Monday, 12 March 2018

End of an era

Oxford Ancestors is closing down.

Read Bryan Sykes' farewell at

He certainly stimulated my interest in DNA testing, and is how I began my genetic journey, back in 2003 - I think.

I use the wonderfully colourful picture of my "Tara" haplogroup regularly, although the details have long since been improved with a mtDNA full sequence test from FamilyTreeDNA, and supplemented by autosomal testing - all for a fraction of the price paid for this initial test.

Thank you Bryan.

Roberta Estes' blog post at DNAeXplained has a very thoughtful article about the demise of yet another DNA resource, including what you can/should do to preserve your DNA.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

DNA on steroids!

MyHeritage have come good on two more of their promises.
I'm hedging my bets about how many promises they may have made, but these two are important to me :)

1) Chromosome browser comparisons between up to 8 kits - WITH triangulated segments identified.

Have only had a chance for a brief play to date, and like several others on assorted lists, fell into the first trap.
Why aren't the triangulations showing?
Well they do, but only if all those in the selected list triangulate, so you have to add/subtract people for the list.
Which is a bit hit or miss without more knowledge or prior downloads of the one to one comparisons introduced back in January - and where promise number 2 comes in for less miss and more hit.
OR, opening another tab with the shared match list open :)

Here's a picture of a "hit" - I'm the grey background comparing with three of my Henderson/Wight or Henderson/Millar paternal side 2nd and 3rd cousins:
Note chromosome 7 with it's border around the triangulated segments.
Click inside the border and get the popup with details.

2) Ability to download all your match and segment data.
I cannot report on what that looks like as yet, having whizzed through all my kits requesting the downloads, and been promised an email when they were ready -nothing has yet arrived, some hours later *. Suspect they'll be a bit snowed under with that one.
* update from MyHeritage, all sent so the hold up appears to be the mail system somewhere, and no, they aren't in my spam folder.

Without such an ability I strongly suspect I've been missing out on noticing interesting new matches as unlike Ancestry you cannot quickly see which kits are new and have not yet been checked.
With Ancestry you can filter by just your new matches sorted by order of relationship, ie the most interesting float to the top. There's also a sort option by date - which is less useful in general. I tend to use that only to re-find the matches I've starred recently on Ancestry.
With FamilyTreeDNA's much more compact match list display than MyHeritage the "by match date" sort there is easy to quickly scan down for the larger new matches.

Here's the announcement received from MyHeritage including the links to their blog to explain the new features:
We are excited to announce a major upgrade to the Chromosome Browser on MyHeritage. With this upgrade, we’ve upped our genetic genealogy game considerably to help people better understand how they are related to their DNA Matches. Together with family tree details like shared ancestral surnames and shared Smart Matches, users may be able to trace back the common ancestors who passed down shared DNA segments to them and their DNA Matches, and reconstruct the exact relationship path between themselves and DNA Matches that they find intriguing.
The initial version of the MyHeritage Chromosome Browser, released in January 2018, was a one-to-one chromosome browser. It displays DNA segments shared by you with one DNA Match.
The new One-to-Many Chromosome Browser, with its support for indicating triangulated segments, is an exciting addition to MyHeritage’s growing arsenal of useful tools for genetic genealogy. The tool is completely free.

Also new is the ability to export the list of DNA Matches, along with several other export capabilities.
Best regrads,
Daniel Horowitz
Genealogy Expert