08 March 2014

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

For the first time, organizers of Who Do You Think You Are? Live changed the conference from Friday, Saturday and Sunday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Sunday was always very slow, so those of us who have been attending for the last six years were curious to see what this change would mean.

Although attendance was down from last year, the numbers for each day were really consistent.  (Thanks to Brian Swann for the following information.)

Thursday 20 February          4,253
Friday 21 February              4,353
Saturday 22 February          4,522
         Total                                 13,128

A few overall views of the Olympia Hall

We experienced this consistency at the Family Tree DNA stand as well.  The line at the stand often went the entire length and at times wrapped around the corner.  All of us were too busy to get a photo of the longest lines. Many of us were doing “triage”, as we called it, (answering questions and explaining what test would best help the customer) before the customer reached the table to swab.

Actually, even with the lower attendance FTDNA sold more test kits than ever before.  About 3 p.m. on Saturday they ran out of all they brought and many that a local administrator had in store.  At that point, they kept selling and told customers they would mail the kit at no charge to them. As a result, we can only state that they sold over 580 kits. However, this year not as many free kits were given away by administrators.  It is always just luck on who walks by the ISOGG stand to see the list.

And what a nice treat. My distant DNA cousin on my paternal line, Gerard Corcoran from Dublin (whom I actually met in Shanghai a few years ago) came to London.

Thursday all the helpers at the FTDNA and ISOGG stands arrived and by 10:15 the presentations began.  Maurice Gleeson, our Irish Leprechaun of London along with his helpers Debbie and Brian, organized all the speakers and recorded most of their presentations which can be seen on U-Tube.  DNA Lectures - Who DoYou Think You Are 2014.  As the audio on Friday did not work, some of the presentations are not available, but will be in time. 

There was a wonderful selection of speakers this year.  The schedule as follows.

10.15  DNA For Beginners – the Three Tests with Debbie Kennett
11.15  Autosomal DNA – A Step-by Step Approach to Analyzing Your atDNA Matches with Maurice Gleeson
12.15  Men, Metal and The Recent Re-Peopling of Western Europe with Mike Hammer
13.15  Who are the Europeans? With Jean Manco
14.15  Citizen Science – An Online Community Approach to Researching Haplogroup R1b1a2 with Andy Grierson
15.15  Scottish DNA – Clans, Families and Surnames with Alastair Macdonald
16.15  Combining Traditional and Genetic Genealogy – The Pomeroy DNA Project with Chris Pomery

10.15  Which DNA Test is the Best for You? With Maurice Gleeson
11.15 Autosomal DNA Projects – What Are They and What Can you Get from Them? With Emily Aulicino
12.15  How DNA Re-Wrote My Family Tree with Geoff Swinfield
13.15  Did Your Folk Go Wandering as Rome Fell? With Jean Manco
14.15  Out of Africa and Ancient Migrations to Europe and Britain with Chris Stringer
15.15  Famous British DNA with Katerine Borges
16.15  Chromosomes, Conquerors and Castles – DNA Test and the Cruise/Cruse/Cruwys One-Name Study with Debbie Kennett

10.15  The Basics of DNA Test with Katherine Borges
11.15  Autosomal DNA Success Stories – How atDNA solved Family Mysteries with Maruice Gleeson, Katherine Borges and Emily Aulicino
12.15  Men, Metal and The Recent Re-Peopling of Western Europe with Mike Hammer
13.15  Genetic Investigations into the Black Death in London with Kristen Bos
14.15  Finding the Fallen – Identifying Remains Recovered from the Western Front with Andy Robertshaw
16.45  Wales, DNA and Surnames with Brian Swann

Most of the group
Chris, Katherine, Max

George, Nora, Craig
As usual FTDNA treated us all to dinner at Pizza Express Thursday. We filled two rows of tables this year, and I'm not sure I captured everyone.

James, Andy Grierson, Joss, Debbie

Of course, Katherine had to order the infamous Dough Balls which resulted in all of us explaining the story to the new attendees. You'll have to attend to get the scoop!

At the close of the conference, someone opened a bottle of wine and Max opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Then we all posed for a group photo before we all headed to dinner together at Yaz, an Indian restaurant across from Olympia Hall, courtesy of FTDNA.
Back: CG, Brian, Derrell, George, Nora, John and Ann, Bennett, Max,, Andy Grierson, Chris, Candy, Katherine, Debbie
Front: Maurice, Linda and Emily
Joss is missing as he took the photo

Of course after the three days of work, we played. 

On Sunday some of us visited Winchester Cathedral.

This year it was a trip to Oxford on Monday to hear Bruce Winney do an encore of his WDYTYA presentation with more time for questions.  
While in Oxford we had a lovely lunch at the Red Lion.
Then, a quick trip to the Bodleian Library, a huge depository for all books printed anywhere since Medieval times. Oh, to have time to explore that resource!

Katherine, Emily, Brian, Craig, Debbie, Linda, Maurice
Some of us visited Oxford Castle where we put Maurice in the stocks and all stood for a mug shot.

On Tuesday some traveled to Warwick to see the castle there and had a delicious lunch at the Gateway CafĂ©  under the guidance of Chef Katherine.  

Once again a wonderful time in London gathering DNA samples in hopes that the testers can make progress with their genealogy, that some of them are related to us, and spending great times with our wonderful friends across the pond!

So who  is coming with us next year?


01 March 2014

Big Y is rolling on...


      My, oh my!  The Big Y is here!

Since the Family Tree DNA Conference last November, thousands of Big Y tests have been ordered, but only 100 Big Y tests were released February 27th with the remaining initial orders to be delivered over the next month.  At that point the backlog should be resolved, and the Big Y will keep rolling on...

The Big Y explores your deep ancestral lines and is intended for those who are interested in discovering what SNPs appear on their Y-chromosome. This extensive test uses next-generation sequencing and maps the SNP positions. The Y-chromosome has about 60 million bases, but a large percentage is inaccessible or cannot be reliably tested with today’s technology.  The gold standard is said to be 10 million bases, but the Big Y targets over 13 million and gets from 11.5 to 12.5 million reads on the average.  The Big Y tests over 25,000 SNPs out of the 36,562 known Y-SNPs in the FTDNA database.

First, let’s back-up and clarify what a SNP is:
      A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; pronounced snip) is the most common type of genetic variation in humans, according to the Genetics Home Reference website.  SNPs can be found throughout a person’s DNA roughly one SNP in every 300 nucleotides on average. With 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, that is about 10 million SNPs per human. Each SNP is a form of mutation (change) and represents a difference in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide. For example, a SNP may result in the replacement of the base cytosine (C) or guanine (G) with the base thymine (T) or adenine (A) at a certain location on a chromosome.  Generally, these markers mutate only once, although back mutations or reversions (a situation where a mutation results in the nucleotide being restored to its previous condition at that location) do occur.
      As a mutation is carried forward in the consecutive generations, SNP markers help determine haplogroups for Y-chromosome DNA. For genealogists, narrowing those haplogroups to detailed subclades (sub-branches) is beneficial.  It helps them determine with whom in the general population they have a closer genetic relationship (a match).
      When a new SNP is found, a new haplogroup subclade is determined, but before the geneticists declare a new haplogroup subclade, a required minimum number of people must have the new SNP. This is the major reason why some haplogroup project administrators will ask testers from projects to test for a certain SNP. These haplogroup administrators wish to increase the number of known testers for that SNP so the geneticists will place it on the phylogenetic tree. All the descendants of the person with this newly discovered SNP will carry that mutation, and that mutation defines that new group.

Big Y Results
The customer’s personal web pages will contain two tabs.  The first is for reporting Known SNPs while the second is for Novel Variants; that is, the list of SNPs not on the list of 36,582 known and previously names SNPs.  So clearly, this test may produce some future SNPs among some families or clans which are currently not recognized.

Known SNPs
The customer’s webpage for Known SNPs includes several columns: SNP Name, Derived?, On Y-Tree?, Reference, Genotype, Confidence.  The default is 10 items shown at a time, but more can be viewed.  The lower left tells you how many entries are in your result, stating something similar to “Showing 1 of 10 of 25,000 of 36,564”.  All the results are shown, both positive and negative so there is no question about whether a specific location was tested, or its results.  There is also the option of a no-call or poor confidence call at that location.

The SNP Name column is just the names of the SNPs listed alphabetically. You can search on the full SNP name or a partial name. 

The Derived? column indicates whether the particular genotype is ancestral or derived.  Derived means the individual is positive for the SNP.  There options to SHOW ALL, YES (+), NO (-) or ?.  The question mark means the SNP is a no call, the SNP is not in the coverage region or there is not enough data to determine its value.)  The default is YES.

On Y-Tree? column indicates whether the SNP exists on the Y-chromosome phylogentic tree.  The options to filter this column are: SHOW ALL, YES, NO.

The Reference column provides the nucleotide base (adenine, cytosine, thymine or guanine) as indicated by the GRCh37 human reference genome which is maintained by the Genome Reference Consortium.  Those options include: SHOW ALL, A, C, T, G

The Genotype column is the tester’s nucleotide base at a given SNP potion.  Those options include:  SHOW ALL, A, C, T, G, ?.  The question mark means the result is not known.

The Confidence column is a score that represents how confident FTDNA is in the accuracy of the data for that SNP.  Options include:  SHOW ALL, HIGH (no question at that location), MEDIUM (ok, but the bottom of the border line to be called high) and UNKNOWN (not clear enough to call or no data).

Novel Variants
The second results page covers Novel Variants which are the list of SNPs that not on the list of 36,582 known and previously named SNPs.  These SNPs will be analyzed on an on-going basis in the case a SNP is significant enough to be given a name and added to the Y-phylogenetic tree (Y-haplotree).  However, some SNPs may remain novel and could signify a private, family or clan variant.  Project administrators may submit these novel SNPs to be considered for naming via the SNP Request form on their GAP (Group Administrator Pages) website. However, getting these new SNPs approved will take time.

This page provides columns for Position, Reference, Genotype and Confidence.  These columns are the same categories as above, but are for the SNPs not on the Y-haplotree.  All novel mutations are being reported by a reference number which can be compared to like data from any source.

There is also the following links on each page: 
Help (refers you to the FAQs on the topic, but FTDNA is transitioning to their Learning Center)
Haplotree (links to your haplogtree page)
Y Reset (allows you to rest the filters to the default filters)
Download Raw Data

Downloading the raw data cannot be done until sometime next week.  Files can be downloaded by using 3rd party tools, VCF (Variant Call File) which is a tab-delimited system that can be imported to Excel (A sample VCF file can be found in the 1000 Genomes Wiki) and BED file  which is a text file that shows a range of positions.  BAM files will be available soon as the delivery method is being finalized since the file is so large.  Insertions and deletions are included in the download files, but not reported on the customer’s results page.

Once all the customer data from this initial sale is loaded into a huge database, the new SNPs that are found in enough of the population to be named will be added to the Y-haplotree, and at that time, a customer who has not taken the Big Y could order that particular SNP. Novel variants will remain that, and will continue to be reported on client pages.

In about six weeks FTDNA will publish a paper on the average number of novel SNPs per person which are being found, the mutation rates, and findings.

HaploTree version 2014
The new Y-tree is coming, honest!  The reason for the delay includes the “SNP tsunami” as the Geno 2.0 has helped increase the size of the tree to about 8 times larger than it was four years ago. The Big Y will increase it even more.  Negative results for SNPs that are downstream of the most terminal positive SNP will be included.  For example L21+ on the R tree has 9 downstream SNPs which will be reported on the tree, even the negative result for a tester. However, if there are no negative SNPs for an already terminal SNP, there can be no further reporting as in the case of M222+.  Future updates to the tree will record the positive SNPs on your webpage.

Suggestions Welcomed!
If you have a suggestion for additional Big Y tools or features, email Elise or Rebekah and they will forward the request to management for consideration.

To learn more about the Big Y consult the following, as I did.
FTDNA Learning Center (to view the various pages mentioned above)

FTDNA Forums


Genetic Genealogy Blogs
DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy http://dna-explained.com/2014/02/27/big-y-release/

You may always see a list of scheduled webinars on the Family Tree DNA webinar page. http://www.familytreedna.com/learn/ftdna/webinars/

Ordering Individual SNPs or the Big Y
Once the results of the thousands of tests which have been ordered are available, others who appear to have the same Y-SNP signature may wish to order individual SNPs to determine their terminal SNP (last currently known SNP on the Y-haplotree for which you test positive), but remember that 17 SNPs at $39 each is the cost of the Big Y so confer with your haplogroup administrator first. Once the backlog is cleared, the results can be expected in about 8-10 weeks. Order from Family Tree DNA.

1 Mar 2014

24 January 2014

Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond

My book on genetic genealogy is finally in print, and it feels very strange promoting yourself; however, every blogger has different followers, and as this is the first book which covers so many aspects of genetic genealogy for nearly a decade, forgive me for being shameless.

I decided to write this book after not being able to convince those who are more knowledgeable than I to do so.  I needed a more current source for members of my audiences so I could reduce the time in answering basic questions repeatedly.  Not that I mind answering, but it became an issue of time.

SO...to review my own book, I share the following from the back cover:

Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond provides genealogists, both budding and experienced, with the knowledge and confidence to use DNA testing for their family research. The book guides genealogists through the introductory level of understanding various tests to a more advance level of determining what DNA segments came from which ancestor. 
Genetic Genealogy explains how DNA testing helps when written records stop and discusses how testing can prove or disprove oral family history.  The book describes which tests can help adoptees find their biological families and mentions a website that offers free assistance for testing and locating adoption information.
Genetic Genealogy helps you understand why you resemble your relatives and explains how DNA testing can connect you with cousins you never knew existed. Steps for encouraging potential cousins to test are outlined.  The more adventurous can find guidelines for becoming a project administrator, a genetic genealogy speaker or a facilitator for their genealogical society’s DNA interest group.
Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond will help both the experienced and the fledgling researchers become genetic genealogists able to use DNA testing to resolve their genealogical roadblocks. 
My book can be ordered through these online publishers: AuthorHouse, Amazon and Barnes and Noble  or from your local bookstore upon request.  It is available in trade paperback as well as an e-book for both the Kindle and Nook. 

ISBN:  978-1-4918-4090-0 (trade paperback)  
ISBN:  978-1-4918-4089-4 (e-book)

Here's a few comments from those who have reviewed the book:

“This is the first time in years that a book has been devoted to genetic genealogy. It is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on this topic, which shares the rare distinction of being both an addictive hobby and a scientific discipline. Emily is one of the early pioneers of genetic genealogy, and like a passionate tour guide, she takes us on an enthralling journey from the fascinating basics of this new science right up to the current state of the art. There is something for everyone here, whether you are a beginner or at a more advanced level. And with practical examples drawn from her experience of using DNA to break down brick walls in her own family tree, Emily has created a comprehensive instruction manual with a very big heart.”
                                                                   ̶ Dr. Maurice Gleeson, Genetic Genealogy Ireland

"Writing a single volume overview of DNA testing is growing more difficult year on year as the field becomes ever more exciting and complicated. Emily's book is a comprehensive description of the key genealogical uses of DNA testing as they existed in 2013. Leavened with examples and experiences, it contains loads of practical advice, particularly on the newer tests like FTDNA's Family Finder."
                                                                   ̶ Chris Pomery, author of Family History in the Genes:

                                                                     Trace your DNA and grow your family tree

“Finally, a book for beginners about genetic genealogy, written in a way everyone can understand.  Emily not only covers the basics, but includes such hot topics as autosomal DNA, how to work with your various kinds of matches and what all of the numbers mean.  Now everyone can get the most out of their results.  This book is destined to become the Bible of genetic genealogy!”
                                                                   ̶ Roberta Estes, DNAeXplain – Genetic Genealogy

AND...once again, I thank the many people who did help edit and contribute information for the good of the whole genetic genealogy community.

I dearly hope that you will find some helpful information within the pages and that all of you will continue to share your knowledge of how DNA testing helps genealogy.

23 Jan 2014

07 January 2014

Cruizing the Gedcoms

A few months ago Family Tree DNA offered $10 coupon to any tester who had not uploaded their Gedcom.  This coupon is good for any test over $49 and there is no expiration date.  I previously wrote about this and it appears that many people did upload.  However, not near enough.

I recently went through all my pages to see who had a Gedcom.  I found 152 gedcoms uploaded ourof 652 matches.  I found at least one person with themselves and their parents uploaded; nothing more.  I found another person with 3-4 generations, but only gave names; not dates or places.  Not a great showing given that many people are genealogists.  I was surprised that I had many matches whose lineage was totally outside of the U.S.  Their generations were extensive.

I’m not inclined to share my lineages just anywhere.  I have worked for too many years (read that:  decades) and have extensive sources for my lineage.  However, only the matches you have at Family Tree DNA can see your Gedcom.  It’s not like posting it to the world.

So why should you upload your Gedcom to FTDNA?

I went through those 152 Gedcoms and found common ancestors for five of my matches.  Yes, not a huge number, but it’s not only five more than what I had, but we can now dialogue on who matches them where they match me as well as look at each of our downloaded DNA segments to determine if others may be connected on the same line. 

Of course, having up to 12 generations (although only 9 are posted on FTDNA) and knowing as many descendants of your direct line ancestors makes locating common ancestors much easier.

Excluding the matches with cousins that I personally know and those cousins I previously found in other ways, the following are those discovered by checking their Gedcom only.

 Williams-Miller and Sherrill line
Predicted cousinship is 5th cousin to remote.
Chromosome 6    Start:  108534117    End:  127839034    cMs:  14.73    SNPs:  3900         

This 5th cousin 1x removed relates to me through two different lines of my pedigree chart.  It is not unusual in colonial times that families intermarried. Such is the case here.  Of course, the advantage is that the descendants have more DNA that normal so it is easier to match people.  The predicted match may be more recent than it actually is.  This is a major reason to have your pedigree charts as far back as possible and as extensive as can be for the descendants of your ancestors.

Line 1: Philip E. Williams, born ca 1792 and died in Jackson County, Alabama married Catherine Miller, daughter of Jacob Miller and Sarah.

Line 2: Adam Sherrill, born between 1698 and 1701 in probably Cecil County, Maryland and died between March 1772 and May 1774.  He married Elizabeth Unknown.  Adam’s parents were William Sherrill and Margaret.

Predicted cousinship is 5th cousin to remote.
Chromosome 10    Start:  119446450    End:  127738898    cMs:  16.4    SNPs:  2950                     
My 6th cousin along my Canterbury line is probably quite happy that I viewed all these pedigree charts as I was able to give her 4 more generations along that line.

Predicted cousinship is 3rd to 5th cousin.
Chromosome 1    Start:  82521165    End:  108398491    cMs:  24.51    SNPs:  6897
And oh, what a lucky 6th cousin 1x removed on my Bourn line.  I gave her 3 more generations.

Predicted cousinship is 3rd to 5th cousin.
Chromosome 18    Start:  72484246    End:  76116152    cMs:  13.94    SNPs:  1243           

Although listed as a 3-5th cousin we are actually 6th cousins 1x removed as we match a few times on these lines.  As this connection to my cousin crosses lines a few times and we each have several connections, the following graph may clarify the connection.  I descend from Arvarilla’s son William and my cousin from her daughter Sarah who married Moses Sherrill, son of Adam. The double lines indicate marriage.

Predicted cousinship is 3rd to 5th cousin
Chromosome 1    Start:  207383843    End:  223509712    cMs:  16.84    SNPs:  4200                     
My match’s ancestor Jacob G. Lycan(s) is the father-in-law of my 4th great grand uncle.

At this point in time the Lycan(s) surname is indirectly related to me, but finding this Gedcom added more details to my chart on the spouse’s side. This makes me wonder if there is not a marriage to someone in my direct line that I do not know about yet.  I do know the surname was used as a middle name for many relatives in my Canterbury line. There has to be a connection somewhere.

As more people upload their Gedcoms more common ancestors will be found. However, those Gedcoms must be as detailed as possible for the best results. As genealogists, it does little good to call our work done; we must continue filling in the gaps.  Although more and more records are becoming available on the internet, a good genealogist knows that is not the only resource as most records are still found in the courthouses and various other depositories.

Let’s make this year a great success for genetic genealogy and finding our common ancestors!


7 Jan 2014

X-Chromosome Browser Success!

Within minutes of Family Tree DNA releasing the X-chromosome information to our Family Finder webpages, I was able to determine which ancestor gave Rebecca, my second cousin, and I a portion of our X-chromosome.

Rebecca and I matched on our X-chromosome at these two points:

Start location             End location               cMs                 SNPs
  45611715                    69267006                  14.32               1575   
 114784651                  141333316                  39.54               3575   

How did I find the most recent common ancestor who contributed these segments so quickly?

First of all, I knew this cousin was on my mother’s all-female line.  BUT, more importantly, I used Blaine Bettinger’s female inheritance fan chart for the X-chromosome to determine which ancestors could have contributed this portion of our X-chromosome to each of us.

This fan chart for women is different than for men so download each copy.  The women's if found here. The men's can be found at this website. If you prefer a list of ahnentafel numbers for your ancestors who provided your X-chromosome DNA see this site for Ann Turner's list.  I make an ahnentafel chart and omit all but the numbers in Ann's list.  This is forwarded to my matches for their convenience.

Note the pink and blue areas for the female inheritance in the chart below.  These are the only ancestors who could have contributed to any portion of a female’s X-chromosome.  Like any pedigree chart, you enter the names of your ancestors in the respective places.  I have completed one for quick reference.

For this comparison, I plotted my lineage on the fan chart as seen in the expanded portion of the chart below.

As I know Rebecca is on my mother's line, I focused only on that area.  I received my X-chromosome from my mother Beverly who received it from her mother Emily.  Emily, my grandmother, received one X-chromosome from her father Lowry and one form her mother Mary.  SO, which X-chromosome provided the portion I received that matches Rebecca…Lowry or Mary’s?

To answer that question, I plotted Rebecca’s lineage as below.

As you can see the only common ancestor who could have provided this X segment to each of us was Mary.  For Rebecca, Lowry did not contribute to her X-chromosome since Lowry could not give his copy of his X-chromosome to his son Robert.  However, Robert gave his X-chromosome that he inherited from his mother Mary to his daughter Margaret.  Margaret gave this X-chromosome to her daughter Rebecca. (Note that for a female, the X-chromosome from her mother can recombine or mix with the X from her father, but in this case we know we are dealing with Rebecca's maternal line.)

As there are two segments that Rebecca and I share and we only have Mary as a common ancestor, both segments came through her.  However, without additional matches along Mary’s X-chromosome inheritance lines, we cannot be certain which of Mary’s ancestors contributed.  It is possible that each of the two segments inherited by Rebecca and Emily from Mary were from two of her ancestors, but there is no guarantee these segments are intact as the two X-chromosome women receive can recombine (mix) like other autosomal DNA. Finding others who match Rebecca and Emily in this area may provide clues as to which ancestors gave this portion of their X-chromosome to Mary since the other matches could relate farther back in generations.

Family Tree DNA has provided genetic genealogists with a new toy for the New Year!  Thank you, FTDNA.

NOTE:  Any success story is something to celebrate.  Share your DNA successes here by emailing me.


7 Jan 2014

05 January 2014

Webinars from Family Tree DNA

New to DNA testing for genealogy?
Confused by the various tests and how they can help?

The following list of Webinars were received today from Family Tree DNA.  Attend them all!

Live DNA Webinars from FTDNA in January

Family Tree DNA Feature Launch: X Chromosome Matches in Family Finder
Time: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT)
Registration: http://bit.ly/19Wohgg

On January 2, 2014, Family Tree DNA launched an exciting update for Family Finder: X chromosome matches!  This webinar will provide a brief overview of the new tools on the Matches and Chromosome Browser pages for viewing and analyzing your X chromosome match information.

myFTDNA: Managing Your Personal Account at Family Tree DNA
Time: Thursday, January 9, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT)
Registration: http://bit.ly/19WorUP

Learn your way around your personal myFTDNA account at Family Tree DNA! We'll cover basic account settings, where to locate your results when they come in, how to upload a GEDCOM (family tree), how to update your Most Distant Ancestor information and map coordinates for your ancestral location, how to join projects and account privacy. (Note: This webinar does not cover interpreting your results. We have other webinars dedicated to understanding your results!)

Family Tree DNA Results Explained, Part 3: Family Finder
Time: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT)
Registration: http://bit.ly/196yt7L

An information-packed webinar focusing on how to read and understand your Family Finder results. Learn about autosomal & X DNA inheritance, how Family Finder determines your relationship with your matches, how to use the Chromosome Browser, and much more!

Mind the GAP: Beginner's Guide to the Group Administration Page at Family Tree DNA
Time: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT)
Registration: http://bit.ly/Ks1oaN

Family Tree DNA has over 7,000 surname, geographical, heritage and haplogroup projects. All of these projects are run by volunteers who have a passion for genetic genealogy. This webinar provides an in-depth look at the many tools available in the GAP for project administrators. If time permits, we’ll also discuss member recruitment and other project administration topics.

Advanced Topics at Family Tree DNA, Part 1: Y-DNA
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 12pm Central (6pm GMT)
Registration: http://bit.ly/JVMR6F

This advanced webinar goes beyond the Family Tree DNA Results Explained webinar series, providing more in-depth detail 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.

Recorded On-Demand Webinars

Introduction to Family Tree DNA
Any Time Recording
Registration: http://bit.ly/1cGd447
This FREE Online Seminar will help you learn the basics about Family Tree DNA's Y-DNA, mtDNA and Family Finder (autosomal DNA) tests. Elise explains what each of these tests can tell you about your ancestry and how to decide which test to order based on your personal interests and goals. She shows the basics of personal myFTDNA account where all of your results are reported as well as example results from each test. Elise will also gives a brief overview of our group projects and other resources available at Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA Results Explained, Part 1: Y-DNA
Any Time Recording
Registration: http://bit.ly/1cis4qI

In this information-packed webinar, Elise focuses on how to read and understand your Y-DNA results. Learn where to find your Y-DNA results in your personal myFTDNA account, how to read your Standard Y-STR Results and what they mean, how to analyze your Y-DNA matches, what your Y-DNA haplogroup means and much more. She also provides tips for making the most of your Family Tree DNA experience

Family Tree DNA Results Explained, Part 2: mtDNA
Any Time Recording
Registration: http://bit.ly/18K1lCG

In this information-packed webinar, Elise focuses on how to read and understand your mtDNA results. Learn where to find your mtDNA results in your personal myFTDNA account, how to read your mtDNA Results page and what the results mean, how to analyze your mtDNA matches, what your mtDNA haplogroup means and much more.  She also provides tips for making the most of your Family Tree DNA experience.

5 Jan 2014

02 January 2014

X-Chromosome Matching at Family Tree DNA

What a New Year’s Celebration!  The long-awaited X-Chromosome matching has arrived at Family Tree DNA and is now fully integrated it into Family Finder matching!

Happy Dance!  Happy Dance!

But what is the X-Chromosome and how is it different?

The X-Chromosome is one of the chromosomes that determine gender. A female has two X-chromosomes (one from mom and one from dad). Males have one X-chromosome from mom as he receives the Y-chromosome from dad. The X-chromosome inherited from a mother acts like autosomal DNA in that it goes through recombination and is passed to all of a mother’s children.  A father passes a copy of his X-chromosome only to his daughters and it does not go through recombination.  Since the X-chromosome has a unique inheritance pattern, it contains genetic material from some, but not all of a person’s ancestors. The DNA from the X-chromosome is informative about both recent and deep ancestry.

The following fan charts from Blaine Bettinger’s blog are most helpful in understanding exactly who can contribute to the X-chromosome as it is inherited differently from the rest of our autosomes (those 22 other chromosomes) as well as for each gender. (Fan charts are courtesy of Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D.)

If you prefer a list of which ancestors could have contributed your X-Chromosome data, create an ahnentafel chart from your genealogy software and omit any numbered ancestors except those in the following chart.  The following numbers are the ancestors in your ahnentafel chart that have contributed to your X-Chromosome.  Share the an ahnentafel chart you created for your X-Chromosome with your X-matches  to help focus on finding the common ancestor.

Female Inheritance




Male Inheritance with Percentages

55 (12.5%)
235 (6.25%)
3 (100%)
123 (6.25%)
237 (6.25%)
6 (50%)
125 (6.25%)
238 (3.125%)
7 (50%)
126 (3.125%)
239 (3.125%)
13 (50%)
62 (6.25%)
127 (3.125%)
245 (6.25%)
14 (25%)
63 (6.25%)
213 (12.5%)
246 (3.125%)
15 (25%)
106 (12.5%)
214 (6.25%)
247 (3.125%)
26 (25%)
107 (12.5%)
215 (6.25%)
250 3.125%)
27 (25%)
109 (12.5%)
218 (6.25%)
251 (3.125%)
29 (25%)
110 (6.25%)
219 (6.25%)
254 (1.5625%)
30 (12.5%)
111 (6.25%)
221 (6.25%)
254 (1.5625%)
31 (12.5%)
117 (12.5%)
222 (3.125%)
255 (1.5625%)
53 (25%)
118 (6.25%)
223 (3.125%)

54 (12.5%)
119 (6.25%)
234 (6.25%)

Viewing the X-Chromosome at Family Tree DNA

Links for the X-Chromosome have been added to the various Family Finder pages, so navigating the pages are basically the same for locating any of your matches information.

Use the pull-down menu under Family Finder and click on Matches.

On the Family Finder Matches page, there is a filter to show only X-Matches under the Relations drop-down menu.

When you use the X-Match filter on a male Family Finder kit, you should get only matches from the maternal X-Chromosome.

Next, like other Family Finder Matches you can expand the advanced bar for a match and click to add the match to the Compare in Chromosome Browser list.

Matches are then added to the Compare in Chromosome Browser list. By clicking on the Compare arrow, you could go right to the Chromosome Browser.

You can also go right to the Chromosome Browser from the Family Finder drop-down menu to view your X-chromosome matches.

The Chromosome Browser allows you to filter the match list by X-Matches. Under the drop-down menu Filter Matches By, select the X-Matches.

Here are three immediate relatives. The first two share X-Chromosome DNA. The third (green) one does not.

When you scroll down to the X at the bottom, we see that X-Matching is displayed for the first two but not the third.

The X-Chromosome matches have also been added to the Advance Matching section. Select Advanced Matching from the Family Finder drop-down menu. An X-Chromosome link has been added here as well.

X-Match is an option that can be checked alongside other types of testing.

Now, our autosomal results are complete!  Happy Dance!  Happy Dance!

Tea for two; two for tea
X for you; X for me
Now it is possible to see
All the matches of WE!

Emily Aulicino

2 Jan 2014