Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ancestry Communities

For those who have tested with, there is a new game in town. You may notice now or later that you suddenly belong to a new "community." Here is an article describing the new feature.

Looks like fun...

Monday, March 13, 2017

GINA under attack

This important law that protects us all from invasions into our privacy, especially our health and DNA, is facing extinction.

Write your congressman, senators, president... Stop this bill HR 1313:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

DNA testing after death

As interest in genealogy and family history grows, more and more families are faced with having postponed that DNA test of a relative until it's too late. Or is it?

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, provided simple guidelines a few years ago on what you can do in this event, giving you one last chance to collect that precious DNA. Who knew? Just a few Q-tips and a paper bag (not plastic).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

23andMe, or how to succeed

If your main interest is in genealogy, it is worthwhile now to test with 23andMe. (I know, I know, I too gave up on them more than once.)

Now that most of their users have been converted to the "new experience," it is significant that they have also upgraded some of their tools for matching, chromosome mapping and even for triangulating matches. They've also introduced a new pricing model so that one can order just the Ancestry testing for the standard price of $99. Like the other two of the Big Three companies, they occasionally have a sale that brings the price down to $79.

So, once again, the formula for success with genetic genealogy is:

1. Males should have a Y-DNA test at Family Tree DNA. (Join an apporopriate surname project first, if possible.)

2. Males and females should have an autosomal test at all three major companies: Ancestry, 23andMe and FTDNA (Family Finder). If you test with one or both of the first two, you can transfer the raw data to FTDNA's Family Finder for free (or for $19 to get full access).

3. Upload your family tree (names, dates and places) to all three testing companies and to Gedmatch and make it publicly available.  Be sure to include your tested relatives in your tree, use the FTDNA "phasing" feature, and link tested relatives at Gedmatch. Note that your tree for 23andMe will actually be at

4. Communicate with your matches. Try to find common lines and, eventually, common ancestors.

5. Test your oldest relatives first. You may not have a chance to later, and their DNA is less diluted than yours.

6. If you are interested in your mother's deep ancestry, have an mtDNA test at FTDNA. This is less useful for genealogy than the Y or autosomal test, but it can be helpful in certain situations.

7. Take advantage of all the tools available to analyze DNA matches and expand/validate your tree.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Good news for all atDNA testers

Family Tree DNA is now offering the ability to transfer (actually copy) your DNA results from Ancestry or 23andMe to Family Finder, regardless of when you tested and on which version. And the transfer cost is only $19.00. This is really good news for all of us because we no doubt have matches at all three companies, but testing at all three can be cost prohibitive. Of course, everyone should also upload their test results from any ofthe three companies to That is free. Both FTDNA and Gedmatch offer tools that Ancestry and 23andMe do not.

Another good reason to do this is that you can join projects at FTDNA and get discounted prices for Y-DNA and mtDNA tests if you ever want to do that. Notice that you will still have to provide a DNA sample for those other tests, since the Transfer only provides raw data, not the actual DNA.

See the following blog for more information and instructions:  Autosomal Transfers

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Useful tips and reminders

For an excellent guide, please see Even though it is especially directed to Y-DNA testers, there is a great deal of useful information for all DNA testers.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Last chance for best prices

If you've been procrastinating... or just not quite ready to buy a DNA test to further your genealogy... or know a distant cousin who is willing to test but not willing to pay for it...

Now is the time to invest in your genealogy. Read today's edition of one of my favorite blogs to find the right test and get the best prices on the tests you're ready to buy.

These are the best prices ever, and now is the best time ever.