Thursday, August 28, 2014

FTDNA End of Summer Sale

I'm happy to pass along this notice which just appeared in my email box because we all benefit when more people are tested and the databases of potential matches grow bigger:

Dear Beloved Bloggers,

We hope you've had a great summer!  As the season draws to a close, join us for one last celebration with our End of Summer Y-DNA Sale!  Customers can order a Y-DNA test and join the world's largest Y-DNA database today.  All Y-DNA tests and upgrades have been marked down for significant savings!

Time is limited.  The sale ends 9/3/2014.

As an added bonus, Big Y is also on sale for just
$495.  Big Y coupons acquired during the Father's Day Sale can be used on Big Y orders placed during the End of Summer Sale.  With Big Y, 340,000 years of Y-DNA ancestry is just a test away!

Standard Tests
Regular Price
Sale Price
Big Y

Regular Price
Sale Price
Y-12 -> Y-37
Y-12 -> Y-67
Y-12 -> Y-111
Y-25 -> Y-37
Y-25 -> Y-67
Y-25 -> Y-111
Y-37 -> Y-67
Y-37 -> Y-111
Y-67 -> Y-111

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unraveling BIG Y Test Results: R-DF97

Yesterday I wrote about a BIG Y discovery that got my Maryland Dowells past SNPs R-L21 and R-DF13. The Virginia Group 1 Dowells in our surname project had long been known to have come forward in time from those two SNPs and were known to have reached R-M222. Thanks to the informative charts that citizen scientist Mike Walsh tirelessly updates at the site of the R L21 and Subclades Project, we have the opportunity to almost keep up with the current SNP tsunami:

The chart above is offered only to give overall perspective. The new subclade R-S1026 discussed in yesterday's post is represented by the four boxes colored pale pink in the middle of the chart. The more robust subclade R-DF49, which includes SNP M222, is the blue/aqua on the extreme lower left corner of the chart. Our Maryland Dowells and the Virginia Dowells have not shared a common male ancestor in about 3,500 years even though both followed the same SNP trail down from yDNA Adam to SNP DF13. You will need to visit the linked project website to be able to read the details of this chart. 

The DF49 corner of the chart is blown up below:

I request the reader's indulgence to ignore the gold and yellow boxes in the upper right corner of this part of the chart. The Virginia Group 1 Dowell who took the BIG Y test, was able to trace his SNP migration pattern several hundred years and eight SNPs closer to the present. He now is confirmed to be DF97 and beyond. DF97 is at the bottom of the third column from the left in the above chart.

Although this Dowell has been able to discover the trail of his ySNPs through a significant part of the last few millennia, he still has discoveries to make to connect his paper trail to his SNP trail. As was the case with my Maryland Dowells, The Big Tree of Alex Williamson gives many more recent SNPs to try to arrange in the proper chronological sequence. It is necessary to visit the original website to get a clear view of the SNPs that the yDNA of this Virginia Dowell has accumulated as his paternal clan moved toward the Atlantic coast of Europe. 

The Virginia Group 1 Dowell is the third column from the left in the above chart. SNP DF85 is in top row and DF97 is in row three. There are still many SNPs to arrange in the proper sequence in recent centuries as attempts are made to tie the SNP path into the documented path and to identify his nearest relatives.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection is moving toward publication

With great haste we make slow progress. I just returned the copy edits for my new book to the editor. Another step closer to the publication date but still a few steps to go.;postID=568404745683052894

For those of you who have not experienced the process, I'll review it for you. I signed the contract last September. The manuscript was due at the publisher at the end of December. That deadline was missed and my co-author had to withdraw because of success in other areas of her life as a genetic genealogist. It was April before I finished the part she was to have written. 

First the acquisition editor read the manuscript and approved it to go into production. Then it was reviewed for plagiarism, copyright and legal permissions from those whose material was being included. Here the progress seemed to bog down. I'm not sure whether this was due to an illness of the production editor or because of the cycle adopted by my publisher. The cover was developed as soon as the manuscript went into production. Authors, at least with this publisher, have no say about the cover. We can negotiate almost any other aspect but not the cover.

Manuscripts for other books I have done with this publisher were due at the end of December. This allowed the books to be available for showing to thousands of librarians who attend the American Library Association Conference typically held at the end of June. Since the current title missed that cycle, it seemed to fall into the next cycle. That cycle is to get it out in November so that it could be available for Christmas.

The production editor assigns the manuscript to a copy editor who reads it for grammar, footnote format, etc. The manuscript is returned to the author for concurrence with any changes and to answer any questions from the copy editor. This is the last point at which the author can make any changes or add new material. 

The manuscript is returned to the copy editor for final formatting. It is then converted into page proofs. These are returned to the author for one last review. At this stage only the most minute changes can be made so that the pagination will not be disrupted. The index is created at this point. I prefer to do my own indexing. Our work schedule calls for me to be indexing in mid-September. The page proofs and index are returned to the copy editor who places every thing in final form and forwards it to the publisher for printing and distribution.

If you should order this book from the publisher, be advised that the electronic format offered was designed primarily for library servers and may not be what you have come to expect from Kindle. The book also can be preordered from Amazon but the discount code shown above will not be honored there. 

Makes one want to investigate self publishing. 

Unraveling BIG Y Test Results: R-S1026

For a long time I have been stymied in my efforts to trace my SNP trail through the most recent three or four millennia down to genealogical time. Now we are beginning to make some headway due largely to the herculean efforts of the citizen scientists of the R-L21 and subclades project. The BIG Y, Full Y, Chromo2 and other discovery tests are providing multiples of the numbers of SNPs that had been identified prior to the beginning of 2014. 

R-L21 is the most prevalent male haplogroup along the western coast of Europe. In some areas it approaches 80% of the male population. Therefore, knowing that one is part of this mega clan is interesting but not very useful genealogically speaking. I had tested positive for DF13 which is a SNP just below L21. This still is not that useful as the vast majority of R-L21 men also belong to this subdivision. A dozen subclans of DF13 have been discovered in recent years but one by one I had tested negative for all of them prior to getting my BIG Y results. Now I know that I belong to the newly identified S1026 subclan. Below are the results of nine of us who have BIG Y results: 
This chart lists the SNPs for each of us that have been discovered downstream (toward the present) from S1026. At least six men have been identified by the Chromo2 project at ScotlandsDNA. 

My results are those in the middle column above. The man whose results are my closest match in the SNP chart above (just to the right of mine) is a sixth cousin-once removed. He and I share 105 of the 111 short tandem repeats (STRs) over which we previously had been tested. We appear to share five SNPs that so far separate our migration trail from that of any of the other members of this emerging group. He and I share a common ancestor who died in Southern Maryland in 1733. Even more recently I have four additional SNPs and he has seven.

The McDaniel man represented by the SNP trail in the column to my left above is my next nearest relative in this grouping. He and I previously had discovered we shared 35 of 37, 64 of 67 and 102 of 111 STR markers. He has seven identified SNP mutations since his ancestral DNA trail separated from mine and that of my Dowell cousin. The three of us share nineteen additional so far identified SNPs in common before our common trail merges with that of the three men in the columns to our right. Then the six of us share five earlier SNPs before we converge with others with whom we share SNP R-S1026.

It is going to take test results from additional men to sort out the exact sequence in which all these SNPs should be arranged chronologically. For example, we know that the five SNPs recently named (see chart above):
Z16886 Z16887 Z16888 Z16889 Z16890
are grouped together but we don't know in what chronological sequence they occurred. Only as more are tested and some are positive and others are negative will this more precise arrangement be possible. This sorting of other SNPs which are lumped together above will follow a similar process. As a result the SNPs will appear to be out of sequence as their correct ages and thus their actual locations along the migration path of our paternal DNA begin to appear. This will result in the nice orderly naming progressions to be scrambled.

Isn't genetic genealogy fun? The more we discover the more we have yet to learn. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

WDYTYA? Followup

If you are interested in more information on the story of Cynthia Nixon which aired on this season's first episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC on Wednesday evening, I have a couple of suggestions for going deeper. If you missed the show when it was first aired, you can watch a recap online at the TLC site. Two respected bloggers offer you a chance to explore the most explosive event in Cynthia's family history in more detail. 

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, covered legal aspects of the case and turns it into a legal thriller where you get to come up with your own verdict.

Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy discussed missed opportunities for researching deeper -- particularly with DNA.

Dr. D has long wondered why Ancestry continues to miss opportunities to market its DNA testing product. The company offers one of the three most used DNA testing programs in the US. However, no DNA test reports made it into any of the episodes of the program last season -- a trend that has continued through episode 1 this season. We are only offered about 42 minutes of content in each episode. A little of that is used to remind us what happened before commercial breaks in case our short term memory is a little challenged. 

One of the biggest challenges of the show is to film around the availability of the guest celebrities. Since it takes several weeks to get DNA tests back from the lab and to identify other potential relatives whose DNA reports might match, it is challenging from a time perspective to include such testing. Still, since is the lead corporate sponsor, one would think DNA testing could be fitted in somewhere -- at least in some episodes. Is it possible that the DNA testing package being offered by Ancestry is not as conducive to genetic analysis as the tools offered by some of its competitors?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tennessee Ancestry Library Event (TALE)

Reserve your spot now for the Tennessee Ancestry Library Event (TALE) on Saturday, September 20th.

"Discover and celebrate your family history! This full day of genealogy classes, sponsored by and the Tennessee State Library & Archives, will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel (623 Union Street, Nashville, TN 37219) on Saturday, September 20. Registration for the all-day event is only $30.00. Space is limited, register today! 

Speakers will include Chuck Sherrill, J. Mark Lowe and Ancestry’s own Anne Gillespie Mitchell, Kim Harrison, Juliana Szucs Smith, Loretto (“Lou”) Szucs, and Anna Swayne. Topics include: How to Search Successfully to Tell Your Story on; AncestryDNA: Another View into Your Family Story; Your Ancestor’s Lawsuit: Finding and Using Tennessee’s Supreme Court Case File; Jumpstart Your Research; and a Live Q&A Panel." 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Facebook account Clone

Early yesterday evening I began to receive notices from family and friends that something was amiss with my Facebook (FB) account. It seemed I had a new account which had about a half dozen pictures from my original account -- including my profile picture. Many if not all of my existing Facebook friends had been invited to accept "friend" requests to the new fake site. I had even been given a sex change. 

With some tips from savvy friends -- especially Drew Smith -- I quickly, began to understand what had happened. If I did a FB search for my name, I only got into my own original site. However, if my wife did the same search, she got 2 hits. One listed me as her husband and the other listed me as a female. My conclusion, possibly correct, was that whoever created the site was sophisticated enough to block me from findind the new site by searching from my original site. When I tried to follow a link sent me by a friend, I got this message: 

Sorry, this page isn't available

The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.

This prevented me from logging into the new site and requesting FB to take the pretender down. But my wife and others could still find the second site. 

This must have happened many times before. As I worked my way through the many FB help pages, I was first directed to log into the offending site and then contact FB. That was not possible in my case because I could not find the site from my legitimate account. 

With a little more digging, I found an option to have a friend to request that the rogue site be removed. My wife did so. I was then contacted by FB to verify that I wanted the second site removed. They took it down within minutes. 

If you ever get a friend request from an existing friend, be a real friend and notify the person immediately of this anomaly. Apparently 40 of my friends accepted the fake friend requests. If this happens to you, contact FB immediately.

I have no idea who did this or why. Be vigilant.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cousin Jim's Biological Mother

On June 30th I along with three other Adams 1st cousins met in person, for the first time, our newly found 39th first cousin, Jim Jones. Previous posts have chronicled the discovery of Jim through a DNA match: Another Adams Cousin; and X Factor: Another Adams Cousin, part 2

Over the Spring, we had examined each of my mother's 9 sisters which DNA tests indicated could have been Jim's biological mother. Gradually we had ruled out five. Four of them were already married at the time Jim was born so we assumed that Jim's birth name would not have been Adams if any of them had been the the biological mother. 

The 5th was a little more difficult to rule out. Aunt Hattie had been institutionalized for the portion of her life that any living family could recall. The exact circumstances of her entry to the state hospital were unclear. She, at age 21, was still living at home along with her parents and three other sisters in the 1930 census. That was about a year and a half before Jim was born. By 1935 she was a patient in the state hospital. For a time we entertained the thought that Jim's birth could have been the result of a sexual assault that left her severely traumatized. After getting a court order, her records were released. Her disability was documented to have resulted from scarlatina suffered when she was nine years old. In addition she had been continuously hospitalized for the rest of her life beginning a few months before Jim was conceived. 

This was the state of our research when five first cousins (including Jim) met for lunch three weeks ago. 

Doris Logston, Pearl Rogers, Mary Sturm, Jim Jones & Dave Dowell
Right after our lunch Jim returned to the courthouse with renewed vigor to seek any further information that might help our search. On Saturday, July 5th he received a letter from the court which gave him the name of his birth mother. She was one of the four aunts still on our "suspects" list. She had died in 1997 -- one of the last surviving members of her generation of our family. She had never had other descendants to our knowledge.

We now turn our search to a more daunting task of attempting to identify Jim's birth father.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Genealogy on the Small Screen

For those of you who like to watch genealogy revealed on television, three series of shows will be coming your way over the next few months.

Who Do You Think You Are?

First out of the chute is season 6 of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are?

I know that many of you have difficulty viewing this on The Learning Channel (TLC). However, this series kicks off the 2014-15 viewing season on July 23 at 9 PM Eastern time. I did a small sliver of research for one of the episodes; but I don't know if it was even filmed -- let along avoided the cutting room floor. has reported that 10 episodes were ordered by TLC. 

I am hoping that some segments will use DNA research this year. Last season I was surprised that there were no such episodes even though, one of the major US DNA testing companies was a principal sponsor. 

Finding Your Roots

Next up will be  Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. It is set to begin on public television on September 23rd. Anderson Cooper, Valerie Jarrett, Ben Affleck, Billie Jean King, Anthony Bourdain, Deepak Chopra, Tina Fey, Alan Dershowitz, and Jessica Alba are among those who have been identified as featured guests.

This series has been in production for many months. DNA results as well as traditional documentary research has been included. CeCe Moore is the DNA consultant for the series.

Genealogy Roadshow

The Genealogy Roadshow will be returning to public television in Spring 2015. 

I'm not sure how many shows will be included. Filming will be underway this fall at different cities around the country. Those of you who are familiar with this series will recall that it deals with the family histories of non-celebrity "common folks". Casting calls have already gone out in New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Happy viewing!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Genetic Genealogy Reading List

I just returned home from at trip to California for Genealogy Jamboree sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society Society (SCGS) which was preceded by an excellent day long pre-conference "Family History & DNA." 

Those of you unable to attend or to remotely view the streamed sessions could benefit from the excellent reading list prepared for inclusion in the syllabus of the DNA Day attendees. The "DNA & Genealogy Reference Books" list was complied by Bonny Cook on behalf of the DNA Interest Group of SCGS and the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG). I believe Alice Fairhurst deserves credit for the companion list of "DNA Web Sites of Interest to Genetic Genealogists." You may find both of these lists useful in building your knowledge of genetic genealogy.