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


Bob Daivs said...

I agree about the frustration at people not posting gedcoms, and I had gedcoms posted for several of us. However, after the updated user interface to Family Finder several months back, I found they no longer showed up on match screens as having a gedcom, while they did show up if each person displayed their gedcom from within their own account. I solved this by deleting the gedcoms I had previously uploaded and re-uploaded them for all of us. Voila, the gedcoms showed up on the matches screen. FTDNA obviously had a glitch they never corrected even though I alerted them. It makes me wonder how many people out there think they have a gedcom uploaded, but in fact it doesn't show up to those they match.

Genealem said...

Bob, thank you for your comment. I know that at one time FTDNA allowed people to upload gedcoms separately for paternal and maternal sides. When the atDNA came along, they wanted everyone to remove those (or they probably did) and upload one gedcom. No doubt some were unable to do that for various reasons, but one would think that if you are still living and able you would be visiting your site, replying to email, etc. Perhaps that is the case for some, but to add three generations of names and nothing else (no dates) is not helpful. That suggests the people may have wanted the $10 coupon and aren't interested in finding common ancestors. No doubt there is a continuum of interest from dedicated to just testing for a family member or no longer involved in genealogy. I still want to encourage people to consider uploading gedcoms for at least 9 generations where they can. Thank you again.