08 November 2007

Family Tree DNA International Conference 2007


I have returned from the Family Tree DNA International Conference in Houston (Oct 20-21) to report that my two presentations went well and many new administrators thanked me and mentioned that they learned a lot. AND...I have some information on new perks for all of us.

First of all, Family Tree DNA will be changing it's webpages and many of its features in the near future. This is exciting news as the system is really just too old to fix. They hired computer guru and genealogist Adrian Williams who has run the Williams DNA Project for years. Adrian is a wonderful asset to the company.

Secondly, FTDNA is creating a My Maps link which will show testers where the most ancient ancestor lives for people who closely match. This is a major improvement and different approach to the current map found on the public project websites. This link will improve with each phase. The first version of My Maps will show all the people who match you or have close matches on a 12, 25, 37, and 67 markers. It will show where the oldest ancestors lived, if the people who match you enter the longitude and latitude of their town or city under PREFERENCES at their FTDNA Personal Web Pages. You will only see those who have entered a longitude and latitude for the oldest proven ancestor. In this case the same close DNA is more important than the surname. Close haplotypes on many markers and a similar geographic location can indicate a close relationship, given the knowledge that people tended not to move.

The idea behind this is that from the 1600-1800s about 80% of the population married someone from the same or next village, less than 10 miles away. Therefore, a close genetic match equals a close geographic match in this time frame with the exception of those who migrated for some reason. Migration cannot be controlled, of course. People migrated to escape the law, religious persecution, to hide from family, to gain better or more land and no doubt many other reasons.

Of course, the higher the number of markers which match, the better the probability that your ancestors came from the same area as the other tester since this would show a much closer match/relationship.

To prepare for this feature.
Each of us needs to encourage our project members to enter the longitude and latitude for KNOWN locations of the oldest PROVEN ancestor and to do it accurately. Project managers should check the location of the balloon on the current map to determine accuracy as many people are landing in the Indian Ocean, etc. Below are instructions for placing the balloon properly.

It is VERY important to only place ancestors for whom you KNOW their geographic town or city. In some cases it is better to add a county/province if that is all that is known. To do so; however, you would need to use the longitude and latitude for the county seat or some other large town. Do indicate after entering the name (See #4 below) that you only know the county by stating it thusly:
James Doolin, b. 1755 VA; r. Pulaski Co, KY
(Note that I do not know where in Virginia James was born, but know where he lived. It is be better to use a fact than a guess.)

Steps for adding Longitude and Latitude:
Go to your Personal FTDNA Web pages
Scroll to the bottom of the page where you see: Paternal Side, etc.
Enter the name of your oldest PROVEN Ancestor for the line you tested. Also include a date where possible and a specific location. Example: James Doolin, b. 1755 VA; r. Somerset, KY
Do the same if you have tested for the maternal side (REMEMBER: These lines should be only for those tested….all male or all female)
Find the Hyperlink just above the Paternal Side box. The sentence reads: “The latitude and longitude fields should have a decimal format only placed in them. To find a location in the decimal format click here.
Click on the hyperlink and read the instructions.
Enter at least the country and a city and click GO.
Copy and paste the Latitude and Longitude to the boxes on your USER PREFERENCE web page
EX: Latitude: 37.093
Longitude: -84.601
NOTICE: If the minus sign appears before the Longitude, then copy it as well or
you may be placed in the Pacific Ocean, etc.
Check the project’s website map to see if you have been properly placed.

NOTE: Google Maps do have a glitch. If you are the first person to put in a town, then all is well. If you are not, then the balloon will not show as Google maps can only do one dot for each location. In this case (and until FTDNA can find a better mapping system), just tweak the latitude or longitude by increasing or decreasing the last number my one. This changes the “minutes”, but it is relatively close in locale. IF you add the location to the name of your oldest ancestor, this will help anyone viewing your balloon on the map. In other words, if I cannot get Somerset, KY to show a balloon, at least I have it after the name.

Also, FTDNA has announced their annual Gift to everyone. This year we see the return of the Gift Certificate. Please contact me if you wish to purchase a test and get the prices below by joining (temporarily even) a DNA project. If you go straight to the FTDNA site you will pay much more.

Each Project's General Fund will receive the following: two $30 Y-DNA37 2007 Gift Certificate two $15 Y-DNA25 2007 Gift Certificate two $15 mtDNA 2007 Gift Certificate

The certificates are for NEW testers only.
To use the certificate, the Administrator must place the kit order via INVOICE PAYMENT. The test price will be adjusted to reflect the gift certificate discount. CREDIT CARDS WITH THIS PROMOTION AS THE CARD WILL BE CHARGED THE FULL AMOUNT.

The Order must be placed and paid for between November 6, 2007 and December 31, 2007.
These gift certificates are NOT redeemable for cash, with any other offers or for existing kit upgrades.

If you know anyone you would liked tested, please email me with the name, address, phone number, email addr and the particular test you wish. I will then order your kit via INVOICE and you will receive it in the mail. The invoice will reflect the discounted gift certificate. When you submit your DNA sample, you send a check for the amount stated.

If you have any questions, please email me.

This is a first come; first served basis. I will try to get extra certificates, if possible and will let you know if I can.

Best wishes,