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Thread: A story to urge people who tested at Ancestry to upload their data file to GEDmatch.

  1. #1
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    A story to urge people who tested at Ancestry to upload their data file to GEDmatch.

    There are many things I like about Ancestry, but one thing I really don't like is the complete absence of a chromosome browser. Nor does it sound as if the company is likely to add one anytime soon -- if ever.

    But there are many times when being told that you share "x centimorgans across y segments" is not all that helpful, not sufficient for answering how you might be related to someone.

    Here's a story about how I lucked out when a DNA cousin decided on his own to upload his Ancestry data file to GEDmatch.

    The story actually begins a few years ago, at 23andMe. 23andMe was reporting a probable 2nd cousin whom I'll refer to as RB. RB and I shared 207 cM in 11 segments. RB shared even more with three of my siblings -- 272 cM in 12 segments with my oldest brother -- and a bit less with my other two siblings.

    Plus, RB's surname was familiar to me. My grandfather's older sister Florence married a man with that surname. The man's first name was Guy. So I sent a message to RB, asking whether he was perhaps Guy and Florence's grandson -- since if that was the case, Florence's parents would be RB's and my common great grandparents.

    Well, it turns out that I was almost right. Instead of RB being the grandson of Guy and Florence, he was the grandson of one of Guy's brothers. But this made no sense, because it would indicate a relationship -- but only by marriage. Yet we appeared to be 2nd cousins.

    Right away I began to think that there might be an NPE on one side or the other, but at this time I was also seeing other relatives at 23andMe who made me think the NPE was on my side, not RB's. I know through DNA testing that my father really is my father, and all of my five siblings are full siblings. I also have DNA cousins who are definitely related through my mother's mother. And, for various reasons, there was also no reason to think that my mother's father was not exactly who he was supposed to be.

    However, the same could not be said for his parents. It looked as if Guy's parents were actually better candidates for my grandfather's biological parents than Florence's parents were!

    Then I discovered another likely 2nd cousin, this one at Ancestry. (I'll refer to this 2nd cousin at BK.) Since there isn't a chromosome browser, I couldn't see where our shared segments were located, but Ancestry said we shared 265 centimorgans across 15 DNA segments. So I contacted BK -- or rather, his wife, who manages the account -- to find out more.

    To my surprise, there was a connection between RB and BK. They are 1st cousins, and their common grandfather happens to be Guy's brother. Unfortunately, since they tested at two different companies, I wasn't able to compare them to each other -- or better yet, to compare all three of us to each other.

    Yet it seemed plausible that the parents of RB and BK's common grandfather were also my grandfather's parents. So I ended up creating a shadow tree (or mirror tree) in which I attached my grandfather as their son. Since I have taken both Ancestry's v1 and v2 versions of their DNA test, I was able to leave my v1 results attached to myself in the old tree. I attached my v2 results to myself in my shadow tree, then waited a few days to see results.

    Eventually, I ended up with well over a hundred Shared Ancestor Hints based on my grandfather being the son of Guy's and his brother's parents, George Edward Babcock and his wife Hannah Louise (Muncy). I'm also now in 8 DNA Circles involving ancestors on both sides -- that is, some who are ancestral to George, and some who are ancestral to Hannah.

    But I still wanted more. I really wished for a chromosome browser at Ancestry, because I reasoned that if I were right about George and Hannah being my great grandparents, I would have inherited a significant amount of X-chromosome DNA from Hannah. I already knew that I'd inherited all of my X chromosome except for about 20-21 cM surrounding the centromere from my mother's father. Only that 20-21 cM was from her mother.

    I shared no X-chromosome segments with RB, because RB's descent from Hannah included two males in a row. My descent was: Hannah to my grandfather to my mother to me. And BK's descent was Hannah to BK's grandfather to BK's mother to BK. So we had a good chance of inheriting one or more overlapping segments from one of Hannah's X chromosomes.

    Unfortunately, I hadn't yet managed to bring myself to ask if BK would upload his DNA to GEDmatch, though I hoped he would. And recently, that hope was fulfilled. I logged in to GEDmatch one day, ran the one-to-many utility, and there he was. RK appeared just below my father, my daughter, and my five siblings.

    GEDmatch actually reported somewhat more sharing than Ancestry did -- 300.6 cM of autosomal DNA, and another 41.4 cM of DNA on the X chromosome. This consisted of two segments, one of 15.1 cM and the other of 26.3 cM. In addition, BK also shared the 2nd segment with a probably 3rd cousin who'd tested at Ancestry. That cousin -- I'll refer to him as DH -- also shared two segments with me on the X chromosome, with the first segment being located very close to the segment BK and I share.

    At any rate, it was clear that BK, DH, and I likely shared an X-chromosome ancestor at some point within the last few generations. For BK and I, Hannah was a good possibility. And DH's mother and Hannah did have a number of common ancestors, including an ancestor who was in a possible X path for both of them.

    The estimated generational distance between BK and me at GEDmatch is 2.8. It's very close to this for each of my siblings, as well. That would make sense if our common ancestors are a pair of great grandparents, who would be back three generations.

    Between DH and me, this number is 4.2. Between DH and BK, the number is 3.7. Both of these numbers make sense if DH is a 3rd cousin to both BK and me. But I now have literally dozens and dozens of cousins who seem likely to be related through either George Babcock or Hannah (Muncy).

    I can't yet explain -- and may not ever be able to explain -- why my grandfather ended up being raised by someone else. Yet without DNA testing, I'd still be figuring that the people who raised him were his biological parents, which pretty clearly they were not. I also would not have a pretty clear idea of who were his biological parents.

    Much of this I could have -- and did -- learn even before BK uploaded his Ancestry data to GEDmatch, but it was only after he did so that I was able to get confirmation that we share a recent X-path ancestor, with Hannah being a perfect candidate. (The woman my grandfather believed to be his mother also seems not to be a possibility.)

    So ... if you've taken an autosomal/X chromosome DNA test, please consider uploading your results to GEDmatch -- especially if you've taken it somewhere that does not provide any sort of chromosome browser, like Ancestry.
    The short explanation of my ancestry is German-British-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

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  3. #2
    Very interesting! I did the Ancestry test recent and uploaded to GEDMatch but am still learning what it all means (I'm new to this). Would you be willing to explain more about the mirror tree? I don't understand why changing your tree would change your matches on Ancestry.

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    A good explanation of mirror trees can be found here: https://dna-explained.com/category/mirror-trees/, although I actually sort of stumbled onto the idea before I ever read this.

    My matches didn't actually change when I changed my tree. The matches depend simply on whether there is shared DNA. What changed was that I began to get Shared Ancestor Hints for some of those matches, because the hints depend both on sharing DNA and having a tree intersection or overlap.

    The matches themselves are essentially the same for both the v1 and v2 versions of the test. In fact, many of my DNA Circles are also the same whichever test version I look at -- but not any DNA Circles on my maternal grandfather's side.

    For the older version of the test, which is attached to me in my original tree, I get no Shared Ancestor Hints that involve ancestors of my grandfather in that tree; and no DNA Circles, either. I do get hints and circles related to my grandmother on this side, and related to my father's ancestry.

    It is only when looking at the v2 version of the test, which is attached to me in my mirror tree, that I get any Shared Ancestor Hints or DNA Circles on my grandfather's side. The matches themselves aren't changed; I just get hints for many of them, and I am in DNA Circles with many of them. [edit: At the moment, it's 132 Shared Ancestor Hints involving ancestors of the couple I believe were my grandfather's biological parents; and 8 DNA Circles.]

    This obviously is no guarantee that the new tree is correct, but it certainly suggests that I'm on the right track. This is especially true when the hints and circles I'm talking about can be found on both sides of my grandfather's parentage -- but only in the mirror tree, not in my original tree.
    Last edited by geebee; 08-16-2017 at 10:51 PM.
    The short explanation of my ancestry is German-British-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

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    Thanks for the story Geebee! I agree with what you say about the Ancestry DNA tests, i also found that the results were somewhat vague as it only said i was Western European 37%, 23% Irish, 18% Scandinavian, 18% British and 4% other. These broken down areas cover a lot of ground (such as West Europe being France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and others) and i was looking for something a little less general, a few days ago i uploaded my Raw Ancestry DNA results to GEDmatch and used the "Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15 4-Ancestors Oracle" to see if i could get some more broken down results.

    The results i got back seemed very interesting (just included the top 7) -

    1 North_Dutch at 4.547478
    2 Norwegian at 4.778465
    3 Danish at 5.221695
    4 West_Norwegian at 6.260334
    5 Southwest_English at 6.497132
    6 Swedish at 6.735855
    7 Southeast_English at 6.779783

    Using 2 populations approximation:
    1 50% Norwegian +50% Southwest_English at 2.663656

    Now i don't know hardly anything about DNA but these results seem very interesting to me as in my family (i'm 3/4 English and 1/4 Scottish) we do have known Dutch, Norwegian and German connections (although its kinda a rumor). But these results defiantly got me thinking to say the least.

    I definitely recommend using GEDmatch as it can teach you a lot, I still have a lot to learn about it though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJames View Post
    Thanks for the story Geebee! I agree with what you say about the Ancestry DNA tests, i also found that the results were somewhat vague as it only said i was Western European 37%, 23% Irish, 18% Scandinavian, 18% British and 4% other. These broken down areas cover a lot of ground (such as West Europe being France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and others) and i was looking for something a little less general, a few days ago i uploaded my Raw Ancestry DNA results to GEDmatch and used the "Eurogenes EUtest V2 K15 4-Ancestors Oracle" to see if i could get some more broken down results.

    The results i got back seemed very interesting (just included the top 7) -

    1 North_Dutch at 4.547478
    2 Norwegian at 4.778465
    3 Danish at 5.221695
    4 West_Norwegian at 6.260334
    5 Southwest_English at 6.497132
    6 Swedish at 6.735855
    7 Southeast_English at 6.779783

    Using 2 populations approximation:
    1 50% Norwegian +50% Southwest_English at 2.663656

    Now i don't know hardly anything about DNA but these results seem very interesting to me as in my family (i'm 3/4 English and 1/4 Scottish) we do have known Dutch, Norwegian and German connections (although its kinda a rumor). But these results defiantly got me thinking to say the least.

    I definitely recommend using GEDmatch as it can teach you a lot, I still have a lot to learn about it though!
    For the most broken down results run in Oracle4-Ancestors mode, above looks like standard Oracle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee View Post
    There are many things I like about Ancestry, but one thing I really don't like is the complete absence of a chromosome browser. Nor does it sound as if the company is likely to add one anytime soon -- if ever.

    But there are many times when being told that you share "x centimorgans across y segments" is not all that helpful, not sufficient for answering how you might be related to someone.
    Hello Geebee,

    That's a very interesting and instructive story. Congratulations! Would you mind telling me where Ancestry tells you how many centimorgans you share with someone can be found. I haven't stumbled onto that area of their service as of yet.

    As far as gedmatch is concerned, I would love to upload my result to their service but unfortunately, I only have an iPad, so I can't download my results to upload them. I wish the companies would make an autosomal sharing link available, like FTDNA does for a Bam file transfer to YFull.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcB View Post
    Hello Geebee,

    That's a very interesting and instructive story. Congratulations! Would you mind telling me where Ancestry tells you how many centimorgans you share with someone can be found. I haven't stumbled onto that area of their service as of yet.

    As far as gedmatch is concerned, I would love to upload my result to their service but unfortunately, I only have an iPad, so I can't download my results to upload them. I wish the companies would make an autosomal sharing link available, like FTDNA does for a Bam file transfer to YFull.
    If you click on your match's profile, go to the predicted relationship header, and next to "Confidence" there is a small black circle with "i" in it. Click on that and it will bring up the number of centimorgans, although as Geebee says, the lack of a chromosome browser means that you don't know on which chromosome your matching segment is:
    cM.JPG

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    Quote Originally Posted by deadly77 View Post
    If you click on your match's profile, go to the predicted relationship header, and next to "Confidence" there is a small black circle with "i" in it. Click on that and it will bring up the number of centimorgans, although as Geebee says, the lack of a chromosome browser means that you don't know on which chromosome your matching segment is:
    cM.JPG
    There you go, it was right in front of my face all along.

    Excellent! Thank you!

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    JMcB:
    I only have an iPad, so I can't download my results to upload them.
    I use an iPhone and an iPad and can download and upload on both using https://www.dropbox.com/. Storing my downloads on Dropbox makes it a snap to upload. They have an app which is also compatible with Wintel laptops. Give it a try. Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amerijoe View Post
    JMcB:

    I use an iPhone and an iPad and can download and upload on both using https://www.dropbox.com/. Storing my downloads on Dropbox makes it a snap to upload. They have an app which is also compatible with Wintel laptops. Give it a try. Joe
    Hello Joe,

    Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check it out.

    So I could download FTDNA's FF file directly into Dropbox's app and bypass anything going onto my iPad? That would be great because I've wanted to use gedmatch for months but I was told I probably couldn't do it.

    Would it still use up a lot of iPad storage space?
    Last edited by JMcB; 08-20-2017 at 03:44 AM.

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