Saturday, September 18, 2010

Genetic Genealogy & Me: Part Four

I have been playing catch-up with my Relative Finder contacts from 23andMe, after returning from summer holidays a week ago.

My current 23andMe stats are:

I have 414 possible contacts in Relative Finder.

Of those 414 contacts, 48 have accepted from Relative Finder, and 3 more I have found on my own, making a total of 51 contacts accepted. Most have agreed to share genomes at the basic level, making it possible to compare chromosomes with other contacts.

This has been the most fascinating aspect of genetic genealogy, in my opinion.  If several people match me on the same chromosome at the same location, that means we all received DNA from the same common ancestor. I have four such instances that I am working on & researching right now.

However, I am finding that in many cases my RF contacts don't have any info on their families whatsoever, or else they don't have the time or inclination to follow up.  In many cases, my DNA cousins never even attempt to contact me after they agree to share & compare genomes!!

Of my 52 RF contacts, I have been able to verify an ancestor-in-common with 12 contacts via regular genealogical methods--i.e. a paper trail.

Seven individuals have declined contact completely. They may be interested in the health risk portion of 23andMe only.  Or they may have privacy issues. All but one  of my declines are male.

My biggest frustration has been the excruciatingly slow rate of response once I send out invitations. I know I am not alone in my frustration--this is apparent from the forums on 23andMe.

Right now I have 170 DNA cousins pending contact from invitations that I have sent. Most of them I sent out before the end of June. So in most cases it's been nearly three months. This includes most of the contacts from my first page on Relative Finder, which are the closest match, DNA wise.

I am not sure why so many people would agree to be tested and then never follow through to find their relatives on 23andMe.  Perhaps some were only interested in learning about their health risks, but purchased during the $100 DNA sale, which was both health and family tree.

So generally, my experience with 23andMe has been immensely interesting, but also immensely frustrating, as a genealogist.  Not sure what the company could do to make it any better, however....

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

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