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