14 November 2016

 Family Tree DNA’s Holiday Sale is HERE!

Not only will testers get weekly coupon savings, common to the two previous years, but this year you can send those coupons to friends and family.

The Family Finder test is an autosomal test that provides matches with relatives within at least 5 generations of your pedigree chart (some times more if your line is endogamous) and with this you get your ethnic percentages.
The test is regularly $79, but on sale for the Holiday Season for $59

The Y-chromosome 37 markers test is bundled with the Family Finder test.  The Y-37 tests 37 markers on the Y-chromosome (all-male line) and only males can take this bundled test.

The regular price is $248, but on sale for $188

Male-specific bundle with all the bells and whistles! Family Finder plus our 67 marker Y-DNA test.  The regular price is $347, now on sale for $278.

The mtFull Sequence tests then entire mitochondria and can be take by both males and females to get matches on their all-female line (mother’s mother’s mother’s, etc)

The test is regularly $278, but on sale for $228.

More individual Y-chromosome tests on sale:
Y-37 was $169                        Now $139
Y-67 was $268                        Now $229
Y-111 was $359                      Now $319

More mitochondrial tests
HVR1+HVR2 (not on sale) $79
mtFull Sequence (entire mtDNA) was $179              now $79

Comprehensive Genome Test which includes:
Family Finder, plus a male specific Y-chromosome test and a Full Mitochondrial Sequence
The most comprehensive and highest resolution mtDNA test. Results identify the ethnic and geographic origin of the maternal and paternal lines.

Was $546                    now $457

Do test...I want to see if we are cousins!!!


06 October 2016

New Genetic Genealogy Books

There have been several books written on genetic genealogy since 2014, and the most current is Blaine Bettinger’s Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy published by Family Tree Books, Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is also the co-author with Debbie Parker Wayne of Genetic Genealogy in Practice, published by the National Genealogical Society, Arlington, Virginia. 

Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy covers the basics of genetic genealogy, misconceptions, ethics, the four major tests, third-party tolls for autosomal DNA, ethnicity, analyzing complex issues using DNA, help for adoptees along with the future of genetic genealogy and a glossary.  The appendices include a comparison guide, research forms and various resources such as books, blogs, forums and mailing lists. The context is easily understood, and the added color which can add greatly to the cost of any book is most appealing to the eye. This book is a must for your library.

Genetic Genealogy in Practice is the first known workbook for genetic genealogists.  This is an exciting new concept for this field and should be quite helpful.  Each chapter presents a topic and ends with exercise questions to help you check your understanding of the material.  The book covers basic genetics, genetic genealogy standards and ethics, applications for all four of the major tests and how to use DNA testing for a family study and to integrate DNA evidence in a written conclusion.  Of course the answers to the exercises are in the appendix along with a glossary, reading list and various charts.

I recommend reading a variety of books on genetic genealogy as each author delivers the information in a slightly different way, and in doing so, you may find the method that helps you learn best.


Emily D. Aulicino

03 August 2016

Family Tree DNA's Sizzling HOT Summer Sale!!!


Along with the summer heat in Houston, the home office of Family Tree DNA, the Sizzlin’ Summer Sale starting, and it is HOT, HOT, HOT.

The focus is on bundles that include
·       ..........Family Finder: Y37 + Family Finder
·       ..........Y67 + Family Finder
·       ..........FMS + Family Finder
·      ..........Comprehensive Genome (FF+Y67+FMS).

But wait - there’s more!

The Family Finder (an autosomal test) is ridiculously low!


AND, also…Bennett Greenspan, founder and President of FTDNA is not giving us an end date for this sale. It could last a few days or a few weeks - we don’t know and he’s not telling!

So take advantage of these great prices while they’re hot, Hot HOT!

Product                                                       Retail Price     Sale Price     Group Price
Family Finder                                                    $99               $69               $69
Y37 + Family Finder                                       $268             $228             $218
Y67 + Family Finder                                       $367             $327             $317
Comprehensive Genome (FF+Y67+FMS)    $566             $499             $489
FMS + Family Finder                                      $298             $258             $258

**Please note - these bundles must remain bundles. If you buy at the sale price for future use, the entire bundle must be used on one tester. Canceling tests from the bundle will cause tests to revert to regular price. **

SO...jump into the gene pool for this Sizzlin' Summer Sale!

 Enjoy...see you on my matches page!

19 July 2016

To SNP or not to SNP, That is the Question

I wrote the following article for the The Bulletin, published by the Genealogy Forum of Oregon (Portland) 16 Jun 2015 as part of a series of DNA lessons for the membership. I am asked rather often about taking a SNP test.  

To SNP or not to SNP, That is the Question
by Emily D. Aulicino

Every plant and animal has a phylogenetic tree, including humankind, of course. A phylogenetic tree shows the inferred evolution of a species. Genetic genealogists often refer to the human phylogenetic tree as the haplogroup tree. There are haplogroup trees for the all-male and all-female lines. Haplogroups are decided through testing either the Y-chromosome DNA or the mitochondrial DNA. Testing the full mitochondria provides the haplogroup in detail, and no other testing is needed. However, further testing is needed to fine-tune a haplogroup for the Y-chromosome DNA (“Y-DNA”); therefore, additional SNP testing is done only for the Y-chromosome.
Many people who are new to genetic testing for genealogy are confused by the terms STR (short tandem repeat, pronounced by the individual letters, S-T-R); SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism, pronounced SNiP); haplotype (DNA results – explained further below); and haplogroup (a group of related haplotypes constituting a twig on the world family tree). That is, STR marker results make up a Y-chromosome haplotype or Y-test results, and a group of haplotypes who share the same common SNP form a haplogroup. Knowing these terms will help the researcher more clearly understand the various Y-DNA tests and how they relate to genealogy.

STRs and Haplotypes
An STR is a short pattern of the four bases in our DNA, namely adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) repeated in tandem. The number of times this pattern is repeated determines a marker result for a Y-STR test. For example: GATAGATAGATA is a pattern repeated three times. Thus, the marker result would be “3” on a report. The repeating pattern can be two to five bases long. Each marker has a range in which it repeats. For instance, DYS 393 is an area on the Y chromosome known to repeat its pattern from 9 to 17 times (normally), so the result of that marker in a tested person could be any number from 9 to 17. Y-DNA test results are determined by the number of STRs or short tandem repeats on different places on the Y chromosome. The test results are referred to as the DNA signature or haplotype.

An example of a Y-DNA STR Result

Note that Y-37, Y-67, and higher number Y tests are really Y-DNA STR tests, but most people just refer to them as Y-DNA tests, thus adding to the confusion. The number after the “Y” indicates how many STRs are being tested.

SNPs and Haplogroups
A SNP is the most common type of genetic variation among people. Each SNP represents a difference in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide, which is also comprised of one of the four bases in our DNA, among other things. For example, the base cytosine (C) may be replaced with the base thymine (T) in a certain stretch of DNA (public domain information from the National Library of Medicine [NLM]). To be classified as a SNP, a change must be present in at least one percent of the general population.
`SNPs have unique names such as M207 or P224. The letter indicates what lab found the SNP (M is for Peter Underhill, Ph.D. of Stanford University and P is for Michael Hammer, Ph.D. of the University of Arizona) while the number indicates the number of SNPs that have been located by the lab. That is, M207 is the 207th SNP found by this lab.

DNA Double Helix graphic is courtesy of Apers0n, via Wikimedia Commons

A person tests either positive or negative for a particular SNP, and this helps determine where a tester is on the phylogenetic tree (the world’s family tree). That is, testing SNPs helps determine the haplogroup. The more SNPs tested, the more detailed or refined the haplogroup will be. DNA testing companies originally used an alternating letter and number system; however, these strings of letters and numbers became quite long as more information was acquired and tests improved. Therefore, companies use the terminal SNP as the haplogroup designation. The terminal SNP is the last (as in chronologically the most recent) SNP for which a person tests positive. Of course, as more SNPs are discovered and more testing is done, the terminal SNP will change. No company, lab, nor organization has a full list of Y-DNA SNPs - yet.

                                    Old-style haplogroup: R1a1a1b2a2b1b
                                    New-style haplogroup: R- F2935

The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) Tree places SNPs based upon evidence of where they belong on their haplogroup tree. They have a public standard so people can know how the organization determines what SNPs to place where. ISOGG attempts to update the tree and the new haplogroups frequently. You can find the listing criteria standard for inclusion of SNPs into the ISOGG Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree here: 
The ISOGG Y-DNA SNP tree is at http://www.isogg.org/tree/

Members of a haplogroup share the same common ancestor. Unfortunately, this common ancestor is very likely beyond genealogical records. Therefore, haplogroup project administrators are interested in more ancient migration patterns whereas the usual DNA tester is a genealogist trying to further his or her family history.
After receiving the result of a Y-DNA STR test, it is important to join the appropriate haplogroup as well as your surname group. Haplogroup administrators run projects that look at ancient ancestry which tend to be quite different from projects for a surname. Y-DNA testers may receive a request from their haplogroup administrator to do testing for particular SNP markers. These requests, seemingly out of the blue, can be quite a puzzle for genealogists. So why are they beneficial, and how can they help the tester?

The more refined the haplogroup, the closer the testers of that haplogroup are to each other genetically.
Haplogroup trees have grown immensely since the recent increased interest in SNP testing. The following N haplogroup for Y-DNA currently seems to be one of the smallest and, therefore, a relatively easy group to use as an example. If you think of a haplogroup as its own tree with branches and twigs, then in this case N is the trunk of the tree with N* and N1 being major branches. N (or any other solo letter in the phylogenetic tree) is sometimes called the parent haplogroup. When the parent haplogroup designator is followed by an asterisk, it is possible that those testers who fall under the haplogroups with the asterisk may not possess any additional unique markers or those unique markers have yet to be discovered. When (or if) such additional unique SNP markers are discovered then such a tester(s) involved will be given a new, unique subclade (branch of the tree).
Off the major branch N1, there are smaller branches N1*, N1a, N1b, and N1c, as seen in the following chart. The term subclade is used for any haplogroup that is beneath (contains more alternating letters and numbers) the basic haplogroup. In this case N*, N1, N1b1, etc. are all subclades of Haplogroup N.
SNPs break down the haplogroup and subclades into smaller subsets. As previously stated, these SNPs have unique names determined by the lab that discovered them; however, if multiple labs discover the same SNP each may name it, so some SNP may have multiple names. Notice in the following chart, some SNPs are separated by a forward slash (/) while others are separated by a comma (,). Those with the slash were discovered and named by multiple labs while the others were not.
The SNPs listed on each line are those required for that subclade. For example, a person who is in subclade N1b1, must test positive for every SNP on that line (L731 and L733) as well as every SNP above it back to N. Of course, a person in a haplogroup like N must also test positive for every SNP from N back to Y-DNA Adam. Remember N is just one of the branches of the oldest known haplogroup A00 (Y-DNA Adam). (See the ISOGG Y-Haplogroup Tree as previously mentioned.

N M231/Page91, M232/M2188
• N* -
• N1 CTS11499/L735/M2291
• • N1* -
• • N1a P189.2
• • N1b L732
• • • N1b* -
• • • N1b1 L731, L733
• • N1c L729.1/M2087.1/Z15.1/Z548.1
• • • N1c* -
• • • N1c1 M46/Page70/Tat, L395/M2080, P105
• • • • N1c1* -
• • • • N1c1a M178, P298
• • • • • N1c1a* -
• • • • • N1c1a1 L708/Z1951, F4325/L839v

After more people do SNP testing on any of these branches, more branches and twigs will appear. These would be named N2, N3, etc. which would line up in the same column as N1 with their own subclades and SNPs. See the contrived haplogroup tree below.

N M231/Page91, M232/M2188
• N* -
• N1 CTS11499/L735/M2291
• • N1* -
• • N1a P189.2 etc.
• N2 (plus newly found SNPs)
• • N2* -
• • N2a (plus newly found SNPs) etc.
• N3 (plus newly found SNPs)
• • N3* -
• • N3a (plus newly found SNPs) etc.



One of the goals of a haplogroup administrator is to narrow the distance between written records and the ancient migration pattern(s) of their group. By doing some selective SNP testing, the administrator can determine what groups were established more recently than others because SNPs mutate over time. Geneticists have designated some periods when particular SNPs occurred and the more data they discover from additional SNP testing will help them perfect their timelines and determine more recent haplogroups, thus placing testers into groups that occurred more closely to genealogical time.
When a haplogroup administrator asks a tester to take a SNP test, that administrator is trying to narrow this gap and determine which participants are more closely related to each other than they are to the whole group. SNP testing helps the entire haplogroup in establishing closely related testers. But how does this benefit the tester who is more interested in his genealogy?

Genealogists use DNA tests to verify their lineage and to find others with whom they can research. Taking advantage of all types of DNA testing helps all aspects of our genealogy and ensures the accuracy and understanding of our results. The following examples may illustrate how SNP testing is important to the genealogist.

Confirming a Haplogroup
A few years ago, a DNA testing company reported a wrong haplogroup for an accountant from Florida, stating that the man was a genetic descendant of Genghis Khan. Two major U.S. newspapers reported this finding, and after Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) tested the man, his haplogroup was clarified. The newspapers wrote retractions, and Bennett Greenspan, President of FTDNA began the company’s SNP assurance program that, in essence, states if the haplogroup cannot be derived from the haplotype, then the SNP testing would be performed free of charge.
With a few marker results it can be difficult to assess the haplogroup, especially in the more common haplogroups. For this reason, a tester should test at a Y-37 marker level or higher.          

Confirming the Paper Trail
An African American member of a surname group was predicted by the testing company to be in Haplogroup I1b. This haplogroup suggests that his paternal line came from Europe, rather than Africa. The participant had traced his ancestry through traditional genealogical research back to a slave who lived in the mid-1800s, and he wondered if the slave might have been the son of someone in the family who owned him. However, a Genealogical Forum of Oregon Volume 64, No. 4 19 descendant of the owner’s family in the project did not match his STR profile. SNP testing was ordered and the participant was found to be in Haplogroup B, which is found almost exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. Now the participant knows the real origin of his paternal line.
- Contributed by Whit Athey

Determining Extremely Rare DNA
Several dozen people tested positive for M201, so they were within Haplogroup G, but they were found to be negative for every other SNP within G then being offered commercially. Finally, a few members of this group were tested in a small research study for what was thought to be an extremely rare SNP, M377; this resulted in defining Haplogroup G5, which had only been observed previously in two Pakistani men. Now the European branch of this haplogroup has something that clearly unifies them and adds to their sense of identity. Essentially all in this group are Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, though some did not previously know their origin.
- Contributed by Whit Athey

Creating Subgroups within a Larger Haplogroup
SNP testing refines ancestral origins and helps to differentiate between members of the same haplogroup. Testing positive for additional SNPs puts a person in a more select group with others in the same haplogroup. This means you can narrow the people with whom you match. For those who do not match you on the SNPs you are not related for thousands of years. With each SNP for which you test positive, your DNA signature gets closer to indicating relationships within recorded history.
The Talley Project had three to four people whose haplogroups could not be determined without doing SNP testing. The testing helped determine if those with no haplogroup predictions were related, even remotely or not recently at all. It also showed if there would be a new haplogroup for the surname. SNP testing would also indicate if these testers could be a product of convergence; that is, they are matching the haplotype, but are not a member of the haplogroup and therefore not related. The result of testing indicated that the testers were more closely related to each other than to the entire group. They became their own subgroup within the haplogroup.
- Contributed by Emily Aulicino - Administrator for the Talley DNA Project

Narrowing the Gap
SNP testing narrows the gap between written genealogy and ancient genealogy. I tested my paternal Doolin cousin with the Y-111 test. He matches a couple of Doolins and many other surnames, such as Lawlor, Kelley, Moore, etc. The paper trail ends about 1750 in Virginia. I know the line was Irish or Scots-Irish, but where in the native land, I had no idea. I joined my cousin to a subclade haplogroup according to his terminal SNP at that time.
The haplogroup administrators e-mailed to ask him to take a SNP test when they saw that my Doolin cousin and the six other names had common markers. I did so for the sake of the group and because I know those administrators are trying to use the SNPs to lessen the gap between the genealogical records timeframe and ancient migrations. I followed their suggestions and now know that the surname was probably O’Dowling in the mid- 1600s in County Loais, Ireland. We are one of the Seven Septs of Loais that the British tried to disband in the mid-1600s. I now have about a 100 year gap between my paper trail and my ancestral origins, instead of infinity. Recent analysis by the haplogroup administrators estimates that my surname existed about 1300 AD and that the terminal SNP L1402 began about 800 AD. I realize that my line may have lived in other locations before coming to America, but it gives me a place to start researching, and in time, haplogroup administrators will learn more through their SNP testing.
 - Contributed by Emily Aulicino

Determining Unique Novel SNPs
With the advent of the Big Y test at FTDNA (www.familytreedna.com), a male can be tested for 25,000 SNPs. Although not everyone will test positive for all 25,000, the more people who take this test the higher the likelihood that testers in the same haplogroup subgroup will find that they are more closely related than one thought. A great benefit from this test is that novel (newly found) SNPs will allow the creation of more subclades within a haplogroup thus bringing the common ancestor nearer to genealogical time. Private SNPs can be discovered as well. These SNPs may or may not remain private; that is, belonging to a family for the past few generations. Over time, some of these private SNPs may be found more extensively and thus help narrow the subclades as well. The Big Y test is not a test to use for finding matches within a genealogical time frame, but is for more ancient ancestry which makes it of more interest to the haplogroup administrators. However, the test could be of interest for those who wish to contribute to the overall knowl- The Bulletin 20 June, 2015 edge of genetic testing. Besides the Big Y, FTDNA offers individual SNP testing along with various haplogroup SNP panels which are being created in collaboration between haplogroup administrators and FTDNA. See http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Y-DNA_SNP_testing_chart

Astrid Krahn who, along with her husband Thomas Krahn, owns YSEQ (http://www.yseq.net/) states that their company “offers every public or private SNP on the male specific region of the Y chromosome as long as it can be technically tested with the Sanger sequencing method” and that “there is no practical limit to the number of SNPs that YSEQ offers since every SNP can be wished for. The number on the menu (top left) on our website only reflects the SNPs that have been practically ordered and that we have confirmed with actual sequencing results.” As of printing time, their website lists over 11,000 SNPs and 59 Custom SNPs. Tests can be ordered separately or in panels.
Other companies conducting SNP testing include Genographic Geno 2.0, although it is not used as much as it used to be (https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/) and YFull that is helpful to people with ancestry in Eastern Europe or Asia (http://www.yfull.com/.) Also, both Full Genomes (https://www.fullgenomes.com/) and BritainsDNA Chromo 2.0 (https://www.britainsdna.com/) are used by those very interested in SNP testing.
ISOGG has a comparison chart for some of these companies at http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Y-DNA_SNP_testing_chart. The ISOGG Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree is so powerful that not only the genetic genealogists use it, but various genetic labs around the world also visit.

SNP testing can be beneficial to the genetic genealogy community as a whole as well as to individual testers depending upon their desire to determine who is more specifically related on the Y-chromosome as well as narrowing the gap between genealogical time and ancient migrations. The exact number of SNPs for the Y-chromosome is not yet known, but as of February 2015 Alice Fairhurst (team leader for the ISOGG Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree) reported that there are 15,888 uniquely named SNPs whose location on the tree are identified. ISOGG YBrowse has more than 120,000 SNP names, but as of this writing, the site is not operational.
Both Thomas Krahn’s company YSEQ and the ISOGG tree show the equivalent names of SNPs that were discovered by multiple labs and so given multiple names.
When you know a little about a subject, it is easy to make judgements based on the knowledge. However, as knowledge increases, beliefs change. In the early years, geneticists discovered SNPs that helped them place testers into haplogroups. More SNPs were discovered and those haplogroups were refined, creating many subclades. Some testers’ haplogroups were changed completely. Now that thousands of SNPs have been discovered, geneticists are seeing some unique situations surrounding these special markers. Some scientists question the quality of some SNPs, believing that they are not viable enough to use for haplogroups while others are not in agreement with how some SNPs are placed on the haplogroup tree. All this will take time to sort out as we gain more knowledge in understanding these markers. And, just as scientists now believe that Haplogroup R is more recent than previously thought based on new discoveries; we may find major changes in the structure of the phylogenetic tree as more information surfaces.
No doubt, the SNP testing currently available is only a small step toward what the future holds for genealogy testing as this is just scratching the surface of the estimated 12.8 million SNPs in the human genome according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44423/). The decision to SNP or not to SNP should be left to the individual tester with guidance from the haplogroup administrators.

Permission has been given by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) to use any references to their website, including the Success Story examples.

Originally written for the Genealogical Forum of Oregon’s Bulletin, June 2015, p. 16-20.

JGSO: IAUGS Conference in Seattle

The local Jewish  Genealogy Society in Portland recently sent me the following announcement about this year's gathering.  Thanks Ron for sending this and Barbara for all the wonderful work you and everyone does to make this conference so great!   They have some great programs if you are in the area.

The annual conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) is in Seattle this year. This is a GREAT conference, packed with program sessions for every genealogy research skill level. The entire program listing, schedule and special events are online at:
That website also includes registration information.

Just in case you can't attend in person, you can sign up for the Conference's LIVE offering. It currently is being discounted 10%. Here is the message about it from Janette Silverman, Conference Co-Chair.
Dear Friends:
We are delighted to offer a 10% discount so that those of your members
who are unable to attend this summer's conference can attend virtually.

The code LIVEJGS will apply a 10% discount only to the $179 fee for
"LIVE! Full (Not attending the Conference in Seattle)," and the purchase
is non-refundable.

This code is being offered only to leaders of local JGS (and affiliated
organizations), who are asked to only relay it to their members. We ask
that when you distribute the code, to please ask your members not to
share it with nonmembers - this is a perk of membership.
To order, go to
    click New Registration;
    complete the personal information page and Continue;
    select item 5, " Full LIVE! only (not attending in Seattle)," and
    continue through to the payment page.

You may want to mention the page http://www.iajgs2016.org/live/
and the schedule, at
where your members can see which sessions will be streamed live and
later available on demand for 90 days following the conference.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in just a few short weeks in Seattle.

Your conference co-chairs,
Janette Silverman
Chuck Weinstein
Phyllis Grossman

If you plan to attend in person, please let us know. Send an e-mail message to Barbara 
Hershey at  barbara.hershey@comcast.net

Many thanks to all of you who have responded to the Survey.  If you have not yet filled out JGSO's Survey Form, please take a few minutes to fill it out NOW. The Survey is at this shortened URL
http://goo.gl/Hsi0qr  It will take only 5 to 10 minutes to complete the Survey.

See you in Seattle.
Ron Doctor 

Have fun everyone!

15 June 2016

Family Tree DNA's Father's Day Sale!!!

Family Tree DNA'Father’s Day Sale is upon us!

Beginning at midnight Jun 16th and running until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on Monday, June 20th, FTDNA’s Father’s Day Sale will be in effect, bringing discounts on upgrade pricing as promised, as well as some select testing bundles! Invoiced orders during the sale will also receive the sale pricing as long as the balance is paid by the end of the sale period​.

Y-DNA Upgrades.  Sale price in the green column:

Please note that a Y-37 marker is becoming the minimum test now, so a Y-67 or higher is more helpful in finding matches which are closer in time.  As FTDNA does not provide sales on upgrades often, this is a great time to take advantage.

Testing bundles:

You can order a test at just after midnight tonight at www.familytreedna.com

Ancestry Autosomal Transfer update:

As you probably know A​ncestryDNA recently changed their file format for their​ autosomal raw data files, and the new format of these files is currently not compatible with our system. FTDNA is working to adjust to make our system compatible with these files as soon as possible. They have this placed at a high priority so that those Ancestry testers who have tested under their new chip may transfer to our database.

PLEASE NOTE that this issue only affects those who have recently tested with AncestryDNA. People who have tested with Ancestry prior to the recent change in their testing chip are still able to transfer. ​

If you tested prior to mid-May 2016, you can upload your autosomal test to Family Tree DNA for $39 and save $60 from the normal price of $99 plus shipping at FTDNA. Click Here for details on transferring.  

Reasons for transferring include:
1.  You get matches from a different database of testers and find more cousins.
2.  You can see the actual DNA segments that you share with your matches which can more accurately help you locate the common ancestor.
3.  You receive the name and email address of your matches so you can contact them directly and share pedigrees, family stories and photos.
4.  You are provided a chromosome browser so you can see where your matches share DNA with you. AncestryDNA does not provide this.
5. You can download to a spreadsheet program your list of matches which include their email, any notes you make on the website and more.
6.  You can download to a spreadsheet program the segments (start and stop position, etc.) where those cousins match you. AncestryDNA does not provide this.
7.  Ancestry's change is now including some medical markers for their own research or for research with other companies.  Family Tree DNA removes any known medical markers.

If you need help with understanding the FTDNA webpages or how to deal with the information you download, just go to the FTDNA homepage and scroll to the bottom to click on LEARNING CENTER and/or WEBINARS which are free.  Also consider buying my book (see the right side panel) and/or email me directly:  aulicino (at sign) hevanet (dot) com  

NOTE:  I will not entertain any postings to this blog nor my email that appear as an advertisement for your activities or are unrelated to genetic genealogy.  That is an on-going policy.

SO...be among the first to take advantage of this sale!  You never know when another will happen, especially on upgrades!

See in the gene pool!


24 May 2016

Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder Thresholds Lowered!

For a few years, many in the genetic genealogy community have asked that the threshold for Family Tree DNA's Family Finder autosomal matches be lowered.  AND…that will happen quite soon.

Currently the matching thresholds were a minimum longest block of at least 7.69 cMs (centiMorgans) and 5.5 cMs for the other shared segments with a minimum of 20 total shared cMs.

The following changes will be implemented:

●       No minimum shared centiMorgans, but if the cM total is less than 20, at least one segment must be 9 cM or longer.
●       If the longest block of shared DNA is greater than 9 cM, the match will show regardless of total shared cM or the number of matching segments.

The entire database has been rerun using the above new criteria.

Most people will see only minor changes in their matches, mostly in the speculative range. They may lose some matches but gain others.  You have a few days to download your matches list and segments list before the change if you wish to see the differences or retain those you will lose. 

Thank you for listening Family Tree DNA.

We look forward to future improvements, as well.


19 May 2016

Southern California Genealogical Society's 47th Annual Jamboree!

Jamboree 2016 is coming quickly.  Hope you are also!

Jamboree's DNA Day is Thursday, June 2 followed by three more days of genealogy.  This yearly gathering in Burbank, California has a massive line-up.  Registration is open until May 22 so there is still some time.  See:  http://genealogyjamboree.com/

Speakers for DNA Day include Jim Bartlett, Blaine T. Bettinger, Katherine Borges, Shannon S. Christmas, Janine Cloud, Kitty Cooper, David Dowell, Tim Janzen, Diahan Southard, Paul Woodbury, and many more, including ME!

I'll be presenting DNA Your Paper Trail: An Introduction to Genetic Genealogy; Verify, Correct and Expand Your Lineage Through DNA Testing; and I've Tested My DNA; Now What?  The latter is a workshop presented on Friday morning. Other workshops from some of the above people are scheduled for Friday morning.

Michael Hammer, PhD at the ARL Division of  Biotechnology at the University of Arizona will speak on The Peopling of Europe at Thursday's luncheon.

Also, just before the festivities end on Thursday, I will be selling and signing my book:  Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond which will be available until I run out of copies.  You may purchase it online at AuthorHouse.com, Amazon and Barnes and Noble if you miss getting a copy at Jamboree.

There will be an Ask the Experts Panel for DNA questions on Friday consisting of Blaine T. Bettinger, Shannon S. Christmas, David Dowell, Tim Janzen, and me.  Alice M. Fairhurst is the moderator.

 Also, you can sign up for one-to-one help with DNA and with genealogy.  

...and I have not touched the three days of great genealogy presentations as well as the many vendors! 

Do act quickly, my workshop is over capacity, but I am allowing as many as can fit in the room legally.  AND, you can always grab me in the halls to help with your DNA questions.

So do join us for this annual conference, and hang out in the hotel restaurant and bar with the presenters and vendors.  At least stop by to say hello to me! 

19 May 2016

05 May 2016

Family Tree DNA's Mother's Day Sale

Family Tree DNA announced their Mother's Day Sale.  A surprise since they had the DNA Day sale just a couple of weeks ago.

However, let's all celebrate the mothers and women in our families!

This sale begins at midnight Central Time May 5, 2016 and ends at 11:59 pm Central Time on Sunday.

The sale is a package and cannot be separated for two people nor can one person take just one of the two tests.  Of course, as men can take both tests, they could take advantage of the sale as well.

Next up...hopefully Father's Day Sales!


21 April 2016

DNA Day, Monday, April 25, 2016

Family Tree DNA’s DNA Day Sale is upon us.  DNA Day, you say?  

Yes, Monday, April 25 commemorates the day in April 1953 when a paper by James Watson and Francis Crick was published in the scientific journal Nature detailing the structure of DNA. However, the double helix formation was first discovered by Rosalind Franklin’s work, and Maurcie Wilkins, who without her knowledge, gave her crystallography photo 51 to Watson and Crick (her rivals). Watson and Crick basically claimed the discovery (http://www.biography.com/people/rosalind-franklin-9301344).

This day also celebrates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003. This project sequenced the entire human genome (roughly 3 billion base pairs) and was a collaboration of several groups around the world, collectively called the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium.  See https://www.genome.gov/11006939/ihg-sequencing-centers/ for a list.

SO…what better way to celebrate those achievements than to test your DNA for genealogy and do it with sale prices!  Thank you Family Tree DNA!!!

Starting Thursday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 26, 2016 (11:59 p.m. Central).  This sale is limited to new tests or add-ons.  Upgrades will be discounted in June.  Note the following sale prices.

Discover the history in your genes and the greatest book ever written...all directly from your ancestors. Test today!

On the side, get the future generations involved. There are several DNA Day activities which can be reached online, including:
Students in grades 9-12 can enter an essay contest through the American Society of Human Genetics for the top prize of $1,000, along with an additional $1,000 for genetic materials grand and five MiniOne Systems for the student’s teacher.  See:  http://www.ashg.org/education/dnaday.shtml for more information.

Various other events and activities throughout the country can be seen at:

See you in the gene pool!

20 February 2016

X-Chromosome: The X-tra Special Chromosome

By Emily Aulicino for the Genealogical Forum of Oregon (GFO) Bulletin

What makes the X-chromosome so special? Mainly it is a pattern of inheritance. Like the other twenty-two chromosomes, it randomly recombines in meiosis, but unlike the other twenty-two, only certain ancestors are contributors. Furthermore, males and females inherit differently.

The X-chromosome is one of the two sex chromosomes, and it helps determine gender. A female receives two X-chromosomes, one from her father and one from her mother. A male has only one X-chromosome, which he receives from his mother. At conception (actually at meiosis), a mother’s two X-chromosomes go through a recombination process, thus scrambling segments on the two chromosomes and even moving some segments from one chromosome to the other. The mother gives one of the randomly recombined X-chromosomes to her child (son or daughter), but each child receives a different randomly-recombined X-chromosome. Fathers, however, have only one X-chromosome that is passed only to their daughters without going through the recombination process. Fathers do not give an X-chromosome to their sons because they give them the Y-chromosome.

However, the father’s X-chromosome is a random mix of his parents and of his ancestors who were able to contribute to this chromosome.

Due to the way the X-chromosome is passed to the next generation, the inheritance of it varies between the genders and only specific ancestors can contribute. Naturally, as females get two X-chromosomes, they receive more matches than males, and because males receive their X from their mothers, their matches will be only on their mother’s half of their pedigree chart. As it can be difficult to visualize the route of inheritance for each gender, using the appropriate list of numbers (figure 1) from an ahnentafel chart or completing the fan chart created by Dr. Blaine Bettinger (figure 2) is quite helpful. The percentages in parenthesis after the numbers in the second table (figure 1) are the estimated average amounts contributed by that ancestor for the male inheritance. Due to recombination from a mother’s X-chromosomes, actual percentages cannot be confidently provided.

With recombination, it is unlikely that a female will receive 50 percent of her X-chromosome from her moth­er’s father and 50 percent from her mother’s mother. It is more likely to be a far different percentage anywhere from 0 percent to 100 percent for either of the parents. This means any ancestor can be over or under repre­sented in the X-chromosome, according to Dr. Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist (http://www.thegeneticgene­alogist.com/2009/01/12/more-x-chromosome-charts/). For this reason, one should not assume that finding the common ancestor for a match will be easy. However, you can more easily determine who may have contributed a segment of the X-chromosome by using the tables (See Figure 1) or by using the fan charts prepared by Dr. Blaine Bettinger (See Figure 2). Remember to use the correct one for your gender.





                        Figure 1 from Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond, p. 43


31 (12.5%)
109 (12.5%)
213 (12.5%)
238 (3.125%)
3 (100%)
53 (25%)
110 (6.25%)
214 (6.25%)
239 (3.125%)
6 (50%)
54 (12.5%)
111 (6.25%)
215 (6.25%)
245 (6.25%)
7 (50%)
55 (12.5%)
117 (12.5%)
218 (6.25%)
246 (3.125%)
13 (50%)
58 (12.5%)
118 (6.25%)
219 (6.25%)
247 (3.125%)
14 (25%)
59 (12.5%)
119 (6.25%)
221 (6.25%)
250 3.125%)
15 (25%)
61 (12.5%)
122 (6.25%)
222 (3.125%)
251 (3.125%)
26 (25%)
62 (6.25%)
123 (6.25%)
223 (3.125%)
253 (1.5625%)
27 (25%)
63 (6.25%)
125 (6.25%)
234 (6.25%)
254 (1.5625%)
29 (25%)
106 (12.5%)
126 (3.125%)
235 (6.25%)
255 (1.5625%)
30 (12.5%)
107 (12.5%)
127 (3.125%)
237 (6.25%)

                             Figure 2 from Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond, p. 43

Figures 3 and 4 Courtesy of Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D.

Although the X-chromosome and the autosomal DNA are sequenced at the same time, only Family Tree DNA and 23andMe (of the three major testing companies) al­low you to view your X-chromosome matches directly at their website with a chromosome browser feature. With AncestryDNA, you must download your autosomal DNA results into GEDmatch.com to view the X-chromosome results.

The Family Tree DNA chromosome browser offers the option of viewing your results by name and several other categories, including X matches. This allows you to see only those matches with whom you share the X-chro­mosome. If more than one person appears with the same segment, email them to determine if everyone matches everyone else. This can help females determine if the match is on one X-chromosome versus the other. Males do not have to compare their matches with each other to determine which side of their family has the match, as they only inherit their mother’s X-chromosome.

Because the X-chromosome is inherited differently be­tween the genders, and because not every ancestor has the possibility of contributing to the X-chromosome, it is important to create an X-chromosome ahnentafel to help you focus on the ancestral lines to assist in finding the common ancestor.

Using your genealogy software, create an ahnentafel chart, and then delete all the numbered ancestors that do not correspond to the table for your gender. When gen­erating a list for how the X-chromosome is inherited, a male starts with his mother and a female starts with herself. Keep this ahnentafel in a document you can share with your matches. (See Figure 5.)

The following is only five generations of my ahnen­tafel chart for the X-chromosome, but I offer all I have on my ancestors to my match. Notice that the following numbers are omitted as I do not inherit information on the X-chromosome for these ancestors: 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25 and so on. I tend to leave the data for each ancestor who is deceased in case location could be a factor. I also retain the children of the ancestors in hopes that my match recognizes someone. If I do not know an ancestor for a particular number, I list the person as in this example:  90. UNKNOWN father of Elizabeth Pryor who m.Daniel Simpson

for X Chromosome Matches
1. Emily Doolin

2. Donald Doolin
    3. Beverly Williams

5. Georgia Faye Williams, born 25 Mar 1898 in Waynesville, Pulaski Co, MO; died 03 Jan 1980 in Kansas City, Wyandotte Co, KS. She was the daughter of 10. Benjamin Franklin Williams and 11. Tina May Simpson.
6. Clyde Mills Williams, born 22 Nov 1887 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co, KS; died 08 Aug 1957 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co, KS. He was the son of 12. John Joseph Williams and 13. Urvilla Victoria McCoon. He married 7. Emily Helen Gilmore 09 Jun 1921 in Olathe, Johnson Co, KS.
7. Emily Helen Gilmore, born 14 Dec 1890 in Grays Harbor, Grays Harbor Co, WA; died 31 Aug 1942 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co, KS. She was the daughter of 14. Lowry Graham Gilmore and 15. Mary Adeline Ogan.

10. Benjamin Franklin Williams, born 22 May 1875 in Cooper Hill, Osage Co, MO; died 05 Nov 1952 in near Waynesville, Pulaski Co, MO. He was the son of 20. Henry Jefferson Williams and 21. Syrena Simpson. He married 11. Tina May Simpson 06 Feb 1896 in Dixon, Pulaski Co, MO.
11. Tina May Simpson, born 12 Aug 1879 in Waynesville, Pulaski Co, MO; died 13 Mar 1968 in Kansas City, Wyandotte Co, KS. She was the daughter of 22. James E. Simpson and 23. Nancy Williams.
13. Urvilla Victoria McCoon, born 09 Jun 1854 in Dane Co, WI; died 09 Sep 1890 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co, KS. She was the daughter of 26. George Henry McCoon and 27. Laura Almeda Parker.
14. Lowry Graham Gilmore, born 14 Jun 1855 in Rochester, Monroe Co, NY; died 16 Mar 1934 in Winfield, Cowley Co, KS. He was the son of 28. Robert Grey Gilmore and 29. Helen Storrier. He married 15. Mary Adeline Ogan 06 Mar 1887 in Montrose, Henry Co, MO.
15. Mary Adeline Ogan, born 11 Aug 1866 in Bureau Co, IL; died 27 Oct 1935 in Fort Scott, Bourbon Co, KS. She was the daughter of 30. Simon Peter Ogan and 31. Emily Jane Studyvin.

21. Syrena Simpson, born 06 Mar 1843 in Cooper Hill, Osage Co, MO; died 05 Jan 1919 in Bland, Gasconade Co, MO. She was the daughter of 42. James Simpson and 43. Rebecca Syrene Miller.
22. James E. Simpson, born 03 May 1849 in pos. Bates Co, MO; died 29 Mar 1924 in Helm, Pulaski Co, MO. He was the son of 44. Daniel Simpson and 45. Elizabeth Pryor. He married 23. Nancy Williams ca 1869.
23. Nancy Williams, born 1849 in IL; died Bet. 1880 - 1910 in MO.
26. George Henry McCoon, born 19 Jul 1828 in Catskill, Green Co, NY or MA; died 10 Mar 1917 in Berkeley, Alameda Co, CA. He was the son of 52. James Timothy McCoon and 53. Olive Miller. He married 27. Laura Almeda Parker 18 Feb 1853 in Albion, Dane Co, WI.
27. Laura Almeda Parker, born 1834 in NY. She was the daughter of 54. Simon Parker and 55. Lauran Unknown.
29. Helen Storrier, born 28 Apr 1812 in Dundee, County Angus, Scotland; died 22 Dec 1891 in Fredonia, Wilson Co, KS. She was the daughter of 58. David Storrier and 59. Margaret Lyall.
30. Simon Peter Ogan, born 24 Aug 1826 in Columbus, Franklin Co, OH; died 23 May 1912 in Bear Creek Twp, Henry Co, MO. He was the son of 60. Evan Ogan and 61. Susan Wical. He married 31. Emily Jane Studyvin 25 Jan 1855 in Dover, Bureau Co, IL.
31. Emily Jane Studyvin, born Apr 1836 in Dover Twp, Bureau Co, IL; died 14 Nov 1912 in Henry Co, MO. She was the daughter of 62. Madison Studyvin and 63. Frances Ellis.

To use the fan charts in Figure 3 and 4, simply photocopy the appropriate chart large enough to enter the names of your ancestors. I usually copy each fan chart on two 8 x 11 inches pages and tape them together. Having both versions (male and female) handy allows you to com­plete a sample for yourself and for a match. If you are not familiar with a fan chart, it is just a different form of a pedigree chart. The tester is number one on the chart (the center circle). Then starting on the row above the circle and to the far left, enter the parent’s name that would fit in the colored box, blue for males and pink for females. After finishing each row, go to the next row above it and to the far left again and repeat the process for your grandparents, etc. Have your X-chromosome match follow the same procedure.

For a copy of both fan charts, see: http://www. thegeneticgenealogist.com/2008/12/21/unlock­ing-the-genealogical-secrets-of-the-x-chromosome/  
http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com/2009/01/12/ more-x-chromosome-charts/  

A variation of these charts can be seen at: http:// freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hulse­berg/DNA/xinheritance.html  

It would seem that the process of viewing who can contribute to the X-chromosome would easily provide you with the name of your common ancestor, and in some cases it does. However, many of the matches re­ceived on the X-chromosome are not large enough to ensure success. That is, due to recombination, a great number of those matches will not share enough centi­morgans (“cMs”) to discover the common ancestor. The segments look bigger on a chromosome browser graphic than they do in the table that provides the centimorgans; therefore, view the information in the table or download it into a spreadsheet. Algorithms for the X-chromosome are not as accurate as those which determine the match­es on our other chromosomes. For these reasons focus on segments that are quite large, perhaps above 20 cMs, at least. For example, I currently have 239 matches on my X-chromosome with only three matches above 20 cMs. Smaller matches could be IBS (Identical By State1) so work with substantial segments.

My cousin Rebecca and I match several places on our chromosomes as well as on two segments of the X-chro­mosome. The largest segment is 39.54 cMs. I used Dr. Bettinger’s fan chart to determine our common ancestor. Although I knew Rebecca was a cousin on my mother’s line, I did not know which ancestor provided that seg­ment of our X until we completed the charts. As you can see from the charts below, the only name which is the same for both of us is Mary. This portion of our X came from her, but no doubt this segment has some elements of several of her ancestors. We can be certain that this portion of the X did not come from Mary’s husband Lowry as Lowry could not have given his X to his son Robert, the grandfather of Rebecca.

Example of using Dr. Bettinger’s fan chart to find the common ancestor between author and her cousin.

In comparing lineages with another match who shares 24.33 cMs, our common ancestor cannot be de­termined for several possible reasons. Knowing these reasons may help you understand why finding common ancestors can be difficult.

1. She does not know some of her X-chromosome ancestors.
2. I do not know some of my X-chromosome ancestors
3. The common ancestor’s segment could be under- or over-represented.2
4. Her lines go back to Hungary (now Slovakia) and Germany, very recently, and mine do not.
5. We do not know all the siblings of our ancestors who could have inherited this portion of the X-chromosome; therefore, it may be difficult to trace the lineage to the common ancestor.

It bears repeating that the X-chromosome is one of the two sex chromosomes. Females receive one X from each of their parents, but males only receive the X from their mothers. The X-chromosome recombines in meiosis as do the other twenty-two chromosome, and is inherited differently by men and women. Use either the table, or Dr. Bettinger’s fan charts, to create an X-chromosome ahnentafel chart to determine which ancestors could have contributed to your X. Focus on twenty centimor­gans or more for locating common ancestors.

1.       Identical by State (IBS) ― a half-identical region (HIR) in the DNA that is a small segment of DNA that came from a very dis­tant ancestor. The smaller the segment, the less likely it is to be cut by a crossover in passing to the next generation. This means that these small segments generally get passed along whole or not at all. There is a chance that a small segment may have been passed along whole for several generations. These small segments may be from an ancestor who lived so long ago that they are beyond genealogical records.

2.       Although a child receives an X-chromosome from his or her mother, it is unlikely that that X would represent 50 percent of their maternal grandfather and 50 percent of their maternal grandmother. It is more likely that some other random amount between 0 percent and 100 percent would be inherited as the chromosome recombines. Therefore, an ancestor is likely to be under-represented (i.e., less than 50 percent) or over-represented (i.e., more than 50 percent) in the X-chromosome. The natural distribution of “under and over” is always possible. Therefore, we could be looking at a segment that gives false information in regard to the generation in which we share the common ancestor. That is, the larger the segment, usually we deduce the closer the relationship and the smaller the segment the more distant the relationship.

Written for the GFO DNA Special Interest Group, 18 Jan 2015 and appeared in the GFO Bulletin, Volume 64, No. 3, March 2015.

GFO is the Genealogical Forum of Oregon in Portland Oregon.  See their website:  www.gfo.org

For more information about DNA, please con­sider getting Emily’s book, Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond which can be purchased online at AuthorHouse.com, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble in paperback or as an e-book. The book can be ordered at any bookstore.