort of DNA test. Click on their profile, there is a direct link back to Gedmatch so you can do a one to one comparison with that person's kit number.

Check against everyone in the entire surname DNA list. You may find a cousin. That's how I found Paul.

Yes, it is time-consuming AND FUN!

It's like hunting for gold with a metal detector, you can't rush it.

After you do about 50 for several of your surnames, (you get a rhythm going) it is a blast when you get a match. You will increase your speed too.

Playing the piano takes practice; so does playing genealogy.

Happy Finding!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

GEDmatch Admixture (heritage) Dodecad, Triangulated Groups and Finding Bio Family

Using Dodecad with Triangulated Groups

My Admixture combination of choice is found under Admixture (heritage) Dodecad and Chromosome Painting Reduced Size.

Next, enter your kit number and pull-down to select World 9.

Your result will be something like this.

When you rotate the image you see this view. (I prefer visuals to help me better understand stuff like this.) (Chr 1-22)

I use Admixture (heritage) chose Dodecad in conjunction with the proportions tool. (Note: these are not percentages because the size of each chromosome differs.)

On GEDmatch when we look at the Chromosome Browser we are looking at this view. The browser starts with Chromosome 1 at the top and goes down to Chromosome 23. This view is based on chromosomes if they were the same size. The GEDmatch creators (they are geniuses) alert you by using different colors along with text stating the start and stop points.

When we look at Triangulated Graphic Tree we see this view of a chromosome browser at the far left of the full graphic with tree branches. (See post on this blog, "GEDmatch Triangulation Tree Graphic: What the Heck Am I Looking At?"

If you use the Chromosome Comparison on FTDNA (Family Tree DNA) Family Finder you will see a view something like this:

Consistency with visuals is important for me. (I am one of those people who need to turn a paper map the direction I am facing--- (I don't have a Smart Phone. I have too many other learning curves right now--Genomate Pro and Open Broadcast are challenges--please send the best resources to me via comments.)

Now, when I have a triangulation group, I like to run this to get an idea of who they might be through their start and end position on the chromosome chart. I hope it will help me further determine which line contains which ethnicity. When I discover a MRCA (most recent common ancestor) for a TG (triangulation group) and I see the same ethnic mix on another unidentified chromosome; I have a better idea of what line I am following. It may well be the same MRCA, or someone further back in the same line. 

This also helps adoptees if one side of the bio family has a specific ethnic mix and the other does not.

Full siblings compared to see the similarities on the different chromosomes:

Full sibling 1

Sibling 2

Full sibling females with overlay.

Now, look at half-sibling females.

Half-sib female 1

The differences have to be studied closely.

Half-sibling Female 2

Half-sibling females overlay Chromosomes 1-22

One must observe what remains as well as what is missing. Because the women share the same maternal line, the small proportions of Amerindian, African, and Australasian are canceled out as not in common which leaves me to consider that all of these (though small amounts can be noise) might be present on one or both of the paternal sides. On the other hand, by observing what is in common, and doing quick calculations using proportions between these half-sibling females, (while taking into account differences that are unique to each individual during recombination) it is possible the bio-mother adds more Southern and Caucasus Gedrosia DNA to the half-siblings than their respective biological fathers. 

We must remember, Admixtures for heritage are continuing to be refined as more tests are performed world-wide. The results are subject to change as more metadata is included. 

(Which reminds me, if you are concerned about DNA and privacy there is a fantastic new documentary entitled, The Good American. It is about the NSA Thin Tread prototype program that gathered metadata AND guarded personal privacy. Thin Thread was replaced with the Trailblazer Project which removed the protection to personal privacy and that should concern everyone.)   

Happy Finding!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Balancing Genealogy and Life

I realized that in my following my passion, life seems to click. Everything flowing--- the way life should always be. I also realized I needed some balance. Life has a way of alerting you when you don't get enough balance. Eighteen hour days sitting a the computer, writing emails, answering emails, writing a book, answering phone calls from friends and family asking, "How do I...?" (that's one of the things I love the most), trying new combinations of online genealogy tools; it was taking a toll on my health. I needed some exercise.

My sister, Gretchen arrived in town with my two great-nephew's (ages four and five). A weekend planned full of family fun. We went to Kiddie Park that evening; a local favorite for parents and children. The park has water boat rides, a kiddie roller-coaster, bumper cars, a train ride, caged Ferris Wheel, spinner ride, airplanes, pop-corn, cotton candy and much, much more.

Clowning Around

I even introduced Santa to my great-nephews. They promised they wouldn't tell anyone he spends his summers incognito at Kiddie Park, using his pretend name, Ron Adams.

The Blundering DNA Genealogist with Santa at Christmas.

We had a blast at the park. (I could barely keep up.)

The next morning, my son and I took the boys to Windle's Rock Shop. Tom Windle is not only an expert on minerals and rocks, he is also a wonderful historian and genealogist. Tom told us about the major turning point of the Revolutionary War--- The Battle of King's Mountain and his Patriot ancestor, John Sevier.  For information about this historic battle click HERE. You might find some of your own Patriot relatives who fought in this battle click HERE. (If you have one who is not on this list; join WikiTree and add them.)

A member of Tom's staff told us where we might find some good fossils. No luck with the fossils, but we found some locust exoskeletons and a golf ball. We enjoyed whispering in the band-shell and hearing our voices echo from one end to the other.

I was so stiff and sore I could barely move.

The next morning my son took the boys on a trip to Woolaroc Museum. The trip was almost a bust. An electrical storm had knocked out the power. Once again, Uncle Vern to the rescue. He sweet talked a museum groundsman to allow them a climb up the tower.

Once back in town, their NeNe took them to a local pool with corkscrew slides.

I was home; again playing on the computer (not spending time with my sister and nephews during their short visit), and a phone call came. (Remember: Life has a way to alert you when your are out of balance.)

My sister slipped and fell at the pool. An ambulance was taking her to the hospital. I was needed for my great-nephews.

Funny how when in a crisis with your mind focused on others, all of your aches and pains disappear.

I rushed to the pool. Medics were ready to load my sister (neck immobilize and strapped on a gurney) in the ambulance.  My nephews calmed; we hurried home. My son had arrived, and after a few calls to family, I was off to the hospital.

Cousin (they call him Uncle) Vern to the rescue again! He took the boys on another rock hunt. Success! The boys found some fossils near a creek.

My sister had a pretty severe concussion and they released her with orders to stay in bed for at least a day...and not to hit her head on concrete for another thirty days, or she might have some problems. (They actually said that.) Oh, the wonders of modern medicine!

After my sis and nephews departed, my son and I went fossil hunting. Success big time. I'm glad I took my reusable grocery bags; the fanny pack was way too small.

Big storm that night. Up again the next morning, perfect hunting conditions. Finding the fossils was like collecting pieces of ice after a hail storm.

Oh, my aching back! My bend-over gave out. The area was too wet and muddy to sit on the ground.

And we went AGAIN the next day. I took a trash bag to sit on (just in case). My youngest sister, Stella, went with us this time. Over a hundred pounds of fossils later---what do you do with a hundred pounds of fossils?
Horn Coral
Vern's Cherokee Native American name is Stonemaker. He loves rocks, teaches knapping classes, and does stone art.

 Polishing the coral exposes the fossil's beauty.

After three days of rock hunting, even my eyelashes hurt. I was like the rusted Tin Man all over.

The next morning, I felt great.

Spent some time with one of my bestest friends, Mary T. Kincaid, (she writes books for children).

While  teaching her some online genealogy tool tricks we discovered WE MIGHT BE COUSINS through MY BRADY LINE!

Aaah...sweet balance.

GEDmatch, Spreadsheets, and Mac Users

Thank you Tami Murphy for this information. 

Gedmatch Copying Test Results to Spreadsheets for Mac Users.

To select all and copy on triangulation:

1.  Select all use "flower/command"-A

2.  Copy use "flower/command"-C

     In your spreadsheet to:
1.  Paste use "flower/command"-V
2. Save

Happy Finding!

Monday, August 14, 2017

GEDmatch Tool: Gedcom + DNA Matches

A gedcom is a software tool that allows a person to build, save, and share family trees. There are loads of free gedcom software online you can download to your computer.

Before I added this information I used Excel to create a single DNA Workbook using Gedmatch Tier 1 tools which I keep on my desktop. Within the workbook I have downloaded on separate sheets: Tier 1 Beta Graphic Tree, Graphic Bar Chart, CSV file, Triangulated Segments and Matching Segments. I recently added a sheet for Gedcom + DNA Matches. I have two other people I have shared this method with who are also getting great results.

I recommend this for everyone; especially people who are adopted and looking for biological family. If you are building a Mirror Tree, it all starts with finding your most recent common ancestors and this works.

GEDmatch: Gedcom + DNA Matches

An often overlooked tool on GEDmatch is the Gedcom + DNA. You will find it on your landing page.

When you enter your kit number it will bring up everyone who is a DNA match to you and has a tree on GEDmatch. Yes, you can view these people on your one-to-many page, however, sometimes it's nice to have a separate page just for gedcom matches in a spreadsheet in your workbook. Add a column in the spreadsheet for notes. It also gives you a ready place to find all gedcom user numbers. (Recommended)


To find gecom ID numbers; enter the kit number in User Look Up which is also on your landing page.

You can enter any two gedcom ID numbers (not kit numbers) into the 2 GEDCOMs tool and it will search both trees for you.  (This tool is what made GEDmatch so popular in the first place.) No more crossed eyes from studying trees.

Click on 2 Gedcoms to open this window. Enter gedcom numbers and click Compare.

This tool comes up with the same, or similar names, and you review the information to decide if these are a match. You don't have to click on anything else unless you are certain you want to confirm the match. (Hint: if you get similar names in the same geographic area and time frame, and with no parents listed, these could be siblings or cousins. If they have the same parents...BINGO!)

Added Power in GEDmatch

Compare gedcoms in your Gedcom + DNA list with trees in your Triangulated Graphic Tree in Tier 1 Beta tools.  They are the matches who have a little green tree in the rectangle. Bold all of those matches that are in your Gedcom + DNA who are in your Triangulated Graphic Tree. 

Kit number at top of rectangle. Green tree indicates a tree associated with kit. If you are live on Tier 1 you can click on tree and review. You need gedcom number to do a compare. (See above to look them up.)

Some of the DNA matches you have in the Gedcom + DNA list may not have had enough DNA show up in your triangulated groups; therefore you need to compare the Gedcom + DNA that are not bolded against gecoms of people in your triangulated groups. 

Even though their segments may be smaller, if three not too closely related people, share the same position, on the same chromosome and have the same common ancestor in their tree, it makes a triangulated group.

AND, if another person shares that same ancestor, but in a different location on a different chromosome, it adds another layer of verification for that shared common ancestor.
You need at least three people (you count as one of them) to verify the common ancestor on a different chromosome. IMPORTANT!  This piece of DNA in a different location could be a different common ancestor AND THIS COMMON ANCESTOR WILL BE FROM THE SAME LINE OF ASCENT OR DESCENT FOR YOU.
For adoptees, you are actually doing "reverse" tree building. You will use the triangulated Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) to find the MRCA you are looking for and following the branches down to you.

Successful finding!
(I consider blog shares a genealogical blessing.)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Adoptees: 6 Mirror Tree Helper Tools

For those adoptees who are building Mirror Trees there are a few tools that can make your task much easier.

1. A gedcom program. This is a computer program for building family trees. Having a gedcom program allows you to construct a tree or parts of a tree with ease. With most programs you can attach and detach tree branches and save time and keystrokes. (You can save branches that don't appear to be your closest in a separate folder and after you have found your family, re-attach them if they are part of your tree.)

There are many free gedcom programs available online.

The program I have the most experience with is Legacy Family Tree. There is a learning curve. Legacy has superb training videos. If you can afford it, I would go ahead and purchase the Delux program.  Price-Free and up to $99. (Legacy is on half price sale at the time of this post 8/9/2017) HERE

2.  Learn and use Rootsweb WorldConnect. This site is an oldie but goodie; launched in 1999, you can read a brief history of those who created it HERE.

Genealogists make mistakes, (I certainly do). Unfortunately, many of the those posted their trees to RootsWebWorldConnect and never made any corrections. Some of these amateur genealogists appeared to make a contest of building trees as big as they could as fast as they could. They used one of Rootsweb's most innovative features; the ability to download gedcoms and link them together. Many of the gedcoms were not adequately sourced. This created many errors being repeated and re-posted. Many people have uploaded parts of these error filled trees to other genealogy sites; including AncestryDNA trees.

Still, Rootsweb is an awesome tool for expanding family trees you share with matches on AncestryDNA. If you have linked your Mirror Tree to one child's line, you may need to find another child from this line before you start getting leaf hints. If your match only shows one person, look for family members at Rootsweb. (Use the surname and geographic location but give a 10-20 year span on birth date to find possible siblings to your match on Ancestry.) Rootsweb link HERE

The use of DNA to find and correct errors on Rootsweb, is slowly having positive effects on public online trees, thanks in no small part to adoptees using the Mirror Tree method to find family. As an adoptee, if you discover such an error, please relate this information to your match. You will benefit genealogists and all those adoptees using Mirror Trees in the future. Use Rootsweb for CLUES. Take the information based on your common ancestor match on Ancestry and look up to expand family members. Armed with this information go to--

3. Join (free) WikiTree and enter your profile. Then one profile at a time, grow your tree DOWN using your suspected common ancestor you find Ancestry who is also on WikiTree. For someone who is not adopted How-to video HERE. Each profile has a link to find sources specific to the information in the ancestor profile. Your DNA, once linked to a GEDmatches DNA, verifies you are on the right path.

4. Everyone should download relationship charts. There is one, The Shared cM Project, designed by Blaine T. Bettinger; another one created by Christa Stalcup, DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart, for the DNA Detectives. (see my May 5, 2017 post for Blain's chart.) Christa's chart is HERE

I recommend having these charts laminated. Most office supply stores or libraries will do this for a nominal cost. It will help keep the charts from getting lost if you are also a paper-note-taker like I am.

5. If you have one side of your tree identified, fill out an X DNA Inheritance Chart and keep it handy. With permission from Blaine T. Bettinger, Debby Parker has attached a Creative Commons license and has linked several different electronic formats of the charts for use in compliance with the creative commons license. You can download and personalize the charts that are available by clicking: HERE.

6.  Use GEDmatch Tier 1 Tools for one month. This will cost you a one time $10 donation. Download all of the Beta tools as indicated by the red arrows in this screenshot into a single workbook. You can make it a single workbook by opening different sheets indicated at the bottom of an open spreadsheet. Here is a video on how to download DNA data to Gedmatch HERE.

I prefer the Tier 1 tools in a workbook spreadsheet for myself in this order starting with Beta Triangulation Groups: Sheet 1- Graphic Tree, Sheet 2- Bar Chart Graphic, Sheet 3- CSV file, Sheet 4- Triangulation (it takes the longest to run and I title it Triangulated Segments) Sheet 5-Matching Segment Search. With each results run  simply do a Ctrl-A to copy then open the spreadsheet page and paste. (Full instructions are found in my post Easy Peasy Spreadsheets.)

Write emails to the people you triangulate with. Send them a copy of your one-to-one comparison, or send them a screenshot of who you match with in the graphic tree or Triangulated segments. 

On Sheet 5, Matching segments I add a column in the spreadsheet just before the black bordered color graphic. This extra column is for my notes, most recent common ancestor (MRCA) and who triangulates with me that helped ID the MRCA.

If you suddenly have many new closer matches on Gedmatch, you might want to donate again and download a new workbook or at least the Triangulations page in your workbook. Then transfer all your common info from your previously identified matches in your matching segment sheets. I am told I wouldn't have to do all this sorting and adding if I use Genomate Pro. (Big learning curve for me.) Maybe when I have a chance I will try it; but for now I am struggling to keep up with the emails I am exchanging with others and adding our MRCA's.

A note here on MRCA. The most recent common ancestor is the closest person you SHARE. It may be a couple. You come from one of their children's lines, if your match comes from a different child's line; you share the common set of grandparents. Include both surnames in the column. If one of the grandparents had a second spouse and the child's line who you match came from that different spouse, you will be able to identify your MRCA as the one grandparent you have in common. Common ancestors (CA) is everyone one else in the more distant straight line, up the tree, who you share with your match. This drawing is an example of a MRCA:

If you use the tools I have listed in this blog post, it will help you find your MRCA's.  Using AncestryDNA for Mirror Tree's finds common ancestors. Triangulated groups will help you find your MRCA's. Finding MRCA instead of CA's will help you find the right biological family with more accuracy. So, look for your closest match on Gedmatch who shares the most DNA with you and see if you triangulate with them. Then start building your Mirror Tree down each child's leg or branch of the tree. If you don't get wiggly leaf hints, start again with the MRCA and build down a different child's branch.

Happy finding!