Distracted by DNA Painter

After working with DNA Painter and GEDmatch matches I discovered that 15% of my DNA matches are actively collaborating in genealogy.

Yesterday Roberta Estes wrote a blog about DNA Painter (she Actually has a series on DNA Painter – see below). Reading her latest sent me into a distracted by DNA Painter Day. Thank you Roberta.

I like DNA Painter and have used it to help my with working out information for my work, but today I decided to paint a bit of my own lines:

I opened GEDmatch and went to my one-to-many matches list. Over on the left hand side of my matches is a column with links to GEDCOM’s uploaded to GEDmatch or a WikiTree 8 Generation pedigree.

GEDCOM/ WikiTree Links

I have used these links many times when doing quick look-ups on how a DNA match might be related to me or clients, are there common surnames? or are there common ancestors? It’s a great way to use what other people have shared to see who you are.

I followed the information in the GEDCOM File or WikiTree Pedigree and connected 12 new DNA matches to 5 of my ancestor couples using DNA Painter. Nice!

I made some obversations

Of the first 222 matches on my list 37 had GEDCOM’s or WikiTree links, three of the GEDCOM’s listed actually had no GEDCOM’s. That leaves a total of 34 total shared family files to go along with the DNA.

From this we can estimate that 15% of the people in my lines are sharing their genealogy. It’s a rough estimate for sure. Is this a good rough estimate for the amount of people who are willing to share their genealogy? It is a very low number.

Email Tennis Example

I have been working with a client to help identify her mother’s birth family. It’s a hard one because her mother was born in 1916. It’s a hard one because the information on the original birth certificate appears to be “made-up”. The first clue here was that the delivery doctor’s surname was given as the child’s middle name.

I have sent out many runs of emails to groups who match this lady (there is a second cousin match with no identifying information who has not answered many attempts to contact them via the testing companies messaging system – oh if they would!). Yesterday I sent another run to 10 matches asking if they would share a tree or pedigree with me. One person answered with asking me to give him her parents names.

I gave him the adoptees story and why I don’t have that information. I sent him to the research for this adoptee listed on her WikiTree profile. He said he would do his own research into her parents, if I could only give him that then he could see if she matched anyone in his tree.

We sent several volleys of emails in this vein and his suggestion I upload the DNA to other sites might help me find an aunt or uncle…no, no aunt or uncle would be alive… Frustration would be a good word to use to describe the volley. The last email I sent was very polite and specific about how sharing genealogy with someone, literally, can help that person find out who they are.

The Little Exercise

I walked through 10% of my total matches on GEDmatch to find shared genealogies and found how many were collaborative Genealogists. The percentage I got was 15%. Is this indicative of Genealogy as a whole?

WikiTree boasts 554,626 collaborative Genealogists. What percentage of all Genealogist’s (from Hobbyists to professionals) is this number?

How do we get the word out to all the DNA testers that there is more to their DNA test than just “What geographic region do their ancestors come from”?

Roberta’s DNA Painter Series

Your Grandma’s Events Calendar has been filled!

Yes, you should visit your Grandma! I worked a good part of the day filling-in items for the events Calendar. All of them HUGE and possibilities to see your favorite Carolinian Canadian Genetic Genealogist.

  1. WikiTree Source-A-thon Hangouts

    September 28 @ 8:00 am – October 1 @ 8:00 am

  2. Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society

    November 24 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

  3. i4gg – San Diego

    December 7 @ 8:00 am – December 9 @ 5:00 pm

  4. The Surname Society AGM/Conference 2019

    March 23, 2019 @ 3:10 pm – 4:00 pm

  5. The Genealogy Show, Birmingham England, 11.30am – 12.30pm, June 7, 2019

    June 7, 2019 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

More are coming, just not added to the schedule yet…stay tuned.

Influencers

If you have ever asked me how I got interested in Genealogy, you know that I claim my grandmother caught me as I was being born and started telling me, “Your Grandfather is…”. If you have ever read my bio, you know that in addition to and in a much more stick to my brain sorta way, another cousin, an influencer, gave my some Hunt Family Papers when I was in High School,

As a Child, my mother, grandmothers, and grandfather would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do, but I kept them. Years later I went back to them and entered the information into Family Tree Maker. Soon after I started my hunt, pardon the pun, in earnest for the rest of my family. – WikiTree Profile Page

This Influencer, Helen “Honey” Hunt, is a distant cousin. I could, in A. J. Jacobesque style, roll – out of our connection,  “she is my mothers fathers grandfathers brothers great grand daughter…

More than that and in spite of being a distant cousin she was always in my life because she is also a very good family friend. Always around at parties and gatherings. Although I talk about Honey’s influence on me often I haven’t really had it sink in – the depth of that influence –  until I heard  of Honey’s passing this morning.

Really, if I think about it, if I had not been given those family papers my interest in Genealogy and in Genetic Genealogy would not have been piqued. Today I have a growing Genetic Genealogy Business, I am an international Genetic Genealogy Lecturer and a leader at WikiTree. My second career is because of something Honey did for me when I was young. To say I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Honey is an understatement.

This passion I have for genealogy was introduced to me by my Grandmother.  My cousin Honey gave me the tinder upon which to start a lifelong passion and a second career. Honey is one of the greatest influencers in my life and will continue to be one of the greatest influencers of my life.

Thank you.

 

I went to a Genealogy Conference and met a Chef.

My children – well one son – gives me an incredibly hard time because I like to talk about food. Not just that there is food but what makes the food what it is. He says “Mom, you think you are a foodie”. Pshhaww! I also like beer and talk about the crafts brews I find on my travels. He never calls me a fake “beery” when I talk about choicest hops, barley and malt (Barn Owl Malt in Ontario – shameless plug for a friends Ontario Malt). So fun today, in the hotel lobby with all my bags packed waiting to run to the train station, to meet a Chef. I went to a great Genealogy Conference and met a Chef, The Edible Genealogist, Mark Drew, UE. (@ChefMark Drew)

Much more happened at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2018 than my last minute drool over meeting a Genealogist who is a Chef!

Meeting up with old friends all through out and networking rise to the top of the list for things to do at Conferences, but I got to spend 6 hours on Friday talking about my passion, Genetic Genealogy. Two workshops on DNA! I hope the confusion people brought with them to the sessions was lessened after we were done.

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2018 Round Up

Jonathon Vance’s opening Plenary Lecture was fabulous, just a fabulous way to start a Conference and then having Amy Johnson Crow weave threads of Jonathon’s lecture and other sessions into her closing lecture – It takes talent to recognize a thread and it takes something of a humble speaker to change her planned lecture, turn the phrase or theme touched on by other speakers and weave it into their own. Amy and Jonathon and all the rest of the speakers and venders and volunteers made the conference comfortable and consistent- it was very nice to have the theme carried through and tied with a bow.

The Conference was held on the sprawling campus of Guleph University in Guelph, ON. Beautiful setting with the architecture of the school marrying modern and historic buildings and green spaces into perfect symmetry. BUT. The Sprawling campus offered a unique challenge to the Conference co-chairs and committee. Getting all of us from our various hotels or campus residence rooms into the heart of the conference buildings. They had golf carts! A fleet of Golf Carts supplied by Family Search kept the attendees moving on time to our respective activities and sessions.

Take Away? Golf Carts Rock!

Well, the whole conference rocked really. Sessions on building a nation – Canada. Sessions on preserving our records. Sessions on how to care for our precious research once we have passed – What!? you haven’t included your genealogical research in your will? Or talked with the Genetic Genealogists about working to preserve your DNA for future researchers? I was talking about that and work Blaine Bettinger is doing with his Committee for the Preservation of DNA Records in my sessions.

I am headed home now.

I have a huge list of “to-dos” on the go from meetings and discussions had this weekend. Two of them promised while traveling on this very train back to my home. Promises made and promises kept and a sense of loss as I leave all the wonderful friends <appendage> I have and the new ones made and… the Chef? He is in the seat right in front of me.

A Chef who talks about the foods of our ancestors is sitting right in front of me. He is probably praying that I don’t lean over the chair and ask him questions again about the food that sustained Champlain on his initial forays into the Canadian shield – Sun Choke/Jerusalem Artichoke…and what about…

Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project

It’s nothing near a stretch to say that Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project. Genetic Genealogists are often called citizen scientists. To say someone is a citizen scientist means, in my book, that they, them, you and me, us are not associated with multi million dollar corporations in any financial way.

We work to share our work. It’s the new paradigm in Genealogy – collaboration.

Since we are working to share our work and further our research together, we have worked out ways to do that. Many of us have our own blogs. Many of us have Facebook pages or even Facebook groups to share. One great case in point is Blaine Bettinger’s Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group which has over 40,000 members. 40 thousand people sharing and posting and discussing Genetic Genealogy – crowd sourcing.

GEDmatch stands out as one of the greatest crowd sourced tools in the Genealogy community, offering a database of autosomal and X DNA test results and tools to do analysis and matching. It’s growing rapidly. This growth in new members has occurred since the release of information that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify a man who turned out to be California’s most prolific and elusive serial rapist and murderer. The case has caused an uproar in the Genealogy community with people publicly stating that they will remove their data from this important database because of it’s use in a criminal investigation. But still there is that growth. I certainly have noticed it in the higher count of people on GEDmatch when I login. Good.

Family Search is crowd sourced. Geni is, for the most part, crowd sourced- if you can work around the the many annoying paywalls. We Relate is Crowd sourced.  Then there is the ultimate crowd sourced Global Family Tree, WikiTree, with it’s…well with it’s everything.

Recent Crowd Source Losses

Three significant crowd sourced projects closed their shutters this week. Which speaks to growing concerns for privacy and the GDPR (if you have been under the proverbial rock – it’s the General Data Protection Regulations for the EU and UK. Google it. I am so disgusted with it’s fall out I don’t even want to link to it). I know this new regulation will eventually make crowd sourcing better, but it’s a huge hit to lose Y-Search, mitoSearch and World Families. 

Thank you and goodbye to you three. I have often been in your data working to solve adoption cases or help a family find their true surname or build a clients sense of family or connect my family to the rest of my family tree through DNA.

Moving “onward and upward”

The “onward and upward” quote is something I see often in Chris Whitten’s (WikiTree’s, WikiTreer-In-Chief) emails and posts to WikiTree. We as a community will move on. Moving on means that we need to do some things to protect our databases from extinction. And we will.

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd sourcing will be better with tighter controls on privacy and a mind to even more openness. Yes I said it, privacy and openness. I will say it again and I will follow that advice as I work on my family and friends and clients families on my favorite crowd sourced project (which has taken incredible steps to protect itself and it’s community of crowd sourcing and enthusiastic genealogists) WikiTree.

I will also continue to use and support and lecture about other crowd sourced ventures like GEDmatch.

I love being in this incredible crowd sourced community.

New International Gen. Conference

Great news from Kirsty Gray and Sylvie Valentine this morning. There is a new international genealogy conference to fill the void left by the demise of Who Do You Think You Are?

THE Genealogy Show

From one of the show directors, Kirsty Gray, “I am delighted to announce that Sylvia Valentine and I are Ministers of Magic aka Show Directors for THE Genealogy Show 2019 which is being held at the NEC in Birmingham, England. We already have an international board in place including genealogy stars such as Jill Ball, Ruth Blair, John Boeren, Liv Birgit Christensen, Mags Gaulden, Pat Richley-Erickson (Dear Myrtle) and DM Walsh.”

Our main aim is to create a terrific new show which becomes an annual highlight on the genealogy calendar. Attracting family history societies (in some cases, back) to the event, as well as providing outstanding educational workshops and networking opportunities, are at the core of the planning.

What’s not to like? NEC has 16,500 parking spaces, a raft of hotels and easy access by road, rail and plane. See you there? Check out the website www.thegenealogyshow.uk, like our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/THEGenShow, and follow us on Twitter @THEGenShow2019.

Oh, and did you say you wanted to be an exhibitor, sponsor or speaker? Details on the website!”

Thanks very much and I will see you in Birmingham in June of 2019!

And In My Spare Time?

Incredibly honored and pleased to announce that I will be a part of, the Genetic Genealogist for, the Canadian Casualty Identification Team for the Directorate of History and Heritage within the Department of National Defense Canada. The Team will be working to recover, identify and reunite the remains of formerly missing Canadian Service men prior to 1970 with their families for burial.

Here is a link to a Video about this important work: 

Video about the CCIT

If you would prefer to read about it here is a link to an article:

DND looking to contract DNA and burial experts to help ID Canada’s missing war dead

Off to Kitchener

I am off to Kitchener in the morning and I have been looking forward to this trip for so many reasons that I thought you might like me to outline a few of them.

  1. The Kitchener Public Library Fair isn’t your regular old run of the mill Library Genealogy thing. This library system serves a densely populated part of Ontario and their Genealogy Fair garners crowds with varying degrees of Genealogy knowledge, from beginner to expert and top-notch speakers from the Genealogy field. I get to be a part of it and that is just so cool!
  2. Sharing my passion, Genetic Genealogy, as the Keynote speaker.  The Power of DNA is the message. This message will wrap itself nicely around the DNA theme of this years fair. There will be a small guest appearance by my Grandfather during the presentation too. All the way from the hills and foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. I kid you not.
  3. Riding a train for the first time in my life to Kitchener. Yes. I know. Of course I have ridden the subway in major cities and yes I have ridden the Monorail at Disney, but never a train. My poor spousal unit is getting peppered with all sorts of questions from me, “How will I know which car is car #4?”, What do I do with my luggage?”, “Where are the bathrooms?”, “How do I find lunch?” and “Do they have footrests?” I will be a wide-eyed Harry Potter on his first ride to Hogwarts (thanks to Sheila at KPL for making my travel arrangements!).

Everything always happens at the same time for me!

If traveling by train for the first time in my life and speaking at such a great event weren’t enough? The WikiTree Clean-A-Thon is this weekend. Not only do I get to speak, share my granddad and ride a train, I get to help clean-up Wikitree Profiles and do Video Hangouts with fellow WikiTreers  while traveling and when I get home.

Another amazingly busy Weekend in the offing! Come see me, or watch for me hanging my head out the train window like a very happy puppy, tongue flapping, ears blowing back and wearing the biggest grin on earth. You can also see me hanging out with other WikiTreers every four hours starting at midnight on Friday and running through Midnight on Tuesday morning during the Clean-A-Thon (NO! Not at 4am and not during the KPL Genealogy Fair).

 

 

New GEDmatch X-chromosome comparison links at WikiTree

From WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten comes this great announcement about new GEDmatch X-chromosome comparison links at WikiTree.

“Hi WikiTreers,

We just took another small step forward in our collaboration with GEDmatch.com.

As most of you know, you can click directly to view one-to-one autosomal test comparisons on GEDmatch from WikiTree profile pages and DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid pages. You can also do Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA comparisons through Ysearch and MitoSearch “[compare]” links on WikiTree.

One thing we haven’t had until now is easy X-chromosome comparison links. X comparisons can be especially powerful for genealogy because there is a more limited inheritance pattern on the X than the autosome and almost everyone who has taken an autosomal DNA test (all 10 or 12 million of us!) has X chromosome test results too. There is a lot of untapped potential for DNA confirmation using X matches.

Here’s an example of how you might use this. Look on your DNA Ancestors page — this is the “DNA” link on the pull-down menu that starts with your WikiTree ID — and scroll to the X Chromosome section. These are the ancestors from whom you inherited your X DNA. Choose one of the distant ones and click the DNA Descendants icon  next to their name.

On your ancestor’s DNA Descendants page scroll to the X Chromosome section. These are the descendants — yourself and your cousins — who are likely to match each other on the X. If more than one of you are on GEDmatch you can click the “[compare]” links to see whether you match as you would expect.

Here are a couple examples of DNA Descendants pages where you can see the new GEDmatch comparison links:

Maybe a more informed genetic genealogist will follow up here with advice on doing the actual DNA confirmations, or with other ideas for using this new feature.

Onward and upward,

Chris

P.S. A big thank you to John Olson, Curtis Rogers, and our other friends at GEDmatch for enabling us to create these links. Thank you to Blaine Bettinger for his early and ongoing evangelism for X chromosome usage. (We used Blaine’s charts to create our XDNA ancestor and descendant pages.) And thank you to Mags Gaulden, Kay Wilson and the other DNA Project members for their leadership on these subjects, most especially — especially — thank you to Peter Roberts, who suggested this feature and helped it all come together, as he has with many of our DNA features.”

This is just great Chris (and Peter),

X-DNA is often overlooked, but can be a powerful tool because it’s inheritance is very specific. Click on your DNA link as Chris suggested and look at how this sex chromosome is inherited.

For a female:

  • From your Dad and his Mother.
  • From your Mother and her parents

For a Male:

  • From your Mother and her parents

It’s so specific. The Confirmation Citation is really informative too:

* Maternal relationship is confirmed by a 108.0 cM X chromosome match between John Kingman GEDmatch T782948 and his second cousin once removed Kelly Miller GEDmatch A721343. Their MCRA is Charles Cyrus Babst.

Take some time to look at some of those X-Matches WikiTree has posted for you. You might get a pleasant surprise.

My Dad and I from this new feature:

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
X 2,710,157 154,551,755 190.1 16,903

Chr 23

Mags

Blew-up someones world this weekend…

I work methodically, how on earth did I just blow up someones world? Truly, it’s the way I work, slow and methodical. Find each piece and put into place.

When I say blow-up someones world I mean it in a good way. This time. Let’s take a step back and methodically go thorough this so at least you understand what I am talking about.

She is adopted

Of course she is. I could describe her in so many other ways too, but to know she is adopted is the only way to describe her today. I don’t think she frames her life to people she meets this way normally, but she framed her life this way to me, because when we met we talked about what we each did for a living. Of course when I told her what I did, she kind of looked at me sideways and from a distance. It’s something adoptees do when presented with something that might blow-up their life..

She briefly told me her story; she found her mother through the Adoption Disclosure Register of 1993 and had no idea who her father was…I did tell her that she would find her answers in her DNA.

A few months later she asked me for help.

She knew her mother, but the information she was given about who her father was, was incorrect. How did she discover it was incorrect? Because she paid a company to do a paternity test on a family member of the first person her Mother told her (paternity tests run into many hundreds of dollars). Then a family member of the second person her mother named (with a tiny bit of influence from me) had an FTDNA test (much less expensive).

The second test proved no DNA match to the second man named. Seems the more “no answers” she got the more her drive was  ignited to know the truth.

Driven to Know

I talked with someone once who helps Adoptees. She told me a horror story about a client who, when given a bit of information on where the researcher thought the clients father/mother might live, spent an evening knocking on doors and being incredibly confrontational with the families she encountered.

Imagine opening the door to a wild-eyed woman who thinks the world has lied to her for 45 years and sees a crack of light peering through a darkened tunnel. I can’t imagine how utterly terrifying it would be to have a child you didn’t know about, or one you had hidden from your family, or that you had tried to hide from, just appear, demanding you talk openly and frankly about her. Your secret.

She was shown a crack of light.

Back to today, to this client, who is fast becoming a good friend. I opened a crack in her dark tunnel. I was working methodically. But I did ask her if she would take on some of the research since I know she was capable and because I told her the story I just related to you above. Did she listen?

She did and she didn’t and well…it was like a can of biscuits. You push the the spoon in just a touch and POP it’s all out there.

And it is all out there.

She spent the weekend working social media with the information I gave her. We talked and texted over the weekend and each time I tried to get my, “take it slow”, “don’t go overboard with this”, ‘don’t be disappointed”, “don’t”, “don’t”, “don’t”… I got a text from her this morning…”______ _______ is my Dad, I just talked to him.”

It’s all good. It is. After 2 hours it’s all good. What a wild weekend for her. What a wild weekend for him. What a, “what can of busquits have I opened” weekend for me. 

I wish I could have bubble wrapped her after our “revealing” meeting Friday night. At least I would have felt she and her newly discovered family could have had some protection – protection that in the end none of them seem to need.

Wow, what a weekend!