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Proformat News
No: 135
May 2017
May Seminars
3: Discovering Scottish ancestors 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
9: Researching your Irish ancestors 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
17: Col Light’s plans for a great southern city 1836-7 7:30pm Marion Historical Society
24: Using newspapers as a family history aid 8:00pm WEA Centre, Adelaide
31: Identifying and dating 19th century photos 6:30pm WEA Centre, Adelaide

See the seminar program for more details and bookings for 2017.

The seminar and heritage walk program will resume in August.

In this issue:
May Seminars

Feature article
More on DNA


Graham Jaunay
Glandore SA 5037

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

More on DNA
In the six months since DNA research was discussed on these pages a number of developments have occurred but the issues previously revealed remain.

Firstly there is no doubt that regardless of which testing company used, it is important to extend the coverage by using GEDmatch and so the matter of allowing a subscriber to download their results is of paramount importance and I would not use a testing company that does not provide this service.

All the positive results I have had over the past year have come via GEDmatch. There is a simple explanation in that people undertaking tests that go this extra step in the process are more likely to have an interest in securing matches. The reality remains that the bulk of matching people with FTDNA (the company I selected) do not respond to any contacts. There are a number of possible reasons for this stance but for my part I find it very frustrating indeed!

To date I have contacted 170 matches and 98 have not responded. A further 50 responses were unhelpful in that they just looked at the content of my emails and replied they could see no match! The evidence that those who also employ GEDmatch are marginally more likely to respond positively is also in the figures.

FTDNA subscribersGEDmatch subscribers
Total contacted64106
Helpful 5 17
Unhelpful 18 32
No responses 41 57

Looking at the results by testing company:

Ancestry FTDNA 23andMe
Total contacted 58 91 21
Helpful 4 14 4
Unhelpful 23 24 3
No responses 31 53 14

From the bulk of responses it is clear that many using DNA testing expect the DNA results to produce a family tree and have done little of no work chasing the paper trail left by their ancestors. There is a slim chance that I can encourage them to take on this work and so I have been spending time improving my own knowledge by looking at my ancestorsí siblings and following up their descendants.

In some jurisdictions like Australia this can prove difficult when one hits the privacy barriers erected in the 1990s. Due to this in many cases this exercise has failed to reveal living distant cousins and the best I have achieved are cousins grandparents. Regardless the number of people in my collection has grown from about 14,000 to well over 16,000 adding numerous new surnames which can only prove helpful in making matches.

While DNA has generated much new effort on my part I have had a handful of results.
  1. Two known paternal second cousins who tested with 23andMe and posted their results to GEDmatch have enabled me to partly confirm paternal matches. Ironically one of these does not respond to my emails while the other (whose mother also has posted results) could not be more helpful. While this in itself is great, the information was already known to me.
  2. A 4th 2 generations removed cousin was revealed through my motherís DNA. This person did not show up in my results. This person had a well documented family tree and I was able to determine the link. I was able to assist this person because my knowledge went back several more generations.
  3. Another maternal cousin has been revealed but I have no idea of the relationship distance (FTDNA suggests 2-4 cousin) and the respondent has elected not to provide me with the details simply saying that they share my ggg-grandfather, James GRUMMITT 1840-1908 through a daughter who just happened to have 13 children who survived into adulthood. To clarify the matter is going to take a great deal of effort! Effort that is required simply because it may reveal further new surnames with daughters' marriages.
Have you undertaken a DNA test and not uploaded the data to GEDmatch?

If so you are missing out on many matches.

Uploading to GEDmatch is very simple.

The first step is to create a GEDmatch account at Then it is a matter of going to your DNA company and downloading your DNA data file.
Return to GEDmatch and upload your raw DNA data file by clicking on Generic Upload in top right box and fill in the form. Click on Browse to locate your DNA data. file and simply click on it.

The big three in DNA testing have a new competitor — LivingDNA. This company is currently ranking high on review sites but at this stage seems to be better focussed more on place of origin than the other companies previously mentioned. For example FTDNA suggests I am 61% West & Central European and 39% British as expected ((with some probably erroneous fragments from the Middle East and Western North America) whereas LivingDNA claim they can tighten that down to regions within countries (UK regional map depicted) although there is no strong evidence that the results are accurate! Accuracy requires a large database of DNA results with known origin.

MyHeritage is another new company for Australians. They have been around for some time but have only recently extended their DNA testing service to Australia. I have been a subscriber to MyHeritage as I find their family tree matching to be of a good standard and no doubt the same will apply to their DNA side of the business but at this stage I do not know of anyone who has used the service.

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