Sunday, July 31, 2016

All I needed was a little motivation

 

Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Ouch! I read this Bible verse and was immediately convicted. I have a file folder on my hard drive simply named, “Genealogy.” This folder is a catch-all for everything I don’t want to deal with at the moment. I keep hoping that everything will just magically process itself.  I have been pretending that since I have this folder organized with nice subfolders that I was handling the materials effectively.  Nope.  I was just procrastinating big time. 

I read two good books this past week.  I bought them specifically to try and get myself motivated to clean all this stuff up.

Even though I am a seasoned researcher I found both of these books very helpful. They are not just for beginning researchers.

So far it is working. I have processed more than half of what I have in this folder. Funny thing is, some of it I was able to just delete.  It was taking up needless space and making me think I had more to deal with than I actually do. 

My error is that I don’t deal with things immediately as they come in which is a major workflow problem. When you have a lot of things coming in at the same time on different projects it is just too easy to just throw it all in a folder with the intention of getting to it eventually.

I was already using Evernote but I needed to do some serious cleanup there too. I have Evernote all nice and tidy now. One thing that I needed to move from my Genealogy folder to Evernote were all of my reference materials I have been collecting, things like e-books, PDFs of cemetery surveys, PDFs of document indexes, class syllabi, etc.  What’s nice about Evernote is that the contents of these files are now searchable which saves me a ton of time.

There is a lady that pulls documents for me at the Family History Library.  She names the files with everything I need to create a full citation.  Because of that, I can park these files in this folder and not worry about forgetting what they are or where they came from.  I have quite a few that I need to rename, save to my main Media folder and link to Legacy.

With DNA being the big thing right now I have a ton of DNA stuff in this catch-all folder which I need to sort through.

I want to have the folder empty by the end of weekend so that I can start fresh on Monday morning and I think I will meet that goal.  Thanks, Drew and Kerry.

Next time I will tell you what my #1 favorite feature of Evernote is.

 

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Statistical DNA percentages vs. real life

You get 50% of your DNA from each of your parents* which in turn means you get 25% of your DNA from each of your grandparents which in turn means you get 12.5% of your DNA from each of your great-grandparents which in turn means you get 6.25% of your DNA from each of your 2nd great-grandparents etc.  However, these are only simple mathematical calculations. DNA is much more complicated than that and real life doesn’t always match the math. For example:

You get 50% of your DNA from your mother and 50% from your father but which 50% of their 100% DNA is a crapshoot.  Your parents also got 50% of their DNA from each parent but again, which 50% was a crapshoot.  This means as the DNA is mixing and diluting as it is being passed down you can’t use a simple mathematical equation to calculate how much DNA you got from a certain person. The only time that the percentages will be on the money is the 50% you got from mom and the 50% you got from dad because you inherit entire chromosomes from each. 

Here is a great chart from ISOGG that give more of a real life expectation of what you might or might not actually see.  Even if you should mathematically inherit X amount of DNA from an ancestor that doesn’t mean you will. 

File:Ancestor relationships.jpgCousin Statistics ISOGG Wiki Page

 

The chart shows you the chance of you not inheriting any DNA form a particular ancestor.  What this chart doesn’t show you is the amount of DNA you could inherit in between the mathematical calculation and the calculation on these charts.  In other words, you can inherit UP TO the mathematical percentage but it may be (and probably will be) lower.

Here is a real life example and one that many people are pursing, Native American (NA)ancestry.  My 3rd-great grandmother was a Choctaw Indian (have paper trail).  Simple math would say that I would inherit 3.125% of her DNA and my uncle who has also tested would get 6.25% At this level I only have a slight chance of not inheriting any DNA from her and my uncle has 0% chance. So far so good.  However, with the way that DNA mixes and dilutes as it comes down the line I can have anything from 3.125% to 0% and my uncle can have 6.25% to above 0%

My uncle has 0.62%
I have 0.57%

Is this still reasonable?  Yes it is.  What is interesting is that I have almost as much as my uncle has.  I wish I could have tested my dad because I would bet he got a bigger chunk than my uncle did.  I also wish I could test my other living uncle but he isn’t interested in testing.  I would like to see how much he ended up with. The uncle that won’t test has a granddaughter that did test. Mathematically she could have 1.5625% of her 4th great-grandmother’s DNA.  She has a little over 1/2% chance of inheriting no DNA.  Her number should between these two.  She has 0.19%

I am waiting for DNA from a first cousin to add to my NA pool as well as the DNA from my stepmother and her brother who both descend from my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother.  This is pretty exciting because I will have DNA from a different line to compare to.  I still need to map out the exact segment matches but I am off to a good start.  There is always a chance of a false positive but I don’t think this will be the case.

For genealogists working with autosomal DNA this next chart from ISOGG might be of more interest. This will explain why you don’t share as much DNA (or you share no DNA) with someone you have a paper trail for as a cousin match.

File:Cousin relationships.jpg

 

Here are the mathematical calculations for familial matches. This time it will be expressed in centimorgans (cM) along with the percentages. The chart is too big for the blog so go to ISOGG's Autosomal DNA Matches and scroll down to the Table, “Average autosomal DNA shared by pairs of relatives, in percentages and centiMorgans”

 

Now compare those mathematical calculations to what Blaine Bettinger actually found using real life data. Notice that in Blaine’s data there are averages and ranges.

SharedcMProjectUpdate to the Shared cM Project

Blaine updates his chart as he gets additional data in.  The more data, the more accurate. 

 

Nutshell version – You can’t rely on statistical calculations to rule someone in or someone out as a DNA match at a particular relationship. 


* For practical purposes it is a 50/50 split but there are slight variations due to the y chromosome being smaller than the x chromosome and the possibility of endogamy – your parents having a common ancestor down the line somewhere and they are actually sharing some DNA.

NOTE:  Gedmatch’s Dodecad World9 Admixture algorithm was used to give the percentage of Amerindian in the DNA testers.  Algorithm’s are updated periodically and all of these numbers could change.

 

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Four years

Today is Ancestoring’s 4th Blogiversary! I haven’t posted in a month so I feel a bit guilty but life is just spinning a bit too fast right now. I have one HUGE project that I hope to get done by October 1st. I was accepted into the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s (SLIG) Virtual Advanced Evidence Practicum which starts October 1st and that is why I have set that deadline. This will help me keep focused and on track.

I have really enjoyed the blog. I love to write and I love to hear from other genealogists so the blog format works well for me. By this fall I am hoping to be back posting at least three times a week again. In the meantime, I will continue to post a bit more sporadically.

 

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis