Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wikitree, Gedmatch... and why you should use them

If you haven't discovered Wikitree.com yet, you really ought to take a look. It is building a universal tree like other wikis, but it has some unique aspects that add real value. For example, if you record your own DNA test information, it offers some of the coolest DNA-related features that are not available anywhere else. It will add the appropriate DNA links to your ancestors and descendants and provide reports showing your X-DNA, Y-DNA, mtDNA, and atDNA ancestors and descendants. It now also provides the ability to find others who have tested specific surnames. You can then compare their test results to your own. For anyone who is serious about proving (or disproving) their family tree, DNA testing and building triangulated groups is essential. Wikitree provides some amazing tools.

Of course, as always, Gedmatch.com is the essential site that offers the ability to do actual triangulation -- and it's free for most features. If you're concerned about privacy, simply use an alias and a separate email address, easily acquired free through Gmail and Yahoo.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

AncestryDNA changes

Ancestry.com has made significant changes to its algorithms for matching. This link will take you to an excellent review of these changes and what they mean for all of us who have done or will do autosomal DNA testing with them.

The overall experience of current users is positive, although most of us recognize that no matching algorithm is perfect. There will always be some degree of false positive and false negative calls. Each company -- 23andMe, Ancestry and FamilyTreeDNA -- has its own proprietary system for matching. As always, it is wise to upload one's raw results from any ofthese three companies to GedMatch.com where you can manipulate threshholds to evaluate different settings, matches and probabilities.