dna testing

Started by Private on Sunday, March 9, 2014
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  • Private
    Geni member
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3/9/2014 at 3:46 PM

Private - do you know about Gedmatch? You can download a copy of your results from Ancestry and upload to Gedmatch. Gedmatch is free and password protected. It has several attractive features. First, people who tested at all the primary services upload there. Second, it has great tools which just got much better with a triangulation tool.

You can also upload to FTDNA for a small fee, but I would first upload to Gedmatch (www.gedmatch.com) and play around. It will take about 2 - 3 weeks for your data to be fully usable there so you need to be patient.

I actually find the autosomal results very interesting to look at and as the tools become more sophisticated and groups form to look at specific ancestries, we will understand how to interpret them better. I did prove a 6th cousin and connect two trees through autosomal. I had the hypothesis that we were 6th cousins but until I found that we shared a huge swathe of DNA on Chromosome 1 with a bunch of Frankel cousins, it was only a hypothesis.

You might read Genome by Matt Ridley or look for a more recent book on DNA. As far as I know, there has yet to be published a good book on autosomal.

3/9/2014 at 4:02 PM

The first thing you can look at is the one to many comparison and then you can look at people who triangulate with you an others on a particular segment. Remember that due to recombination, you inherit only some portion of your ancestral DNA segments, but by looking at the longer matches (usually over 10 centiMorgans, sometimes over 5 - 7 cM), you can start to form hypotheses as to when and even who the shared ancestor might have been. It's good to understand the general rules of thumb as to how many total and longest segment cousins of different degrees share on average.

I share longest segment of 48 cM with my 3rd cousin. Only 11 cM with my 5th cousin but 31 cM with my 6th cousin. My 6th cousin in on a line where we lived in the same town for 200 years and intermarried with cousins or the same families over and over. That probably is the explanation for the 31 cM longest segment shared between 6th cousins.

There is no guarantee that you will even share DNA to a measurable degree with cousins. On FTDNA I am not a match with my 3rd cousin although my sister and my son are! But when I do a one to one comparison with him on Gedmatch, we do share some segments. He's a very close match however with my 3rd cousin even though he and I should be closer due to a cousin marriage.

My sister didn't get the same segments as me, so how she matches our cousins differs which is eye opening.

Private User
3/9/2014 at 4:08 PM

Hi! Can someone fix some of the info on theTutorial Page --

Family Tree DNA for some time now has only been charging $99 for the Family Finder Test!! - Not the much higher price which you are listing.

Also may be worth mentioning:
23andMe has had to change its DNA Test and stop offering Medical Information. An alert on their home page states: "At this time we do not offer health-related genetic reports. If you are a current customer please go to the health page for more information. " Their new DNA Test is not compatible/cannot be transferred to FamilyTreeDNA, whereas the last version of their test could be.

3/9/2014 at 4:30 PM

feeling like a idiot.. .I thought since i got the all in one test you could guess the hallotype because it covers both sides.. that it was simplly finding the right piece of code.. oops

3/9/2014 at 4:32 PM

totally a beginner in so many ways it's sad..

Private User
3/9/2014 at 4:35 PM

Private - if you have a strong paper trail out to your 4th Cousins (and back to the mutual ancestors), then you are probably right that Family Finder is the less useful test. However for everyone who does not have that paper trail even out to all their 3rd cousins, I would say FamilyFinder is the best test!!

I have only tested at FamilyTreeDNA, so do not know how useful it is at ancestry. I approach known and suspected relatives and love it when they agree to also do the FamilyFinder Test and the results come in confirming the relationship.

The yDNA Test only provides results for the Direct Paternal line (father's father's father -etc.), and the mtDNA test only for the Direct Maternal Line.

mtDNA has way less specificity than yDNA . From a FAQ on FTDNA:
"Matching on the Mitochondrial DNA Full Genomic Sequence test brings your matches into more recent times. It means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5 generations. That is about 125 years" - and that is a 1 in 2 chance -- so could be further out!! On FTDNA's sale page, it says "FMS matches are related within the past 16 generations.**" - and the ** goes to "with a 90% confidence interval." -- if within 16 generations is useful to you, then great!! For me it is useless.

Private User
3/9/2014 at 4:41 PM

See http://www.geni.com/discussions/132385 for a Discussion of what yDNA testing really tells you about the likelihood of a match.

3/9/2014 at 6:43 PM

I might allready know my hallogroup at least for my dad's side Harald Tveit Alvestrand has his listed and because he's my fathers sixth cousin I suspect some modified form of what he has might be present on my line allthough i could be way off..

3/9/2014 at 7:06 PM

Hi Michael, you've had some very good advice here. I want to echo Lois' comment that an autosomal test can be the best test, and Hatte's advice to upload your results to GedMatch.

The type of test you choose depends on what you want to look for. A yDNA test can help you understand your male line. An mtDNA test can help you understand your female line. These tests get a lot of publicity, but many people don't end up learning anything useful. They get a nice lesson in anthropology and they contribute to science, but unless they have a clear idea going in about a problem they want to solve and know how one of these tests will help them solve it, they can be disappointed.

On the other hand, FamilyFinder (or any of the autosomal tests) gives you a lot of real DNA to work with. It's a lot of work, though! You end up with many people you know have to be cousins, then you have to figure out how.

3/9/2014 at 7:23 PM

Michael, you might be able to guess your yDNA haplogroup from Harald Alvestrand's group, but only if you and Harald have the same male line. I think you might be different. Your line seems to be Irish, and I'm pretty sure his is Norwegian.

For people who've had a yDNA test the haplogroup becomes a cool shorthand label, but it's like being English or having blue eyes. Lots of people in the same group ;)

You might still be R1b, but because that's by far the most common haplogroup for men with European ancestry. And, one variety of R1b is spectacularly common in Ireland.

I looked at the McCain project at Family Tree DNA, which includes the surname McCann. There are a couple of McCanns there, and they are all R1b:


You probably don't know yet whether you are related to any of them, but you might be. A yDNA test would tell you.

3/9/2014 at 7:54 PM

Justin Swanstrom I was making that guess because he's related to my fathers mother so some of that would show up in the dna field for the mtdna. But your right i can't really rely on that.

3/9/2014 at 8:12 PM

The thing about yDNA is that it follows the male line only, and mtDNA follows the female line only. Tracing back your ancestors, as soon as you switch sex the yDNA and mtDNA changes to a different line.

3/9/2014 at 8:31 PM

Lois, I made the changes you suggested. If you see anything else that is out of date, let us know.

3/10/2014 at 12:41 AM

Michael -
One thing you might do is upload your data to GEDmatch (free but donate if you like it) which has great ancestry composition tools as well as letting you look at where on which chromosome you match other folk who have tested elsewhere and uploaded. I have a number of useful artices about the GEDmatch site on my blog at:
plus a guide to using it for relative matching in my downloads area.

Another thing you might consider is transferring those results to familytreeDna which I think costs about 69 (price changes and there are sales) which has some better tools than ancestry

Lots of good links on my blog. You can use autosomal DNA to find relatives and they may have more information and photos about ancestors. That has been my experience. It can help prove or disporve a genealogicl theory as well see this post for a case like that:

3/10/2014 at 12:45 AM

Hatte and Michael -
There is a pretty good book on autosomal and other DNA testing just out:

3/10/2014 at 6:57 AM

Thank you very much for sharing Kitty Munson Cooper.

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