Grandma’s Genes Blog

Haplogroups Most Recent Common Ancestor

Recently on WikiTree someone asked me ‘Dumb question, What are Haplogroups?’

Thinking it was not a dumb question at all I gave the following answer.

A haplogroup is a grouping of common  patrilineal or matrilineal lines who share a common ancestor.  The main haplogroups are divided by letter, and smaller sub-divisions by letter and number.  For example H is a very large group, H1 is a subgroup of H, H1a is a subgroup of H1, and so on.   The further you narrow it down the closer in years the common ancestor is. Continue reading “Haplogroups Most Recent Common Ancestor”

Cluster Genealogy – 2 DNA & Geography

CW, as stated in the first post about Cluster Genealogy, has had every possible DNA test one could have. So one of the first things I did was look at his surname DNA project and his results as compared to others who match him closely.

For those who need a little help to find DNA projects, simply type the Surname you are interested in into a search engine, “Smith DNA Project”, and if there is a DNA project for the surname it will pop up. Oh! What we did before the internet! Editorial comments aside, it’s pretty easy to find. One note of caution, do not copy and post information directly from the DNA project to anywhere public. Continue reading “Cluster Genealogy – 2 DNA & Geography”

Cluster Genealogy – 1 – Geography

Using cluster genealogy I am working with CW on a Paternal line brickwall – SW (Samuel). To help break down this brick wall CW has taken DNA tests – all of them. The Autosomal DNA Results information is a good place to look at relationships back to any of his 64, 4th great grandparents (we all have 64, 4th Great grands).

Using WikiTree’s Relationship Finder gives us CW’s relationship Trail to his brickwall: Continue reading “Cluster Genealogy – 1 – Geography”

Grandma(s) On Tour!

Not on a grand scale, but certainly a day trip in our own city. Marc (yes he is a Grandma too) and I headed out at 9am to meet and talk with Librarians and Archivists in Ottawa. A little too early as the first one on our list didn’t open until ten. We ended up sipping our Bridgehead coffees, chatting and watching the neighborhood kids play near the door of the Rosemont Branch (18 Rosemount Ave.) of the OPL (Ottawa Public Library). Amazing how a bike stand can turn into a jungle gym for anyone 3 or younger! We introduced ourselves to the Librarians and chatted briefly with them. This is not one of the OPL designated Genealogy Centers, but still has local information and of course access to online Genealogy programs like WikiTree, Ancestry and others. Continue reading “Grandma(s) On Tour!”

DNA and something called Phasing – 1 Parent

Had this question yesterday, “I uploaded my fathers raw data to GEDmatch. Now how do we do the phasing if I don’t have my mothers DNA?”

Phasing “is the process of trying to determine which DNA came from the mother, and which came from the father. The term is usually applied to types of DNA that recombine, such as autosomal DNA or the X-chromosome. The benefit of phasing is being able to identify which ancestor a segment was inherited from.” http://isogg.org/wiki/Phasing Continue reading “DNA and something called Phasing – 1 Parent”

Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety. Continue reading “Migration As A Genealogical Tool”

DNA – Understanding Your Results? Ethnicity/Origins

Oh, I always have a good chuckle when I see blog or forum posts with this subject line, which is why I added a question mark at the end. How on earth are you, the family geneaarchivisty person or genealogist supposed to suddenly become a DNA expert and understand the overwhelming amount of information included in your DNA test results?

Well, you understand enough to have figured out  Why DNA, Who to Test and Where to Test. You ordered your kit, swabbed your cheek, sent it off and now you have the results back and…

Ethnicity/Origins

The National Geographic Genographic Project, Geno 2, test results are geared toward this specifically. The project is attempting to identify, through DNA, the origins of us all. It’s a noble work, as they will be able to establish (are already establishing) our genetic roots. This is shifting sand, because, as our migrations from place to place have increased so has our DNA mix. If this is what you want to know then this is your test as “Our testing focuses on deep ancestry from an anthropological perspective. It is not primarily a genealogy testing service…” The Genographic Project -FAQ

Mentioning shifting sands…Check back on your Ethnicity/Origins results frequently because as more people test the more the data improves. You might start out at 98% European today and in two months you may be 96% European. Not big changes for sure but over time you may see your numbers go up and down a bit.

On FamilyTreeDNA find your “My Origins” section of your Family Finder test.Clicking “My Origins” will take you to a map, a breakdown of your ethnicity and a list of matches with their ethnicity.

On Ancestry it’s under DNA. Clicking on DNA will take you to a page that summarizes your information, with a map of your origins and a pie chart showing your ethnic make-up and a link to click to go more in-depth.

On 23andMe it’s in Ancestral Composition, click “Go” and you will see a color-coded map of your origins and percentages of your ethnic breakdown.

On all of these pages hover and click all round to see if there are things for you to read, aside from the obvious verbiage. You can also look over a few of your top DNA matches (the people you share part of your DNA with) without leaving the page. Have fun learning about where you came from in the grand scheme of things.

 

 

DNA – Where to Test?

This is a subject that has been whipped, but good. There isn’t a lot to add to the information about where to DNA test, but since some of my readership may be looking only to me for this very advice (delusions of grandeur), I have to whip it one more time. If you have already been around the block on this, you can sit back with a nice piece of hot blueberry pie while I ramble on, entertainingly, about where to test. The rest get your pie at the end.

Sticker Shock – It’s not a new car, but…

Prices range from around $99.00 US to about $249.00 US for single tests. If you don’t live in the US and your currency isn’t doing well against the US dollar, prepare for even more sticker shock and high fees for shipping.

You can get an Autsomal Test and/or a y-DNA test or mtDNA test and you can order a test: from 23andMe, Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage and National Geographic.

The companies vary in the tests they offer so you should spend time looking over the FAQ for each company to decide which one is right for you, based on what you want to know and what test you need to point you in the right direction. A previous blog post gives some advice on the, “what you want to know” and the “what tests” for you here: DNA- Who to Test?

Testing Companies

Ancestry FAQ
FamilyTreeDNA FAQ

23andMe FAQ
My Heritage FAQ (bottom of page)
National Geographic Geno 2.0 FAQ

Is Testing Available Everywhere?

No. You will want to read to make sure testing is available for your area. For example, Ancestry DNA testing is only “available in the United States and for purchase online for residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”- Ancestry FAQ #10.

Now that that is done, everyone enjoy the hot from the oven blueberry pie I just served you! Some Vanilla Ice cream too!

Also see Why DNA? to see why you would want to do DNA testing.

Gene-O-Rama Take Away

What is Gene-O-Rama? No it isn’t something you order from a late night TV ad. No Sheldon Cooper, didn’t name this event but it certainly sounds like something he would be interested in…along with about 200+ (this is a very rough guestimate – probably higher) Ottawa and surrounding area Genealogists, family historians, archivist and librarians.

We, Grandma’s Genes, were there to spread the word about our work here in Ottawa (and elsewhere), on Genetic Genealogy, Indigenous Peoples and WikiTree. We had a great time meeting and networking with participants, venders, speakers and the volunteers who did a bang-up job of making everything come off with out a hitch!

It was great being a participant for Gene-O-Rama. I am often representing WikiTree at genealogical events, so having the time to do some professional development for myself was a nice change. AND I got to spend some quality “out of the office” time with Marc. It was a great building and bonding experience for our partnership as Grandma’s Genes.

Take away? Size doesn’t matter when you have a well run event with lots of venders, great volunteers and informative and knowledgeable speakers in the field. Great Job Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society!

Genetic DNA, Patience Is The Word

DNA has been around since…well forever. It will be around forever. What has not been around forever has been our ability to get to it and to understand it. All that getting to it, understanding it and connecting to it takes patience.

I am currently working with a client who is in her late 80’s. She is adopted and she has never been able to find out much about her birth story other than where she was adopted, her name, “Girl X”, and her date of birth. She has patiently spent some of her time trying to gain access from her records via the County Courthouse where she was adopted only to be turned away with, “there isn’t anything in the file and if there was it wouldn’t be available to you if there was.”

Then her kids had some health issues and she wanted to know more. DNA has arrived so she sent away to 23andMe to get her medical information. She did and she seems to be OK with the DNA Medical knowledge, but, she still wants to know about HER story. The one where she came into the world drew breath and was given away for what ever reason.

And that takes patience.

I laughed at myself today and tonight. I sent out letters to people she matches on 23andMe and to people she matches ad GEDmatch. I got a few replies, but one of them? One of the relies has the promise of bigger answers to her questions. This match is so very close to her. But, I worked all day and heard nothing. I ate dinner and after dinner I was scheduled for a webinar through the Association of Professional Genealogists and just as I was getting myself signed in for the said webinar I see my mailbox lights up. It has just received the first of two emails from the match with the bigger answers…Oh the patience it took to stay the course and participate in the webinar. I did it, though I still haven’t opened the emails yet. I was so struck by the little bit of patience I needed to have, just for an hour and a half tonight, that I wanted to write this blog post while it was still such a real feeling for me. And to think my client has been waiting patiently for a lifetime to receive her answers.

Patience is the word.