18 November 2011

Pitts Project DNA Success Story

DNA testing for the use of genealogy has produced many success stories over the years.  Genealogy research will always have a dead-end where DNA testing can give you matches with cousins when the connection is current to hundreds or thousands of years old, depending upon the test taken.  Many of these stories can be seen under Success Stories for the ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) website.  Many stories have not been printed anywhere.  David has three such stories on the Pitts website, but the one below is the most current.

In the past I have posted some of the success stories for my projects and have found that others recognize the names, so more cousins were located and more genealogy shared.  If you would like your DNA Success story posted here, email me.

The particular story is a result of testing Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test, an autosomal test which gives the testers matches anywhere in their lineages back to 5-6 generations, and allows you to compare shared segments on each of our 22 pairs of chromosomes. There are exceptions that give matches farther back. For example, if an ancestor married his or her cousin, the descendants would inherit more autosomal DNA from that couple than from others in their lineage.  For this reason, a predicted match of a 3-4 cousin could be a 6-7 cousin or so in reality.  The Family Finder test can also help adoptees find more recent cousins who may know more than they about their lineage.

Family Tree DNA has many of their tests and upgrades to tests on sale now through the end of December so take advantage of the most accurate tool a genealogist has.  See the post prior to this one for details of the sale.

Family Finder DNA Success Story for Group 1 of the Pitts DNA Project 

We had long suspected that Mary Lenora Pitts was a daughter of Pitman Pitts (b. 1784 VA) and Mary C. Andrews Pitts. This was, in part, due to the 1860 census showing Mary Lenora and another girl (possibly granddaughters) living with Mary C. Andrews Pitts. We had tried for several years to figure out a way to test this hypothesis using mtDNA by testing the descendants of Mary Lenora Pitts to a living person who was in a direct female line. But the other two daughters of Mary C. did not produce viable direct female lines.

The autosomal Family Finder test, however, made testing this hypothesis easy since the lines could be mixtures of males and females.

I matched Nancy (the descendant of Mary Lenora) on chromosome 3 and my sister Imogene matched her on a slightly larger segment in the same area on chromosome 3 (both with the Affymetrix and Illumina chips). My 3rd cousin once removed (Sue, verified by both Family Finder and Y-dna with her brother at 67 markers exact) matched Nancy on Chromosome 5 with the Affymetrix chip but not with the Illumina chip. My 1st cousin once removed, Celestine, however, did not match Nancy with the Affymetrix chip, but did match her on chromosome 16 with the Illumina chip. So all four of us that tested matched Nancy. We are fourth cousins with our most recent common ancestors being Pitman Pitts and Mary C. Andrews Pitts.

David Pitts
Pitts DNA Project co-administrator

Emily Aulicino, 18 Nov 2011

15 November 2011

Family Tree DNA SALE

Dear Project Administrator,
As we approach the holiday season, we feel having one BIG promotion for a sufficient amount of time best supports our volunteer Administrators, in their effort to recruit new members. Current members will also benefit by having simultaneously reduced prices for upgrades.
Effective immediately this promotion will end on December 31, 2011.
We hope that this will give a big boost to your projects!
New Kits
Current Group Price SALE PRICE
Y-DNA 37 $149 $119
Y-DNA 67 $239 $199
mtFullSequence $299 $239
SuperDNA (Y-DNA67 and FMS) $518 $438
Family Finder $289 $199
Family Finder + mtPlus $438 $318
Family Finder + FMS $559 $439
Family Finder+ Y-DNA37 $438 $318
Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-67) $797 $627
12-25 Marker $49 $35
12-37 Marker $99 $69
12-67 Marker $189 $148
25-37 Marker $49 $35
25-67 Marker $148 $114
37-67 Marker $99 $79
Family Finder $289 $199
mtHVR1toMega $269 $229
mtHVR2toMega $239 $209
Log in to place your order You are welcome to share this information with the members of your groups.

As always, we appreciate your continued support.
Family Tree DNA

09 November 2011

DNA and Social Networking by Debbie Kennett

DNA and Social Networking: A guide to genealogy in the twenty-first century
by Debbie Kennett

The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port Stroud, Gloucestershire, gl5 2qg (www.thehistorypress.co.uk), 2011.

I must admit that I personally know Debbie Kennett as we both attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Conference in London every year. She is a delight and a go-getter when it comes to genealogy and genetic genealogy. Debbie has written several wonderful articles for genealogical magazines in the UK, and I’m pleased to see she has published a very timely book.

Few books have been published by genetic genealogists in the United Kingdom; however, Ms. Kennett’s book not only addresses the basics of using DNA testing to assist genealogists but the advantages of social networking. Although written for the British population with examples from her own project, there are many methods and suggestions that are applicable for any family historian and/or any genetic genealogy researcher.

The book is divided into two sections: The Genetic Genealogy Revolution and The Social Networking Revolution. The forward is written by Chris Pomery, author of two DNA books.

The Genetic Genealogy section gives an overview of the basics of DNA testing, the three major tests for the genealogy research with their uses and limitations clearly explained, and suggestions on establishing and running a DNA project. Several charts and screen shots enhance this section.

This is the first known book to address the new autosomal testing done by Family Tree DNA and 23andMe. I was pleased to see the chart on the average percent of autosomal DNA shared with close relatives as well as a chart for the inheritance of the X chromosome.

The Social Networking section of the book covers a large variety of areas where genealogist converse directly with other genealogists or can gain a wealth of information using the web.

Ms. Kennett reviews traditional networking methods including family history centers, journals, e-mailing lists, message boards and forums. Of course, depending upon when a family historian began researching and the fact that the internet was not accessible to the general public until the 1990s*, some of these resources may not be viewed as traditional by everyone. But perhaps they are traditional methods when considering the recent interest in and advancement of social networking for genealogy and the speed with which it has grown.

For genealogy networking sites, Ms. Kennett includes various paid and free genealogical websites which go beyond mere conversations with other genealogists. These sites offer the ability to establish online family pedigree charts as well as obtain genealogical data and converse with other genealogists. Features vary with each site.

The use of current social networking systems such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and others has greatly increased contact with people around the world who are not necessarily genealogists, but who may have an interest in their ancestors. Ms. Kennett discusses how genealogists use these forums to reach possible relatives for either sharing genealogy or for genetic testing to prove relationships.

Another portion addresses Blogs which range from personal online diaries to information on a variety of topics on researching, resources, and DNA testing for genealogy. Ms. Kennett offers information about RSS Feeds to easily monitor all the blogs you wish to read. She also gives advice on free blog sites, and on writing and advertising your own blog.

Wikis, online collaborative encyclopedias, cover a myriad of topics, and as Ms. Kennett has helped establish the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)’s Wiki, her knowledge is invaluable.

The Multimedia section explores several sites that allow users to share photo with others. Projects have been established for entire countries with the goal to upload photographs of people and tombstones throughout the country. Videos on various genealogy subjects have been added to the web through RootsWebTV. Genealogy companies have shared information through YouTube. Various Podcasts allow researchers to download topical information on various subjects and interviews with knowledgeable personalities. Webcasts allow the attendee to stream the presentation live through the internet. Some webcasts are free; others are not. Webinars, similar to Webcasts, differ in that they allow the audience to give feedback. Online storage and sharing devices such as Google Docs can be a boon to genealogists who need to share or store large files.

Over time any genealogist has hundreds of bookmarks saved as “favorites”, but if you use more than one computer or wish to share any of these with researchers, you need to export those bookmarks. Few browsers can do this, but Ms. Kennett’s book offers a solution through the use of social bookmarking websites that allow you to store all your bookmarks online and share them easily.

The Voice and Video Chat section provides several resources such as Skype which allows the researcher several options: to make free phone calls with or without the addition of live viewing, to type messages similar to Instant Messaging or Chat in other programs, and to share files much faster than regular email.

Appendixes provide a selection of DNA websites, Testing companies, DNA projects, Surname Resources, a Glossary, and a Bibliography.

One topic of great interest to me, as it has been one of my “soap-boxes”, is what happens to your DNA tests after your death. Who manages it? I have had several testers in my DNA projects die, and in most cases, I found out months later while checking the Social Security Death Index. Humans procrastinate when it comes to our own mortality, but as an administrator of several DNA projects, I find this most important for us to consider. Ms. Kennett takes this a step further, asking who will care of all your online activities.

Although she says the easiest solution is to leave written instructions in your will regarding your online presence, she offers several online sites that deal with these issues. Every genealogist wants their work to be preserved, if not continued, and our future generations need to know our wishes.

In conclusion, it is wonderful to see that a book for genetic genealogists not only touches on the newer autosomal tests, but that it focuses on helping the genealogist and genetic genealogist get the most out of the social networking system.

I am always excited to see another book being published for the genetic genealogist, and to have one that brings the researcher into the twenty-first century is wonderful!

Excellent work, Debbie!

*The first commercial dial-up ISP was established in 1990 and the first webpage was created in 1991. The first email was sent in 1971, but the general public began using it until much later. RootsWeb.com was established in February 1996 by two genealogists in a mountainside cabin, creating the beginning of online genealogy!

The book is currently available in the United Kingdom and will be available in the US in a few months through Amazon.com.
9 Nov 2011

08 November 2011

7th Annual Family Tree DNA International Conference, part 2

ISOGG hosted a reception Saturday night with food and drinks as usual.  Many gathered to share opinons aobut the day's presentations as well as rekindle friendships and meet new attendees.  Bennett and Max had opened Saturday morning with statements that the first word in the name of the company was family and that they considered all of us family.  Having time to share our lives with each other does strengthen our bonds beyond our hobby and does make us sort of a family.  I know many have established some great freindships.  We look forward to this gathering every year, but it often means the end is near.  Although there is excitement about the presentations for Sunday, there is thoughts of packing, printing boarding passes, getting the hotel bill paid, catching a flight ... and a pang of sadness.  Most of us do not see each other but once a year, and many of us have to leave before the last word is spoken on Sunday.  Sadly, I was one.  When you live at the edge of the earth, few flights are available when you want them.  For this reason, the last Q & A is very short, and I'm sure other bloggers can fill in the gaps.


ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) met.

· Katherine Borges recognized the June death of Kenny Hedgpath who was one if the founders of ISOGG and the November death of David Brown of the Rose Y-DNA Project. Both are greatly missed.

· Create A Book  at the ISOGG Wiki site. This allows you to create material for your projects, for a speaking engagement or any other use where you need to share material using pages from the ISOGG Wiki.

· Alice Fairhurst spoke about the Y-DNA Phylogenetic Tree.  She heads the committee to keep it current. She reports that they have had 1,000 hits on that site by academics and students as well as from genetic genealogists. The site is within the YCC guidelines. The site incorporates all known SNPs and is growing so quickly that it is a struggle to keep updated. Alice requests that you forward her any academic papers regarding SNPs.

· Katherine spoke about the ISOGG PAC which is a political action committee with no money behind it as ISOGG is a non-profit. However, those who wish to join may and help with writing campaigns, etc. to be a voice for genetic genealogists in the academic world with regard to federal and state regulations which are under consideration.

Elliott Greenspan, head of the IT department at FTDNA, presented on IT Roadmap 2011: The Year in Review and Looking Ahead.

There have been may changes over the last year, including new GAP pages, updating the FAQs, and now new personal pages which will be viewed by administrators this week and released to the public after they are beta tested for a few weeks.  A very interesting note is that FTDNA is looking at an event-based model rather than using Genetic Distance since multiple differences on one marker are often one event. This will make matches more realistic and not so distant in some apparently quickly mutating family groups.

There is a new advanced matching which combines the Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Family Finder for matching. EX: If you compare all three with a person you match, you may discover that in FF you are a match and are also in Y-DNA, so you know the match is on your all male line. What a wonderful new tool!

We viewed the SNP Map, and it will be a great new tool! It shows where in the world all the testers are for certain SNP which allows us to see where there is concentration of this of this marker.

Dr. Michael Hammer, FTDNA's Chief Scientist, and member of the Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Hammer is a Biotechnology Research Scientist at the University of Arizona. He co-authored the first paper showing that present-day Cohanim are descended from a single male ancestor.

His presentation on Neandertals in our Midst: Just How Modern is our Genome? was very interesting. He said that there are at least three instances of humans interbreeding with archaic species: once in Africa, with the Neanderthals in the Middle East, and with the Deniosvans in Southeast Asia between.

Peter Biggins spoke on the DNA of the Three Collas
In his review of the Clan Colla Null 425 project, he mentioned that it is believed that the clan is descended from three Colla brothers who lived ca 400 AD in Ireland. This clan encompasses many different Irish surnames, and all members of this project are R-L21+. Every member who has tested has also been discovered to be R-DF21+. The work of groups like this is surely narrowing the field for those who have lost their ancestors’ connections to the homeland due to the diaspora.

Jessica L. Roberts, formerly an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School and an Adjunct Professor of Disability Studies at the City University of New York, has joined the faculty of the University of Houston Law Center as an Assistant Professor of Law where she teaches Introduction to Health Law, Disabilities and the Law, and Genetics and the Law. She is currently focusing on the theoretically implications of health-care reform, implications of genetic identity, and antidiscrimination protection of health-related information.

In her presentation DNA Tests and the Law: Pitential Use of Ancestry Tests for Immigration, explained how DNA Ancestry testing has advantages and disadvantages at this time. There are issues in determining specific groups (cultural, religious, ethnicity, political, etc.) by DNA testing and the government usually wants to know what group the immigrant is. Those entering from another country are not allowed lawyers so who would advocate for them regarding DNA testing.  At this point in time, using DNA does not seem feasible.

Richard Hill, an FTDNA Administrator, spoke about his search for his biological parents in An Adoptee’s Journey to His Ancestral Surname.

Richard was adopted, but wasn’t told until he was in college ... and not by his parents. Upon visiting a doctor who wasn't finding a reason for his symptoms asked how Richard felt about being adopted. No doubt an amazing shock. 

Richard took us through his journey which was seemingly rather easy on the surface. Using clues he followed the path to a man named as his father in his birth certificate, but after a paternity test, Richard realized he was not.  More clues lead him to a man with four brothers, any of which could be his father.  With DNA testing at Family Tree DNA and some good genealogical sleuthing, he actually determined who his biological parents were.
Not everyone who has been adopted wants to find their parents. Not all parents want to be found. At Family Tree DNA, about 40-60% of those who test do discover their ancestry.
Richard has an excellent website for learning the basics of DNA testing. You can download a free booklet on understanding DNA testing as well as some great tutorials. He also has information regarding adoption and much more. Richard is available for presentations. Contact them through his website.

* Bennett states that the micro-alleles have been recorded for all who have tested since 2001 and will now be reported in the GAP charts and incorporated into matching.
* The “in common” feature on Family Finder can only be applied to confirmed relatives due to privacy issues.
* There will be a sale from FTDNA probably starting at the end of this week which will go through the end of Dec.  It is not know what will be for sale. 

Watch this blog for the announcement of the sale coming later this week.  Be ready to order your test or upgrade. 

Now to start thinking about Who Do You Think You Are? Live and London, February 2012!

8 Nov 2011

07 November 2011

7th Annuall FTDNA International Conference - Nov 2011

The Family Tree DNA 2011 International Conference started with a bang! Once again, administrators gathered at the SheridanNorth in Houston, Texas for two days of knowledgeable speakers on various DNA subjects. The conference started with the usual Friday night no-host bar where the FTDNA staff, speakers, and administrators renewed acquaintances and chatted away. It is always wonderful to see friends and many new faces!

As I could write a blog for each speaker, below is a short version of Friday evening and Saturday only.  Sunday will follow.

I do want to thank many of you who followed me and others on Twitter, but to explain there were technical difficulties. We were trying to use one private Wifi entry and as many people in the room were accessing the link for Internet and also following the tweets. It was a case of overload. I wasn’t able to post the tweets quickly and there was a big backlog. Most of us were just knocked off the system the afternoon of the first day with more problems on Sunday. For this reason, blogging is the way to learn more. BUT, I suggest more of the administrators try to come next year and those who aren’t administrators of a DNA project, become one and join us!

Friday Evening:

Family Tree provided a room for a no-host bar at 7 p.m.  Many who had arrived gathered to meet old friends and see new faces.  Photos were taken; old times revisited.  I had Dr. Wells autograph a couple of his books.

Dr. Spencer Wells

When speaking to Dr. Wells at the Friday night reception, he praised the Family Tree DNA community (we genetic genealogists) for our contributions and impressive knowledge. I turned the praise to him and the National Geographic Society for the Genographic Project which gave us more DNA matches throughout the world, showed us the importance of developing more DNA projects, and enhanced our knowledge of ancient populations and their migration. Dr. Wells used a term which was repeated several times throughout the conference and which impressed many attendees with whom I spoke. He called us Citizen Scientists. When I questioned him about that term, he sincerely expressed that our group was very knowledgeable about genetics. He mentioned his surprise of our knowledge when he first attended his first FTDNA conference a few years ago and that our knowledge and understanding has grown from there. We have seemingly impressed him.


The morning began with Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfield, owners of Family Tree DNA, expressing their sincere thanks to all of us. We learned that FTDNA has tested over 600,000 people, has the largest number of mtDNA and SNPs, and has the largest Y panel with 111 markers.

We also learned that Archives.com is partnering with Family Tree DNA to sell its tests. John Spottiswood and Julie Hill attended the conference for the announcement and gave us an overview. Archives.com started in November 2009, but has quickly added vast numbers of records, with their newspaper collection being larger than their nearest competitor (Ancestry.com). I was asked to review the site a few weeks ago and found it easy to maneuver. I also found that John and Julie were very helpful and listened to my suggestions. I was told they listen to their customers and find that is true as they have already implemented some of my suggestions.

Archives.com has 18 of 20 of their nearest competitor’s (Ancestry.com) top databases and will soon have the top 20. All of the census images will be ready by the end of 2011, and they are working on the 1940 census to have it ready soon after it is available in April 2012 with all its indexing ready a few months after that.

Besides the databases, the company has available tools to create a family tree and share it in email, video, and on social media forums such as Facebook. Their Expert Series contains quality articles and tutorials on various topics. Another feature allows you to order copies of particular court records (for more recent years) from "on the ground" researchers.

Attendees near me were very pleased with what they saw from Archives.com even before Archives announced that all present would receive a year’s subscription free. The subscription is only $39.95 per year, quite affordable for anyone and well worth the cost. FTDNA is forming a committee, under the direction of Katherine Borges, for feedback to Archives. You can email me with your suggestions as I am part of that committee.

FTDNA also announced that for those who tested for 23andMe with the v3 chip, they can convert their result to FTDNA in about 6-8 weeks for about $50. There is also discussion at the company that those who tested with 23andMe and who did not upgrade to the v3 will get a discount on FTDNA’s Family Finder test. This is wonderful news as it will be easier to view all our matches in one spot and to use the Family Finder Tools. The FAQs have been updated recently to make the pages more understandable for those who are new to this test.

AND…another great announcement was that the personal webpages for FTDNA testers have been rewritten and the 2.0 version will be viewable by GAPs (Group Project Administrators) will be available for viewing about Tuesday of this week. Testers will be able to use the new pages in a few weeks after this beta testing is over. The pages are easy to use, cleaner, and there is a wonderful tutorial to walk you through each section.

Dr. Spencer Wells, geneticist and anthropologist, and an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, leads The Genographic Project which through genetic testing of indigenous people around the world intends to show the migration pattern of out most ancient ancestors and how they populated the world. He is the author of The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey(2002), which explains how genetic data has been used to trace human migrations over the past 50,000 years, when modern humans first migrated outside of Africa. He also wrote and presented the PBS/National Geographic documentary by the same name. Dr. Well’s book, Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization, (2010, Random House) addresses early man's transition from hunter-gatherer to an agricultural basis during the Neolithic revolution (10,000 years ago) and its impact on today’s civilization and problems.

Dr. Wells' presentation Genographic Project Update:  News from the Field, tells us that National Genographic is wrapping up phase 1 and is transitioning to phase 2. We received a review of the project and the three levels: testing of indigenous peoples throughout the world, public participation and the Legacy Fund.

When the Genographic Project started there was a small ($20) bet at the Society that the project wouldn’t sell 10,000 tests. That number was sold the first day! To date, Genographic has sold over 420,000 kits and has raised 3 to 3 ½ million in Legacy Grants. Those grants are going to several cultures to help preserve their way of life. Dr. Wells stated that the world loses one language every two weeks and that cultural diversity is what has allowed our success as humans. Fifty-two grants have been issued so far, and one grant was given to save the Yagnobi language which was the language spoken along the Silk Road of Asia. Another was to save an Aboriginal dance while another is helping with the knowledge and preservation of medicinal plants. Anciently used medicinal plants are still a basis of today’s medicine.

Dr. Wells stated there is a strong correlation between Genealogy and Language clusters. Between the more recent time for genealogies and the periods of more ancient ancestry, there is a large gap. Scientists are not yet sure if Genealogy-Language model will be more helpful for that gap or archeological model. That is now of interest.

Interestingly, Dr. Wells mentioned recombination as a new type of genetic marker with the goal of moving beyond the Y and mtDNA testing and initially into the X chromosome. There is more focus on the SNP markers and their break points. There is software to infer connections for this, and he used the term Reco-Type DNA.  We all know from a recent survey that something is in the works at the Genographic Project.  Is this is?

Regarding R1b, our currently largest Y-DNA haplogroup, Dr. Wells thinks that R1b arrived during the Paleolithic period, but using Y is not going to be the answer for the R1b originator.

Many papers from the Genographic Project will be published soon with two regarding the Basque culture due this week with many more to follow.
Dr. Bruce Walsh, FTDNA's chief Population Geneticist is an expert on population genetics and has authored many leading texts on the subject.

Dr. Bruce Walsh

Dr. Walsh covered the basics of DNA referring to his talks as DNA Boot Camp. He covered the weaknesses and strengths of Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal testing. The Y-DNA is excellent for determining matches along the all male line within genealogical time, depending upon the markers tested (more markers; closer time frame). The mtDNA is good for the all female line; however, is it is slow to mutate, any matches could still be out of the genealogical time frame. For finding matches in the last 5-6 generations, the Family Finder test, which uses autosomal DNA, is best.

He stated that testing the autosomes gets you around broken lineages, but that our autosomal DNA is not passed intact. It is recombined with each conception. This means that each sibling has a different combination of autosomal results. He urges that we look for blocks of matching segments which are larger in size (around 10 cM+). Dr. Walsh reminded us that one centimorga (cM) represents roughly 1 million DNA basepairs, and that our entire genome contains ~3000 cM. The smaller cMs lean toward "noise" in the system, but they could be either real matches or false positives. Using smaller cMs he likened to deepsea fishing to find your common ancestor.

Two Breakout Sessions:

Dr. David Pike holds a PhD. in Discrete Mathematics from Auburn University (Alabama) and is currently a Professor in the department of Mathematics and Statistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Presenting on Phasing and Other Analysis of Family Finder Results, Dr. Pike clearly explains that "Phasing entails separating the alleles of a person so that those inherited from the mother are distinguished form those inherited from the father." This works best by testing many siblings and even better if you have data from one or both parents. For example, with the raw data if a child has a GG (G is the chemical base Guanine) then naturally the child received one from mom and one from dad. However, if a child has an AG (Adenine and Guanine), you don’t know which was received from which parent unless you test one or both parents. If mom has GG in this location and dad has AG, you know that the A for the child was from dad and the G from mom. This is a simplification of Phasing as there are other situations which make it a bit more complicated.

He stated that regarding small blocks (cMs) if you do not Phase the data you cannot be sure if there is inherited false matches. By phasing you can rebuilt the DNA of a dead parent. By Phasing you can infer where a match is in your pedigree. See Dr. Pike’s tools for Phasing at the ISOGG Wiki. Click on the Autosomal Tests (AtDNA) link and then to the Autosomal DNA link. Click here to see his tools. 

For more on Phasing, Dr. Pike referred us to Whit Athey’s Fall 2010 article in the Journal of Genetic Genalogy

Dr. Krahn, courtesy of FTDNA

Thomas Krahn is the Technical Laboratory Manager of  FTDNA's Genomics Research Center in Houston.  He graduated from the Technical University of Berlin in biotechnology and genetics. His interests lie in resolving questions in biological heritage.

In Dr. Krahn's presentation Walk Through the Y Update, he states that to date there are 366 participants in Walk Through the Y (WTY) with 125.8 million basepairs sequenced and 458 undocumented Y-SNPs found! Of the total number of testers, 167 did not find a new SNP in their DNA. Some of these testers are very knowledgeable and actively seen other participants who are likely to add to the project. New SNPs from this are prefaced with the letter Z. Click here to view his presentation.

Peter Hrechdakian, born in Aleppo, he grew up in Lebanon before immigrating to the US in 1975 where he attened college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Philosophy form Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) and a Masters in Business Administrtion from Harvard Business School in Boston. He currently lives with his family in Brussels, Belgium.

Peter spoke about The Armenian DNA Project stating that over 600 Armenians have been tested since 2009. Armenians are a very diverse population with 14 major haplogroups which provide 80 distinct Y-DNA subclades and 13 major mtDNA haplogroups with 67 subclades. The Armenians and Assyrians have similar Y-DNA and mtDNA…amazingly similar from the charts! Thirteen project members have tested in WTY with 10 new SNPs found.

There were 2 million Armenia’s before World War I, but about 1 ½ million were killed by the Turks through acts of genocide from 1915-1923. As a result the Houshamadyan Project  documenting various aspects of Armenia life village by village.

Dr. Steve Morse

 Dr. Steve Morse, author of the website "One Step Pages", hold a degree in electrical engineering and is the architect of the Intel 8086, predecessor of today's Pentium processor. He has written numerous technical papers as well as four textbooks, and holds three patents. Genealogy is now his passion and he has developed a webpage

Dr. Morse gave two presentation, one each day. He walked us through various aspects of his website which can be quite useful for those wishing to find Ellis Island ancestors, locate census more easily than using other companies, accessing census through street addressed or Enumeration Districts, finding information on immigration, passenger ships and much more. On Sunday he showed his DNA tools allowing someone to update their marker result to Ysearch and his colorization charts for Ysearch, FTDNA results or for any spread sheet. Family Tree DNA has used his colorized charts as an option for test results for administrators for years. Other tools help you with having your personal bookmarks available for any computer, various calendars (although I see that the Old Style calendar is missing), finding rual areas in census, and much more.

I have used his site to view the census at Ancestry.com and find it most helpful. You only need to enter the data on an ancestor and then change the census year field to view subsequent censuses for that ancestor.

At the end of each day, Family Tree DNA there is a Q & A session. Some short answers:

Family Finder is only reasonably reliable back to the third cousin, although in some circumstances one can find a common ancestor farther back, as in the instance of an ancestor who married a cousin.  In this case you typically have more DNA from that ancestor than normally.

* Possible results for parts of the Geneographic project could be available about March or April 2012.Possible results for parts of the Geneographic project could be available about March or April 2012.

* Samples at Genographic will probably be discarded in 2012, but it could take a year to do so.Samples at Genographic will probably be discarded in 2012, but it could take a year to do so.

* Some presentations will be uploaded to FTDNA and availableSome presentations will be uploaded to FTDNA and available

* There are no STRs on the mitochondria, although there could be one, but it is questionable. The mtDNA is paced with genes and is small.There are no STRs on the mitochondria, although there could be one, but it is questionable. The mtDNA is paced with genes and is small.

* For testers who have died, if they have given relatives permission to manage their test results, FTDNA will honor that. (BTW, email me if you would like a form for that purpose so it is in writing.)For testers who have died, if they have given relatives permission to manage their test results, FTDNA will honor that. (BTW, email me if you would like a form for that purpose so it is in writing.)

* With 8 year old test samples some work; some do not. Using old samples with the illumine test work about 90% of the time. (My suggestion: upgrade NOW)With 8 year old test samples some work; some do not. Using old samples with the illumine test work about 90% of the time. (My suggestion: upgrade NOW)

* Storage of DNA samples may be extended from 25 to 50 years.Storage of DNA samples may be extended from 25 to 50 years.

* FTDNA has a Facebook page where they have sales on tests when their "likes" reach a certain number. Their largest promotion to date occurred just a few months ago. Presently they have 16,000 Facebook members hitting "like" for the site.FTDNA has a Facebook page where they have sales on tests when their "likes" reach a certain number. Their largest promotion to date occurred just a few months ago. Presently they have 16,000 Facebook members hitting "like" for the site.

Order a DNA test through FTDNA.  If you have questions regarding which test fits your needs, email me.

Sundays sessions to follow.

7 Nov 2011