Saturday, March 2, 2019

My Genetic Genealogy Wish List for 2019

Well, here we are, already into March of 2019, and I have not even written my first post!

To tell the truth, it feels like I've been drop-kicked into the new year, with all kinds of exciting & fun stuff to keep me occupied, distracted and fill my research time! This included teaching a 3 session Genealogy & DNA class in Jan/Feb with my friend & cousin Susanna for the Anacortes Senior College!

Last year was a great year for genetic genealogy, with several new tools made available. My favorite, and the tool I use most, is DNAPainter,  created by Jonny Perl, which allows you to paint match segment data directly onto a visual representation of your chromosomes.

At the end of 2018, Evert-Jon Blom unveiled an auto-clustering tool on Genetic Affairs, which also has proven to be very helpful! This tool clusters your DNA matches into groups which are essentially triangulation groups, and is extremely helpful, especially for AncestryDNA matches where no segment data is available.

Several new tools which show promise were just unveiled at 2019 Rootstech :  AncestryDNA's ThruLines (useful, but please, Ancestry: get rid of the  in-your-face "Potential Ancestors" feature; I hate having my well-researched & documented ancestors replaced with erroneous ancestors from other people's trees...), and MyHeritage's Theories of Family Relativity (very useful, similar to Ancestry's ThruLines, but without the  in-your-face"Potential Ancestors").

So this has me thinking:  If I could have my way, what new features would I love to see offered from each of the DNA testing websites?   Each site has its strengths & weaknesses, for sure, but what would make them each better?

FamilyTreeDNA  I would love to see a triangulation tool added to their website.  The "In Common With" feature needs to show triangulated matches, as on MyHeritage--a fabulous feature! There may be Chrome extensions available, but I don't use Chrome, and don't want to have to switch between browsers every time I visit the ftDNA website!

23andMe  It would be really helpful if they had an on-site family tree app, where you could upload a GEDcom.   Very few people on 23andMe have family trees attached to their profiles. I do like that they mark triangulated matches with Yes/No.  This has proven to be extremely helpful!

MyHeritage  X-Chromosome matches! Please! And soon!

AncestryDNA  A Chromosome browser, PLEASE, so that we can see the actual segment data, instead of wasting time hoping praying & attempting to find our matches on Gedmatch or other DNA testing websites.  Most profiles don't have family trees attached, (or if they do, they are incomplete; I do a lot of tree building) and the only information we are given is the number of centimorgans, and shared matches. You can tell a lot just by having these two pieces of information--but why not give us more? I hate having to guess.

Also, Ancestry needs to give us  a better way to search for our previously viewed matches.  I now have a staggering 90,000 matches on AncestryDNA (I tested in 2012).  I regularly lose people. I have thousands of starred matches.  The new grouping feature unveiled at Rootstech would take me hours just to set up the groups. I haven't even begun to explore many of my 4th cousin matches. Searching the 90,000 DNA matches using only a surname is fruitless--especially if their surname is Smith!  Searching the member directory database? also a waste of time.

Gedmatch I know, it's not a testing website. I do like many of the new features they offer on Gedmatch Genesis, and I do subscribe to Tier One. But would it kill them to give us a search engine? Once again, I have a ton of matches.  Scrolling through my entire list --if I only have a name and no idea how many centimorgans we share-- is sheer agony!!

So there you have it. My genetic genealogy two cents worth for today!

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2019

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