Finding and solving gaps in our research.

Remembering that stories are important in family history, not just the birth, death, marriage dates and places. So how do we find information to fill in the gaps in the stories was what was discussed at this #ANZAncestryTime chat.

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How do we identify gaps in our research? Is it important to do so?

I use timelines to work out where I need to look for more info eg school records, employment records etc

If you use good desktop software it may have a way to let you know what is missing

I am currently redoing my database and have queries to help find what is missing.

I have two ways of identifying gaps: (1) is writing up my research which makes clear where I’m missing information. (2) checking against my preferred sources to ensure I’ve included them.

To find gaps in knowledge/evidence about an individual … start writing up what you know about them as a sourced biographical narrative. This soon highlights the gaps which you can then set about trying to fill

Starting with what you know is a great tip Jane @Chapja It’s much easier then to see the gaps

Yes, Jane, I can get on board with this method, because my goal is a story, not a full database.

I like to try to fill in the gaps in my research. Often when traditional family history records leave gaps you can fill them using newspapers. DNA has helped me also

Love me a good timeline! Plus checklists, making sure I’ve covered at least all the basics.

For brickwalls I use mindmaps (from FreeMind) to review and identify what I might have missed

I love creating mind maps. I picked up that tip at Rootstech a few years ago. It’s amazing what can jump out at you as missing

Mindmapping – you could do this with pencil and paper I’ve also used Freemind Mindmaps for preparing museum exhibitions What’s really nice is that you can collapse sections or open then up

Using a research log or prompt sheet can help to identify gaps


To visualise gaps in tree … the DNAPainter ‘Ancestral Trees’ function enables you to visualise tree completeness so you can decide where in your tree you may want to focus next – dnapainter.com/#trees

I create detailed timelines for individuals and families – it’s a great way of spotting both gaps and connections I hadn’t noticed before. Creating bios for Wikitree also made me go back and look for things I’d missed, so I could tell a coherent story

As Australia doesn’t have its census records available, we have to utilise different record sets and not get caught in the decennial gap trap.

Identifying gaps in our research is important if we’re to gain a full view of the lives of our ancestors. Learning what records are available for place and time, and using them, is critical.

I find using a spreadsheet to set down timelines of each person useful. Columns represent list of possible records they would be in, when I locate I tick it in the column. Records BMD parish records and census.

As with so much in family history, it’s finding what is most intuitive for each of us that helps productivity.

When looking at gaps in our research we need to look at regional, national and world events to see how they affected our families.

Ancestry’s DNA match colour coding and DNA Painter’s chromosome mapping have filled gaps for me

When new records become available work through them to ensure you have not missed someone GRO site helped me

I use timelines. I include place as well as dates. For example, is it possible that my research people were in e.g. New York for 1910 census and then enumerated in England a few months later in 1911? (Yes, it is, but confirming it opened new avenues)

Yeah Sophie’s “negative space” is basically the same idea, although her approach is more colourful. I’d like to be able to do a 3-D version that layers people on top of time/place. Best I can do for that is Visio/process maps

Visio is a lovely little microsoft package – very easy to use. I also use it for presenting smaller family trees – extracts

It was inspiration from the talk given by @ScientistSoph on Negative Space that really started me thinking more about this topic, including mapping events. Read her blog post here. parchmentrustler.com/family-history…

timelines are really helpful, as is writing up a person’s life. Often realise I’m missing something crucial.

Interesting how many of us find narratives helpful to identify missing research.

I tag my Legacy trees as I find supporting sources so I know which ones I need to find.

i do a timeline sheet in my Research Log (Excel). I add date in first column then age, event and place for each person in the family with a diff colour for each person. Then i can scroll and see where each family member was on a date.

Different formats for diff research questions, but usually just a table in a Word document – year in one column, date in next, then a text field with whatever info I want to record. I find that little bit of visual organisation just enough to work for me

Ancestry’s DNA match colour coding and DNA Painter’s chromosome mapping have filled gaps for me

Yes … Delay no further! DNAPainter has so many useful tools and functions to help find and fill gaps in our research

I have loved DNA painter since Jonny Perl first introduced it at a RootsTech conference. He is brilliant

something I do with my students often is get them to fill out a blank direct ancestor tree just to see where they’re missing bits.

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Do you use a timeline to identify research gaps? Do you use your genealogy program, Excel or another program?

I use mainly Legacy but sometimes go with spread sheet

Funny you mention it, because I created one today about a great grandfather, using a table in WORD. I’m including citations from the many sources I have found about him. He never seemed to stay in one place for long – trying to put all the pieces together.

Those wanderers can be a lot of work to trace. I have a few of those. Timelines do help to see where they’ve been

I have a bigamist who disappears after he serves time in Victoria. Not found anywhere yet.

I suspect some bigamy with my American born Adams 2xgt gddad too. Disappears from Grafton & NSW. Then emerged close & shared DNA matches descended from Tassie man of same name who appeared in Tassie little after Grafton man disappeared. Same man or close family?

I find that now I am writing up the family histories (part of my downsizing project) I am finding gaps and then I just fill them as I go. If I can

Yes writing narratives is a great way to find gaps in information … it also helps to spot inconsistencies in the information you have too

I can be in the middle of a blog post about an ancestor and realise I have a gap. Then it’s off down a rabbit hole before I finish the blog post. That’s where I am now

Writing is the best way to spot gaps! Writing seems to trigger all sorts of analytical processes in your brain that regular research does not.

Yes, and why it takes me so long to finish a blog post, let alone a research report for myself (loved your presentation on that!)

I found an infant death in Ireland following naming patterns and a gap in the births.

Tracing 19th century Aussie wanderers, it’s helpful to put the gold rushes on the timeline. A ‘missing’ person may have gone to try their luck. Check other colonies.

Good tip Brooke to add to the timeline. Also perhaps expansion of an occupation eg railway construction?

Gold rushes impacted just about everybody’s family – follow the gold. One of mine moved from Sydney to Victorian goldfields then up to the Gympie rushes in Queensland and finally over to the Western Australian gold rush. Over generations and not all moved.

Yes, my West Coast NZ gold rush ancestors all started mining life in Victoria. Most of them left family there, though contact has been mostly lost. I hope to re-establish some one day!

Another one of my mining families ducked across to Reefton for a while then back to Queensland. Have to look both sides of the Tasman

I realised one of mine did when I mapped the births of all his (many) children. Another way of spotting gaps. Map the babies.


This timeline was created for a specific research question: where was she living when she got pregnant with her children who were born out of wedlock? The timeline helped me formulate a hypothesis about the probable father, later confirmed with DNA.

My genealogy program allows you to export any query to a spreadsheet so you can work on it outside the program


Freemind is what I use for MindMaps thewindowsclub.com/freemind-free-…

Timeline but also my online tree with Ancestry where I can see on their facts or story what might be missing

Also when I write my biographies I have particular sections of their life to include which means I might need to do more research with newspapers etc to find that info

combination of Excel for checklist and offline family tree program for timeline. This then helps with writing up in more details in a blog.

If I’m looking at a timeline, I will use Excel to analyse what I have and what I’m missing. I always use date, month, year in separate columns. Alternatively I use Word document gaps. I don’t use my genealogy program for this.

my genealogy program is good for seeing gaps in the research plus you can add notes and reminders. I used to have lots of sticky yellow notes but using a program helps keep me focused.

I will write or look for other queries to identify other gaps once I have added census information

While I don’t always use a timeline I do identify gaps as I write up my research. I am using a timeline for my troublesome McSherry family. I also compare my checklist of record sources to see what I might have missed.

I’m constantly using timelines and use Legacy family history software. Occasionally I use excel for timelines

I look at my genealogy software & files for reference, but I create it in MS Word.

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What key facts do you include in your timeline? What records do you use to fill the gaps?

vital records (including addresses/occupations on children’s births), the census, any known migrations.

after looking at all possible records I then look at newspapers and overseas records. Sometimes the ancestor could be a witness or informant in a record.

BDM, children, grave or cremation, residences, any info from Rolls or Census records, newspaper stories

It depends on time period – early 19c Irish ag lab/working class leave very little trace in records so there are often big gaps, especially if they never married/had kids. Newspapers/migration/institutional records may fill gaps but often have to accept gaps

If I could just fill in the gaps in my lots of Irish ancestry I would be very happy. Wills have been useful

If you can find them, if they survive – I’ve yet to find more than a calendar entry and that for only a handful of people. The swines!

So inconsiderate of them! 🙂 I got my English 4GGF’s will. One line sums it up: “to my beloved wife, executor of this will, all my assets” – thanks Grandpa!! 😀

I like to record as many facts as possible in my timelines from cradle to the grave. I also include major events like war, famine, depression, pandemics. These events can trigger ideas for more records to search

If I am trying to find someone who is missing I will search in Newspapers or look for them travelling

Censuses and BDMs are the anchor points. Otherwise it could be anything – church records, entries in the street directory, newspaper reports, appearances as witnesses/registrants on other BDMs, court records – as long as it can be tied to a date

I like to track my ancestors’ locations, and kin, where possible to get a full picture of their lives. For immigrant ancestors I also want their immigration records – where available.

At the moment I’m including day, month, year, event, location, notes and citation. I’ve used newspaper articles, police records/gazettes, BMD certificates, electoral rolls. The guy I am researching went interstate and overseas enough to confuse us all!

Birth, Deaths Marriages, other key events in the life of the person. Also historical events at a certain time, for context

Trove is great for filling gaps we didn’t know we had – totally unexpected events and activities. I like to use Education, land, occupation, military records, immigration, clubs/societies inter alia.

I include every event for which I know a time and place for that ancestor. So vital events, military service, prison time, births of children, etc.

My excel sheet columns include for the names such First & Mid Name, Last Name, Full Name then vital record dates. The ID for the person. I split the dates to a columns for date, month and year. Finally the columns for the specific data I’m working with

vital records (including addresses/occupations on children’s births), the census, any known migrations

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Can you give examples where you or others have successfully plugged research gaps?

One thing that timelines can hide is contradictory activities. eg An ancestor is recorded being in one place for his child’s birth, & having a business. a legal case showed he was also working on the gold fields a distance away: there were regular coaches.

lots of those for my Dickson family. Currently working on Rev Dr David Dickson’s children A few more than in official bios

I used timelines to disprove a family legend (two men) but extending the FAN (family, associates, neighbours) research actually demonstrated there was a foundation for the legend – multiple timelines.

another TL piece: sometimes, not often, RC priests recorded both birth and baptismal dates. RC baptisms usually took place ASAP but there was a 6 week gap. Made me look more closely at godparents. They’d travelled quite a distance, another chink in brickwall

I used timelines to disprove a family legend (two men) but extending the FAN (family, associates, neighbours) research actually demonstrated there was a foundation for the legend – multiple timelines.

Our genimate @luvviealex wrote recently about her life in 12 censuses. It made me think more closely about my own presence in the records and how I wish I’d been able to see my parents’ and grandparents’ census returns.

Tried this today in a timeline but discovered it left out great chunks of our lives even our overseas postings, seems we were always in Aus. Made me think of ancestors gaps

Exactly! I don’t want to share all the nitty gritty but I think it can help highlight the challenge for the next couple of generations while privacy rules apply.

How cool! I have never been enumerated in a census in my life. The Netherlands stopped taking them in 1971 since we have a continuous population registration and they know where we live. 👀

Using DNA Trove BDMs to help adoptees to find their bio families and Collins Leeds method too

My longest running project is the collection of Electoral Data from NZers in my tree. Add another cousin to my tree creates gaps for Electoral Roll entries. Having such a large collection of addresses helps with a diverse range of other research questions

Trying to find out what happened to a woman from when she returned to Scotland in 1868 until her death. For that time period looked at censuses, deaths in her family & mapped them in time & space. Found her. Went to live with her son in England & she died there.

Timelines have been very useful me to find out where ancestors were fighting during WW1. I start with enlistment date and place and then do a timeline of their war service

I hadn’t thought do to a wartime timeline. what a great idea @SharnWhite I intend to do it

It helps to know what battles to research Jennifer and what war diaries to look for

It is always worth looking to see if there were births before a marriage one turned up this week not a relative but the person they married was

I have been trying to find out how a man in Bathurst met a woman in Hill End and how she had 4 children to him. There were no family connections between the places. Today I found on Trove his license to drive a coach from Bathurst to Hill End.  Yes unfortunately he never married her. I must do a timeline to see if his coach trips coincide with the births! I expect they did

Doing a timeline of where members of a family were in census records helped me to find a missing person

I find researching between the census records for missing children has turned up a few who died young

using census records – when I can’t find them I try all variants – Price was indexed as Grice – sometimes gaps are caused by indexing errors, bad handwriting or human error

Or search by a family member with the most distinctive first name. That worked for me.

All of my ancestors start in UK. When they emigrated to New Zealand, I found them passenger lists and rest of the information in the newspapers, even when they then moved to North America, especially the journalist ancestor, which was the subject of my blog

I’ve set up web pages with blog post sections for all my ancestral lines- sometimes cousins read these and make suggestions that I’ve missed something or drawn a wrong conclusion

My ancestors lived in a place in the Netherlands that kept mill tax records in 1700s that listed everyone in the household. I used these to see when children entered the household and prove that one child was baptized under a different name than used later.

I’m using a spreadsheet of every single event I can find for my McSherry family in the hope of breaking down my mysteries. Very clear for a 25 year block, then nada.

Timelines + checklists = winner!

Blog posts relating to the topic

Kerrie Anne – using mindmaps,

Alex – my life in censuses,

Legacy – mindmaps webinar,

Sue – examples of biographies written,

Readers: How do you find the gaps in your research? How do you find the info to fill those gaps?

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

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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?