Showing posts with label Family Tree DNA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Tree DNA. Show all posts

25 April 2014

DNA Day 2014

Today is DNA Day—celebrating publication of the structure of DNA and the announcement of "completion" of the mapping of our DNA by the Human Genome Project.1

Big things happening today include the updated Y-DNA Haplotree from Family Tree DNA. The tree is being expanded from 400 to over 1000 branches and will sport a new design interface. A free webinar today at noon Central Time (5pm UTC) will provide details on and demonstrate the new tree. Register for the live webinar at or catch it later when it will be posted online at

AncestryDNA is offering a $20 discount on their autosomal DNA test.

23andMe isn't advertising a sale today as they did a sale earlier this year. This is another good place for a DNA test for genealogical purposes.

Check the websites of other testing companies to see what they may be offering today. But if you are ordering an autosomal test for genealogical purposes be sure you are getting a test that includes 500,000 markers or more and not one of the lower resolution tests.

1. "DNA Day," WikiPedia ( : accessed 25 April 2014)

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Day 2014," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 25 April 2014 ( : accessed [date]).

All images created by and © 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

© 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

28 March 2014

mtDNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA

For the next four days Family Tree DNA is offering reduced prices for mtDNA full sequence test orders and upgrades. Orders must be placed and paid for before 11:59 p.m. Central Time on 1 April 2014.

Sale Prices Are

mtDNAFullSequence Addon and New Kits - Now $139 US (Save $60)

mtHVR1toMEGA Upgrade - Now $99 US (Save $50)

mtHVR2toMEGA Upgrade - Now $89 US (Save $70)

The Full Sequence mtDNA test is the most comprehensive mtDNA test available and is only offered by Family Tree DNA. Order Now from Family Tree DNA.

We made the announcement this morning at the Forensic Genealogy Institute and several attendees immediately ordered the test after learning how to use the test results yesterday in the sessions I taught on "Forensic Techniques for Genetic Genealogy." I can't wait to hear what they learn from this test.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "mtDNA Test Sale at Family Tree DNA," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 28 March 2014 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2014, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

13 November 2013

Family Tree DNA 2013 Holiday Sale

I'm way behind in posting about what I learned at the Family Tree DNA Project Administrator's Conference and the Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference. But I had to get the word out about the DNA sale going on right now.

Check out Family Tree DNA's list on their Facebook page (no login to facebook is needed to view the page) or visit the Family Tree DNA website or their products page.

Save up to $79 on Y-DNA tests.

Save up to $109 on mtDNA tests in combination with Y-DNA tests. It only costs $169 for the mtFullSequence which is the most likely mtDNA test to be useful for genealogical purposes. Only a few years ago this test cost more than $800. Now it is available at a price many of us can afford.

Save up to $109 on Family Finder tests in combination with Y-DNA or mtDNA tests.

For many of these orders, including a Family Finder test at the price of $99.99, you will also receive a $100 gift card for (no s after restaurant). This basically makes the test kit free. Believe it or not, even my small town restaurant offers a discount through If you live in an urban area you may have more choices. If this isn't useful to you it could be given to others as a gift.

Take advantage of this great offer to order kits as holiday presents for those family members who have agreed to test. After seeing some of the presentations at the Family Tree DNA Project Administrator's Conference I really want to test more close family members and now can save money doing so.

Note added 13 Nov 2013 after initial post: The offer only applies to U.S. customers. It is not offered in other countries.

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

18 September 2013

Why So Much Excitement about Ethnicity Predictions?

AncestryDNA made a recent announcement about updates to the ethnicity predictions available with their autosomal DNA (atDNA) test. The first sentence on their web page for ordering a DNA test is:
Discover if you're part Scandinavian, West African, or maybe Native American.1
The first sentence describing a Family Finder atDNA test at Family Tree DNA is:
NEW! Discover close relatives and your ethnic percentages with Family Finder!2
At 23andMe you have to click on the Ancestry link at the top of the home page before you scroll down and see:
Find out what percent of your DNA comes from populations around the world, ranging from East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and more. Break European ancestry down into distinct regions ...3

I caution people about putting too much faith in these ethnicity and regional predictions for two reasons that still apply even if new advances in our knowledge have been made recently.
  1. Because of DNA recombination you may not have detectable amounts of DNA representing all of the ethnicities or geographies you see in your full pedigree chart.

    Blaine Bettinger described this well in a post several years ago titled, "Q&A: Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree."4 While Blaine was answering a question about why a known cousin was not listed on a person's DNA match list, the answer is just as applicable to the question of why a person's predicted ethnicity percentages isn't reflected in the known pedigree of that person. Each of us inherits only one-half of the DNA of each parent. This also means about one-half of each parent's DNA is lost in each generation except where some bits are inherited by one offspring and not others. As we go back more generations we have inherited less DNA from those ancestors.
  2. The world population is about seven billion today.5 At most, a few hundred thousand people have taken genealogical DNA tests.6 This means that fewer than one/ten-thousandth of the world has been tested. That is a very small sample size.

    As more people test we will learn more about accurate interpretation of the DNA data. We are still in the infancy of this new science. I highly encourage researchers to test so we can learn more faster. You will learn some interesting information about your DNA. But I caution against making life-altering decisions based on today's technology and knowledge level, even with the recent updates.

For an interesting map showing how the boundaries of Europe have changed over the years take a look at this map (thanks to Debbie Kennett for sending the link to several DNA mail lists):

Now think about how those changes make it difficult to relate a segment of DNA to a particular country. I have to admit that I was surprised at the constantly changing European landscape even though I have always been interested in and constantly read about history. Anyone who does not understand human migrations, how those migrations don't really coincide with political boundaries, and how our DNA makeup is not a reflection of our entire pedigree due to random recombination, could have a difficult time understanding their ethnicity predictions based on DNA.

For more information on ethnicity predictions also known as Bio-Geographical Analysis (BGA) see:

Dr. Doug McDonald (the developer of one of the early programs for Bio-Geographical Analysis), "Doug McDonald on Biogeograpical Analysis," 9 September 2012 guest post, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog of Roberta Estes (

For more information on the updated AncestryDNA ethnicity predictions see these articles and the links within them to other articles:

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, "AncestryDNA Launches New Ethnicity Estimate," 12 September 2013, The Genetic Genealogist (

Debbie Kennett, "My updated ethnicity results from AncestryDNA - a British perspective," 17 September 2013, Cruwys news (

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, "DNA disappointment," 15 September 2013, The Legal Genealogist, (

Randy Seaver, "First Look at my AncestryDNA Ethnicity Update - Post 2: More DNA Results," 13 September 2013, Genea-Musings, (

All URLs accessed 18 September 2013.

1. "One simple DNA test. A world of discoveries," AncestryDNA (

2. "Family Finder," Family Tree DNA (

3. "Your story begins as far back as you can imagine," Ancestry page, 23andMe (

4. Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, "Q&A: Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree," 10 October 2009, The Genetic Genealogist (

5. Haya El Nasser, "World population hits 7 billion," 31 October 2011, USA TODAY (

6. "Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart," ISOGG Wiki, International Society of Genetic Genealogists (; gives an estimate as of August 2013 of 640,000 people in the autosomal databases of 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, and National Geographic Genographic Project Geno 2.0.

7. pierre_mesyne, "abkebab's Map of Europe 1000 AD to present with timeline," LiveLeak (

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Why So Much Excitement about Ethnicity Predictions?," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 18 September 2013 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

07 September 2013

Free Genes vs. Patented Genes

I've always felt there is something inherently wrong with a company being able to patent genes.

No company "invented" a gene even if they isolated the gene in a lab, discovered the purpose of the gene or the piece of DNA that may switch that gene on or off, or found environmental factors that may affect the expression of that gene. Patenting a gene seems like the same thing as patenting a tree or a flower that grows naturally from the ground with no human intervention whatsoever. Even a unique genetic discovery made by a company isn't done in isolation. It is built on the research that has primarily been paid for by our tax dollars. "We the people" are the ones who should own the genetic data because it is a part of our bodies and we paid for the research to learn about those bodies.

On the other hand, I understand the need for a company to make a reasonable profit from a product they create that may "read" that gene in a person's DNA sample. If another company can make a similar product there is no reason the two companies should not compete for a share of the marketplace. Many companies sell the same kind of tree sapling and flower seeds or bulbs. Many companies sell the same medicine, like aspirin or ibuprofen. Many companies should be able to sell the same genetic test. I believe naturally occurring elements and common ideas or words should not be eligible for a patent, trademark, or service mark. Because the U.S. Patent Office doesn't seem to have enough employees knowledgeable about cutting-edge science and technologies some really dumb patents have been issued in recent decades, in my opinion.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in ASSOCIATION FOR MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY ET AL. v. MYRIAD GENETICS, INC., ET AL held that a "naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated." The scientific community held this ruling to be a victory for women. After the Supreme Court ruling several companies, including the DNATraits division of Gene by Gene, started offering a test for breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Myriad Genetics has sued to prevent these companies from offering tests for these breast cancer genes.

One of the earliest genetic genealogy companies, Family Tree DNA, is a division of Gene by Gene LTD. The president of Family Tree DNA recently asked for help fighting against Myriad:


It's rare that I send 'blast emails', but if there was ever a time in my life that called for a broad based blast, now is that time. I want to share with you an important campaign that I have started, to raise awareness to an alarming situation.

About 10 weeks ago the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided that “isolated human genes cannot be patented.”

That same day our DNA testing company launched a breast cancer test that was far more affordable than previous offered tests. Our precedent-setting reduction in price meant that millions of Americans who previously could not get the test--because their insurance company wouldn't pay, or because they lacked insurance--now had access to a high quality test for breast cancer risk.

Myriad Genetics sued us and others for offering this test and although we are not looking for a fight, we are now forced to defend ourselves and feel morally obligated to bring the world a more affordable test. As a child of the 60s, I can tell you that if there ever was a fight worth fighting, this is it.

I urge you to visit our site: and familiarize yourself with the situation as it has unfolded and I urge you to share this information with others. Our actions are based on two key points: genetic testing should be affordable and available to everyone; and test providers should share data to enable better tests for consumers.

To help us promote the effort we ask that you LIKE our page and update your FB profile picture to reflect our cause. Details are on the website.

I am humbled by the volunteers who have stepped forward to help us with this case so far, including the ACLU, AARP, and the Breast Cancer Action. Now it's your turn. Please do so as soon as you have the opportunity to get online. Thank you very much for your support.

Best Regards,

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
"History Unearthed Daily"

Anyone with family members who have suffered from or died because of breast cancer will understand how important it is to have an affordable test to find this killer disease as early as possible. I hope you support this effort to keep our genes free.

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

23 July 2013

Crowdfunding for 'A00 and the Peoples of Cameroon' Research Project'

Some of the technical advancements in our modern world amaze me.

In my DNA presentations I talk about how citizen scientists are contributing in a big way to new discoveries in genetics due to genetic genealogy projects. Last year a scientific paper was published that named a citizen-scientist, a genetic genealogist named Bonnie Schrack, as one of the co-authors. "An African American Paternal Lineage Adds an Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree" was published in The American Journal of Human Genetics.1 When a member of Bonnie's DNA project did not match others in the project she investigated and got the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) scientists involved. Long story short, new branches of the Y-DNA tree were discovered—the oldest branches of the Y-tree.

This is amazing because someone interested in his family history took a DNA test that revealed fascinating new information about the human family tree and a citizen-scientist made the initial discovery by comparing him to others in her project.

Now that citizen-scientist is using another modern technology, crowdfunding, to finance further testing to learn more about this new branch. In one day the project reached its initial goal. Don't let that prevent you from donating if you think this is as exciting as I do. Perhaps the project managers didn't have enough faith in the generosity of the genetic genealogy community to ask for all the money that will be needed for this project. They only asked for enough to get started so continued donations will be very much welcome and there will likely be later phases of fund raising as the project progresses. It costs a lot of money to travel around Cameroon to take DNA samples and pay for the kits.

Here is the announcement that Bonnie Schrack sent out earlier today on genetic genealogy mail lists (copied with permission, not cited as I saw it on a private list):

Dear friends and fellow enthusiasts,

I have an exciting announcement to share with you. Until now, we as genetic genealogists and researchers of deep ancestry have always been dependent on the field research carried out by professional, academic population geneticists, whose priorities and interests have been different from ours. They were the only ones with access to the grant funding necessary to finance such projects.

It's a new day now—the times they are a-changin'. "Crowdfunding" is one of the hottest new developments in the online world, and with good reason. Now, we the people can launch all kinds of projects, and we can decide what we want to support with our own funds.

Today we go live with our crowdfunding page for the first grassroots, citizen science organized project to collect DNA samples in the field, in Cameroon! We're using the Microryza website, which is devoted to crowdfunding science research. Here's the link:


Many of you heard about our discovery of the A00 haplogroup, the world's earliest-branching Y-chromosome lineage. It was found in a WTY[Walk the Y Project] of the [surname deleted], an African-American family with an extremely unusual and unique haplotype, and then we found a few haplotypes matching them from members of two African ethnic groups, the Mbo and the Bangwa, who are neighbors in Southwest Cameroon. A few tiny bits of Mbo DNA were shared with Dr. Michael Hammer, and sequenced by his lab and Thomas Krahn at FTDNA. The SNPs confirmed that they belonged to the same haplogroup as the Perry family.

Calculations by Dr. Fernando Mendez, and others in our community, have placed the branching age of this lineage at anywhere from 200,000 to 338,000 years ago—at the dawn of modern humans' emergence, or before. And so little is known about it! How far does it extend from those few Mbo and Bangwa families, and can it be found in other peoples? Is A00 a remnant of the earliest, indigenous hunting and gathering peoples of Africa, and if so, when and where were they assimilated into other peoples, who are now settled farmers (though they still hunt)?

For the first time since A00 has been known to exist, a young Cameroonian scholar, Matthew Fomine Forka Leypey, a member of the Mbo ethnic group, will visit the villages known to harbor significant numbers of A00 members, sample there, and collect information on the families. How do we know which villages have A00? Because Matthew collected the original Mbo samples, and over 2000 other DNA samples from all over Cameroon, as part of his dissertation research! His data indicate that the Mbo and Bangwa are only two of a number of peoples who have A00 among them. About a dozen other ethnic groups include A00 members, including some Pygmies! Those samples, though, are no longer available to us.

Now it's time to gather our own samples. We have a series of five field trips planned, to gather samples of diverse peoples in Western, Southern and Eastern Cameroon. Our analysis will include some special areas of knowledge from Matthew's studies, such as how different peoples support themselves within forest and grasslands ecologies, and the effects of polygamy vs. monogamy in patterns of populations' Y-chromosome DNA.

In the past, it has always been thought necessary to make DNA donors anonymous when they participate in scientific studies. In this project, however, we'll be asking for the donors' names, for several reasons:
  1. We want to give them the possibility of receiving their test results, if they are interested
  2. We want there to be a future possibility of families who match them, such as African Americans, to know their matches, if they opt in
  3. We hope to gather a second sample (saliva) from one or more donors, in order to have a full Y genome sequence done
  4. We hope to correlate the haplogroups and haplotypes we find with families of different known histories, such as royal lineages, traditional religious office-holders, and those that are known to have had ancestors held as slaves by local rulers.

Of course, their names will not be made public except, should they decide to participate and future funding allows it, to their individual DNA matches.

This is a kind of research, combining genealogy with population genetics, that academics rarely undertake, but which has been occasionally done in papers such as this one by one of the co-authors of our last paper, Dr. Krishna Veeramah:

"Sex-Specific Genetic Data Support One of Two Alternative Versions of the Foundation of the Ruling Dynasty of the Nso in Cameroon"

We have four weeks to raise the $2500 needed to launch our first field trip in Cameroon. Our deadline is August 19th. Then Matthew will set out for the remote mountain villages where he was raised. We look forward to bringing you all along on this great adventure.

In addition, apart from the appeal for fieldwork support per se, we're looking for a few generous individuals who'll help us obtain a decent (can be used) laptop and a digital camera for Matthew, who's a very low-income grad student. We're also looking for a trustworthy person flying to Cameroon who can take these along, saving us the exorbitant shipping fees. Please write to me if you have any leads.

In the near future, the next fundraising campaign will ask for your support for the DNA extraction and the screening of our first set of samples for A00. Stay tuned! Please visit and "like" our page on Facebook:

Looking forward to seeing you, with gratitude for your support,

Bonnie Schrack

If you can't afford to donate right now, but find this a worthwhile projec,t maybe you can help with the next round of fund raising. Go citizen-scientists!

1. Fernando L. Mendez, Thomas Krahn, Bonnie Schrack, Astrid-Maria Krahn, Krishna R. Veeramah, August E. Woerner, Forka Leypey Mathew Fomine, Neil Bradman, Mark G. Thomas, Tatiana M. Karafet and Michael F. Hammer, "An African American Paternal Lineage Adds an Extremely Ancient Root to the Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree," The American Journal of Human Genetics 28 February 2013 (92:3):454-459; digital edition, doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.02.002 ( : accessed 22 July 2013).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Crowdfunding for 'A00 and the Peoples of Cameroon' Research Project'," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 22 July 2013 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

22 July 2013

July 27, Free DNA Seminar at Houston's Clayton Library (Reminder)

Just a Reminder:

If you are in the Houston area this weekend please join me for a free all-day seminar on genetic genealogy at Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. These sessions will cover basic genetics for beginners and an introduction to analyzing your DNA test results. A detailed handout includes instructions that go beyond the steps we'll have time to cover in the seminar.

Registration will begin in the Carriage House shortly after the library opens at 10:00 a.m. The sessions include:

  • 10:30-12:00 GATA GACC! DNA and Genetic Genealogy Today—Learn where we are today using DNA for genealogy. Maximize Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA test results to contribute to genealogical research goals.
  • break for lunch on your own
  • 1:30-2:15 Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent—Learn to link families using autosomal DNA test results from any testing company. Maximize impact on your genealogical research goals. Includes how to use test results such as those from 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and AncestryDNA.
  • 2:30-3:15 Paternal Lines: Using Y-DNA—Learn details of Y-DNA testing including how to analyze test results. Findings can corroborate your paper trail or place you on the right research path.
  • 3:30-4:15 Maternal Lines: Using Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)—Understand mitochondrial DNA testing with an introduction to analysis of test results. Sample research problems demonstrate how mtDNA can be used by genealogists.

To register for the classes, please call 832-393-2600. All classes are free and open to the public, but space is limited.

Directions to the library can be found here.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "July 27, Free DNA Seminar at Houston's Clayton Library (Reminder)," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 22 July 2013 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

28 June 2013

Family Tree DNA Sizzling Summer Sale

Family Tree DNA offered a Y-DNA upgrade sale for Father's Day and now they have great prices on new tests as part of their "Sizzling Summer Sale." Only $99 for Family Finder, the autosomal test. Only $288 for Family Finder and the full mitochondrial sequence. And much more. Here is the announcement:
Summer is once again upon us and it is time for our Sizzling Summer event! Our successful summers over the last two years have led us to offer you great values again this year. So, let's work together to grow your projects and to grow our database.

We have been working with Illumina to offer our Family Finder autosomal test for only $99 during our summer event. In fact, if we receive enough orders at $99, Illumina may be able to help us keep it at this extremely low of rate of $99!

As you take advantage of our summer event, remember that the permanency of the $99 Family Finder test is actually in your hands!

Beginning on Thursday, June 27, 2013 and running until Friday, July 26, 2013, we will offer the following:

Family Finder   was $289   Now $99

mtDNA Full Sequence   was $289   Now $189

Y-DNA37   was $169   Now $129

Y-DNA67   was $268   Now $208

Y-DNA111   was $359   Now $308

Family Finder + Y-DNA37   was $368   Now $228

Family Finder + Y-DNA67   was $467   Now $307

Family Finder
+ mtDNAFullSequence
   was $398   Now $288

Comprehensive Genome
(Y-DNA67, FMS & FF)
   was $666   Now $496


To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Family Tree DNA Sizzling Summer Sale," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 28 June 2013 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

18 April 2013

DNA Day Sale at Family Tree DNA

Update: Family Tree DNA has extended this sale through 11:59p.m. April 25th.

Information on this sale just came in from Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA

We are pleased to announce our 2013 DNA DAY Promotion.

While the special pricing features all the major tests, we’re placing particular emphasis on the Full Mitochondrial Sequence and Family Finder. We’ll offer Y-DNA upgrades during a Father’s Day sale and will give you those details at that time.

By carefully choosing the sale options and limiting the length of the sale, we will be better able to focus our resources on processing the tests efficiently and avoiding delays in delivering results.

We are proud to announce we have successfully moved our mtDNA Full Sequencing line from Sanger DNA sequencing to what is called Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). This gives us much greater capacity to process tests, to reduce costs without sacrificing quality, and to ensure shorter turnaround times.

We must run the entire sequence every time we process an mtDNA full sequence test, even for upgrades. However, in recognition of your prior investment- and National DNA Day – we’re offering our lowest price ever for the FMS and upgrades.

Rather than the 8-10 weeks first generation sequencing required, we expect results to be completed within 5-6 weeks. This does depend on the number of orders received though. If their DNA is already at our lab, those who order first may expect even shorter turnaround times.

For a limited time we will be selling the FMS for $189 and whether you’ve tested HVR1 or HVR1+2, you’ll be able to upgrade to the Full Sequence for just $129!

In addition, we are also lowering the Family Finder to $169 for this sale!

Here is the list of all tests under the promotion:

Full MtDNA Sequence: $189
Upgrades to FMS: $129
Y-DNA37 (new and add-on): $119
Y-DNA67 (new and add-on): $199
Y-DNA37 + Full MtDNA Sequence: $308
Y-DNA12 + FF: $218
Y-DNA37 + FF: $288
Y-DNA67 + FF: $368
Family Finder: $169
Family Finder + Full MtDNA Sequence: $358
SuperDNA: $388 (Y-67 + FMS)
Comprehensive DNA: $557 (Y-67 + FMS + FF)

The sale will begin tonight, April 18th, at 6PM CDT and will conclude at 11:59PM CDT on Monday April 22nd. All orders must be placed and paid for by the end of the sale to receive the promotional price.

There will be no need for a coupon - all prices will be automatically adjusted on the website.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA


Full Mitochondrial Sequence: $189
Family Finder: $169
Y-DNA + Full Sequence: $358

All orders must be placed and paid for by 11:59PM on Monday April 22nd, to receive the promotional rate. As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Day Sale at Family Tree DNA," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 18 April 2013 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

13 November 2012

Family Tree DNA 2012 Holiday Sale

As the Project Administrator for the Texas State Genealogical Society Project (TXStateGS) at Family Tree DNA one of my responsibilities is to notify members and prospective members of upcoming and ongoing sales.

If you've been waiting for a good sale before ordering a DNA test, the time is now. Family Tree DNA has great tools to help analyze your DNA data. They provide full access to all of your DNA data; after all, it is YOUR DNA. They have great Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) lists to provide all the information most of us need. If you can't find your answer in the FAQ there are helpful customer service reps available through telephone support. Best of all, the company founders are genealogists who understand us and our needs.

Here is the 2012 "Holiday DNA Sale" notice with big discounts offered:
As we ended our 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference, several conference participants asked us to start our year-end sale as soon as possible. In answer to those requests we decided to start it immediately:
New Kits Current Price SALE PRICE
Y-DNA 37 $169 $119
Y-DNA 67 $268 $199
mtDNAPlus $159 $139
mtFullSequence (FMS) $299 $199
SuperDNA (Y-DNA 67 and mtFullSequence) $548 $398
Family Finder $289 $199
Family Finder + mtDNAPlus $438 $318
Family Finder + mtFullSequence $559 $398
Family Finder
+ Y-DNA 37
$438 $318
(FF + FMS + Y-67)
$837 $597
Upgrades Current Price SALE PRICE
Y-Refine 12-25 Marker $59 $35
Y-Refine 12-37 Marker $109 $69
Y-Refine 12-67 Marker $199 $148
Y-Refine 25-37 Marker $59 $35
Y-Refine 25-67 Marker $159 $114
Y-Refine 37-67 Marker $109 $79
Y-Refine 37-111 Marker $220 $188
Y-Refine 67-111 Marker $129 $109
mtHVR1toMega $269 $179
mtHVR2toMega $239 $179
mtFullSequence Add-on $289 $199
To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the Order An Upgrade button in the upper right corner. A link to the login page is provided below. ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2012 11:59:00 PM CST TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICES. ...

Click here to order a new kit and join the Texas State Genealogical Society Project at the same time.

If you are already a Family Tree DNA customer, login using your kit number and password to order an upgrade.

New customers can also order a test without joining a project, but you may miss some special project discounts and assistance offered by project administrators.

Be sure to order and pay for the upgrade before the end of the year to get these special prices.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Family Tree DNA 2012 Holiday Sale," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 13 November 2012 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

08 November 2012

DNA Two-fer Becomes a Three-fer

I am constantly reminded about what a small world we live in and how we can all be related in more recent times as well as once we go back thousands of years. This is another example of why it is so important to trace the FAN club (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) even when it hasn't been a line of primary interest before DNA testing came along. I also suspect having access to the raw DNA data will be critical as I work on this problem.

A few months ago I wrote about a two-fer with a new DNA match at Family Tree DNA. I recently found out I have a three-fer with this same family. We haven't yet identified the third line my family members share with this other family, but there obviously is one on the "step" side of the family. I hope the diagram makes these relationships more clear.

In this case female #1 represented by the green circle (F#1 J) and female #2 represented by the orange circle (F #2 N) both had multiple partners represented by the squares. In the earlier post I discussed how Y, K, and Z match on the Ryan line. Y's Ryan line is through the mother J. Z's Ryan line is through the father K.

Y's Hurt line is through the father R. M, who is the second husband of N, has a Hurt line. So Y has matches to both partners of N and the child of N. None of these people knew each other before they matched on the Family Finder DNA test. We found this link back in August.

X is the half-sister to Y—same mother, different father. X also shares the Ryan line through her mother J and should match Z whose Ryan line is through her father K.

But now that X's results are back we also find she is related to N. This link is likely through X's father A. Knowing about the ancestry of N may provide information about the paternal ancestry of X even though we know very little about her paternal line at this time.

To summarize:

X and Y are half-siblings

Y matches Z on the Ryan line

Y should match M on the Hurt line once M's results are back

X matches N on an unknown line likely through A

X matches Z on the Ryan line

Three groups of children related in different ways to two women and the four men those women have partnered with during the last sixty years. Wow! Is this cool or what? I suspect our blended families will result in more and more multiple links between families as we explore what we can learn from DNA testing. And none of us knew or suspected each other before DNA matched us up.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Two-fer Becomes a Three-fer," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 8 November 2012 ( : accessed [DATE]).

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

28 September 2012

Family Tree DNA Flash Weekend Sale

Family Tree DNA is offering a "Flash Weekend Sale." Order before midnight, Sunday, September 30, for these great prices. This information is from their announcement:

It seems every time we run a flash sale a few people e-mail us days later they were traveling, sick or just had not looked at their e-mails in time, so for all of you who want to entice a friend, neighbor or reluctant relative to get involved in Genetic Genealogy here's one more opportunity, but it will last for only 72 hours.

We are gearing this sale for newcomers and upgrades by promoting the Family Finder and the Full Mitochondria Sequence (FMS). This sale starts Friday, September 28, at 12:00am and ends Sunday, September 30, at 11:59PM.

New Kits Current Price     SALE PRICE
Family Finder $289 $199
mtFullSequence $299 $199
Family Finder + mtFullSequence     $559 $398

Upgrades Current Price     SALE PRICE
Family Finder $289 $199
HVR1 to mtFullSequence     $269 $199
HVR2 to mtFullSequence $239 $199
mtFullSequence $289 $199

As with all promotions, orders need to be placed by the end of the sale and payment must be made by end of this sale. Learn More.

Order from the Family Tree DNA website.

If you need help deciding which test to order, see the Family Tree DNA website or my notes.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Family Tree DNA Flash Weekend Sale," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 28 September 2012 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

23 August 2012

Family Tree DNA 72 Hour Sale

Today Family Tree DNA announced a 72-hour sale.

There are only two options for this sale:

Family Finder + Y-DNA 12 for $249
Family Finder + mtDNA for $249

Orders must be placed and paid for by August 25th. For more information see

To order through the Texas State Genealogical Society (TxStateGS) project use this link

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

16 August 2012

Caution: What Permission Will You Give Ancestry to Use Your DNA Results?

Anyone who is having a DNA test performed at AncestryDNA ('s DNA arm) should first read the consent agreement. Do you want to give this much discretion to Ancestry? If not, do not check this box when you register your kit.

Roberta Estes discusses this in her DNA Explained blog article "Ancestry’s Consent Form for AncestryDNA Autosomal Test."1

I have not yet taken a DNA test at Ancestry. They don't provide the raw data to testers. This is MY DNA data, not Ancestry's. I am paying for the test. I want all of the data. As I indicate in my DNA presentations, I suspect Ancestry will be forced in the future to provide this data to testers as their competitors Family Tree DNA and 23andMe do. I am hesitant to give any of my money to Ancestry until they change their policy. And I won't be agreeing to allowing Ancestry to use my results for whatever they or whoever owns the company in the future may decide is a good idea.

1. Roberta Estes, "Ancestry’s Consent Form for AncestryDNA Autosomal Test," DNA Explained Blog, posted 16 August 2012 ( : accessed 16 August 2012).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Caution: What Permission Will You Give Ancestry to Use Your DNA Results?," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 16 August 2012 ( : accessed [date]).

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

09 July 2012

Sizzling Summer Sale - Family Tree DNA

If you've been waiting for a good sale to buy a DNA test or order an upgraded test - NOW is the time. Feel free to forward this information to others.

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is offering a Sizzling Summer Sale.

As Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) DNA Project Administrator, I'd like you to order through the TSGS / TxStateGS links. DNA information and a link to the order page is available at or go directly to the TxStateGS Project at FTDNA to order at these great prices:

Orders must be in and paid for by 11:59PM on Sunday July 15th, to receive this offer.

Special Summer Prices

--------- — SALE PRICE
Y-DNA 12 — $59
Y-DNA 37 — $129
Y-DNA 67 — $199

Family Finder — $199

mtFullSequence (FMS)— $219

Combined tests
FF+ Y-DNA 37 — $328
FF + mtDNAPlus — $328

Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-DNA 67)— $617

SuperDNA — $428


--------- — SALE PRICE
12 to 37 — $70
25 to 37 — $35
25 to 67 — $114
37 to 67 — $79
37 to 111 — $188
67 to 111 — $109

mtHVR1 to Mega — $209
mtHVR2 to Mega — $199

If you want to order directly from Family Tree DNA instead of through TSGS, go to Descriptions of all the offerings are also available on this page to help you decide which test to order.

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

08 January 2012

23andMe Policy Updates and DNA Testing Company Recommendations

A few weeks ago I wrote on 23andMe's service changes — DNA Access Policy Changes Bad for Genealogists. There has been a discussion in the 23andMe forums, on most of the DNA mail lists, and a petition was created by well-known genetic genealogist Larry Vick to allow consumers of 23andMe's product to voice opinions and needs.

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, responded today. Each customer will need to determine if the current policy will meet your needs or not. 23andMe tried to make significant changes with no discernible consideration of customer needs. Because of this I am not yet ready to give whole-hearted recommendations to genetic genealogists to test there unless you really want the medical and health data provided by 23andMe.

Until this controversy I was a happy customer of both 23andMe and Family Tree DNA. For the time being, I will continue to recommend Family Tree DNA for those interested in DNA testing for genealogical purposes. The founders of Family Tree DNA are genealogists and have the same passion we do. I trust them more to do what will work for genealogists. Not to say I agree with every decision made by Family Tree DNA either, but their business decisions have been more along the lines of prioritizing where to put resources (Ysearch updates or X chromosome browser) as opposed to eliminating access to customers.

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

02 January 2012

Family Tree DNA Sale Ending January 7th

Family Tree DNA's home page indicates a sale is now running through January 7th. I can't tell if all of the end-of-year-sale prices have been extended because the page displayed after clicking on "Learn more" still shows a 12/31 sale end date. But if you click on "Products" in the top navigation bar it looks like all of the sale prices have been extended.

If you didn't get your DNA test order placed by December 31st, check out the prices.

© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

28 December 2011

Review: Debbie Kennett's DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-first Century

Book review:

Debbie Kennett, DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-first Century (Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press, 2011).

I highly recommend this book to all of my genealogy friends. This book will be available in print in the U.S. next spring. It is available now from History Press, Amazon UK (allow several weeks for U.S. delivery), and in a Kindle edition which is what I read. (My first reading of a Kindle book on my husband's Kindle 3. Because the Kindle edition does not include page numbers, the review below will refer to chapters only.)

Disclosure: I have not met Debbie Kennett in person although we have corresponded electronically a few times. I have learned from her postings on DNA mail lists we both subscribe to. I will refer to her formally using her surname "Kennett" so there will be no confusion over our shared given name. I like this book because it confirms many of the statements and opinions I express during presentations on using DNA for genealogical purposes. It's always nice to have recognized experts in the field support your opinions.

The most-used books on genetic genealogy were published over five years ago. During that time great advancements have been made in our knowledge of DNA. Those five year old books rarely even mention autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing, much less discuss how to use it. There are a lot of articles, websites, and blogs that discuss autosomal DNA and the advancements in Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), but no book I have seen has compiled current information into one print publication. Debbie Kennett's book fills that need for beginners and provides many links to additional information for more advanced genetic genealogists.

Combining DNA and social networking topics in one book may seem odd, but social networking sites have become a must-use tool for active genealogists. The social networking section of this book covers the basics of social media and gives tips on finding and approaching potential family members for the purpose of DNA testing or genealogy connections. For the non-techie genealogist, this book is a great introduction not only to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, but also covers blogs, Wikis, and other electronic means of communication. Even if you don't plan to use social media, this book will help you understand what is meant when others discuss these tools.

I consider myself fairly knowledgeable both on DNA and technology. I learned some things about both subjects as I read this book. While there is an understandable slight bias for the UK in the websites listed, most of this book will be indispensable to American and other genealogists as well. Major U.S. sites are covered as well as UK and Irish sites.

The foreword is by Chris Pomeroy who is the author of DNA and Family History (2004) and Family History in the Genes (2007), articles, podcasts, and blog posts, all linked from his DNA and Family History website. In the foreword Chris states:
Genetic testing increasingly looks set to become an integral part of everyday genealogical research in the years ahead. A decade ago, a DNA test was seen as something exotic and tangential to the main work of the genealogist, which was visiting archives and transcribing the data in them. Today it's possible to run a parallel DNA project and to use the DNA results to confirm we have identified the correct people within each line and tree.
In an easy to read and understand manner, Kennett leads the genealogist through the steps necessary to use DNA results to confirm our paper trail. She has been involved with genetic genealogy since 2006 when many genealogists did not yet know DNA could be used for genealogical purposes. Enough background is given to help the reader understand the current state of genealogical testing and how far we have come in a decade of genetic genealogy. Kennett divides the book into two sections that help the lay person understand the science of DNA for family history and the technical tools genealogists use today.

Section one describes "The Genetic Genealogy Revolution" with chapters:
  1. The basic principles — covering the basics of DNA testing of all types, the limitations of using DNA, how to determine who to test, how to choose a testing company, and the mechanics of taking a DNA sample.
  2. Surnames and the paternal line — covering Y-DNA tests and surname projects including a section on the possible reasons a mismatch may be seen when a DNA match was expected, geographical projects, adoptions, recommendations on how many markers to test, how to understand the test results using both tools from the testing companies and tools genetic genealogists have made freely available online, and public Y-DNA databases.
  3. Before surnames: haplogroups and deep ancestry — covering the DNA tests and results that tell you about your ancestors before a genealogical timeframe, tens of thousands of years ago. Some of the tests described here may not help today with genealogy, but the information being discovered could contribute more than we realize to both genealogy and an understanding of the history of humans. Each researcher should understand these tests so she knows how the results can be used and the limitations.
  4. The maternal line: mitochondrial DNA tests — covering how to use mtDNA for genealogical purposes, mtDNA projects, understanding your test results, deep ancestry of the maternal line, and public mtDNA databases.
  5. Cousins reunited: autosomal DNA tests [my favorite section] — covering atDNA which can be used to research all of our ancestral lines, not just the paternal and maternal lines on our pedigree charts. This is one of the first books on how to use the atDNA test results for genealogy. Kennett also covers the X-chromosome in this section with simple charts showing the ancestors from whom a male and female child might have inherited an X chromosome. This understanding of DNA inheritance patterns is critical to using DNA results for genealogical purposes. Kennett uses examples from both companies that have been offering atDNA tests for some years: 23andMe and Family Tree DNA. She also explains the process each company uses to allow contact between DNA matches.
  6. Setting up and running a DNA project — covering information a DNA project manager needs to know about starting, marketing, and managing a project.

Section two describes "The Social Networking Revolution" with intro and chapters:

Introduction — covering interesting statistics on the use of social media and subjects that should be considered by users of these tools.
  1. Traditional genealogical networking methods — covering family history societies, mail lists, message boards, forums, and other tools most genealogists have probably used. The section on mail list etiquette should be periodically reviewed by all computer users to remind us of good e-manners and how to get the best responses to our queries.
  2. Genealogy social networking web sites — covering the history and pros and cons of Genes Reunited, several online tree building sites, GenealogyWise, and Lost Cousins.
  3. General social networking web sites — covering the history and pros and cons of non-genealogical networking sites such as Friends Reunited, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, and Google+.
  4. Blogs — covering what a blog is, how to find one, RSS feeds to make blog reading easier, and writing your own blog. There is a long, useful list of interesting blogs and blog tools.
  5. Wikis — covering how wikis work, Wikipedia, genealogy wikis, the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) Wiki, family tree wikis, and research wikis. Even tech-savvy genealogists may find a few links never before clicked on.
  6. Multimedia — covering photographic and video sites, podcasts, webcasts, and webinars.
  7. Collaborative tools — covering tools a genealogist can use for research and when communicating with other researchers.
End matter includes a glossary and bibliography and appendixes:
  1. DNA websites — listing MANY links to sites to help a person understand genetic genealogy.
  2. Testing companies — listing the DNA testing companies with brief descriptions.
  3. DNA projects — listing several types of DNA projects.
  4. Surname resources — listing links for surname resources.

Other reviews of this book can be found at:

CeCe Moore, "Debbie Kennett's 'DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the 21st Century', article, 8 November 2011 Your Genetic Genealogist blog ( : accessed 28 November 2011).

Emily Aulicino, "DNA and Social Networking by Debbie Kennett," article, 9 November 2011, dna - genealem's genetic genealogy blog ( : accessed 28 November 2011).

© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

22 December 2011

DNA Access Policy Changes Bad for Genealogists

Warning: Personal opinions included below.
CeCe Moore's Your Genetic Genealogist is one of my must-read DNA blogs. Yesterday she wrote "23andMe changes terms for expired PGS subscription customers." If you have tested at 23andMe this is a must-read for you, too.

23andMe was formed to do DNA testing primarily to study medical issues. They discovered genealogists were also interested in the data. Two years ago 23andMe ran a good sale and many genealogists, myself included, had tests done. We were interested in autosomal DNA as well as Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests offered at that time by companies doing DNA testing for genealogical purposes.

After the sale 23andMe pricing was a little steep for many genealogists. The company then offered a low initial price with the addition of a monthly maintenance fee. You can see in CeCe's blog what the company told her about how a tester could retain access to their data even if they stopped paying the monthly fee. Apparently the policy of 23andMe is changing and may leave many customers in the lurch.

The section in my DNA presentations where I caution a potential tester to understand what they are paying for will certainly change to reflect these new problems. The section where I tell people to download their raw data will now be emphasized more.

I tell testers to download their raw DNA data as soon as it is available. This protects you somewhat from changing company policies and companies that go out of business. A person would still have to know how to interpret the raw data—or find someone who can do so. But at least you have a copy of the data no matter what changes there are in company policy afterwards. If a company adds data to your profile you may need to download an updated copy of the raw data. But always, always keep a copy of your current raw data in your possession.

Like others, I am no longer comfortable recommending 23andMe for DNA testing for genealogical purposes. I understand that sometimes changing environments and regulations can cause a company to change policies. But to make such drastic changes without first notifying customers is a customer relations no-no. And for some time now Family Tree DNA, a company formed for and by genealogists, has been offering an autosomal test to go along with the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests they pioneered.

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) has one of the best reputations in the field for customer service. The owners, Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfield, cheerfully invite customers to contact them with any questions, suggestions, or comments. They listen to what their customers say and enhancements the project administrators ask for. As far as I know, no other genealogical testing company has the loyal following that FTDNA has. And the company invests heavily in scientists and equipment that allow new discoveries in the usefulness of DNA for genealogical purposes. Do a search for the "Walking the Y" project on the Family Tree DNA website to learn about one project they invest in. is also offering DNA tests now. They have not been doing so long enough to build a reputation yet. In the opinion of many genetic genealogists, Ancestry misrepresents the number of markers they test by individually counting each section of multi-value markers. It takes a long time to build a DNA database, for it to be large enough to make meaningful comparisons, for a company to have knowledgeable customer service representatives to answer DNA questions, and to get a reputation that encourages others to recommend your company.

No other company has a larger database than Family Tree DNA. For genealogy the most important part of DNA testing is to be able to compare your results to many others to find potential family members. With facts like these it's difficult not to recommend Family Tree DNA over the others for genetic genealogy tests. But even at FTDNA, I download and save a copy of my raw data so I always have it on my computer. If you haven't saved your raw data after DNA testing, go do it now. There should be a link on your personal page at the DNA testing company that allows you to download raw data. If you can't find it contact customer service for help.

12-22-2011 afternoon update:

I just saw an update on CeCe's blog — 23andMe has created a place for customers to voice their concerns - see The title on this Google Docs page linked to is "PGS Subscription Feedback." PGS stands for Personal Genome Service. If you go directly to this comment page there is no indication whatsoever this is for comments to 23andMe. You'd think 23andMe would make sure you know that is who the comments are going to in case you don't know what "PGS Subscription" stands for.

© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

15 November 2011

Family Tree DNA 2011 Year End Sale

Family Tree DNA just notified project administrators about the current sale which runs through the end of this year. Place orders through a DNA project you are part of. Or join a project to get these great prices.

Kits must be ordered through a project. To order a new kit through the Texas State Genealogical Society project, where a small portion of the price will go to preserve genealogical records in Texas, please click on the spinning DNA strand at the bottom of the page at ( If you are already a customer of Family Tree DNA, you can join the Texas State Genealogical Society project by joining the group TXStateGS.

The message from Family Tree DNA reads:

As we approach the holiday season, we feel having one BIG promotion for a sufficient amount of time best supports our volunteer Administrators, in their effort to recruit new members. Current members will also benefit by having simultaneously reduced prices for upgrades.

Effective immediately this promotion will end on December 31, 2011.

We hope that this will give a big boost to your projects!

Y-DNA 37 $149 $119
Y-DNA 67 $239 $199
mtFullSequence $299 $239
SuperDNA (Y-DNA67 and FMS)    $518 $438
Family Finder $289 $199
Family Finder + mtPlus $438 $318
Family Finder + FMS $559 $439
Family Finder+ Y-DNA37 $438 $318
Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-67)    $797 $627
12-25 Marker $49 $35
12-37 Marker $99 $69
12-67 Marker $189 $148
25-37 Marker $49 $35
25-67 Marker $148 $114
37-67 Marker $99 $79
Family Finder $289 $199
mtHVR1toMega $269 $229
mtHVR2toMega $239 $209



© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved