Category Archives: DNA

DNA Sig Meeting Saturday March 9 @ 10 am


This is a reminder for the MoCoGenSo DIG meeting
 March 9, 2019 at the Seaside FHC at 10:00 am.  

We will meet in the Library.

Schedule for DIG meeting:

10:00 to 10:15   Discussion of future topics of interest/volunteers for future presentations.  Please consider volunteering!  Work In Progress is Fine. 

10:15 to 10:30  An introduction to Genetic Affairs auto-clustering for your matches at 23andMe, Ancestry and FTDNA.  This is a simple to use, fun, efficient and very affordable service that delivers very professional results.  John Light

10:30 to 11:00   Using 23andMe Map to Find Matches.  I found matches near home. I’ll show how.  Also, Demonstration of New Ancestry Tools.  Jim Robeson

11:00 to 11:15  Group Think Adoptee Puzzle:  brainstorming with our group.  Bonnie Hill

11:15 to 11:30  Questions


Third Party Tools for DNA Testing – a video

Heads up folks. Those of you who are interested in DNA and Genealogy should try to watch a new video about third party tools for genetic genealogy. You have to hurry, it is FREE for only 5 more days (as I write this), free until March 12.

The webinar is by Michelle Leonard, a Scottish genetic genealogist. It is provided by Legacy Family Tree Webinars. You will still be able to watch the video after March 12, but a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars will be required.

It is an excellent, fact filled overview of the main 3rd party tools for DNA testing. It is 1.5 hours long.

Watch it here:
https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=978


The video is long, but it is like attending 2 or 3 of our DIG meetings! Keep a notepad handy.


RootsTech 2019 DNA

RootsTech 2019 is drawing to a close. The word is that it was another success. One of these years, I may have to attend, but I hate cold weather! They videotaped some of the sessions for the world to watch anytime, which is a great resource for us all. You can watch the taped presentations here:

www.rootstech.org/video-archive Look in the section called Rootstech Sessions.

I have made a list of the “DNA topical” sessions below. This special list is not meant to suggest the other programs are not good. Rather, this list is to help our DNA Interest Group figure what to talk about next! 🙂

As an aside, I got all excited and ordered a MyHeritage test kit after hearing about all the new things they just announced! Color me sucker. PS., I really do love AncestryDNA’s new ThruLines too. I am going to be busy this year!

DNA Oriented Videos

Connecting Your DNA Matches

Diahan Southard takes you through your DNA match list and explains the Shared Matches tool. Learn how to create and employ a number of tools to boost your confidence in your genetic genealogy skills.

What You Don’t Know about Ancestry (Sponsored by Ancestry)

Join Crista Cowan (the Barefoot Genealogist) and preview Ancestry’s cool new tools that are geared to improve and accelerate your family history research.

Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence

Blaine Bettinger will explain how to use DNA evidence correctly and correlated with documentary evidence. In this session he will examine some of the considerations, limitations, and pitfalls we should consider when using DNA evidence.

Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch (Sponsored by MyHeritage)

One of the best ways to maximize MyHeritage is to host your tree at MyHeritage, where the systems will automatically help you find new records, fill gaps in your existing tree, and provide matches that can help you efficiently discover new ancestors and family members. In this session, Mike Mansfield will help you learn how to move your tree from online tree systems to MyHeritage and how MyHeritage works with your tree to find new and additional information that you can easily evaluate and add to your tree.

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter

DNA Painter is a website that can help interpret and demystify your autosomal DNA results. Using practical examples, Jonny Perl will demonstrate how DNA Painter can be used for a variety of activities including chromosome mapping and relationship prediction for unknown DNA matches.

Leading with Science at 23andMe (Sponsored by 23andMe)

In this session, Sarah Lashkey will walk through how research works at 23andMe and how you can contribute to scientific discoveries.

Recorded Classes

Descendancy Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy

Presenter: Michael Lemar Strauss. This session will be recorded and available to view on demand after the conference.

You Can Do DNA

Presenters: Christi Lynn Jacobsen, Dana Leeds, Diahan Southard. This session will be recorded and available to view on demand after the conference.


“We must remember that impossible is not a fact, it’s an attitude.” – Christiana Figueres, Nature


23andMe Maps

Honestly, I don’t hang out in the DNA testing sites as much as you might think. And when I do go to a site, I usually have a purpose, so I don’t try out new stuff that often. 23andMe has a new feature I just noticed a couple of days ago called MAPS. It is located in the DNA Relatives section, under either Ancestry or Family & Friends. Today it is highlighted in bright orange. I wasn’t expecting much as Maps at other sites are usually pretty boring. But I needed to try it.

When you see a match, you can click on it and it shows you the person’s name, relationship and city. Clicking on that display links to the DNA Comparison section with you and that person compared, which includes the segment comparison. It is slick indeed.

The MAP covers the world, wherever 23andMe has customers. I saw a few matches in Northern Europe, cool. Perhaps they can help me with some brick walls.

I decided to look around my local area, the Monterey County section, where much to my amazement, there are two 4th cousins showing! I was flabbergasted. Neither surname is known to me. But they are real 23andMe customers who are related to me somehow and they live just down the road. I am going to have to contact them.

Of course, my first email has to be gentle. I don’t want them to think I am stalking them! I need to locate some of those “recommended introductory” email examples that are floating around. I might even invite them to come to the FHC to meet me!

Then I stopped to think: “Could they see me all this time and have never contacted me?” Humm. Remember, I don’t know how long the MAP feature has been around. That thought led me to wonder about my own personal Profile in 23andMe. The current City was showing for people in my MAP, so that meant the Profile had to allow current location to be visible to everyone. Humm again. I had setup my profile so long ago that I couldn’t remember what it said. So I decided to check it, because I want my relatives to be able to find me!

I went to Settings under my name, clicked Edit under Personal Information and found Current Residence. It was blank! Darn…. I quickly changed it and am now waiting for someone to find me!

My recommendation to you, if you are a 23andMe customer, is to try the MAP. Look around, look where you were born, look where you live now, etc.. Then, if you like what you see, check your Profile too. Make sure you have Sharing allowed and Current Residence filled in. And then send your own “recommended introductory” emails.

And if you get an introductory email from a cousin, answer it!


”Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity.” – Andrew Ng ==> then plug me in


Laminated DNA Cards

My office had a small laminating machine to create protected sheets of instructions, always 8 1/2 x 11 sheets.  Then I turned 65 and got into Medicare. The ID card they provide is paper, yuk. Flimsy is the word. Staples sells small packets of 2 1/4 x 3 3/4 laminating paper that can, with just a bit of shaving, “cover” Medicare cards perfectly. My Medicare card has been safe in my wallet ever since.

One day I realized I could type up my car’s specs, VIN, license plate, color, etc. and make a credit card sized laminated copy of it which I also carry in my wallet. It is useful when the motel wants to know my license plate #!

Once in a while, perhaps at our DNA sig meetings, I get asked about my haplogroup codes. There was the time someone wanted to see if we were related in Gedmatch and I could not remember my kit #. You could see the light bulb flash…

Yup, I created a laminated card of my DNA test data (haplogroups, FTDNA kit #s, Gedmatch kit #s, YFull ID), with my wife’s data on the other side, which I now carry in my wallet. Go ahead, ask me about my Y-Dna terminating SNP —- I am ready for you. 🙂


”The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” – Jim Barksdale


Marking DNA in Ancestry . com Trees

It has been suggested that humans are only capable of having 150 good friends at a time, see Dunbar’s Number. My AncestryDNA page tells me that I have over 669 4th cousins or less who have tested with Ancestry! How am I possibly going to become BFF with that many people?

“Finding the correct ancestral line for each piece of your DNA is a difficult process. Researching and documenting your family Tree is a difficult process. But these are the tasks we accept in genetic genealogy.” by Jim Bartlett

But that doesn’t mean that I will remember a 3rd or 4th cousin who lives in a distant state who I’ve never met with whom we solved our MRCA after a few emails. Even if the aging process was not at work, 150 does seem to be my limit. (Besides, I picked up new friends when joining MoCoGenSo so some old ones got booted!)

I hate to research lines previously solved. So I have taken to flagging cousins I place in my tree via a DNA match with pictures and text, similar to pebbles left by Hansel and Gretel. I want these pebbles to be visible and permanent in that they can be transferred by gedcom or syncable by software, not like breadcrumbs that are easily lost. Documentation that I can actually find later is critical.

For DNA confirmed Cousins

In the Profile of the person:

• Click into Gallery section and upload an icon similar to this. Then click into the Face display and make that icon default picture. 

• Click “View Notes” in upper menu bar beneath name. Create a note similar to this:
DNA match to Jim 189 cm / 9 segs

• In the Fact display, click on “Add” to add a Fact or Event. Scroll into the Event Type list to the DNA Markers item and click it. Ignore Date and location. Update the Description field with the same line as above Note.

When a Gedcom is downloaded from Ancestry, the Note will come across as type NOTE, the Marker will come across as type _DNA. Only the Note will be transferred when synching with RootsMagic, as the DNA Marker is not yet added to the Ancestry API. RootsMagic does pull the images. (Most programs will ignore the _DNA type gedcom record too. But I keep using it in case they ever do update the Gedcom standard!)

For Ancestors

For ancestors who are MRCA confirmed by DNA, click into Gallery section and upload an icon similar to this. Then click into the Face display and make that icon the default picture.

Note: for persons for whom we have a real face photo, always use it instead of these “marker” icons.
Note note: These are just personal views. Icons not required! But Notes are good. 🙂


“Have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” – Larry Page