Monday, December 25, 2017

DNA Painter Gets Even Better!

I love it when I am researching and blunder into a new enhancement of a tool. Not that long ago I happened on web developer, Jonny Perl's interactive DNA Painter, which is a new spin of ISSOG's Blaine T. Bettinger,  Shared cM Project data.

I love this so much I keep a laminated copy of this relationship chart close at hand.

When actively working with matches, I now keep the DNA Painter open in the background on my computer. By entering the number of the total shared cM's with a match, this chart provides an enhanced view of predicted relationships. Here is an illustration using a total1350 cM's shared and suggested possible relationships with DNA Painter's cM comparison tool. (This isn't the only wonderful tool on Perl's DNA Painter site.)

Today I discovered DNA Geek, Dr. Leah Larkin's newest contribution that takes the DNA Painter shared comparison tool a step further and provides statistical analysis which shows how correct the prediction will be. What a great holiday gift!

The higher the amount of total cM's shared the closer your relationship. This new enhancement shows the higher cM's shared, the better the odds of the predictions as well.

My sincere appreciation and thanks to Blaine T. Bettinger, Jonny Perl, and Dr. Leah Larkin for their contributions to those learning about genetic genealogy and for providing such awesome tools. 

Happy Finding made easier!

I'm still having a blast!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Spark Your Grandchildren’s Interest in History: Use WikiTree's Relationship Finder!

This tool has been around for awhile.  There are so many bells and whistles on WikiTree I am only now getting around to really discovering how amazing the Relationship Finder is.

Playing with the Relationship Finder today I discovered I am related every one of the WikiTree's listed Sureties of the Magna Carta. We are talking deep shared great-grandparent levels here. (21st -23rd for me.) Now I need to make sure all my documentation is good going back. 

Because of this tool, I was able to tell a close friend we share the same 23rd great-grandfather!

To bring history lessons closer in time, I also discovered it appears my family is also related to no less than seven U.S. Presidents!

It's one thing to be told growing up Abe Lincoln may have changed the diapers of a distant great-grandfather, or that Abe defended a cousin on murder charges. It is another to discover Lincoln is also a 13th cousin! I can’t wait to share this with my family.

When you become a member of WikiTree you are assigned a WikiTree profile number.

The number is usually tied to your surname at birth. Once you have grown your tree a bit you can use it to find your relationship with other relatives you might not even know.  You simply compare your WikiTree profile number to another person’s profile number.

Below, I have circled where you find your profile number on your page after you have joined WikiTree.

You can go to your match's profile page and click on the word ADD which opens a pull-down menu to find your relationship to each other. How cool is that? 

If you shared DNA on GEDmatch and can’t find your relationship (you click on the Wiki Tree link to view their tree and click on their profile to use the Relationship to Me tool), you can collaborate with your match to determine if you need to build your tree deeper or wider so you can make the connection.

You can also see if you link to famous people. The finder works both in direct lineage and by degrees modes.

A direct line means the match shares a common ancestor with you up or down your tree.

Relationships by degree will help you learn how to spread your branches and make connections often through the marriage of someone (or several) in your line. For instance, a 3rd great-grandparent’s sibling may have married someone that would take you along a crooked path to the notable person, oftentimes royalty!

When you follow your branches wide and connect to someone by degrees, you widen your net to find more direct line branches while at the same time helping WikiTree toward one of its major goals to build a single world-wide tree.

Single Entry vs Gedcom

The thought of rebuilding a tree (especially a large one) makes many people cringe. However, there are very good reasons for doing this in many cases.

First, this is a single person entry world-wide tree. Your more distant relatives (and often times closer relatives) already have a profile in WikiTree. Another reason, to add them again is making more work for yourself because you will need to merge duplicate entries to link your tree to the first profile entered for that person. And another good reason, when you do, you will most likely meet a cousin you didn’t even know you had.

I recommend before uploading a Gedcom do a search of WikiTree first to see if any of your ancestors are already listed. Then you can meet a cousin (the profile manager for the entry) and send them a message introducing yourself. You can click on the descendant button on your ancestor's profile to see other relatives' entries. You follow your ancestor's children's line “down” the tree to see how many generations you need to add to your branch.

You may discover you only need to add a few profiles to link to a huge branch which already exists. This also gives you the opportunity to contact people whose research may reveal something other than you expected. If you see they have someone linked incorrectly you can collaborate with them and help them “prune” their branch and graft it in where it belongs.

By using this “check-for-family-first” method before uploading a Gedcom, you may discover you can divide your Gedcom up and only have to add one short branch that ties other branches together to connect a ton more people! This may result in your being awarded the WikiTree Family star. 

(WikiTree has tons of awards.)

Click HERE to find instructions that show you how to split a Gedcom for several different software programs. Simply click the link for each one.

Still having a blast! 

Happy Finding!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Basics: Generations Are Calculated Differently at GEDmatch and Viewing Trees

Generations Are Calculated Differently at GEDmatch

This is a screenshot is from my GEDmatch One-to-Many page. 

Gen is an abbreviation for generations

Parents = 1st Gen
Grandparents =2nd Gen
Great-grandparents = 3rd Gen
2nd Great-grandparents =4th Gen
3rd Great-grandparents = 5th Gen
4th Great-grandparents = 6th Gen
5th Great-grandparents = 7th Gen
6th Great-grandparents = 8th Gen
7th Great-grandparents = 9th Gen

When you look under the Gen heading on your One-to-Many page, it is an estimate of the distance to your most recent common ancestor (MRCA) you share with your match. There is a number and GEDmatch puts in a "." followed by a different number to establish degree based on the amount of DNA shared. Siblings are always 1. something. Full siblings are usually 1.2.  I have noticed while working with adoptees if there is a half-sibling this will usually show 1.5. 

I think this "." is to try and pinpoint the once removed, second removed and such. However, DNA is not consistent and one person may show different amounts. So full siblings are 1.2, 1.3. 

The Gen 1 combined with total DNA over 1300 cM indicates siblings who share at least one parent. If you are a female and have a half-sibling who is also a female you will share 196 cM of X and share a biological father. (Sometimes on One-to-Many it will show a tiny bit less.)

Most genealogy sites consider YOU the start point of a tree and thus you are generation one; on GEDmatch your parents are considered GEN 1.

When Viewing Trees

When you click on a GED on your One-to-Many page to view the trees of your matches, you can reset the number of generations to view. I like to set it for several generations beyond what the amount of DNA shared suggests our GEN should be. When I do this I don’t have to click those arrows in a tree to see a surname we might share. I usually set the view to 12. Choose the number of generations you want to view in the pull-down and click Submit.

When working with triangulated groups I copy and paste the trees of those matches (that have them*) into a single document that is set in landscape (under the layout tab) with margins at .3 or 1/3 inch.

(Use Ctrl+A to select everything, then right click copy with your mouse, then when you are on the page left click to paste. You can also use Ctrl+V to paste)

After I paste it on the page-

I select by highlighting (left click your mouse and drag it over what you want to highlight) and reduce the size of the font type in the entire tree to 8. This gets everything on the page and makes it easier to read what you need to. (I usually delete the major page headings on the tree so I only end up with the tree. You can do that by highlighting the part you want to delete and click the delete button on your computer. You can also place your cursor after what you want to delete and click the backspace.)

Using the Gen provided by GEDmatch, I count back to the estimated level of grandparents in the tree (I use my fingers to count), and highlight and enlarge their names in that generation to a font size of 10 and click bold. This makes the surnames stand out.

When all of the trees in the triangulation group are on a single word document it is easy to scroll up and down reading the enlarged bolded surnames and find repeated surnames in the various trees. This makes finding the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) or a common surname stand out.

* This is another reason for having a tree on GEDmatch. If you don't you are missing out when others are searching you in a triangulated group (TG). You are helping them help you by identifying a common ancestor you share on a specific chromosome and letting you know who it is. Then they can email you let you know they have the same couple and where your shared DNA is located. (If you are adopted and know one side of your family tree, upload it to GEDmatch to get more people looking at your tree. You can enter the unknown parent as unknown.)

When you have segment and position information and someone sends you a one-to-one comparison of how they match you, you can give them the names of your known shared MRCA's at that location. Of course, remember there are going to be two, one on your maternal side and one on your paternal side. 

Also, as the distance increases in Gen you are stepping back another generation and if you share a smaller segment in the same area with another TG, you may share a different common ancestor, often in the same line. So, if you have identified your 4th great-grandfather, your newly identified MRCA with a smaller segment may share the 5th or 6th great-grandfather in that same line if the surnames are the same.

Happy Finding! (I'm having a blast!!!) 

Coming soon--I have been blessed teaching classes at different libraries and genealogy societies in my area. They have taught me a lot. One major challenge for many genealogists who want to understand about DNA is they also struggle with basic computer skills. Let's face it, I'm a grandma. I did not grow up in the computer era and struggled to learn. I am convinced when you can overcome that challenge, you will soar. 

I also believe you do not have to fully understand genetic genealogy to be successful finding family and knocking down brick walls. You just need to know which buttons to push on which programs. I am in final edits of a book that will soon be released on Amazon. It is for the DNA and computer challenged. It is geared to the adopted person (or someone who has an adopted person or NPE in their family). 

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.)