Thursday, May 26, 2016

Changes Coming to Matching Thresholds for Family Tree DNA's Family Finder Test

Family Tree DNA
Earlier this week Family Tree DNA announced it will soon be changing its FamilyFinder (autosomal DNA) matching threshold levels. This change will likely cause some changes in your match list.

Several genealogy/genetic bloggers have covered what this change will likely mean for FamilyFinder test kit holders. See The Genetic Genealogist, DNAeXplained, and The Legal Genealogist.

If you are curious about how this change effects you, then make sure you download either a CSV or Excel file of your Match List AND in your Chromosome Browser download ALL matches to an Excel (CSV) file. You will need to do this for every FamilyFinder test kit that you manage since each test you manage is accessed individually. Downloading this information now will give you something to compare to after the change.

Both of these tasks are really simple to do.

First, sign into one of your FamilyFinder test kits. At your welcome/dashboard you'll see your "Matches" and your "Chromosome Browser."
Image 1:  Your Family Tree DNA FamilyFinder Dashboard

To download your Match List:
From your Welcome/Dashboard, click on Matches. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on either the orange "CSV" or orange "Excel" button. Both buttons download the same information. The difference is the file type -- a CSV file that can be opened or imported in a variety of programs or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file. Don't worry it does download ALL of your Matches not just that page's ten matches.
Image 2:  Scroll to the bottom of your match list to find the download buttons. (Note: I have blurred info for privacy.)

The information preserved by the Match List download includes each match's: Full Name; First name; Middle Name; Last Name; Match Date; Relationship Range; Suggested Relationship; Shared cM (centimorgans); Longest Block (of cM); Known Relationship (if you have added this); Email; Ancestral Surnames; Y-DNA Haplogroup (if tested); mtDNA Haplogroup (if tested); and Notes (if you have typed anything into the notes for that match.)

So if you lose any matches that do not meet the coming new match threshold, at least you have the contact information saved. Yes, autosomal DNA is best for closer generations but I have found matches with more distant cousins (proved by paper trails) and I want to preserve that DNA information in case those matches disappear. I am also curious as to how this threshold change effects certain matches.

To download your Chromosome Browser ALL Matches:
From your Welcome/Dashboard, click on Chromosome Browser (see Image 2 above) which is where you see how your test and up to five other tests match on each chromosome graphically. At the top of the Chromosome Browser page are two download options. Use the one on the right to download an Excel (CSV) file for ALL of your Matches.
Image 3:  Two download Options for the Chromosome Browser: just the Compared Matches or ALL Matches

The Chromosome Browser download file contains seven columns of data:  Name (test kit person); Match Name; Chromosome (number); Start Location; End Location; Centimorgans; Matching SNPS. This is the spreadsheet version of the chromosome graphic.

To download your Chromosome Browser Comparisons:
If you have several matches (your own tests or other match tests) that you would like to compare, you can select those (up to five at a time) and compare them in the Chromosome Browser. You can then download the Chromosome Browser data for just these compared matches. Doing this can save you time extracting the same data from your All Matches download file.

To compare matches in the Chromosome browser, go to your match list and click on the "Show Full View" at the top of your match list. This opens up another information line (see Image 2) for each match. 
Image 4:  Click on Show Full View to see additional information for each match. See second image above.

Then go through your match list and click on the "Compare in Chromosome browser" for those matches (up to five) you want to compare. A list of select matches appears at the top of the page. When you are done selecting, click on the blue "compare" arrow. 
Image 5:  When done selecting matches to compare, click on the blue arrow. (Note: I have blurred info for privacy.)

At the chromosome browser you will see a graphic representation of where on each chromosome your selected matches match your test. You can download just the information for these selected matches using the download option on the left. (See Image 3 above.)

You can also add matches to compare directly in the Chromosome Browser using the filter list but all you will see is the match name. To see your notes or other details you have to go to your match list.
Image 6:  Family Tree DNA Chromosome Browser

Besides doing a comparison of the four tests I manage to each other and downloading that Chromosome Match information, I also did some comparisons with match tests of some cousins that share some surnames I have been working on in particular. In downloading this information and saving comparison matches, I think I may have made a realization/discovery that I had missed before. 

It happened when I was comparing some screen shots I took of a couple different chromosome browser graphic comparisons. (That's another idea, take screen shots of your chromosome browser graphics. It is really just for visual reference since the image is often too small or must be done in two sections and does not contain specific data points.) I then did another chromosome browser comparison mixing a couple match tests from each of the first two comparisons so I could see them at one time in one chromosome graphic. That new comparison data was downloaded and the graphic image saved too.

I will have to submit some questions to FTDNA to find out if I am seeing what I think I am seeing correctly. If I am, it is happy dance time. Now I am really anxious for a cousin to take and send in her FamilyFinder test for processing. (No pressure cuz', I know you are taking care of it.)

This would be why AncestryDNA needs a chromosome browser.

Oh, and while you are saving data/information did you remember to download your autosomal DNA data file after receiving your results if you tested directly with Family Tree DNA? If you didn't, now would be a good time. I would take a screen shot of your ethnicity mix too for good measure. I don't think that is changing at this time but it's good for reference without having to be connected to the internet.

The promised post about the Process of Searching for Land Patents will be coming. We had a new computer come into the house. It is not for me but as resident tech it falls to me to clean up and backup files on the old; install software and transfer files to the new. The sooner I get that done (I wrap up today), the sooner I get time to do what I need to do. Thanks for your patience. In the meantime, I hope you find this post useful.

©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Searching Ontario Marriages Work-Around: Ancestry has the Index, FamilySearch the Images

I have not forgotten about the promised post about the Process of Searching for Land Patents. It's a long post and I want to format it better so it is not so hard to read. Thanks for your patience. In the meantime, I hope you find this post useful.

Finding records in early Ontario (aka Upper Canada and Canada West) can be a challenge but with the digitization of microfilm it is becoming a little easier if you know where to look. And sometimes that "knowing where to look" involves more than one place at the same time. Get your multiple browser tabs ready!

Ontario Collections at FamilySearch
Did you see that two weeks ago on May 6, 2016, added digitized images of the Ontario, District Marriage Registers, 1801-1858? And did you know that digitized images of the Ontario, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869 have been on FamilySearch since at least April 27, 2016*?

If you did, then you know that both digitized collections of these early Ontario records are browse only collections meaning neither have been electronically indexed so you have to click through the images to find the record you seek.

But did you know there is an index elsewhere to help you out?
About this database ...

Now it may not give you a specific image number or page number but you can at least figure out that a marriage was recorded and when and where it occurred. Knowing this can cut down on the amount of your searching through "digital film" with no index.

What and where is that index? It's the Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 collection at the website. (Use Ancestry Library Edition at a local library if you do not have a home subscription.) Now this database collection is actually an index to records from a variety of sources. Reading the "about this database" clarifies and tells you what sources the indexed records originate from and which ones are indexed with images and which ones indexed without images.

Full List of Sources from the "About this database"
For those record entries you find without images, look at the entry's "view record" information. Make note of the microfilm series in that entry's source citation and then compare it to the source list in the "about this database." Records originating from the County Marriage Registers are from microfilm series M248, reels 5-18. These have no images at Ancestry, but FamilySearch now has the images and has divided them by county. You just have to estimate where to start in the group images for that county for the year of your record.

Ontario Marriages database entry for Johannah Arnold
Here's an example that I found for one of my cousins. Now she has one less item for her To-Do List for a visit to the Archives of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, or Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

From the Ontario Marriages collection at, we found what we thought was the marriage of her ancestors Henry Zuelch and Juliana Arnold. (Note: Zuelch has various spellings.) As you see from the image here, Ancestry's indexing leaves a lot to be desired because the record was indexed as Henry Fullich and Johannah Arnold. (In this case, Ancestry used an index from another group so it is just repeating an error. Read that "about this database" for details.)

Until recently there was no record image online to confirm this suspicion for ourselves. My cousin would have to wait to visit a library/archive with the Ontario County Marriage Registers collection. Why did we suspect this was the marriage record we sought? We knew her ancestors were in a certain place (the Waterloo area) and in a certain time period based on their children's birthplaces and census entries. And we have experience knowing what letters can be mistaken for other letters.

Detail of Source Citation from the Johannah Arnold entry
So looking at that index entry's "view record" we see the source of the entry came from MS248, reel 16 which is the Ontario, County Marriage Registers.

Using the date and location (18 Feb 1862 in Waterloo County) of the marriage, now we can open another browser tab and search through the new Ontario County Marriage Registers collection over at FamilySearch for the actual record image. (Using multiple browser tabs or windows allows me to keep my place in the first database while searching the second database so I can return to verify information or bring up the next record entry to investigate without having to find that entry or results list again.)

In this case under the County Marriage Registers, under Waterloo county there are three volumes (books) digitized. The first volume covers 1858 to 1862 and contains 91 images.  So I searched that volume and since I was looking for an 1862 marriage, I jumped to the last image by typing 91 in the currently viewing box of the image viewer. I proceeded backwards until I found the page/image I needed.
The Ontario County Marriage
record image from FamilySearch

Seeing the actual image now for ourselves, we can confirm with our own eyes that the indexer read the record entry incorrectly. This is the marriage record for Henry Zuellich and Juliana Arnold. (If you find something at incorrectly indexed, do submit an alternative when there is the option to do so. I did in this case.)
Henry Zuellich not Henry Fullich
Juliana Arnold not Johannah Arnold
For the Ontario District Marriage Registers, it appears the database collection at does have the record images linked to the index entries. But if you find an index entry from MS248, reels 1-4 that does not have a linked record image, you now know that there is an alternative location at FamilySearch to find the record image.

I suspect that in time Ancestry will add links to the record images for those entries in its Ontario, Canada, Marriages collection that are from the Ontario County Marriage Registers.

Now when I get a chance, I will need to go back through my tree's sourcing to create a list of Ontario marriages where I only have an index entry to document the event rather than a digital image of the original record. This list will get added to my overall To-Do List so when I finally get to that To-Do task I can easily go back and get the original record images that were not there at the time I did the original search.

But before I make that list I have another post to finish.

* Note: The late April 2016 listing of "New FamilySearch Collections Update" appears to have been skipped. I believe I have the right "newly added" date for both collections. But some are reporting that the County Marriage Registers was the collection added May 6th instead of the District Marriage Registers. I included a screen capture of all of the Ontario collections listed under Canada at the FamilySearch website with their add/update dates as of May 20, 2016.

©2016 All Rights Reserved, goneresearching. All text and photos in this post are copyrighted & owned by me (goneresearching) unless indicated otherwise. No republication (commercial or non-commercial) without prior permission. You may share (tell others) of this blog as long as you give credit and link to this site (not by downloading or copying any post). Thank you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My AncestryDNA Tests Switched to the New Algorithm Today ... Wonder What We'll Find

At some point late this morning or early afternoon my AncestryDNA tests were switched to the "new algorithm." I was working on some DNA stuff late last night/early this morning so I knew it didn't happen while I slept since I didn't go to bed until 3:30 a.m.

Around about April 19, Ancestry and various genealogy DNA bloggers started talking about this change and that it would be happening in "about one to two weeks."

I discovered this change when I went back to check something about 10 minutes ago. I haven't clicked further yet to see what has changed. At least I followed the advice to star and/or add notes to those entries I did not want to forget about if I lost them after the algorithm change.