DNA downunder

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

 

I have just spent three days in Sydney at the first DNA downunder conference. Blaine T Bettinger, Louise Coakley and many other presenters showed us better ways to use and analyse our DNA.

They also ran single day events in many capital cities in Australia (not Hobart).

The conference was held at the Castle Hill RSL club – a lot bigger than the one at Sorell I am used to.

Some topics I listened and took notes from were:

Thursday

  • Understanding and interpreting your ethnicity results
  • What do Australians think about DNA testing?
  • Using autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th century mysteries
  • Evaluating a genealogical conclusion including DNA
  • Latest advances in third party tools for autosomal DNA
  • Are you doing everything to identify your DNA matches?

Friday

  • Ethical and legal considerations for DNA evidence
  • Great great DNA
  • Shared matches and genetic networks
  • Advanced third party tools
  • Practical tips for working with speculative trees

Saturday

  • Stories behind the segments
  • DNA and the aftermath of uncovered family secrets
  • Phasing and mapping your DNA
  • Limitations of cousin matching
  • The Helen Marley story – case study
  • Panel – DNA: A look at the future

As you can see from my programme, there was little time to synthesize everything we were learning. But my takeaways from the conference were:

  1. check those shared matches and make use of the coloured dots in Ancestry
  2. use chromosome browsers in MyHeritage and FTDNA to find those shared and triangulated matches
  3. use tools like DNA Painter to map your segments – keep records of who you have already painted
  4. join DNA facebook groups to get help
  5. test all those close relatives – but explain the ethics and legal side of testing to them first

Here are some DNA Facebook groups that could be handy: Remember to answer the questions when asking to join

Blaine also has his own YouTube channel and presentations for Legacy Family Tree with some great videos on both of them related to DNA and tools at the different testing companies.

Many thanks to Alan and Anthea Phillips and Alona Tester from Gould Genealogy and Unlock the Past for organizing such a great conference.

Readers: For those who might have attended the conference (one day or three day), what was your best takeaway?

At the library

I had planned to write this post last Friday while I was volunteering at my local library. But I got sidetracked when a person arrived wanting help with their family history. After an hour talking to them, getting them organized with some pedigree charts and family group sheets and giving them some homework (once a teacher, always a teacher), I sat down at the library computer and began doing some research for them. Time sped by and I didn’t get to write this post. Then this morning I received the next prompt and thought – wow I need to get myself together and get this post written.

So who in my family has had a relationship with the library?  Me, Sue Wyatt born in 1956 in Tasmania, Australia.

As a child I loved reading books and the rare times I got into trouble and was sent to my room, it wasn’t really a punishment. Instead lying on my bed, reading a book and my imagination took me to other places. We always had lots of books in the house as dad was also a keen reader, mainly history of Tasmania and biographies of others around the world.

Part of home library 2019

We moved house my second year of high school and being a child who didn’t make friends easily, I quickly gravitated to the library during lunch hours. The librarian made me a monitor there so I stacked shelves, took books out for students and helped with the card catalogue (pre computers). It was there and then I decided I wanted to be a librarian.

But by the time I got to years 11/12 in college, I found that part of librarianship was pulling apart books – not literally but themes, reasons for doing certain actions etc. I didn’t like this – reading for me was a pleasurable activity – it wasn’t dissecting the book and the reason the author wrote the way they did. So goodbye librarian – hello teacher.

In my 35 years as a teacher, I always had a class library in my classroom – many books I had purchased myself. They were there for students to read during silent reading – but I didn’t mind if they took them home to share with family. Very few were ever lost as the students appreciated having a variety of books in the classroom. I also made sure they visited the school library and used the encyclopedias for research.

It is only since I have retired that I have started going back to the library and just before Christmas 2018 I decided to volunteer one afternoon a week at the local library. My specialty will of course be family history. We are extremely lucky here in Tasmania, that most of our family history resources like BDMs pre 1930 are digitized and available online.

Libraries Tasmania (previously LINC) have great resources including BDMs, convicts, wills, arrivals and departures all available at the press of a button and part of my volunteer role will be making sure library visitors wanting help with family history know how to use these resources. They have also created a video about using the family history resources.

 

New Year, new set of #52ancestors challenges

Well I didn’t do too well in this challenge last year. Think I only wrote about 10 posts on my blog, but I did link the challenge weekly to a Facebook group I am in that has finished their Diploma of Family History at UTAS. Many people who didn’t have blogs left comments on the posts so I feel they also took part in the 2018 challenge.

Here is a link to the new 2019 #52ancestors challenge in case you want to join. Or click on the image widget on my sidebar.

Here are the 5 challenge topics for January (just in case you want to get ahead in your blogging and schedule your posts).

Checking the DNA

Since my last post, I have been doing some more work on the DNA tests that my immediate family had done as well as those relatives I asked to test to prove or disprove some of Dad’s background. (He is my problem child with a paper trail not matching his DNA very well.)

They all tested with Ancestry but I had uploaded the raw DNA data from the immediate family to Family Tree and My Heritage as well. I found some different names at these websites that were not included on the Ancestry site.

The one site I had uploaded everyone to was Gedmatch – the site US police are now using with cold case files.  It is here that people who have tested with any site upload their data so it is a huge database of  DNA connections. Again I found some new connections.

But it is only this last week that I decided to upload the other  relatives DNA raw data to FTDNA and MyHeritage. Immediately this helped me work out a new connection with my father.

Below is a quick pedigree chart for my dad. Now you can see why he is my problem child. Very little proven paperwork for his father – not even a birth date and place. But at least having his half brother tested means anyone who matches them both must come from dad’s paternal side of the tree. Now to build lots of trees from his DNA hits to see where the links are in all these trees.

On his mum’s side we have an unknown 1st-2nd cousin which could only possibly mean her father is not who we thought. Through testing a so called relative and a cousin we proved dad’s mother didn’t descend from my whaling captain William Smith. Now to find who her father really was – I have quite a few DNA hits that must relate there.

Dad’s maternal great grandparents are also a problem with 5 possibilities as the father and the mother born to one person but then living with another person with half siblings.

 

It is a lot of work trying to prove the paper trail using DNA at least it is for dad. My mum’s paper trail and DNA match well so I spend little time on that. Most hits are easier to find as I have most of her ancestors back at least 4 or 5 generations.

Readers: Have you DNA tested? If yes, what are you finding most difficult? Where have you uploaded your DNA raw data to?

DNA update

A couple of months ago, Ancestry updated their DNA ethnicity results so I thought I might compare from my previous results.

Sue’s results

Sue in 2017
Sue in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum’s results

Mum in 2017
Mum in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad’s results

Dad in 2017
Dad in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philip (brother) only has results for 2018

Philip in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, my family are virtually totally Western European but especially from Great Britain.  The paper trail I have for mum matches her DNA trail, but dad’s paper trail is changing every day due to the DNA  results.

Originally I had no Irish in dad’s paper trail but I have now found three possible lines back to that country.

Readers: When your results were updated, did you notice much of a change?