DNA

Maine Irish Fundraise to bring DNA Tests to Galway

Here is an interesting twist: Irish descendants in the U.S. are sending DNA kits to find out more about their roots in the Co. Galway Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking district).

The Maine Gaeltacht Project, linked with the Emigration and Diaspora Centre Project in Carna, Co. Galway, is funding DNA testing for Galway locals in an attempt to link members with their Irish families. The Maine Irish found that groups of Irish immigrants from the same townland or county would cluster together when they arrived in the US. That is true of Maine too. That means many of those with Irish roots living in the Portland, Maine, area can trace their family history back to the Connemara Gaeltacht.

You can read more in an article by Frances Mulraney in the IrishCentral web site at: https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/maine-irish-galway-dna-testing.

Only 0.3% of People Have One Ethnicity in their DNA, Showing Our World is a True Blend

When I started writing a blog that is mostly concerned with genealogy, I never expected to also be writing about Irish whiskey. However, strange things do happen. In this case, there is a genealogy lesson to be learned for all of us: Only 0.3% of people have one ethnicity in their DNA, showing our world is a true blend.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey:

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey partners with MyHeritage DNA to unlock the ‘Beauty of Blend’

Only 0.3% of people have one ethnicity in their DNA, showing our world is a true blend

To celebrate the launch of ‘The Beauty of Blend’, Tullamore D.E.W., the original triple blend Irish whiskey has partnered with MyHeritage DNA, the leading destination for family history and DNA testing, to create a limited edition branded DNA kit which will allow people all over the world to uncover their own unique blend. Reviewing trends of DNA testing from around the world, Tullamore D.E.W. worked with MyHeritage DNA, to uncover that 99.7% of people have a blend of multiple ethnicities, meaning that only 0.3% of individuals sampled are of only one ethnic background.2 The partnership gives fans an opportunity to discover, and celebrate, their own unique blend of ethnicities. Limited edition branded MyHeritage DNA kits will be given away through a gifting program and the Tullamore D.E.W. social channels in the coming months.

How One Woman Brought the ‘Mother’s Curse’ to Thousands of Her French-Canadian Descendants

The first King’s Daughters—or filles du roi—arrived in New France in 1663, and 800 more would follow over the next decade. Given their numbers, they were not literally the king’s daughters of course.

They were poor and usually of common birth, but their passage and dowry were indeed paid by King Louis XIV for the purpose of empire building: These women were to marry male colonists and have many children, thus strengthening France’s hold on North America. French Canadians can usually trace their ancestry back to one or more of these women.

For more information about the filles du roi, see my earlier article at http://bit.ly/2wG6ecP.

Whenever a small group of people leave a large population (France) to found a new one (New France), they bring with them a particular set of mutations. Some of these mutations will by chance be more common in the new population and others less so. As a result, some rare genetic disorders disproportionately impact French-Canadians.

One of these is Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, which causes vision loss, usually in young men. Recently, geneticists using French Canadian genealogy have reexamined the effects of Leber’s and found a striking pattern of inheritance: It seems to show a long-theorized but never-seen-in-humans pattern called the “mother’s curse.”

Genealogy Travel with Go Ahead Tours and AncestryProGenealogist

Genealogy cruises have become quite popular and several have been described in this newsletter in recent years. (See http://bit.ly/2gNhMbL for some of my past articles about genealogy cruises.) Now a new player is has partnered with Go Ahead Tours to launch heritage-geared tour offerings, led by an expert genealogist and based on your own DNA test.

AncestryProGenealogists and Go AheadTours will offer tours of Ireland, Italy, and Germany in 2018 to start. AncestryProGenealogists’ experts will lead the personal history charge, which is based on an AncestryDNA kit travelers take before departure. Each tour’s genealogist will discuss travelers’ DNA results with them before the trip, and can assist in building a family tree to use on the tour. During this consultation, travelers will have the option to add on site or home visits to specific villages or towns their ancestry searches lead them to—for an added price.

You can read more about these DNA tours at http://bit.ly/2wbpq1M.

Family Tree DNA asks for your Your Help for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

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

Family Tree DNA is based in Houston, where Hurricane Harvey devastated the city and surrounding areas. As members of the community and corporate citizens, we are donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all tests (including upgrades and paid transfers) during the month of September toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. A banner at our home page will display the cumulative amount raised and will be updated twice daily. The snip below is from today.

The banner shown above may be too small to read on some screens. You can view a larger version by clicking on the above image or by going to https://www.familytreedna.com.

Update Regarding the MyHeritage DNA Lab in Houston, Texas

Here is an excerpt from the MyHeritage DNA Blog:

“As many of you know, Houston was recently hit by Hurricane Harvey, which became Tropical Storm Harvey, and has since moved out of Houston. MyHeritage uses the FTDNA lab which is located in Houston. Thankfully, all of the employees who work in the DNA lab are safe. The lab, as well as all the DNA samples, are completely intact. The DNA lab is on the 8th floor of a high-rise office building, which is very high above ground level. Due to its placement, there is no risk of flooding and no risk of rain leakage into the lab.

Free Guide to DNA Testing

Richard Hill has written a genealogist’s Guide to DNA Testing. Best of all, the Guide is available free of change from now through September 2 as a Kindle ebook from Amazon. The ebook will revert to its normal price on September 3, 2017.

NOTE: Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. You can read Kindle format ebooks on Kindle devices as well as on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Windows, Macintosh, and in any sort if computer that can open a web browser and use the Kindle Cloud Reader. For more information about reading Kindle ebooks on non-Kindle devices, see my earlier article at: http://bit.ly/2xvLx4Z.

Richard Hill’s Guide to DNA Testing is now available as version 3, updated to cover new tests and additional information. The Guide is intended to be a short, easy-to-understand introduction for people who aren’t yet interested enough to devote more time to the subject. Links to longer books and many other resources are useful to anyone.

New from MyHeritage: the DNA Match Review

MyHeritage continues to add new features to the online service. The latest addition is the introduction of the DNA Match Review page. Other online services can provide DNA results that may imply several possible relationships between you and a DNA Match, such as 3rd – 4th cousin, but now you’d like to understand how you are related to the match. Where do you go from here?

On MyHeritage.com, for each of your DNA matches, you can click “Review Match” and be directed to this new page in which MyHeritage will display information broken into relevant sections that will help you understand how you are related to the match.

Each section of the page pulls relevant data about your DNA match by combining information from DNA and family trees. So, for example, you’ll see your shared Smart Matches, Ancestral surnames, Shared DNA Matches, Pedigree Charts and Shared ethnicities.

Advice to White Supremacists: You Might Not Want to Test Your DNA

UPDATE: This news story is mushrooming. The original news article listed in the article below was knocked offline for a while, probably because thousands of people were accessing it simultaneously. It is back online now but may disappear again due to all the publicity and thousands of people reading the article. However, dozens of other news services have since picked up the story and now it is one of the top trending articles on the Internet.

You can find dozens more stories about this by starting at: http://bit.ly/2wWKhr6

The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend speak for themselves. The various news media are full of stories about bigotry, racism, and fringe far-right political activities that resulted in murder and also in a lot of embarrassment to the American people. However, there is one genealogy issue that might affect the motivations of these extremists:

Are these white supremacists really “all white?”

I suspect that many white supremacists won’t like to learn the truth.

A geneticist at the University of California at Los Angeles ran a project for months that culminated in the presentation of a paper in Montreal this week at the annual gathering of the American Sociological Association. It seems that DNA testing of many members of one white supremacy organization indicates that a number of those who were tested have mixed racial ancestry. In other words, these white supremacists are not 100% white.

Israeli Grandfather Who Thought Family Perished in Holocaust Discovers 500 New Relatives

Here is a wonderful story about what genealogy and DNA can do for families.

By the time Alex Kafri tried to investigate whether anyone on his father’s side had survived the war, there was no one left to ask. He had always assumed that aside from his parents and sister, he was alone in this world. His mother’s entire family, he knew for a fact, had been wiped out during the Holocaust. Although his father never discussed the family members left behind in Lithuania, Kafri was given to believe they had fared no better.

Imagine his surprise, then, when he suddenly discovered many living relatives on his father’s side. A huge number, in fact. After meeting 500 members of his newfound family members at a reunion in London last week, Kafri is still pinching himself in disbelief.

DNA Reveals Fate of the Biblical Canaanites

The people of modern-day Lebanon can trace their genetic ancestry back to the Canaanites, new research finds.

The Canaanites were residents of the Levant (modern-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) during the Bronze Age, starting about 4,000 years ago. They’re best known from the Old Testament of the Bible, in which they’re described as the cursed descendants of Canaan, blighted by God because Canaan’s father dishonored his own father, the patriarch Noah. The Canaanites were often in conflict with the Israelite tribes that wrote the Hebrew Bible. In fact, the Book of Deuteronomy features Yahweh (God) ordering the Canaanites to be exterminated. Apparently. that never happened.

The researchers reported their findings online today (July 27) in The American Journal of Human Genetics at http://bit.ly/2uJUzdw.

A shorter executive summary may be found in the LiveScience web site at: http://bit.ly/2eUiMu1.

Mother and Daughter Reunited after 50 Years Apart Thanks to a Genealogy DNA Test

Another recent reunion story describes Cathy and daughter Karen, who were able to find each other after 50 years apart through a MyHeritage DNA match. Both couldn’t be happier with their amazing discovery and are hoping others wouldn’t have to wait as long.

As the daughter Karen said, “Everybody has a right to know where they came from.”

You can read more about their story and watch a video of their exciting reunion moment, also aired earlier today on Fox 8, in the MyHeritage blog post at: http://bit.ly/2sNdSn2.

You can also purchase your own MyHeritage DNA kit at http://bit.ly/2rE1Ida.

Painter Salvador Dali’s body to be Exhumed for Paternity Suit

Salvador Dalí

A judge in Madrid has ordered the exhumation of the body of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí to get DNA samples for a paternity suit. A Spanish woman, born in 1956, said her mother, a maid, had a clandestine affair with the painter in 1955. The judge said there were no biological remains or personal objects of the artist to be used in the test. He died in Spain in 1989 at the age of 85.

The Dalí Foundation, which manages the artist’s estate, says it will appeal.

MyHeritage DNA is Again Featured on Fox & Friends

Yesterday I wrote (at http://bit.ly/2surTWg) about a segment on the popular U.S. news program Fox & Friends that featured family history research by means of combined DNA and online research techniques. Now the same news program is continuing its reporting today. This morning’s Fox & Friends about an amazing mother-daughter reunion, made possible thanks to MyHeritage DNA.

In today’s segment, you can see one of the show’s viewers who was so inspired by the hosts’ discoveries after taking the MyHeritage DNA test (aired on March 22nd and also available here), that she decided to take the test herself and was able to find her biological mother, whom she’s been searching for her whole life.

You can learn more about the latest story and watch the emotional reunion at:
http://bit.ly/2tSpx1r.

You can also purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit at http://bit.ly/2rE1Ida.

MyHeritage Featured on Fox & Friends

Genealogy obtains publicity on national television.

The Fox News popular morning show, Fox & Friends, featured a story today about MyHeritage DNA. In the piece, Janice Dean, one of the show’s hosts, was presented with her DNA ethnicity results that she got from MyHeritage, augmented by genealogy research the company also did for her which allowed her to learn new information about her family history. The results provided an overwhelming emotional experience for her, which you can view at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn90X7X8HTg&feature=youtu.be or in the video player above.

You can also purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit at http://bit.ly/2rE1Ida.

How a Utah Woman Met Her Birth Mother After 43 Years

There is a heartwarming story concerning DNA in the Goo0d4Utah web site today. How a Utah Woman Met Her Birth Mother After 43 Years describes how an adoptee reunited with her birth mother 43 years after being put up for adoption. The discovery of the birth mother was all due to their DNA, a test by MyHeritage, and a little bit of fate.

The story is available at: http://bit.ly/2tdYr4u.

You can also test your DNA with MyHeritage by going to http://bit.ly/2sfSsii.

If your DNA has already been tested by a different company, you can upload the results at no charge to MyHeritage and obtain even more information by going to http://bit.ly/2suo84e. The MyHeritage upload will also generate an Ethnicity Estimate that is unique only to MyHeritage.

Family ChartMasters Announces a New Genealogy Chart Created for Showing Off DNA Test Results

The following announcement was written by Family ChartMasters:

CEDAR HILLS, Utah – June 9, 2017 – A beautiful new way to display the results of a genetic family history test has been created for the millions of people who are getting to know their ancestors through DNA testing. Family ChartMasters, the genealogy chart printing leader for over 15 years, has designed a new DNA ethnicity chart to help family history enthusiasts show off their genetic heritage.

“We hope that this new chart will help people who have become curious about their genealogy through DNA testing become even more excited about searching out their ancestors,” says owner Janet Hovorka. “At Family ChartMasters we believe that family history can save the world. The more people know about their background, the more they are inspired with civility, gratitude and compassion for other people because they find out we are all more alike than different. We want to help people make that easy to remember every day.”

Are You Pestered by Mosquitoes? If so, Blame Your Ancestors. It’s in Your Genes.

A study conducted by scientists at Pfizer Inc. and 23andMe and published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, found 15 genetic variants associated with the size of welts left behind from mosquito bites, the intensity of itch, as well as how attractive some of us are to the insects.

The study looked at several mosquito bite traits together, and the researchers found overlapping genetic associations for each. Among the findings, the analysis in this study suggested that genetics play a slightly stronger role in how attractive a person is to mosquitoes.

You can read a lot more about this study on an article in the 23andMe Blog at http://bit.ly/2rI78pM.

MyHeritage Launches a Major New Comprehensive DNA Ethnicity Analysis

MyHeritage (the sponsor of this newsletter) has just announced a new and improved version of its DNA service. The new upgrade is called the Ethnicity Estimate. It provides MyHeritage DNA customers with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, more than any other major DNA company, and many available only on MyHeritage.

Best of all, MyHeritage is also offering both a FREE ethnicity AND matching service for anyone who has had a DNA analysis from a different DNA company. To my knowledge, no other DNA testing service offers anything similar to that. Notice the announcement below states:

“MyHeritage is unique among the main industry players in allowing users who have tested their DNA already with another service to upload – for free – their data to MyHeritage. Those users receive DNA Matches for free, for finding relatives based on shared DNA.”

The announcement also states:

This benefit is not offered by any other major DNA company.

I would suggest this is a great opportunity to upload your DNA data to MyHeritage and enjoy free DNA Matching and Ethnicity Estimates. You can do so by going to http://bit.ly/2rCbZdq.

The following announcement was written by the folks at MyHeritage:

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.)