13 February 2018

Grab your Sweetheart's Heart (and DNA) for Valentine's Day

Multiple companies have their DNA tests on sale for Valentine's Day...

Family Tree DNA
Family Finder Test - only $59 plus shipping

MyHeritage Test - $59 when ordering 2 kits plus shipping and...
All MyHeritage marriage records will be free for Valentine's Day!
From now through February 15, all MyHeritage marriage records will be free to view, for MyHeritage users and for guests without an account. 

AncestryDNA Test - $69 plus shipping

23andMe offers 20% off and free gift wrapping (plus shipping)


29 January 2018

MyHeritage Chromosome Browser

Let me start with a few things I like about MyHeritage; there is more, however.
1.  It is world-wide
2. They allow transfers of your raw data
3. You can manage more than one kit with the same membership
4. They allow you to have pedigree charts
5. They notify you via your email if there are new updates to your DNA matches and to help you with your pedigree chart records
6. The horizontal pedigree charts on the Review DNA Match page for each of your matches are much easier to read than the pink and blue vertical charts they still have.
7.  The new addition of a Chromosome Browser is their best feature!

It is wonderful to see that MyHeritage now has a chromosome browser…the most important tool for comparing matching segments!

To find the browser (sadly, it is not on the drop-down menus), follow these steps.

1.  Log in to your account and click on DNA Matches
2. Click on the match’s REVIEW DNA MATCH in the lower right of their section
3. Scroll to the top of the Chromosome Browser which is the last item on this long page
4. At the top right of the browser, click on Advanced Options, then click on Download Shared DNA Info
5. The file is downloaded and shows in the lover left side of the screen (for a PC, at least)
6. Click to open this CVS file

VERY sadly, you must download one match at a time.  I have over 4,690 matches and spent many hours today just downloading the first 20 pages.

Once you download one file, you can copy and paste the other matches’ files into the first one as long as you do not make any changes to any of the files.  That is no columns or row sizes can be changed.

Be sure to add the new information at the end of the previous information.

Once you have downloaded all your matches, save the file as is and make a new working file that you can manipulate.  This working file can be adjusted to see the information easily as well as adding columns you wish to use.

I hope you have more time than I have to download all your matches’ segments, and I dearly hope you will contact MyHeritage to request that they allow the download of all segment matches into one file in one download. Family Tree DNA and 23andMe allows this.  Remember, it took me several hours to do 20 pages (10 matches per page) and I have over 400 pages of matches. I’m sure many other testers have more.

The phone in the US for MyHeritage:  1-800-987-9000.  You must have your account ID, however.  You can find this by going to their Home page and use the drop-down menu under HELP.  Then click on CONTACT.  Your account ID is just above the list of phone numbers for anywhere in the world.

THANK YOU for the Chromosome Browser!!!!

Best wishes,

23 January 2018

Southern California Geneal. Society's Jamboree

This announcement just arrived. View the website for many great classes and world-class speakers!

The Southern California Genealogical Society is pleased to announce 
Three Great Conferences in One Place!

Jamboree 2018 Conference

 Unlock Your Lineage
June 1st & 2nd

This two-day Jamboree conference features over 55 speakers; 100+ class sessions; JamboFREE sessions Thursday; in-depth DNA workshop (space limited, additional fee required), research tour; Thursday dinner banquet; Friday breakfast and dinner banquets, and Saturday breakfast banquet.  

Our exhibit hall will be packed with vendors,  and one-on-one research assistance will be provided by members of the Southern California Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists.

Genetic Genealogy Conference 

 Link Through DNA
May 31st

The Sixth Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference provides a unique opportunity to hear the top leaders in the field of genetic genealogy, with topics suitable for all levels of experience using DNA for genealogical research.

The Genetic Genealogy Conference is separate from Jamboree, and a separate registration fee will apply.

Family History Writers Conference

 Love Your Family Legends!
May 31st

The Family History Writers Conference will help you bring your family stories to life. You can finish, polish and publish your work.  This provides a unique opportunity to learn from some of the top leaders in the field of writing and publishing, for all levels of writing, to help you get it done.

The Family History Writers Conference is separate from Jamboree, and separate registration fees will apply.

Workshops 2018 - June 1st
Four intensive DNA workshops will also be offered to provide an opportunity for in-depth study of genealogical research techniques (additional fees required, workshops overlap with some Jamboree sessions. Visit the website for registration requirements).

Conference Discounts!

Special pricing discounts are available for those who are registered for both Jamboree and the Genetic Genealogy Conference, or Jamboree and the Family History Writers Conference as well as discounts for SCGS members for each event. To get the discounted rates, please join, renew, or reinstate your membership before you register.

Membership Registration

 Register Now

Workshops are expected to fill up early, so register NOW!
Jamboree Registration

 Register Now

Schedule of Events

Keep up with Jamboree!
Stay in touch with Jamboree to learn more about the speakers, exhibitors, and special activities.
To get all the news about Jamboree delivered right to your email inbox, subscribe to the Jamboree blog. Like and follow the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @scgsgenealogy with #2018Jamboree. Jamboree takes place at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California, Thursday through Saturday, May 31st, June 1st, and June 2nd, 2018. 

Southern California Genealogical Society
49th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree
Genetic Genealogy 2018

I'll see you there!  Sign up for my classes!

Emily Aulicino

21 December 2017

Finding Family

Mike sent this wonderful story of finding his family.  How wonderful to know your roots.  Thank  you so much for sharing as it no doubt will inspire others.

My father passed away in 1971 when I was 18. His absence from my life led me to want to learn more about him and his ancestors through genealogy research. Working with a group of other Moon researchers, we ran into a road block in 1771 with Abraham Moon. There were different spellings such as Mohn, Moon, Mohun, etc., and we could not find conclusive documentation to connect the lines.

In the early 2000s, DNA testing was becoming popular for genealogy purposes. Therefore, a group of us Moon researchers decided to take a DNA test to see if we could triangulate our names to hopefully make a connection with other Moon lines that were more established. 

Initially, I had a 12 and 25 marker YDNA test through Family Tree DNA. Those test results basically showed my male line matched to thousands of men throughout the world but no Moons. It wasn’t until I had a 37 marker YDNA test that I started matching to one particular name, Dunn. However, I could not figure out how a Dunn entered my Moon gene pool. I continued with the testing in hopes that the next level of DNA test would prove something more definitive. With the 6- marker test, I matched more Dunn’s but no Moons. Same with the 111-marker test. 

By this time, I was working with other Dunn’s and/or Dunn line administrators on what kind of tests to have and what the results meant. My mother was still living, and she made it clear that she didn’t like that I was doing the testing. She said she feared I might find some dark family secret. I laughed it off and assured her that it was far back in the Moon ancestry where the Dunn line came into our gene pool. 

Working with the Dunn administrator, I was advised to test my closest known male relative and with each match, find another male ancestor to be tested. Therefore, I had my brother tested first. Mom had already passed by that time (2006), and when I received my brothers YDNA test results, it showed that we didn’t match on any male ancestors. Which meant, we were not full brothers. I was shocked, as was everyone in our family. I was 55 at the time, and everything I thought I knew about my life was wrong. 

To make sure the results were right, FTDNA retested my sample, and it was the same as the first. We then had my brother (two and a half years older than me) and my sister (six years younger than me) tested with FTDNA’s autosomal tests. Their test results were clear, they were full siblings to each other and only half siblings to me.

Through much effort, my brother, sister, and I concluded that mom and dad split up for a short time after my brother was born in 1951 and got back together three months before my birth. We don’t know if they separated because mom cheated or that I was conceived while they were separated. Either way, my dad never made any difference in the way he treated me.

After the shock of the test results wore off, I decided to continue looking for my biological father and his family. I had the Big Y test done through FTDNA and then their autosomal test. However, none of the results proved anything, and I almost gave up because I’d spent a lot of money on all the family tests.

Then in 2015, I tried Ancestry.com’s autosomal test and the results were the same there. I matched some people connected to Dunn lines but no Dunn’s themselves and no one matched close enough to be even a fourth cousin. Then I received a message through Ancestry from a woman who asked how I was related to her daughter whose results showed she was a second cousin to me. We talked at length, and she agreed to be tested. Her results came back showing she was my first cousin. We knew by then this was my line, but we needed her uncle (one of five but only two still alive) to be tested. He was in a nursing home in Ohio, but we got him to submit a sample and his results came back as my uncle. My first cousin and I went through all the uncle’s pictures and agreed that I only looked like one of her uncles. She knew of the man, but the family wasn’t that close. She thought the one uncle had a daughter. I finally tracked her down, and at first, she was very resistant to doing the test. Finally, she agreed, and we both watched every day for the results to come back. Finally they did. I was driving in Florida when she called and said, “hello brother”.

Our dad died in 2010 but we are alike in a lot of ways. At least now I know she is my sister and that I have other nieces and nephews.  

                   Mike                                                             His dad, Sammy

Best wishes,


12 November 2017

Family Tree DNA Holiday Sale!!!!

The Holiday Sale is HERE!

At the end of the FTDNA Conference in Houston today, they announced the sale for the holidays wish includes individual tests, bundles and upgrades!  Now is the time to test!

Individual Tests:
Family Finder (FF)                     $59            Reg.  $89
mtFull Sequence (FMS)           $169            Reg. $199
Y-37                                          $129            Reg. $169
Y-67                                          $229            Reg. $268
Y-111                                        $299            Reg. $359

Family Finder + Y-37                 $178            Reg. $238
Family Finder + Y-67                 $278            Reg. $337
FF + mtFull Sequence                $218           Reg. $268
FF + Y-67 + mtFull Sequence    $442            Reg. $536

mt/mtPlus to FMS                     $119           Reg. $159
Big Y *                                      $475           Reg. $575
Y-12 to Y-37                               $69            Reg. $109
Y-25 to Y-37                               $35            Reg.   $59
Y-37 to Y-67                               $79            Reg. $109
Y-37 to Y-111                           $168            Reg. $228
Y-67 to Y-111                             $99            Reg. $129

*  You must have a Y-37 test before being able to order a Big Y.  The Big Y does upgrade you to the Y-111 test, however.)

NOTE:  SNPs and SNP Packs will also be 15% off during the Holiday Sale.

Typically this sale runs until the end of December.


30 October 2017

The Triangulator

Many genetic genealogists have created tools to use witdirect-to-consumer DNA testing companies.  The list grows every year and allows the DNA tester to view their results and their matches in a wide variety of ways.  One of the basic issues genetic genealogists have is to determine Half-Identical Regions (HIRs) in order to help find the common ancestor(s) they share with a match.

You say WHAT?

Autosomal DNA (atDNA) is the test provided by 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and the one called Family Finder at Family Tree DNA. Although we share 50% of our mother's DNA and 50% of our father's DNA,  atDNA randomly combines with every person so one person does not inherit the same DNA segments as their their siblings, and we do not get equal amounts of DNA from our grandparents, etc.

We inherit 22 PAIRS of chromosomes (one chromosome of each pair comes from each parent) and a set of sex chromosomes.  Males get a Y-chromosome from dad and an X-chromosome from mom.  Females get an X from dad and an X from mom.

Only 23andMe and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) provide a Chromosome Browser so we can see the segments we share with our matches.  23andMe does have a method of triangulating to determine if matches share the same segment with other matches you have.

At AncestryDNA, you must upload your raw data to GEDmatch, a third-party pool.  Even then, you are only compared with those from any of the companies who have also uploaded their raw data.  That is, you won't see information on the matches at AncestryDNA unless they have also uploaded to GEDmatch.

However, by looking at a Chromosome Browser, you cannot determine if your matches come from your father's side or your mother's side of the family as we get one chromosome from dad and one from mom for each pair of chromosomes.

Until now, DNA testers uploaded their matching segments into a spreadsheet and sorted them by chromosome, start position and end position to determine which matches could share the same segment.  At least three people must be matching on the same segment.  However, this method required an email to the group of three or more to see if all of them matched each other on the same segment (give or take a bit) on the same chromosome.  Those who matched each other on the same segment have a common ancestor and, therefore, share a common ancestor either your mom or dad's side. If someone doesn't match all in the group, that person shares a common ancestor on the other parent's side. This is called determining Half-Identical Regions.  (A Full-Identical Region would be those segments shared by identical twins and there could be some segments which are shared by siblings which match both parents.)

Göran Runfeldt of Sweden has developed a triangulation process using Family Tree DNA.  It has been dubbed The Triangulator.  Remember, this is still in Beta and does work best on a PC with Chrome.  However, Mac users have been able to use it.  See his site for instructions.

Instead of repeating all that others have said, I refer you to the following links which include some blogs on the issue as well as the directions.

Roberta J. Estes' blog:  DNAeXplained at https://dna-explained.com/2017/10/21/introducing-the-triangulator/

Göran Runfeld's instructions at https://dnagen.net/

Haplogroup blog at http://haplogroup.org/installing-goran-runfeldts-family-finder-segment-triangulator-chrome-extension/

Have fun!

06 October 2017

Biggie Changes for Big Y

The Big Y test was launched in November 2013 and is a test for males who have taken a Y-DNA 37, 67 or 111 STR test.  The Big Y refines a tester’s haplogoup as well as contributors to the overall knowledge of the Y Tree by increasing the number of known SNPs from hundreds to thousands. This helps testers find matches who are more closely related in genealogical time with the goal of finding SNPs that are particular to a family group.  Eventually, we will close the gap between genealogical time (existence of records) and ancient DNA. 

The Big Y can be helpful when documentation does not exist.  It has helped genealogists find locations in their former homeland as can be seen in my experience below.

My personal experience:
After having my cousin do a Y-test, I found he matched six other surnames even when I upgraded him to a Y-111.  The wonderful haplogroup administrators suggested that I do some SNP testing which I did.  Then the advent of the Big Y came, and I jumped in.  After having a tester from each of the six names my cousin matched, the haplogroup administrators told me we are part of the Seven Septs of County Laois (Ireland) which existed there in the mid-1600s and at that point my surname Doolin was actually Dowling.
               Well, this is wonderful as I was stuck in Virginia in the mid-1700s and had no ideas if my surname was Scots or Irish as my dad always said we were Scots-Irish.  Also, I had no idea where in either of those countries our ancestors lived.  I realized my lineage could have come from County Laois, but there was a hundred-year difference.
               Last October (2016), my cousin received a match on a Y-37 with a genetic difference of two. I asked Mr. Dowling to upgrade to a Y-111 which he did and then he took the Big Y. He lived in London and had his lineage back to 1795 in County Laois!  So, now we have to discover which of his family (maybe not his direct line, however) may have left Ireland about 1750.  Without the Big Y, I would have had little hope in knowing a probable location of my Doolin ancestors.  Now there is some light.

The news today is that Family Tree DNA is providing a better Big Y experience in a few ways…
On October 10th the changes in Big Y go live.  At that point Family Tree DNA will be recalculating Big Y matches and they anticipate this to take 5-7 days at which time you will be a page stating “Results Pending.  Once your results are updated, you will be notified, and after the transaction is complete, Family Tree DNA will update you as to when BAM files are available.

So what can you expect?

1.  Update to Human Genome 38
An update from Human Genome 19 to Human Genome 38 which is the most recent version and a more accurate representation of the human genome.  Advantages include:
•  Better mapping of NGS data to the proper location
•  Consideration of alternative haplotypes across the genome

For more information about human genome builds, click here.

2.  Terminal SNP Guide
A terminal SNP Guide allows you to view and filter the branches closest to the tester's terminal branch on the haplotree.

3.  BIG Y Browser
The ability to view your SNP data from Big Y. This will allow you to personally assess all SNP call positions that are being evaluated for matching purposes. This data will be continuously updated.