Saturday, February 25, 2017

Grandsons' atDNA Inheritance: A Case Study



If you are familiar at all with genetic genealogy, you know that children inherit 50% of their autosomal DNA (atDNA) from their mother and 50% from their father. You also may know that while children inherit about 25% of their atDNA from each grandparent, these amounts may vary.

I recently had the opportunity to compare the amount of atDNA shared by two of my grandsons with each of their four grandparents and with one great-grandparent -- father of their maternal grandmother:


P-GF P-GM M-GF M-GM M-GGF
G-son A 1852.9 cM 1731.5 cM 1882.2 cM 1719.8 cM 727.2 cM
25.8% 24.1% 26.2% 23.9% 10.1%
G-son B 2025.7 cM 1558 cM 1584.9 cM 2017.4 cM 885.4 cM
28.2% 21.7% 22.1% 28.1% 12.3%


As you can see above, the percentage actually shared by each grandson with each grandparent varied from 21.7% to 28.2%. No big surprises there. We have long been told that after the first generation the amount of atDNA inherited is somewhat random and varies from one grandparent/grandchild pairing to another.

Note also that the amount inherited by both grandsons decreased by more that 50% between the amount they inherited from their maternal grandmother (M-GM) and her father (M-GGF). In this case the decrease seemed to be in proportion to the amount they had inherited from their maternal grandmother but I don't think we can come to any solid conclusions from this very small sample.

One thing did jump out at me that I had never though about before. As I mentioned above, it is well known that all children receive 50% of their atDNA from each parent. However, it had never occurred to me that all grandchildren inherit 50% of their atDNA from each pair of grandparents. While the amount inherited from each of the four grandparents may vary considerably, the amount inherited by the maternal grandparents combined or from the paternal grandparents combined will add up to 50%. It is a logical conclusion but not one that I had thought about before.  

Now I'm pondering to what extent this principle can be extended. For example, can we calculate how much atDNA my grandsons may have inherited from the mother of their maternal grandmother (M-MG). Can we conclude that each of the grandsons inherited 25% combined from the parents of their maternal grandmother? That would be useful, if true, because we only have DNA test results from one of the great-grandparents.

I'm still pondering how far, if at all, this bonded inheritance can be extended. Do any of you have data and/or thoughts? 


Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Winning Innovators for 2017 Are





Last year a big portion of the $100,000 in cash and in-kind support from the Innovation Showdown at RootsTech 2016 went to TapGenes which has continued to develop its product and outreach for those seeking to organize and share family health information. 

This year 40 contestants from the US, Europe and Canada entered the competition. Ten semifinalists were invited to compete this week in Salt Lake City during  the world’s largest family history technology conference. In case you want to look back at those semifinalists now, you can look at my earlier post where the ten are listed with links to where you can find more information.

Judging focused on both the promise of the product as well as the soundness of the business model. Each contestant had two minutes to present the product. Then the panel of five judges had a combined two minutes to ask questions or make comments. If you are familiar with the television show Shark Tank on ABC, you should be able to visualize this format. 

Although the originally announced prize pool of $100,000 in cash and in-kind support was impressive, three new sponsors emerged and enabled the awards to swell to almost twice that amount. The new sponsors were Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kickstarter Seed Fund and Sorenson Legacy FoundationFriday the five finalists competed before a live audience and those watching via streaming around the world. Both those in Salt Lake City and those streaming were able to text their choices. Interestingly, the people's choice and the judges choices were different.


2017 RootsTech Showdown Winners



  • First Place Judges’ Choice ($90,000 cash, AWS credits, and an investment from Kickstart Seed Fund), Bill Nelson of OldNews USA.





  • Second Place Judges’ Choice ($44,000 cash and AWS credits), The Qroma tag mobile app for embedding stories into pictures, tagging them by voice commands, and making the data accessible on various platforms.
  • Third Place Judges’ Choice Award ($26,000 cash and AWS credits), Louis Kessler, Double Match Triangulator, an app to help sort autosomal DNA matches into groups of relatives.
  • People’s Choice ($25,000 cash and AWS credits), Kindex, an app designed to help users create searchable, shareable archives of family letters and other documents using tags to help users easily locate information.


  • The distinguished panel of judges were: 

    Kenyatta Berry, Co-host of The Genealogy Roadshow
    Al Doan, Co-founder and CEO of Missouri Star Quilt Company;
    Thomas MacEntee, Founder of High Definition Genealogy;
    John Richards, Founder and CEO of Startup Ignition; and
    Dalton Wright, Partner in Kickstart Seed Fund.


    More information about the awards competition can be found in the press release.

    Keep in mind that the overall winner may not be the new product that will be the one most useful to you in your research. 


    Thursday, February 9, 2017

    The Innovation Showdown Finalists Are....



    Last year a big portion of the $100,000 in cash and in-kind support from the Innovation Showdown at RootsTech 2016 went to TapGenes which has continued to develop its product and outreach. Today the ten semifinalists competing for a similar windfall of support and recognition were winnowed down to the five who will receive final consideration on Friday. By the end of the week the 2017 winner will be announced.

    In case you want to look back at those semifinalists now, you can look at my earlier post where the ten are listed with links to where you can find more information.

    Judging focused on both the promise of the product as well as the soundness of the business model. Each contestant had two minutes to present the product. Then the panel of five judges had a combined two minutes to ask questions or make comments. If you are familiar with the television show Shark Tank on ABC, you should be able to visualize this format.

    These five projects were advanced to Friday's final round. The prize pot is being expanded beyond the announced $100,000. Three new sponsors just signed on. More information about this significant financial and in-kind support will be announced in a day or so.


    Double Match Triangulator (DMT)

    An autosomal DNA analysis tool for genealogists   From Canada.

    Emberall

    Capture, organize, store and share the life history of a loved one - from your smartphone in as little as 30 minutes!  caption


    Kindex

    Accessible, searchable archives for everyone through collaborative record sharing and indexing. 

    OldNews USA

    The easiest way to find your family in historic newspapers - on your phone!

    QromaTag

    Add your story to any photo using your iPhone and your voice.
    Digital tagging of family photos with metadata and linking to GEDmatch files



    As the winner is announced I'll update the list and add more information. If you are among the fortunate twelve thousand or so of my closest genealogical colleagues who have joined me in Salt Lake City for RootsTech, you will have a chance to "kick the tires" and "look under the hoods" of these new products over on Innovation Alley (through the turquoise gateway over the entrance on the left below) in the Exhibit Hall.



    If not fortunate enough to be in Salt Lake, I'll update you as the competition unfolds. Keep in mind that the overall winner may not be the new product that will be the one most useful to you in your research. 


    Saturday, February 4, 2017

    Now There Are Ten Innovation Semifinalists



    Last year a big portion of the $100,000 in cash and in-kind support from the Innovation Showdown at RootsTech 2016 went to TapGenes which has continued to develop its product and outreach. This year there are still ten semifinalists competing for a similar windfall of support and recognition. That number will be reduced to those to receive final consideration by the middle of next week. By the end of the week the 2017 winner will be announced.

    In case you want to take a peek at those semifinalists now, I have listed them below in alphabetical order with links to where you can find more information: 


    Champollion 2.0

    The scribe for savvy paleographers   

    CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing

    Small organizations need an easier way to manage their indexing projects, and this is it. 

    Cuzins

    Cuzins is a mobile app that shows how you're related to friends & celebrities, and how they're related to each other

    Double Match Triangulator (DMT)

    An autosomal DNA analysis tool for genealogists   

    Emberall

    Capture, organize, store and share the life history of a loved one - from your smartphone in as little as 30 minutes!  caption

    JoyFLIPS

    We combine easy photo scanning, voice storytelling, and AI that brings in relevant historical data from everywhere   

    Kindex

    Accessible, searchable archives for everyone through collaborative record sharing and indexing. 

    OldNews USA

    The easiest way to find your family in historic newspapers - on your phone!

    QromaTag

    Add your story to any photo using your iPhone and your voice. 

    RootsFinder

    Family history for the whole family 


    As the finalists are announced and I've had a chance to examine each product and talk with its developer(s), I'll update the list and add more information. If you are among the fortunate ten thousand or so of my closest genealogical colleagues who will be joining me in Salt Lake City for RootsTech, you will have a chance to "kick the tires" and "look under the hoods" of these new products over on Innovation Alley (through the turquoise gateway over the entrance on the left below) in the Exhibit Hall.



    If not I'll try to update you as the competition unfolds. Keep in mind that the overall winner may not be the new product that will be the one most useful to you in your research. 


    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Genealogists as Lifelong Learners -- Part 1



    All serious genealogists are lifelong learners. There is always more to learn about our families. You have probably learned by now that there is no such thing as a done genealogy. If you are successful in breaking through a brick wall, your reward is that your previously blocked line has now split into two lines to be followed.

    There is also always more to learn about the craft of genealogy. None of us can be experts in all areas. Have you made any New Year resolutions about adding to your genealogy tool kit in 2017? If not there is no time like the present to make a short list of new skills you would like to acquire. Fortunately there are a wide and growing array of opportunities for learning that can be tailored to any learning style, budget or locale. These include from books, blogs, cruises, conferences, institutes, research tours, social media and webinars. The list seems to grow longer every month. Below are a few examples. Let's see who I can offend by leaving their favorite off the list.

    Big conferences include:
    1. RootsTech which has grown to more than 10,000 in person attendees from every state and numerous other countries. FamilySearch is the organizing force behind this relatively new conference. Usually held in February and always in Salt Lake City. The aim of this conference is to bring technologists and genealogists together. Many of the sessions are streamed around the world.
    2. National Genealogical Society (NGS) Usually held in May and often in the Eastern part of the US.
    3. Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). Usually held in the late summer. Although it is technically aimed at helping strengthen local and regional societies, there is a rich array of programing aimed at individual researchers.
    4. Genealogy Jamboree of the Southern California Genealogy Society. Usually held about the 2nd week of June in Burbank. The last five years there has been a separate DNA Day at the same location the day before Jamboree begins. 

    Home schooling options:

    While these large conferences provide a rich array of opportunities in one location as a sort of shock treatment of simultaneous sessions and opportunities to consult with vendors, these sponsoring organizations also provide a rich array of other learning opportunities throughout the year. Some examples include:
    1. FamilySearch offers a wide array of opportunities each month.
    2. The SCGS Webinar Series that was introduced in a previous blog post offers two webinars each month plus some streaming from Jamboree in June.  

    Personal learning objectives

    I stayed up all night thinking about and writing this post and it is dawning on me that if I try to make it too comprehensive, nothing will ever get published. Tell me what your favorite learning opportunities are and I'll try to include them in my next post on this subject. 

    Please share what you would like to learn in 2017.


    Saturday, December 10, 2016

    2017 SCGS Webinar Series



    Want to continue your genealogical education throughout the year but have a limited travel budget? The 2017 Jamboree Webinar Extension Series of the Southern California Genealogical Society offers some of the best offerings from its Jamboree conference presentations throughout the year and makes them accessible to you in your home. 




    My presentation partner Beth Balkite and I make an appearance next October 18th as we present Family History + Health History Lead to Personalized Healthcare:
    Genealogies record family relationships. Health histories reveal causes of death, disabilities, chronic diseases, or known genetic disorders within families. How can you build an accurate family health/medical history? Should you? Can genealogists lead the way to personalized healthcare/medicine?
    For those of you who are not familiar with Beth's background, here is a summary of why I am delighted to partner with her:  Beth Balkite was a certified genetic counselor for over 30 years. She is an alum of the Graduate Program in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College. She worked as a genetic counselor in Connecticut at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Yale University, and Norwalk Hospital prior to joining Genzyme Genetics as manager of Clinical Genetics Services in 1993. In 1998 she was hired as Genetics Education Strategy Advisor for GlaxoSmithKline. She has continued as a genetics educator in several capacities before retiring in 2012. She has studied her own family history for years and is now one of just two genetic counselors to practice and teach genetic genealogy. She is an instructor at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) at Duke University in Durham, NC, where she teaches a course “Applying DNA to Your Family Tree.” In the summer of 2016 she taught a session in the Advanced Genetic Genealogy course at GRIP (Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh). 

    Hope you will join us for this presentation and discussion.

    A full description of the 2017 offerings is now available for this rich and diverse series.


    Monday, November 14, 2016

    FTDNA Holiday Sale 2016





    FTDNA is kicking off its 2016 Holiday Sale today. If you are unfamiliar with FTDNA's recent holiday sales, here is how they work. The sale prices are very good. Some at the lowest prices I have ever seen. Here are the sale prices I have seen:

    1. YDNA37       $139 
    2. YDNA67       $229
    3. YDNA111     $319
    4. BIGY           $525
    5. mtDNA Plus $79
    6. mtDNA FMS $179
    7. mtDNA upgrade $139
    8. Family Finder (FF) $59
    9. FF + 37      $188
    10. FF + 67      $278
    11. FF + 111    $364
    12. FF + FMS   $228
    13. FF + 67 + FMS $452
    These prices are expected to be available until the end of the year. In addition to these great sales prices, FTDNA has added a minor social media frenzy the last couple of years by offering weekly coupon codes each Monday during the sale. They expire the following Sunday. These codes reduce the cost below the above sale prices. They can be used by the person who receives them on their myFTDNA page OR they can be shared with others. If you receive codes that you know you will not be using, please share them with other family members, fellow DNA project members or the general genetic genealogy community through Facebook. On Facebook it may be better to just state what level of coupon code you have and ask interested people to contact you. These codes can only be used once and then are no longer valid.

    The codes are generated at random to your myFTDNA pages. They are expected to include the following discounts:
    1. $10 off any YDNA STR 
    2. $20 off any YDNA STR
    3. $40 off YDNA 67
    4. $60 off YDNA 111
    5. 10% off any YDNA Upgrade
    6. 20% off any YDNA Upgrade
    7. $50 off Big Y
    8. $75 off Big Y
    9. $100 off Big Y
    10. $10 off FF
    11. $10 off any mtDNA product
    12. $20 off any mtDNA product
    13. $40 off FMS

    If you see any other coupon codes, please post a comment at the end of this blog post.

    The strategy comes in if you are planning to do additional testing but are on a limited budget. How long do you wait for the bigger discounts to show up? There are fewer of them. Is it better to order using a smaller discount which will expire the following Monday or gamble that a bigger discount will come your way some other week?

    Let the games begin and enjoy the fun as we build our genetic genealogy databases for the benefit of us all.

    Has anyone seen holiday sales prices for other companies?  


    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    First Meeting: Mary and Joy



    Mary and Joy, half sisters, met last night in the airport in Dallas. This event was eight decades in the making. To find out how this came about, please review my two earlier posts:
    Finding Joy and
    From Whom Did Mary and Joy Come
    California Mary with sea shells meets Texas Joy

    Do these happy faces look like half-sisters?
    The two were just united in person for the first time late last night.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    THE ASSASSIN’S CREED DNA TESTING BUNDLE



    FTDNA, 20th Century Fox and Find My Past team up to offer a one time bundle to those intrepid explorers who wish to explore their inner space. In a promotion aimed to coincide with the December 21st release of the "epic adventure film" Assassin's Creed, participants will be invited to explore their own past. What is included?

    JUST$89USD
    • WHAT'S IN THE BUNDLE
    • The Warrior Gene DNA Test
    • Family Finder DNA Test + myOrigins
    • Findmypast Subscription
    Other sweepstakes style prizes are included Check out the details at: https://www.familytreedna.com/assassinscreed/#bundle 



    Friday, September 30, 2016

    From whom did Mary & Joy come?



    Connect a septuagenarian with her half-sister for the first time and instantly she wants to know more about her ancestors -- particularly those on the sisters' shared paternal side of the family which was to be priority #1:


    1. I would like to complete the maternal side of the Dodder family....
    2. Then I would like you to investigate the Hessick side of the family.
    3. Then I would like you to look at the Vosti family.
    4. Finally, we’d like to research Bob’s family.
    That was quite an agenda. I was willing to explore what might be involved with priority #1. As I did I noticed there were conflicting opinions as to the name of Mary's and Joy's paternal grandmother. In one source she was listed as Ida Dodder Grove. For short time I entertained the idea that she had remarried a Grove after her marriage to Charles Dodder had ended. That speculation was short lived. FamilySearch's cooperative and comprehensive Family Tree listed her as Ida Smith and assigned her a long multi-generational list of ancestors. But that Ida Smith was going to turn out to be born about a decade too early. Ida's true maiden name was literally chiseled in stone.



    To investigate more deeply what the atDNA of Mary and Joy could tell us, I downloaded their raw results from AncestryDNA and uploaded them to GEDmatch. GEDmatch keeps operating on donations and does not charge membership subscriptions for most of its services including the ones I will be discussing here. Additional analysis tools are offered to those who donate to keep this volunteer site operating. I used the People who match both kits tool to narrow my focus to individuals to whom Mary and Joy both were related through their shared father. When I did so some familiar names began to emerge.

    The 3rd, 5th, 9th and 18th highest matches on their combined list were known close cousins of mine. Bob is my maternal 2nd cousin. Doris, James and Mary S. are known maternal 1st cousins. Even I was a match but was way down the list. Isn't atDNA fickle? ;-)


    name
    Mary M
    Joy

    Bob
    63.7
    37.7

    Doris
    51.7
    62.6

    James
    44.4
    52.2

    Mary S
    31.7
    38.7

    Dave
    12.0
    33.5

    Conclusion: The two half-sisters are related to my family on my maternal side. In addition, this relationship was through my maternal grandmother because of the strong match of my 2nd cousin Bob. Now we are making progress. But how far back was our connection?

    To explore that question I ran a Generations analysis. The value shown is estimated generations to Most Recent Common Ancestor.(MRCA):

    name
    Mary M
    Joy
    Mary M
    1.4
    Joy
    1.4
    Doris
    4.1
    3.9
    Dave
    5.1
    4.4
    Mary S
    4.4
    4.3
    James
    4.2
    4.1
    Bob
    3.9
    4.3

    Unsurprisingly the two half sisters showed up as about a generation and a half apart since they only share one parent. The rest of us showed up about 4 generations removed from the Most Recent Common Ancestor we shared with the half-sisters. Now we are getting someplace. We are looking for someone who is an ancestor of my maternal grandmother who is about 4 generations back. But we still have quite a way to go. 

    My grandmother had a Cashatt father and a Grove mother. Where have we seen one of those names before? Can atDNA help us more? 

    I do have a 3rd cousin who also has transferred her atDNA results to GEDmatch. She does not share my Cashatt ancestors but she does share the Grove line. Do her results help? Actually they do. She shares 32.2 cM with Joy and 15.3 with Mary. Apparently these just missed the threshold to be included in the test I ran above. She is predicted to be 4.4 generations removed from her common ancestor with Joy and 4.9 generations from Mary. This cousin shares Grove ancestors. I think we have a winner here. 

    We still don't know how far back this connection is. To determine that I had to build back the pedigree tree of Ida. Remember her? After considerable research that included several marriage records, several census records, several vital records, etc. I was able to connect her back to my 3rd great-grandparents. I had been able to confirm my connection to them 11 years ago using both property records and tombstones as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on Ohio; but that is another story for another day. 

    Below is a chart that connects me to my newly discovered 4th cousin half-sisters:  


    One part of the mystery of from whom did Mary & Joy come has been solved.