What Do You Do When the DNA Results Seem to be Lying?

I received an email message today that is not terribly unusual. I have received a number of similar questions before. I did reply in email, but I thought I would also write an article about it as I am sure others have faced the same “problem.” In fact, the resolution is simple, although a bit expensive.

This is the email message I received although I edited out the name of the person and the name of the DNA testing company in order to protect the privacy of both. In fact, this could have happened with any of the DNA testing companies:

I have a topic that has been bugging me lately. A certain DNA testing company is advertising about their “ethnicity” reports. My previous family history results show that I am over 80% British Isles and less than 5% German. However, I know that my father (he had his test done, too) is almost 50% German/Czech. Our family history research also shows that his father must have been close to 100% German.

I understand that I get what I get – not an exact % split of DNA but a roll of the dice. However, their commercials imply that you will know that you are not German if the DNA test shows no German in the ethnicity profile. What gives?

I think they are misleading people with those ads. What’s your opinion? (I also think their ethnicity reports are not 100% accurate.)

Can Ancestry.com Claim Ownership of Your DNA Data?

A controversial article by a consumer protection attorney and former deputy attorney general of New Jersey has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Joel Winston published an article with the claim that the genealogy website Ancestry.com is “taking DNA ownership rights” from customers and their families. In other words, he says that Ancestry.com claims to own their customers’ personal DNA data.

Strong words, indeed. In fact, Mr. Winston’s assertions seem to be a bit far fetched.

Ancestry.com responded on the company’s DNA blog. Without mentioning Attorney Winston by name, Ancestry.com’s Chief Privacy Officer Eric Heath called Winston’s post “inflammatory and inaccurate.” Heath emphasized that Ancestry.com never takes ownership of customers’ DNA. Instead, the customers license the information to Ancestry DNA but the customers always retain ownership.

Update: Arizona Mother and Daughter Meet after 43 Years Apart Thanks to a DNA Test

The heart-warming story I wrote on May 10 at http://bit.ly/2pMtlQd now has a bit more information and several photographs in an article in the MyHeritage User Stories at: https://stories.myheritage.com/robin-adair-passey.

Book Review: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
By Blaine T. Bettinger
Family Tree Books. 2016. 238 pages.

Blaine Bettinger publishes his blog “The Genetic Genealogist” where he writes the relevance and worth of genetics testing used alongside the methodology of traditional genealogy research. He updates the readers on the latest approaches to the science and its applicability to our work. His long and close association with genetics genealogy qualifies him as a most apt author for a guidebook.

Guide to DNA Testing offers a lot of information for the beginner and advanced researcher alike.

Watch the MyHeritage DNA Journey

Ever wonder how a laboratory tests DNA samples? MyHeritage has released a video that shows the major steps involved. You can watch the video in the video player below or at: https://youtu.be/Z_806nvZF2o.

Remains of a Little Girl in a Forgotten Casket are Identified

This story combines detective work, genealogy, DNA, and public records.

A little girl about 3 years old died and was buried about 140 years ago in an unmarked metal casket in a wealthy San Francisco neighborhood. When workers recently discovered her elaborate coffin beneath a concrete slab, there were no markings or gravestone to say who she was. A team of scientists, amateur sleuths and history buffs worked tirelessly to solve the central question in this Bay Area mystery: Who was the little girl in the casket?

She has now been identified. The girl’s DNA was matched to that of a relative now living in San Rafael.

The story of the investigation is intriguing. Investigators found a scale plan of the cemetery development in 1865 at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. That provided an approximate location of the grave.

Arizona Mother and Daughter Meet after 43 Years Apart Thanks to a DNA Test

Here is a heart-warming story. An unwed teenager only saw her new baby daughter for a few minutes, then gave the infant up for adoption. The baby grew up not even knowing her mother’s name. For 43 years, both wondered about the fate of the other.

The mother eventually decided to use MyHeritageDNA, a company that uses DNA to trace a family tree. Just by chance, so did the daughter. They both received an email message from MyHeritageDNA saying they had a 49.1-percent match to be mother and daughter. A very happy reunion soon followed.

Details may be found in the ABC15 web site at http://bit.ly/2qSIHGv.

To Celebrate DNA Day, MyHeritage is Offering a Discount on Every DNA Test Kit Ordered

Today, April 25, is DNA Day. To celebrate, MyHeritage is offering the readers of this newsletter a discount on every MyHeritage DNA purchase between now and Sunday, April 30th. If you have been thinking of testing your DNA, or the DNA of one of your relatives, now might be a good time to do so.

The offer is free shipping on every MyHeritage DNA purchase. With this promotion, worth $12, and the introductory price of $79, you can obtain the best deal possible.

Again, this special offer will be valid until Sunday, April 30th, and in order to take advantage of it, you will need to enter the following coupon code in the DNA checkout page (after clicking on “Get a coupon code?”):


DNA Day: 11 Things You Might Not Know About DNA

Today, April 25, marks National DNA Day, a day commemorating the enormous achievement of University of Cambridge scientists James Watson and Francis Crick in discovering the structure of DNA for which they were later awarded a Nobel Prize. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a giant molecule containing the coded instructions of life. Watson and Crick were the first to discover the double helix structure of DNA, changing the face of biology forever.

In honor of DNA Day, the MyHeritage Blog has a list of 11 things about DNA that you may not have known before. One that caught my eye is, “Over 99% of our DNA sequence is the same as other humans.” We all are more alike than what I realized.

You can read this and the other 10 facts on the MyHeritage Blog at: https://blog.myheritage.com/2017/04/dna-day-11-things-you-might-not-know-about-dna.

DNA Day Sales 2017

April 25 is National DNA Day, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute at https://www.genome.gov/10506367/national-dna-day/. Several of the DNA testing companies hold sales on or around the date in order to promote DNA testing and to drum up some business for their services.

Professional Genetic Genealogist, CeCe Moore, has put together a list of DNA testing sales being offered for this year’s event. The testing companies offering sales include MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA, LivingDNA, and AncestryDNA.

You can view the list and click on links to the various sale pages in CeCe Moore’s web site at: http://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/2017/04/dna-day-sales-2017.html.

Question: What Race Am I?

Prince EA, the “spoken word” artist, has recorded an interesting and thought-provoking video, that illustrates one question millions of people have: what race do I claim when filling out forms? He’s downplaying race by explaining that we are all mixed like him and what matters is that we are all human.

Prince EA uses MyHeritage DNA as the basis for his video. (Note: MyHeritage is also the sponsor of this newsletter.)

The video was published earlier today on Facebook by Prince EA at: http://bit.ly/2oV4qKy.

We’re all part of the same family tree of humanity.

Woman Finds Lost Father with a DNA Test, Previously Thought He Was Dead

Krista Brian was always told that her father that she had never met was dead. She also was told that she had Mexican ancestry.

At the age of 37, Krista took a DNA test from Ancestry.com. to find out for sure on Ancestry.com. When the test results came back, she received two shocks, one immediately and another a few days later.

The first surprise was when the DNA test results proved that Krista Brian’s paternal ancestry was African-American, not Mexican. The second surprise came a few days later: the website put her in touch with a potential family member, named Andrew Baker. He was her father.

DNA Identifies a Previously Unidentified Body

DNA is helping solve many mysteries, not the least of which is identifying people who previously could not be identified. One recent example occurred in Washington, D.C., where a young lady was found deceased and without identification.

Dental work and fingerprints failed to identify the deceased. However, a DNA sample from the Justice Department’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System database made the identificarion.

Cellular Research Institute Ventures into Ancestry Testing with the Launch of CRI Genetics

I must admit I never heard of this company before until I received the following announcement:

Cellular Research Institute has recently introduced CRI Genetics, the organization’s Genetics division dedicated to helping individuals find out key information pertaining to their ancestry. Led by seasoned researcher Alexei Fedorov, CRI Genetics is now offering the most advanced DNA testing kit on the market.

March 25th, 2017 – Cellular Research Institute, a team of researchers dedicated to providing accurate information about research, medicine, and the environment, has recently introduced their Genetics division. Operating under the name CRI Genetics, this new division is now offering a DNA testing kit to help people find out their detailed family history based on Genealogy and Anthropology.

Genetic Communities™ Beta: New Innovation from AncestryDNA

The following announcement was written by AncestryDNA:

Today, we are pleased to share the roll-out of a new beta experience for AncestryDNA we call, Genetic Communities™. This new experience gives you a more detailed connection to the people, places, cultures, and stories that led to you.

Taking DNA testing to a whole new level

This new advancement is only possible through the millions of AncestryDNA members around the world who have chosen to participate in the Research Project as well as the massive collection of family trees, only available on Ancestry. The science behind this feature was recently published in one of the prominent scientific journals Nature Communications here).

At launch there will be over 300 Genetic Communities all around the world to go and explore, with many more on the horizon. We will compare you to all of them and list the ones you have a connection to based on your DNA. These Genetic Communities dot the globe and are often more specific than what’s possible to discover with an ethnicity estimate, providing a more recent connection to your past.

And, this is just the beginning. We are just scratching the surface of advancements in science and technology that will translate into faster, more insightful discoveries about who we are and where we come from. Genetic Communities is a very BIG and exciting step in this direction.

Watch this video to see why we are so excited about this new experience.

MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Results Described on Fox News

Genealogy and especially using DNA in genealogy research received a lot of positive publicity on American television yesterday morning. The 3 hosts of the popular morning show, Fox & Friends, were presented with their DNA ethnicity results supplied by MyHeritage, augmented by genealogy research also performed by the company.

The three hosts’ experiences also may be seen in online videos that you can watch now:

How Your Ancestors’ Environment Determines the Shape of Your Nose

It may seem strange, but a recently-published study in the PLOS Genetics journal claims that whether your nose is long and narrow or short and wide, you may have your ancestors’ climate to thank.

Researchers from Ireland, Belgium and the U.S. used 3D facial imaging to collect nose measurements on nearly 500 participants of South Asian, East Asian, West African and Northern European descent. The researchers analyzed specific measures including nose height, nostril width, distance between nostrils, protrusion and total surface area of the nose and nostrils. Then, they compared these measurements with local temperatures and humidity in various geographical regions. The findings revealed that nostril width was strongly linked with climate. Wider nostrils were found in more hot and humid areas, and narrower noses were more common in cold and dry areas.

You can read more in the PLOS Genetics journal at http://bit.ly/2mNF2os as well as in dozens of media sites by starting at http://bit.ly/2mO6tOX.

Personally, I’m blaming my nose on Uncle Albert. I seem to have inherited his nose.

How Accurate are DNA Kits used for Testing Ancestry?

dnaMillions of people are purchasing and using home DNA kits to determine their ancestry. The television program Inside Edition enlisted the help of two sets of identical triplets and one set of identical quadruplets to investigate the accuracy of the at-home tests. The ancestry of each group should be absolutely identical since they all came from the same egg.

Test kits from 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, and AncestryDNA were used.

The results are surprising.

DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees

Richard Hill is the author of two books on DNA testing. He has now written a shorter introduction that looks like a great introduction to the topic for any adoptee. DNA Testing: Seven Guidelines for Adoptees may be found on the MyHeritage Blog at: https://goo.gl/C5MZPV.

Family Tree DNA Now Accepts Family Finder Data Transfers from 23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 Files

In an email message to all of the company’s Project Administrators, Family Tree DNA announced that it is now accepting data transfers of autosomal information from the following:

23andMe© V3
23andMe© V4
AncestryDNA™ V1
AncestryDNA™ V2

After transferring your results, for free, you will receive a list of your autosomal matches from Family Tree DNA’s database and have access to the company’s Family Finder – Matrix. The Matrix feature allows you to select and compare the autosomal DNA relationship between up to ten of your matches at one time.