01 December 2009

23andMe Success Story

The new rage in DNA testing is with 23andMe. They test autosomal markers for ancestry and health purposes. This means for your genealogy you can now match testers who are not on just your Ydna or your mtDNA lines. You can match people who are anywhere in your pedigree charts.

This last October I ordered their Complete Edition which includes data for my health and for my ancestry. You can order these separately, getting only the Ancestry test, if you wish. This story, however, is about my genealogy.

With 23andMe, at the moment, testers need to "opt in" to communicate with other testers. Under their section Relative Finder, I see that I have 239 people who match me. However, only twenty-one of them have allowed communication with testers. Of those twenty-one, only eleven have actually made contact. I am waiting for the other ten to open their email and reply to my invitation to share, one way or another: Accept or Ignore.

The company lists the Predicted Relationship which can range from very closely related to distant cousin. I happen to have one 3rd cousin who, unfortunately, has not opted to converse with anyone as yet. Most others are 4th and 5th cousins. I have two listed as Distant Cousins. The probable rankings for cousins are given in a Relationship Range from 3rd cousin to 7th, 8th, 10th, etc., depending.

Columns also give you the % of DNA Shared and the # of Shared Segments. Of course, the higher the numbers for these two, the better. 23andMe only deals with matching information within certain parameters, so other people could match you that are not listed. It is understandable that they want to provide matches that are reasonable. Also, remember that this isn't a full genome test. It only covers a bit over a half million markers. More people could match you if all areas were tested, but most of us cannot afford that.

Lynleigh was listed as my 4th cousin with a relationship range from 3rd to 7th cousin. We shared .23% of our DNA. While that does not sound like much, you must consider that it is enough to determine relationships as the comparison is based on having a block of result which matches. We match on one DNA segment, Chromosome 20.

This match can be seen under the link Family Inheritance. Here you compare your genome result with that of another person. A blue section appears where the match is.

Both Lynleigh and I share the same haplogroup: U5a1. However, in this testing, unlike mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA), that is not important. The mtDNA test deals with the all female line (bottom line of a pedigree chart for the person who is number one on the chart). This is not where we match.

On November 12th, I sent her a message stating that 23andMe found we are related. After she accepted my invitation to connect, I sent her a list of surnames for my 4th great-grandparents on both sides of my family also including the states that were relevant for each. I then refined it to add my direct ancestors' full names, a date, and the county for each state, hoping that a county would help narrow the search.

She sent me her list, and I commented on those that were directly or indirectly related:

... Eads is connected to my Simpson line.
... Bowling to the Talley line.
... Roberson could be Robertson.
... Stokes were near Stokers in Southside VA and NC.
... Powell is connected to Talley.
... Rodgers could be Rogers.
... Shelton is connected to Doolin.
... Simms connected to Canterbury.

Then I suggested:

"Maybe we should share more detail on some lines. For example where were your Eads in VA ... and your Jenkins in PA? Although Jenkins is a Welsh name, it does not mean we can connect them even if they are neighborhood due to the naming patterns. Mine were in PA in the late 1600s...some may have stuck around. I think that some of the Watson line (from Albemarle Co, VA) did land in NC or SC, but they are not in my direct line. SO ... some of these may be worth checking, especially if you and I have sibling info. This will surely teach people not to do just their direct lines!"

On November 13th, Lynleigh asked to Genome Share. This can be done on a Basic or Extended level. The Basic level allows you to see which chromosome is matching. The Extended level allows you to share health information. We decided to do the Basic Sharing, and we learned that the matching result is on Chromosome 20.

November 28th, Lynleigh found our common ancestor! Actually, her husband Yasuyuki does the genealogy and found it. Since I had only sent my 4th great-grandparents, her husband had to do my genealogy to be certain. Without a dedicated researcher, we may still be searching. Sending more information would have helped more easily.


23andMe predicted we are 3rd to 7th cousins, so they are pretty accurate.

Lynleigh's lineage:

1. William Simpson, b. 1750 Edgecombe Co, NC; d. 1813 Caldwell Co, KY
...+Mary UNKNOWN
2. Nancy Simpson, b. 1775 Caldwell/Livingston Co, KY; d. 1838 Gasconade Co, MO
...+John Eads, m. 1795 Caldwell Co, KY
3. William Eads, b. 1797 Christian Co, KY; d. 1846 Des Moines, IA
...+Rebecca A. Roberson, m. 1818 KY
4. Cyrene Eads, b. 1823 Gasconade Co, MO; d. 1906 Macoupin, IL
...+James E. Andrew, m. 1840 Des Moines, IA
5. Martha Leviscus Andrew, b. 1858 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1940 Champaign Co, IL
...+Wililam Jackson Shelton, m. 1881 Macoupin Co, IL
6. Earnest Andrew Shelton, b. 1882 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1955 Jersy Co, IL
...+Edna Alice Galloway, m. 1904 Macoupin Co, IL
7. James Glenn Shelton, b. 1917 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1979 Champaign Co, IL
...+Marguerite Ann (surname withheld)
8. Lynleigh's parents
9. Lynleigh

My lineage:

1. William Simpson, b. 1750 Edgecombe Co, NC; d. 1813 Caldwell Co, KY
...+Mary UNKNOWN
2. Benjamin D. Simpson, b. 1777 Caldwell/Livingston Co, KY; d. 1853 Osage Co, MO
...+Mary (Polly) G. Roberson, m. 1808 KY
3. James Simpson, b. 1818 KY; d. 1849 en route to CA
...+Rebecca Syrene Miller, m. 1842 MO
4. Syrena Simpson, b. 1844
...+Henry Jefferson Williams, m. 1861 Osage Co, MO
5. Benjamin Franklin Williams, b. 1874 MO; d. 1952 MO
...+Tina Mae Simpson
6. Georgia Fay Williams, b. 1898 Pulaski Co, MO; d. 1980 Wyandotte Co, KS
...+Guy Franklin Doolin, m. 1918 Pulaski Co, MO
7. Emily's parents
8. Emily

Not only do I have a new cousin, I have a research partner!

In 23andMe results, you should consider all aspects of your genealogy. You must realize that any connection may be (and is more likely to be) through a line that crosses gender and/or from lines that branch off from any of your ancestor's siblings. As you can see from my connection with Lynleigh, each of us crosses gender in almost every generation.

From this experience I have learned a great deal. The following suggestions may assist you in finding your common ancestor more quickly:

1. If you have not done so, choose to correspond with those who match you on 23andMe. If you cannot find the link to "opt in" for corresponding, email the company at:
help(at sign)23andme.com

It is VERY important that everyone decides to correspond even if you are a novice at genealogy or DNA.

2. Research all aspects of your lineage, including the siblings of your direct ancestors and some of their descendants. I have always had the general rule of researching three generations either side of my direct line. You could connect anywhere along the lines and more likely along lines that branch off of your ancestor's siblings. All those descendants are important to finding the connection.

3. Set up a simple website with your lineage details or put them in a Word Document, including at least:

... a. Names, dates, and locations of all your direct ancestors and all their spouses.
... b. Surnames of all the children's spouses.
... c. If any of your lines have tested for DNA with other companies, refer to that project link.
... d. If you have found connections on lines through 23andMe, mention where those are in your lineage.

4. Write some details of your lineage in the Invitation. If you have set up a website, include the link.

5. Share as much detail as possible about your family either through your website or in a Word Document that you can copy and paste to the 23andMe messages you write to your cousins. At some point, everyone will be comfortable sharing personal emails.

6. Start searching and researching. DO NOT give up. The common ancestor is there!

Success is SWEET!

If you have any DNA success stories, email me so I can post them here. Perhaps another cousin is reading this blog!

29 Nov 2009
aulicino(at sign)hevanet.com

1 comment:

Vidar Øverlie said...

What a great story. I will explore this type of DNA testing too.

Thanks for an excellent blog.