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.

MyHeritage Appoints Prominent DNA Expert Dr. Yaniv Erlich as Chief Science Officer

The following announcement from MyHeritage was released today at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. I would draw your attention to two different facts in the announcement: (1.) the credentials of Dr. Yaniv Erlich indicate that he is one of the leading DNA scientists of our time and (2.) the announcement of “MyHeritage DNA, the company’s newly established DNA service for family history and ethnicity.”

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah , February 9, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today the appointment of Dr. Yaniv Erlich as its Chief Science Officer. Dr. Erlich, a DNA scientist of world renown, will lead scientific development and strategy for MyHeritage DNA, the company’s newly established DNA service for family history and ethnicity, and ensure that its products are built on a solid scientific foundation.

Dr. Erlich, nicknamed the Genome Hacker by Nature journal, brings to MyHeritage unparalleled experience in the field of genomics as Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computational Biology at Columbia University and as a Core Member at the New York Genome Center. He is also the former principal investigator and a Whitehead Fellow at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, founder of DNA.LAND and the principal investigator of the Erlich DNA lab.

Ancestry Publishes New Genetic Research on U.S. Population Structures in Nature Communications

The following announcement was written by Ancestry:

DNA and genealogical information from more than 700,000 AncestryDNA users gives new insight into historical events in North America during the last several hundred years

ancestry-com-logoLEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 07, 2017 — Today, Ancestry published a scientific article entitled “Clustering of 770 thousand genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America” in Nature Communications. The article shares new research using genetic data from over 700,000 individuals from North America to uncover a detailed picture of the subtle patterns of migration and settlement in post-colonial USA. Ancestry is the leader in family history and consumer genomics with 80 million family trees and more than three million people using AncestryDNA, a combination which powered the fine-grain historical insights that have previously been inaccessible from genetic studies.

This research was led by Ancestry’s Chief Scientific Officer Catherine Ball, Ph.D., her Ancestry colleagues and historian Erin Battat, Ph.D., from Harvard University.

“Ancestry is just scratching the surface of scientific discoveries that can be made when combining large amounts of genomic data with detailed pedigree information, and I’m incredibly proud of the work the team put into this research project as well as the fascinating results we’ve found,” said Ball. “It’s especially rewarding to gain insights that not only contribute significantly to genomic research, but provide a glimpse into our own personal histories and identities.”

Key highlights of the paper:

FREE Grandparent Inheritance Charts from Legacy Tree Genealogists, Inc.

Legacy Tree Genealogists, Inc., a firm of professional genealogists, has released FREE Grandparent Inheritance Charts. The charts are interesting because a grandchild can actually determine the exact percentage of DNA he/she shares with each grandparent – with only three total tests (him/herself, one paternal grandparent, one maternal grandparent).


(The above chart is compressed significantly in order to fit the available space in this newsletter. The charts you create at https://www.legacytree.com/inheritance will be much larger and contain the data YOU supply.)

Here is the announcement written by Legacy Tree Genealogists:

MyHeritage DNA Matching Enhanced with New Features

myheritage_dna_matchingDNA Matching is one of the major features of MyHeritage’s DNA offering. Now that matching service has been enhanced with the following additions:

  • Extended information about shared ancestral surnames
  • Search by Ancestral Surnames
  • New Filtering Options
  • Add Notes to DNA Matches

Details are provided in the MyHeritage Blog at: https://goo.gl/7eUpsz.

Family Tree DNA Sale

logo_ftdnaDNA tests can help you find family, break through brick walls and trace your lineage through time. Family Tree DNA is a leading DNA testing company and is now offering a significant sale on many of its products:

Family Finder autosomal test will find Family Finder Matches and Ethnic Percentages: $59

Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 37 markers (for males only): $188

Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 67 markers (for males only): $278

Family Finder plus a Full Mitochondrial Sequence – for both males and females, an mtDNA test that traces your maternal line: $228

Hero Lost at Pearl Harbor Comes Home After Years in an Unknown Grave

Thanks to DNA, family members of a sailor who died nearly 75 years ago are getting closure.

John Charles England died in the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. England had been on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and he disappeared while returning to the sinking ship to save his fellow sailors.

His granddaughter, Bethany Glenn, had been researching England’s life to find out more about the man behind the heroic story. She talked to friends and visited his old school. She learned he loved to dance, so she decided to wear his portrait when she went to concerts. Yet one mystery remained—where was his body?

Update: More Information About the new Announcement of MyHeritage DNA

Following Monday’s launch of MyHeritage DNA (see the announcement at https://goo.gl/lpYyKh), many questions were asked about the new service. MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, has posted answers to these questions in the MyHeritage Blog.

You can read Gilad’s answers at http://blog.myheritage.com/2016/11/myheritage-dna-your-questions-answered.

While on the MyHeritage Blog, you also might want to read and watch This is what happens to your DNA at the lab at http://blog.myheritage.com/2016/11/watch-this-is-what-happens-to-your-dna-at-the-lab.

MyHeritage Launches Global DNA Testing Service for Uncovering Ethnic Origins and Making New Family Connections

The folks at MyHeritage have made a major new announcement this morning. As stated in the announcement, “…as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.” I ordered my DNA kit immediately after reading about the new service.

The following is the official announcement from MyHeritage:

Unique Founder Population project conducted by the company expected to empower the highest resolution ethnicity analysis available on the market

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, November 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the leading international destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage DNA, its global integrated genetic testing service. The move represents a major turning point for the DNA industry, as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.


With 85 million users worldwide, 2.1 billion family tree profiles, 7 billion historical records and availability in 42 languages, MyHeritage’s new DNA service further strengthens its position as a global leader in family history.

Family Tree DNA and 20th Century Fox Team Up for Historical Adventure

The following announcement was written by the folks at Family Tree DNA:

Genetic genealogy pioneers announce exciting partnership with the theatrical release of Assassin’s Creed.

Houston, Texas — October 25, 2016:

In association with the upcoming theatrical release of the epic adventure film ASSASSIN’S CREED, in theaters December 21, Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce a new partnership with 20th Century Fox and Findmypast, which features the Assassin’s Creed DNA Testing Bundle and Assassin’s Creed Sweepstakes.


Loosely based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, and starring award-winning actors Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the movie’s main character Callum Lynch—through a revolutionary technology called the Animus—travels deep into the past to discover that his genetic ancestor, Aguilar, was part of a mysterious secret organization, the Assassin’s, in 15th Century Spain. The action-adventure follows Callum as he relives Aguilar’s memories in present day.

Living DNA Offers a ‘High Definition’ View of Your Family History

Living DNA is a tiny UK company that has just launched its own ancestry DNA testing service, one that offers a ‘high definition’ view of their family history, versus the ‘standard resolution’ provided by their larger competitors. The company is up against a number of high-powered and well-financed competitors, including 23andme, Family Tree DNA, Quest Diagnostics, and AncestryDNA. Founder David Nicholson is confident that his company can succeed because it offers a different service from the services offered by his competitors.

Fueled by TV shows, such as Who Do You Think You Are?, the market for personal DNA testing services is growing rapidly, and in the UK, is dominated by a handful of multi-national companies. The startup was launched using profits from DNA Worldwide Group, a company set up by Nicholas in 2004 to fund the development of the personalised DNA testing service. That process took two years and a team of over 100 experts around the world. Living DNA aims to be profitable within 18 months.

DNA Testing Links 300-Year-Old Remains of a Baby to a Colonial Maryland Governor

Much is known about the 6-month-old who died in Maryland 300 years ago and was buried in a small lead-covered coffin. Yet there is no record of the child’s death — or birth. No one knew for certain who the infant was. No one knew if the baby was a boy or girl.

Now, almost 26 years after the coffin was unearthed in St. Mary’s County, experts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have learned that the baby was a boy — and the offspring of an important colonial governor of Maryland, Philip Calvert. The discovery came about through new genetic testing done at Harvard Medical School at the request of the Smithsonian.

DNA’s new ‘Miracle’: How Adoptees are using Online Registries to Find Their Blood Relatives

The Washington Post has published an interesting article by Tara Bahrampour about adoptees using DNA to find their birth relatives, sometimes even their birth parents. The article states:

Most people who register with DNA databases are looking for information about their ethnic origins or exploring distant branches of the family tree. But the rapidly expanding databases have also had an unintended consequence: They are helping people find biological parents whose identities had long been mysteries.

DNA Detectives Volunteers Help Adoptees Find their Birth Parents

DNA Detectives is a Facebook group run by volunteers who call themselves “search angels” and who help adoptees, sperm donor kids, and others who are hunting for their biological relatives. With more than 24,000 members, DNA Detectives began in February 2015, said CeCe Moore, its founder, which she helps run from San Clemente, Calif. Moore calls herself a genetic genealogist. She consults on the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” and her company The DNA Detectives works with with the media on stories related to DNA, promoting genetic genealogy education through conferences and seminars.


MyHeritage Now Has DNA Matching Available

MyHeritage has just announced that DNA Matching is now live!

DNA-smallerMyHeritage compares DNA data of individuals, which has been uploaded to the MyHeritage website, in order to find matches based on shared DNA. Your DNA matches are people who are highly likely to be relatives (close or distant) because there are significant similarities between their DNA and yours. MyHeritage DNA Matching can open up exciting new research directions, and allow you to find and connect with relatives you may not have known about.

The DNA matching has been available for a few months in a limited beta test but now is available to everyone. The DNA Matching is free and will remain free for those who have already uploaded their DNA test results to MyHeritage. Anyone who has taken a DNA test with other test providers, or has DNA test results from other family members, and has not uploaded them to MyHeritage yet, the company recommends they hurry and upload the DNA data now, in order to enjoy free DNA Matching on MyHeritage forever.

One Study Claims That Genetics Affects How Much You Drink

alcoholismIf you become intoxicated after one drink, blame your ancestors. Researchers at Washington State University have found that your genetic makeup affects your sensitivity to alcohol.

A receptor in our brain reportedly affects our reaction to alcohol. The protein receptor, located on cells in the cerebellum, is known as GABAA. When it’s activated, it suppresses the firing of brain cells. That leads to balance issues, stumbling, slurred speech and reduced social inhibitions. Depending upon your genetic makeup, that could happen even after one drink. For others, the receptor takes a long time to be stimulated, leading to binge drinking and alcoholism.

National Genealogical Society Publishes the First Workbook on Genetic Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the (US) National Genealogical Society:

gginpARLINGTON, VA, 6 September 2016—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the publication of Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the first workbook on genetic genealogy. Written by Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD, and Debbie Parker Wayne, CGSM, CGLSM, the book provides family historians and genealogists who have just begun to explore genetic genealogy practical, easy to understand information that they can apply to their research. As Wayne notes in her blog, Deb’s Delvings in Genealogy, “DNA can seem complex to many of us, but this book will guide you and help build your knowledge level one step at a time.”

At their own pace, readers learn the basic concepts of genetic genealogy. They then build on that knowledge as they study the testing, analysis, and application of Y-DNA, X-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and autosomal DNA (atDNA) to reach and support genealogical conclusions. Each chapter includes exercises with answer keys for hands-on practice.

Protecting Privacy in Genomic Databases

A recent announcement from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Indiana University at Bloomington describes a process that permits database queries for genome-wide association studies but reduces the chances of privacy compromises to almost zero.

The new system, implements a technique called “differential privacy,” which has been a major area of cryptographic research in recent years. Differential-privacy techniques add a little bit of noise, or random variation, to the results of database searches, to confound algorithms that would seek to extract private information from the results of several, tailored, sequential searches.

Quest Diagnostics to Provide Genetic Testing Services for AncestryDNA

Quest Diagnostics said today that it has signed an agreement with Ancestry.com to provide genetic testing services for the online family history firm’s consumer genomics business.

Here is the announcement from Quest Diagnostics:

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated logo. (PRNewsFoto/Quest Diagnostics Incorporated)

MADISON, N.J., and LEHI, Utah, Aug. 3, 2016 — Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, and AncestryDNA, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, are teaming up to help meet the rapidly growing consumer demand for genetic tests that provide insights into genetic ethnicity, origins and other factors. The new collaboration will allow AncestryDNA to scale its testing services and pave the way for new wellness offerings.

How British are YOU?

A recent DNA study reveals Yorkshire is the most Anglo-Saxon part of UK, while East Midlands is most Scandinavian. The people of Wales have the highest proportion of ancestry from Spain and Portugal. Anyone with at least a casual knowledge of ancient and medieval UK history probably will not be surprised by these findings.

The analysis of the genetic history of two million people worldwide by family history website Ancestry was based on data collated from the AncestryDNA home DNA test that examines a person’s entire genome via a simple saliva sample. Results reveal the genetic ethnic make-up of the ‘average’ person in the UK and what countries and regions they can trace their ancestry back to over the past 500 years.