The purpose of this blog is to share thoughts, comments and issues, as well as hints and suggestions that may help extend your own knowledge of family. As an advocate of DNA testing to support traditional genealogy, my focus is on DNA and newsworthy topics.
Readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of ethnicity reports and often borrow a phrase coined by fellow blogger Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist: "It's not soup yet." Last week, another favorite blogger Roberta Estes wrote an excellent article that illustrates why ethnicity is so difficult to pinpoint for any one person. The moral of the story is "Do not trade in your lederhosen for a kilt" based upon an ethnicity report from any DNA testing company. To test this admonition, submit your DNA test results from any one company to all the other "reliable" (see below) companies and compare the results.
What are the "reliable" companies? I defer again to Roberta Estes for her knowledgeable review titled "Genetic Snakeoil" as part of her overall review of 2018 developments in the genetic genealogy world. Buyer beware!
If you haven't yet uploaded your raw data to all the pools in the DNA playground, you're missing out on finding matches that could be important clues to your family history. Each company has somewhat different processes and and algorithms that yield somewhat different results. And, of course, we all know that different people choose to test with different companies. Some even test once and think that's all they have to do. But none of my readers would ever be guilty of that, would you? :)
LivingDNA has its revolutionary new matching procedure called Family Networks in Beta, but you can't participate if you haven't uploaded your raw data. While the company did focus on the British Isles and built a substantial database there, it has been reaching out to the world community for the last year or so. I strongly urge everyone to join not only LivingDNA but also FamilyTreeDNA, Ancestry, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. Of course, you should also join Gedmatch, the venerable site that maintains a single face to all companies, providing all testers with tools and function far beyond what is offered by any single company. Gedmatch will soon be switching to its new Genesis platform for all. Most of these allow free transfers. Don't make the mistake of limiting the potential discoveries you can make by not playing in all the pools.
May this holiday season bring joy and peace, and may the new year yield new discoveries and enrich your genealogy with the help of DNA matching, far and wide.
If you haven't yet taken advantage of the free transfer of your DNA results from any company, but especially, Ancestry, to MyHeritage, you only have about 48 hours to do so. Take my word, MyHeritage is an excellent company with outstanding DNA features. All free if you move quickly.
If you haven't yet tested with Family Tree DNA, you're in for a treat. Not only can you buy an atDNA (Family Finder) test to discover new cousins and expand your family tree, but you can add Y-DNA and mtDNA tests to learn even more about your origins. The chart below shows sale prices from now until November 22nd.
Notice that if you have already had a test of any kind with Family Tree DNA and have a kit number, you should log into your FTDNA account and order an upgrade. If If enough DNA survives from your earlier test, they will use that. If not, they will require a new sample and will provide a new kit.
See the great prices here: https://tinyurl.com/ya9c56kt or here: https://tinyurl.com/yd4ncz2j Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
Some of the companies are beginning to offer sale prices on DNA tests for the holidays. I'm sure they'll all be in sale mode very soon. If you have done only one or two tests, now is usually the best time of year to buy new tests or upgrades. They make a great holiday gift because all family members benefit (and sometimes contribute to the cost). Remember, you never know who has tested where, so it pays to play in all the pools.
Top testing companies for genealogy are FamilyTreeDNA (because they do all the tests and have good tools); AncestryDNA (because they have the largest database but few tools); MyHeritage (because it is the most innovative, growing quickly, and is best for European DNA and genealogy); 23andMe (because it does both health and ancestry testing). LivingDNA is a well respected company in England that will soon offer matching but doesn't yet. Be aware that other companies do not usually offer genealogy matching, which is the primary reason to test.
Other holiday gifts you might consider are subscriptions to companies like Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast for research and trees. An exciting new online program that offers both advanced genealogy and DNA features is RootsFinder. Another possible gift is membership in various genealogy organizations or attendance at seminars or conferences. Write to me if you need suggestions.
To sum up, more testing is better, test the oldest family members first, and learn about all the tips and tricks of using genealogy and DNA.
Such a treasure of riches in DNA world! Not a month goes by, it seems, that we aren't treated to new and wonderful ways to discover, organize, analyze and use our DNA matches to enhance and extend our genealogy.
If you haven't discovered DNAPainter yet, or if you are already addicted, Jonny Perl has now made it even better. Still free, there is now a subscription option for advanced function. See the announcement. That seems to be a growing trend. Rootsfinder, another free excellent tree-building program, provides a subscription offering that includes some mind-blowing DNA features. If you haven't tried it yet, you're in for a treat -- and you can use the DNA features through October for free. An upgrade is expected then that promises to make this a must-have program. Get started now.
If you haven't transferred your raw data from wherever you tested to MyHeritage yet, you have until December 1 to transfer for free. After that, new transfers will cost you. They have some very good features, and it's well worthwhile to do so. Of course, remember, I'm a fan of playing in all the data pools. You never know where that cousin match you need to unlock a stubborn link has tested.
Still another deadline looms, this one for LivingDNA. This company promises to unveil very soon a revolutionary approach to matching. Be sure to get in on the ground floor, either via a free transfer or a new test.
Finally, don't forget the added value of testing with Family Tree DNA. It's the only company that offers the full spectrum of DNA testing. (The Y-DNA and mtDNA test results you get from other companies are just the tip of the iceburg.) It too has some innovative features.