Saturday, November 1, 2014

Family Tree DNA Walkthrough

I can imagine that some people might be hesitant to get a DNA test because they're not sure what they'd be getting. Here is a walkthrough of the Family Tree DNA results web site. The screenshots all have had other people's names and my actual DNA blurred out.

First is the initial screen after logon which shows you the options available.
The top link on the page is "Family Tree". Clicking here will bring you to the page where
you can view and edit your family tree for your matches to browse to try to find a connection.

This family tree shows the birth marriage and death dates and locations for all members of your tree that you entered. Doing this will allow your matches to figure out how they are connected to you. When browsing, you can browse the entire descendancy tree that has been posted or you can see all the ancestors posted.

Next we'll go to the yDNA pages. Only men who have had the yDNA test performed will see these pages. First up is yDNA ancestral origins.
This shows you where your matches say their furthest male ancestor originated from, along with the percentage of people from that country that have had their yDNA tested. This may give you an idea of the country of origin of your direct paternal line.

Next is the yDNA Haplogroup Origins
 This shows the Haplogroup and the country of origin for the most distant male ancestors of your closest matches.

yDNA Print Certificates
This allows you to print certificates showing  your yDNA STR values, your yDNA SNP values, the migration map for your direct male ancestor's ancient ancestral origins and an explanation of yDNA testing.

yDNA STR Values
Here are the actual raw values of your yDNA STR results. To someone who is not a geneticist, this will likely appear as a bunch of random numbers to you, as they do to me.

Next is the yDNA Haplotree
This shows your Haplogroup test results and gives you the ability to order specific SNP tests to help narrow down and confirm your closest connections. Since I had no close connections at all, purchasing these upgrades don't make sense for me.

Next is the yDNA Haplogroup Migration Map.

 This is the map showing your direct line male ancestors ancient migration map.

 Next is the yDNA Frequency Map
This shows the percentage of men in a given part of the world that match your yDNA haplogroup.

Next is the yDNA Matches Map
This shows the location of the furthest direct male ancestor of your closest yDNA matches.

Finally, there's a listing of your yDNA matches
Most people will likely have a longer list than I do. It appears my male ancestral line has "daughtered out" other than my closest male relations (brothers and their sons).

Now we move on to the Family Finder section, which is what most people will spend most of their time with.

I'm going to start with the Family Finder Origins Map
 The first map shows where your ancestors originated. The biggest confusion to keep in mind here is that Germanic ancestors mixed and migrated with the people of Northern Europe, meaning Scandavian countries. Different DNA testing companies map these differently. Family Tree DNA maps your Germanic ancestors primarily as Northern European/Scandanavian. This page also shows the percentage of ancestry for your closest matches.
 You then click on each of the colored areas to get a description of the area and the ancient genealogical history of the area, along with a more detailed breakdown of that general area.

Next up is the Known Relations page.
This page allows you to specify and browse your matches that you've also established a paper trail connection to. You can see that I've proven my connection to two of my matches. It may or may not be common among others that have tested, but I've found that my proven connections connect at the outside range of the estimated relationship range. By this I mean that Family Tree DNA estimated (based on genetic similarity) that I was second to fourth cousins with one of these matches. The paper trail proves that I'm fourth cousins with this individual.

Next we move on to your Family Finder Matches page.
 This is where you'll see your closes matches and are able to dig into details of their family tree (if they've uploaded it) and your connection to them and others.
 If you click just below their main window, you'll see other options to look at.
First, if you click on "Common Matches" you'll be able to select "In common with" or "Not in common with". This allows you to see who they match that you also match and who you match that they don't. This allows you to rule in our out certain known family connections. For example, if you and your mother were tested, you could see who you match that she also matches. This means you are connected to them on her side of the family. If you selected "Not in common with", you know you'd be looking at people on your father's side of the family.
 Once here, you can select "Compare in Chromosome Browser".
 When you do this, their name will appear at the top in the list "Compare in Chromosome Browser". You can compare up to five people in the Chromosome Browser.
In my personal opinion, this is the most valuable tool (besides someone else's uploaded family tree) on the Family Tree DNA website. This shows you where in your DNA you match each of these individuals. As you can see above, I match all of these five individuals in the same area of our DNA. If we could figure out how ANY of these five connect to each other, it's likely all of use are descended from that ancestral line. So far, I've not yet been able to make that kind of connection.

So there you have it. A quick high-level walkthrough of the Family Tree DNA results website. I encourage everyone to get tested. If more people do so, we will hopefully be able to make more confirmed family connections.


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