Monday 8 December 2014


FamilyTree DNA have released a beta version of a project related Group "message board".
Two of my projects are participating in this and FTDNA would appreciate any feedback.
FFLornaHen - my autosomal dna project primarily for my relations and those that match them, or those I help with their dna data
FFLornaHen's MyGroups postings are entirely private to the project members
RUNCIMAN is publicly visible but only project members can post.

Read about how to use them in FamilyTreeDNA's Learning Centre

When you log in there will be a notification bar across the top of the page with a link and email address for feedback.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Holiday sale time for DNA kits

FamilyTreeDNA have provided Group Administrators with an announcement of a set of discounts valid until the end of December, along with mystery rewards.
Great time to explore family relationships using FamilyFinder, or chase those theories about whether or not those "three brothers who emigrated" were really brothers by using y_DNA.

Go to, check that the sale prices below are shown, select your test, order and join in the wonderful fun of adding science to your genealogy.

Dear Group Administrators,
We're excited to announce the launch of our 2014 Holiday sale!  The promotion will start on November 25 (it may not be live on the site yet if you're reading this before noon Central Time) and end on December 31st @ 11:59PM Central Time.
You'll find a full list of the sale prices below. And because we're in such a festive mood, we're adding a special treat to this year's great deals - Mystery Reward discounts!  The Mystery Reward will be a randomized discount (up to $100 off) that can be applied on top of the already reduced Holiday Sale prices. Best of all, you’ll get a new Mystery Reward every week. You can use the discounts or share them with friends!

The Mystery Reward icon will appear on testers’ myFTDNA dashboard each week. Each code will expire the night before the next Mystery Reward appears. We’ll also send an email notification to the kit’s primary email address when a new code is available for use or sharing.

The Mystery Rewards include both product-specific and total-purchase discounts ranging from $5 - $100 (including one for $49 off a Family Finder!) and are randomly assigned to each kit. That means not everyone gets the same reward at the same time. When you open the Mystery Reward, you’ll see a code to be used at checkout, whether it’s on your own kit or someone else’s.

In addition, all customers who have purchased the Big Y test will receive a $50 off coupon for a Big Y test, good through Dec. 31st.
Note: Only one coupon can be used per purchase.

Finally, remember that the FTDNA offices are closed the Friday after Thanksgiving. If you call and leave a message, it’s critical that you speak clearly. Please be sure to leave your contact phone number and/or email address, and the group or kit number about which you’re calling.  As always, if an attempt is made during the sale period to contact us about a purchase, we will honor the sale price - and in this case, the coupon price, too.


Whoops!  Looks like we forgot to include the actual sale prices in the previous email!  They are now included below. 
Also, remember that the Mystery Rewards will randomly applied.  That means that some females might get discounts for Y-DNA tests or Big Y tests. That's intentional!  In the spirit of the holidays, we want to people to share and exchange their Mystery Rewards.

P.S. The sale is almost live! It will start in a few hours.

Friday 24 October 2014


Here's the official announcement from FamilyTreeDNA.
If a number of you want to club together to chain together your transfers and get a free unlock, post a comment against this post.

Dear Valued Customer,
Family Tree DNA is now allowing people that have taken an AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) test to transfer their raw data to the Family Finder database for FREE by visiting!
That’s right!  Pass this news along to your friends and family members that have tested with or 23andMe so they can discover new matches in the world’s largest genetic genealogy database for FREE!  
Note: Autosomal raw data cannot be transferred to an account that already has Family Finder
What’s in it for You?
After transferring, you’ll get your top 20 matches, complete with their surnames and relationship predictions.  You don’t have to do anything after uploading your data to see these matches.  You’ve got nothing to lose!

You can unlock ALL of your matches and myOrigins results for free by recruiting 4 other relatives or friends to transfer their results using a link we’ll provide!

Unlock Right Away for Just $39
If you do not want to wait for 4 others to transfer, we are also permanently reducing the price to unlock all of your matches and myOrigins results to just $39!  
Once a transfer has purchased or referred 4 others they will unlock the full Family Finder experience!
How Does it Work?
New customers must enter their name and email address to get started.  If you already have an FTDNA account, just click Already have a Family Tree DNA account?

Next, click ‘Upload Raw Data’ to select and upload the raw data file from AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) from your computer.  It is not necessary to unzip the file prior to uploading it.  If you don’t have your raw data file handy, instructions on how to download it will be available.

The first round of results processing will take about an hour and an email notification will be sent to the registered email address after we are done processing the raw data.

Monday 20 October 2014

Free transfer of your autosomal dna to FamilyTreeDNA

Family Tree DNA recently announced an incentive system for transfers from ancestry and 23andme (v3 chip only, so only those who tested before about Dec 2013 can transfer from 23andme).

Here's Kitty Cooper's blog post about it

Notes from the official announcement from FamilyTreeDNA to their volunteer group administrators (such as myself) are below.

This should be of particular interest to those who have only tested at as they simply do NOT provide you with sufficient information to check which ancestor was responsible for your dna match.

A tree match is just a simple pointer on where to do the traditional research to show the linkage indicated. It is not necessarily where your dna match is.

To find who passed on a particular segment of dna to you and your match(es), you need to find which spot on which chromosome you share with others and work together to then determine if it is a triangulated match, ie person A matches both person B and person C on chromosome n from point x to point y AND person B matches person C at the same spot.
Until you have checked that person B also matches person C, you don't yet know if your matches are from the opposite sides of your pair of chromosome n, or the same side, which can still be from either of your paternal or maternal ancestry until you have more clues.

Once you have checked however, you do now know that a common ancestor between you all is responsible for passing that particular bit of dna that has survived down the generations to you. You may be pleasantly surprised to find completely different tree linkages!

Ancestry does not provide the tools necessary to do this.
FamilyTreeDNA does, as do 23andme, and of course, who accept raw data files from all three companies for comparisons.

So, if you are interested in maximising your investment in your dna test with Ancestry in particular, do consider this transfer.
Club together to get the referrals working for you.

If you have a surname from any of the DNA projects listed on the top rhs of this blog do consider joining your appropriate project after you have transferred your data. They aren't just for Y-dna, we accept all clues for the ancestry of the surname and their connections, which autosomal dna certainly provides, albeit less directly than y- or mt-DNA.
If you are one of my relations, or already know you are a dna match to myself or one of my close relations, please also consider joining my autosomal dna project FFLornaHen so that we can work together to explore our genetic heritage and break down some of those brick walls.

From the FamilyTree DNA announcement to Group Administrators:
.. for the first time ever, people that have taken an AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) test can transfer into the FTDNA databases for free by visiting and following the instructions to upload their raw data file.
Within an hour or two, we provide a preview of what’s waiting if they transfer by showing the top 20 matches along with an estimate of the total number of matches in the FTDNA database.
Full functionality can be unlocked by either paying $39 or recruiting four other people to upload, thus unlocking the rest of the matches.
Here are some important points to know:
  1. As of Friday afternoon, Ancestry was experiencing difficulty with file downloads. ... If you (or your group members) have previously uploaded files to GEDmatch, there’s a fair chance the download will still be on your computer. Look for a filename like
  1. We only accept the 23andMe V3 chip that was used on tests sold between November 2010 and approximately November 2013. There are a couple of ways to find out what chip was used for your test other than simply the timeframe. One is size; v3 chip files are about 7.83 MB where V2 and V4 chips are smaller. If you’re tech savvy, you can unzip the file and check chromosomes: Chromosome 1 for v3 starts at 82154 (rs4477212) where v4 starts at 734462 (rs12564807)and v2 starts with position 742429 (rs3094315).
  1. We do not have any plans to accept V2 or V4 chips. if you try to upload the wrong chip version, the system will tell you that the file doesn’t have sufficient data. Since neither chip contains enough of the SNPs included in Family Finder, we would have to impute too much data. Basically we’d have to make assumptions about the missing SNPs that we’re just not willing to make at this point.  


Wednesday 10 September 2014

More on Ancestry atDNA

Yes, I've been spending a little more time on my thousands of AncestryDNA matches lately even though many, the majority of them by some accounts, will turn out to be false positives.

Yes, I do sometimes wonder if the money spent (and hoops you have to jump through to get a test when you live outwith USA) has been worth the effort you have to expend to see if the leafy hints to genealogy may be new genetic, as well as papertrail, relatives that will get me through my brick walls.

Yes, I've found some new papertrail relations, but conventional research could have got me there eventually without the DNA test.

I've recently reminded myself of Shannon Christmas' useful blogpost on getting the most out of your Ancestry results.

To all of my Ancestry DNA matches who may search as far as here on my sites, I particularly draw your attention to this wonderful comic (linked to on Shannon's blog) which explains better than I, on why I keep suggesting that you upload your raw data from Ancestry to GEDMatch.

There's a whole world out there that doesn't necessarily believe we should trust what we are told by Ancestry without the evidence to back it up.

Let's use the great tools available to us and work together to break down those brick walls.

Do also use their newly introduced Share results feature.
It is a step on the way to more useful tools in that it allows you to see whether one of your matches, also matches someone you are sharing with - NOT that you know you all share the same common ancestor without exploring further at the chromosome comparison level.
Here's Angie Bush's blogpost about sharing your results on Kitty Cooper's blog
and an explanation of Triangulation - which is not the same as In Common With - from Roberta Estes blog

Friday 29 August 2014

Y-DNA discounted until 3 Sep 2014

This just in from FamilyTree DNA.
A good time to upgrade to Y-DNA67...

Dear Valued Customer,

We hope you've had a great summer!  As the season draws to a close, join us for one last celebration with our End of Summer Y-DNA Sale! Order a Y-DNA Test and join the world's largest Y-DNA database. All Y-DNA tests and upgrades have been marked down for significant savings! 

Time is limited. Order now because the sale ends on 9/3/2014.  

As an added bonus, Big Y is also on sale for $495*. Big Y is the most comprehensive Y chromosome discovery test on the market. With Big Y, 340,000 years of Y-DNA ancestry is just a test away!

Standard Tests Regular Price Sale Price
Y-37 $169 $129
Y-67 $268 $199
Y-111 $367 $279
Big Y $595 $495

Upgrades Regular Price Sale Price
Y-12 -> Y-37 $99 $70
Y-12 -> Y-67 $189 $148
Y-12 -> Y-111 $339 $239
Y-25 -> Y-37 $49 $35
Y-25 -> Y-67 $148 $114
Y-25 -> Y-111 $249 $209
Y-37 -> Y-67 $99 $79
Y-37 -> Y-111 $220 $179
Y-67 -> Y-111 $129 $109

Note: Only previously awarded Big Y coupons are usable with sale items.  Other offers and coupons are not valid with Y-DNA sale prices.

Friday 22 August 2014

Ancestry DNA - lack of chromosome browser

Please support this petition to get ancestry to provide a chromosome browser with their autosomal dna tests:
Without the specifics of how well, where (which chromosome) our matches match us, and who else matches them, the money spent on a dna test on ancestry is just an expensive way to find hints to others' trees with no evidence whatsoever.
We shouldn't have to rely on (excellent) third party tools such as those at GEDMatch to get access to the useful parts of what we've paid for.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Henderson DNA

Those interested in the (very small) subset of the overall HENDERSON DNA that belongs to the family of Archibald & Margaret (McEWAN) HENDERSON, can check out the addition to the HENDERSON Lineages pages of an autosomal dna (atDNA) section.

(Remember to check specific surname project diaries in the links to the right for their progress.)

Tuesday 19 August 2014

FTDNA postage changes

From FamilyTree DNA to group administrators:
".. As of Monday, we'll begin including domestic return postage in the cost of shipping and handling. ...  For both domestic and international shipping, the fee will now be a consistent $9.95."

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Father's Day Sale

From FamilyTree DNA:
We are excited to announce our Father's Day Sale!  Act now so you don't miss out on our lowest Family Finder price ever! These offers are valid from 6/9/2014 through 6/17/2014.
Savings (no coupon code required)
Family Finder: $79    (was $99)
Big Y: $595 (was $695)


Assorted projects associated with have a growing number of autosomal tests (FamilyFinder)  as people explore their ancestry outside of the direct paternal lines covered by Y-DNA.

For the Y-dna, FAIRBAIRN and RUNCIMAN in particular, we are gradually working our way down the Y-DNA haplogroup tree using nominated a nominated representative, but don't let that stop any of you curious about the refinement of your haplogroup, the more data the better!

Sunday 27 April 2014

DNA & Arbor Day sale

DNA Day is a holiday celebrated on April 25. It commemorates the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and colleagues published papers in the journal Nature on the structure of DNA. Wikipedia
I wonder if they realised what they started in the way of genetic genealogy?
FamilyTree DNA are havine a short sale to celebrate both this and the launch of their updated Y_SNP tree.
A good time to be in if you've been thinking about testing, and/or refining your position on the haplogroup tree of mankind.  

Customers that have already taken a Y-DNA test can refine their new haplotree by taking 20% off all SNPs!  Customers that have not taken a Y-DNA test can buy the Y-DNA37 test for 20% off too!

Order now because these amazing offers are valid only through April 29, 2014.

Savings (no coupon code required)
The Runciman and Fairbairn projects will be taking advantage of the SNP testing discount to try and further refine the position of our main matching kits.


Saturday 29 March 2014

Two new Australian Projects

From Gail Riddell (via NZDNA project and Rootsweb Genealogy-DNA list):
"I write to advise (with much pleasure) that FTDNA have given their approval to me to pioneer two new Australian Projects.

They are both categorised as Dual Y DNA and mtDNA Geographical projects and the only person currently within either of them is me.  :~)

Consequently, I need to broadcast this far and wide as I am aware we have many Australian testers within our ranks.  (Even if you have ONLY tested atDNA (Family Finder) to date, it matters not.  Just join.

The "Australian Convicts" project is primarily aimed at those poor sods (male and female) who faced the tribulations of that unknown sea journey in the late 18th century.  It will also welcome those who were later transferred to Norfolk Island.

The "Australian Settlers" project is aimed at anyone whoever entered the land as a settler or traversed the rigours of the Convict status and became bone fide settlers.

If you are interested in joining, the Convicts project is at
The Settlers Project is at
Very little in the way of blurb has been prepared at this time, although it will come. 

If you join, you will need to supply me with either the Fleet and the ship on which your ancestor(s) arrived (for the former) and the port(s) of arrival of your most distant Australian immigrants (both direct male lineage and direct female lineage).  If you have only tested atDNA (FF), then that information is unnecessary. 

If you do NOT know on which ship your convict ancestor arrived, please do NOT join the Convict project and opt only for the Australian Settlers project.

Kind regards
Gail Riddell"

Friday 28 March 2014

mtDNA 4 day sale

Family Tree DNA have announced the following:


mtDNAFullSequence Addon and New Kits - Was $199 US Now $139 US
mtHVR1toMEGA Upgrade - Was $149 US Now $99 US
mtHVR2toMEGA Upgrade - Was $159 US Now $89 US

Orders need to be placed and paid for before 11:59 PM Central Time April 1, 2014.

To order an upgrade to an existing kit, log into your account at FamilyTreeDNA.
If not already tested at FamilyTreeDNA, simply order a new kit.

If you have a specific problem able to be solved by testing two matrilineal descendants, now is the time to be in.
Alternately you may simply be interested in your deep maternal ancestry, thousands of years ago, or wish to contribute to the overall knowledge of womankind.
For general genealogical timeframes however, mtDNA isn't all that useful unless you have a full sequence match and a good maternal line papertrail.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Haplogroup R1 tree

Chromo 2 results received for a descendant of Archibald HENDERSON have allowed a few more branches to be added to the Haplogroup R1 tree (which is by no means complete, only showing those on the site who have agreed for the DNA results to be shown, and is using a mix of old and new terminology for the branches).

Many thanks to those on the FamilyTree DNA R-L21 project who analyse such things to help us place our ancestors on the overall trees.

So far we know that there is at least one other person on the same branch (terminal SNP concerned is S7361).
Even though this branch of the Y-tree is still (presumably) well back from genealogical timeframes it would be good to hear from others down the same branch of L1335 > L1065>S744>S691>S7361 to compare notes on our respective ancestry.

If all this terminology is bewildering, check out the ISOGG Wiki, and join an appropriate message board or mailing list, eg the RootsWeb Genealogy-DNA list

Tuesday 14 January 2014


The maternal haplogroup chart has been updated to include a branch for T2e - mainly because my own 2*great grandmother (Amelia MILLAR)'s direct maternal descendant's full results have arrived.
A quick web search indicates that this is unlikely to help me break through that particular brick wall in a hurry.

Friday 10 January 2014

Are you getting the most out of your investment?

Here's what looks like another fantastic tool (Autosomal DNA Analyser) to help you explore your matches.
Roberta has written up some great instructions on her DNA Explained blog.
There goes what I was set to do today!

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Learn more

Remember that FamilyTree DNA has a useful Forum.
Do register and check for interesting discussions and announcements.
In the Announcements section, Rebekah Canada (Web Presence and Customer Engagement, Family Tree DNA) has just posted the schedule for Live DNA Webinars from FTDNA in January, along with links to on demand Webinars already available.

Check out what's there at the above Forum link.
Given their recent launch of X chromosome features the one on X Chromosome Matches may be a hot favourite.
Others cover managing your personal account, and explaining your results (part 3 on FamilyFinder) and many more from DNA basics to advanced topics, I quote, "about the genetics and usage of Y-DNA testing. We will cover the following topics: NIST standards, compound markers, palindromic & multi-copy markers, genetic distance models, modal values & triangulation, micro-alleles, recurrent SNPs & SNP discovery projects."

Friday 3 January 2014

Family Tree DNA X matches

Have you done a FamilyFinder test with Family Tree DNA?
If so, this post from CeCe Moore's blog may be of interest as FTDNA have released a set of new tools for exploring your X chromosome matches.
Your download matches from the Chromosome Browser now contain a chr. 98, FamilyTree DNA's name for your X chromosome data.

Haven't had too much time to experiment as yet, but the "match" criteria seems to be lower than the default setting on GedMatch.

Remember that if you have a tree on WikiTree you can easily see who you contributed to your X chromosome.
Log in, select the person of interest and click on DNA in the menu.

Under each person are several symbols which indicate the type of dna the person has

Y (males only, inherited from their father, and passed on to sons), X for all of us, but for your ancestors, X will only show under those who contributed to the root person's X chromosome, mt for us all, but only inherited from your mother (and passed on by daughters), au for automsomal dna, inherited from all of your ancestors, but significant amounts really only detectable for dna matches back to your ancestors 4-6 generations away.

If you click on an ancestor's Y, mt, au or X symbol as you will be sent to the section of the page dealing with who contributed to the X chromosome of the person concerned, remember to scroll up to see the pedigree again.