Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Our 23andMe DNA test results are in! And our impressions of their service . . .

Yesterday, I got back the results of my son's atDNA test. It is my first experience with this genetic genealogy testing company. I have tested in the past at Ancestry and FTDNA. And in my opinion of 23andMe - what an absolute utter mess.

The site is not user friendly (very difficult to navigate), the genetic tools, especially the chromosome browser, if that is what they call it, is non-standard and it is darn near useless.

They have loaded their plate up for all this health stuff and turned away from the genetic genealogy part of DNA testing. To add insult to injury it looks like they may have hired some of Ancestry's programmers to make their site real pretty, but like Ancestry and their "new site" the trade off is it is non-functional as a working DNA testing site (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

This experience has been a huge disappointment and as a genetic genealogy instructor I will make sure to let my students know not to utilize this service if they are interested in doing real genetic genealogy testing.

Bottom line: I immediately took his raw data and uploaded it to GedMatch (will also populate his test to FTDNA), and will wash my hands of this site, their tests, tools and company. For something that I have heard others rave about in the past, the 23andMe of today pretty much sucks and is a huge disappointment IMHO.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gedmatch's new spreadsheet feature

I am a huge fan of Gedmatch, a tier 1 supporter. It is a place where you can read the tea leaves, and tell the story that your atDNA test results hold for you. TL Dixon on his Roots & Recombination DNA blog just posted about a new feature - a spreadsheet option when you run your Gedmatch kit number (mine is A343022) through the Gedmatch admixture calculators (ie Dodecad, MDLP, PuntDNA, Eurogenes). This new Population Spreadsheet corresponds to your ORACLE results --- simply a population-fitting program measuring your genetic distance to a set of chosen reference populations based upon your Gedmatch admixture calculator results.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tri-County Community College Spring 2016 Genealogy Classes

Here is a list of genealogy classes that I will be teaching at Tri-County Community College in Peachtree, North Carolina, during the Spring 2016 semester.

Genealogy – Searching for Your Ancestors

Who am I and where did I come from? It's that intriguing question that has made genealogy research one of America's most popular hobbies. But where does one begin such research? What resources exist? How can you prove that what you find is true and valid? How do you go beyond America's borders to find roots in other English speaking nations? This "new" TCCC genealogy course - Searching for your Ancestors - offers the beginner and experienced genealogist alike a fresh approach to genealogy research. Subjects cover the full gambit from organizing your research to exploring your family history using traditional and electronic research, social media, and our newest tool DNA testing. Whether you are new to genealogy or have been family hunting since microfilm days, this course will assist you in researching your family in the 21st century. This beginner/intermediate course is a prerequisite for advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC. 32.5 hrs.(13 weeks)
January 19 - April 12 - Tuesday 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy

Genetic science can help you with your genealogy research, but you are going to have to take a test first. That test is a "low cost" autosomal DNA test available at DNA testing companies such as Ancestry, Family Tree DNA or 23andMe. This course will cover the new and expanding field of genetic genealogy basics and is designed for DNA newbies and other genealogists who want to get the most from their DNA testing. Some of the topics to be covered include an introduction to DNA testing and technical terms, the different types of autosomal DNA tests available, how DNA testing will help your genealogy research, what are your ethnic origins and how to interpret your results. Special emphasis will be given to the AncestryDNA autosomal test. If you want to demystify genetic genealogy, and you want to use this new and exciting research tool in your family history study, then this course is for you. This course is a prerequisite for the advanced DNA course. 7.5 hrs. (3 weeks)

January 21 - February 4  - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting More Out Of Genetic Genealogy Research

This advanced course is intended for the genealogist who has a thorough understanding of genetic genealogy basics and has experience applying DNA testing to family history research. The course will examine the methods used by genetic genealogists to thoroughly and accurately analyze DNA testing results to advance knowledge of an individual’s genealogy. Instruction will include the incorporation of various types of DNA testing results, analyzed in conjunction with documentary evidence. Part of this course will include comparing DNA testing data from all of the companies offering products to the genealogy community with explanations and demonstrations of the most valuable features and tools for the genetic genealogist. Students in this course will be exposed to skills for integrating DNA testing with traditional genealogy research. Pre-Requisite: Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy course. 12.5 hrs. (5 weeks)

February 11 - March 10 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Genealogy Research in Military Records

Military records are from times of war and times of peace. They identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. How can Military Records help in our genealogy research?  Military records can help you learn more about your ancestors who served their country and can often provide valuable information on the veteran, as well as on all members of the family. It is highly recommended that you have taken one of our beginner/intermediate courses before you take this course. 7.5 hrs. (3 weeks)

March 17 – March 31 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Genealogy – Getting It Right

If you are one of the millions of people who research, record, organize, or share family history, then this course is for you. You will learn a systematic approach to recording information in your genealogy databases and online trees. This course will teach you the rules and language you need so that your research will fit smoothly and efficiently with the rest of the family trees and histories being compiled worldwide. We will teach you how to compile a style guide for all your data entry regardless of the genealogy platforms you use. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned veteran in the world of genealogy, this is a class you do not want to miss. 5 hrs. (2 weeks)

April 7 – April 14 - Thursday 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

For more information or to get your name on the interest list contact Lisa Long at (828 835-4241).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry Christmas Family Tree Maker Users

Well if you were using Family Tree Maker (FTM) software and you used it to interface (tree sync) with your Ancestry tree(s), this announcement will not make you a happy camper. Got it yesterday in e-mail and confirmed it on their Ancestry blog. Also thank you Karen Howard, one of my genealogy students, for also passing along the heads up on this.
Dear Family Tree Maker™ community,
Ancestry is proud to have made a significant investment this year to bring valuable new content and records to the Ancestry site. In 2015, we’ve made 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico available, more than 170 million pages from the largest collection of U.S. will and probate records, among others. We’ve also introduced new features such as Ancestry Academy, and major advancements for AncestryDNA.
As we strive to provide our customers with the best experience possible, we are constantly evaluating our services and product offerings. True to this focus, we’ve taken a hard look at the declining desktop software market and the impact this has on being able to continue to provide new content, product enhancements and support that our users need. With that, we’ve made the tough decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015.
We will continue to support existing Family Tree Maker owners at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™ will continue to work. Our Member Services team will also remain available to assist with questions or issues you may have.
These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on continuing to build great products for our loyal Ancestry community.
You can find additional details about the retirement of Family Tree Maker on our blog.
So this is more fallout by the implementation of their new Ancestry website next week. This company continues to amaze me how they manage to tick off their members on a regular basis.
Not sure who is advising Tim Sullivan Ancestry CEO in these matters, but I guess when you are the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room, you will do what you want subscribers be damned.
My guess is this represents the Internet cloud mentality that permeates the net these days. Also this looks like more a marketing ploy to keep you as a subscriber rather than doing good genealogy. I can't imagine doing genealogy in a net/tree only environment.
If you are using FTM software I highly recommend making the move to Legacy genealogy software.
Geoff Rasmussen at Legacy is smiling all the way to the bank.

Friday, December 4, 2015

More AncestryDNA woes.

Well I have been on the phone again to DNA, more issues like the ones I have uncovered below.
This time my dad and I shared matches with a set of cousins and he had the leaf matches but I did not.
Here are the screen captures with mine matches we share above and his below.
He had the leafs hints and I did not. I discovered this due to the extensive documenting via spreadsheet that I work with all the DNA testing results I work with. As I explained to the Ancestry DNA support tech, if I am having these issues I guarantee that others are as well. So far this has manifested itself in only my father and me matches. You might want to closely examine your matches with other relatives to see if they or you have leaf matches and they do or not have those matches. Do keep in mind that there is a 10 generation limit (7GGP - 9th cousins). If you are looking at parent/child matches both need to be within that 10 gen limit in order to document this issue.
Let's hope that Ancestry gets this fixed. Oh yea, they still haven't fixed the initial issue with my cousin's Gerald's tree/leaf match with me (see previous post). I have replied to their email telling me it was all fixed.
"Not so fast my friend. It isn't fixed."