DNA Spotlight: The Shared cM Project

When you get your DNA results, the DNA company tries to give you a sense of how you are connected to your matches. They will identify each relationship as parent, close family, sibling, second cousin, third cousin, fourth cousin, distant cousin, etc.

On MyHeritage it looks like this:

MyHeritage DNA Match

 

On Ancestry it looks like this:

Ancestry DNA Match

It's important to understand that the relationship provided is just an estimate. There are actually a number of possible ways you could be related to any given DNA match.

Now take a look at those same images and notice that next to or underneath the relationship you see a number and the initials cM. cM stands for centiMorgans which is the unit of measurement for DNA. The more cM you share with a DNA match the more closely related you are. The less cM you share, the more distant your relationship.

The Shared cM Project

In order to understand better all the possible relationships you have with a DNA match, genetic genealogist Blaine Bettinger came up with a data driven tool called the Shared cM Project. Blaine asked DNA test takers to provide the amount of cM they shared with known relationships. From this he was able to create charts that showed the various possible relationships through the range and averages of centiMorgans.

From the data, Blaine produced the Shared cM Project chart below. In each box the first line is the relationship, the second line is the average cM for that relationship and the third line is the range he has determined based on the data.

So if we take the example above - 2nd-3rd cousin, 276 cM - we would look for the box where the average is closest to 276 cM. You'll notice that there are three boxes that are pretty close: Half 1C1R (226 cM), 1C2R (229 cM) and 2C (233 cM). If you look beyond the averages to the ranges you'll notice that there are even more possibilities. This is just to show that your actual relationship to your DNA match could be any of a number of possibilities besides what the DNA company estimates for you. In this particular case, I know the cousin personally and I am accurately able to identify her as my second cousin and not a third cousin or any of the other choices.

Blaine Bettinger, The Shared cM Project, https://thegeneticgenealogist.com
Blaine Bettinger, The Shared cM Project, https://thegeneticgenealogist.com
(Click to enlarge), Creative Commons attribution

Interactive Shared cM Project on DNA Painter

Recently Jonny Perl, the creator of DNA Painter presented a webinar about DNA Painter on Legacy Family Tree Webinars (which is free to watch). Jonny has transformed Blaine's chart into an interactive tool on DNA Painter.

Let's see how it works with two new DNA matches I received just today.

From the main DNA Painter home page choose the Tools menu option.

CM-DNAPainter1

On the next page choose the Shared CM Tool option:

CM-DNAPainter2Next put the amount of cM your share with your DNA in the Filter box.

CM-DNAPainter3For this exercise I will use my two brand new dna matches.

CMMatchesforNewCousins

 

For the first new cousin I get this result:

CM-DNAPainter4You can see there are a lot of possibilities for this relationship! In fact, this cousin I know personally. She and I are Half first cousins once removed (Half 1C1R). That result was in the second tier of options. It's important not to make assumptions when working with unknown matches.

The second new match of the day was also described as a 3rd-4th cousin.

CM-DNAPainter5It's interesting to see how much the results change just by changing the cM a bit. The results are quite different even though they were both presented in the same 3rd-4th cousin range. This person is unknown to me. I will have to compare our shared matches and do some research to determine which of the above relationships is accurate. It's intriguing and I can't wait to uncover this new cousin.

Both the Shared cM Project chart and DNA Painter are free to use.  These tools will greatly help you in your genetic genealogy research. Give them a try.

You can learn more about understanding your DNA results from classes in the Legacy library. If you are just starting out with DNA take a look at Blaine Bettinger's Foundations of DNA series. If you're already pretty comfortable with DNA then choose from among the 74 DNA classes in the library.

 

Marian Pierre-Louis is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. She hosts the monthly evening webinar on the second Tuesday of each month.  Her areas of expertise include house history research and southern New England research. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.

 


Big Announcement! The Theory of Family Relativity is now live at MyHeritage

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This is first big announcement at RootsTech, and it's a game-changer for genetic genealogy! I've played with it for about an hour this morning and am very impressed. Learn about it below, register for its free webinar, and then check out your new DNA theories in the DNA Matches area at MyHeritage.com.

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, revealed today its latest innovation in genetic genealogy — the Theory of Family Relativity™. This technology offers users, for the first time ever, theories that utilize nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles to explain DNA connections. Until now, family history enthusiasts used two distinct domains for making discoveries: the paper-trail world of records and trees, and the biological world of DNA connections. Now, MyHeritage has combined these two domains and integrated them seamlessly.

The Theory of Family Relativity™ is based on a big data graph that connects billions of data points drawn from thousands of databases on MyHeritage, in real time. Every node on this graph represents a person, and every edge depicts a blood relationship between two individuals that is described in a family tree or a historical record; or a match between two tree profiles that are likely to be the same person; or two records that are likely to be about the same person. These connections between people and records are established by MyHeritage’s industry-leading matching technologies. MyHeritage engineers and algorithm experts led by the company’s CTO, Sagi Bashari, developed a unique approach that allows the big data graph to instantly compute all paths between millions of blood relatives. The Theory of Family Relativity™ draws upon this resource to construct the most plausible theories explaining how pairs of people linked by a DNA Match on MyHeritage are related, using family trees and historical records.

Previously, users who took a DNA test looking to find relatives were faced with puzzling lists of thousands of distant relatives, without many clues explaining the DNA connections. Now, for a growing percentage of these DNA Matches, theories are provided by MyHeritage that explain the precise relationship paths using trees and records. In these theories, not only does genealogy illuminate DNA connections, but DNA also helps separate fact from fiction in the genealogy and shows which tree and record connections appear to be correct.

This technology uses millions of family trees on MyHeritage, as well as the World Family Tree on Geni, which is replicated daily to MyHeritage, and the single family tree of FamilySearch, which is also replicated daily to MyHeritage under license. This combination results in the most comprehensive family tree traversal available today. Additionally, the technology utilizes billions of historical records on MyHeritage, including all census records, as well as the MyHeritage Record Detective™ technology that indicates whenever two records are about the same person. For example: a theory that explains a DNA Match between two users can begin in the family tree of the first user, traverse through a series of matching trees into a census record, continue to a household relative, who then matches into another tree, until the path completes with the family tree of the second user. MyHeritage displays the complete path of every theory, and explains every step along the way, allowing the user to verify its accuracy. Each theory is presented with a confidence level that is based on the confidence of the matches used to construct it.

“Our new technology is a game changer in its scope and power and is a tribute to our passion for developing the best genetic genealogy tools for our users,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Using genealogy to explain DNA Matches, and using DNA to validate genealogy matches, combines the best of both worlds. We expect this technology to help people make new discoveries in their family history. With every day that goes by, this technology grows even more powerful as more tree profiles, historical records and DNA kits are added to our global database.”

The Theory of Family Relativity™ feature is included for free with all Premium, PremiumPlus, and Complete subscriptions on MyHeritage. Individuals who upload their raw DNA data from other testing services to MyHeritage who do not have a subscription can pay a one-time fee of $29 per DNA kit to unlock the Theory of Family Relativity™ and the full range of advanced DNA features offered by MyHeritage.

To purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit, visit www.myheritageDNA.com


Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree - free webinar by Blaine Bettinger, PhD now online for limited time

Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree - free webinar by Blaine Bettinger, PhD now online for limited time

The recording of today's webinar, "Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree” by Blaine Bettinger, PhD is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

A genetic family tree is the list of genealogical ancestors from whom you inherited DNA. One of the goals of genetic genealogy is to recreate this genetic family tree through a process called “chromosome mapping.” Chromosome mapping uses cousin matches to identify which segments of DNA came from which ancestors, thus recreating your genetic family tree. We’ll look at the fundamentals of chromosome mapping and some tools you can use to begin to map your DNA.
 
View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 28 minute recording of "Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

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Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions 2/19/2019

Melissa Johnson, CG

Online Resources for French Genealogy part I: Compiled Records, Church Records and Civil Registration 2/20/2019

Paul Woodbury

Using Timelines and Tables to Analyze Your Research 2/22/2019

Cari Taplin, CG

Spreadsheets 401 : Excel-lent Inspiration 2/27/2019

Mary Roddy

Polled! Finding your Ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Muster and Census Returns 3/5/2019

Carol Baxter

The Five-story Fall: Correlating Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree 3/19/2019

Debra S. Mieszala, CG

One Touch Genealogy Research: How to Handle a Record Just Once 4/2/2019

Thomas MacEntee

Transcribing Documents: There is More Than Meets the Eye! 4/16/2019

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG

English Parish Records: More than Hatch, Match and Dispatch 4/30/2019

Helen Smith

Valid and Unsound Assumptions: What Was She Thinking? 5/21/2019

Jeanne Bloom, CG

They really didn't swim! Finding your ancestors in New South Wales Colonial Shipping Records 6/4/2019

Carol Baxter

Using Another Library Source: the Government Document Section 6/18/2019

Patricia Stamm, CG, CGL

Remedies for Copy & Paste Genealogy 7/2/2019

Cyndi Ingle

Lesser Used Records for Research in the Netherlands 7/16/2019

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Finding Families in New Zealand 8/6/2019

Fiona Brooker

Ten Tools for Genealogical Writing 8/20/2019

Harold Henderson, CG

Are you Lost? Using Maps, Gazetteers and Directories for British Isles Research 9/3/2019

Paul Milner

Civil Law Concepts and Genealogy 9/17/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

The Stories Behind the Segments 10/1/2019

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

Civil Law Records in Genealogical Research: Notarial Records 10/15/2019

Claire Bettag, CG

Trove: An Australian and Beyond Genealogical Treasure 11/5/2019

Helen Smith

Native American Research: Things You May Not Know 11/19/2019

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest 12/3/2019

Paul Milner

Marriages Here, There, and Nowhere: Finding Gretna Greens and Borders 12/17/2019

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

Print the 2019 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


New "Member Friday" Webinar - Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun by Diahan Southard

New "Member Friday" Webinar - Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun by Diahan Southard

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new bonus webinar just for them!   This Friday enjoy "Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun" by Diahan Southard. If you're not a member, remember the webinar previews are always free.

Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun

Three kinds of DNA tests, five testing companies, and many different outcomes. Learn the basics and leave with confidence in this new area of research.

Three DNA Tests = Three Times the Fun


_WatchVideo

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About the Presenter

Diahan SouthardA microbiology graduate, Diahan Southard worked before and after graduation for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. Growing up with the budding genetic genealogy industry lead her to her current position as Your DNA Guide, where she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information. Diahan's lectures are always fun, upbeat, and full of energy. She has a passion for genetic genealogy, a genuine love for people, and a gift for making the technical understandable.
 

See all the webinars by Diahan Southard in the Legacy library.

 
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Look at our lineup of speakers for 2019! All live webinars are free to watch.

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DNA Quest Reunion Featured on Good Morning America

Mitch Yurkovich, 37, from Bad Axe, Michigan, was adopted as a baby. Married with four children, he was always curious about his biological family and had searched for information over many years. It changed his life when he found his biological parents, who were still together, and who had married and had more children! It was made possible thanks to DNA Quest, MyHeritage’s pro bono initiative to help adoptees search for biological family members.

THANK YOU MyHeritage for starting the DNA Quest project.

I know my story is just one of MANY happy results from the program.

My life is changed (for the BETTER) because of this test. I cannot thank your team enough!

Mitch just met his family in person for the first time. His story was just featured on “Good Morning America”:

Click here for the rest of the story.

 

 

 

 

Mitch


DNA Quest Success: New Zealand Siblings Living Just Miles Apart Meet for the First Time!

I first told you about DNAQuest back in April - a pro bono initiative of MyHeritage to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. Since then, thousands of adoptees participated in the project and we're now beginning to learn of some of their amazing reunions. Just today, MyHeritage published the first heart-warming story. Watch the reunion below and read the entire story here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DNAQuestVideoImage


New: MyHeritage supports 23andMe V5 and Living DNA uploads

I just received this important email and wanted to pass it along to you. In summary - if you haven't uploaded your DNA results to MyHeritage, do it soon. Your DNA matches await you...

DNA-upload

If you’ve tested your DNA already, we have good news for you, please read on. If you haven’t taken a DNA test yet, we invite you to check out the MyHeritage DNA kit which is now offered at a very affordable price.

Since 2016, MyHeritage has allowed users who have tested their DNA already to upload their DNA data from Ancestry, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, providing DNA matches and ethnicity estimates on MyHeritage for free.

However, previously MyHeritage did not support the upload of tests based on the chip called GSA (Global Screening Array), that is used by 23andMe (V5), and by Living DNA. Recent improvements to our DNA algorithms allow us to support DNA data processed on GSA chips, and so we’re happy to update you that MyHeritage now supports 23andMe V5 and Living DNA data uploads, in addition to data uploads from all major DNA testing services, including Ancestry, 23andMe (up to V5) and Family Tree DNA (Family Finder).

Upload your DNA data to MyHeritage now — it’s fast and simple. If you upload now, you will get full access to DNA Matching, Ethnicity Estimates, our industry-leading chromosome browser, and more, for FREE.

If you manage additional DNA kits for some of your relatives, and you have their permission, upload their DNA data too, and MyHeritage will let you associate the data with the respective individuals on your family tree.

As of December 1st 2018, our DNA upload policy will change: DNA Matching will remain free for uploaded DNA data, but unlocking additional DNA features will require an extra payment for DNA files uploaded after this date. All DNA data that was uploaded to MyHeritage in the past, and all DNA data that is uploaded now and prior to December 1, 2018 will continue to enjoy full access to all DNA features for free. These uploads will be grandfathered in and will remain free.

So it’s a great idea to upload DNA files for any kits you have as soon as possible. You’ll get the following benefits:

  • DNA Matches - DNA Matches are other users on MyHeritage from all around the world who are likely to be your relatives based on shared DNA. MyHeritage has a very strong user base in Europe so you are likely to get more DNA Matches from Europe than on any other DNA service. This is very useful if you have ancestors from Europe.
  • Ethnicity Estimate - A percent breakdown of your ethnic background from among 42 ethnicity regions. You’ll learn which places your ancestors came from.
  • Chromosome Browser - Helps you understand how you’re related to your DNA Matches by identifying DNA segments that you share with them. MyHeritage’s Chromosome Browser is considered by many experts to be the best in the industry.

After uploading, your DNA data will be kept private and secure, and our DNA service terms are the friendliest in the industry. You remain the owner of your DNA data — not us — and you can delete your DNA data at any time.

So don't delay, and upload your DNA data to MyHeritage now, while all the DNA features are free (and they will remain free for you). If you have tested with 23andMe (any version including V5) or Living DNA, you're in luck, and you can now upload this data to MyHeritage too. You can also upload DNA data from Ancestry and Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test. Instructions for exporting your data and uploading it to MyHeritage are provided on our upload page.

Upload your DNA data now.

Best regards,
The MyHeritage team

P.S. We are currently processing the large backlog of 23andMe V5 kits that have been uploaded to us in the past, and their results will be rolled out to the users gradually within the next few days.