Several tips she gave were new to me. For example, did you know that in Chrome you can right click on an image and get google to search for it? Sometimes this works to find the name of an individual on your match list who has used a pseudonym. Of course a lot of the time it does not find a name but rather you get something like “official” or “portrait.”
I tried the picture I have of my great-great-grandmother and this is what I got.
Oh well. It is more likely to work for a living person if they have used that same picture elsewhere. And yes my great-grandmother’s mtDNA haplofroup was H5a1.
Carol gave a wonderful description of how to conduct a phone call to a possible genealogy contact. Meek, mild, think puppy dog, don’t sound like a marketer, and always leave voicemail (many still screen via an answering machine!).
Next I watched the video of another DIGG member, Michelle Trostler, talk about “Examining Your Matches at the Big 3.” Like Carol did, she discussed how useful a matches profile page is on Ancestry and demonstrated that you should always click through to view full tree.
She also discussed my favorite new tool from Jonny Perl which shows the percentages and likely relationships within Blaine’s shared cM chart using Leah Larkin’s and Andrew Millard’s calculations – https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4
Both Michelle and Carol worked with Cece on the Paul Fronczak case and together they gave a wonderful presentation of that case which I saw in person. Undoubtedly I will view it again after I finish the talks I did not see. Other talks I recommend are any of Blaine’s or Cece’s talks. Actually just buy the while set and enjoy it at your leisure!
It makes me sad to be missing Rootstech this year (blame my husband) but I am experimenting today with viewing a few of the free streaming lectures online. To get the live stream just go to the Rootstech home page and sign up. Currently, you can watch only on the day of the lectures.
One of the pleasures of a conference like Rootstech is seeing old friends plus meeting and greeting many of your virtual friends, the ones you have researched with electronically but have never met in person. So it makes me sad not to be meeting fellow genetic genealogy blogger Roberta Estes who is attending for the first time. Follow her blog for daily reports.
Another pleasure of this conference is the amazing Exhibit Hall. Every vendor has a booth and new features to announce. Much to blog about for weeks to come! Personally I found about two lectures a day were best for my own self pacing. Then of course there is the wonderful Family History Library next door; a reason all by itself to visit Salt Lake City.
Today I went to Rootstech via streaming on my PC for a very informative lecture about using Google Photos from the in depth genealogist Michelle Goodrum. The nice thing was that I could stop the lecture and go play with my Google Photos as I learned about features I had never considered.
She also discussed the app, Photo Scan, that you can use on your smartphone to scan images and document pages by taking a picture at 4 different spots to get rid of glare reflections and misalignments. The result is automatically added to your google photos.
I had always known that my Android photos were magically whisked up into the cloud to my Google photos area at https://photos.google.com/ (you need to be logged in to your google account to see them). I had often downloaded one or two images from there to illustrate this blog or add to a profile on a genealogy site. But I had never realized all the ways Google had already organized them for me or that I could do some editing there plus add information and more organization!
On the right hand side of the page there is a timeline (you may have to click or put your finger there on a tablet or phone). So for example I was able to click 2015 and see some of my photos from my trip to Norway. This surprised me since I had a Blackberry back then as opposed to my current fancy Android so I am not sure how they got there. Another useful thing is that when you edit the information on a photo you can change the date which is helpful when photographing old photographs.
It was not logically obvious to me before this lecture that the info button is what I had to click to add information to a photo. Here is a picture I took of a photo of my grandmother in her youth at my brother’s house in 2013. To get the information area to slide in from the right, I clicked on the little “i” icon (red box added by me). Next I could add a description and change the date (again red box is from me). Notice the google maps location comes up as well for photos from your android. Clicking the “i” again removes the slide in edit pane. To rotate or crop or otherwise edit a photo click the three line icon to the left of the magnifying glass, aka the “broken hamburger” icon.
Even if you have made no albums, Google has made several for you” People, Places, Things, and so forth.
The feature I love in the “People” album is you can click on a face in that album, identify that person,and then Google’s facial recognition will bring up all the photos you have of them. If some incorrect photos are in there, you can use the three dots menu on the right to remove them. You can now search for that person in your photos at any time. You can also look for beaches or mountains in “Places” among many other fun searches.
To organize your photos more, you will probably want to make some albums of your own, Photos can be in multiple albums. Albums can be shared. Plus you can upload more photos from your computer that were not taken by your phone so are not there already.
My plan is to make albums for each of my main family lines including the places and graves I have visited and then share them with my cousins. This may take me a while, we will see.
What a fun lecture, thank you Michelle, so glad I went to Rootstech today via my PC!
There have been some good changes to the relative matching displays at 23andMe. Finally when I get a new match, I can quickly compare them to several other known relatives from that first DNA comparison page. One of the features I have always loved, that 23andMe has but not the other testing companies, is the ability to compare my matches to each other. Seeing how much DNA they share can often help resolve how they are related.
I was surprised and delighted to see that the granddaughter of my Dad’s favorite brother got a DNA kit for Christmas and her DNA results are just in at 23andMe. So I will use her kit to show the new 23andMe displays. For privacy I will call her Nan.
When I click DNA relatives under Tools, the page it goes to no longer has two top tabs. Perhaps that confused many users. Instead there is a long sentence up top where the last few words are linked to the chromosome browser page that I like to use. I have put a red box around those words in the image below of Dad’s best matches. Of course there are other better ways to get to that browser.
When Dad gets a new relative, I typically click on their name to see how they compare to him. That next page is the one that is vastly improved.
The first display shows a family tree style image of how 23and me expects you to be related based on the shared DNA. In Nan’s case, it initially showed her as a first cousin. A great niece shares the same amount of DNA with you as a first cousin does, about 12.5% DNA . Since we know how Nan is related, I clicked on the “Edit relationship,” indicated by my added red box below. Then I selected Great-Niece in the drop down set of choices and clicked the word save next to that. Now the tree display looks like this:
The ancestry composition comparison and listing of the relatives in common on this page have not changed. That last feature indicates whether your new DNA relative triangulates with any of the in common matches as discussed in my blog post on 23andme automated triangulation.
However the order of displays on this long page has changed. Now the chromosome comparison image, which lacks the features of the full chromosome browser, is at the bottom of the page. Here is the exciting part for me. The words “Compare segments with more people” at the bottom of that chromosome display lets you create a chromosome comparison page where everyone is compared to the new match.
I clicked on that “Compare segments with more people” and got to a DNA comparison page which had nothing much on it but as soon as I typed Munson into the box, Nan appeared as the base person and I was able to click my dad and brother over to be compared.
Next I clicked over myself and my two second cousins from different great-grandparents. Then I clicked the blue submit box below all the names in the left hand column. This got the five-way comparison shown below in 23andMe‘s beautiful chromosome browser.
Click on this image to see the full comparison
Notice that putting your mouse on a segment brings up the details in a little box. All the numbers are listed at the bottom of the page, suitable for cut and paste, for those of us who use spreadsheets.
Now to look through all these segments and let Nan know which ancestor they are from! Of course, I will also send her the URL for all the posts on how to use the new 23andme features – http://blog.kittycooper.com/tag/23andme-new-site/
One thing I have always wanted when looking at my ancestry DNA matches was to list just the unstarred matches or matches that I have identified as being on a specific line. Well there is a new add-on for chrome called MedBetterDNA that will do that for you now, among other great features. Thank you Blaine for mentioning it in your Genetic Genalogy Tips and Techniques Facebook group today.
Another thing I love from this add-on is that it displays the notes you have made for this match directly on the match page so you no longer have to click each little notepad. Here is what my brother’s page looks like now:
Notice the little colored people icons next to the green leaves? That is from another chrome add on called the AncestryDNA helper and a mouse-over on those icons shows the DNA relatives in common, but that is another blog post not yet written.
Back to MedBetterDNA (MBDNA), notice the hashtags in front of family names in my notes? Put a hashtag in front of a term in your note that you want MedBetterDNA (MBDNA) to find. So for example to see all the people assigned to my Munson line by the hashtag #munson in my notes, I clicked on the DNA icon for MBDNA in my browser top bar on the right and got a menu, as in the image to the left (the red arrow is added by me). Then I clicked on options and see a page called “Configure MedBetterDNA” with many options, most already checked for me. I added a check next to “always show Notes.”
Options for MedBetterDNA – remember to click Save!
Next I typed #munson into the filter 1 field on this options page and clicked Save. Nothing happened. I refreshed the page (necessary). Still nothing. Do you see my error in the image to the right? I forgot to click the active button next to #munson, undoubtedly a feature so it remembers all the tags I want and only utilizes them when I check active, but it tripped me up. I also tried capitalizing Munson and putting a period after it in some of the notes to see if either of those were a problem. Both worked fine. In the image below you can see my top four #munson family members using that filter.
For example, when I am doing a “who is my daddy” search with a maternal half sibling tested, I star all their shared matches out to “confidence high” 4th cousins. Then I look through the unstarred ones, most of those will be from the unknown Dad’s side. Of course, I can also do this by using the “m_” spreadsheet from the GWorks client and sorting by the starred column. I often use a trimmed down version of that spreadsheet to keep track of my research on those matches.
You can see that both starred and unstarred matches are checked above. Uncheck starred to see those that are not starred. Why might you want to see the unstarred matches? When you have starred all the shared matches with a person and want to look at the ones you do not share.
The Ancestry Matches page with hashtag #munson active
What if you have multiple browser windows open for different people’s matches? Yes, when you click to a new screen in another window it will use those same settings and you will see something like below, Where did all my matches go? Of course, there are no #munson in any notes on that page!
So do not be surprised! Just reset those options and save. You might enjoy the discussion about this tool at Blaine’s group on Facebook which includes the pointer not to capitalize in the filters. Thank you Michael Devore for this wonderful tool!
This New Year’s Eve I have resolved to remember my father’s advice, “Don’t let a big project overwhelm you, break it into small manageable parts.”
Personally, I have often put off starting a huge project because it seemed to be way too much to tackle. It is amazing how many other things get done when I am procrastinating!
If you had told me five years ago how many hours I would spend working with my family’s DNA results, I might never have started. That would have been sad as I would have missed out on the endless pleasure genetic genealogy has brought me and the many others I have helped.
If I had known twenty years ago where writing down the family stories would take me, I would not have believed the thousands of hours I would spent on genealogy. I have enjoyed just about every minute of it, except perhaps going to the library or archive and not finding the record I was searching for.
Both of these hobbies are easy to break into small manageable parts. One family line at a time or one location at a time or one group of connected matches at a time or even one chromosome segment at a time. Whatever works for you.
I had been overwhelmed thinking about organizing and tidying up my office. Two years ago my New Year’s resolution was to reorganize it. I have a whole small bedroom with closet space and plenty of light, why such a shambles!
In that spirit, a week ago I started doing a little bit of office clean up each day. This is working, even if somewhat slowly.
My Office New Years day 2018
It may still look messy to you but it is greatly improved. Compare it to the picture at the bottom of the page. You can see the floor now. Notice the water glass in the open desk drawer. Having destroyed a keyboard and a laptop by spilling liquids (usually coffee), I have devised this way of protecting my electronics!
To get started, I also reminded myself of the advice I gave my son when I saw how messy his dorm room was, “Everything needs a place that it goes when you are not using it.” Or to a friend whose apartment was a disaster area, “When you walk through the room, pick up one thing that you can put away now and do that. Eventually it will all be under control.”
When I went back to my January 2015 post to get the photo, I noticed this comment from organizing expert and blogger Janine Adams ” My big piece of advice is to work on it small, frequent bites. Don’t wait until you have a free weekend and think that you’ll spend two solid days on it. In my opinion, an hour a day for a week is better than spending a day on it once a week. ” Great minds think similar thoughts …
Yesterday was a very very happy day. Thanks to DNA testing, an 82 year old man who thought he had no kids, now has two wonderful adult children plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Merry Christmas Billy (my pseudonym for him)! Here is the story.
An accomplished and successful Florida business woman, let’s call her Cheryl, discovered at her father’s funeral that he was not her biological dad. His relatives told her and were not particularly nice about it. Cheryl knew that her dad, let’s call him Larry, had married her mom when she was three months along, but Cheryl had not known that Larry had a paternity test done and knew that she was not his child. He loved her mom very much, so chose to love and cherish Cheryl as his daughter. They were always quite close.
Her mother was long gone and could not be asked. In disbelief, Cheryl took the Ancestry DNA test to confirm or deny this tale. She also got her half brother, her mother’s son from an earlier marriage, to test. That way she could separate out the matches on her mother’s side from those from her Dad’s line.
Her DNA results had no matches to anyone in Larry’s family, which disappointed her, even though it was not a surprise now. However she found what looked to be a half brother, let’s call him Joe, an adoptee born and raised in Australia. Her other paternal side matches, two second cousins, and several third cousins, all had roots in a small town along the Mississippi River. Surprisingly. the second cousins had no ancestors in common with any of the others. So Cheryl contacted me for help back in early October.
Paternal half siblings really stand out in the DNA (click here for that post) so I was able to quickly confirm that Joe was her older half brother.
Normally I do not have the time to do a full search for an adoptee, I teach them how to do it themselves or send them to DNAadoption.com or DNA detectives at Facebook. If they can afford professional help, I suggest Legacy Tree Genealogists. But Cheryl really needed some expert help to sort this out and I found that half brother in Australia irresistible! (Any Australian search angels out there? He has his mum’s name but needs help finding her).
When you have a second cousin match, the mirror tree approach will almost always identify which great grandparents are yours too because there will be hints on your DNA page for many people on that line. So I made a quick private copy of her predicted second cousin Sally’s tree on Ancestry and expanded it so that every line was back six generations where possible. Then I attached Cheryl and her DNA to it as Sally’s sister. Strangely, hardly any hints came from that, other than very distant cousins, which are never convincing unless they cluster around a specific ancestor.
I now think that Cheryl’s two second cousin matches have an unexpected grandaddy who is not the one listed in their tree. But at first they really tripped me up. So we had Joe do a Y test to 37 markers at Family Tree DNA in the hope of finding a surname.
While we waited for those results, I ran GWorks on all Cheryl’s 4th cousin and closer matches. This identified a couple, let’s call them Louise and Harry, who were in many of her third cousin trees. So I built a quick research tree for that couple, copying from other trees but being a bit careful about sources. None of the children of that couple had spouses whose surnames came up on the surname frequency list from GWorks, except one with a common name, let’s call it Smith. After attaching Cheryl and her DNA to the Smiths in this new tree, the DNA hints did not work for that couple being her ancestors. Furthermore the many hints were clearly only for Louise’s ancestors. Time to look at her siblings.
Louise had seven brothers and one sister, all of whose children needed to be researched. Apparently none of their descendants had DNA tested. An obituary suggested one of them, let’s call him John, had been in the Navy (think Australia) and mentioned the names of his children. Next I used various people search sites to find contact information and followed with some phone calls to try and get some additional testers to narrow this down.
My lead in was “I am a genealogist researching the XYZ family, are you the child of John Chester XYZ?”
“No, sorry, I am the son of Ralph but talk to my cousin Sarah who is his daughter, here is her number.”
Sarah said to talk to her sister Barb, who knows everything. Barb was a delight, even though she was dubious about doing a DNA test. So I told her a bit more: what Cheryl had found out at that funeral and that the DNA pointed to Barb’s family. She told me that no one from her XYZ family had ever left that area … but oh wait, cousin Billy had. His mom and XYZ dad had divorced, after which Billy and his mom had moved to California. Billy had traveled quite a bit in his youth, but was now living up the hill from Barb. I gave her my phone number to give to Billy, hoping he would be willing to talk to me.
When Billy called, I asked him if he had been in Australia in about 1958 and he had! He admitted to being somewhat wild in his younger days for which he seemed a bit penitent. I asked him if he was sitting down and then told him about Joe as well! He was a bit shocked but very pleasant and agreed to do the Ancestry DNA test.
I had Cheryl order, receive, and register the kit before sending it along to her 82 year old probable Dad to spit into. By the way, the Y test results came in earlier this past week and confirmed the XYZ surname.
If you are wondering about the two second cousin matches with the possibly wrong trees, they are half sisters to each other. The sister who did not grow up with their mom changed her tree to make her mom’s dad an unknown brother of Louise with the full XYZ tree. Subsequently dozens of good DNA hints came in that perfectly fit that scenario. Note that she had no hints for the grandad of record’s line when he was on her tree.
Each of Billy’s new found children called him and talked to him at length. Plans for get-togethers, including flying in from Australia, are in the works. Merry Christmas to you Billy and to all of you readers as well!
Technology never stands still. The latest change affecting all of us who love using DNA for genealogy is a new chip from Illumina. The past six or so years of autosomal DNA testing have shown that the current chip is great for testers with European ancestry, but does not have enough SNP coverage to figure out the details of the ethnic make up for people from other parts of the world. Many more and different SNPs are tested in this new GSA chip.
All the 23andMe tests done since this past July use that chip, as does Living DNA (highly recommended if you have British ancestry since it does local regional breakdowns). I imagine eventually the others will follow along. The bad news is that there is not that much overlap between this chip and the previous ones, which affects cousin matching.
Because the SNPs are so different the DNA results from these kits cannot be uploaded to GEDmatch, however our friends there have built another site to handle these new kits called GENESIS. They have come up with a whole new algorithm for relative matching that works with lower SNP counts.
The functions available at GEDmatch are being gradually implemented at GENESIS. Most of the key ones are there now. Plus there is some new functionality. One major addition is the showing of the number of SNPs actually overlapping between kits. Very important to know since the overlaps can be as small as 108,000 SNPs or as large as 580.000.
The thing I like best is the new multi kit analysis selection page which lets you add kits easily, including dropdowns of your own kits, to the ones that you already checked at the one-to-many or kits that match two kits. But I miss the tag groups.
The other new feature that is great is the ability to look just at the FIRs (fully identical regions) on the one to one comparisons. Only full siblings and other close doubly related people have these. It also gives a total which is very helpful for figuring those ¾ relationships.
Also new is the addition of more colors for validity on the one-to-one images including a color for too large a gap between SNPs.
Missing is the connection to trees from the one-to-many but that will come. The current one-to-many is not the final version I am told.
I recommend you look through the screenshots from my presentation or upload a kit or two and take a look around. In a few months the GEDmatch database will be moved over but why wait?
The sales are crazy! Black Friday and now Cyber Monday. Maybe you should buy a few kits on sale for relatives at the same company you already tested with. If you still have not done a DNA test, what are you waiting for? I have my thoughts on testing at this page – http://blog.kittycooper.com/dna-basics/dna-testing/ – with links to other pages discussing this. One point though for those of you who have already tested, if you have British ancestry, you might really benefit from the detailed regional breakdown offered by LivingDNA briefly on sale for $89.
If you have not yet registered for the i4gg genetic genealogy conference in San Diego the weekend after next, do so soon. Last year it sold out. The full schedule and speakers are now listed on the web site.
Last but not least, I told all my clients I would be on vacation this week. It is not exactly a vacation, the National Bridge Championships are in San Diego this week. Yes the card game, my favorite game, and I will be competing, so do not expect timely replies to your comments this week nor will you see me on facebook much at all.
If you are a social bridge player you might consider a visit to the tournament to see what it is like. You would qualify to play the beginner events if you do not yet have an ACBL ranking or at least not a high one. See the second page of this pre-bulletin for some details – http://cdn.acbl.org/nabc/2017/03/bulletins/Pre.pdf
Most of the time when you send a message to a DNA match at ancestry you get no response. I used to assume that their membership had lapsed or that they had not logged in and seen their messages, but it turns out, that may not be the reason at all.
The real reason is that many people are using the Ancestry App on ipads, tablets, or smartphones and the Ancestry App does not show your messages. I was shocked when I finally got this response today from a match.
The last date that someone has logged in shows on the match page and I had seen that this person was logging in regularly, but it was from their tablet! So everyone who uses the app please complain to customer service at Ancestry.
So how did I get his attention?I left a comment on an ancestor on his tree with a link to the find-a-grave entry! The next day I got the message above. Leaving a comment always generates an email which finally gets their attention.
How do you leave a comment?
On a public tree go any page in an ancestor’s profile. On the top right there is button that says TOOLS. Click it and get a drop down menu that includes the item View Comments.
Click that and a column will appear on the right hand side of the page where you can leave a comment as well as see any previous comments, as in the image below:
What if they have no tree?
First double check that they have no tree. Although it may say No family tree on your matches page they may actually have one. Click the View Match button and the next page, the page with the match information may have a tree available in a drop down list which says select a tree to preview. This tree is just not linked to their DNA.
When there really is no tree, my technique to get a response is to first use the green button on the match page to contact the match. I try to always offer them some information to perk their interest. For example
I am a genetic genealogist doing research on the Munson family and you match many of us well. I have much information about the emigration from Norway and pictures of those ancestors to share with you. Since you do not have a tree, I can only guess which branch you belong on. If you do not know, the names and dates of your grandparents might be enough for me to figure this out.
When I get no response after about a week, I click their name on the match page to go through to their profile. There is an orange button there which usually generates an email. Another tip is to put your email address in the subject line, I replace the @ with “at” so for example myname at gmail (leaving off the dot com). The reason for that reformatting is to evade spam filters. Why put your email address there? People whose memberships have lapsed or were never activated will see that they have a message but they cannot read it. They can, however, see the subject line or so I am told.
Another trick that sometimes works is to sent email to their ancestry username on each major email platform: gmail, aol, hotmail, yahoo, etc
I had a case where I found the persons email address and location from a message board as Blaine recommended. Further googling found his obituary from a year ago. A people search site gave me his widow’s contact information which I passed on to my client who was looking for his grandad and needed more possible relatives to test. She was very kind and put my client in touch with her son. Not the reason one wants for failure to respond!
Now that you know how to leave comments on people’s trees, please try to keep them helpful and constructive, not mean or whiney … kindness gets the best response.
Both Ancestry.com DNA and Family Tree DNA have now started their Holiday sales, joining the group that started last week (MyHeritage, LivingDNA, and 23andMe). So buy your family members tests for Christmas at whichever company you used for your own test so you can compare with them easily. Of course there is always the GEDmatch site to compare tests from different companies.
Jessica Taylor of Legacy Tree Genealogists (yes I am an affiliate) celebrated her birthday by listing one thing she had learned for each year. What a clever idea! I took number 14 to heart “Podcasts are great for drive time” and listened to one of my favorites, Scott Fisher of Extreme Genes, interviewing me the other day about chromosome mapping (podcast number 214, I start at 9:10) as well as a few other people. Now to figure out the bluetooth connection in my new car so my phone can play it through the speakers.
If, like me, you are a genealogist in addition to doing genetic genealogy, you might enjoy this interview discussing how I organize my work on the Janine Adams blog in her “how they do it” series: https://organizeyourfamilyhistory.com/how-they-do-it-kitty-cooper/ which includes my CLUB acronym for genealogy work: Cite, Log, Understand, and Backup. There are many other interviews in the group, all of which I have learned from.
I am way more organized electronically than with my paper files. As soon as my office space is under control I will post a newer picture than this one from 2015.
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