Resources

(Updated! Also, all links shown were accessed/verified in Aug 2018.)

Testing companies for DNA for the purpose of genealogy

 

To see comparisons of the major companies, check out the ISOGG Wiki entry:
http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_testing_comparison_chart.

Copying your DNA daw data to other sites

We can transfer our raw data from the company where we sent our DNA sample to many of the other testing companies, often for free. Why do this? We’ll have different matches. For example, I may have tested at AncestryDNA, but a valuable 2nd or 3rd cousin may have tested at, say, FamilyTreeDNA. The more ‘pools I fish in’ (the more companies have my raw data), the more relatives I’ll match! We never know at which company the most crucial cousin to solve our brick wall will test.

Consider, too, putting a copy of your DNA data in free third-party sites like GEDmatch.com, which has helpful tools and also lets you look for matches with people who tested at a different company, provided they also copied their data to GEDmatch.

Two key resources have been provided by Leah Larkin at her blog at TheDNAGeek:

Favorite Tools

DNA Painter.com : The Shared cM Tool is free for everyone. Input the size of your autosomal DNA match and the tool will show you the most likely relationships. Even more fun is painting your chromosome matches; you need to create a free profile for that. The website has tons of Help to get you started.

Finding Answers

 My first stop is the ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) wiki: https://isogg.org/wiki. Pages have explanations and links to articles and blog posts with more information. Here are just some of the topics I visit (shown in italics), along with a sampling of some of the links within worth checking out.

  • Admixture analyses (i.e. ‘ethnicity’) – for example, see articles by Judy Russell
  • Adoption – e.g. see DNA Detectives Facebook group, DNA Adoption
  • Autosomal DNA statistics – e.g. see Distribution of Genealogical Relationships for given amounts of shared DNA by Bettinger (also contains link to submit new data); “Genetic Genealogy and the Single Segment” by Steve Mount; “Q&A: Everyone has two family trees- a genealogical tree and a genetic tree” by Blaine Bettinger
  • Endogamy – e.g. see articles by Paul Woodbury
  • Pedigree collapse – e.g. see article by Bob Jenkins
  • Triangulation – e.g. see “Triangulating Autosomal DNA” by Debbie Wayne Parker in NGS Magazine
  • X-chromosome testing – e.g. see article by Blaine Bettinger
  • Y chromosome DNA tests

Genetic Genealogy is such a fast evolving field, that (surprisingly to me) Facebook has become a key resource to stay on top of news and to ask questions. For general topics, the Facebook group Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques is very positive and active. For more specific interests, search Facebook for groups that focus on what you need. Here’s a small sampling: Visual Phasing Working Group, DNA Painter User Group, GEDmatch Lazarus Tool, Genetic Genealogy Ireland, etc.

Webinars and in-person presentations and institutes are a good idea for many of us. One of the newest options is the subscription-based DNA-Central.com.

If you’re someone who likes having a book to study or refer to, try

  • Bettinger, Blaine T., The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, 2016
  • Bettinger, Blaine T. and Parker, Debbie Wayne, Genetic Genealogy in Practice, 2016 (This one is a workbook, good for those who like to practice and test your understanding.)

 

Standards and Ethics

As genealogists who use DNA in our work, we have standards and a code of ethics to adhere to. Note: these are OUR standards, for genealogists, not the standards for the testing companies. See: http://www.geneticgenealogystandards.com/.

Special Interest Groups

If you’re in Central Indiana, check out our Central Indiana DNA Interest Group! If not, the ISOGGWiki has a page on Special Interest Groups. Or start your own!

Hope this helps!

Ann Raymont © August 2018

 

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