Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fan Charts are your friend

When you are doing autosomal DNA research the further back you have all of your direct lines the better. If you have every line back at least 8 generations you are in very good shape but it helps if everyone else has their lines back that far too. Once you are at 8 generations you are close to the upper limit of autosomal DNA (6th cousins) though when you add the “removeds”  your chart should go out to 9-10 generations. I have never met anyone that has managed to do that (sourced).

Creating a fan chart is the best way to find the gaps in your research.  Filling those gaps should be your priority. I have my fan chart complete to 6 generations.

Ancestor Fan of Michele Lynn Simmons

 

When I go to 8 generations look what happens.

Ancestor Fan of Michele Lynn Simmons 2

 

Since almost all of the DNA research is on my dad’s side, and I have my dad’s brother’s DNA, I will use my dad as the anchor for the chart at 8 generations.  This will cut out my mother’s side completely but it will add a generation to the chart since my dad/uncle is one generation ahead of me.

Ancestor Fan of Thomas Calvin Simmons

You see that I still have quite a few unknown lines. Some of these lines are brick walls but some I am sure I could fill in with some additional research.

Go ahead and create an 8 generation fan chart using the person that DNA tested as the anchor person and you might see the reason why you can’t figure out how your DNA matches relate to you. Researching these gaps will make your DNA research more fruitful.  DNA and paper genealogy go hand in hand. Of course DNA can help you fill in some of these gaps if the other person has their direct lines filled out this far, however, they are counting on you for the same thing.

Charts created using Legacy 8.

 

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

2 comments:

  1. My comment has nothing to do with DNA, but I took your advice and filled out a fan chart. It was amazing what I discovered after studying it. I also went to a presentation by Marian Pierre-Louis on collateral research and I combined her tips and the fan chart and poked a hole in my brick wall! I was able to go back one more generation by looking at the naming pattern on my fan chart. I had been looking for parents of my great great grandfather for years and I finally found them. I found a sister of my great great grandfather and the record listed her parents. Now I have more people to research to help prove my theory. Thanks for suggesting the fan charts!

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    1. That is great, Sue! Why don't you email me at michele@legacyfamilytree.com and Marian and I can get your story in the Legacy Newsletter/Blog!

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