Monday, September 20, 2021

Is It Soup Yet?


This post is inspired by Judy G. Russell’s blog post Not soup in 2021 either.

Her point is that the admixture results we get from DNA tests ARE ESTIMATES. They are educated guesses. Please note that these estimates vary from one testing service to another. They are not definitive; but some of the unexpected results may be interesting.

I claim that these estimates are soup. Soup in progress – still on the stove but not the final product. 

Soup is generally a combination of several, sometimes many, ingredients. So are we. Looking at a soup pot on the stove we can easily see the large ingredients; but what about the herbs and other small bits that give the soup its flavor?

My first views of my admixture showed a couple of surprises. I trace my Polish ancestors to the late 18th century – all in Poland. So why am I being told that I show Scandinavian or Greek heritage?

Well, history implies the Scandinavian part. In the 1650’s there was a 5 year war between Sweden and Poland. Five years!. I’d bet that some Swedish soldiers married and settled in Poland. I have no doubt that many other Swedish soldiers left their DNA scattered among Polish women.

Greek is a little more far-fetched, but my mother’s maiden name is Ganas. A search on that surname shows mostly Greeks. So maybe several hundred years ago a traveling merchant from Greece chose to stay in Poland. I’ll never know but it brings up a possibility.

I’m glad that my curiosity led me to look at these seeming anomalies. They make my heritage a bit more interesting.

I am comforted by seeing my admixture concentration where I’d expected it to be. But if, as 23andMe tells me, I carry Neanderthal genes, then I probably also carry some from Sweden and Greece.

My point is that while admixture is just an ESTIMATE, some of the outliers may be worth consideration.



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Oh, Cousin – Where Art Thou?


My current focus is on finding cousins via DNA matches. I’m still waiting for results from my test, but there are lots of matches from my 23andMe and My Heritage tests.

Image lifted from Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches

I got all excited when I learned about DNA Painter.  I downloaded match information and painted it. It’s a very colorful DNA map. But I also created a problem for myself and now I’m having to backtrack a little.

Problem: I failed to finish the research to add some of them to my family tree. I am a “big picture” person who sometimes tends to gloss over the details. That almost always causes problems, but the details are not the fun part.

So now my task is to summon some self-discipline to bring my tree up to date. Self-discipline isn’t the fun part either

Monday, September 6, 2021

Playing Catch-up


There are so many new tools for genetic genealogy that it’s been a challenge to catch up.

DNA Painter has some great tools. Here’s a sample of my chromosome map showing that I’ve painted 43% of my map. The legend on the right shows the familial relationships. I’ve mapped matches from 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FTDNA. I don’t yet have results from my Ancestry test.

The legend also shows that I’ve imported the ethnic origins of my chromosomes as interpreted by 23andMe, but they’re not displayed in this image.

Another useful tool is Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cm Project. The Shared cM Project (ScP) is a collaborative data collection and analysis project created to understand the ranges of shared cM associated with various known relationships. Click on the link for an explanation of the project.

DNA Painter will also show your family tree based on the ancestors you have listed and showing the color of each group.

There’s a contrast between my ethnic origins as shown by 23andMe and those from FTDNA. Both of these reflect the raw data from the same test.

Here is a sample of the DNA Painter chromosome map showing ethnic origins as per 23andMe. Familial relationships not shown in this image.

And here is the chromosome map of my ethnic origins as interpreted by FTDNA. Again, the same raw data as above.

Another interesting contrast is between 2 different tests interpreted by My Heritage. My Heritage does not have a chromosome mapping tool, so here are the two maps.

23andMe DNA test raw data as interpreted by My Heritage

My Heritage DNA test raw data as interpreted by My Heritage.

Conclusion: DNA analysis is an evolving process.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Wading in Unfamiliar Waters - DNA Painter


Taking a look at a couple of new (to me) things. New tools for my toolbox. I’m just beginning to give them a try. I wonder if they’ll be useful for me. Part I discussed WikiTree. Here's DNA Painter.

DNA Painter   

It’s been just a few days since I discovered DNA Painter. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I love it. DNA Painter is free. Here’s a quote from a Google search for DNA Painter: 

“DNA Painter is an easy-to-use tool that helps genealogists make sense of DNA testing. By mapping segments of DNA to chromosomes, we can begin to see which ancestors gave us which pieces of DNA, and thus how new matches are related. ... “This is the most user friendly, easy to use mapping tool.”

Your DNA testing site will show you where your matches fit onto your chromosomes. You may upload data from any DNA site that has your data. This is how a first cousin matches me.

Bringing that data into DNA Painter will show an identical map.

Then you can bring in other DNA matches that will be added to your chromosome map. Here’s an example of a portion of my chromosome map after adding a few more matches:

The different colors indicate which ancestor (or ancestors) is the source of that DNA segment.

The very many available tools permit analysis and give an opportunity to make valid inferences about matches where you do not know the ancestral source of the DNA. Although this is free, there is a subscription option that includes more tools.

I don’t yet know enough about it to be able to explain further, but a Google search will find many sites with information and help.  Here are a few links:

DNA Painter review – Is it the best tool for DNA visualization?

 I’m Hooked on DNA Painter. You Should Be, Too.

DNA Q&A: Do I Need DNA Painter?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Wading in Unfamiliar Waters - WikiTree


Taking a look at a couple of new (to me) things. New tools for my toolbox. I’m just beginning to give them a try. I wonder if they’ll be useful for me.


Community family trees have always been off-putting for me.  While I love Family Search, my tree there is just a stub because I don’t like the idea of others being able to make changes without my approval. WikiTree, however presents itself as a collaborative world tree. My present understanding is that I “manage” the people I put there and others cannot make changes at will.

It is labor intensive because each person must be added individually – a pain if you’re doing manual entry, but it is also time consuming if you upload a large GEDcom file.

That’s what I did. Uploaded a GEDcom with more than 2,000 people. WikiTree then scans its database to find who in your file matches someone they already have. So I ended up with a HUGE table of names from my tree that did not have a match. 

The good news is that you can add people from your file, and all of the information from your GEDcom is added to WikiTree.  At first glance, I could not figure out how the entries in the table were sorted. It seemed to be alphabetical, but there were areas that seemed out of place. I did a lot of scrolling up and down the pages of the table.

In the end, I added my tree up to and including my great grandparents. My patience had evaporated by that time.  I do intend to go back and add my great aunts and uncles

Friday, August 20, 2021

Ancestry DNA Test – finally


Finally doing an DNA test. I’ve resisted doing a DNA test from because I didn’t think that it would give me any better information that I have from the 23andme and My Heritage tests. I’ll be surprised if it does.

I did 23andme when I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I wanted some idea of my daughter’s vulnerability.

A few years later I did the MyHeritage test because the protocol was newer and I’m hoping to find cousins in Poland. MyHeritage has a huge presence in Europe.

I am not now actively pursuing my Polish heritage. I think that I’ve traced my ancestors as far back as is practical for Polish peasants – the late 18th century. So I’ve moved into a different phase – finding more cousins and learning about them.

That brings me to the Ancestry DNA test. There seem to be many trees that list my known relatives but are posted by people I don’t know. My hope is to find dozens of matches that will introduce me to more distant cousins.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Ancestry’s newest revenue stream: Your photos and documents.


This is old news by now. claims ownership of every image on your family tree. This includes photos of people or images of documents that you’ve uploaded, such as letters or personal documents. They reserve the right to use our images for whatever purpose they choose.  

·       Advertising

·       Promotion

·       Educational videos

·       Anything else they want to do with our images.

While I doubt that any of my photos would ever have any commercial value, I resent that they would be appropriated by an organization that has no connection or interest in them other than producing revenue.

I have deleted all photos of people in my tree on Ancestry.

But here’s the thing: If others have added your photos to their trees, those images are still available to Ancestry unless they’ve also been deleted from those other trees.

Several blogger have written about this, but I  think that the best is from Dear Myrtle "

The Sky is Falling, Or Is It? #Ancestry TOS Challenges

Just plain greed.