DNA connections and record keeping

I look after 7 DNA kits from Ancestry and all are uploaded to Family Tree DNA, My Heritage DNA and GEDmatch DNA. How do I keep a record of my matches, chromosomes and common information?

I have a spreadsheet on my google drive  which synchronizes across all my devices. This means whether I am at home on my desktop PC, or in a library with my iPad or my laptop then I can always get to that spreadsheet to make any changes.

I mainly work on my father’s DNA connections or my mother’s as they will be one generation closer to the Most Common Recent  Ancestor (MCRA) than if I work with mine or my brother’s.

The main DNA spreadsheet has lots of sheets relating to Dad

The first sheet has a copy of the first 2000 links from GEDmatch using the one-to-many test. This is just a straight copy/paste. I have then gone through the first 100 people using the one-to-one test to find out the chromosomes shared with my dad.  I am starting to colour code people who match each other when using the share 2 kits test. At least once a moth I update this sheet by checking the people marked in green on the main GEDmatch page for Dad. These will be the recent people who share his DNA.

The second sheet is a copy of the share 2 kits test for Dad and Kevin (his half brother)  This is a straight copy/paste. This means everyone on that list is from dad’s paternal side as dad and Kevin share a father. This list includes names and emails of the matches as well as the amount of cM shared and the generations between the matches. I am in contact with 3 people on this list so far.

The third sheet is one I have to create from information on available trees from the people in the Dad/Kevin list. I find their trees on any of the DNA websites. On this sheet I list the name of the person, the surnames at 4 or more generations away and where and when those people were born and died.

The fourth sheet is the share 2 kits test for Dad and Ruby. Anyone on this list relates to my dad’s maternal grandmother.

Dad/Patrick is because Patrick is the closest unknown link on the GEDmatch list at 3.9 generations.

I just found a great video from Ancestry explaining shared cM, mirror trees and a lot more. The sound is not too great and sounds a bit tunnelly.

My future plans

I will be starting a new spreadsheet for Mum’s DNA at some stage to keep all her information there.

On Ancestry, I have lots of trees, one labelled DNA Dad’s tree. It is here that I use the information from dad and Kevin matches to create mirror trees to find out where they link. So far I have about 6 trees started but none link yet. This will certainly be an ongoing project.

I also keep a separate spreadsheet with all those people I have already found a match to with DNA from either Mum or Dad. But I also include matches with the other people whose kits I look after eg Ruby, Dorothy and Kevin. The information in this is then sent to Blaine Bettinger’s shared cM Project via this Google form. The MCRA is usually a grandparent couple rather than an individual except in the case of my father’s grandmother. Most of my dad’s matches are half relationships and in the note column I will mention if the match is double cousins as I have on one side of mum’s tree. As Ancestry doesn’t give the largest number of cMs, I just put Ancestry in this column. When I have uploaded data to the shared cM project I put the year in the Done column. Anything highlighted in yellow is dad’s side but more information needs to be included, green is same but mum’s side.

Readers: How do you record your matches for DNA from all the websites or do you just use one website?

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?

 

Ethnicity on DNA tests

My regular readers know that I am doing a bit on DNA at the moment. My parents, my brother and I have all tested with Ancestry. But I have also uploaded our raw data to FTDNA and most recently MyHeritage. It is interesting to make comparisons between the different results.

Here are my results:

Ancestry DNA

With Family Tree DNA

With My Heritage DNA

It is the same raw data from Ancestry uploaded to the other two sites. They each use different filters or algorithms to get their results. The only one that really surprises me is the 1% Nigerian with My Heritage. Can’t wait to find out what my dad’s results are with his unknown background.

MyHeritage works on 42 ethnic groups around the world. More information found here.

Ancestry looks at 150+ regions of the world.

Readers: If you have tested and uploaded results to other sites, have you found any interesting results? Are there any other sites I should be uploading my data to and why?

DNA and Gedmatch

Following on from my last post, I have raw DNA data from Ancestry stored in a file on my computer and I have now uploaded it to Gedmatch.

Why did I do that?

Gedmatch has a lot more tools for manipulating the data gathered from your DNA. Most of the tools are free but you can also pay a small amount monthly to use some more precise tools.

Once you have registered and uploaded to Gedmatch, take note of your number. If you have tested with Ancestry, your number will start with A. Here are the Gedmatch numbers of the kits I run. Hopefully I might match some of yours.

  • Sue A702006
  • Mum (Phyl) A141289
  • Dad (Bob) A380974
  • Ruby (cousin) A984734
  • Dorothy (hoped was cousin but not) A400283
  • Brother (Phil) A076075
  • Kevin (half uncle) A215065

Tools I have used

The first tool I used was the One-to-many. From this I could see all the people who matched some part of my DNA. It told me about how many generations we were apart and gave me an email address to contact those that were close. It also told me how many cM of DNA I shared and what the largest segment was. The bigger the numbers, the closer the person is in your tree as you can see from my example.

The first five matches are those relatives I asked to test but notice Dorothy is not there from my list. If she was going to be a match, she would have been similar to Ruby at about 3 generations back. Both Ruby and Dorothy are descendants from William Smith (my whaling captain from Samoa) and they match each other. My dad matches Ruby but not Dorothy.

I mainly use the data from the autosomal columns but here is a great post about how X-DNA can help you narrow down which branch of your tree the match might come from. I will need to do this to check the few X-DNA matches I have.

So I now have a list of my autosomal matches. What do I do now?

If I click on the hyperlinked letter A for Lachy’s results (see previous image), it takes me to the one-to-one tool. I don’t make any changes on this form and this is what I then find out about the chromosomes we share.

Lachy and I share DNA on 4 different chromosomes. On one chromosome we share in two different places. The largest segment is 29.8cM and the total is 77.4cM. How can this help me work out the relationship?

I then head to this relationship chart which was updated in August 2017. I actually have this printed and saved so I can refer to it easily. Here it is as a jpeg for printing.

From the chart I can see that Lachy with a total of 77.4cM will fit in the 2C2r area for averages but he could also be closer if you look at the range.

Is Lachy on mum or dad’s side of the family? First take note of Lachy’s gedmatch number. A197294 this means I might be able to find a tree on Ancestry to help me with the match.

To check which side of my tree he is on, I am now going to compare his kit with mum’s kit using another tool. People who match one or both kits. If there are people matching both, then he is on mum’s side of the tree, otherwise he will be on dad’s side.

Wow! I have a huge list of people who match both mum and Lachy.

How am I going to start organizing all this information to make it useful to me? The best bits to use are the actual chromosome numbers and the start and end of the segments of the chromosome locations. I decided to use a spreadsheet where I just copied all mum’s one to many test results – I then added extra columns to include chromosome numbers, start/end locations and SNPs. This is now starting to look workable.

Readers: Which tools on Gedmatch have you found useful and why?