21 March 2017

Wanted: Genetic Genealogy Analysis Tools Incorporating Family Tree Charts

Programmers who are interested in genetic genealogy have provided some great tools for DNA analysis. Testing companies provide some great tools, too. New tools are produced all of the time and I use and love most of them. I WANT MORE. I want some specific features. Few of these tools today correlate the detailed DNA data (Y-DNA STR mutations, atDNA shared segments with start and stop points on a chromosome) with the family tree in an easily understood way. That correlation is essential for the "genealogy" in genetic genealogy.

One of the to-do tasks that keeps getting shoved lower on my priority list is to provide genealogy software developers with a list of what we need to incorporate DNA data into our databases and to create useful output for analysis. Genetic genealogical research has matured to the point where this should become a priority.

If we all pool our ideas, we can come up with a good list to provide to developers so the output is what we want. We need a list of the data we want to store in the genealogy database as well as what type of output reports we need.

So what would your ideal genealogy database incorporate and provide as output for your genetic analysis? Not necessarily the raw DNA data for analysis, but the shared DNA data related to the other test-takers in your database.

Feel free to provide suggestions as comments to this blog post, as Facebook comments if you read this on Facebook, or contact me directly using the email addresses on my website http://debbiewayne.com/ (scroll to the bottom of any page to see contact info).

So what finally spurred me to make this a priority after all this time? (1) I investigated different tree creation tools a few months ago and discussed it on Facebook. I found none of the tools produce exactly what I want for DNA analysis. (2) The McGuire Method of charting several of us saw last summer was published.

Lauren McGuire recently wrote a guest post on Blaine T. Bettinger's The Genetic Genealogist blog, "GUEST POST: The McGuire Method – Simplified Visual DNA Comparisons." This describes the great chart she designed for correlating a family tree and shared autosomal DNA (atDNA) totals for analysis. The chart Lauren uses in the blog post displays total shared centimorgans (cM), percentage shared, and relationship of each person on the tree in an efficient and compact format. I like seeing all of these items at once as all are important during analysis.

I immediately loved Lauren's chart when I first saw it. She and I obviously think the same way about what we want to see when analyzing DNA information.

My own charts started out with printed trees - either created in an image editor, Microsoft Word SmartArt, RootsMagic genealogy software, Progeny Charting Companion, or, more recently TreeDraw. Lauren and many others use Excel. Some use LucidChart and other online charting tools (find more info on these tools with a Google search). None of these tools provide an easy way to create a tree that only includes the DNA test-takers, much less incorporate the DNA data with the tree. And often my DNA data is handwritten at the bottom of the printed chart. If I want to make it look prettier then I spend a lot of time getting a Word table to line up under the family tree.

My own charts have evolved over the years. I started by creating an image of the tree and Y-DNA STR differences in an image editor:

Y-DNA and Tree Chart as Image, Debbie Parker Wayne

That evolved into a Word table that was easier to modify:

Y-DNA and Tree Chart as Table, Debbie Parker Wayne

Then into Word SmartArt which was better to show in a presentation:

Y-DNA and Tree Chart as Smart Art, Debbie Parker Wayne

For autosomal DNA triangulation I started with Word SmartArt and hand-written shared segment info:

atDNA and Tree Chart as Smart Art with Hand-written Notes, Debbie Parker Wayne

That evolved into simplified trees with a Word table showing shared segment info:

atDNA and Tree Chart as Smart Art with Shared Segment Table, Debbie Parker Wayne

I use a similar table when I am analyzing total shared DNA against the tree relationships.

What other formats have you found useful? What would make your DNA analysis process easier?

In my opinion, tree charts are most useful when each test-taker's lineage is shown in a column and each generation is contained in a row. The DNA data for a test-taker can be shown below in the same column as the lineage. The rows allow for easy calculation of relationships - which the software could do for us and include in the chart.

A chart including only the people in the DNA study is essential. I have been creating additional RootsMagic databases including only the DNA test-takers and their ancestors, but this takes a lot of time. The pared down database is input to one of the charting programs, but I still sometimes have to remove spouse boxes when I am only interested in the men for a Y-DNA study, for example. Creating a chart from my full database and then deleting the people I do not want takes even longer.

The DNA data to incorporate into our genealogy database varies for Y-DNA, autosomal and X-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA. Autosomal DNA analysis requires total shared DNA or shared segment information. Y-DNA analysis requires notation of differing Y-DNA STR and SNP markers. Mitochondrial DNA requires listing the locations that differ from a reference sequence and/or between test-takers. For Y-DNA and mtDNA we may want to include haplogroups. Even though we all know the admixture estimates vary depending on the reference population and algorithm used, we might want to record the estimates and which portions of which chromosomes match which reference populations.

Send me your ideas and I will compile a list we can prioritize and provide to the genealogy software developers. This new list will not be specific to any testing company or software, but a list of data we want to track in our DNA analysis and provide in reports we use for our analysis and publications. There may some overlap between the list I compile and the ISOGG Wiki wish lists for the testing companies:
https://isogg.org/wiki/AncestryDNA_wish_list, and

If you are on Facebook, these discussions relate to this issue although you may not be able to see the posts depending on Facebook settings

March 21: Added a cropped portion of the McGuire chart with permission of creator, Lauren McGuire.

March 22: Image added to illustrate reply below to nut4nature22 dated March, 2017 05:43:

RootsMagic Relationship Chart Sample, Debbie Parker Wayne

To cite this blog post: Debbie Parker Wayne, "Wanted: Genetic Genealogy Analysis Tools Incorporating Family Tree Charts," Deb's Delvings, 21 March 2017 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2017, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

20 March 2017

Different View of Shared cM Project Data

A while ago Blaine T. Bettinger gathered data (and is still collecting more data) for the Shared cM Project which he published. His charts fit on one page and shows the estimated average, and more importantly, actual minimum and maximum amount of shared cM reported between two test-takers with a known relationships.

I love Blaine's chart because all of the data fits on one page, but for visual learners the overlap in the minimum and maximum numbers is easier to see in a bar chart format. Since Blaine published his data under a Creative Commons "CC 4.0 Attribution License" others can adapt the data and publish changes under the same license.

So I reformatted Blaine's data in a bar chart format. One complete chart is available which should be printed on 11x17 paper in landscape format to be easily readable. The chart is also split into four parts with some overlapping relationships to allow the data to be printed in a more readable format in four pieces. To me, this is easier to show someone so they can see that sharing, for example, 100 cM, could fall into any of nine relationships shown on the chart. And the chart does not even include all of the potential double, half, and removed possibilities for cousins. I hope these are as useful for other researchers as they are for me.

Click the links below to access full size images.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Different View of Shared cM Project Data," Deb's Delvings, 20 March 2017 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2017, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

28 February 2017

Audio Version: Richard Hill's Finding Family

Richard Hill just announced that his book, "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, is available as an audiobook. This is great for those of us who listen to genealogy lectures and books as we drive to those remote conferences and institutes. For more information see Richard's website with a link to a three-minute sample:


See my prior posts on this great book:

"Review: Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 29 August 2012 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2012/08/review-finding-family-my-search-for.html).

"Free Preview: Richard Hill's Finding Family," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 11 February 2016 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2016/02/free-preview-richard-hills-finding.html).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Audio Version: Richard Hill's Finding Family," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 28 February 2017 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2017, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

19 January 2017

CFP: Texas State 2017 Conference

Call for Papers from the Texas State Genealogical Society:

Texas State Genealogical Society
2017 Family History Conference
Call for Presentations
Deadline for Submissions: March 18, 2017

18 January 2017—Austin, Texas—The Texas State Genealogical Society (TxSGS) announces a Call for Presentations for their 2017 Family History Conference. This year’s conference will be held 20-22 October 2017, in Houston, Texas. The deadline for proposals is March 18, 2017.

About the Proposals

We are looking for dynamic, enthusiastic presenters! If you feel passionate about your area of expertise and would like to teach and inspire other genealogists, this is the venue for you. Seasoned speakers and speakers new to the genealogical lecturing arena are encouraged to submit presentations.

Submission Ideas

The areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Basic genealogical topics (How-To or Getting Started).
  • Methodology and problem-solving techniques.
  • Ethnic research topics (African-American, Hispanic, German-Texan, Czech-Texan, etc.).
  • Adoptee challenges.
  • DNA.
  • Researching in record groups (land records, probate records, etc.).
  • Texas and Southern-focused research.
    Submission Requirements

Presentations should be one hour in length. This includes any question-and-answer period the presenter may want to allow.

Presenters may submit proposals for as many as five lectures.

What to Include

Please send proposals in the following formats: Microsoft Word, PDF, or Rich Text Format (RTF). File names should include your last name and title of lecture (example: Smith – Understanding DNA Results).

Presenters should send a genealogical resume or biography in addition to your proposals. Please include any prior speaking experience.

Be sure to submit the following information for each lecture you propose:
  • Your full name.
  • Contact information (mailing address, email address, and phone number).
  • A lecture outline or summary (not more than one page).
  • Audio-visual requirements (projector, screen, etc.). TxSGS will provide a projector, microphone and stand.
  • Target audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced, professional).

Email your individual proposals as file attachments to the TxSGS 2017 Conference Chair at conference@txsgs.org. Please send one proposal per email.

Proposals must be received no later than 18 March 2017.

Additional Requirements for Selected Presenters

Selected presenters will also be required to provide the following information and materials for marketing purposes and for the syllabus:

  • Photo.
  • Brief biography.
  • Camera-ready handout for each lecture.

Specific guidelines for the above media items will be sent out with your notification of acceptance.


Selected presenters will receive an honorarium of $100 for each one-hour lecture.

Additionally, a $25 bonus per lecture, will be awarded to the those presenters selected for submitting syllabus materials by the syllabus material deadline. All required dates will be outlined in the acceptance letter sent to the selected presenters.

In addition each speaker will also receive a $150 stipend as reimbursement for expenses as well as a free registration to the conference. No other expenses will be provided or reimbursed. Meals that are included as part of the conference registration will be provided.

Proposal & Syllabus Timeline

  • 18 March 2017: Proposals due
  • 1 May 2017: Notifications of acceptance sent out
  • 1 September 2017: Syllabus materials due


If you have questions, please contact the TxSGS 2017 Conference Chair at conference@txsgs.org.

For more information see http://www.txsgs.org/conference/ and https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=texas%20state%20genealogical%20society.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "CFP: Texas State 2017 Conference," Deb's Delvings, 19 January 2017 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2017, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

14 December 2016

DNA Chromosome Map Poster for Grandkids

Being a genetic genealogy nerd, I wanted to do something related to DNA for my grandkids for Christmas. Most of my grandkids do not have all four grandparents living. However, all of them have at least one maternal and one paternal grandparent living.

We know the grandkids get one copy of each autosomal chromosome from each parent. We know those chromosomes are a recombined mixture of the DNA the parent inherited from the grandparents. When one maternal grandparent has tested, we know which segment of DNA the grandhild inherited from that grandparent. We also know the maternal DNA not shared wth the tested maternal grandparent came from the untested maternal grandparent. The same logic can be applied to the paternal line shared DNA.

For my grandkids where I have tested a grandparent on both the maternal and paternal side I made a chromosome map to add to their Christmas gifts. This is how I did it. You may add your own enhancements and make alternate color choices. I may make some of these text boxes a little snazzier, but you get the idea. If you have a good idea for an enhancement please let us know in the comments.

At Family Tree DNA I have access to the shared segment data and I like the shapes they use on the chromosome browser. You could do something similar with data from 23andMe or GEDmatch.com. It will look a little different, but would still be a unique educational gift.

  1. Login to grandchild's account
  2. Display chromosome browser (CB) with shared DNA to a maternal grandparent
  3. Grab a screenshot - SnagIt scrolls the web page to capture the entire CB display
  4. Display CB with shared DNA to a paternal grandparent
  5. Grab a screen shot as in step 3
  6. Display the Family Finder Matches list of the grandchild
  7. Divide the amount of total shared DNA between the grandchild and paternal grandparent by 68 to calculate the approximate percentage of DNA shared
  8. Subtract that shared percentage from 50 to calculate the percentage of DNA that was inherited from the other paternal grandparent
  9. Divide the amount of total shared DNA between the grandchild and maternal grandparent by 68 to calculate the approximate percentage of DNA shared
  10. Subtract that shared percentage from 50 to calculate the percentage of DNA that was inherited from the other maternal grandparent

    In an image editor (I used SnagIt editor) make the changes below, frequently saving the image so nothing gets lost. You need to understand how to use an image editor to complete this part. Numbers on the image here correspond to the steps below. Click on the image to see a larger version.

    [15 Dec 2016 addition: Next time I do this I think I will add the grandchild's name to the top as a title (maybe "Grandchild-name's DNA Map") instead of placing it in several smaller text boxes as shown here.]

  11. Open both screenshots and crop out the area around the CB display
  12. Double the canvas size of one of the images horizontally - I used the paternal CB screenshot and chose placement options so it would be on the left of the final image
  13. Copy the second image into the new canvas and visually align the CB displays so the same numbered chromosomes line up (both chromosomes 1 are horizontally aligned, and so on)
  14. Save the merged images to a new filename
  15. Choose a different color for each grandparent - I used red for paternal grandmother, blue for paternal grandfather, yellow for maternal grandmother, green for maternal grandfather
  16. On the paternal CB image, use color fill to change the color marking the shared DNA segments - my CB display is for the paternal grandmother so I changed the default shared DNA color used by Family Tree DNA to red
  17. On the paternal CB image, use color fill to change the navy color marking unshared segments to bright blue
  18. On the maternal CB image, use color fill to change the color marking the shared DNA segments - my CB display is for the maternal grandmother so I changed the default shared DNA color used by Family Tree DNA to gold
  19. On the maternal CB image, use color fill to change the navy color marking unshared segments to green
  20. Add a small gold circle to indicate the mtDNA that was inherited from the maternal grandmother and text box indicating the mtDNA is from Mom's Mother
  21. Add text boxes with the grandchild's name, a color key for the maternal / paternal lines, a color key for the grandmother / grandfather in each line
  22. Add a text box listing the percentage of DNA shared with each grandparent (calculated in steps 7 through 10 above
  23. Include whether X, Y, or mtDNA was inherited from that same grandparent
  24. Add a short summary of DNA inheritance
I also made the X chromosome smaller in size by drawing a selection box around it then moving the box edges to squeeze the chromosome horizontally so it became smaller. Technically, it should be about the same size as chromosome 7, but I wanted more space to include text on the percentage shared with each grandparent.

Print the resulting image on heavy paper used for certificates or awards; my paper has pretty gold curlicues in each corner. I selected to scale the image to leave borders on all edges so I could frame the image. On my printer, I have an option to print in draft, normal, or best mode. For these, I selected best mode to get the highest quality prinout my printer will make.

I framed the images and printed a second copy that would allow siblings to hold the papers next to each other to easily compare which DNA each inherited from each grandparent.

I am planning to add some additional explanatory text to send along with the images. And, of course, I will refer them to the appropriate pages in the copy of Genetic Genealogy in Practice for more details. After all, I did give a copy to all of my kids and some other family members once the book was in print. I might as well give them a reason to read it.

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "DNA Chromosome Map Poster for Grandkids," Deb's Delvings, 14 December 2016 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2016, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

05 November 2016

Nov. 10, 'DNA and Genetic Genealogy Today' at Bear Creek Genealogical Society (Houston, TX)

My last scheduled speaking engagement in 2016 is next week in Houston. The topic will be an introduction to genetic genealogy testing and how to apply the test results to genealogical questions.

1 p.m., Thursday, 10 November 2016, Houston, Texas: GATA GACC! DNA and Genetic Genealogy Today – Bear Creek Genealogical Society & Library – Westlake Volunteer Fire Dept. station, 19636 Salms Road. (I-10 West to the Fry Rd. exit; turn right / north and travel about five traffic lights; turn right on Salms Road and immediately see new building on left; turn left into parking lot, drive past building, enter at double doors in front of building, turn right into auditorium. Located in a two story brick building on northeast side of Saums Road after you turn at the Saums Road light next to KF; not the old original metal building across the street.) See also www.bearcreekgenealogy.org.

An introduction to all of the ways DNA can help with genealogical research and the tests available. Covers all four types of DNA (Y, mitochondrial, X, and autosomal) and basic genetics information needed to use DNA for genealogy.

I hope to see many readers and friends there next week. Please stop by and say hi.

To cite this blog post:

Debbie Parker Wayne, "Nov. 10, 'DNA and Genetic Genealogy Today' at Bear Creek Genealogical Society (Houston, TX)," Deb's Delvings, 5 November 2016 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2016, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved

13 October 2016

Bringing it Together: Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy

My, how times change!

Six years ago I was lamenting that there was little overlap between the people I see at genealogy conferences and those I see at genetic genealogy conferences. The overlap could be counted on my fingers—without using any fingers more than once! I could not understand why many of my genealogy friends did not see how powerful and important DNA test results are to solving our research problems. I could not understand why many of my genetic genealogy friends did not see the need for the Genealogical Proof Standard and thorough research.

In 2012, I got to know CeCe Moore and Blaine T. Bettinger well enough to discuss this mystery. We decided what we needed first was more education in the community. Conference presentations are great, but what you can cover in an hour, or even four, is very limited. I sent CeCe and Blaine an outline for a week-long genetic genealogy course. We all collaborated on changes and additions. We then divided the course outline into thirds. We presented the first course in the summer of 2014 at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) at the invitation of directors Elissa Scalise Powell and Deborah Lichtner Deal.

The number of institute courses have exploded. The number of institute instructors has grown. Today, eight or more different week-long courses have been offered or are planned. The course at each institute is somewhat different than the similar-level course at another institute. Multiple two- to three-day courses focusing on specialties, such as adoption or forensic work, have been offered at the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) Forensic Genealogy Institute (FGI). Angie Bush joined the team for a period when the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) decided to offer both beginner and advanced courses. Patti Lee Hobbs, CG, and Karen Stanbary, CG, joined the team as instructors at GRIP and IGHR. Debra Renard presented a case study and tools sessions at IGHR this year. Paul Woodbury is joining the SLIG team for 2017.

The craving for genetic genealogy education is worldwide and spreads beyond the institutes. For several years before these U.S. institutes started, the U.K has hosted the "Who do You Think You Are? Live" event. Since 2013, there has been a Genetic Genealogy Ireland event. Since 2013, Southern California Genealogy Jamboree has offered a DNA Day pre-conference event in Burbank, California. In 2014, the Institute for Genetic Genealogy (I4GG) offered their first two-day event focused on DNA. Many advanced sessions were offered. This year I4GG seems to be focusing more on basic adoption and unknown parentage research with a few advanced sessions. The University of Strathclyde in Scotland offers genetic genealogy courses. Blaine T. Bettinger teaches an online course at Excelsior College in the U.S. Debbie Parker Wayne developed the online, self-paced course Continuing Genealogical Studies: Autosomal DNA, offered by NGS. And there are an uncountable number of webinars and short courses available online. There have even been genetic genealogy cruises and tons of television shows!

These brief statistics demonstrate how institute education in the U.S. on genetic genealogy has skyrocketed since July 2014.

  • 347 genealogists and adoption searchers have attended DNA institute courses (GRIP, SLIG, IGHR, offering week-long beginner, beginner/intermediate, intermediate, and advanced courses; or CAFG's FGI offering two to three day focused courses)
  • 39 of those students (more than 10% of the total number) are credentialed by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, many have attended multiple courses (BCG has additional associates with college degrees in Biology, Biotechnology, and related fields who understand DNA even without attending one of these courses; the number of ICAPgen accredited genealogists who may have attended, if any, is not known)
  • 31 of those students have only attended shorter courses focused on unknown parentage, adoption, or forensic specialties (perhaps because that is the focus of their work, they have not been able to schedule time yet to attend one of the longer and more comprehensive institutes, or some other reason)
  • 232 students have taken only one course
  • 90 students have taken two courses at differing levels
  • 15 students have taken three courses at differing levels
  • 10 students have taken four courses at differing levels
  • 5 students retook the same level course more than once (this is a good thing to do if you miss some sessions the first time, to ensure you did not miss anything important the first time even if you attended every presentation, and to cement those more difficult concepts and techniques)

The genealogy community now understands the importance of genetic genealogy.

I will be even happier when we get the genetic genealogy community to become more a part of the genealogy community. Maybe we will see more DNA speakers who are well-known on the "genetic side" invited to speak at the national genealogy conferences. Studying the Genealogy Standards3 and incorporating its concepts into your DNA presentations is a good start at showing you understand both "sides" of genealogy. It would be fabulous for us all to be one community instead of two, and for all of the conference planners to know who is good at both genetic genealogy and documentary genealogy. Both are needed to be a great genealogist, which is the goal for most of us.

1. OpenClipartVectors, dna-148807_1280.png (https://pixabay.com/en/dna-gene-genetic-helix-rna-148807/ : accessed 26 December 2015). CC0 Public Domain.
2. Fry Library, "Old Library, History Reading Room, 1964," digital image, Flickr Creative Commons (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lselibrary/3925726829/ : accessed 5 December 2011); Fry Library. Photograph taken during the making of a BBC documentary.
3. Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 50th anniversary ed. (Nashville, TN: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Bringing it Together: Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy," Deb's Delvings, 13 October 2016 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2016, Debbie Parker Wayne, Certified Genealogist®, All Rights Reserved