06 October 2017
The Big Y test was launched in November 2013 and is a test for males who have taken a Y-DNA 37, 67 or 111 STR test. The Big Y refines a tester’s haplogoup as well as contributors to the overall knowledge of the Y Tree by increasing the number of known SNPs from hundreds to thousands. This helps testers find matches who are more closely related in genealogical time with the goal of finding SNPs that are particular to a family group. Eventually, we will close the gap between genealogical time (existence of records) and ancient DNA.
The Big Y can be helpful when documentation does not exist. It has helped genealogists find locations in their former homeland as can be seen in my experience below.
My personal experience:
After having my cousin do a Y-test, I found he matched six other surnames even when I upgraded him to a Y-111. The wonderful haplogroup administrators suggested that I do some SNP testing which I did. Then the advent of the Big Y came, and I jumped in. After having a tester from each of the six names my cousin matched, the haplogroup administrators told me we are part of the Seven Septs of County Laois (Ireland) which existed there in the mid-1600s and at that point my surname Doolin was actually Dowling.
Well, this is wonderful as I was stuck in Virginia in the mid-1700s and had no ideas if my surname was Scots or Irish as my dad always said we were Scots-Irish. Also, I had no idea where in either of those countries our ancestors lived. I realized my lineage could have come from County Laois, but there was a hundred-year difference.
Last October (2016), my cousin received a match on a Y-37 with a genetic difference of two. I asked Mr. Dowling to upgrade to a Y-111 which he did and then he took the Big Y. He lived in London and had his lineage back to 1795 in County Laois! So, now we have to discover which of his family (maybe not his direct line, however) may have left Ireland about 1750. Without the Big Y, I would have had little hope in knowing a probable location of my Doolin ancestors. Now there is some light.
The news today is that Family Tree DNA is providing a better Big Y experience in a few ways…
On October 10th the changes in Big Y go live. At that point Family Tree DNA will be recalculating Big Y matches and they anticipate this to take 5-7 days at which time you will be a page stating “Results Pending. Once your results are updated, you will be notified, and after the transaction is complete, Family Tree DNA will update you as to when BAM files are available.
So what can you expect?
1. Update to Human Genome 38
An update from Human Genome 19 to Human Genome 38 which is the most recent version and a more accurate representation of the human genome. Advantages include:
• Better mapping of NGS data to the proper location
• Consideration of alternative haplotypes across the genome
For more information about human genome builds, click here.
2. Terminal SNP Guide
A terminal SNP Guide allows you to view and filter the branches closest to the tester's terminal branch on the haplotree.
3. BIG Y Browser
The ability to view your SNP data from Big Y. This will allow you to personally assess all SNP call positions that are being evaluated for matching purposes. This data will be continuously updated.