Working WikiTree as a Pro Genealogist

For years I have been an ardent WikiTreer (a person who is a member of WikiTree). But many people don’t realize how I use WikiTree in my work as a Professional Genealogist, which I do, almost every single day.

Time Tracking

This is the comment that usually causes eyebrows to raise, their pupils to dilate and their genea-senses to prick. Time tracking is what we do while we work for every single client. For me it’s a way to show the client the bang for their buck.

Every single change I make to WikiTree is shown in my contributions feed. Every single change I make to a WikiTree profile is shown in the changes tab for the profile. Every single minute of time I take to input data and sources (correct typo’s and be OCD about the presentation of the work on the profile – the ultimate genealogy report) is shown. So any one of my clients can look at their family profiles on wikiTree and see what work I am doing and the time I have spent on that work – the entering it into WikiTree part and the research part.

Research Notes

While I work I post information about current theories or research angles to the profile. I discuss why I am looking in a certain direction and can post images on why I have a certain theory.

For example:

An adoptee has her birth record. It list the names of her parents. Great, job done! But in reviewing all of the information surrounding the birth and in looking for information on those names, there don’t appear to be people who ever lived with those names in those places. 

In the city directories for the year of her birth, where she was born, I found a page with the supposed surname. The surname was in the column furthest to the right. Scanning across the other two columns on the same page, on the same line, are the rest of the fathers names – names for other people, for other families. If you take the first name from this column for Robert Smelzter, the middle name in the second column Michael Smith and in the last column (none with either of the Robert or Michael) but the surname listed in the birth record? It is very apparent that the fathers name was made-up from someone opening that city directory and creating it from the names in the three columns (the actual names were very unique which made this easy to spot). 

This theory, with images, is posted on the profile page for the adoptee (having found the father and knowing his real name is not the one on the birth record, bears out the way in which the names were chosen for the birth record).

Free Space Pages

I could have posted my research into the way the fathers name was created and posted all of this to a free space page. Creating a free space page for long and thoughtful research, like The Origins of The Hunt 14, is a great way to make a profile less wordy, less cluttered. Free Space Pages also provide an easy way to convert your research into great blog posts too! Here is information on creating a Free Space Page on WikiTree.

Real Time Conversations and Collaboration

My clients can join WikiTree or not. If they do they create their own account, and I work the tree back for them from what ever point they chose. If they don’t join WikiTree, I work the tree back from what ever point they chose. Sounds like it’s the same and it is. As long as I am not working with living individuals my clients can see all of my work in real time, as it happens.

As I work, if something comes up wonky and I need the client to clarify things, I don’t spend time with lengthy email chains trying to explain the wonky. I point them to the wonky, they see the wonky, and a real time conversation takes place. Oh! The time I have saved with this ability, this real time client collaboration.

Community Collaboration

There are great WikiTreers who are very specialized in their genealogy knowledge. These WikiTreers answer questions in the Genealogist to Genealogist forum and also work in projects to create resources and information on sources and resources for research specific to an area, a time, a name or an event. Like the Templeton Name Study or any of the other projects on WikiTree. Projects are chock full of resources and information and volunteers ready to help.

And the community involvement runs deeper with being able to ask a question about a source or reference or place or…in G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist Forum).

Database Capabilities

Well, that is what WikiTree is in reality. A humongous Global Family Tree that is a workable database. The possibilities are endless. From identifying names or groups in geographic locations or cemeteries or businesses or by mt  full sequence haplogroups…

You can create your own database categories to suit your research needs. I have. One example is mapping the migration of Templeton’s from Ireland and Scotland to Pennsylvania and South Carolina, to points west by haplogroups. If you contact me to tell me you are a Templeton in Arkansas, with haplogroup R-M222, I can tell you which of the six Templeton families you originated from, off the top of my head. As a researcher you can find that data on the Templeton Name Study Free Space Page.

Report Writing

As I work each and every profile, every free space page, I create a series of mini-reports which can be included in any written report to a client. I have all of my sources, all the biographical information, images and information posted in a clear concise manner for each individual. I can in insert them into a larger report as is, or provide those as singular reports to clients. It’s an “as I work I create the final report” as a I go way of working.  It’s a way to be on top of my reports with little effort. Because if you don’t do that, coming back to write a report after the fact makes the report and arduous task.

And More

These are only a few of the ways to use WikiTree as a Professional Genealogist. There are so many more, like setting up a profile so when you send out queries to people about a person they can find ALL of the information they need to connect them to your client – like this Surname List with a link to all of the individuals EKA’s for each surname. The Compact Pedigree Chart or A DNA Page showing all of a persons DNA information – mtDNA inheritance Ancestor Trail, and X and Y and…How about a once click button on an Ancestors profile to show you the relationship between the profile manager and the ancestor or between a DNA tester and the ancestors or…

There is so much that WikiTree can do to help a pro Genealogist be smart about how they work.

WikiTree Source-A-Thon

I will be one of many WikiTreer’s losing sleep the first weekend of October during the WikiTree Source-A-Thon.

Instead of writing a new blog post to tout that I will be appearing on source-a-thons hangouts (I will), or that I am offering a one hour consult as one of the prizes (I am), I am posting the press release for you from WikiTree! Enjoy…WikiTree Source-A-Thon

WikiTree Announces Fourth Source-a-Thon
Wiki genealogists celebrate Family History Month by verifying oral family histories with sources

September 4, 2019: Registration opened today for WikiTree’s fourth annual “Source-a-Thon,” a 72-hour genealogical sourcing marathon. The event is scheduled for the first weekend in Family History Month (October), starting on the morning of Friday, October 4, and ending on the morning of Monday, October 7.

Family trees often start as oral histories.

Events are retold as they are remembered by those who experienced them. These memories are incorporated into family trees and handed down through the generations. The genealogists who collaborate on WikiTree seek to preserve these family histories forever as part of a single family tree that everyone can access for free.

Unfortunately, oral histories and handed-down trees sometimes include mistakes. Conflicts arise when the trees are put together into a single family tree. The only objective way to resolve these conflicts is to refer to original source documents, such as birth, marriage, and death records.

Family History Month Marathon

To celebrate Family History Month, WikiTree members from all over the world will be working together around the clock for three days on profiles that don’t currently have any source citations. 

This is the fourth annual marathon event. Of the 2018 Source-a-Thon, participant Neil Perry wrote, “I have to say, I really enjoyed it, and the fact that over 72,000 new sources were added to the tree is amazing! … everyone’s a winner.”

Prizes

To support this event, individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are donating prizes to be awarded at random. Over $3,500 in prizes have been donated so far, including DNA tests and full memberships from MyHeritage and Ancestry, as well as valuable prizes from Fold3, Newspapers.com, Legacy Tree Genealogists, Family ChartMasters, RootsTech, Grandma’s Genes, and more. Prizes are still being added. If you would like to donate a prize, contact eowyn@nullwikitree.com.

To be eligible for the random prize drawings, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.” Registration is now open. See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Source-a-Thon for further details.

WikiTree, The Free Family Tree

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See https://www.WikiTree.com.

 

FGS 2019 Conference Takeaways

I spent the last 6 days in sweltering, melting, sauna like, Washington DC in the comfort of the luxurious Omni Shorham at the FGS Conference 2019. Here are my takeaways…

The Venue

The Luxurious Omni Shoreham, was spectacular in architeture, hospitality and location at Woodley park. The proximity to Woodley Park was a must have since the hotels restaurants and bars (under new management?) seemed woefully unprepared for this flock of genealogists.

Since I spent the majority of my time in the exhibit hall talking about mitoYDNA, WikiTree, DNAGedcom and Genetic.Family, I can only speak first hand about how well the exhibit hall worked. Second hand I can say that everyone I talked to who attended sessions mentioned they learned a great deal and were being spurred on by the sessions to dig deeper and work smarter on thier genealogy.

The Exhibit Hall itself presented challenges for the organizers, yet those challenges did not translate to anything but a great experience for our booth. Our biggest challenge was very poor lighting which was over come by the generosity of the exhibitors close to us – Thank you Mary Kay from Our Fun Tree and Angie and Louise from The National Institute For Genealogical Studies.

mitoYDNA booth
Rob and Mags attempting to illuminate the booth.

Randy Whited worked tirelessly to make sure the exhibitors had what they needed and was in the hall, I think, for the entire conference. Thank You to Randy for being very present.

The volunteers and conference organizers were also very presnt. Thank you to the FGS board, Pat Richley-Erickson, Steve Fulton, Jen Baldwin and the rest for  your hard work to make things work for all attendees.

Support for mitoYDNA.org

Rob at the Booth
Rob talking Genetic.Family to booth visitors.

Rob Warthen and DNAGedcom hosted mitoYDNA at the DNAGedcom booth and at the conference. Which is a pretty big deal. Really a big deal to have that kind of support for a brand new, non-profit (run totally on contributions and support from the genealogy community) organization. Thank You!

mitoYDNA took the opportunity afforded us to introduce the Genealogy Community to this new, free, accessible YDNA and mtDNA database. It was our first public appearance since swinging open our doors for uploads, matching and analysis.

Mags and Rob
Rob and Mags being shown how to get integration with Family Search rolling.

We had great conversations about privacy and our philosphy of making this database availabe to everyone while still being able to provide privacy to our users as well. We talked about how Y and mtDNA can be used to smash brickwalls. We talked about how acedemic researchers can use the data to show how we are all connected.

We geeked out with people who came to us with ideas for tools and analysis for the database. I am talking serious Geeking going on at all hours.

FGS Conference 2019 was a great first public appearance for mitoYDNA and the support and good words we got from so many was incredible!

WikiTree In The House (or I am home where ever I am)

The very first person I saw upon arriving at the conference was WikiTreer Star Kline! We both screamed each other’s names when we saw each other and hugged it out – it was our first time seeing each other in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world of WikiTree). What a great welcome!

WikiTreers stopped to say hello everywhere. Even in the ladies room! Some made multiple trips by the booth to ask questions or just to be “WikiTree” at the conference.

mitoYDNA presentation
Mags talking mitoYDNA at the FTDNA booth venue.

FTDNA graciously asked me to do a booth session/talk and WikiTreer’s came out in force to see my WikiTree infused presentation on mitoYDNA.

As I was getting into my uber to leave for home, WikiTreer Glenn York came over to see me off (and to tell me we are double cousins!). WikiTree is always home where ever I go!

Some Statistics

Here are some interesting numbers from FGS 2019:

mitoYDNA had 25 to 30 new site visitors each day of the conference.

We added approximately 240+/- kits to the mitoYDNA Database.

I talked to every single society who were exhibitors at the conference and to quite a few who were not official exhibitors, which was the goal of mitoYDNA being at the conference. Societies who have promised to mention the mitoYDNA is open and avialable? 100+/-

There is no hard number for the number of WikiTreer’s who are re-engergied about working our great big ole shared tree at Wikitree, nor are there numbers on new WikiTreers, but there certainly are (I know this because I had people coming by to ask me questions about their first profile work).

People who were sent to the FTDNA booth for Y and mtDNA upgrades? 10 – 12 (million, he he).

People who were sent to YSEQ for Y and mtDNA tests? No numbers on that but a few at least.

South Carolina Peeps in attendance? I think half the conference were my fellow Carolinians! Loved getting to meet new friends and to see old friends from “down home” – especially the contingent from SCGS who were like light for this Carolinian-Canadian moth. Can’t wait to see you again next July for the 2020 SCGS 48th Annual Summer Workshop, July 10-11.

Granma’s Genes Hugs given away? Way too many to count!

 

mitoYDNA, THE new Y-DNA and mtDNA Database

mitoYDNA, THE new Y-DNA and mtDNA Database is here. What is mitoYDNA? How can it help the genealogy community? And many more questions, answered.

What is a Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA database and why do we need it?

Y-DNA – is the DNA for males that follows the patrilineal line back, father to son, for a very long time – thousands of years.

mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – is the DNA that follows the matrilineal line back, mother to her children, which is passed on by only her female children to their children, for a very long time – thousands of years.

For years anyone who tested their Y-DNA and mtDNA could post their results to the databases YSearch and MitoSearch to do comparisons, matching and analysis. If you had a Y-DNA or a mtDNA test you could compare and match with people from various DNA testing companies. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) caused FTDNA to make the decision to close these two databases – time and money to get each and every person in the former databases up to the new privacy standards was too expensive and time consuming to attempt.

How and why did mitoYDNA get started?

I spoke with FTDNA in 2017 about YSearch and mitoSearch and its future since there were lots of rumors floating around regarding it’s possible closure. I was told that indeed the sites would be closing.

As someone who uses DNA daily in my own business, and having used YSearch and MitoSearch for my own family mysteries – especially using mitochondrial DNA to solve an adoption mystery (or tale of adoption) in my own family – I knew firsthand how important having a free and accessible Y-DNA and mtDNA database was to my research. I know how important a third-party Y and mtDNA database is to DNA researchers in the genealogical community.

Over the course of 2017, a team came together to build and create mitoYDNA.org.

Our Mission

mitoYDNA.org is a website for uploading Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA to create a YDNA and mitochondrial DNA database. The site also offers DNA matching, analysis and tools to help our users/volunteers further their genealogical research. mitoYDNA is:

  • Crowdsourced – www.mitoYDNA.org is volunteer driven.
  • Free – www.mitoYDNA.org’s use will be at no cost to the users/volunteers, though donations are encouraged to defer hardware, facility and administrative costs.
  • Accessible – www.mitoYDNA.org will be accessible to all.

501(c)3 non-profit company

mitoYDNA Ltd., the 501(c)3 non-profit company behind the design, implementation, and ongoing upgrade and maintenance of mitoYDNA.org, is a group of collaborative genetic genealogists who believe genealogists can have access to a YDNA and mtDNA database which includes Y and mtDNA testing from all available companies today and those of the future. mitoYDNA Ltd. is based on the principles genealogical collaboration and continues to work to keep mitoYDNA:

  • Straightforward
  • Current
  • Expanding

mitoYDNA Home Page

Registration

Using the menu bar for navigation, click on Register.

mitoYDNA reg

Fill in all of the fields (password help is listed below the password fields) and be sure to read the TOS/Privacy Statement and click the checkbox at the bottom of the page to verify you have read them – they are very important.

Once you have registered “Kits” and “Tools” will be added to the navigation menu at the top of the page.

Create 

Click Kits on the Menu Bar and it will take you to the Kits You Manage Page. From there click on the create button to create a kit. When you create a kit, you will download your results in a CSV file for YDNA, from your testing company to your computer then upload it to mitoYDNA. For mtDNA you will download a chrome extension (for Google Chrome) which will download your mtDNA results from your testing company to your computer then you can upload it to mitoYDNA. For more on how to download your Y-DNA and mtDNA and upload to mitoYDNA please visit our FAQ/Help page.

What Files does mitoYDNA take?

The Y-DNA files are the Short Tandem Repeat (STR) marker values (alelles) and represent your Haplotype (the set of DNA alelle values; not to be confused with Haplogroup) . mitoYDNA does not process Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) data! 

Data Processed

The chart below shows the current status of data processing capability for each company at mitoYDNA.   Click on the Company name to get instructions on how to get the files you need to upload to mitoYDNA (if currently processed).   Abbreviations: 

  • CSV – Comma Separated Values
  • Ch. Ext. – Chrome Extension

Company – Help File

mtDNA Y-DNA
 FASTA CSV HVR1/2 CSV Ch.Ext. Manual  CSV  Manual
FamilyTreeDNA      
Ancestry      
YSEQ        
Sorenson            
Genebase            
Oxford            
NatGeo            

WikiTree Integration

mitoYDNA ID’s appear in WikiTree and can be used to view comparisons on mitoYDNA.

WikiTree Integration

Instructions for Y-DNA and WikiTree
Instructions for mtDNA and WikiTree

Full Launch

We rolled-out all the tools, matching and comparisons we have planned for phase I of mitoYDNA.org and are ending a very successful beta testing run.

Since we are crowdsourced, we are getting suggestions and input from our facebook users group about the future of mitoYDNA.

Have fun, join the conversation and let us know if you need help, either in the Facebook Users Group, or via info at mitoYDNA.org.

Roots Tech 2019 and Flying With a Cello

Roots Tech 2019 was an absolute blast this year. It had a whole different vibe with fewer complaints about lines and how to find things and well, just about anything I heard complaints about from last year was fixed. The Roots Tech folk must have done some good listening to their visitors from last year. Good job all the way around!

Frenetic Pace

At the start of my adventure I was amped-up for an incredibly busy long weekend in Salt Lake City. The Expo Hall was open on Wednesday night from 6-8 and I flew in at 5. Swooosh to the hotel to change into some WikiTree Orange and off to endure the carpet covered concrete floors of the Salt Palace – wait, I just complained. Apologies to Roots Tech because there is absolutely nothing they can do about the floors in the Salt Palace. Of course we could have purchased an upgrade in the floor covering of our booth (this is a discussion between we WikiTree Volunteers EVERY year at Roots Tech).

WikiTreer’s at the booth!!

The Booth was really an intensive “how to connect” to our great big ole shared tree with people this year. We had life-sized cardboard cut-outs of King Henry VIII and Elvis pelvis himselvis. People were all GaGa over both

WikiTree Team Member Sarah Rojas, the King and a Dino.

of them! I got to do a demo-stage presentation on WikiTree and connections. W etook the cut-outs over for the stage but kept Elvis turned so he couldn’t be seen until a big reveal. We had connection issues – note to self, order a macro HDMI connector – The Big Reveal of Elvis caused a few screams from the crowd. Of course, the MC for the Demo Stage had to say, “Elvis has left the building”.Love doing the Demo Stage presentations for WikiTree at Roots Tech.

Networking

We all networked, which makes Roots Tech a frenetic place for Professional Genealogists. Different breakfasts, lunches, coffee hours, cocktail hours and dinners were planned every single day. Every single minute was a meeting of some kind, whether it be with a booth visitor or with another Professional Genealogist or Freind.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and closeup
Roberta Estes and me showing off my new Helix necklace. Thanks Roberta!

WikiTree’s total membership grew by 343 since Wednesday. WikiTree Volunteers who never see each other or have never met got a chance to collaborate at the WikiTree booth. It was great fun AND exhausting. I heard that some of our Volunteers stayed up chatting to the wee hours of the morning. Me? My roommate and I were both east coasters and were asleep by the wee hours of the evening – every evening!

Grandma’s Genes

I spent a lot of time not promoting Grandma’s Genes, but just being Grandma’s Genes because that is who I am. Many of you came by the booth or stopped me in my wanderings to get selfie’s or a quick question or a wee chat or a hug. I also got some inspiration for a couple of future Grandma’s Genes Blogs. Thanks very much to everyone who suggested blogs or reminded me that I wanted to write about something. Loved seeing you!

mitoYDNA

I spent a lot of time not promoting mitoYDNA. But we did have a presence at Roots Tech. DNAGedcom and Genetic Family graciously let us have cards and information at their booth. Rob, Gale, Peter, Jamie and I suggested mitoYDNA to people who had questions about our work to provide a crowdsourced, free and accessible mitochondrial and YDNA database. Gale was a great promoter all weekend and had an opportunity to mentioned mitoYDNA in his lectures. Gale created a bit of a buzz as well as being a walking billboard.

If you missed the announcement, we have added two superstars to our team: Jonny Perl (DNA Painter) and Kevin Borland (Borland Genetics).

Keven Borland, Gale French, Rob Warthen, Mags Gaulden and Jonny Perl

It’s exciting to see interest in mitoYDNA increase. We are just as excited as you are to move on to matching and beta testing. If you are interested in keeping up with mitoYDNA check out our mitoYDNA Facebook Users Group.

Doing DNA Right!

Flying with a Cello

On one of the flights home we had a delay in our flight by 30 minutes because of weather and another delay in forty minutes for a Cello. Yes a Cello. What?! You’ve never flown with your Cello?

Well, you can’t put your Cello into the baggage hold of an aircraft. You must purchase a seat for your Cello. You can’t just buckle your cello to the seat, the airline must cargo net your cello to your seat. The cargo netting is installed by removing all surrounding passengers, then an airline baggage specialist crawls all over all the area seats to get the cargo net applied correctly. Fascinating.

I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t want to get mobbed for being insensitive. Not sure I would have gotten away with the, “but I need this for my blog” excuse.

Roots Tech London

Apparently, I will be hoping the pond again in October of this year to be at Roots Tech London! How about that! Can’t wait.

Roots Tech 2019 – WikiTree in the House!

I’ll be one of many WikiTree splashes of orange at Roots Tech 2019. Stop by the WikiTree booth to meet some of the people you have only met Virtually – Chris Whitten, Eowyn Langholf, Jaime Nelson, Me (Mags), Michael Stills, Peter Roberts, Karen Tobo, Susie McCleod, Sarah Rojas, Barbara Shoff, and more!

I will be the one in Orange with the biggest smile and hugs to boot!

Come by the WikiTree Booth at 11:00AM on Friday for our WikiTree Photo! Don’t forget to wear your WikiTree T, or Sweatshirt or…

 

Quick and Clean Relationship Trail

I often have the need to do a quick search of the exact relationship between myself and someone else – a relationship finder. How do we connect? What ancestral pair begot our parts of our family tree?

Had an interesting question come up today about one of my Ancestors, John Stoney. The Gentleman who contacted me said his Stoneys were also from Knockshegowna, Tipperary, Ireland but he had no idea how we might connect.

WikiTree’s Relationship finder

Immediately my mind went to, “well have you (the Gentleman with the question) done an auDNA test? I have and so has my dad. Using our auDNA information we might be able to define the possibility that my John Stoney of Knockshegowna is related to his Stoney’s of Knockshegowna.

My first stop? WikiTree’s Relationship finder. It’s “‘WikiTree’s cousin calculator.’ It enables you to find out how two people are related. This can help you sort out the confusing ‘third cousin twice removed’-type relationships.”

Here is my Relation trip trail to John Stoney:

Notice that I do have some DNA confirmed status marked? It’s because I have been able to confirm those genealogical paper trail relationships via the DNA of some close shared cousins with my great grandfather Christopher Lee Templeton. But all the way back to John Stoney? No confirmed status indicators…yet.

So I know that I am genetically distant from John Stoney by 7. this is a genetic distance of 7, starting with 1 at my father. 7 is a long way genetically from me for auDNA since auDNA has a range back to our 64, 4th great- grandparents. But to my Dad? This might just be doable!

Within seconds I know that trying to find a genetic connection between my Stoney’s and the gentleman’s Stoneys of Knockshegowna using auDNA is a possibility. And that if we find some male line Stoney’s of our two family’s to YDNA test, would be a great idea too. There is no Stoney DNA project at FTDNA and no Stoney’s listed in the Stone DNA Project. Sounds like a project needs to get started, doesn’t it?

i4gg – San Diego

WikiTree In The House!

I will be attending the 2018 International Genetic Genealogy Conference in San Diego and will be sporting the latest in WikiTree Orange. See if you can find me – it will be like where’s waldo, but with an orange twist!

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Genetic Genealogy and happens December 7th to 9th at the Sheraton Mission Valley.

I4GG

WikiTree Source-A-thon Hangouts

Source-a-What?

This is our third 72-hour sourcing marathon. The first one in 2016 was lots of fun and together we added sources to over 22,000 profiles. Last year we had almost 500 participants and added sources to over 53,000 profiles!

Our goal is to clear out the Unsourced Profiles category on WikiTree. Although including sources is in our community’s Honor Code, inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. Sometimes the source is “Aunt Mabel,” as Mags put it. This doesn’t mean the information isn’t worth preserving or sharing. It’s a starting point — information waiting to be confirmed.

Like a marathon, this is a competition, but most participants won’t be serious competitors. Most of us will be doing it for the challenge of sourcing as many profiles as they can, for the mission, and for the fun of it.

We will be hosting live Google Hangouts throughout the weekend to cheer each other on. During every chat we will draw a winner for a door prize. Every participant who is online and adding sources during that time will be eligible.

Schedule

The party starts Friday morning, September 28, at 8 AM (ET) and runs until Monday, October 1, at 8 AM (ET). (Eastern Daylight Time is GMT -4.) Genealogists from all over the world will be participating at the same time.

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