DNA and something called Phasing – 1 Parent

Had this question yesterday, “I uploaded my fathers raw data to GEDmatch. Now how do we do the phasing if I don’t have my mothers DNA?”

Phasing “is the process of trying to determine which DNA came from the mother, and which came from the father. The term is usually applied to types of DNA that recombine, such as autosomal DNA or the X-chromosome. The benefit of phasing is being able to identify which ancestor a segment was inherited from.” http://isogg.org/wiki/Phasing

This particular client’s mother passed away and he has no way of identifying her specific DNA. To get into this more, you might ask, “can’t you just send in some hair from a brush she used?” Why yes you can, IF you can find a hair with a root still attached AND you have blocks of gold lying around the house. This kind of testing is not practical for the average Genealogist.

When you work with DNA you might say generally, “I inherited this much from my dad – say 50% and this much from my mom – say 50%.” Which is kind of sort of a ball park figure. This goes along with what I explained in another blog Why DNA?  My brother, Sister and I all get 50% from our parents. If this were exactly true then we would all be clones of our parents with no perceivable difference. But there are perceivable differences. The differences are all over the place too. So no, you can’t just say I got 50% from each parent and be done with it. Nature has a sense of humor.

So how to tell which parent gave us which parts of our DNA?

Phasing will tell us.

You can not do this currently (April of 2016) at the place where you got your test done, since none of the testing companies offer a phasing tool.

There are two tools available from Genetic Genelogists for Phasing when you have both parents raw data. You can find this information on the ISSOG page on Phasing. http://isogg.org/wiki/Phasing#Phasing_tools

What we want to do is find out which parent we received our DNA from when we only have one parent.

T. Whit Athey, explains how to do phasing when “a family group, consisting of at least three, siblings and at least one parent. The process works best if data for four or more siblings is available.” Phasing the Chromosomes of a Family Group When One Parent is Missing, Journal of Genetic Genealogy, Fall 2010, Vol. 6, Number 1, http://www.jogg.info/62/files/Athey.pdf

We don’t have a whole slew of family members to test to work on this kind of phasing. So, we turn to GEDmatch, https://www.gedmatch.com . If you haven’t already uploaded your raw DNA data to GEDmatch, and at least one parents raw DNA data to GEDmatch, then you will need to do this. Click on upload raw data for your particular company to see what you need to do.

Now that you and your one parent’s raw DNA data is up and available to work with (usually 24-48 hours after initial upload) here is what to do.

Sign in to GEDmatch.
Go to the Analyze your DNA section,
Then to the DNA Raw Data section, and
Click on “Phasing”. This will take you to the “Phased data generator, Data entry form”
Enter the child’s (your) kit number
Enter either the Fathers or Mother’s Kit number
Then Click the link to generate the phased results.

How long did it take? Phasing took 0.45905 seconds.

Child’s Kit: A000001
Father’s Kit: M111111
Processing without mother’s kit.

Paternal kit number: PA000001P1

Maternal kit number: PA000001M1

Your phased Paternal and Maternal files have been generated.

These numbers will appear on your GEDmatch profile page along with other kits you manage. The phased kits will be available for use in one-to-one comparisons immediately. You will have to wait for the usual 24 to 48 before you can compare the new phased Parental kits with other tools offered by GEDmatch.


Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety.

As populations grew, the oldest son(s) would inherit the land and the younger children would migrate to other areas. From the north to the south and west. In what is now Canada settlers followed the St. Lawrence River inland. As each of the major canals were constructed easier travel afforded more opportunity to the west. In the US the old Indian trails heading south and west were followed and land opened up. Covered Wagons and then the Rail systems, criss-crossing the continent opened even wider expanses of land for migrants to settle.

In my own Gaulden (Gaulding, Goulding, Gauldin) family we started in VA (one theory is that my Gaulden’s started in England traveled to Bermuda, went through Eleuthra, Bahama, to Massachusetts then to Virginia). From Virginia we traveled through NC for a bit, then on to Sumter, South Carolina. The John Gaulden Family of Sumter, SC, had it’s younger Children migrate to York County, SC, to Georgia, and even to Western MS/Eastern LA.

My Templeton family arrived from Ireland, landed in Charleston and settled in Laurens County, SC. From South Carolina, portions of the family migrated to Indiana. When more land opened up to the west they moved on westward. The Templeton DNA Study and One Name Study has worked to identify far flung family groups by migration patterns. We can infer which of the 8 Templeton gateway Ancestors someone is from and identify new people to add to the Templeton Gene Pool with DNA testing.TempletonDNAchart

The Hunt line started out in Bedford County, Virginia. Thomas Hunt had 14 children who migrated to all parts of the continent. My particular Hunt, Esli, Sr., moved with a couple of brothers to Western North Carolina (the State Of Franklin now Tennessee).  Then, after traveling around SC during the revolution took his land grant on what was to be the line between Greenville and Pickens Counties, SC. From there Esli Sr.’s family spread out over Cherokee lands and westward.

The Dillard’s migrated with other family groups from Virgina to Western NC, then on to Rabun County, Georgia. The Lords started in Connecticut and ended up in Jackson County, Georgia. The McElmoyle’s are a bit harder to trace to one individual, but different groups of McElmoyle’s landed in Charleston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York (straight to Ontario for some) and Boston and spread from those locations to points south and west.

Knowing that Upstate South Carolina was a resort destination for those to escape the coastal heat and malaria for cool summers in the mountains, helps to understand why some Charleston families have deep ties to Greenville, SC. There is even a Charletson McElmoyle family who are split between a cemetery in Clemson, SC and a cemetery in Charleston (with tombstones in both) because of the civil war.

So ask your local historical society where the people came from and why they settled your area of the world. You may find a veritable road-map to your ancestors origins.

DNA – Understanding Your Results? Ethnicity/Origins

Oh, I always have a good chuckle when I see blog or forum posts with this subject line, which is why I added a question mark at the end. How on earth are you, the family geneaarchivisty person or genealogist supposed to suddenly become a DNA expert and understand the overwhelming amount of information included in your DNA test results?

Well, you understand enough to have figured out  Why DNA, Who to Test and Where to Test. You ordered your kit, swabbed your cheek, sent it off and now you have the results back and…


The National Geographic Genographic Project, Geno 2, test results are geared toward this specifically. The project is attempting to identify, through DNA, the origins of us all. It’s a noble work, as they will be able to establish (are already establishing) our genetic roots. This is shifting sand, because, as our migrations from place to place have increased so has our DNA mix. If this is what you want to know then this is your test as “Our testing focuses on deep ancestry from an anthropological perspective. It is not primarily a genealogy testing service…” The Genographic Project -FAQ

Mentioning shifting sands…Check back on your Ethnicity/Origins results frequently because as more people test the more the data improves. You might start out at 98% European today and in two months you may be 96% European. Not big changes for sure but over time you may see your numbers go up and down a bit.

On FamilyTreeDNA find your “My Origins” section of your Family Finder test.Clicking “My Origins” will take you to a map, a breakdown of your ethnicity and a list of matches with their ethnicity.

On Ancestry it’s under DNA. Clicking on DNA will take you to a page that summarizes your information, with a map of your origins and a pie chart showing your ethnic make-up and a link to click to go more in-depth.

On 23andMe it’s in Ancestral Composition, click “Go” and you will see a color-coded map of your origins and percentages of your ethnic breakdown.

On all of these pages hover and click all round to see if there are things for you to read, aside from the obvious verbiage. You can also look over a few of your top DNA matches (the people you share part of your DNA with) without leaving the page. Have fun learning about where you came from in the grand scheme of things.



DNA – Where to Test?

This is a subject that has been whipped, but good. There isn’t a lot to add to the information, but since some of my readership may be looking only to me for this very advice (delusions of grandeur), I have to whip it one more time. If you have already been around the block on this, you can sit back with a nice piece of hot blueberry pie while I ramble on, entertainingly, about where to test. The rest get your pie at the end.

Sticker Shock – It’s not a new car, but…

Prices range from around $99.00 US to about $249.00 US for single tests. If you don’t live in the US and your currency isn’t doing well against the US dollar, prepare for even more sticker shock and high fees for shipping.

You can get an Autsomal Test and/or a y-DNA test or mtDNA test and you can order a test: from 23andMe, Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, and National Geographic.

The companies vary in the tests they offer so you should spend time looking over the FAQ for each company to decide which one is right for you, based on what you want to know and what test you need to point you in the right direction. A previous blog post gives some advice on the, “what you want to know” and the “what tests” for you here: DNA- Who to Test?

Ancestry FAQ
FamilyTreeDNA FAQ

23andMe FAQ
National Geographic Geno 2.0 FAQ

You will also want to read to make sure testing is available for your area. For example, Ancestry DNA testing is only “available in the United States and for purchase online for residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”- Ancestry FAQ #10.

Now that that is done, everyone enjoy the hot from the oven blueberry pie I just served you! Some Vanilla Ice cream too!

Gene-O-Rama Take Away

What is Gene-O-Rama? No it isn’t something you order from a late night TV ad. No Sheldon Cooper, didn’t name this event but it certainly sounds like something he would be interested in…along with about 200+ (this is a very rough guestimate – probably higher) Ottawa and surrounding area Genealogists, family historians, archivist and librarians.

We, Grandma’s Genes, were there to spread the word about our work here in Ottawa (and elsewhere), on Genetic Genealogy, Indigenous Peoples and WikiTree. We had a great time meeting and networking with participants, venders, speakers and the volunteers who did a bang-up job of making everything come off with out a hitch!

It was great being a participant for Gene-O-Rama. I am often representing WikiTree at genealogical events, so having the time to do some professional development for myself was a nice change. AND I got to spend some quality “out of the office” time with Marc. It was a great building and bonding experience for our partnership as Grandma’s Genes.

Take away? Size doesn’t matter when you have a well run event with lots of venders, great volunteers and informative and knowledgeable speakers in the field. Great Job Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society!

Genetic DNA, Patience Is The Word

DNA has been around since…well forever. It will be around forever. What has not been around forever has been our ability to get to it and to understand it. All that getting to it, understanding it and connecting to it takes patience.

I am currently working with a client who is in her late 80’s. She is adopted and she has never been able to find out much about her birth story other than where she was adopted, her name, “Girl X”, and her date of birth. She has patiently spent some of her time trying to gain access from her records via the County Courthouse where she was adopted only to be turned away with, “there isn’t anything in the file and if there was it wouldn’t be available to you if there was.”

Then her kids had some health issues and she wanted to know more. DNA has arrived so she sent away to 23andMe to get her medical information. She did and she seems to be OK with the DNA Medical knowledge, but, she still wants to know about HER story. The one where she came into the world drew breath and was given away for what ever reason.

And that takes patience.

I laughed at myself today and tonight. I sent out letters to people she matches on 23andMe and to people she matches ad GEDmatch. I got a few replies, but one of them? One of the relies has the promise of bigger answers to her questions. This match is so very close to her. But, I worked all day and heard nothing. I ate dinner and after dinner I was scheduled for a webinar through the Association of Professional Genealogists and just as I was getting myself signed in for the said webinar I see my mailbox lights up. It has just received the first of two emails from the match with the bigger answers…Oh the patience it took to stay the course and participate in the webinar. I did it, though I still haven’t opened the emails yet. I was so struck by the little bit of patience I needed to have, just for an hour and a half tonight, that I wanted to write this blog post while it was still such a real feeling for me. And to think my client has been waiting patiently for a lifetime to receive her answers.

Patience is the word.