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?

Where do I begin searching?

I am so lucky that my family history has mainly been in Tasmania since the early 1830’s. I began my researching by asking questions of my mother who seemed to know everything about the family or at least her side of it. My father knows very little about his side and is amazed at what I am finding out for him. Unluckily, we haven’t had any heirloom bibles or notebooks handed down in the family, so I am having to start from scratch.

My number 1 spot

The LINC webpages which has just been updated this week. These are resources related to Tasmania but they do have other links to visit outside our clean, green state. Type in the name of your relative in the search bar at the top.

This search will include

  • births RGD 33
  • deaths RGD 35
  • marriages RGD 37
  • convicts
  • wills and more

Then visit the record, remembering to take note of the source of the record. How much did you find that was useful?

My number 2 spot

The National Archives of Australia – this is for information after 1900 when Australia became one federated country rather than separate colonies. I do a record search and will find war records as well as naturalization records, some passenger lists – both boat and plane. Part of the NAA this year is the Discovering ANZACs website – joint project with National Archives of New Zealand – where all World War I service men and women have their records open to the public. See another post I have written telling you where to find more war records.

My number 3 spot

This is Trove which is part of the National Library of Australia. It has a section of digitized newspapers from all states of Australia. These are being updated all the time. What is also great is they include a citation button in top left corner where you can copy the source of the record very easily. I use the Harvard/Australian version all the time to keep things consistent in the family tree software programme I use.

Readers: What are your three favourite repositories or places to find information for your family history? Do you have some for places outside Australia?

What is a repository?

Research
Photo Credit: Anders Sandberg via Compfight

We are now into week 3 of the family history course and we are about to start planning our major research. As I listened to Dianne Snowden’s lecture about repositories and records, I made some notes and here they are.

What is a repository?

Library, archives, museums, family history society

Cora Num’s website has lots of links to different repositories and record sites globally and locally

Some examples of Australian repositories

National Library of Australia –includes online catalogue to search,  eResources and link to Trove – digitized newspapers

National Archives of Australia – Commonwealth government records from 1901, defence records, photo search, name search

State archives – state Government departments

Repositories including other countries

Australian Joint Copying Project – material from Australia, NZ and Pacific from 1560 to 1984

Family Search – put together by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

List of family history societies in Australia from Cora Num website

Federation of Family history societies in UK

Ancestry – where we will get a one month access soon

 Other record sources

  • To make the most of your research time, you need to know what is kept where.  Always do your homework – what are you looking for and where will you find it
  • Reminder that an index is only a guide – find copy of original record
  • Information only as accurate as the informant gives eg relative better than funeral director

BDM records and indexes – start with yourself and work backwards

FreeBMD – UK site

Graham Jaunay has a guide to what you will find on BDM certificates in each state of Australia

Cora Num – lots of links for Australia BDM records

Electoral Rolls and census records in Australia

Photographs – Jane Shrimpton blog on dating photos

To my readers:

What other record sources have you used especially if it is for countries other than Australia?