Solve Family History Mysteries with DNA Strategies the Pros Use


Hey everybody welcome back to another
episode on Genealogy TV. if we’ve not met before my name is Connie Knox. I am a
lifelong genealogist here to help you go further faster and factually with your
family research. Today we are talking about the DNA strategies that the pros
use. So just as a reminder before we get started please subscribe and ring the
bell so that you get notified each time we upload a video. So let’s jump into
this. As a reminder there are two YouTube channels there’s Genealogy TV where you
are watching this episode, but there is also NC Ancestry for North Carolina
researchers and that also has a website. As a reminder Genealogy TV is also on
Facebook so you can follow us there. Now we’ve all seen that commercial with the
guy who dressed up with his laderhosen and thinks he’s German so I’m gonna play
that commercial for you now. Growing up we would German we danced in a German
dance group I were later hosen when I first got on ancestry I was really
surprised that I wasn’t finding all of these Germans in my tree I decided to
have my DNA tested through ancestry DNA the big surprise was we’re not German at
all 52% of my DNA comes from Scotland and Ireland so I traded in my lederhosen
for a kilt ancestry hasn’t many paths to discovering your story it’s long story
short the DNA strategies that the pros use does not have really have anything
to do with the ethnicity estimates what he was talking about were the ethnicity
estimates that ancestry puts out there and they’ve got some really good tools
out there now but basically how this works is they’ve gone out and sampled a
whole lot of people thousands of people in the various regions that are deeply
rooted in that area people that have deeply documented history in various
regions and so when we take a DNA test we’re comparing against that sample set
of those who are rooted in those areas so when we get our ethnicity estimates
back it gives us a little bit more finer detail
– what is there the reality is it really doesn’t it kind of gives us clues as to
where to look but that’s a pretty big region and so how is it that we narrow
this down and really nail down our family history so how do we make those
connections using DNA we really use the cousin connections now it’s in the in
the cousin matches where you’re really going to find the answer to a lot of
your questions now keep in mind these are not estimates they’re not like the
ethnicity estimates which the ethnicity estimates are just estimates and they
will change over time but these cousin matches are scientific fact they they
are your cousin’s in this is a bogus example that I’m showing you right now
this actually came from ancestry training area and so we’re gonna we’re
kind of gonna study this example a little bit deeper using our strategy but
the reality is when we are looking to make connections and figure out our
family tree and we’ll want to use DNA we’re looking at the cousin matches and
so what we want to do is and it doesn’t really matter if we’re resolving of
missing persons we’re trying to figure out an adoption case missing parents
solving crimes whatever it is we’re looking at those cousin matches and it’s
usually the fourth cousins are closer that we’re looking at in my personal
opinion I prefer to look at the second cousins or closer first of all it’s a
whole lot less work let’s just be frank so how do we connect our cousins in that
match list with us so let’s take a look at a quick background as a reminder we
have 23 pairs of chromosomes a man has a Y and an X and women have
two x’s so we’re not going to get into a whole lot of science but just hold that
thought for a moment so the ancestor tree if we look at it this way
we’ve got your father and your mother your grandparents and your
great-grandparents and your great-great grandparents and if you’ll notice you’ve
got four pairs or eight great-grandparents and 16 great-great
grandparents of course it doubles with every generation so if we look at the
way the DNA works you get 50% from your mother and 50% from your father father
and mother and your grandparents therefore you have 25% of your DNA in
you from your grandparents and that’s a rough estimate it’s not an exact you
have to about 12 and a half percent from your great-grandparents and about 6%
from your great-great grandparents and if we look at this if we figure that
each generation is 25 to 30 years we’re looking at in this view about a hundred
to one hundred and twenty five years back so you can go out there and get
tested at the various companies the only one that’s actually not pictured here is
Family Tree DNA and they are a fine company but there’s a variety of choices
so when you get your test results back you’re looking at your cousin matches
okay so using your second cousin matches as an example means that you have great
grandparents in common with you all of these four people so if we pretending
that this is you for a moment this is your cousin matches with these four
people you share guaranteed great-grandparents with them unless
there is some other little factor in there like there’s half siblings or
something but we’re not going to get into that it gets a little more
complicated but we’re gonna pretend for a moment that these are full second
cousins and therefore you would share great-grandparents in common with those
people so we take a look at that tree again here’s what that looks like so
that means those second cousins are sharing great-grandparents with you but
which set we got four sets of great-grandparents so we’ve got to
figure that out so if we erase the tree and we look at just the
great-grandparents and we start tracing back down to present day then we start
looking at all the children of our great-grandparents and then we look at
their spouses and of course then they have children and by the way the boys
are represented in the blue dots and the triangles are the girls
and they have kids and so forth now the blue lines represent blue arrows by the
way representing generation I could not put all little triangles and dots here
just because the example was getting too large for you to see but they’re there
ok so along the way when we start doing all
this research and we start discovering all of these people eventually what will
happen is the second cousin match will reveal itself and then you can discover
ok now we know which set of great-grandparents that we have in
common and how they trace back okay so but wait a minute what about if we have
missing parents for example adoptees foundlings unknown father’s whatever the
situation may be maybe you don’t know who your parents are ok let’s take this
work example here because this is where the meat and potatoes of how the
strategy works so in this example this is a new example ok here you are not
knowing who your parents are and but you take a DNA test and you have a third
cousin match and another third cousin match you have a female third cousin and
a male third cousin alright that much we know so what we do is we start looking
at their family trees and that third cousin let’s stop just right here for a
second this female third cousin we look at her tree she’s got some documentation
the reality is her tree is going to have four sets of these
great-great-grandparents excuse me eight sets of these great-great-grandparents
up there because there’s sixteen great-great-grandparents so the reality
is this tree is much bigger than what it looks but for the simplicity sake I am
only showing these great-great-grandparents because it’ll
eventually lead to us so I’m just for the sake of being able to actually see
it all on the screen normally we would be researching their entire tree up and
down that is basically the strategy so as we continue to research doing regular
traditional genealogical research good quality research we start making the
connections across this family cluster along the way we’ve discovered that this
male third cousin and this female third cousin are in fact in the same clan and
so we continue on with our research now it could have been that these two third
cousins were actually on opposite sides of the family and do not show up
together in the same tree in this example they are so we continue to do
this research until we kind of figure out where we think we might fit in now
we’re not sure at this point but we suspect that this third child of this
couple this woman might be the mother that we’re seeking maybe this one but
right now for what all the research that we’ve done right place right time all of
the details that we’ve collected perhaps this is the person that we think might
be the parent could be several people so it might be we have to do the research
of several people in order to figure it out but this fits with the third cousin
clan because if the third cousin is going to have and I use I use the a the
number of G’s is how I remember how this works so a third cousin is going to have
one two three geez in common okay so that’s how I
remember it second cousins are going to have a great grandparent or grandparents
in common so that’s how I remember it okay so now we have the suspected mother
and we move on and we take a little bit closer look because now we’re kind of
narrowing our focus all right so if we think that this woman could be the
mother we seek then we do some more research and we discover who her husband
is so now we might have suspected parents and we continue on with our
research and then we identify all of the cousins now at this point what we need
to do is we need to prove our case we’ve because we’ve come to a hypothesis we
think that these folks in green here are the parents of the person we are are
looking at okay so that means we need to look at all of the people around that
area to prove our case so that would be our first cousins and our second cousins
in that in that territory okay so what we do is we go out and we identify first
and second cousins that a are that we can find maybe some of these folks we
can’t find or they have passed away or they are unable to present information
to us we can’t find them for whatever reason so let’s pretend that we’ve
identified these six people and we ask them to take a DNA test so if we take a
look if we take a break from that thought for a moment and we come over
here to blame Bettinger x’ the genetic genealogist has done some awesome work
at figuring out how many centimorgans that we have in common with our various
relationships in the family clusters so for example siblings share about 2600
sinem organs with so so my sister’s for example are listed here and I have one
sister that is 27:38 centimorgans from me and that falls within the range so
the range is 23 42 to 29 17 and then my other sister is 2505 so she squarely
falls within that range as well and so on ancestry this is kind of what it
looks like and it falls into the immediate family bucket so if we look at
first cousins first cousins average 884 or actually within this range okay and
if we look at second cousins they average 232 with it with a range of 99
to 397 all right so if we go back to our example for a moment and we managed to
get some of our potential cousins to take a DNA test for us and we’ve offered
to pay for those tests and get those back and we see that one came in at 880
and one came in at 915 and we look well sure enough that chart showed us that
the range was 619 to 11:59 so sure enough they are confirmed to be first
cousins based on this relationship the parents are up here we’ve got child
number one child number two and child number three who then married and had a
child so these the fact that we’ve got a child from this person and a child from
this person confirms both our first cousins then the only logical solution
is that that you are a child of this third couple now in this case we’ve got
second cousins and they also squarely fall within the range here so that helps
kind of seal the deal that there are no other possibilities so we can cross out
all of the other so parents along the way sometimes when
we do these experiments and we do all this research we discover that there is
a sibling and that falls in the 2600 range remember there’s actually a range
there so just kind of to recap we take those cousin DNA matches and we research
using traditional genealogical techniques and there’s a lot of research
there so don’t underestimate I knew I kind of flew through this quickly for
demonstration purposes but then through that research and through our cousin
matches as part of our evidence we can narrow our focus we try and test closer
relatives if needed sometimes you’ll get really close DNA matches to begin with
and you won’t have to test any further and then we try to prove and disprove
and that’s where I went back briefly and xed out the people that it could not be
so you’re trying to work just as hard to prove that you’re wrong as you are that
your hypothesis is right so be careful not to have bias and trying to make that
the evidence fit you want to be sure that you’ve made a proper connection
with DNA my question for you is what is the one burning question that you’ve
always wanted to know about your family history in order to answer that question
we kind of need to determine what the question is in order to decide what
tests is appropriate to take so it kind of depends on what your question is
really that one burning question what is it well maybe it’s you don’t know what
your grandfather is and so you take and you identify what your problem is who is
it that you’re trying to find not trying to shotgun blast the entire family tree
but who is it that you’re trying to discover so as a reminder autosomal DNA
we get 50% from each parent to child and thus 25% from each grandparent so when
you’re doing an autosomal DNA you’re kind of taking a shotgun blast that the
entire family tree it it kind of gives us DNA
from all of our grandparents and as a reminder as we go back it gets smaller
and smaller and smaller so it eventually gets to the point where the DNA is so
tiny that it’s not usable and that’s usually somewhere around the 200 year
mark if you’re trying to figure out the father’s line then a why DNA test might
be appropriate because we get a hundred percent of all men do a hundred percent
of their Y DNA from father to son the mitochondrial DNA test might be
appropriate if you’re tracing the mother’s line and that is a little bit
different strategy for mitochondrial DNA so I would suggest you study up on that
before doing it so the testing companies that do these various tests all of them
do the autosomal DNA that’s ancestry DNA my heritage 23andme
and Family Tree DNA Family Tree DNA is the only one that does all the tests and
there are actually more companies out there but these are kind of the big four
so the curiosity is what’s kind of driving the answer to which test you’re
going to take as a reminder you can always upload to Jed match and capture
more cousin matches for example if you test it on ancestry and you’re not
finding what you need you can upload your raw data basically you go on to
ancestry and you download your raw data it becomes a zip file if you don’t want
to unzip it you just upload it to Jett match as it is and you can find cousin
matches from other testing companies so if one of your cousins happen to test at
let’s say 23andme or Family Tree DNA and they uploaded the JED match but they
didn’t do a test at ancestry you might be able to capture some new cousin
matches they’re also now that we use DNA evidence only as lead finders and that
it is used in conjunction with traditional evidence such as birth
certificates newspapers and census records etc we’ve got a huge amount of
data now that we can use to help us fill in our family trees and it’s not just
DNA so I hope that was helpful as a reminder
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