WikiTree Mentors Tips – What’s in your Menu? Compact Tree

WikiTree Mentors Tips – What’s in your Menu? Compact Tree

Today in some downtime (I know it’s a strange word for Genealogists – downtime is really multi-tasking) I was thinking about a new WikiTree Mentors-Tips post. Often times I am inspired by real life events in G2G (WikiTrees Genealogist to Genealogist Forum) or a question from someone in a PM (Private Message) or email. But today I was really goofing around with My Drop-Down Menus at the top right of every WikiTree page.

WikiTree Drop-down MenusIt’s not the My WikiTree one, the one next to it with my WikiTree ID, Gaulden-7, as the start…if you scroll down you’ll see a lot of stuff to play with. Today I was playing around with the first one in the drop-down list, Compact Tree.

Compact Tree

This page gives you a compact Tree of your Family. If you are a WikiTreer check out yours (if you are not a WikiTree you are missing some incredible tools)…

Eight generations — up to 254 ancestors. “This is made for sharing, especially with DNA matches:″

Made for sharing

Made for sharing, which is very true. But what else can this widget do for us and or for someone we send it to?

  • You can click on your Ancestor and be taken to the Profile page for them.
  • You can see if there is a confirmed DNA Connection by seeing the DNA confirmed Icon).
  • You can click on the Ancestor to go to the Profile to see a list of people who have also DNA tested who connect to the ancestor.
  • You can extend the tree to the ancestors parents. (Click on the arrow icons)
  • You can check out the Compact Tree for an Ancestor. (Click on the little ancestor tree icon)
  • You can view all the Descendants for an Ancestor. (Click on the little descendants tree Icon)
Alphabetical and Different Views

At the bottom of the page you can Click “to view these names in alphabetical order, see Mags’s Family List. See Mags’s Tree & Tools page for more tree views.”

Send It To Your DNA Matches

Pretty nice – you can copy it to your DNA match email. You know the one you send out to people you find who have some kind of match to you. I get those all the time for my own DNA matches and Client matches… Those letters are sometimes the most confounding things I deal with daily. I got one the other day that was just a link to a family tree. What?! What do you mean when you send me nothing but a Family Tree list?

Well, with the Compact Tree, you can at least send them something they can figure out.

DNA Tool In and Of Itself

Use the compact Tree to quickly check through your Ancestors to see if there are others who have DNA tested who connect to the Ancestor. Using the information on the Profile for each DNA testor you can check to see if your paper trail is accurate.

Lollygagging and Blueberry Pie

Now back to my lollygagging and doing much of nothing, shaw,  it might even be a good time to have some Blueberry pie!

GEDmatch now connects to your WikiTree Global Family Tree!

“GEDmatch now connects to your WikiTree (Global) family tree!” as the title to this post is a complete cut and paste of the title, along with some quotes, of Maggie’s post in the WikiTree G2G (WikiTree’s Genealogist to Genealogist Forum). Thank you Maggie for helping a Grandma out.

DNA Connections Out The Wazoo

Maggie’s post to G2G was pretty short and sweet. She found a “bunch” of new cousins at WikiTree using GEDmatch’s One to Many Tier 1 utility.

GEDmatchTier 1 utilities are a paid subscription tool that provides deeper analytical tools for Genealogists. It's $10.00 a month. $10.00 that goes a long way toward helping our community have access to GEDmatch all the way around. It is money well spent and for a good cause.
Description of GEDmatch As A Gene Pool

To use CeCe Moore’s metaphor, DNA for Genealogy is useful when you have your DNA in as many Gene Pools as you possibly can. If you have tested at Ancestry, 23andMe, Genographic Project, Family Tree DNA (or My Heritage via Family Tree DNA)  or WeGene, you should post your results to as many places as possible for analysis and matches.

GEDmatch has a pool filled with Genes from testers from all the testing companies. It may not be a complete pool from any one of the companies,  but it is certainly a larger pool than having your results in just one of the pools (testing companies). Not to mention what you can do with you Data once it’s there.

GEDmatch and WikiTree

“In the GEDmatch’s new Tier 1 One-to-Many, I automatically see which of my matches have a WikiTree ID.  Clicking on that link displays their compact ancestral tree showing up to eight generations of ancestry…

GEDmatch image os Teir 1 One To Many Tool.

…My paternal aunt has over 6

5 relatives in GEDmatch who have WikiTree ID’s.  Her GEDmatch ID is T527089″. – Peter Roberts

How it works

“We have been encouraging members to connect WikiTree IDs with GEDMatch IDs for a few years. When you enter a test, you can enter your GEDMatch ID.

Test data on WikiTree has always been public (even though your family connections or personal info may be private) so anyone could connect the dots. But to make it easy for GEDMatch we’re giving them downloads…

…We have 15,791 GEDMatch kit IDs connected to WikiTree IDs. Of those, GEDMatch was only able to validate 14,155.” – Chris Whitten

How “Fresh” is the information?

Farm to table? Farm to Farmers Market? Farm to Supermarket? Pretty fresh considering how easy it is for this to happen.

“How frequently are you sending updates to GEDmatch?” – Anne Powers

“We don’t know yet. It’s an easy thing on both sides, so it should be frequent. We’re hoping to make it live at some point, i.e. when you enter or edit a GEDmatch ID here it immediately updates.” Chris Whitten

WikiTree's DNA Project Image“When you post a DNA test on a WikiTree profile, WikiTree needs to be able to see the profile Family Tree tab to make DNA connections down the ancestral lines. Please be sure that the Privacy level on the profile and all of the ancestors are at a level that allows everyone to see the Family Tree tab. That is either:

  • Pale Yellow – Private with Public Biography and Family Tree. This is the same as Private but anyone can view the biography and family tree.
  • Pale Peach – Private with Public Family Tree. Same as Private but anyone can view the family tree. Other individuals in the tree can still be private.
  • Green – Public. Anyone can view the full profile but only the Trusted List can edit it. The default for non-living people under 200 years old except when added as nuclear relatives of living people. Not an option for living people.
  • White – Open. Anyone can view the full profile and any member who has signed the Wiki Genealogist Honor Code can edit it. Required for people over 200. Not an option for living people.” – WikiTree DNA Project Features and Extensions

These Privacy Levels insure that the profiles you manage can be seen by someone who finds you in GEDmatch’s Tier 1, One To Many Tool. If you have your privacy level any higher you won’t be able to share the WikiTree Profiles you Manage.

As Free as WikiTree would be great but…

I am already a Tier 1 member. But I re-upped this morning because of this. I also wonder how many of the 498 WikiTree Volunteer Genealogists who have seen the G2G post have also upgraded to Tier 1 and how many more will join GEDmatch.

We WikiTree have proven to be pretty awesome when we get together to do something, like unintentionally slamming the Family Search servers during the Source-A-thon weekend. If enough of our WikiTreer’s join the GEDmatch Teir 1 will GEDmatch opt to make it free?

“I am disappointed that the new One-to-Many with the WikiTree connections is only for Tier 1 members. It sounds like they haven’t decided if or when it will be opened for non-paying members. Regardless, I know we will be doing more GEDmatch-WikiTree connections.” – Chris Whitten

In Praise of Peter Roberts

“Peter humbly does not mention that he’s the reason this came together.

Peter has tirelessly lobbied for GEDmatch-WikiTree connections for years. Finally, at the Houston FTDNA conference a few months ago, he made contact with GEDMatch’s John Olson.” – Chris Whitten

Thanks Peter!







Cornbread Genealogy

I am a child of the US South. I grew up eating cornbread in all it’s forms, but I have never thought about Cornbread as a tool in Genealogy (Anthropology, Sociology). Cornbread Genealogy.

Last night the spousal unit and I had dinner here in Ottawa (the 5th coldest national capital in the world – and the snowiest this year) at a warm, comfort food place called the Foolish Chicken. it’s is a good place to have good chicken. It’s not particularly “southern”, no collards or sweet potato soufflé, but they do serve cornbread with most everything on the menu. Being a self proclaimed cornbread connoisseur I have enjoyed the Cornbread at the foolish chicken often.

Last Night’s Cornbread?

It was fabulous. Creamy, fluffy, slightly sweet with whole corn and green chili’s inside to give it an extra burst of moistness and flavor. Being a connoisseur of cornbread, I can tell you that this bit of cornbread was among the best I had ever tasted.

Cornbread Genealogy

At some point in the last week I read an article about cornbread, Why does sugar in cornbread divide races in the South?
Culinary historians have debated this one for years: Did the descendants of slave cooks who were exposed to British baking styles come to value cornbread that was lighter and softer? Did the children of farm-based white Southerners get used to unsweetened cornbread that tasted more emphatically like corn? Whatever caused it, the line is drawn.

‘You have to have sugar in your tea and your cornbread,’ says La’Wan Adams, the owner of La’Wan’s. ‘People will ask, ‘Is it like Jiffy? Is it like cake?’

If you are white, you likely fall into the camp of Lupie Duran, the retired owner of Lupie’s.

‘To me, sweet cornbread is like Jiffy mix. And that’s not the Southern kind. No sugar. It’s not my thing.'”

Read more here…

It’s an interesting idea.

Where I grew-up, and in my family, we always had slightly sweet cornbread homedmade and via Jiffy Mix. My Mom owns her own business and sometimes having a quick fix for something to go along with her ALWAJiffy Cornbread MixYS well prepared dinners (no tv dinners for us) was a good thing. We also occasionally had cornbread made by Cammie, our nanny, housekeeper, cook and second/third mama. It was always cooked in an iron skillet and served hot from the oven. Comfort food in the extreme.

Cornbread Variations – From WikiPedia

Baked cornbreadIn the United States…Southern cornbread has traditionally been made with little or no sugar and smaller amounts of flour (or no flour), with northern cornbread being sweeter and more cake-like.

Corn pone
– “Corn pone…is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg-less and milk-less) and cooked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), using butter, margarine, shortening, or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain…

In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet, or in a cake pan of any shape, is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread…

The term “corn pone” is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or “hick” characteristics (e.g., “corn pone” humor).”

Hot water cornbread
– “Cooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread….

Johnnycakes – Pouring a batter similar to that of skillet-fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake-like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South…

A thicker buttermilk-based batter that is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, forms the hushpuppy, a common accompaniment to fried fish and other seafood in the South. Hushpuppy recipes vary from state to state, some including onion seasoning, chopped onions, beer, or jalapeños….WikiPedia

Mouth Watering yet?

Aside from Ms. Purvis’s racial line of thought, we should be able to scour family cookbooks for clues about where the recipe authors lived. My family surely shows that the type of cornbread you eat isn’t really an indicator of your race. But it is certainly an indication of geography.

In one of the Recipe books inherited from my grandmother, you can see where she underlined things. Looking closely at it she was underling notes from people who connected to our family in one way or another. She even scribbled brief notes in the margins explaining who they were. This particular cookbook also had old family stories along with the recipes. I can’t wait til I find another seemingly unimportant book to find it is stock full of family history.

Use WikiTree and GEDmatch to find mistakes in your Genealogy

Use WikiTree and GEDmatch to find mistakes in your Genealogy

“As you browse through your family tree back a few generations you may see other auDNA testers show up (under DNA Connections) on those (WikiTree) profiles.  If that other tester is a 2nd cousin or closer to you, then you WILL share auDNA with each other. If you do a one-to-one comparison in GEDmatch and you share no auDNA then there is a mistake in your (or their 😉 ) ancestry.  This is because all known relatives who are 2nd cousins or closer share a detectable about of autosomal DNA.” – Peter Roberts.

Original Post, WikiTree G2G

How long is my DNA sample viable for further testing?

At the BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) meeting on Saturday this grandma showed up with DNA test kits for anyone to take home and with answers to common DNA test specific questions. One of the many questions asked has prompted me to post about it. “How long is my DNA sample viable for further testing at FTDNA (Family Tree DNA)?”

The Short Answer

Until they run out of sample to use. “…we will not need to request additional samples. This is only necessary if we have exhausted the samples that you have already provided. If additional samples are needed, we will send a new collection kit to the primary address on the account.The Test Process, FTDNA

The Long Answer

The question was from a Gentleman who had submitted his original DNA sample about ten years ago to FTDNA and it was about upgrading his results to the newest version of the DNA test.

The 10 Year Old DNA Sample

This original sample would have been for a YDNA or mtDNA test. The original test was made with the existing test apparatus at the time, YDNA and mtDNA testing performed by FTDNA does not use chips or chip sets. Bead chips (BeadArray Microarray technology) are used for autosomal and X chromosome testing by AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA’s Family Finder.

The original sample can be used to do an auDNa test as well, using the latest and greatest chip set on FTDNA.

As stated above, you could use the original ten year old sample until there was nothing left of the sample to test. When you run out, FTDNA will send you a new test kit to submit a new sample.

Other Testing Companies

This question as it relates to AncestryDNA, was covered by Roberta Estes in May 2016 in her blog, DNA Explained, Ancestry Modifies Their Autosomal DNA Chip. Ancestry does no store your sample after the sample has been used once. She states, “If you retest today, you’ll have to handle both tests separately in your account.  There is currently no way to merge tests, so you’ll have an old one and a new one.  There is no “best of both worlds.”  There is no way to preserve stars or notes or anything you may have done to one account and transfer to a different account.  About the only thing you could do is, in time, to compare to see if you continue to have the same matches on both chips as more people test on the new chip.  and 23andme do not store your sample so to get your test redone using the latest chip set for them you would have to submit a new sample for testing.”

23andme does not keep your sample for further testing.

My Heritage? My Heritage is a repackaging of FamilyTree DNA’s Family Finder test, so this auDNA test sample would be kept on file at FamilyTree DNA, though I don’t know how many hoops you’d have to jump through to get an upgrade via FamilyTree DNA using a sample sent in from My Heritage. This is from an industry insider – still no reply from My Heritage.

Not complaining about the wait. I have also been trying to call FTNDA on and off today to ask another client related kit question and can’t get through. I am sure it’s all the crazy advertising that was done over the holidays slamming all testing company’s phone lines. If you need me, I will be perpetually on hold with the knowledge that more and more people are getting out and testing!

Thanks to Peter Roberts, my good friend and hero (his other title is Associate Professor and Archivist at Georgia State University it really should be something closer to Genetic Genealogy Geek) for input on this blog post.

For more information and an explanation of Chips in Genetics see DNA Chip – Genetic Testing of the Future, Lisa Althoff, 1999.

Grandma’s Genes Year End Review – Networking

Grandma’s Genes is winding down 2016 with a mind towards the things that most influenced our work. Aside from the blueberry pies, presentations, research, Swab-A-Thons, field trips, conferences, phone calls, blog posts etc., there is one major take-away.


Networks connect us all. We drive to our jobs on a network of roads. We communicate with each other over a network of airwaves or wires or through the vast web of the internet. We have a network of support – friends, family and the baker down the street. Even our neighbor next door is a thread in the Network of our Lives.

How we connect to our networks is just the facility of that connection. What matters is the content.

If I hadn’t joined WikiTree in December 2013, the mother load of genealogy networking and collaboration, and turned this many, many year passion into a mystery solving venture that pays for my blueberry pies? I would still be just answering family queries and would never have learned the joy of genealogical collaboration. Collaboration on such a stratospheric level. I posted once about how WikiTree has given me an education beyond my university degree in WikiTree’s G2G Forum. That was a year ago – I must be working toward my WikiTree doctorate now.


As such, I have been able to solve a 90 year old mystery, fairly quickly (8 months to find her father), because I was able to use a Network to make a connection. 23 and me connected me with Jane and her family who in turn helped connect Betty Jean to half of her birth family.


A woman posted in Gauldings page on Face Book about a common Ancestor. She found an obituary stating our common ancestor was a Captain in the revolution under Francis Marion. In all the research anyone has ever done on this man, he was not a soldier in the revolution. He served as a Petit Juror. He also might have been providing supplies to the troops – no one knows for sure. She used Facebook to find me and my very underwhelming answer to her question, “was John Gaulding a Captain under Francis Marion?” “No…”

A man who believed a long held family story that his gggrandfather was adopted into a family of African Canadian’s has been able to find interest in the real story. This story told mainly by his DNA and supported by the network of other distant cousins who had heard and believed or not believed the story. These distant cousins are all testing their DNA now and finding that they too have a connection to a very rich African ancestry. These distant cousins have also created their own network, on Facebook, so that others who are not in the know can find the truth and their heritage through them.

Mother Nature

If mother natures network of weather hadn’t dumped 20 + cm of snow on Ottawa in a matter of a few short hours last year, the idea that became Grandma’s Genes would not have formed into what it is today. Marc, my fellow shoveler on that day, has moved on to work in his day-job field full time. During the year, though, he helped an adoptee find his fathers family. Marc helped so many with Indigenous roots find the right identity for themselves and possibly take the true meaning of being connected to an indigenous ancestor with them into their new found knowledge of self. Marc also made long sought connections within his own genealogy through research and networking with others who have connections to his indigenous lines – to his Quaker lines – to his southern lines.

Moving Forward Through Networking

For me? I found a path which has been made stronger, straighter and more focused than I would have ever thought imaginable. Only with the help of my network of family, friends, partners, genealogists, geneticists, clients and all those ancestors long passed, has Grandma’s Genes grown into what it is today. What it will become tomorrow.

Thank you, every – single – point on our network – one of you.