DNA tools and techniques

The topic this week  at #ANZAncestryTime was related to DNA

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Including tools on DNA testing sites and non-testing sites, which tools do you use the most? Which ones are useful? Ease of use?

My favourite DNA tools are the shared cM tool and histograms; matrix comparisons in GEDmatch; Ancestry groups; DNA painter and chromosome browsers anywhere.

I forgot to mention Clusters and My heritage’s Auto Clusters

I haven’t found the autoclusters much use yet, despite watching a few talks on them. It looks very pretty though!

Clusters can be uploaded into a chromosome map using the Cluster Auto Painter tool at DNAPainter for a different visual perspective

I build my tree from my DNA matches on my computer, tagging each link until I get back to the common ancestor (or not). Some families I match nearly every child of a common ancestor. I have a lot of brick walls to find.

Ancestry has tags for ‘DNA match’, ‘DNA connection’ etc. Or you can make your own custom tags – tags are searchable. Unfortunately they don’t sync through to Family Tree Maker though

Yes, I have most good matches on Ancestry, but have uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, LivingDNA, Gedmatch. Best bang for buck 🙂

When I use the MyHeritage autocluster, I use it in conjunction with the Cluster Auto Painter at DNAPainter. WATO at DNAPainter is another tool I use a lot

Once I have clusters I explore each group in turn. I use coloured dots on Ancestry, Thrulines, and build trees for DNA matches in one big research tree. Once I prove a connection I add it to my verified tree.

used the DNA testing sites of Ancestry and myheritage. Both come out with similar results, as some matches are on both sites. Some very accurate. Use groups on ancestry but so many matches hard to keep track.

My starting point for analysing DNA matches is to do clustering using the DNA Gedcom Client. I can then import the output files into GDAT so that my analysis across all the testing sites in one place.

I use GDAT to import all my matches – then my analysis is all in one place and I can see where matches have tested at multiple sites. its a bit of a learning curve, but worth it in the end.

I also use the shared cM project on DNA Painter to work out where the possibilities could be

The shared cM project is great to show people that do not understand how you can estimate the relationship with a match. I often use it with beginners.

Important to look at the histograms too. Adding them to the cM Project calculator on DNAPainter has been hugely helpful

The tool I use the most is the dots in the @Ancestry DNA section of their website. Most nights I check for new matches & find none. If there is a new match I check the Shared Matches, pink or blue dot them if I can work out if they are maternal or paternal.

test at Ancestry because of its bigger testing pool then upload the raw dna data to MyHeritage FTDNA and Gedmatch – plus Wegene if you have East Asian ancestry – fish in all ponds as they say

I use the shared matches from Ancestry and check out any connected trees to see if there are any common names, couples, or places and group them.

In Ancestry I always go with the shared ancestors filter first as those people have a tree that can give hints to include more people on your tree

Big fan of the DNA Painter toolset. Have used the shared cM tool to help a DNA match who was an adoptee narrow down potential families she could be related to, with success!.

I did all the DNA sessions at Rootstech and have done many webinars but need to action what I learn before I forget. That’s my DNA problem

I like the thrulines on Ancestry as a way to prove some cousins back 3 or 4 generations but prior to that I need more proof.

I am always a little cautious seeing much is based on peoples trees for thrulines and my tree is not that big so I often need to verify new persons. It would be quicker if people attached sources.

I would suggest you message them and ask. I don’t have sources in my tree as it is a gedcom export from my desktop software but I am always happy to explain those sources if I get asked. Maybe they do the same.

Good suggestion. I like doing the quick and dirty DNA trees so sometimes end up having so much fun tracing up or down branches I don’t end up figuring out the connection with the match.

Ancestry’s Thru Lines, MyHeritage Theories of Relativity and Clusters, Dana Leeds – Leeds Collins method

thrulines have been hit and miss as it relies on other people’s trees which some are not correct. I have illegitimate Great grandmother but thru lines try to say who her spouse is.. incorrect.

DNA Painter’s WATO tool helped me prove who was my dad’s true grandfather from unknown DNA matches

That is what I want to use if possible. However, I do have endogamy in the family and I understand it does not work as well with that

I also use GEDmatch especially who matches 1 or 2 people

I find the Gedmatch matrix comparisons for ICWs easy to use and interesting to compare diff % of inheritance between cousins.

Ancestry’s dots, MyHeritage, FTDNA, Gedmatch. Wegene, DNAGedcom, DNAPainter. I eyeballed ALL Ancestry DNA results & colour dot them & do it with my sister – also my husband & his sister – there can be a lot of variation between size of matches siblings have

Shared matches on Ancestry. Comparisons using Gedmatch on WikiTree. Chromosome browsing on MyHeritage. Using my own spreadsheets of matches.

I have tested with five companies and mostly I use DNA Painter to paint chromosomes and Ancestry’s colour coding to help identifty matches. I also use Gedmatch and livewllo. The latter gives me a health report

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Has analysing your matches with tools & techniques helped you narrow down ancestral lines, place matches on your tree, find common ancestors, add or prune branches. etc?

Even with good DNA matches, the absence of records from the paper trail can make the connection impossible to pin down. One link has multiple siblings who match Mum and we know the likely county, but no Irish records means a blank wall.

Yes … DNA never stands alone … just one piece of the puzzle to be weighed up within a broader body of evidence

Having identified cousins makes it easier to allocate lines except when there are no trees or further clues to be sure where unknown matches fit. Life’s too short to be forever building trees

But sometimes building trees is where the answers lie

for years I researched my 3xgtgrandmother’s family named King, then I got 3 x 3rd cousin DNA matches all related to the same family, named Perry, discovered that 3 x gtgrandmother’s father named on her birth cert is in fact not her real father

Through DNA matching I found my paternal gggfather’s siblings and parents also my ggmother’s sister. Now trying to go back another generation. Still have brickwalls to find.

And I have found birth fathers for a number of people whose DNA match some of the kits that I manage. I have another request to help with an adoption in Victoria whose closest cousin matches one of those I helped.

haven’t used any specific tools yet just use common ancestors on Ancestry to check things out. I do paper trail first of matches to do comparisons. Myheritage comparisons are not as accurate though, even with high number of matching segments.

I’ve connected a large number of matches to my tree; some pedigree triangulations which seem, from records, genealogically correct but may or may not reflect where the DNA has come from, some segment triangulation groups which I am more sure of

I was wondering why I had no DNA matches for my 2xGGF until a recent 444 cM match turned up & changed everything. Could be a case of NPE (Non parent event / naughty parental event). Ancestors can say what they want but DNA doesn’t lie.

I bet they’d be horrified that all their secrets are coming out. I found a bigamist (just through records). I bet they never envisaged we would have access to almost all parish records simultaneously

I bet they would be too. That would have been a shock to find that out. Convict origins wanted to be forgotten. I had one research hint in Ancestry pop up that my ancestor was a convict. Which explained his free passage to Aus.

I have also helped a number of my DNA matches identify bio family. Met up with a new 3rd cousin last UK trip as we were both visiting at the same time, and went to places our ancestors lived, followed by a pub lunch.

I have confirmed most of my lines back to 3xGGPs and I’m already starting to see some 4xGGP connections. Now that I have eliminated all my known lines I’m working to identify my mystery 2xGGF with the fake name 🙂

I have also found connections to DNA matches in Australia and Canada which sheds some light on people who have ‘disappeared’

My US ancestral line name was Adams, very common name. I expected to be swamped with US Adams related DNA matches & after 4.5 years not so- Adams was an alias for real surname Brown – which I only uncovered by constructing my match’s tree and lots of hard work

DNA helped solve the mystery of my husband’s Tiearney ancestry back to East St Louis, Ireland and South Africa – confirmed family legends and corrected some misinformation

my husband’s family lore had an ancestor Daniel Dering Mathew – remittance man descended from Mary Boleyn (sister of Ann Boleyn)- Catherine Knollys then Byam Mathew’s – DNA results have supported this family legend

What a great story KerriAnne. My husband’s mother handed me her family tree showing she was a 23rd cousin to Prince William and Harry. I quickly found the huge error but let her believe it as she was over 90

I have taken my husband’s DNA, and his sister’s from MyHeritage FTDNA chromosome browsers and combined them to create a pseudo map in DNAPainter for matches that my late mother in law would have had

FTDNA mtdna and ydna have helped with my direct maternal line, direct paternal line and my husband’s direct paternal line – especially as there were illegitimacies along the way

testing other relatives really helps though it’s not a tool itself. I’ve got 1st cousins for each of my parents on each side – sorts matches by my great-grandparents.

haven’t used any specific tools yet just use common ancestors on Ancestry to check things out. I do paper trail first of matches to do comparisons. Myheritage comparisons are not as accurate though, even with high number of matching segments.

100% before these tools were around I had tested & used gedmatch. We were at sea – sending random emails hoping someone would recognise a surname. I had 1 match that took years to figure out. Compare to a recent new match on MyH which I had sorted in 2 hours

I confirmed the father of an adoptee in my family who lives in the US with the help of a child of his. in his 80’s he has now met his half siblings

It’s interesting to see how DNA inheritance will throw up a match to a new link who might not match other testers. I have found a few extra lines or confirmed hypotheses.

I always start with the highest cM and when I know where they are on the tree, I add them to my tree up to our common ancestor and use the DNA tags on Ancestry

I have added my matches down to 20cM from each site I have my DNA on except the two sites I added it to recently. They are still to be done. I colour code it by family including potential family (no trees). Then I can see what needs to be worked on

Despite having attended many DNA sessions & read books / blogs, joined FB groups, etc with my low number of 4th cousin or better matches I struggle to progress my FH research with DNA. Waiting patiently for more matches to use different tools.

DNA matches have confirmed a large part of my family history research. I hope DNA matches can find my biological German g g grandfather

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What DNA tools do you use to help with your DNA match sorting? Do you add and compare match data from different websites?

I tend to just use spreadsheets for this purpose. If you want to download your DNA match lists, you may find this Guide from Diahan Southard useful: yourdnaguide.com/ydgblog/how-to…

As a follow up I also paid for an analysis of my Ancestry DNA results by a crowd called Connected DNA. Great colour coded visualizations, multiple spreadsheets and much more sophisticated triangulation/grouping than possible on Ancestry

I use Ancestry DNA and also MyHeritage and sometimes FTDNA and Gedmatch because not everyone tests at all of these. I also find dna triangulation on MyHeritage Gedmatch and FTDNA helps – wish Ancestry had a chromosome browser so I could do triangulation there

I tried to use GenomatePro after @GenealogyLass recommended but found the setup really onerous so I just went back to checking site by site but I cross-ref in my offline tree. I’ll note a person is a match with XcM on which site, etc.

Has been replaced by GDAT now. The setup is much the same, but the functionality is more streamlined. If you need help setting up give me a shout 🙂

I import all my data into GDAT. It is all in one place, can analyse, write research notes, filter and sort, use matches who have tested at >1 site to make new connections between groups, identify names or locations in common.

Definitely worth siblings and cousins doing DNA testing because of the variation in matches that siblings etc have with the same cousin.

I have also had dad tested YDNA and mtDNA because his paper trail does not match the DNA trail on either side. I mainly got dad tested as he is 89 and the oldest in his generation. Also he is my problem DNA person. Neither test has been much use so far

Forgot I did my mtDNA as well – it has been 0 use. Have some male lines tested with Y37 just to get their DNA recorded but can’t afford the big bucks to upgrade & feel it’s a much more specialised area. With ltd Irish records, I don’t know how much use it can be.

Yes, I add my matches to my spreadsheets and to my computer-based tree. For each match I give the DNA information – so there can be information from more than one site.

analysing matches broke down brickwalls in Dad’s American ancestry – which couldn’t have been achieved without combination of DNA with traditional genealogical approaches. DNA also helped with illegitimacies – confirming family stories of who fathers were.

I haven’t done enough downloading and comparing matches from different testing sites. I get part of it done then stop.

I have a spreadsheet for dad and another for mum and tabs in each for the different companies and comparisons within them all. I need to use it more efficiently though

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Do you consider ethnicity results as a tool to help your family history research? Discuss any thoughts, pros and cons when using ethnicity results.

The ‘ethnicity’ results have their place when weighed up alongside broader range of evidence but only as good as reference panels and algorithms used. Genetic communities more reliable (different methodology, more recent time frame)

I have found my Ethnicity changed several times so not sure how valid it really is, but I did upload my DNA to @Living_DNA a few years ago (see pic), and my Ethnicity has been the most accurate so far out of any other company

ethnicity has proven the my paper trail areas of research have been correct either north east Scotland or West Midlands in England.

Ethnicity is not much use for me or the kits I manage – we’re all typically British 🙂 But it has been useful in helping people find bio family when different lines come from different backgrounds. I used to dismiss it but always check it now

I used to dismiss ethnicity however in some cases it can help eg my husband has a Scottish great grandfather married to an Irish great grand mother – so ethnicity helped to split which lines folks in that part of the family came from

Same! I used to be very dismissive but Ancestry estimates have improved and the genetic communities are useful, so now I always check it at least.

Afro Scottish ethnicity in some of my Jamaican matches points to some relatives of my ancestors being in the West Indies in the slavery era – which was confronting when I first noticed it

Considering my DNA ethnicity is different with each of the five companies and my German doesnt show up where it should I don’t find ethnicity helps with research. maybe if I had a surprise

I used to think that ethnicity results was marketing tools to get more people to test. Acknowledge the limitations of the ethnicity data, then it can help support theories & suggest areas to research especially for adoptees and mis-attributed parental events.

I admit to treating ethnicity results with fair disdain. I had high hopes of Living DNA results but there are anomalies compared to the paper trail. Mostly I get my more recent ancestry, Irish and Scots. Still no German sadly.

My mum has 548 4th cousins or closer while dad only has 318 4th cousins or closer on Ancestry. Lot easier to colour dot mum’s matches

I have hardly any identified paternal matches across the sites. Multiple generations of people with very few kids means the matches are further back & possibly in the realm of no records to support.

I have a similar problem. Research my families and there are few descendants. Only one of my father’s sisters has descendants. Not much better for the previous generation where mainly only one child each. I have to go a long way back for matches

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Need some basic info as well as advanced DNA help – check these out

Louise Coakley blog

DNA genealogy in Australia and NZ – Facebook group run by Louise

Blog posts relating to DNA

Jane: Basics on autosomal testing, hypothesizing and speculating,

Pauleen: DNA – place and people,

Kerrie Anne: Matches in Adams/Brown family,

Great comments:

DNA is the ultimate in time distraction.

DNA tools have to be easy enough to use to make them useful.

Also check out the summary of the #ANZAncestryTime discussion on Apps for Family History. Some useful apps for DNA were mentioned.

Readers: Have you tested your DNA? Have your results been what you expected?

DNA help in family history

Fantastic choice for a topic this week especially with RootsTechConnect having many DNA videos to watch and the upcoming Family History Down Under having a full day stream of DNA talks.

  1. Have you taken one or more DNA tests? Companies? Ethnicity or relationship discoveries / surprises? Reasons to test or not test?
  2. How have you acquired your knowledge about using DNA for family history?
  3. Has DNA helped your family history research? How? Solved brick walls, found family mysteries?
  4. DNA tips, tools and techniques? How do you manage your DNA data? Multiple kits? Enrolling more cousins to test?

There are many testing companies for DNA. Most are autosomal (DNA from both parents) but you can also do Y-DNA and mt-DNA tests which follow just the male line (Y) or the female line (mt). Here is a very easy to read with diagrams blog post about test types by Louisa Coakley an Australian. Louise has a fantastic blog with lots of links and resources whether you are a beginner or more advanced.

All the information you really need to know about DNA can be found in the links in the paragraph above or the blogs mentioned below. So the rest of the post will be more how the participants in chat have found using DNA for family history.

DNA blogs to check out:

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Brick walls and mysteries

Sharn: My maiden name was different to my paternal DNA matches. I discovered it had been changed. My mother’s maiden name didn’t match her DNA matches.Her grandfather had changed his after deserting a 1st wife.

Margaret B: I found family for my father’s ancestors where there are few records including a sister for my ggma

Mining the Past: it has confirmed my paper trail and I’ve found cousins who have stories and photos. I have found what happened to ‘missing’ siblings through their descendants turning up overseas.

SirLeprechaunRabbit: Gramma🐰s line (dad’s mat.line) has multiplied faster than 🐰🐰🐰 and I have found a few ATKINSONs (mum’s pat.line). Solved one mystery but split it up 3 ways! New mystery now.

WanderingGnostic: Winston Churchill is my 4th cousin 4x removed. Reckon we have a resemblance ? I’m related through the Spencer-Churchills

Helen: I’ve been following issues around solving cold cases and restoring identity to John/Jane Does. I do wonder though about issues around identifying mothers of unidentified newborns (neonaticide), in some cases. Lots to think about.

Hilary: Given all my relatives on the Relatives at RootsTech app were 4th cousins and beyond I am not holding out for matches

Tara: Several different ways: Confirm paper research. Help DNA matches rebuild and connect to my family tree, leading to photo and story exchanges. It’s helped me narrow down the range of possibilities where there are several likely ancestral contenders.

Fran: I would like more of my maternal side as a one name study has done a lot of my paternal so I’s doing other stuff rather than verify this work.

Maggie: #DNA has helped confirm a lot of my paper-based research, which is definitely encouraging! I have a few 19th century brick-walls and conundrums that I’d like to solve still…

Pauleen: My mother has a decent match to a cousin in Canada, and all her siblings and a first cousin. Their origins are in Wexford as is one of mum’s lines, but the paper trail defeats us.

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Sue: DNA has got me back to UK with some free settlers that just said Devon and Yorkshire when they arrived in Tassie. Also got my grandfather’s true name and now back to 1700’s

SOPS: Brilliant! Love it when DNA matches help people to cross continents with their research!

Sue: Definitely helps with bigamists adding extra to their names and making it difficult to research!!

Maggie: I’ve learnt about using #DNA mostly from talks and lectures – I remember my first ever one was by @DebbieKennett at WDYTYA?Live maybe in 2012? It’s a continual learning process.

Dara: I have two sizable matches with my Dad. They seemingly share the same family line in Co. Laois, but bizarrely don’t triangulate with each other. I can’t get my head around it.

Fran: Sometimes its a slow process with DNA but hopefully with some success

SOPS: Yes, DNA is a waiting game. Perhaps less so for some now, with so many having tested since the earlier days. It took 3 years for me to identify the bio father of a friend of mine who was adopted as a baby

Helen: Yes. More than a year for us to identify my mother’s paternal grandfather. Meeting new cousins was the best part of that. Otherwise, my mother felt sad that her own father never knew his father

Pauleen: #geneticgenealogy wisely comes with warnings – if you know there’s secrets and mysteries, well and good but you can be blindsided. Makes me nervous when I ask cousins to test.

Sandra: Through DNA I have been able to add a branch I would never have known about. I have found The father’s family of my illegitimate great grandmother. Also lopped off a branch of my husband’s tree and added the DNA based one. Good to know the truth

Karen Anne: Have met some distant cousins who have told me stories that I didn’t know about the family.

SOPS: DNA testing and research has helped to confirm much of the family tree I had developed through traditional records-based research, which is gratifying! I have solved more mysteries for other people than for myself so far, but that’s been gratifying too.

Dara: DNA has mostly confirmed my paper trail, no surprises yet, though I’m starting to worry about my G-grandfather brick wall. Might be a surprise there

Paula: I was contacted by a match who was able to use my tree to confirm details of her biological mother.

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Pauleen: I have cousins with each company, but the most with Ancestry because of its market saturation. I like their coloured dots option but like everyone I wish that we had a chromosome browser. FTDNA has the browser but issues with it counting smaller Cm matches.

Jennifer: I took my DNA test with Ancestry. Ashamed to admit that I’ve done nothing with it as yet. I was surprised that I had no Welsh ethnicity when 2 X great grandparents came from Wales.

ANZ: It took me a while to do anything with my parents’ results too – and still more to do. I think it takes time to work your way through everything, and to make the most of the tools available.

Shauna: DNA totally changed my Dad’s family research. Would I do the test again? Yes as I much prefer to know the truth and it also helped me to finally understand a lot of the tensions when I was growing up. Everyone knew but no one told me

Pauleen: DNA has confirmed that my paper trail is correct…cousins match as and where they should, with no surprises so far. Existence of documents to confirm Irish ancestors is a problem. Known cousin links have helped a lot.

SOPS: I had prepared myself and my friend for a long wait, which lessened the frustration a little! It also helped that traditional research and a stroke of luck with an Ancestry family tree enabled me to ‘reunite’ my friend with some of her half siblings early on!

Helen: Someone I should have matched with on Ancestry (has taken test) I don’t. Haven’t worked through that one yet

Pauleen: Many of my genimates here were at #DNADownUnder with me. I remember being astounded just how big a percentage of people had discovered a secret or surprise. I almost felt left out…but not quite 😉

Pauleen: I had myself and mum on FTDNA for quite a while before I got a close relative. The proliferation of testing has been a blessing despite those without trees.

Sharn: I used DNA last year to find out which of my cousins now deceased was the biological father of an adoptee. He now has a whole new family. All those conferences paid off

Fran: my pile of first cousins that have tested are a great help. I can find maternal DNA cousins with smaller shared DNA that do not share with me. Good when so many people have no tree and test for ethnicity only.

DNA disproved great great grandfather William Smith half Samoan

Sue: Dad was the main surprise with no Samoan yet two relatives I also tested did have it. Hence testing others that are now half relatives. Mum was no surprise totally English/Irish a little

Sandra: Found out my parents are related and I have pedigree collapse in my tree. Plus husband’s mother’s dad isn’t who is listed on the birth certificate.

Paula: DNA test with Ancestry and added to My Heritage. Identified my g grandfather as a result. Couldn’t have done it otherwise.

Paula: my gg grandmother went to Australia leaving my g grandfather in Scotland. DNA has helped to link me with some lovely cousins in Australia

Pauleen: Connecting with cousins is a big bonus

Paula: Most definitely. DNA and blogging has opened up a whole new family

SOPS: I have tested with Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, and Living DNA. A 23&Me test is to follow. For DNA matches to confirm/disprove relationships in my record-based family tree, and to see if I can unmask the father of my 2x great grandfather Henry Atcherley! And uploaded to MyHeritage too of course! Several other descendants of Henry Atcherley have also tested too, to help triangulate shared matches. No Eureka moment yet, but I have now found shared matches with shared ancestors so the field is narrowing

Sharn: When I took my first NA test I had a huge surprise – I was Polish. For years I searched for my mysterious Polish ancestors and then realised that my cousin’s DNA and mine had been switched. and that was a bigger surprise!

Fran: I found a Great Grandfathers ancestors via DNA. Happy dance find as I was stuck and my DNA cousin had done some research that helped.

Daniel: I haven’t taken one as of yet. I’m not testing as being a blood relative of an adoptee who’s finding out their birth family very recently.

Pauleen: Very grateful to have my mother’s DNA on a few sites. It really helps to distinguish which side of the tree. haven’t got a definitive DNA link for the Sherry/McSharry/McSherry family back to Ireland. Always take a deep breath before asking cousins to test

Tara: Tested my late granduncle with myFTDNA (because he wasn’t able to spit and I didn’t know there was a trick) and my maternal grandmother with Ancestry. Both to help with research. Ethnicity not an interest but surprising results for GU

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Tips, tools, techniques

Margaret B: I have my matches on several spreadsheets in cM order from all sites

Mining the Past: I use GenomeMatePro to manage kits/matches. I need to upgrade to its replacement GDAT but haven’t had time yet. I love DNAGedcom for auto clustering and DNA Painter. Gedmatch has many useful tools too.

Tara: Attending in person and online seminars with Legacy. I’m lucky to know @GenealogyLass so I can ask her questions. I also found this book very helpful pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-A…

Fran: It’s good to have a DNA buddy.

Pauleen: DNA is like starting family history all over again and is very time consuming. I have read books, attended the excellent DNA Down Under seminar in 2019 and follow DNA FB pages

Sandra: I found Shelley Crawford’s visualising Ancestry DNA matches using NodeXL to be very helpful for me. Also using DNA painter to try and work out whether individual matching segments are maternal or paternal. Clustering is also very helpful.

Maggie: Genetic Genealogy Ireland  I’d also second the recommendation of the Genetic Genealogy Ireland videos from Back to Our Past.

SOPS: Extensive notes and use of Custom Groups at Ancestry. Was too late to get Mum to test, but both brothers and Dad have tested, two half-2nd cousins and a few 3rd cousins. Other close cousins popping up in results also help with evaluation of matches.

Sue: I do one little thing on DNA then write post about it; see post below about finding grandfather

Fran: There are over 200 webinars on DNA at familytreewebinars.com. Just renewed my membership. While most are free for a short while I find watching at my convenience worth the cost

Dara: Absolutely, Deleted my kits from GEDmatch, and am unsure of FTDNA. I don’t object to using DNA for crime prevention. But they should follow due process, which seems lacking, in the US. Police cannot just enter your house without a warrant, why your DNA?

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Pauleen: Gedmatch can be useful but I use it less. I routinely use DNA Painter to compare where the DNA match fits in the cousin ranking. I’ve also mapped some of my matches using DNA Painter. Still lots of learning to apply. What is my priority – DNA or writing up

Margaret: My % differ markedly. Irish- with Ancestry 86%, FTDNA 99% and only 46% with My Heritage. MH clearly too low in my case and FT way too high. Ancestry picks up lots of Irish who went to US I think.

Sue: Google spreadsheets for each kit tested but mainly parents, DNAPainter, WATO, Chromosome browsers for triangulating, YDNA for Dad, colour coding ancestry, notes on how connected

Hilary: with all my matches being distant it can be difficult to know which ones are genuine when they don’t have a tree to compare matches

Pauleen: Blaine Bettinger’s books are also very good. We were so lucky to attend the #DNADownUnder conference. But man, does DNA take some time!

Tara: I haven’t read Blaine’s books but I’ve heard him speak. Really clear also @dnapainter  (Only on first mug of coffee here so a little slow!)

Sharn: Tara it was Blaine who really explained how to use DNA painter in a way I could put into practice

Tara: Yes, he’s very good. I tend to think of Jonny though because I’ve had a few drinks with him and others after FamilyTreeLive and I haven’t met Blaine yet 🙂

Pauleen: Social networking can be critical 😉

Shauna: I find using DNA Painter good for identifying Mum’s side, she had no surprises. I have also tried WATO but I don’t have enough close matches on Dad’s side. I mainly use the tools provided by the companies eg clusters, colour coded matches, chromosome browsers

Jane: I have some good matches at 23andMe. I don’t like the recent change to the ‘yes’ column though … dna-explained.com/2021/03/08/23a…

Dara: Yes, the lack of Chromosome browser on Ancestry is a pain for confirming 100%, but they do have the most matches, which is great. Many are not interested in genealogy though.

Sharn: DNA Downunder was brilliant. I put so much into action after that conference. Four days of full on DNA learning

Helen: do any of you have ethical/privacy concerns about the different testing sites?

Dara: DNA was a steep learning curve! I’m still learning. Reading, Reading, Reading and conferences, The BacktoOurPast DNA lectures for the initial years are free online, and @RobertaJEstes blog is a treasure trove

CBGenealogy: +1 on @mauricegleeson‘s excellent work arranging Genetic Genealogy Ireland & their lectures both on YouTube @legacyfamily

Dara: Yes, and he’s one of the best speakers too, him and @GenealogyLass.

Sue: a lot of reading especially @blaine_5 info, but also reading what each different company or website says about their testing. Also joining Facebook groups for DNA in Aus/NZ/UK

Fran: Many RootsTech Classes over the years, DNA Downunder for the main conferences. Read lots of blogs. Ask Pauleen at @cassmob to sort me out. Podcasts and Webinars too. Should know more for the amount I have done. Just need to apply the learnings.

Pauleen: People to learn from: Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, Diahan Southard, Roberta Estes, Debbie Kennett, Louise Coakley, Michelle Leonard, Michelle Patient. Lots of skills and knowledge out there. Bound to have omitted someone – @HicksShauna @HVSresearch @kerryfarmer

qimono / Pixabay

SOPS: I’m very much a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person, taking the plunge and answering questions along the way by using Google to find websites with answers! Having said that, I did read @DebbieKennett‘s “DNA and Social Networking” back in the beginning. I also attended several DNA presentations at the #WDYTYALive shows and found Maurice Gleeson’s talks particularly enlightening.

Dara: I found Ancestry the best for discoveries, Nothing at FTDNA sadly. MyHeritage is showing intriguing results maybe for my G-Grandfather brickwall, and I love their tools. What about you?

Sue: have tested 8 relatives on Ancestry, uploaded them all to FTDNA, MyHeritage, GEDmatch and a few to LivingDNA. I also tested with Living DNA to get the specific counties info as I am virtually 100% English/Irish

Jane: Learned a lot just playing with the data, belonging to relevant forums, reading etc

Jennifer: I need to get started. I’ve been waiting until I know it all first. My knowledge as yet is very sparse, but I intend to put serious time into the @RootsTechConf DNA sessions

Tara: I have had some good success on Ancestry applying detective lessons from a @GenealogyLass seminar even when they’ve had barely anything

Paula: online research and I’ve attended a couple of talks at family history fairs. Still very limited knowledge. Keeping track of results is hard!

Shauna: I have been to quite a few in person DNA seminars and talked to experts about looking for my biological grandfather. Also read books, blogs and watched webinars. Blaine Bettinger and Maurice Gleeson are favourites

Daniel: I’d say any bits I may have seen about DNA in genealogy would have been from Debbie Kennett or anyone else that tweets about it

Blog posts from participants

Sue: Finding grandfather, posts tagged DNA, posts specific to DNA matches

Jill: posts labelled DNA

Great quotes:

Mining the Past: I am lucky to have been a scientific researcher in cell and molecular biology in a past life so I understood DNA inheritance. I thought that coupled with knowledge of genealogy would make it relatively straightforward. Boy was i wrong! I like to learn by experimenting hands on so I learnt mostly by just getting stuck in and trying things out and searching out info when I got stuck. Blaine’s Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques is great. I struggled until I began getting other relatives to test. My dad’s was really helpful in separating maternal/paternal. I also have maternal aunt and 1C1R and paternal half-uncle. A 1C has just agreed to do Y-DNA so that will be new for me.

Sue: Jeepers, chat is half over and I was here on time but got waylaid checking out some DNA matches for dad.

Readers: Have you solved a mystery or brickwall in your family history using DNA?