Category Archives: 23AndMe

fun genealogically speaking

Here is a simple diagram with a simple challenge.  First fill in names of people that are related in parent/child relationships.  For example, put you at the bottom and fill in your parents and grandparents. The challenge then => add some other information.

  • For example, put in everyone’s birth date and birth place.
  • Or, place of birth and place of death.
  • Or, inheritable illness’s they had and cause of death.
  • Or, religion, politics and socioeconomic status.
  • Or, height and weight at mid-life.
  • Or, haplogroups, mitochondrial for all and Y-DNA for males.

For example, my wife’s maternal grandfather was described as 5’ 11”, 135 lbs, and swarthy with grey hair at 69 years of age in his Petition for Naturalization. We know his religion but have no idea where he stood politically.  

But I am really puzzled over his haplogroups.   A haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on either their paternal or maternal line. Particular haplogroups are associated with well-known ancestral groups such as the Vikings, Aboriginal Australians, and the Celts. We know he was born on an island in Croatia, we know the mitochondrial  haplogroup of his wife.  My wife knew him until she was about 12.  But there aren’t enough descendants testing at 23andMe to figure out his ancestral group!

This chart can be a challenge to any genealogist, amateur or otherwise.  Take a copy and give it a go. Below is a chart for a female with haplogroups.  I cannot figure out the mitochondrial groups for 2 of the men, but I am still working 😊

Haplogroup teasers

According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, a haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on either their paternal (Y-DNA) or maternal (mitochondrial) lines.

Not every DNA testing companies show us our haplogroups. AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA kits do not test for the specific SNPs required to determine haplogroup, while 23andMe and Living DNA do test segments of the mtDNA and Y-chromosome and display our haplogroups and, most importantly, those of our shared matches.

FTDNA also includes Y haplogroup and mtDNA haplogroup information, only if you buy specific tests related to those traits. Gedmatch displays haplogroup info that is self-reported.

I have found the haplogroup information displayed automatically at 23andMe to be invaluable in some of my research.  In a future DNA Discussion meeting, I will give a show-n-tell of how this additional information helped unlock puzzles in our family trees.

Meanwhile, when searching the internet for haplogroup information, I found this page which has lots of comparative details about the various DNA testing companies.  Eupedia is a great sight for exploring.  And this page in particular should interest most everyone who has read this far!  Do page through it.

https://www.eupedia.com/genetics/which_ancestry_dna_test_to_choose.shtml


My Y-DNA haplogroup is I1a-​A13294 and my mitochondrial haplogroup is ​H1e1a.


23andMe Tree Recalculation

Go ahead, drag the above slider left and right!

I have mentioned in the past about recalculating my tree in 23AndMe.  I said you had to find out how to do it within the Help system.  Arghh, finding where the function is located is a royal pain! But I did find it, and wrote the attached PDF document. If you are interested, you can download it. This is only for advanced folks. This worked for me, but let the buyer beware.


“If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent.” – Alan Turing

Using our tools

MoCoGenSo’s DNA Discussion Group will be meeting Wednesday with an open forum. Join us via Zoom. Feel free to drop in for conversation and stay for lunch.

They say that the pandemic has given lots of folks extra time these days to work on their genealogy. Perhaps, but there is still never enough time.

The wife and I have done our DNA tests at the “big 4” of course, and every so often I make the rounds looking for new matches. Never underestimate that auto-tree at 23andMe.com – it can be full of surprises. Once built, the tree remains static. But you can and should refresh the tree periodically. It is a pain to figure out how to refresh it, but it can be done via the help system.

We discovered a new branch of 4 cousins in my wife’s refreshed tree the other day that contained people we had never heard of before and the branch was placed in an impossible position. After a couple of weeks of sleuthing, we have decided that the stories about her grandfather’s escapades were true! How else can you have a half first cousin show up out of nowhere!

23andMe.com provides lots of information about DNA matches that are really useful in solving puzzles. Birth year, haplogroups, shared matches, triangulation, etc. Add a subscription to Ancestry.com to the mix for source searching and you can solve lots of thorny NPEs. Ancestry.com has tree building and a bigger match base, but 23andMe.com provides so many more DNA tools. You really need to test at both places.

The centimorgans Tool at DNA Painter is invaluable at justifying tree placement. In addition, Genetic Affairs can create an extremely useful cluster analysis from 23andMe data. I ran their Auto Cluster tool on the wife’s 23andme Me data and am still finding new information.

The MoCoGenSo DNA Discussion meetings are a better place to talk about this stuff. I hate typing…. Perhaps I can show-n-tell this case at some future meeting. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to learning about Gail Burk’s methods used at tomorrow’s meeting. See you tomorrow noon on Zoom.

DNA Discussions Wednesday Noon: Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 897 1823 5118
Passcode: 738495



Regarding These Sales

Personal views follow…

We advocate doing DNA tests for genealogical purposes.  DNA testing is not required to do excellent genealogical work, but it can help break some roadblocks or just help discover new cousins that have those long lost pictures!

But testing at just one company is like only fishing in just one pond.  Some of your relatives might pick a different sale this month, for example.  So I always recommend that you test at each of the “big 4”:  AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA.

That can get expensive!  That is why we always mention sales around here.

Picking which place to test is a subject best suited for our DNA Discussion Group.  But it is important that you remember that AncestryDNA and 23andMe do NOT accept data file uploads while MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA DO accept DNA data uploads at a considerable discount in price.  Perhaps testing at AncestryDNA or 23andMe first might be a good idea for some.


” L.O.C.K.S.S. ===> Lots of copies keep stuff safe.


Big Sale

Discover your family tree with a $99 DNA test from 23andMe

Black Friday must be coming, because 23andMe‘s Health and Ancestry test is half off again.  For $99, you get both Ancestry and Health.  Maybe now is the time to splurge. Thru Nov 26th.

 

Refreshing the 23andMe Tree

23andMe builds a nice tree using DNA matches which can be augmented yourself with people who have not tested. The tree is usually small, and, except for your additions and the recently deceased, only has living people. The tree is fun, since it is DNA driven! There are issues with it which we have discussed in our DNA SIG meetings, but most people like it.

Kitty Cooper writes a great blog about “genealogy, genetics and gardening”. Kitty Cooper is an American bridge player and genetic genealogist from New York City. I enjoy her posts and her blog has a permanent place in my Feedly sites. See her blog CLICK HERE .

She just wrote another posting about the 23andMe tree! Most of the post is interesting personal views, but the thing that caught my eye was the part about recalculating the tree. 23andMe doesn’t include a simple push-button method of refreshing the tree, Kitty shows how to do it!

See the whole posting here: CLICK HERE.

Be sure to save a picture of the tree with your additions before you try this! 😊


“It’ll all work out in the end; if it isn’t worked out, it ain’t the end.” – Betsy Johnson


23andMe Family Tree is now accepting editing!

If you haven’t looked, 23andMe now has Editing available in its Family Tree! One of our DNA Discussions group (thanks Gail) sent me a note about it. Sure enough, when you click on a circle in the Tree, two new options appear: Edit Relationship and Add Relatives. Be careful, I haven’t found a how-to guide going in yet, but there seems to be decent explanations as you go. The Tree is no longer marked Beta!

The tree algorithms have been changed too. The chart and cousin relationships are more accurate! But watch it, an old line of cousins disappeared which was an accurate line. Not sure why, but I’m going to try to add them back with the new tools.

One set of my maternal great grandparents were quite prolific, having had twelve kids who followed their parents habits — making for four lines coming from them in the new tree. Add to that the missing line and I have five cousins to try to determine their lineage coming from that one family. I put them into the chromosome mapper found in the Advanced DNA Comparison. Sure enough, the various lines “sorta” get defined within the chromosome map. Combining the two tools is useful. When mapping, I started out comparing to myself, then I deleted me and the patterns worked better.

Remember to send notes to cousins you can’t quite place. Some of them will help out. Be sure you reply too. 🙂

I really like this 23andMe site. It has the tools we need! Couple that with the tree building functions in Ancestry.com and my computer in one hand and my iPad in the other and I am set to get through this pandemic without even noticing! But, the wife says I gotta exercise more than my fingers….


I received a reply from the cousin whose line is missing in my current Tree. I show up in his. Go figure…


“You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run…” – Pink Floyd


Ancestry.com lays off 6% of its workforce

Ancestry, the largest seller of at-home DNA tests for health and genealogy reports, is laying off about 100 people, approximately 6% of its total workforce. The cuts hit employees across the board, rather than focusing on a specific department, and included workers at all levels. The layoffs affected both its Utah and California offices.

Ancestry confirmed the layoffs and shared a copy of a blog post written by CEO and President Margo Georgiadis that will publish on Wednesday.

——

We just discussed 23andMe laying of 100 employees (14%) of it’s employees at our DNA discussion group today. Then this appears in my news feed. It is like “catching”, I guess.

Interesting Stats:

23andMe, 100 = 14% of 714 employees, leaving 614.

Ancestry, 100 = 6% of 1,666 employees, leaving 1,566.

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Who is next?


“Genealogist’s motto: they can hide, but they can’t run.”