Friday, July 31, 2015

DNA results -- Cool new tool

Fur a fun, and interesting, way to view your match results in Family Finder from Family Tree DNA, go to and follow the quick and easy instructions. Wait for the graph or circle to populate and see whom you match in a colorful and graphic new way. (You may find a magnifying glass useful.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Privacy Issues

I have to vent! Has anyone stopped to think about what they are protecting  and for and from whom they are protecting it? So much is made today about privacy, identity theft and all the rest, we've lost sight of the goal and let the means control us. 

Of course we should protect our financial assets and the personal reputation of living persons. I'll even allow that living persons have the right to remain anonymous if they wish. I will not, however, grant them the right to withhold or hide nonidentifying information that may have value for others. We all have rights, but they end where another person's rights begin. 

As genealogists, long before the advent of DNA testing, we relied on family letters, bibles, newspaper clippings, court records, telephone directories and more. There was never an issue of privacy. Now we have a new resource, DNA. It's as simple as that, a resource or tool, but because it's science, it's become the elephant in the room and has taken on a life of its own, even influencing the way we think about sharing and learning. People have been frightened into hiding everything -- DNA results, family trees, names , contact information. Why?

From the beginning, I have shielded living persons in every public venue, but that is simply a matter of respect and reflects my belief that people do have a right to anonymity while they are alive.

I have never understood the need to have a password to see what I can find in any library or newspaper. It's overkill and we genealogists have fallen prey. "Right to be forgotten" laws, hidden family trees, refusal to test and share, and other such impediments to knowledge are the result. Future generations will laugh at us (and sometimes curse us) for allowing such silliness to interfere with learning and knowledge. 

Remember, when someone fails to test, fails to make a family tree public, interferes with progress and the advancement of knowledge in any way, he assumes responsibility for being the roadblock others will face, whether now or in future generations. Everyone's DNA is unique; it dies with that person at his death. No one else carries the same DNA, not even siblings, so it is lost forever.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Genealogy TV

"Who do You Think You Are?" returns to TLC TV on July 26 in the USA.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day sale at FTDNA

Family Finder test $89. But there are other options:

"Here are two FTDNA coupon codes to use BEFORE midnight Houston (Central) time 21 June. To use one or other, after you get to the order page (by signing into your personal FTDNA myPage and then clicking on UPGRADE in your top right hand corner). But in ADDITION to these coupons, there is also a Family Finder (FF) sale price of $89.00... 

In order to use a coupon code in conjunction with this FF sale, you will need to add another test to achieve the threshold. These codes are said to be good for ANY order, so please tell your friends and relatives to join a surname project and order. 

It is suggested that you "play" with the coupon codes to achieve a price that works for you:- 
jam30 enables a US$30.00 reduction - I suspect the threshold is US$149 
jam15p enables a 15% discount on any order - the threshold is US$98.00 
Example, if you have been considering, say the BigY, then use jam15p and reduce the cost from $575 to $488.75."

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sale at FTDNA!

This weekend only, for the duration of the SCGS Genealogical Conference in California.

Y-37 $139 
Y-67 $238 
FMS $169 
FF $89 
15% off of upgrades 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Note to the Wise

If you have built your family tree on any website and do not have it on your own computer as well, take heed. If you have had DNA tests done and have not downloaded the raw data and results to your own computer, beware.

A rumor is circulating that Ancestry may be for sale, but this is just one of many potential calamities. Businesses come and go all the time in today's world. Sometimes it's for the better and sometimes for the worse. We have seen SMGF (Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation) shut down, Heritage DNA merge and disappear, the Master Genealogist disappear, Ancestry withdraw from YDNA and mtDNA testing and the loss of its Y and mt databases. None of these events has been an improvement. Instead it has led to much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands.

All of us as genealogists have spent many years and considerable money researching our family's history and compiling photos, records, correspondence and other treasures. We must protect our work. If you do not have copies of everything you have done in your own computer (and backed up to ensure its safety and continuity), now is the time to act. Google to find a genealogy software package that works with your operating system (Mac or Windows) and that includes GEDCOM, a universal program that lets you download your tree from Ancestry or any other online location or genealogy software to your own computer so it will be both places. Test it to make sure your own new computer file is complete . Note that Ancestry's download does not include photos, files, and records you've attached. Also be sure you have copies of your raw data and matches from any testing company on your own computer. Then back it all up to two or three different devices or storage sites. Google offers 15 gigabytes free, for example.

This is not an alarmist view; it is common sense. Read more at this blog.