Saturday, July 21, 2018

23andme Updated Their Populations!!!

Honestly, I don't know how I missed this. My daughter recently tested two of my grandsons at 23andme and I noticed right away that they were assigned to populations not previously included in 23andme's reference populations. Many years ago my daughter, son-in-law, and oldest grandson had their DNA tested with 23andme. My son-in-law's parents were both born in Hungary, and his mother claimed to also have Romanian roots, partially due to border changes.

I was looking at my grandsons results and realized that they now included results from Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. I checked their father's results, and his results, too, had been updated to include Hungary (39.9%) and Romania (24.6%). It made me call a couple of friends, including Gail Burkholz. Her results, too, had been updated to specifically identify some German and Irish roots. How did this happen?

First of all, the reference populations remain unchanged. 23andme updated their populations to include 120 additional populations based on user-submitted data. For instance, I may have told 23andme that I have documented evidence that four of my grandparents emigrated from Oldenburg, Germany. They could then compare my DNA results to others making the same claim, and if the statistical analysis corroborated this fact, they may have become a "reference population" for others who claim ancestors from that area.  You can read an article describing their methods at:

If you have taken a 23andme test, please do the following:

1) Go to your home page.

2) Click on this icon.

3) Click on your "Ancestry Composition."

4) See if there are any subcategories that were not included in your previous reports. For example, this summary subdivided my British and Irish ancestry into "Ireland." French and German was subdivided into "Germany."  These results represent a significant improvement over previous results. I have received from 23andme.

5) Click on the "Scientific Details" at the top of the menu. Scroll down and view the 120 additional populations that have been added. This page has a LOT of information. You can adjust the confidence levels, review a list of the additional populations, and click on links describing in detail how these statistics were calculated. At the very bottom of the page, there is a "change log" that will list any changes to you ancestry results that have been revised by date.

Now I'd like to hear from you. I am curious about your experience with this update. Did the new results reflect your paper trail? How accurate did they seem to be? I'd love to hear. Email me at or comment on this blog post.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"A Summer of DNA" sponsored by Family History Fanatics

Mark Steinke, our new HCGS Corresponding Secretary, shared information on an eConference sponsored by Family History Fanatics. The topics look like they could be very valuable and I can personally attest to the competence of the speakers. There is an early bird pricing of $19.99 should you choose to register by August 4th. You may want to check it out.

We wanted to remind you (to remind your members) that the "A Summer of DNA" eConference on August 4th early bird pricing of $19.99 ends on 7/21.  Speakers and topics will include:
Diahan Southard - Your Tree is Full, There is Still Room for DNA
Sam Williams - Ancestry DNA Tools
Michelle Leonard - Adoption and Unknown Parentage
Kitty Cooper - Segment Triangulation

The online sessions will begin at 9am Central Time on August 4th. Some answers to common questions that people have asked us:
1. Yes the sessions are live. These are not pre-recorded, so if you have questions, then please ask them in the chat during any of the sessions and we'll get them answered.
2. Yes there are door prizes.
3. No you don't have to be logged on to the live session to win.
4. Yes recordings of the sessions will be available for 30 days after the eConference so even if you can't make the live session, register so that you can watch the recordings.
5. Yes we use our webcams. You don't have to watch slides all the time. You also get to see people.

Register and get your questions answered by some of the most popular genetic genealogy educators! Price is only $19.99 until July 21st and then it will be $24.99.  
More information is available on the website:
Feel free to let any friends, family, or genealogy society members (or anyone else who may be interested) know about this great opportunity. 

Andrew & Devon Noel Lee
Family History Fanatics
Humble, TX | 346-704-1433

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Y-DNA and Genetic Genealogy

Next Meeting of SWOHDNA
Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 7:00 pm
Location: MidPointe Library, West Chester
Topic: Y-DNA and Genetic Genealogy
Presenter: Kathy Reed

In the Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group (SWOHDNA), we have largely focused on autosomal DNA. At our August meeting, we are going to turn our attention to Y-DNA and it's significant impact for the genetic genealogist. Why is Y so important?

  • Y-DNA is inherited by males from their fathers, who inherited it from their grandfathers, etc.
  • Y-DNA lacks significant recombination making it nearly identical to the Y-chromosome possessed by his many great-grandfathers.
  • It can be traced back on the order of thousands of years.
  • Men are able to trace their patrilineal lineage, often with a common surname.
  • A male passes his Y-DNA only to his male children.
  • Women wanting to trace their patrilineal lineage must identify a brother or other relative who is a direct descendant  of the common male ancestor.
Currently, only Family Tree DNA offers Y-DNA testing. Understanding and interpreting the results can be a bit challenging to the first-time user. We will connect the results of testing for Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) to a surname project and discuss how Y-DNA results can be used to prove a relationship when autosomal DNA cannot.

If you've not attended a meeting of SWOHDNA and are afraid to jump in, now would be a good time. This is a relatively new topic for our group and unrelated to many of our previous discussions. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, contact Kathy Reed at

Note: We will not be carrying this talk live. We will be posting the talk and distributing a link ASAP after the August 14th presentation.

If you want to have some background on this topic before the meeting, consider reading one or both of these two books:

 Chapter 5: Y-Chromosomal (Y-DNA) Testing, p. 70.

Chapter 3: Genealogical Applications for Y-DNA, p.23.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Thursday, June 28, 2018


The Hamilton County Genealogical Society and the State Library of Ohio provided grants which are bringing an exciting project online…all issues of The Catholic Telegraph from 1831–1885, some 2,726 issues, are now available online at TheCatholicNewsArchive

If you have Catholic ancestors who lived in Cincinnati, you will be interested in this valuable collection for both genealogy and social history research. 

The Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) has been working with the archdiocese to post the digitized issues. The project to digitize Catholic newspapers of regional and national import was begun by the CRRA in 2011.

In a separate project, HCGS and the Public Library of Cincinnati (PLCH) are working to make the remaining issues in the public domain from 1886 through 1922 available through the PLCH Digital Library.

The Catholic Telegraph began publishing in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1831. One of the oldest diocesan papers in the United States, it is, according to archdiocese Archivist Sarah Patterson, also one of the most heavily used.[1] 

For more information about the CRRA project, go HERE and HERE.

[1] “All Issues of the Catholic Telegraph from 1831–1885 Can Now Be Read Online,” The Catholic Telegraph ( : accessed 28 June 2018), article, 13 June 2018.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Using DNAGedom to Analyze Your DNA Results

The Southwest Ohio DNA  Interest Group posted a new video to the website. Advanced genetic genealogists may appreciate the ability to combine all of their DNA results into one location. This program is actually an umbrella for several programs that allow you to work with results from Ancestry, 23andme, FTDNA, and Gedmatch. It also includes utilities for creating spreadsheets and comparing gedcoms.

Once your results have been uploaded, you can easily produce results like those pictured which graphically compare your DNA to others in your database. You can see visually how long each segment is in cMs and where they overlap. If you hove over a segment, the In Common With (ICW) tool will show everyone in your database who has some degree of overlap. In addition, you can click on the email address of your match and try to determine who your shared common ancestor was.

You cannot take advantage of this program without using the DNAGedcom Client program at a cost of $5 a month or $50 for a yearly subscription. You must also be a Tier 1 user on Gedmatch at a cost of $10 for a month of access. Watch the video for a complete explanation.

Finally, make sure you download the manual for how to use the Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer and interpret your results. It is an investment, but one that will definitely have returns. Happy hunting.

Submitted by Kathy Reed
SWOHDNA Interest Group Chair

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Searching for William Henry Jones by Jon Nedry

The Southwest Ohio DNA Interest Group (SWOHDNA) welcomed a new member, Jon Nedry, to our last meeting. Jon is new to this area. He formerly took two GRIP (Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh) courses on Genetic Genealogy and is active in working with DNA to solve genealogical problems with his research. He is very active in the DNA community, and we are lucky to have him here with us.

We were able to share his presentation online and record it for our website. Unfortunately, the MidPointe Library West Chester is still experiencing some problems with their internet connection, and sound quality deteriorated to some degree after about 40 minutes. If you missed the meeting and want to view the video, click on this link, It will also be added to the website.

Jon introduced us to the McGuire method which involves a creating a specialized chart developed by Lauren McGuire to keep track of the DNA results of all tested cousins related to a particular research subject. Lauren explained her method in a guest post published on Blaine Bettinger's blog The Genetic Genealogist.

I'm sure all participants readily recognize the potential value of this tool. At the same time, we agreed that understanding something like this would require a session in itself.  Blank templates of this chart are available in Blaine Bettinger's facebook group, Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques. Check for these and other templates in the "files section." If you are on facebook, you may want to consider joining this group.

Hopefully, Jon will volunteer to come back another time.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

Monday, May 14, 2018

Genealogy Foundations Series-Register Today!

Stranded? At the end of the road? The Genealogy Foundations series is a multi-class series that lays the foundation for effective family research. Learn search strategies to locate your ancestor's records regardless of how their name was spelled, transcribed, garbled, or misread. Improve your research skills and methodology while exploring a few key resources: census, newspapers, vital records and their substitutes, published genealogies and histories. Build a bridge to the past based on a firm footing.

All sessions are held in the 3rd floor computer lab at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Branch, 800 Vine Street. Space is limited and preregistration is required.  A registration form can be found at  For best results, plan on attending all sessions. If you have any questions, please contact Liz Stratton.

Session 1, May 19, 10 AM to 12:30 PM*, “What’s in a Name?” 
Session 2, June 2, 1 PM to 4 PM, “Making Sense of the Census” 
Session 3, June 9, 1 PM to 4 PM, “Extra! Extra! Read all about your Ancestors in the News” 
Session 4, June 23, 1 PM to 4 PM, “It’s Vital to Find Births, Marriages and Deaths” 
Session 5, June 30, 1 PM to 4 PM, “Published Genealogies and Histories, and Cousin Connections”
*The first session will be held in the morning. If you are unable to attend, please let Liz know and she will make alternate arrangements to get you the course materials.