Dear Randy: “What Is Your Autosomal DNA Testing Strategy?”

 Reader Arthur asked:  "Could you share your updated autosomal DNA testing strategy, inquiring minds want to know!? Or post the link to where you already posted it! Much appreciated, always want to know what people 2 levels above me are thinking."

I just summarized this for my Chula Vista Genealogical Society DNA Interest Group in the December meeting, so here it is:

The basic Autosomal DNA Testing Strategy is to “Fish in all Ponds” to Find Relatives in DNA Matches!  You will never know what you might find if you don’t test everywhere!:

1)  Test at AncestryDNA:  They have the most testers, the most (and most "leafy") family trees, so therefore the best chance to find close DNA matches and the most common ancestors for distant matches using the ThruLines feature.  Ancestry also has the Shared Matches feature, but does not have a chromosome browser or access to a clustering program.

2)  Download your AncestryDNA test raw data so that you can upload them to other test sites.  

NOTE:  Ancestry does not accept uploading of raw DNA test data from other websites.  MyHeritage, FamilytreeDNA, 23andMe and LivingDNA permit uploading of raw data, but there may be fees involved.

3) Upload the raw data to MyHeritageDNA (free transfer, $29 to unlock analysis features*).  You will receive different DNA matches because MyHeritage has different customers.  They also have analysis features such as *Chromosome browser, *Autoclusters (clusters of DNA matches), *Theory of Family Relativity (if you have a MyHeritage tree).  You can download a .csv file of your DNA matches and the DNA segments that you share with your DNA matches.

4)  Upload the raw data to FamilyTreeDNA (free transfer, $19 to unlock analysis features).  You will receive different DNA matches, a Chromosome browser, and they offer trees for some of your DNA matches.  They do have a chromosome browser and you can download a .csv file with the DNA segments that you share with the DNA matches.  You can run Genetic Affairs autoclusters and obtain a .csv file of your DNA match clusters.  

5) Upload the raw data to GEDmatch (free to upload, $10/month to unlock Tier 1 analysis features). This is not a testing company – they encourage testers to upload raw data from all testing companies.  They have some free analysis tools, including a chromosome browser.  Other advanced analysis features are in Tier 1 and several of them are unique.  

6) Test at 23andMe (no upload of raw data is permitted) – you will receive different matches because they have a different customer base.  They have free analysis tools, including Relatives in Common, a chromosome browser, but no user-submitted trees.  You can download a .csv file with the DNA segments that you share with the DNA matches. They do have a Family Tree based on relationships with others and shared DNA, which is conjectural.  You can run the Genetic Affairs Autoclusters program and obtain a .csv file of your DNA match clusters.  

7)  Upload the raw data to Living DNA (free to upload, a fee to unlock ethnicity and analysis features) if you have British Isles ancestry.  This site provides DNA matches, but has no links to family trees or other analysis tools at present.

8) Run Genetic Affairs AutoClusters on FTDNA and 23andMe data. ($5/month after trial).

9) Run DNA Painter Chromosome Mapping (after identifying chromosome segments for particular ancestors on other sites).

Some comments:

*  All of the testing sites run customer specials at certain times during the year and at large genealogy conferences. Plan ahead!

*  Each company has a website with a lot of information from scientific to how-to do things on their site.  Learn to use each website.

*  I am not an expert at all of this, but have some knowledge that may make me dangerous.  There are a number of  real experts who have websites, blogs, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels that explain things in much more detail – learn who Blaine Bettinger, CeCe Moore, Roberta Estes, Paul Woodbury, Diahan Southard, Michelle Leonard, Debbie Kennett, Michelle Patient, Dave Dowell, Emily Aulicino, Robin Wirthlin, Margaret O’Brien, Leah Larkin, (and I know I’ve left some out…sorry!) are and read their works.  

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Source: Genea-Musings https://www.geneamusings.com/

Posted On: January 5, 2021 at 10:48AM