Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Leveraging DNA and trees

Many of you will have received notifications of the new partnership on the block, that between FamilyTreeDNA and Geni.
If you are comfortable with linking your DNA to your tree (which you may already have done at FamilyTreeDNA and Ancestry - but only for your matches), then you may care to explore.
The free account seems to work just fine, although I do confess that I renewed my expired Geni-Pro subscription as I just couldn't resist attaching some source records, tidying up a bit and making sure at least my direct pedigree is there, along with a bit more family around my brickwalls of particular interest.
To do the latter quickly, without re-keying, I used the SmartCopy chrome extension, to pick up my data already on WorldConnect.

As for the DNA:
Early days as teething problems are still being ironed out.
Geni is obviously like a swan, paddling rather hard under the surface, and already improvements are noticeable.
Initially nearly all my matches showed up as predicted 2nd to xth cousins, 2ndC 1times or 2times removed, but with only 8cM or so segments shared that seemed unlikely.
That has already been improved to more realistic relationship predictions - even if my matches continue to only be the distant cousins I have no hope of ever finding the tree links too.

One of the benefits I can see is in the ability to find potential candidates for y/mt/atDNA for any theory you may wish to prove, or brickwall to crack.
But the caveat here is that the current propagation of potential candidates is rather conservative for atDNA - WikiTree wins hands down on those stakes.

I confess to being a little grumpy that ySearch and mitoSearch were mined and the publicly available
data from there has been imported - which means I have heaps of duplicated trees to tidy up and merge*, AND any more current yDNA data subsequently linked from FamilyTreeDNA is not currently over-riding the ySearch imprecise haplogroups.
* where most of them are marked as <Private> (Surname here) to make that an interesting challenge, and I'd rather be researching, finding DNA candidates and merrily triangulating segments to find those matches that will crack my brickwalls.
See below for a subsequent update from Geni **

Check out Roberta Estes' DNA-explained blog for the official announcements and her exploration of the Terms of Service at Geni.
And the Legal Genealogist's two posts as she tries to sort out the differences between Geni and its owner, MyHeritage, and to explore the new offering.
The latter, part-ii, includes information on some of the privacy options, and has a number of very useful comments and answers.

Don't forget WikiTree. It has a much wider range of useful charts, the same One World Tree concept, and useful DNA links as well once you indicate which test you took, just no actual DNA matching.

** Subsequent Update
Geni Support Team, Jul 20, 1:12 PM PDT:
Hi Lorna,

Thank you for contacting Geni Support. The ancestors of Robert Richardson have been switched to public. We also recently started switching all other deceased imported profiles public which should help you and your family with merging duplicate profiles as well as other Geni users with merging duplicate profiles.

We are planning for Family Tree DNA to send emails to YSearch and Mitosearch users so they can claim their imported profiles on Geni, however we do not know when the intended emails will be sent.

Kind regards,
The Geni Support Team
FAQ, Community Help, Feature Requests & Bug Reports -http://help.geni.com

Friday, 15 July 2016

Dividing up your atDNA matches just got easier...

... provided of course that you have some close known relatives tested as matches
AND have provided FamilyTreeDNA with at least a basic tree
AND linked the known relatives into their proper place in the tree.

Pity that 2nd cousins don't seem to count in the phasing.
That's the closest I can get on one side of my family.
Update: 2nd cousins now do "count" towards the phased matches.

Some relevant blog posts for your bedtime reading:

Well worth the effort of providing at least a basic tree.
It doesn't have to be an all bells and whistles, fully sourced, documented tree.
All FTDNA needs are the relationships to you of your known tested relatives and matches.
All your matches need to know are relationships, and approximate dates and places.
If they want to know more there are heaps of places where trees can be shared and collaborated on - check out WikiTree (great DNA links), the FamilySearch FamilyTree, and Geni. All are free, although Geni does also have a few additional smarts for subscribers.
WikiTree and Geni both have useful DNA tools.

We don't own "our" ancestors, so why not share at least the basic info on them with others and document your shared ancestors'  lives together.
We owe it to them.