Welcome to DNA Testing Update, my blog that keeps you up-to-date with what's new at DNA Testing Adviser. I’ll tell you about…
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Right now, you can enjoy FREE access to all U.S. census records on MyHeritage, now through April 5, 2020. The earliest census is 1790 and the latest one is 1940 due to a 72-year privacy restriction. These records are gold mines for genealogists and normally require a subscription for access.
This is a perfect time to learn more about DNA testing and genealogy. Every year a number of presentations and general sessions at RootsTech have been recorded. Right now you can view dozens of sessions from the last six years. You can even see some celebrities delivering keynote talks.
Since 2015, Blaine Bettinger has been crowd-sourcing data on the number of centimorgans (cMs) of DNA shared for known relationships. Jonny Perl created a web-based version that lets you enter a number and see the possible relationships and their probability. Blaine has updated his data and Jonny has updated the tool. Read more about it in this blog post.
My adoptive family also burned papers relating to my adoption. But I discovered the truth at age 18 and met my birth families decades later. The man in this article was much older when he found out. But now he knows his birth mother and eight total siblings.
Crista Cowan is a genealogist at Ancestry. Her informal presentation at RootsTech about the ThruLines tool was recorded. That's the tool that uses family trees to suggest exactly how you and your genetic matches are related. I watched it yesterday and learned some more things that I did not know. You can watch it here.
Wouldn't you love to get the DNA of deceased family members? Keepsake DNA is a new service set to launch on DNA Day (4/25/20) that will attempt to extract DNA from artifacts. Examples: envelopes, hats, hair, eyeglasses, watches, bone, dentures, toothbrushes, jewelry, garments, smoking pipes, tools, lighters, bandages, artificial limbs, chewed gum, etc. No prices have been posted yet. But this could be a great addition to the world of genetic genealogy.
Gilad Japhet is the founder and CEO of MyHeritage. I just watched his RootsTech presentation and I think any genealogist would enjoy it. He goes behind the scenes on the development of three new features: 1. photo colorization, 2. a new approach to city directories, and 3. their interactive fan view of your family tree. You can watch the whole video or advance to any subject of particular interest.
Consumer DNA tests are helping people uncover all kinds of secrets. In this story from Canada, two men born on the same day in the same hospital confirm a suspicion that they were switched at birth 57 years ago.
DNA testing is especially popular in English-speaking countries around the world. In this case, a woman in Australia discovered her previously unknown father living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She took her family north to spend the Christmas holidays with him.
A Proven DNA Test Strategy That Won't Waste Your Time and Money
Jonny Perl is a pioneer in chromosome mapping. His DNA Painter site offers many useful tools. The latest addition is a feature that can help you view certain traits and medical SNPs on your chromosome map. This could potentially be used to track specific conditions back in time through specific ancestors.
As often happens, a second cousin match on a DNA test and some sleuthing on Facebook was all it took to discover an adopted woman's birth family. The reason for the adoption was typical for the time period of her birth.
Genetic Affairs is one of the sites that can do automatic clustering of your genetic matches from autosomal DNA tests. Recently, they added a feature that makes tree diagrams from those clusters. Blogger Kitty Cooper shows some great examples of how she uses these tools to solve genetic mysteries.
This is quite a story. A woman does a DNA test to get a breakdown of her ethnicity. Five years later she hears from a sibling and discovers that she was conceived by a sperm donor. As she connects with more siblings, she finds they have something else in common besides their biological father.
The RootsTech conference that ended last week in Salt Lake City was the tenth. The conference combines genealogy and technology and is now the biggest family history conference anywhere. This web page reviews the history and growth of this massive conference.
Ezvid Wiki was the world's first video wiki and is now among the top 3,000 websites in the United States. Yesterday, I saw this new page and was pleased to see that my website, DNA Testing Adviser, was one of the seven chosen for the video. You can learn about all seven at this link.
Not telling someone they were adopted has proven to be a bad idea in many ways. Here's another issue. This woman chose to have a hysterectomy based on ethnicity and family medical history. Then a DNA test revealed she was adopted. Even her older siblings knew she was adopted and chose to keep quiet.
I have a MyHeritage subscription and love it. Now they've added three new features that make it more irresistible: 1. I already shared about the new tool that adds color to black & white photos. 2. They just added a colorful and interactive fan view for family trees. It's the best way I've ever seen to view and navigate a family tree. 3. They just added a massive collection of U.S. City Directories. Such directories played a huge role in my personal search for birth parents and having them online and so easily searchable is a fantastic feature. Use the following link to get a 14-day free trial.
I am sharing this invitation from the production company for a new TV show. Will they handle situations with sensitivity like Long Lost Family or aim for shock value like the Jerry Springer Show? I don't know. Click the link if you want to know more.
Learn about the genetic genealogy tools provided by DNA testing companies and others
Some of the genetic genealogy DNA tests include a report on the DNA we inherited from human relatives in Europe known as Neanderthals. New research suggests that we all have some of this DNA whether our ancestors were from Europe or not.
This is the best article I've seen in some time about people discovering new family members through DNA testing. Several stories are covered along with information about support groups and counseling. Watching the video is even better than reading about it. You may have to sit through a brief commercial first but it's well worth your time.
This adoptee did a DNA test to learn about her heritage. Then she began to hear from many biological relatives. “I didn’t know you could find people,” she said. Her journey to meet relatives in person took her all the way to the Caribbean. The article includes some advice on establishing contact.
A recent reviewer of my Finding Family book wrote this review on Amazon: "I am always intrigued to hear other adoptees stories. My favorite part was when Mr. Hill stated about his fantasy of Clark Gable being his father. My fantasy parents were Lynda Carter and Elvis Presley. And here I was thinking that I was the only person to have such a thought! I really couldn’t stop reading, so many similarities in both his search and mine. Of course many differences also but I absolutely loved reading this book!"
Whether you were adopted or not, did you ever fantasize about a famous person being your parent?
It was big news 80 years ago when a baby was found abandoned at the Woolworth's store in Edinburgh, Scotland. Now the man has finally started to search for his lost family through DNA testing. His attitude is remarkable.
This story is a good reminder that secrets about a person's biological paternity are no longer safe. If your adult child is adopted or donor-conceived, he or she deserves to know that. Better you should tell them now than have the secret revealed through a DNA test.
Many people who are not genealogists get into DNA testing because they want to see a percentage breakdown of their ethnic ancestry. All the major autosomal DNA tests include such a report. For a brief overview of that subject, see this new page on my website.
MyHeritage In Color™ is a new feature that lets you colorize your black and white photos automatically. I tried it and was impressed with the quality. The original photo is not changed and the colorized photo is a separate file in the same resolution as the original. Several photos may be colorized for free, after which continued use of this feature requires a MyHeritage subscription, which is already a great service for genealogists.
Sometimes a DNA test will find surprises in your family tree. Judit in Hungary found a major surprise in her DNA and is now excited to solve the mystery behind it.
“It is always nice to know the truth, your real origins,” says Judit. “That can be the greatest thing. Maybe it’s something you already knew about, so confirming it could be cool, give you a sense of your place in the world. But if you find out something else — well, you get a chance to experience the truth.”
Blogger Kitty Cooper shares a brief summary of the recent conference of the Institute for Genetic Genealogy. One of the speakers was Paul Fronzcak, the child returned to his parents after the famous Chicago baby-napping case in 1964 and author of The Foundling.
This adopted woman was raised as an only child and always wanted siblings. Her birth mother married and had eight children and the only girl always wanted a sister. Thanks to DNA testing they found each other and everyone got their wish.
Living DNA is known best for reporting British ancestry in 21 sub-regions. They continue to add new regions and break down European ancestry into finer detail. For example, this new update breaks Germanic ancestry into three sub-regions. The free updates are rolling out now. First, they email you that your update is ready for processing. Then you log in and request it. They re-run your data and email you again when the new report is ready. Plus, you can still view your old results and even download a PDF file. My wife and I have both been updated and I like the way they are handling this.
What DNA ethnicity testing can tell you about your ancestry
If you take an autosomal DNA test like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, or Family Finder, some of your matches will only share small segments of DNA with you, i.e. in the 6 to 15 centiMorgan range. Many people will tell you to ignore these matches. But Jim Bartlett teaches us that such segments can be valuable.
Here's another case of a DNA test uncovering unknown ancestry. In this one there was an informal adoption so there was no paper trail of any kind.
How\ the amount of DNA two people share predicts DNA relationships
Learn what the autosomal DNA test can do for genealogists and adoptees
Only a tiny percentage of people who take a DNA test will unintentionally discover a family secret. So it's quite remarkable that two close friends both identified their biological fathers after doing the AncestryDNA test.
Since DNA testing can uncover all kinds of biological relationships, it raises many ethical questions. As an adoptee, I understand the need to know one's biological roots and I am forever thankful for the people who helped me find my first families. This post by Brianne Kirkpatrick explores a more controversial search--that of donor-conceived people searching for their egg or sperm donors. Read her post, give the subject some thought, and share your opinion.
Not all family discoveries result from DNA testing. Sometimes it's something else, like Facebook in this particular case in the U.K.
Attending RootsTech is a great experience. I went last year. But the total cost of getting to Salt Lake City and staying in hotels is high. Thankfully, several of the presentations will be streamed live over the Internet for free. That schedule has been announced.
Thanks to a change in state law, adoptees born in New York can now access their original birth certificate. This official webpage explains how to do that.
If you or a family member has tested your DNA on AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or Family Finder, you can easily upload the raw data file to MyHeritage to get free DNA Matches. Receiving DNA Matches and contacting them is free and unlimited. Unlocking additional DNA features (Chromosome Browser, Ethnicity Estimate, Shared ancestral places, and more) requires an optional one-time unlock fee of $29.
MyHeritage is the most popular DNA test in Europe and is growing rapidly in the U.S. and elsewhere. Any genealogist or adoptee should definitely get into this database. DNA data uploaded to MyHeritage is completely private and secure. Only you can see the DNA data you upload.
Two women, living in different states, take the same DNA test for different reasons. They discover each other, learn more about their families, and become fast friends.
Good news for genealogists! Due to systemic improvements in their processes, Family Tree DNA has cut the prices of Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests. Since this makes their best options more attractive, they have also simplified the product lines, dropping the 67-marker Y-DNA test and the base mtDNA test. Upgrade prices have also been cut. So if you tested earlier, log into your account to see your upgrade options.
I read some comments in an online survey about DNA testing and was disappointed to see this reply: "After receiving the result that identified my nephew as my grandson, I lost confidence in the accuracy of all the results." This man rejected a great tool because of his own ignorance. Nephews, grandchildren, and half-siblings all share about 25% of your DNA. When less DNA is shared, there are even more possible explanations. Whenever you get the results of an autosomal DNA test, note the shared centiMorgans and enter that number in the following tool. It will show you the possible relationships.
When using an automated clustering tool such as Genetic Affairs’ AutoCluster or DNAGedcom’s Collins Leeds Method, the output is in the form of a matrix. Dana Leeds clearly explains what these mean using several screenshots. This is brief and right to the point. Good job!
Raised by white parents, Christine grew up thinking of herself as white. Now in her 60s, she took home a DNA test and learned she has a lot of West African ancestry. This led her to discover that her biological father, a man she never knew, was black. Her quest to learn about him leads her on quite an adventure.
That's what the latest reviewer of my "Finding Family" book wrote on Amazon. Here's the rest of her review: "This book is founded on the author's intelligence, scholarship, and skills as an investigator. He has done the very hard work of finding his family of origin, and in this book he tells the story of how he succeeded, clearly and in detail. This book is a source of encouragement and inspiration for anyone looking for their own biological relatives. Hill has uncovered significant information about his long-gone biological parents and extended family, and presents them to the reader in a way that feels like a marvelous old home movie, a window into an otherwise forgotten past."
I appreciate it very much when any reader takes the time to write a review. Thank you all.