Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brief DNA Primer

Here is a quick rundown of the different DNA tests and what you can find out with them.

mtDNA (mitochondrial) is the female line DNA that is passed from a mother to her children. Everyone, male or female, carries mtDNA and can be tested but males don't pass it along to their children. Only females pass it along. mtDNA can connect people on your mother's mother's mother's (etc) line and can show the distant ancestry of your strictly female ancestral line.

yDNA is carried only by males and only males can be tested. This traces your father's father's father's (etc) line and can help connect males of the same surname. For example if I was able to find another man with the last name of Miller that is a yDNA match to me, I'd know that we descend from the same man on our Miller line somewhere along the line.

Family Finder is Family Tree DNA's name for their autosomal DNA test. Ancestry provides only the autosomal test now. This is the "everything else" test. This is the bulk of your DNA and can show connections on any of your ancestral lines, not just purely male or female lines. This can show connections, as one example, on your mother's father's father's mother's mother's line and the person that matches you could connect to you on their mother's mother's father's father's line, or any other line for that matter. It will tell you that you are related but it will not tell you how you are related. For this, you'll need to narrow down your search by finding common names, common locations, common DNA matches or other ways. This is the challenge!

-- Matt

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Animated Photomosaic of an Ancestor

For those of you that enjoyed the project of creating a photomosaic of an ancestor (found here), I took that project one step further. A cousin who is a genetic match but we don't know how we're related, Robert, helped me get started on this project. This is definitely an advanced project. I pride myself in being able to figure out just about any technology or software and it took me a bit of time and help from Robert before I was able to learn how to create a project the way I wanted to.

The software I used was MemoriesOnTV. This is software designed to be used to create slideshows and allows you to pan across and zoom in and out of images and add a soundtrack to each slide or to the entire show. You can download a trial version of the software here:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Compare Information from Different Sources

Court records provide good information, as do church records, county records, property records, cemetery records, headstones and DNA test results. There are many other ways of obtaining information that are just as good. What's even better? Triangulating pertinent information by comparing what you find in one source with information from other sources. Here's an example I just found and it has provided me with a clue that gives me a location in Ireland to begin searching on one of my Irish lines.