Thursday, October 16, 2014

FREE, yes FREE Autosomal DNA Transfer to FTDNA

There is a very exciting new option today if you have tested your autosomal DNA at 23andMe (v3 only) or AncestryDNA.  You can upload your data FREE to FTDNA, and see your top 20 matches. 

If you refer 4 people to also upload their data FREE, you will unlock the full FTDNA Family Finder features. 

This means that you can transfer your AncestryDNA results FREE to FTDNA and be able to see matching segment data.  I expect this will be a huge success for FTDNA and grow their database very fast.

If you have tested at AncestryDNA, create your FREE FTDNA account, upload your data, then invite your top matches to do the same.

Here is a link for one of mine, please use it so we can get as many free unlocks as possible!

Once I unlock all the kits of my family members I will switch it out with someone else's until they get 4 and then I will switch it out with a new persons link, so if you you are going for the Free unlock please post your link in the comments below and comment a reply to your comment when you have received 4 referrals so I can switch to a new persons link.

I have unlocked 3 so far, for Richard, Brandon and Pauline.  The current link is for Sandra (1 referral already), and then I have 1-Samuel (already has 3 referrals), 2-Tiffany, 3-Donald, 4-Toni, 5-Malcolm and 6-Peggy.  

You will see a page like this:

You need to enter the name of the kit you are uploading and if they are male/female.  Make sure you are NOT logged into FTDNA already (even in another browser tab).  You need a new account (not a new email but a new login ID/password) for each PERSON.  

If you "Already have a Family Tree DNA Account" (with Y-DNA or mtDNA but NOT FamilyFinder) it has to be for the same PERSON as the PERSON who submitted the DNA for the upload you are about to do.  (ie. you want to upload your mothers data, you don't log into YOUR account, but make a new one for her, but you can use your email)

The page you will see after you upload your data looks like this:

Clicking on the "Unlock for FREE" button will give you a customized code which you can Copy to paste. As people click your link and upload you get credited towards the Free unlock, which you can track looking at the "Unlock for FREE button" again. It will be a popup box and look like this:

I would like to mention that at this time the transfers are getting their first 20 matches FAST.  As in within hours.  The website claimed 1 to 2 business days which was already amazing, but I have already received the notice that the first wave of matches is ready on two of the transferred accounts which were transferred less than 6 hours ago!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Global Family Reunion Challenge #3

The 3rd challenge in honor of Family History Month at the Global Family Reunion blog was to visit a cemetery you haven't visited and photograph the gravestone of an ancestor.

Sadly, it was rainy here today, and I don't do cemetery photos in the rain, so I'll have to cheat a bit.  

Instead of my own ancestor, I am going to do the great grandparents of one of my aunts.  Their names were George Thomas Gillingham and Emily Ann Dover. They were buried in Victoria Lawn Cemetery.  Previously, my husband and I photographed most of the stones at Victoria Lawn.  I intend to eventually upload them all to the appropriate Geni profiles.

George T Gillingham and wife Emily Dover, Victoria Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines, Ontario, photo taken by Mike and Kris Stewart

I uploaded the photo to their Geni profiles.

It was a pleasure working on this family today.  I hadn't previously researched any of my aunts family and it was pretty quick to get many documents of her various ancestors.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Global Family Reunion, Family History Month Challenge #2

The Global Family Reunion Challenge #2 for Family History month was to start a One Name Study for a unique surname in my family history.  

Interesting idea.  I already have been somewhat doing this but it hasn't been official until now.  I have been contacting every Peverelle etc that I can find.  As best I can tell we are all related, but in some cases I cant make the direct connection.

I made a Peverelle, Peverelli, Peverell, Peverel One Name project at Geni. I am now in the process of adding all the relevant profiles to this Geni project.

I also made a Facebook group and invited all the Peverelle/Peverellis etc. I could find.

I am also considering registering at The Guild of One Name Studies.

I would also like to have a Y-DNA project, but that will have to wait a few weeks. I have had autosomal testing done on several Peverelle descendants at 23andMe, so I do have a paternal haplogroup but would like to see more specific markers.

If you are a Peverelle, Peverelli, Peverell or Peverel, or a descendant please join these groups and lets see what we can learn together!

Global Family Reunion, Family History Challenge #1

The first challenge was to join a collaborative genealogy site. 

They suggested Geni, Wikitree, Familysearch and MyHeritage.  I am on all 4.  I am not sure why MyHeritage counts, it is not exactly a collaborative genealogy site?  OneGreatFamily is a collaborative genealogy site but wasn't included (its not free, which may be one reason for not including it.)  I also have a tree there, but dont currently subscribe/maintain it.

Geni is still my favorite of the collaborative genealogy sites.  I use Geni daily.  If you are also on Geni, I would love to hear from you and what are relationship is, and maybe you can help me find a path to AJ!

One of the ways I like to use Geni to find possible relationships with DNA matches.

In the past few weeks I have had several cousins contact me on Geni, including some fairly close ones.

Here is my profile at Geni. 

23andMe Canada

Last night I received several emails stating that various kits on my 23andMe account that have tested since the FDA ban on health results will now be able to view health results because we are Canadian. 

The email looks like this:

Your health reports are ready.

We have great news. Today, we are excited to announce that our 23andMe Canadian product will now include health reports.
As a current 23andMe customer, you can access these new health reports at no extra cost. To view your reports, simply log in to your account and follow the activation instructions.

What will you be able to see?
In addition to your ancestry data and raw genetic data, you now have access to 108 genetic reports including information about inherited conditions, drug response, trait reports and genetic risk factors for various health conditions.
As we continue to pioneer personal genetics, we are committed to providing robust, reliable and actionable information to you.
Thank you for taking this journey with us.
--The 23andMe Team 
So, I was thinking this was a good thing, maybe get a few more people in Canada willing to get tested which means more matches.  In fact, I was all ready to title this blog post "Good news Canada!". Maybe get more Canadian cousins in my DNA Relatives, eh?

Then today I investigate a bit more and see that in addition to getting Health Reports, we are also getting a new price...$199. 

Now, to be fair, they are reducing the shipping cost which was insanely high.  Apparently the new shipping is $19.95 for the kit, $6.95 for each additional for Standard, or Express for $29.95 for the first kit, plus $6.95 for each additional kit.  The old shipping rate was about $60 for the first kit and about $30 for each additional.  

Also, the new Canadian price is in Canadian dollars.  So that takes a bit more of the difference in price away.  It does still end up more expensive now ($40 or so per kit) for Canadians to test than it was before the change.

The higher price has ruined my enthusiasm for this change.  I personally don't care at all about the Health Reports.  I did look at mine, since it was there, but I spent maybe an hour on that versus the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of hours I have spent on the genealogy features.  

It did seem that the Heath Reports were getting people to test who wouldn't have just for the genealogy aspects of the service, and, for me, this was a good thing.  Some of the people who have tested, primarily for me for genealogical reasons, were more interested in the Health Reports, but they didn't spend too much time on them either.

I do feel they should have been allowed to continue to offer the Health Reports to Americans.  I believe people have a right to know about their own genetic makeup, whether that be the health or genealogy aspects.  We don't need to be protected from the truth, or even from possible truths.  

I should mention, that although the email said I could view Health Reports, when I clicked the link, I can NOT in fact view the Health Reports for Katelyn!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It is now officially Family History Month.

Today is October 1st, and October is Family History Month. To be honest, every month is Family History Month for me ;)

I am hoping the cooler weather and the fact it is Family History Month will inspire some new cousins to take up genealogy and maybe even DNA test!

I would say the biggest announcement of the day was the GenealogyBank/ agreement to make over a billion records from 100 million obituaries available and searchable online. 

The records will span from 1730 to present day. Volunteers are needed to help complete this enormous indexing project.

Obituaries are amazingly helpful records for genealogists, often containing more than the bare facts and telling us more about who our relatives were and what they did during their lifetime.

You can read more about this new agreement at

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The latest 23andMe "Show Close Relatives" disaster

I am disappointed to report that 23andMe has reneged on their promise to show Close Relative for any accounts that have not specifically opted out.  23andMe waited until the last possible moment, late in the evening on the day the change was supposed to be made, to post that they had changed their mind.

Many people had stayed up late, waiting and watching, hoping for a new close match to appear, and were justifiably outraged when instead they were given a "oh, sorry we changed our mind" post.

For people who don't know the background, to see and be shown to close matches you used to have to click a little box.  After you clicked the little box, a little pop up would come up saying you may find something shocking like a half sibling etc, and you would have to click yes, you want to see.  Many people did not understand that they needed to click this box when they received their DNA Cousins list, and so are not showing up on their close relatives pages. So, for example, if I had a half sibling and they tested in 2011 before I did, or sometimes between then and this summer, and they didn't check the box, they would not see me in their list and I would not see them.  They may not have known the check the box, and may have tested just to find a close relative, but upon not seeing any, gave up.  Not everyone digs in as deep into genetic genealogy and all the bells and whistles of 23andMe as I have.

After the planned change, anonymous profiles would still have been anonymous, but people would have known they were there (or not there, which is likely the case for the vast majority of people, who 23andMe has now angered)

I understand a small number of people have been unhappy with the results after having been matched with a close relative.   Sometimes the truth sucks. Even when it sucks it remains the truth. Many adoptees and people with "non-paternal events" have happy reunions.  Sometimes they don't, but the truth is still worth knowing, even when it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped.

I have tested my husband at 23andMe.  If an unknown half sibling to me or my husband were to appear I would be excited, and would be happy to meet them.  If an unknown to us child was to appear in his list, I would be shocked, but I would hardly blame 23andMe.  Maybe I would ask my husband to not have a relationship with this unknown (presumably adult) child.  I can't say that we would be all excited by the news. Maybe we would be, maybe we wouldn't.  But I can say that we would certainly offer up a full medical history and basic family information. And I would certainly not blame 23andMe for any issues. 

As a starting point, I would think there is no legal/ethical issues with telling customers that they have no relatives being hidden.  Sure, this would tell certain customers that they DO have relatives being hidden, when they didnt get this notice, but it would decrease the number of unhappy people by quite a bit. And it doesn't actually reveal the hidden matches in any way.  What % of users have a hidden match I wonder?

If 23andMe did not intend to follow through with the plan to reveal close relatives they should not have promised that they would.