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.

McElmoyle DNA and One Name Project

Oh the trials and tribulations of administering/managing a One Name Study and DNA Project for a not so popular (it’s not like these people were left out of the prom, is popular really a good word?) Surname (and popular, it isn’t like these people chose to be named this, like it was the most popular name so they took it).

After years of talking to a friend(?)/fb buddy about her husbands family’s possible connection to my family, her husband got a DNA test done. She and he chose to go with Ancestry, so all we have is an Ancestry atDNA test. Since my Dad and I are the only other testers for the McElmoyle family line (that I know of) and our DNA is not with Ancestry, I grabbed her husbands DNA and uploaded it to GEDmatch and BOOM – not a match – Dang.

Yet.

Why? Because Autosomal testing only reveals matches back for a certain distance. I explained this in a previous blog, DNA – Who To Test?

“For other relatively close cousins, that are not in your direct maternal or paternal line, you can test anyone who matches you through your genealogical research. They can take an Autosomal (auDNA/atDNA) test. This is not a deep ancestor test and ‘can be used to confirm relationships with a high level of accuracy for parent/child relationships and all relationships up to the second cousin level. For all relationships other than parent/child relationships additional contextual and genealogical information is required to confirm the nature of the relationship.'(ISOGGAccuracy of tests)”

So this means we have our first male line, McElmoyle surname DNA tester and we can compare him autosomally with other fairly close people, but, he needs to transfer his DNA over to FamilyTree DNA, then at some point upgrade to a yDNA test to reach a wider piece of the DNA pie. To put his DNA into a bigger Gene pool.

Patience, oh Genealogy takes patience.

I was thinking yesterday that not only did our ancestors name their children the same names for generations just to make all of this hard for us, but they also split the family up just across county lines and made undocumented adoptions just to stir the pot of our genealogical insanity a bit more.

DNA – Who to test?

Why, every single cousin if you are a real Gene/Genea-Geek. If you are not a Gene/Genea-Geek and you are just getting started the answer is as simple as:

What do you want to know?

To find information about your Mothers direct maternal line, you would test a male or female family member who is descended from any of your mothers, mothers – going back as far as your would like to go. They would get a Mitochondrial (mtDNA) test. This is a very deep test which can follow a line back for a very long time, it “is passed down by the mother unchanged, to all her children, both male and female.”(ISOGGMitochondrial DNA Tests)

For your fathers line, you can test your brother, your father, and any male cousins who share your LNAB surname. They can take a yDNA test. This is another very deep test which can follow a line back a great distance. “The Y chromosome, like the patrilineal surname, passes down virtually unchanged from father to son.” (ISOGG – yDNA Chromosome DNA Tests)

For other relatively close cousins, that are not in your direct maternal or paternal line, you can test anyone who matches you through your genealogical research. They can take an Autosomal (auDNA/atDNA) test. This is not a deep ancestor test and “can be used to confirm relationships with a high level of accuracy for parent/child relationships and all relationships up to the second cousin level. For all relationships other than parent/child relationships additional contextual and genealogical information is required to confirm the nature of the relationship.”(ISOGGAccuracy of tests)

If you are interested in knowing your ethnic genetic make-up then you would only test yourself. This would give you your specific Haplo Group, “a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line.”(ISOGGHaplogroup)

Where to test? You want to have your DNA and the others (the people you want to test) DNA in the biggest DNA Gene Pool(s) as possible. From a recent class on DNA on Triangulation with Kitty Munson Cooper she suggested starting your testing with Ancestry for atDNA, then transferring your results over to FamilyTree DNA and upgrading to other tests for mtDNA or yDNA from there. This way you have your DNA in two big gene pools right off the bat (this as of march 2016).

Now run out and find all the cousins in your genealogical paperwork and talk them into doing a DNA test!

How Deep is Your Google Search?

How many pages do you read on Google, or any search engine for that matter, when you do a search?

When I do an online search for information using one of the search engines, I click through the links for 10 or 12 pages back from the first page. Why? Because I have run across information on page 12 specific to my search on many occasions. Seem strange that specific information would show-up so deep into the results page? It’s really not.

A search engine, like Google or Yahoo or Bing, use web-crawlers to look for the most relevant content based on SEO, or Search Engine Optimization – “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” I typed “define SEO” in to google to get this answer.

If a website that contains the information you are looking for works hard to ensure their site is optimized, meaning they update their pages frequently and apply the strategies behind SEO to their site, the information you are looking for will be at the top of the search results pages. If the website does not keep up with the latest strategies for keeping their information at the top of search results pages then your information could end up way back on page 12 or even page 20 of a search engines results.

So next time your are frustrated that the information you are looking for isn’t in the first couple of search results pages, try clicking through a few more search results pages. You might find what you were looking for.

If you want to learn more about SEO, check out this  article on Search Engine Optimization on Wikpedia.

McElmoyle One Name Study

There are very few McElmoyle’s in the world in comparison with other peoples of Ireland. My specific interest arises from the McElmoyle/McElmoil family that settled in York County, South Carolina, specifically Daniel McElmoyle, b. 1796, Ireland, d. February 10, 1867, in York County, SC. Possibly married to 1) Mary Chambers, was married 2) Mary J. Pardue.

From my grandmother’s notes he had a brother, James McElmoyle, who also immigrated to North America and settled in Port Lambton, Ontario. I think this James was b. June 24, 1801, Ireland, d. September 25, 1880, Mooretown, Lambton, ON. He married Catherine M. Cowen.

The fact that there are James and Daniel’s in every McElmoyle family and in every generation does not help, but that is the way of Genealogy right?

There’s lot’s of variations listed on the McElmoyle One Name Study Page:

McElmoyle Spelling Variants:

Mac Giolla Mhaoil
Mac Giolla Mhichil
MacElmeel
MacIlmoyle
McElmoyle
McElmoyl
McElmoil
McIlmail
McIlmale
McIlmoil

I want to get to the bottom of these two McElmoyle brothers origins as well as the rest of the McElmoyles in the world. Be great to prove that we are all related. To that end, I started a McElmoyle One Name Study on WikiTree and a McElmoyle DNA Project on Familty Tree DNA.

Here’s hoping this information tickles information out of some of my McElmoyles cousins!

New Updates and Another Redo, Again

I don’t know about you, but even though Marc and I, as Grandmas Genes, have paid subscriptions to many Genealogical resources, I really love doing research on Family Search. It’s easy to use and pretty commononsensical (<— not really a word) – you type a name and a list of information comes up for that name.

I have been doing work for a client over the last week or so, slowly adding my research and notes into WikiTree. Today while I was tiding-up I noticed some lose ends for this research.  When I went to Family Search to grab a source citation for a Census, up pops a Census record I hadn’t seen while I was looking JUST LAST WEEK. What?! And this census record had a child that I hadn’t found in any of my research previous to today. So, down this line I go to redo, again research for this family and new child. Not so much tiding-up lose ends eh?

Seems Family search has recently updated it’s files and information. Thanks Family Search for my Genealogy redo, again.

To read more about the latest updates, check out the Family Search Blog, New FamilySearch Collections Update: February 22, 2016.