Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My top DNA match at FTDNA

I have 1580 matches at FTDNA.  425 are listed as paternal and 479 as maternal. My top match is Phyllis B. She is listed as a maternal match, with 76 shared cM, largest segment 37 cM.

I don't put much stock in the smaller segments that FTDNA includes in their total.  According to GMP, she matches me in a single segment on chromosome 1 sized 36.7 cM. 

I have 48 ICW Phyllis B at FTDNA. Three of them are my maternal half siblings, Brandon, Tiffany and Sandra.  My maternal grandfather is not listed as ICW, implying this match is through my maternal grandmother Doreen Knox. This doesn't bode well for my chances to solve this one, because all of Doreen's known ancestors are from Ireland and I have many "brick walls".  Still, 36.7 cM is pretty large....and I'm always up for a challenge! Besides, one of the main purposes of all these DNA tests I have taken is to solve those "brick walls".

Since I hadn't yet uploaded the FTDNA files to GMP for my maternal half siblings, I did that.  This is one of the issues I face.  To be able to solve my matches I need to have many other family members tested.  But, it takes time to download and import the files for each person.  I could spend 8+ hours a day doing nothing but downloading and importing files and not ever be caught up, as new matches appear frequently at all the sites.  Managing say 20 kits does not take 20 times as long as 1 kit, because you only need to build the trees of matches once, and many matches will match multiple kits.  The downloading the importing of files can be done mainly in the background while doing other things, like researching a family tree or even....*gasp* housework.

I am going to follow the settings suggested here to see if I can cut the time it takes to import.  Actually, it turns out I already have those unchecked.  I also have a lower end laptop which I am using for this, a better one would no doubt cut the times significantly. 

Still, each day there are more new matches, the number varies but more each day than it is likely to solve.  And this, despite the fact that the matches being considered are larger than ever.  We badly need a way to crowd source this process, and such a method is not yet available.  At least at Geni we can crowd source the tree building part.

I have chosen to not import any matches into GMP less than 7 cM.

I had to import the FTDNA files for Brandon, Tiffany and Sandra to GMP.  Now I can see that in that same segment Phyllis matches Brandon for 30.3 cM, Tiffany for 31.6 cM and Sandra for 11.7 cM.

Next, I check all my matches in that segment in GMP and set them to paternal or maternal. I can do this fairly easily as I have my father DNA tested ;)  In time, this part will go faster, since most other segments will already be marked.  But, since I am still setting up in GMP, this took some time. Almost every match was paternal, and therefore not what I was looking for. I notice that when I indicated a match was paternal, all the maternal matches would be removed from the Overlapping Segment list.

I suspect there is a faster way to do this, because I see if I right click in the list options to mark profiles that triangulate etc, but I have been marking each profile one by one maternal or paternal.

I think I am supposing to be merging people together, but I'm not sure on how exactly to do this yet.  Having read the guide here I'm not really certain I want to merge people together, even tho I am sure they are the same, because then it appears only one segment will show instead of the different segments from each site showing. As each place has slightly different ways of calculating matches I don't want to end up comparing apples to oranges!

After marking every segment that overlapped as Maternal or Paternal on myself, I went and did the same thing on my half brother Brandon, then Tiffany, then Sandra.

I had also imported the gedmatch files for Brandon, and went back and added for Tiffany and Sandra.  I had issues with the triangulation Tier 1 feature temporarily, so went back and added it after.

This was all very time consuming, but as I mentioned, this is still part of the initial setup. It is possible to generate the files in different tabs at gedmatch, which is very handy especially for the triangulation which takes a long time.  Sadly, it is not possible (obviously) to import the files to GMP at the same time.

Then, after having done all that to gather all the possible DNA data, it is now time to look into the emails.  I am really bad with emailing my FTDNA matches.  And even worse with keeping a clean inbox. A search of Phyllis' full name gave no hits so I went with just Phyllis to search my inbox.  Wasn't pretty.  Don't think I'll do that again for awhile! Ok, big girl panties on....deleting a bunch of emails that I didnt need to keep.  Bunch of emails deleted, but still can't find anything in there, but pretty sure I have not heard from Phyllis at least not from the email currently associated with her at FTDNA.

Now its time to build a tree for Phyllis.  Unfortunately, she has only put one person besides herself in her tree at FTDNA, but it turns out one name was enough. Phyllis appears to have South Carolina roots.  

To make it easier to assign paternal matches, I ran the Tier 1 Matching Segment at Gedmatch for my father, and the triangulation. 

When I am unable to figure out a match, I like to work on the part of the tree the match connects to somehow, in hopes of finding a clue. This led me to download lots of images of Irish births, marriages and deaths.

I went ahead and assigned all my Chromosome 1 matches in GMP to Maternal or Paternal. This prompted me to enter the FTDNA and Gedmatch files to GMP for my maternal grandfather Lewis Hewitt.

All this file downloading and entering in GMP has made me consider using the DNAgedcom client to get the ICWs.  That box being empty makes me sad :(

I should probably also upload the files for my known DNA tested relatives on my maternal grandmother's side.

After all that, I still have no idea how I am related to Phyllis :(

I sent an email to Phyllis, and I am moving this to the Genealogy ToDo List as I feel I have done all I can do at this time with this match.