The Shared cM Project – An Update

As you might recall, a few months ago I sent out a call (“Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships“) for information about the amount of DNA shared by people having a known genealogical relationship. I was hoping to get a better picture of the ranges of the amount of DNA shared by people in these relationships (through about the third cousin range). The incredibly generous genetic genealogy community responded by submitting data bout more than 6,000 relationships!

I posted information a few weeks ago (“Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships – Part II“), but today I have an update.

This data is shared under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC license. You are free to share and use the information for non-commercial purposes, as long as you give proper attribution and release anything you create under the same license.

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Don’t Miss Early Bird Pricing for the 2015 New York State Family History Conference!

NOTE: Early bird pricing ends May 31st!

Register HERE!

2015 NYSFHC LogoIf you’ve researched (or need to research!) in New York, if you’re interested in DNA, or really if you’re interested in genealogy in general, won’t want to miss the 2015 New York State Family History Conference being held in Syracuse, New York on September 17-19, 2015!

The Second New York State Family History conference is a collaboration between the Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and is one of the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ regional conferences.

The 2015 NYSFHC Conference will be three days long and consist of three simultaneous lecture tracks and even more exhibitors than last year! The Federation of Genealogical Societies is sponsoring the first day of the conference. At present, other conference sponsors include the Capital District Genealogical, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the New York State Library and Archives and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

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Announcing the 2nd Annual Heritage Books Genealogy Conference and Cruise!

HBCruiseHeritage Books, a leader in the world of genealogy publication for four decades, announces the 2nd Annual Heritage Books Genealogy Conference and Cruise, departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on October 18, 2015 and returning on October 28th!

Interested in DNA?

This year’s cruise is focused on using the newest tool for your genealogical research, DNA testing. Are you a DNA newbie? No problem, with more than 20 different genetic genealogy presentations, this conference will take you all the way from complete novice to an intermediate user ready to add DNA to your genealogy toolbox. Are you well-versed in genetic genealogy? Come and learn the latest tips and tricks to enhance your DNA knowledge.

In addition to a full slate of presentations, one-on-one consultations, and several group sessions, conference attendees and passengers will have plenty of time to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Caribbean as the Coral Princess makes stops in the topical destinations of Aruba, Cartagena, Grand Cayman, and even makes a partial transit of the unparalleled Panama Canal. You can find the full schedule for this amazing trip here.

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Are There Any Absolutes in Genetic Genealogy?

I’ve recently noted a trend among genealogists to discount unexpected (or unwanted?) DNA test results in order to make the results fit an existing hypothesis, instead of properly re-evaluating the hypothesis in light of the new DNA evidence. (This is NOT made in reference to any specific person, post, or question; it is rather something I’ve been mulling over for some time).

Let’s take third cousins as an example. According to Family Tree DNA’s FAQ, you will share detectable DNA with approximately 90% of your third cousins under FTDNA’s threshold. According to AncestryDNA’s help page (see “Should other family members get tested?”), you will share detectable DNA with 98% of your third cousins under AncestryDNA’s threshold. In other words, if you have 100 third cousins and they all get tested (how’d you do that?), you will share DNA with 98 of them.

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Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships – Part II

As you might recall, a few weeks ago I sent out a call for information about the amount of DNA shared by people having a known genealogical relationship. I was hoping to get a better picture of the ranges of the amount of DNA shared by people in these relationships (through about the third cousin range). Although people like Tim Janzen have gathered this type of data and so kindly made it available for everyone, I felt like more data was needed.

What is the range of cMs shared by third cousins? What does the distribution within that range look like? Does the longest segment factor into that at all? If so, how?

These are the types of questions I wanted to examine. And to entice submissions, I offered a free Family Finder kit to one lucky person that submitted data prior to April 1, 2015.

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How Would You Like to (Finally!) Understand Autosomal DNA?

Genetic-Tree-Showing-Ethnicity-Loss[Read on to learn how you could win THREE hours of FREE consultation and research from me for registering in this course before March 21st!]

For the next two Saturdays, March 21st and 28th, I will be spending some quality time with genetic genealogists! My new course entitled “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA” is a four session course designed to educate genealogists on all the ins and outs of autosomal DNA.

The course is being offered through the wonderful new Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. The Virtual Institute offers courses on a wide variety of genealogical subjects, providing vigorous year-round education for the genealogical community using a virtual platform.

The four courses will provide attendees with the fundamentals of autosomal DNA, third-party tools, and triangulation. Here is the course schedule (all times U.S. Eastern):

21 March 2015

  • 11:00am – “Introduction to Autosomal DNA”: Learn the fundamentals of autosomal DNA and compare company offerings.
  • 1:00pm – “Using Third-Party Tools”: Free tools offer powerful additional analysis of autosomal DNA test results.

28 March 2015

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Collecting Sharing Information for Known Relationships

EDIT (3/31/2015) – Beginning on April 1, 2015, I will no longer be able to accept submissions other than through the portal. My sincerest apologies, and I so greatly appreciate the files that have been submitted this way, but I have been inundated and won’t be able to take the extra time to process any non-portal submissions made after April 1, 2015. Thank you!

I need your help! I’m trying to gather data about the ranges of DNA shared by known relatives. How much DNA do you share with your sister? your brother? your second cousin? While it is possible to predict approximately how much DNA you share with a close relative, the actual numbers vary more than you might think.

If you’re interested in participating in this project, I’m looking for two numbers for the known relationship: (1) the total amount of shared DNA in cMs; and (2) the largest shared block in cMs. At Family Tree DNA, for example, you can find the numbers here:

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Announcing the Genetic Genealogy Standards

Today, at the first annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Colloquium, the final draft of the Genetic Genealogy Standards were officially announced and released!

The standards are the work of a wonderful group of people, and have been in the works for over a year (see “DNA Standards and Certification – A Response to an NGS Quarterly Editorial” and “Announcing the Creation of Genetic Genealogy Standards“). Thanks in large part to a very productive comment period in May and June of 2013 in which more than 75 comments were provided, the document has been fine-tuned and we believe it is an excellent source of guidelines.

There will be lots more to come, including guidelines for Y-DNA and mtDNA testing and interpretation, as well as some guidance for citing DNA test results in reports, scholarship, and in general. Stay Tuned!

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AncestryDNA Recreates Portions of the Genome of David Speegle and his Two Wives

GeneticGenealogyFutureStamp1UPDATE: AncestryDNA scientist Dr. Julie Granka posted about this new development at “AncestryDNA Scientists Achieve Advancement in Human Genome Reconstruction,” and here’s the YouTube video: “AncestryDNA Reconstructs Partial Genome of Person Living 200 Years Ago.”

I’ve written before about a poster presented by AncestryDNA at the American Society of Human Genetics 2013 annual meeting, entitled “Reconstruction of Ancestral Human Genomes from Genome-Wide DNA Matches,” and a poster presented at the 2014 meeting entitled “Reconstruction of ancestral human haplotypes using genetic and genealogical data.” In these posters, the scientists at AncestryDNA revealed their efforts to recreate portions of the genomes of an 18th century couple using sequencing information from hundreds of descendants.

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Recreating a Grandmother’s Genome – Part 1

My grandmother Jane died in 1984 when I was just 8 years old. I have some really great memories of her, faded with time but still filled with emotion. Bath times, spending time with her in the summer, newspaper hats, chrysanthemums.

However, in addition to those memories, she gave me a very unique genetic heritage. She was from a region of the world with a high degree of admixture, and thus it is from her that I obtained my Native American mtDNA, my Native American, African American, and Spanish autosomal DNA. It is an incredibly rich and fascinating genetic legacy.

In an attempt to learn more about my grandmother’s genetic heritage, I’m using GEDmatch’s new Lazarus tool to try to recreate as much of her genome as possible. Join me on the journey, and learn about this new tool.

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