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Messages - Eric Hatfield

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Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Ancestry DNA Circles
« on: Tuesday 24 April 18 23:36 BST (UK)  »
I didn't find DNA circles at all useful - only one circle of 4 people, all of whom were known to me, and obvious. I couldn't see the value in them, but I readily admit to not understanding them very well. (I use past tense because I am not currently subscribed to Ancestry, so I don't see that one circle at all just now.)

I suspect I have limited results from this because I live in Australia, but my ancestors were from UK and Ireland several generations back, and only a limited number of ancestors migrated to Australia, and a very much more limited number in Australia have tested. Americans seem to have tested far more, have many more generations in their country and thus have many more close matches.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: MyHeritage DNA
« on: Tuesday 24 April 18 23:26 BST (UK)  »
This is a useful discussion, thanks everyone. I didn't know before how to get around the 250 limit on the tree (thanks Margaret), and the discussion has helped me see that I'm not using My Heritage enough.

I uploaded my FTDNA results there, so now I have my DNA at Ancestry, FTDNA, My Heritage, Gedmatch, DNA Land and Geni. My difficulty is that I don't always remember all these sites, I don't always check them regularly, and I don't have much familiarity with some of them - we can sometimes have too much information for our brains!

So thanks for the incentive to spend more time at My Heritage.

Hi S128,

You will find many different opinions on this, so I might as well add mine. I find myself somewhere between the negative views of davidft and the positive views of brigidmac.

I agree with David that Ancestry oversells the value of the ethnicity testing, but I still think it tells us something interesting and sometimes useful. The areas are a little arbitrary and overlapping, but that is because populations (and DNA) vary gradually, and do not exist in tight well-defined blocs. The reference populations may be small or arbitrary in some cases, but that are still useful information. The percentages do keep varying, so we shouldn't set too much store on the exact numbers, but they still give us a general picture.

I think one of the difficulties is timeframe. If, as is often the case, our ancestors moved around a bit - whether a long time ago or more recently due to war and persecution - then we may have near ancestors in UK, older ancestors in Germany and ancient ancestors in an arc across Europe from Turkey to Scandinavia (as is my case, revealed through mtDNA testing). The autosomal test will reveal relatively recent ancestry, but that may still be varied if we go back more than a few generations.

The reference populations will include this sort of variation, hence the fuzziness of the areas and estimates, and the differences between the different companies. I have ethnicity estimates from Ancestry, FTDNA and Gedmatch (which has many different estimates) and they are all different, but there is a reasonable commonality too. I haven't yet found ethnicity useful in developing my family tree, but I don't think it will always be irrelevant, especially as more and more people test and reference populations get larger and better defined.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Ancestry DNA Results Filtering
« on: Saturday 24 March 18 10:49 GMT (UK)  »
I too would like to be able search and sort my Ancestry match data. I think the only way to do it is the download the data to a spreadsheet, which (if you are familiar with spreadsheets) can help in manipulating the data. Then, if the database contains a field for whether the match has a tree (which I think it must because that information is listed on each match's page), you can sort to find those that do and don't have trees.

Trouble is, Ancestry doesn't seem to provide a download facility, for reasons that I'm not aware of. FTDNA does it, so why not Ancestry? But a couple of third party tools do allow this.

1. AncestryDNA Helper is a free Chrome extension that allows you to download the match list, so you can open it in a spreadsheet. I haven't tried it because the Mac version isn't working at the moment, but it apparently works fine on a PC. Instructions are here.

2. DNA gedcom is another way to download though, again, I haven't tried it yet. There is a price to use it for a month or a year.

Hopefully one of these might do the trick for you.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Size of DNA data bases
« on: Friday 09 March 18 00:32 GMT (UK)  »
Removed because I got it wrong. Sorry.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Size of DNA data bases
« on: Wednesday 07 March 18 10:37 GMT (UK)  »
Not quite true.  Yes, it would be rare for a person not to inherit any DNA from an ancestor five generations back (a gtgtgt-grandparent).  But just because you inherit DNA from an ancestor doesn't mean your fourth cousin who descends from the same couple will have inherited the same DNA from them that you have.
Hi Hurworth, yes you are right. My first statement was  correct, but only a percentage of 4th cousins will match. I mentioned some of the percentages before, and your reference provides them too. Thanks for the correction.

My point was that while we miss some matches, we also get plenty, which is better than nothing. (It's a bit like paper records. Some church records for example have been lost, some are still available, but that doesn't stop us using what we can find.)

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Size of DNA data bases
« on: Wednesday 07 March 18 09:08 GMT (UK)  »
Hi Guy, You say "Eric you seem to know more than Rolf Kohl, Dr.rer.nat. (Ph.D) Ecology & Biology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, for instance,  who states-", but he said the same as I did, except I didn't mention mtDNA, which is quite separate from the 23 chromosomes, but which men inherit just as much as women do. Your quote is about genes, which don't account for all DNA, but only a small part of it.

Which is what I was saying due to DNA dropout (this is where the DNA of a particular ancestor is not passed down to a child, that particular DNA may be passed on to a sibling but the child’s descendants will never carry the “missing” DNA.
Yes, there is a drop off. Nevertheless, some DNA is generally passed down from ancestors in the first 5 generations back. My understanding is that for a person to receive no DNA from such a close ancestor would be rare. So there is almost always enough DNA to form a match between two people with a common ancestor in the last five generations.

As I have said in the past when the science develops it may prove to be of use in genealogy but at present it is far too inaccurate and too expensive to be of any use to the bulk of genealogists.
Ah well, I guess you can ignore it. Meanwhile, so many other people, including a few on this thread, have found it useful, actually indispensable. But let's not go over that ground again shall we?

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Size of DNA data bases
« on: Wednesday 07 March 18 09:01 GMT (UK)  »
That is so cool, you are a mine of good information. Thanks.

I actually visited the DNA geek blog just a couple of days ago and asked about the different companies' coverage in different countries, so perhaps this survey is partly as a result.

I hope she gets enough participants to get some reasonable results.

Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing / Re: Size of DNA data bases
« on: Wednesday 07 March 18 07:38 GMT (UK)  »

Thanks for that link, I hadn't seen it before, and even though I have been with FTDNA for two and a half years, I learnt quite a lot.
  • Yes, it resolves the question of why you only see closer matches (its Ancestry's chip, not because you haven't unlocked). Thanks for your input too Hurworth, you are right and I was wrong in my guess.
  • Yes, it shows where the different criteria of close, distant, etc, appear on the match list as you asked about and I had forgotten (not just on the chromosome browser, which I knew about).
  • And it explains why many people think that doing the FTDNA test is worthwhile even though they can transfer for free.
I really wish we knew the location of testers in the 4 main companies. I have avoided 23andMe because I thought they were mainly US based, and their testers were maybe more interested in health & medicine issues, and not so helpful with family history enquiries, but that is just an impression. I'm thinking about testing there also now, same reasons as you.

Thanks again. It is good to get clarification.

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