23 March 2019

Now available: Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies

For Immediate Release

NEW ON DNA: Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies

More researchers than ever are using DNA for genealogy and adoption research. There are many books on this subject, but only Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies works through actual cases showing how to use advanced analysis techniques and genealogy standards to get results.

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies will help intermediate researchers move up to the next level and advanced researchers apply the new DNA standards and write about DNA. This new book offers an in-home course in advanced genetic genealogy. It includes about 400 pages, 136 images, most in full-color, and dozens of tables demonstrating analysis techniques, tracking of DNA information, and writing about DNA. Each of the fourteen chapters was written by a professional genealogist with DNA experience.

Eight chapters study real families (some using anonymized identities), including methods, tools, and techniques.
  • Jim Bartlett covers how to triangulate a genome (mapping DNA segments to ancestors).
  • Blaine T. Bettinger demonstrates visual phasing (mapping DNA segments to the grandparents who passed down a particular segment to descendants, even when the grandparents cannot be tested).
  • Kathryn J. Johnston shows how to use X-DNA to identify and confirm ancestral lines.
  • James M. Owston describes findings of the Owston Y-DNA project.
  • Melissa A. Johnson covers adoption and misattributed parentage research.
  • Kimberly T. Powell provides guidance (and hope!) for those researching families with endogamy and pedigree collapse.
  • Debbie Parker Wayne combines atDNA and Y-DNA in a Parker family study.
  • Ann Turner describes the raw DNA data and lab processes.

Three middle chapters cover genealogy standards as they relate to DNA and documentary evidence.
  • Karen Stanbary applies the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) to genetic genealogy in a hypothetical unknown parentage case illustrating start-to-finish analysis.
  • Patricia Lee Hobbs uses atDNA to identify a real-life unknown ancestor and that ancestor's maiden name, moving back and forth between documentary and DNA evidence.
  • Thomas W. Jones describes best practices for genealogical writing and publishing incorporating DNA evidence.

Three concluding chapters deal with ethics, emotions, and the future.
  • Judy G. Russell covers ethical issues and considerations.
  • Michael D. Lacopo describes the effect on relationships when family secrets are uncovered, surfacing issues for all concerned.
  • Debbie Kennett covers the current limitations and future promise of using DNA for genealogy.
An extensive glossary, list of recommended resources, and index are included.

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies will be available at Books and Things in the NGS conference exhibit hall, Booth 401 (near the front aisle). Reviews and order links for Amazon (print versions) are available at https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Genetic-Genealogy-Techniques-Studies/dp/1733694900/ and other venues are available at http://debbiewayne.com/aggtcs/ (or at http://debbiewayne.com/ then click on Publications).

A Kindle version is scheduled for May availability if all goes well. An announcement will be made when it is available.



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Now available: Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies," Deb's Delvings, 23 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

10 March 2019

DNA Standards - Part 8

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 8."


1

Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:


In "DNA Standards - Part 8" I further discuss the final bullet. The main bullets indicate considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • publish or share only as a living test taker’s permission allows (Standard 57)
    • deceased persons have no privacy rights; courtesy to living descendants might warrant anonymizing the identity of a deceased test taker
    • general information can be shared as long as the identifying information is hidden (such as when asking for assistance or when teaching how to use a site or tool)

    • do not use a living person’s DNA results if they do not give permission (some disagree on whether inclusion in a public DNA project constitutes permission)
    • do not identify a living person if they do not give permission
      • identities can be anonymized
      • anonymizing too many people in a study may make the conclusion questionable

Unless you are working in a legal capacity where you may be held liable for misidentifying descendants you should be able to use whatever sources you wish to use. If you are publishing, your work will be subject to the requirements of the editor. If you are submitting a portfolio to BCG, your work will be subject to the requirements of BCG. You should contact those entities with your questions.

There will always be disagreements about what constitutes proof. I have read articles in some of the premier genealogical journals that I do not think meet the threshold for the claims made. Obviously, the editors and peer-reviewers felt differently. Some of those articles were based only on documents and some included DNA. We will never all agree on exactly how much evidence is needed for proof and DNA does not change that fact.





BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 8," Deb's Delvings, 10 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

DNA Standards - Part 7

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 7."


1

Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:


In "DNA Standards - Part 7" I further discuss the eighth bullet. The main bullets indicate considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • make the DNA data available for verification, as much as possible within the limits of test taker permissions (Standard 54)
    • depending on publication venue this might mean
      • providing login information to an editor to confirm the DNA data (the password can be changed after the editor has completed the review)
      • asking test takers to upload to a public project (such as at FamilyTreeDNA where the test taker gives permission and the administrator sets project options for results to be displayed publicly)
      • asking test takers to upload to a publicly available third-party website (available to any internet user without logging in or requiring a login and password that any person can obtain)
      • providing screenshots of web pages with the DNA or match data
    • if the DNA test results are not publicly shared or confirmed by an unbiased third party there is a risk that the author misinterpreted the DNA test results
    • if one or more test takers choose to remain unidentified the credibility of the conclusion should be evaluated with that person removed or anonymized
    • if one or more test takers choose to remain unidentified the essay may not meet the criteria for some publications nor be the best choice of work sample to demonstrate your analysis and correlation skill
    • just as we have always done with articles and work samples based on documentary sources, we must make judgments on credibility when using DNA sources


Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:



BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 7," Deb's Delvings, 10 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

DNA Standards - Part 6

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 6."

1


Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:

In "DNA Standards - Part 6" I further discuss the seventh bullet. The main bullet indicates considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • identify familial relationships (where appropriate), present the conclusion as a genetic link only if the DNA supports that conclusion, explain any insufficient research (Standards 50, 56, 65, 74)
    • no researcher is required to use DNA, but, where available and appropriate, DNA is such a strong piece of evidence for biological relationships that ignoring it is imprudent
      • trying to use atDNA to prove biological relationships further back than five to seven generations is not always possible, but sometimes is when random recombination results in segments remaining unbroken over several generations (you do not know what you will find until you look)
      • trying to use Y-DNA or mtDNA is not always possible if no living test takers have the Y-DNA or mtDNA of interest to this research question or if those with the DNA needed are not willing to test
    • no researcher is required to use DNA, but not using DNA when trying to prove a biological or genetic relationship will make many suspect the conclusion may not be accurate
      • researchers who have not yet learned to use DNA may take this risk (no DNA police will come knocking on your door, but knowledgeable researchers may wonder why DNA was not used)
      • researchers who have not yet learned to use DNA may hire someone who has educated themselves on using this source (just as one might hire a German researcher for research in Germany, a photographic expert for photo repairs, or an editor for a book)
    • if DNA is not available because there are no living test takers or none willing to test, indicating this informs the reader that DNA was considered and is not available
      • no living test takers with the right DNA is similar to the records being burned in a courthouse fire
      • no person willing to test is similar to the source being held in a repository that restricts access
      • we have dealt with these issues with paper records for years and can apply the same logic to DNA

    • if DNA evidence is not considered, knowing the rate of misattributed parentage seen in most lines, reasonable researchers may conclude a genetic or biological relationship is not proven
    • if no specific familial relationships is specified and if DNA is not used, reasonable researchers may conclude a genetic or biological relationship is not proven even if such a relationship is implied
      • just as genealogists have always done when documentary evidence was not strong enough to “prove” a relationship, one can indicate “DNA evidence is not available because of XYZ, all of the documentary evidence available supports a conclusion that John Doe is the father of William Doe” or “John Doe named his son William in his will” or dozens of other ways this can be indicated without implying a DNA test supports the conclusion or using words other than the ones we traditionally use to define relationships
      • some researchers think an explicit statement should be made of the relationship type being asserted; some think, in the absence of a stated relationship type, the sources used make an implicit statement
      • some think we have always asserted biological relationships without DNA evidence and should still be able to do so; some think today’s technology means there is a paradigm shift that should be embraced

These discussions are likely to continue for the next few years or longer. In my time in the genealogical world, the same kinds of discussions took place when computers first began being used and again when so many records became available online. The genealogical community made it through those changes which were major transitions in how we work. I suspect we will make it through this "crisis" in time to be poised for the next one that will surely come.

Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:




BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:




All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 6," Deb's Delvings, 10 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

08 March 2019

DNA Standards - Part 5

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 5."

1


Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:

In "DNA Standards - Part 5" I further discuss the sixth bullet. The main bullet indicates considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • support every parent-child link in the line from all test takers to the hypothesized ancestors with documentary evidence (Standard 2)
    • this applies to all parent-child links in all lines in our study group (even the parent-child links we see in someone else's online tree) and not only the line from the main/focus test taker back to the hypothesized common ancestor
    • this evidence may be presented in the narrative; the reader will likely be able to follow more easily if the evidence is summarized below a descendant chart
    • my preferred method is to use note references as seen in the image below (a, b, and so on); locating the footnote letter or number in the chart and in the list of citations is much easier for me than reading "For parentage of person XYZ see [list of documents]" then finding person XYZ in a chart; the reference numbers are much easier to locate than names, especially when a writer does not use the same exact name in the chart and the text

    • some publication venues may only need one or two sources to support each parent-child link; more sources may be needed to illustrate thorough research meeting the GPS
    • if no documentary evidence for a link can be found, explain what records were searched, search criteria used, any theory as to why no documents support this link, and why this link may be true in the face of no supporting documentary evidence
    • some parent-child links might ultimately be based on DNA evidence, but a thorough search for the documentary evidence should be demonstrated
    • for a large study group we may be able to use genetic networks to support some of the links so that we still have time to research our own family tree and extend it (as opposed to spending all of our time researching the trees of our DNA matches); some time researching the trees or adequately documenting the trees of others will be necessary, but we all need to manage our time to achieve our own goals most efficiently


Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:




BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 5," Deb's Delvings, 8 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

05 March 2019

DNA Standards - Part 4

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 4."

1


Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:

In "DNA Standards - Part 4" I further discuss the fifth bullet. The main bullet indicates considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • ensure enough people have tested to support the conclusion (Standard 53)
    • may require documenting living descendants from multiple children of a focus ancestor or ancestral couple then asking them to test
    • in general, the more generations back to the hypothesized common ancestor or the more possible shared lines, the more test takers needed
    • no one can say that, in all circumstances, you need two or three or six pieces of documentary evidence to have strong evidence for a conclusion because no one knows ahead of time what information will be found in which sources or how credible that information will be; the same applies to DNA evidence
    • exactly how many test takers are needed will vary depending on how many generations it is back to the hypothesized common ancestor and how many lines are traced down from those ancestors
    • consider whether additional tests or higher resolution tests for those test takers found in earlier research might more strongly support a conclusion


Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:




BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:





All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 4," Deb's Delvings, 5 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

04 March 2019

DNA Standards - Part 3

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 3."

1


Prior bullets are discussed in other parts of this series:
In "DNA Standards - Part 3" I further discuss the third and fourth bullets. The main bullets indicate considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • analyze the DNA results accurately and in-depth (Standard 52) (Y-DNA STRs or SNPs; atDNA and X-DNA shared total DNA—shared, triangulated, or mapped segments, or genetic networks; mtDNA regions or locations; Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroups; atDNA ethnicity estimates)
    • requires more in-depth understanding of the tools offered by testing companies and third-parties and how to accurately use those tools
    • may require correspondence with people to ask them about test taker links to ancestors or for permission to use third-party tools
  • integrate the thoroughly researched and analyzed DNA and documentary evidence; logically sequence and clearly illustrate the DNA analysis and the documentary analysis in a written conclusion; accurately and completely cite all sources (Standards 1–8, 55, 56, 65, 74)
    • write up the documentary evidence
    • explain why DNA is needed and give only as much DNA background as needed for this project (for example, if this case uses only Y-DNA evidence there is probably no need to explain what mtDNA and atDNA are)
    • explain the DNA evidence, correlating the shared DNA and/or mutations using tables and lineage charts


Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:




BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:




All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 3," Deb's Delvings, 4 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

DNA Standards - Part 2

For "DNA Standards - Part 1" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-1.html. In the first part I paraphrased the standards for using DNA evidence for genealogy into bullet points.

This is the post for "DNA Standards - Part 2."


1

In "DNA Standards - Part 2" I further discuss the first two bullets. The main bullets indicate considerations when using DNA to help answer a research question; sub-items explain what is needed to accomplish the tasks defined in the main bullet:

  • test the right descendants with the right test(s) at the right company or companies to obtain the information needed to answer the research question (Standard 51)
    • requires identification of living person(s) likely to have the DNA needed to answer the research question
    • requires an understanding of the inheritance path for each type of DNA (Y-DNA, mtDNA, atDNA, X-DNA)
    • requires an understanding of the different tests offered by each company
  • select matches and/or target-test others with the right test (Standard 51)
    • requires understanding the tools offered by testing companies and third-parties and how to accurately use those tools
    • may require correspondence with people to ask them to take a test (which requires understanding the cultural norms that might affect responses)
Additional bullets will be discussed in other parts of this series:



BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:




All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 2," Deb's Delvings, 4 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

DNA Standards - Part 1

Tomorrow is the big day when the 2019 version of Genealogy Standards starts shipping. This second edition of the book adds standards specifically for using DNA.

Read more and preorder your copy through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) at https://bcgcertification.org/product/genealogy-standards-2d-edition/. As an Amazon Associate, BCG earns a small commission from purchases of this volume using this link: https://amzn.to/2XwKr5W.



BCG, Genealogy Standards, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Ancestry, 2019)

For "DNA Standards - Part 2" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-2.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 3" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-3.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 4" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-4.html.

For "DNA Standards - Part 5" see https://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2019/03/dna-standards-part-5.html.

GETTING OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON STANDARDS FROM BCG

Only BCG provides official answers on what it expects to see in application portfolios. No one, not even members of the BCG Board of Trustees or associates helping at exhibit hall booths, speak officially for BCG. For specifics on what BCG expects to see in portfolios, please use BCG’s website, blog, newsletter, and other means of communication:

1

A PRACTITIONER'S INTERPRETATION OF THE STANDARDS FOR DNA

The following presents opinions and interpretations of the standards by Debbie Parker Wayne. This is one interpretation as to how the Genealogy Standards can be applied by all genealogical researchers using DNA. No genealogy or DNA police will come knocking on your door if you disagree with this interpretation and have your own preference on what to do.

When we first began discussing standards for DNA, my own goal was to provide guidance for the genealogists using DNA, not to force every genealogist to use DNA (even though I think all should when DNA can contribute to the evidence that answers a question). DNA findings can overturn any conclusions about family relationships. So can many of the other record types that we use every day.

I believe any good genealogical researcher can learn to use DNA. Nevertheless, it takes education and practice to become proficient at DNA analysis. Not all good genealogists have yet had time to obtain that education and practice analysis using their own families. However, ignoring DNA test results when researching kinship questions is akin to ignoring any other record type—census, deeds, probate, Bible records, and so on. Researchers should learn to use all applicable records or obtain assistance to analyze those records. Again, the DNA police are not going to force anyone to do so; however, I think most researchers want to be sure the parent-child links in a pedigree are correct and will eventually use DNA for confirmation.

Even if tests and tools change, the standards provide guidance and best practices we can all use as we incorporate DNA analysis into our research. The updated Genealogy Standards indicate the following things are necessary when using DNA to help answer a research question (paraphrased, reorganized, and simplified from what is in the book):

There are many genealogical questions that can be answered without DNA evidence. However, if DNA is used these things should be considered along with all the standards that are not specific to using DNA.

Each of these bullet items will be discussed further in separate posts. The last three bullets seem to be causing the most discussion between genealogists.



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.

1. mohamed_hassan, DNA helix, Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/en/silhouette-dna-biology-medicine-3691934); Pixabay license, image modified by Debbie Parker Wayne.



To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Standards - Part 1," Deb's Delvings, 4 March 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

12 January 2019

ConnectedDNA Graphs and Clues

I have been missing out on the excitement of network graph analysis for my DNA matches. While everyone else was playing with genetic network graphs, I was busy with another project. I could not stop to learn how to use Gephi (https://gephi.org/) or Google Fusion (https://fusiontables.google.com/) or NodeXL (http://www.smrfoundation.org/nodexl/installation/) to create graphs.

Shelley Crawford first documented the methods to create a genetic network graph using Excel and NodeXL. See her method beginning at Visualising Ancestry DNA matches–Part 1–Getting ready. Recently, I discovered Shelley's company ConnectedDNA selling charts she creates using custom code, Gephi, and data the customer supplies (or, optionally, AncestryDNA data that Shelley downloads using ‘viewer’ permission).

This is exciting! I can justify paying someone else to do the hard work for me while I finish my other tasks. I can make time to play with the graphs created by someone else. Thank you, Shelley.

The first part of this post (Product 1) is similar to what others have posted on their graph analysis. The second part of this post (Product 2) is something you may not have seen yet—graphs created using half sibling matches.

Product 1. Single profile graph using AncestryDNA data

My first purchase was a "Single profile graph" using one person's AncestryDNA data.

I used the DNAGedcom Client to download my matches and ICW files from AncestryDNA using the options recommended by ConnectedDNA on the order page. After placing my order I received instructions on how to provide the files to ConnectedDNA.

After processing by ConnectedDNA, I received PDFs and images of two graphs—a Network Map and a Group Map—and a Match file spreadsheet (XLSX) file. The spreadsheet contains information added by ConnectedDNA beyond what was in the DNAGedcom Client file.

Network Map Graph

At a shared match size threshold of 30 cM, the Network Graph includes 1,006 people (each represented by a colored dot on the graph), with 13,556 lines between them. An image of the full graph is shown here with no names displayed.


Names are visible when zoomed in on the PDF. The name labels are blurred here on this small section of the graph extracted from the group of brown dots in the upper left of the image above.


The PDF is searchable allowing me to locate matching test takers by name. The size of the colored dots is based on the amount of shared DNA. Bigger dots are likely more closely related. Each line represents a relationship (shared DNA) between two people.

I can label the ancestral lines containing the names of matches where the common ancestor has been identified. It is likely that I share that same line with others in the same group (same color). This is a clue as to where to focus research for a common ancestor for matches in this group. I can annotate the graph with the ancestral surnames associated with each colored group as shown in the image below.

The groupings can lead to genealogical discoveries. The "Anderson-McSpadden" cluster is purple. Some purple dots are outside of the main cluster and have lines linking them to the "Johnson" and "Richards" clusters. These outlier circles are marked as "Johnson-Richards and Anderson-McSpadden" and represent people that I share two ancestral lines with. A pair of Richards siblings married two Anderson first cousins. There is cross-over here in shared DNA between my maternal grandfather’s line (Anderson-McSpadden) and maternal grandmother’s line (Johnson-Richards) that is clearly reflected in the graph by the "Johnson-Richards and Anderson-McSpadden" outliers. If I did not know of this cross-over this would be a great clue for me.

The connecting lines are hard to see on this reduced image, but are clear when viewed in the PDF and can clearly be seen in the Group Map below.

Group Map Graph

The Group Map is a summary version of the Network Map chart. It is both a finding aid for the numbered groups, and illustrates the relationships and strength of connection between the groups. I added surnames and boxes to this version of the graph. The groups with a named common ancestor clearly split into maternal (green box) and paternal (blue box) lines. This is a clue as to whether the unnamed groups are more likely on the maternal or paternal side.


The general locations of groups and the assigned colors are the same as in the Network Map Graph. The connecting lines are simpler in this Group Map graph. The lines represent links between clusters or circles. Thicker connecting lines represent more individuals in one circle with connections in the second circle. For example, a Parker ancestor (blue circle, group 3) married a Rogers ancestor (red circle, group 2). There is a thick line between these two circles indicating many matches in the two circles share DNA. This is expected; many test takers share both of these ancestral lines with me—they are also descendants of this Parker-Rogers ancestral couple.

Match File

The Match File is a modified version of the file provided to ConnectedDNA. The addition of the group allocations (with colors as seen on the graphs) gives a quick visual clue of the likely relationship. It is easy to find surnames of interest.

Clues also lurk in this file. My Maples line is one that is not traced past the first ancestor with that surname. My Maples ancestor married a Parker. The match here who has Parker and Maples in their surname list would be a good place for me to begin investigating links to identify Maples ancestors. Another great clue as to where to look for the common ancestor is seen in Group 18 which is my Johnson line. The Group 18 match in the image below does not have Johnson in the surname list, but Parrott ancestors are further back in my Johnson line. This is likely how I am related to this match. Jarvis is another surname in my family tree. I can investigate if we also share Jarvis ancestors or if this person has a different Jarvis line from mine.


The spreadsheet file can be searched, sorted, or filtered by data found in each column using the drop down box in the column header. This allows me to focus on a subset of matches of interest, eliminating clutter from the other lines. For example, filtering the Group column for 3 displays only the matches that are in group 3 (blue circle). Clicking the drop-down funnel allows the filter to be cleared.

The image below shows the Match List filtered for Group 3 which is my Parker paternal line. Henry Parker married Nancy Black and I see Parker and Black in the surname lists of most of these matches. Haynes is a surname a few generations further back in this Parker line. Those other surnames listed for each match may be their lines not related to me or could be clues for the spots in my lineage where I have not yet identified an ancestor.

My ethnicity is always 95-98% European so the ethnicity estimates are not generally much help to me. However, anyone with recent ancestral origins in a specific biogeographical region might find this information helpful. For example, if one grandfather’s lineage is African American or Native American then any such ethnicity predictions for a match is a clue the relationship might be on that grandfather’s line.


Even if you do not prefer visual representations of data, the Excel file with the groups added to allow filtering the included matches may be worth the cost. Having the links to go directly to a match's tree or profile on Ancestry is also a time saver.

As with all non-exact searches, be aware that filtering the Surnames column for Ryan displays all of the matches who have a surname that contain the letters ryan. This includes surnames Ryan, Bryant, O'Bryan, and so on.

Product 2. Close family graph (Family Tree DNA)

My second purchase was a graph using FamilyTreeDNA data for five siblings. The standard offering at the time was for full siblings (that is the price I paid). I asked Shelley if she would consider an option to include a half sibling. She agreed to use me as a guinea pig and now offers products with siblings, close family including half siblings, and extended family. See her website for details (https://www.connecteddna.com/). Again, I used DNAGedcom Client to collect data for the siblings. I then supplied the match list, ICW file, and chromosome browser file for four full siblings and one half sibling to ConnectedDNA.

After processing by ConnectedDNA, I received PDFs and images of two graphs—a Profile Graph and a Group Graph—and a Match file spreadsheet file with information added by ConnectedDNA beyond what was in the DNAGedcom Client file.

Profile Graph

These are the Summary statistics for the unfiltered combined FamilyTreeDNA files sent to ConnectedDNA:
Profile   Nodes  Edges
full sibling 1    5,519  270,225
full sibling 2    5,489  277,941
full sibling 3    6,124  343,106
full sibling 4    5,473  271,225
half sibling      5,480  246,245
Combined file    15,052  982,276

When the data is graphed unfiltered it is too much of a blob to be meaningfully interpreted.


Shelley uses her expertise to filter the data so the graph becomes meaningful. The thresholds used for each data set varies—your thresholds may differ from the ones used for my data. Shelley used the chromosome data to identify shared-match pairs who also have at least one overlapping segment of DNA with the focus person. She then filtered the matches to those who share between 50 cM and 1,300 cM with at least one of the five profiles. The closest matches are excluded (people I asked to test and who are related to me on almost all lines). She filtered the connections between matches so that, for matches who share at least 130 cM with at least one kit, all connections are shown.

For pairs of matches below 130 cM, connections are only shown if there is also an overlapping segment of about 12 cM or more between the shared matches and one of the kits. Connections where there is an 'overlap' are darker than connections where there is not. As Shelley states clearly, "This is not triangulation, but works as a reasonable proxy since true triangulation data is not available." True triangulation is not available from the data supplied by FamilyTreeDNA, but may be when using third-party tools.

These siblings all share a mother. The half sibling has a different father. Three groups of matches emerge:
  • Half sibling only - people likely related on the half sibling's paternal line (red color)
  • Half and full siblings - people likely related on the shared maternal line (green color)
  • Full siblings only - people likely related on the full sibling's paternal line (blue color)


This reveals likely paternal or maternal links and some matches that need investigation. Several clusters contain circles of primarily one color but with a small number of red circles that represent matches to the half sibling only. The completely red clusters are likely the paternal line of the half sibling. A mix of red with green-blue circles may indicate the half sibling inherited a segment that the full siblings did not. The mix could also indicate the half sibling’s paternal line has ancestors shared with the full siblings’ line. Investigation is required.

Match Group Overview Graph

The Match Group Overview graph shows how the groups link together and the numbers assigned to each group. This is similar to the AncestryDNA Group Map described above. The colors and group numbers match those used in the FamilyTreeDNA Match List spreadsheet file.

Group Network Graph

The Group Network Graph includes one circle for each match in a group. This details the matches included in the circles of the Match Group Overview Graph. Just as with the AncestryDNA product, the PDF file has searchable names attached to each circle. Identification of the shared ancestor with one person in a group provides a clue for the likely shared ancestor with others in the group.

Match List

The spreadsheet Match List for this product includes match ID; full name; relationship range and predicted relationship; a list of close ICW matches; whether the match is full sibling only, half sibling only, or both; group number; number of shared matches; longest DNA segment shared; total shared cM; total shared cM with each sibling; ancestral surnames; Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups (if included in the DNAGedcom Client data files); notes; and email address for each match. Each column can be filtered to focus on the group under investigation.

Be aware that group numbers are assigned as each ConnectedDNAproduct is created. This FamilyTreeDNA product is completely separate from the AncestryDNA product discussed above. Therefore, group numbers assigned are different in the two products. The matches in Group 3 of my AncestryDNA product are in Group 21 in my FamilyTreeDNA product. I can easily determine both of these are my Parker paternal line based on matches to people who tested at both AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA.

Some General Guidance on Interpretation

The graphs and spreadsheets provide clues that require investigation before conclusions can be reached. Researchers must realize that random recombination may result in some people who sort into one group genetically when they may be in another group genealogically. This is especially true when a half sibling inherited a segment of DNA from the shared parent that the other siblings did not inherit. Take care not to misinterpret these cases based on erroneous assumptions. In general, a known relative in a group is a strong clue to which part of your family tree that group represents. Random recombination may cause some of these clues to be misleading.

Shelley Crawford gives this good advice on how to use these files:
Some groups may be a mystery to you. Make your way through the matches in those groups, reviewing their trees and looking for common elements. Is there a surname or a place that appears in several of the trees? With a little research effort, you may be able to expand upon the information your matches have provided and find a common ancestor.

I am excited to explore these files more fully and make discoveries to add to my family tree.

Edited 13 January 2019: Modified phrasing to correctly reflect permissions used when the customer asks ConnectedDNA to download the data.



All statements made in this blog are the opinion of the post author. This blog is not sponsored by any entity other than Debbie Parker Wayne nor is it supported through free or reduced price access to items discussed unless so indicated in the blog post. Hot links to other sites are provided as a courtesy to the reader and are not an endorsement of the other entities except as clearly stated in the narrative.


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "ConnectedDNA Graphs and Clues," Deb's Delvings, 12 January 2019 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2019, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved