DNA Testing - know the In's and Out's of it. Genetic Genealogy, a new branch of genealogy combining genetics and traditional genealogy research, is the most accurate tool for the family historian. Family connections can be proven or disproven. DNA testing can support a paper trail which is often in question given the lack of surviving records. Its popularity grows daily with thousands testing monthly throughout the world.
I know many of you are staying home due to our world's heath issues. At least, I hope very many of you are home so we can slow this virus and give the medical facilities the ability to handle those in need.
However, I do know that many of you may be a bit bored. Of course, you can get out into your yards or on the sidewalks as long as you do not come in contact with others. A daily walk is good for you, as well as breathing that fresh air. BUT, that means many hours inside. What to do!!!
I have many ideas, especially since those of you reading this are genealogists!
1. In your search engine, put a topic of interest on genealogy or genetic genealogy and then add: YouTube. There will be many, many free webinars that could interest you.
2. Other free webinars: Family Tree DNA has them on all their tests. Scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on LEARNING CENTER and put WEBINAR in the search box. Legacy Family Tree has many on both genealogy and genetic genealogy. They are also available a week after they are presented. You do not get the handouts, however. Go to: https://familytreewebinars.com/
3. Check Facebook for many, many genealogy and genetic genealogy groups. Your questions are welcomed and many people are ready to answer them.
4. Test your DNA if you have not and test cousins and other relatives. Companies have sales rather often. Check their websites. If you have tested, at AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, transfer to Family Tree DNA and pay the $19 to get all the bells and whistles. MyHeritage takes transfers, also, but costs a bit more.
7. Enhance your pedigree chart. The more detailed it is, the easier to find the common ancestors you share with your matches. Not only use the subscriptions you have, use your browser to search various counties and libraries for additional information. Be creative with your searches.
8. Carefully go through your pedigree in your genealogy software to locate errors to correct. Often you can find duplication of names that need merging. Spelling errors from quick typing seem to be my issue!
9. Write a bio for some of your family members or ancestors. Your descendants will appreciate your compiling names, dates, and places into a narrative. These can be short vignettes. I teach a class on writing one's childhood memories and family stories and find several of my members compile these stories and give them as a Christmas gift. You have time to do this now.
10. Do not forget to write about your own life. No matter how boring you may think it will be, it is not. AND, write about the times in which we live now. Your experiences are very much more important than those of our collective society or what the historians write. If you need help or ideas, see my blog: Writing Your Memories. My booklet "Memoing" My Memories provides 130 topics, and for each topic you can write many more than a single story or two. You can only order it directly from me. The beginning of the blog has many tips and suggestions on writing; later are some wonderful stories written by my class members...some are so funny; some just cannot be explained; some are a bit scary! Just browse through them all.
11. Search Google Books and other free ebooks on your topic or location of interest. You can even save them to review later.
12. Read the books you have on genetic genealogy or order more from Amazon.
13. Check-in with your matches and other researchers you know to collaborate on your lines and to share this list.
14. So by now, in needing a break from our all-consuming hobby, clean out those closets...or like me, clean off my desk (One would think I was a CPA in the middle of tax season!) Do those awful household chores and get some exercise even if it is only in they house or yard.
15. Check on friends and family via the phone, email, etc. If you have a surplus of items that someone who is sheltering in place may need, offer to share. Just drop off the items at the front door so not to expose anyone. I have already done this. We must support each other.
I cannot begin to update you on what
has been happening at MyHeritage.
Not only can you colorize your black
and white photos by uploading them. The directions state: "...click on any black and white photo you already have, then click Colorize. Your original photos will not be changed." These can be shared with family and friends. The following is their example:
You can create a fan tree to share with friends and relatives. Here's an example of the fan tree (all people in it, but me have passed) The default is six generations, but you can add more. There are small marks where the lines do go back farther. This was also very easy me to add more ancestors. Just click on the blank and up pops a screen. What I really love is the fact that you have many choices for dates, including: exact, circa, before, between, after, etc. AND...by clicking on a name (see the one is light orange), details of the family are displayed on the left, just as you see with the other pedigree layouts.
You can also get the fan chart in a color block form. Hovering over a space gives you a name. Clicking on the name gives you family details in a column to the left.
And, now they have uploaded 25,000 U.S.
city directories published between 1860 and 1960. Their entire historical
record database contains 11.9 billion records now. This collection will increase
in the future.
MyHeritage’s announcement on this states: “The online
collection of U.S. city directories is now available onSuperSearch™, MyHeritage’s search engine for historical
records. Searching the collection is free. A subscription is required to view
the full records and to access Record Matches.”
I’m sure I have missed some announcements over the
last few weeks; however, when MyHeritage started a few years ago, I called them the “new
kid on the block”, but I could see they were rapidly catching up to the other “big
Now that the holiday sale is over, we expected the Family Tree DNA prices to rise to their former level, but NO! Here's the current prices!
Y-37 $119 (previously $169)
Y-111 $249 (previously $359)
BigY-700 $449 (previously $649). The BAM file must now be purchased
as an add on for $100.
mtDNA full sequence $159 (previously $199)
Upgrade from Y-37 to Y-67, now $89
Upgrade form Y-37 to Y-111, now $139
Upgrade from Y-67 to Y-111, now $89
Upgrade from Y-37 to Big Y-700, now $339
Upgrade from Y-67 to Big Y-700, now $279
Upgrade from Y-111 to Big Y-700, now $239
Upgrade from Big Y-500 to Big Y-700, now $209
If you are stuck at a Y-12 or Y-25, know that the Y-25 no longer exists.
Upgrades for the Y-12 and Y-25 are:
Y-12 to Y-37, now $79
Y-12 to Y-67, now $149
Y-12 to Y-111, now $199
Y-12 to Big Y-700, now $399 (not including the BAM file)
Y-25 to Y-37, now $49
Y-25 to Y-67, now $119
Y-25 to Y-111, now $189
Y-25 to Big Y-700, now $389 (not including the BAM file
Family Finder is still $79, but when it is on sale there is very little profit, so that is understandable.
The bundle of a Y-37 and Family Finder saves you $9 and is now $189.
Shipping is now $9.95 U.S. and $12.95 for International.
I greatly encourage you to upgrade or test at the Y-37 level or higher. The Y-37 is now the very basic, and if you happen to be in a large haplogroup (your twig on the world family tree) such as R and I, your matches can be numerous and many may not show as each test level has its own maximum threshold. Therefore, by testing at a Y-67 you may find more matches that you would at a Y-37.
Also know that the mtDNA Plus no longer exists so there is now only the Full Sequence. This is also good as the mtDNA is slower to mutate so matches could be farther back in time, and the full mtDNA gives a clearer picture of who matches you. Again, if you are in a common haplogroup such as H and U, you may have hundreds of matches.
Remember, always contact and work with the matches who have the fewest genetic distances first. They will match you more closely in time than those with high genetic distances. (A genetic distance is the differences you and a match have on your test results. For example, if you and a match have a difference of 2 on one marker you have a genetic distance of 2. Zero is a perfect match. Allow the company to determine the genetic distance as some markers are calculated differently.)
The key to finding common ancestors for your matches is to have a ROBUST pedigree chart. Remember to use Genealogy Proof Standards (GPS) in creating your pedigree. AND...upload your tree to the website!!!
Over the past 10 years, we’ve built up a treasure trove of global historical records, introduced MyHeritage DNA tests for genealogy and for health, signed up 69 million users, added 3.07 billion family tree profiles, acquired 7 companies, welcomed 406 employees, and so much more.
The above is a quote from their site. Stop by and read it all here!
Congrats to MyHeritage and its crew! May the next 10 years be even more exciting!