Katherine Borges opened the ISOGG meeting and gave a brief history of how ISOGG began. ISOGG received two awards this year. One is for the ISOGG wiki, founded by Debbie Kennett, CeCe Moore, and Tom Hutchinson. There is also an ISOGG DNA Project Admins Yahoo group. This is a private list and no messages are allowed to be cross-posted out. When ISOGG attends conferences in England and Ireland, there is a Sponsored Tests Poster. Project admins often pay for these tests themselves or recruit from their project. One of Katherine’s favorite things about 2016 is that Journal of Genetic Genealogy (JoGG) was relaunched after being dormant for five years. JoGG was just cited in a scientific paper. JoGG is looking for content including papers and book reviews and they also need help with copy editing. Katherine talked about the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Roundtable. Katherine awarded the DNA Pioneer Award to Whit Athey. Whit is a very early pioneer genetic genealogist who has been to all but one conference. He was famous for his haplogroup predictor that people called “Whit’s predictor” which allowed Y haplogroup prediction from Y-STR values. It has not been updated in two years but some researchers have requested an update recently and it will probably be updated soon. In 2008, Katherine went to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and John Butler had offered to submit a paper. The paper was just five pages. Katherine contacted Whit and they went together to NIST and ended up with a 50-page paper! Whit is a phasing pioneer. He has been working on reconstructing his deceased father’s genome and tracing disease in his family. Katherine also thanked Linda Parker Magellan for her work on the JoGG website. David Pitts has done a lot for Katherine while visiting locally. Richard and Ann Doane were helpful in setting up for the party on Saturday. Katherine thanked everyone for the contributions. Katherine and Linda are in a suite 107 and everyone is invited. They would like to use the leftover $170 from the party to pay for DOIs for JoGG. Charles Moore, Raymond Wing, and Alex Williamson were acknowledged as ISOGG tree contributors. Ray Banks has been updating the tree. Last year 13,000 SNPs were added and this year it’s 44,000 to date. Bonnie Schrack has been working on the A00 from Cameroon and those will be added soon. The tree is the busiest page on the wiki. Most hits come from the United States followed by China and Russia. If you would like to volunteer for anything, please contact Katherine.

Brad Larkin from the Surname DNA Journal presents the State of Information Dissemination and awards the Genetic Genealogist of the Year Award. Katherine Borges has traveled extensively to recruit and promote for our DNA projects. Brad said it was a no-brainer that Katherine should receive the Genetic Genealogist of the Year Award. Our topics are finding answers to your questions and publishing your research findings. To find answers to your questions, there are many resources available. Genetic genealogy is a new and complex field which drives a lot of questions from participants. There are lists, vendor forums, and DNA labs partnering with digital record providers. Another place to get answers from crowdsourcing. Stack Exchange is an example of a place where anyone can ask and answer a question and the community votes to the top. http://genealogy.stackexchange.com . Blogs have some of the most experienced and thoughtful genetic genealogy writers. Sometimes reading someone else’s writing helps us to be inspired. Social media is a great way for people of all generations to stay connected. Facebook groups are exploding. There are 36 groups linked to the term “genetic genealogy” as of this week. Facebook is also a great place to recruit participants because there are surname nad family heritage Facebook groups and you can create a group if one does not exist.

Brad encouraged the group to publish research findings. Document what you’ve found and let other people know. Brad talked about how SEO (search engine optimizatiton) relates to genealogist. About 30% of your ranking on Google comes from how many links point to your site. To get to the top, publish in one place and then publicize that link. Write up your work as a journal article, presentation, or whatever format you think is best. Be sure to include when you found the information because it will change over time. Generally the internet favors the author, not the journal. In the 80s it was important to be cited in elite journals but that has changed. There is frustration with paywalls in journals. Our work is groundbreaking work and we should publish. Academia.edu is search based. There is no editor and it is often reposted journal articles. As Katherine said, we should see more articles and we should not worry because we are not academics. To publish in Nature, it costs about $5,000. It costs around $1,350 to publish in PLOS Journal.

The benefits of journal publication are that you get editorial review. URLs are stable and SEO optimized to help the community find your work now and in the future. Surname DNA Journal also has DOI registration, another kind of SEO. Journal publication helps to recruit new participants. It also provides ‘Rock Star’ status. To reach Brad, email info@surnamedna.com.


Roberta Estes brought along three women who are also quilters and have attended all of the FTNDA conferences — Linda Parker Magellan, Katherine Borges, and Nora Probasco – to help her with a presentation. Roberta shared a bit about how Family Tree DNA started. When she first called Bennett, she thought it was a scam. Bennett convinced her it was not a scam and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll help you.” Sixteen years later, here we are. Family Tree DNA then partnered with National Geographic Society and that legitimized our industry. We have been making history in this industry for 16 years. Max and Bennett have an entire list of firsts attributed to them. They have provided a model of integrity in this industry. Bennett always makes sure that a consumer gets value for the money that is paid. Roberta is honored to present lifetime achievement awards to Bennett and Max. Roberta spent three years making two genetically correct and amazingly beautiful quilts.


Bennett and Meagan Peters presented Making the Most of Family Finder’s Matching Tool. Bennett pointed out that there is now an option to see all of your DNA matches or to see them in “buckets.” There are tabs for maternal, paternal, and both. There will be people who will not be picked up by this but the goal is to keep it moving forward. Bennett and Meagan showed how adding a maternal aunt would add people to the bucket and then added a few more relationships from the paternal side. The system will now work out to third cousin. If you don’t have parents, the default is that you want to test as many cousins as you can out to that third cousin level but for this purpose, closer cousins are more useful.


How do we do this? The process is described in the Learning Center

Is building this tree through your DNA a separate function than uploading a family tree upload? Uploading is step 1. Then link those trees. Once you add someone and start typing in their name, quite often their whole name will come up. Then the program will take it from there.

Does a person you have added to your tree have to test in order to be linked? Yes

If you have uploaded a gedcom how do you link the ones you have DNA matches to use this tool?  On the lefthand side of the page there is a list of matches. Those people who are close are going to be suggested to be in your tree. You just drag them into place.

Can you link people if you already have an uploaded Gedcom or do you need to build a new tree? No you do not have to reupload.

Does a person have to accept the link? No

I’m one of those who have not used my trees but I have uploaded a Gedcom. Are these the same or different? They are the same and the linking is the second step.

Can you talk about the algorithm that is doing this using the cousins more than the parents to split the match list as that has been done already elsewhere?  Elliott can share personally what they are able to share.

Are the people your’re linking to produce the bucketing people you have hand typed in or linked and dropped into that node? You can type it in to begin with and then drag them in from your DNA match list in order to create the buckets because they have to have a FF test.

What happens if you link to someone and show the incorrect relationship because you have gotten the paper trail incorrect? There is a delink and there there is a delete.

If father’s tree is linked out and added to matches will the child’s tree be added when the two are linked? Matches need to be linked on each kit.

My parents are both dead. Is it worthy to have my 90 year old first cousin tested? YES! You will get more matching and more bucket splitting using the people closest to you.

Is it useless to attach 4th or 5th cousins? From a genetic point you are getting to the area of laws of diminishing returns.

How do you delete someone from your tree if they were added incorrectly? When you import a gedcom you can go into the FTDNA program and delete it.

If you have a cousin on the tree on your mother’s side that has an unknown relationship to your father will that effect your links? Endogamous relationships make this challenging. The results will not be as pristine because of the confusing genealogy. The less people you add, the greater the likelihood of false negatives or false positives.

How do I connect them when there are two known relationships? Right now it’s not set up to do that. They are trying to get it to show the wide range of ways people are related to each other and the best way to display that.

I have linked a 4C1R and it won’t link and there are others with no known relationship put into a tab, why? The tree doesn’t look at the paper trails, the users do. The tool uses an algorithm so if the system doesn’t see which side they should be put into, it can’t put them into a side. The more people you add, the better the buckets are able to group people up.

If you build out a tree on FTDNA is there a way to download a Gedcom file based on the tree you have? I don’t believe there is but we have talked about it and would make it downloadable?

How would incest results show up? Messy. Think about the exact match. Everything unusual is challenging. There would be some split results but Bennett would not make his genealogical decisions based on just those two relatives. More relatives from other lines will help to sort it out.

The IT staff says you cannot use family matching with free transfers only. Bennett will find out why.

With this new feature, will it help with chromosome browser or triangulation? It won’t help with chromosome browser but it’s a step they’re taking for triangulation.

Are there considerations to match up people who have matching family trees like other companies? No, right now they do not have anything to provide a common ancestor.

What if the same person shows in two trees and shows different relationships? The calculations are only based on what you put tin your own tree.

Where are you getting the people you added in the process? If you upload a gedcom or build a tree on their tree builder, then you can add those people.

Someone has added me as her great grandmother from the 1800s. She said she didn’t do this. How did I happen? Maybe she clicked on a suggested name and it was similar. That is why it is important to list as much info as you can in the nodes.

Why so many trees with one person? That bug is fixed.  We shouldn’t see it any more.

Max introduced Barbara Rae-Venter, J.D., Ph.D. to present Cold Case Solved: Autosomal DNA Analysis Reveals Lisa Jensen’s Real Identity. Barbara noted that she will use names of famous movie stars in place of real names of matches for privacy and Lisa’s real name will not be disclosed. In March 2015 Deputy Peter Headley inquired of DNAadoption as to whether techniques used for adoptees to find their birth relatives could help to determine the identity of a person who does not know who she is or where she is from. Barbara told the Deputy that what DNAadoption calls “The Methodology” could be used and volunteered her time to help on the Project. Lisa was abducted in 1981. She was less than a year old. In 1986 her abductor, claiming he was her father, gave Lisa to a couple for a “trial adoption” while he disappeared and changed his name. He left behind one fingerprint in his trailer. He was arrested on a DUI and they fingerprinted him. In 2002 he was arrested for murder and his DNA was compared to Lisa’s in CODIS. It revealed that he was not her father; he had abducted Lisa. He died in prison and it is believed that he may have been a serial killer. Police wanted to figure out where Lisa was from to see if there might be other victims.

Barbara explained that they used the DNA Adoption “Methodology” to identify the biological parents of Lisa. Barbara reviewed some of the acronyms used such as MRCA, GEDCOM, NPE, cM, ICW, CODIS, and Ahnentafel. Kitty Cooper has a chrome extension to convert an Ahnentafel report to a GEDCOM file. The main tool used is the DNAGedcom site. It is a sister site to DNAAdoption.  DNAGedcom has free registration but requires $5/mo or $50/yr for full membership. You also need genealogy software to allow you to do kinship reports. Barbara uses Family Tree Maker. You also need subscription site and she prefers Ancestry. You also need a spreadsheet software.

The premise behind segment triangulation is that if two or more people match with a third person on the same segment of DNA and they all match with each other, then it is a triangulation group (TG). The family tree DNA matrix is helpful to see potential triangulation groups. Barbara showed how the groupings looked in the ADSA Spreadsheet from DNAGedcom developed by Don Worth. Where can you obtain trees? On DNAGedcom there is a FTDNA and Ancestry download option. FTDNA is a direct download and Ancestry is done via DNAGedcom Client. These trees are loaded into Gworks, the GEDCOM comparison utility on DNAgedcom. You can also ask a match to share their tree or build a mirror tree. Kitty Cooper’s Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter allows you to download trees from FTDNA or 23andMe.  These individual GEDCOM files can be uploaded to Gworks.

Ideally you need a tree for each person in the TG and as you identify connections you merge the trees to create a speculative tree in which you identify the MRCA for the people in the TG. The next step is to identify potential family members. You do this bybuilding down to living descendants from the MRCA. Places to look for living descendants of the MRCA include obituaries, whitepages.com, peoplefinders.com, beenverified.com, findagrave.com, and social media. You can then use a relationship chart to estimate how a match is related. Blaine Bettinger has a nice chart that can be found  by googling “ISOGG Autosomal DNA Statistics”. You can then generate a kinship report for each of the cloesst matches in your genealogy software and look for all of the people who are related in the way you expect them to be related. As an example, if the match is an estimated 2C to you, then you know that your parent must be a 1C1R to the match.  Barbara then runs five generations back and five generations down and sorts by relationship. If there are several people of the estimated relationship, you then ask one or more of of these people to test.  You may have to repeat this step more than once.

Lisa had tested at Ancestry prior tomaking contact with DNAadoption.  She had two matches estimated to be second to third cousins. The larger of these matches, Paul, had a large family tree which was used as the basis of a speculative tree for Lisa.  The second match when contacted said he “did not want to be involved”.  Lisa’s ethnicity was estimated by Ancestry to be about 65% UK/Irish and 35% Western European.

Barbara set up the Lisa Project at FTDNA. They had many transfers from Ancestry as they found it easier to persuade people to upload their raw data to FTDNA rather than to transfer to Gedmatch; The Lisa Project paid for the transfers from donations to the Lisa Project. Barbara and the Deputy were major contributors. The next step was to upload Lisa’s data to GEDmatch. The One-to-Many was compared to the top match from Ancestry, Paul, and it showed as more matching cMs than it had been on Ancestry. Also, a large X-DNA match was discovered between Paul and Lisa. A man inherits his single X chromosome from his mother. This helped to narrow Paul’s match with Lisa to one of his maternal lines.   Paul’s mother had two brothers who lived to adulthood and no offspring of daughters were found. They searched for sisters of Paul’s mother who had a son who had a daughter as the most likely candidate for Lisa’s mother. There were 10 descendant lines with daughters.

Lisa’s results from 23andMe had a slightly different ethnicity estimate from the one on Ancestry. It showed about half British and one third northwestern Europe. On 23andMe there were three big matches. The highest match was anonymous and still is. The customer liaison at 23andMe emailed the person to ask them if they would respond and they did not even respond to the 23andMe liason. The third match was the same person from Ancestry who did not wish to be involved. The second match, Ashton, was a good match but he was an adoptee. Barbara decided to figure out who this match was since he was such a close match. He had very informative non-ID info. They also knew he was about a second cousin to Lisa. Luckily, Ashton was adopted in California and they were able to do the reverse lookup to find  his birth mother’s maiden name.  No father was named. Within 48 hours they had Ashton’s immediate maternal line sorted out. This man also had a match on 23andMe with someone who had the same last name as Ashton’s maternal grandmother. However, his ancestry turned out to be Dutch. When they found hismother and tested her, she was not related to Lisa so they had to continue to look for Ashton’s birth father. They uploaded him to GEDmatch and there was a huge match, 334cM to Paul, the first match from Ancestry. Paul and Ashton both transferred their raw DNA to FTDNA.  They found a shared match, Blanche, for Lisa, Paul and Ashton.  With this knowledge, they were able to  identify their first MRCA for Lisa, Paul, Ashton, and Blanche.

Around this time they got another match on Ancestry who was a 1C1R of the first match, Paul.

These matches represented the French Canadians but so far, not the Irish people seen in the ethnicity report. On the ADSA Barbara looked for TGs with Irish names but as they built trees, not all the trees were agreeing. They weren’t sure if the trees were wrong or if there was an NPE  due to an adoption or something else. About that time they got a new match with Peter. This would be the turning point or home stretch with a 346 cM match on Ancestry and he was extremely helpful. He recruited two cousins – one from his maternal side, Maryse, and one from his paternal side, Celine.  These cousins did not match each other but they  both matched with Lisa and this initially was very confusing. Peter also had an X match with Lisa. When they ran kinship reports on Maryse and Celine, there were only two names of the estimated relationship which appeared on the kinship reports for Maryse and Celine, a brother and a sister.  They looked at the tree and there was an explanation. There were two sisters who had married two brothers.

In September 2015 the father of the siblings had been approached about testing and vetted the Deputy. After that he refused all further communications. Meanwhile, they found other people who would test – two 1C, one maternal and one paternal, to the siblings who should be 1C1R to Lisa of the female sibling was Lisa’s mother. The results confirmed that the female sibling was likely Lisa’s mother.  Her father (Lisa’s grandfather) then agreed to test.

The man who was believed to be Lisa’s grandfather had a match with her of 2006 cM.

Finally there was a match with someone with Irish ancestry, William, on Ancestry for 240 cM. On 23andMe a 2.95% match turned up with Maureen, also of Irish ancestry. Both matches were estimated 2C matches so Lisa’s parent was likely a 1C1R to each of them.  Both matches had good trees so the trees were merged to create a speculative tree for Lisa. When the kinship reports were run for William and Maureen there were five names in common between the two reports. There were 5 brothers who were 1C1R to both William and Maureen so one of these   brothers is believed to be Lisa’s father. That is currently unconfirmed.

Time spent on project

Estimate for all volunteers: 20,000 hours

At 50 weeks x 40 hours/week = 10 years

Bulk of the time was spent building trees up, sideways, and down

[Thank you to Barbara Rae-Venter for editing this section.]

Bennett introduced Doran Behar, MD, PhD. Doran presented the Paternal Tree of Humanity. The goal is to create one tree that contains all the Y-chromosomes of all the males alive in the world and anyone would be able to see how close he is to his friend or co-worker. The good news is that they are establishing it together. Genetic genealogists are taking the revolution forward – not the medical or population geneticists. Scientists are usually dealing with the big problems. Scientists don’t go to the family level.  Doran collaborated on a paper “A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture.”


The Levites have a documented migration patch from Spain to a small town next to Prague. The town name was Horowitz so this is how they named. There is a genealogy from 1450 A.C. listing all descendants of the founders of this village for 500 years. It doesn’t mean we have to believe it but we have it. Five individuals who are linked to this pedigree questioned how they belonged to this pedigree. How would they determine the descendants from the pedigree and the descendants from the people who named after the town?


The paper on this should be coming out in a few weeks.

They are building a tool that when you are obtaining your results from Big Y, it will automatically add your results into an ever expanding tree and provide info about who are your closest peers and family members and how many years the tree estimates them to coalesce.

Doran gave an example from Haplogroup Q. There are several clear clusters. When looking at the tree, first determine what the root is.


There are 162 variants over ~35,000 years that separate Q3 from the other branches.

You must know the capture you are choosing. In captures there might be different variants. Take the one that is the most representative of the tree you want to compare your data to. If you took the same capture and used NGS, NGS is a method and a method has limitations.

They did an experiment on inter platform performance. Genotyping platforms were Complete Genomics, Illumina, and 5 saples were run in both platforms. The overlapping region is 6M bp. The data obtained by the different platforms were concordant. They can use different platforms as long as they use the same regions.

Nomenclature has been a serious source of concern. The reference genome does not represent the ancestral genome! The reference genome represents a haploid mosaic of different DNA sequences from different donors.


Another problem is that there are different genome builds being used. The same variant can be in different positions in different genome builds. All of these things are making nomenclature issues hard to understand. Many variants have two names representing the same position. It would have been excellent to have one committee for whenever you submit a new Y chromosome SNP and it be assigned an appropriate number and then it’s published.

The next lesson is that we must speak the same language.

Not all positions within the capture will pass QC.

The algorithm they have built will automatically take the Big Y and place the results your haplogroup. The VCF is only showing the positions that are different from the reference. If the position failed, there is nothing to worry about.


In an afternoon breakout, Roberta Estes presented Native American Mitochondrial DNA Discoveries. Roberta said that Bennett once said, “Genetic genealogy is guilt by genetic association.” The truth lies in the DNA. Roberta reviewed basic mitochondrial DNA inheritance. She reminded us that maternal means mother’s side and could be either of her parents. Matrilineal is the mother’s mother’s mother’s line. Keep in mind that the Genographic Project haplogroup is determined by testing haplogroup defining mutations. Not all mutations will show on the test. In the Native American world there was a defining paper published in 2007 by Tamm et al called “Beringia Standstill and the Spread of Native American Founders.” The haplogroups defined in that paper were A, B, C, D, and X. There were only 9 subgroups.

Roberta maintains a public database on her blog that keeps track of all of the papers and what haplogroups they relate to. There is a problem in the Native American community that not a lot of people have tested. US tribes discourage testing. Many people don’t know their genealogical history. Sometimes mixed race ancestry was hidden. Many people believe their “maternal line” is Native but in reality, their matrilineal line is not. People often mistake maternal for matrilineal.

Roberta applied to be an affiliate researcher with National Geographic and was accepted and approved for Native research. She also had additional resources from Family Tree DNA Projects, GenBank, mtDNA Community, and Doran Behan’s paper on aging.

The topic of proof is a sticky situation. It’s an emotional situation for many people. Roberta uses certain things to build proof. These include ancient burials, academic studies andin academic studies finding a haplogroup in a given population. However, studies don’t always state what defines proof. Often, one instance of a haplogroup in “Mexico” has sufficed.

For this project, a single result from a compelling location, as with academic studies, was considered. Results needed to be from the Americas and not elsewhere. Results from the Americas and no results elsewhere other than Spain and Portugal found in families from the Americas, in particular from the south of America.


The X2b4 proof argument starts with descendants of Radegonde Lambert, an Acadian woman found in the 1620s married to Jean Blanchard, carrying haplogroup X2b4. Several descendants were tested. Radegonde is widely believed to be the daughter of Jean Lambert and a Native wife but then alternative evidence surgaced. Her great granddaughter’s husband gave a deposition that Radegonde arrived in Acadia with her husband from France.

Initially X2b4 was found only in Radgonde’s descendants and the project was formed. They waited and waited and eventually in 2016, enough people had tested that X2b4 was found in the Czech Republic, Devon and Birminham in the UK at FTDNA. In the Genographic Project these people were found in a wide variety of places. The conclusion was that X2b4 was not Native.

Roberta then wondered if X2b4 could be Native and found on other continents. She reviewed Doran Behar’s “A Copernican Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root” and assuming his dates are accurate, it cannot be both European and Native because the migration to the Americas from Beringia occurred prior to the oldest date for X2b4’s birth about 8,000 years ago. This was a controversial finding so Roberta send it to Dr. Behar to make sure everything looked valid. He said it looked great.

In the Genographic Database, it was a challenge because not many of the people answered questions about their earliest maternal ancestor.  Roberta extracted the Haplogroup, Age per Dr. Doron Behar, the RSRS defining mutations (Geno v16), FTDNA Proejct Locations (Phylotree v14), Genogrpahic oldest maternal birth locations, and any other notes she had. In tis case, there were 4,198 entries in the Genographic Project that had some information she could use. She had to download and evaluate every one of those and only 4% of the people answered those. Of those, some had clearly answered incorrectly.

There were several other challenges. There were name challenges because of mitochondrial name changes. In haplogroup projects, not all were tested to full sequence level. Not all participants enter oldest ancestor information or location. Not everyone has tested so many people would be in downstream haplogroups if they tested to that level. Not all project participants enable public viewing or allow admins to see their coding region mutaitons – mostly a lack of understanding and not a conscious decision. Genographic project participants’ DNA are tested with probes which define haplogroups but don’t provide additional mutations.

There are plenty of myths and many people have the Indian Princess in the US story, especially Cherokee. In Mexico, lots have the story that they are from Spain. In the Caribbean they think they’re from the Canary Islands and in Canada, France. Language does not equal origins. However, a Native language speaker is indicative of Native heritage.

When you look at the Haplogroup A Project map, you can see where the matches fall.

Roberta shared a chart with the haplogroup and whether it was previously proven academic and whether it was FTDNA proven and Geno Proven. There were several that were not previously proven Native and they are now proven Native through the FTDNA Project or Geno. Those in yellow are now proven through this collaborative process


Total haplogroups not Native – 27

Total haplogroups Native – 76

Total with no data or no location – 34

Total uncertain – 4

Total both Native and other – 2

Total new Native haplogroups – 38, 1 probable

Haplogroup A and subgroups have 7483 total results. Of those, 4,198 are A with no subgroup. A, with no subgroup, is a rich treasure trove.

Roberta created different views. They allow you to see trends.

Haplogroup A is found in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. This haplogroup itself was born in Asia between 19 and 29 thousand years ago. A with no subgroups can be both Asian and Native. Haplogroup A has 22 subgroups. Today, only A2 and A4, positively and A1 and A10 probably are Native. There is so much more to be evaluated.

This session got started late due to the last session running over and Roberta had to rush through Haplogroup B. 75% of B haplogroups are new through this collaboration. Total new Native haplogroups are 44.

Haplogroup C is smaller. Haplogroup C at FTDNA is private. Many of these were already identified and there are a few new ones but nothing like A and B. Only 12% are new but it is much smaller.

Haplogroup D is huge. It is found throughout Asia and Europe and the Americas. D was called Native in academic papers but the information she found did not support but did not refute that. More research is needed.

Haplogroup X was difficult.

Haplogroup M is not normally Native and is heavily found in Southeast Asia. M was found in a Native burial before full sequences were done. Roberta spoke to the University of Illinois researcher and they feel sequencing and haplogroup assignment was accurate from the burials. Roberta is calling M1 possibly because it was identified in academic papers but it would be better to be rerun. Unfortunately, it cannot. M18 is found in two women, both with confirmed Native heritage, one that is a tribal member.

The Dark Horse is haplogroup F1a1. These are found in the American Indian project with Mexican oldest matrilineal ancestors. They match 3 additional haplogroup F individuals with Mexican heritage. There are no Genographic results outside of Asia. Full haplogroup F extraction was not done. Is F1a1 Native? If not, how did the individuals come to be found in Mexico? Is there a Polynesian component?

Today there are 259 total Native proven haplogroups compared to the 9 in the 2007 paper.

Max introduced Elliott. Elliott is now back in Houston full time in the genealogy side, not the medical side. This year it is less than 6 hours from lab quality control to results. The Family Finder page has a new look, updated icons, and media screens. People had said there was too much data hidden or data that need to be hidden. They have changed the look and feel. If you look from an ipad or iphone, it changes the data on the page so that you can use it at those resolutions. In the future, every page they change will include this in the upgrade. There is a new buckets feature, as Bennett and Meagan introduced earlier today. Since the update, they’re averaging about 5,000 new linked nodes per day and hopefully this will increase.

Just recently they replaced the known relationships and made more focus on the trees and gedcoms. The linked relationships column is now populated by linking the person on the tree. You dno’t have to have multiple places to link or wait for the other person to accept. As Dr. Hammer released yesterday, the Ancient European Origins is a new feature. They have more features they are planning to include in this. Hopefully it will be a series of small little features that focus around these cool little things that people like to know and it is unique.

The pedigree view has been updated. It has been requested for a long time. It is used in traditional genealogy. This is useful for users but it’s not as useful for other features because not everyone has their parents alive. If you focus only on the pedigree view, you will lose out on the other options they have for parental matching. They really want to focus on the broader trees and the more they have on different cousins, the more they can focus on features for them.

Internal tree creation tool was done for Michael Sager. It’s easy for Michael to build the tree because they built him this tool. For building the haplotree, this allows for faster tree changes.

There was a complete rewrite of the Y-STR matching system. For the past 15 years it was live, running your sample to compare every time you clicked on it. It got to the point they set where it took maximum 20 seconds. Now they rewrote it and it takes about ½ second. The link is just a display. It’s no longer making the live comparisons.

Looking ahead, Big Y feature updates are coming. Doron has talked today about the ability to take BAM files and create trees. That is powerful but it’s just one of the features needed. Another feature that has been fully developed and will be coming soon is the Big Y Browser. This allows us to see depth, confidence score, and investigate why they called or did not call something.

Population finder will have more populations. It will be focusing on deeper Europe, South Native American (Peru, Brazil etc.) and Mideast populations.

For Ancient Origins, they hope to extend outside of Europe. The next focus is Asia because the data is currently available but their goal is to continue to expand to other regions. More dig and archaeological sites are to come. Elliott thinks it would be interesting to read about active dig sites.

For mtDNA, build 17 has been released and build 18 is coming. They are currently on build 14. Right now heteroplasmies are poorly taken into account and there will be a revised matching taking into account the heteroplasmies. This is coming soon. Elliott does not know if it will be the beginning or middle of Q1.

As far as transfers, 23andMe v3 and Ancestry v2 will be coming very soon. The code behind the comparisons is complete. They are having a problem making it display and it’s being programmed now. It’s not a big problem and they expect it out in the next 3-5 weeks.

They have been recording. They are working on our requests.


Is it good to add more cousins? Yes, it’s great. 20 is wonderful but after 3 or 4 they are not as powerful.

Is the feature phasing? The term phasing is used in a lot of different ways.

Can you freeze the headers? Yes, it’s in the gap.

If you go to mtDNA there is a FAST A file which is your raw data.

When will there be SNP matching feature for SNP packs for terminal or near terminal SNPs? There is a feature in Big Y for matching and it’s getting an update quite soon. It will go from around 35,000 SNPs to around 130,000 or 140,000 SNPs. They don’t know how they will incorporate SNP pack customers into that.

Would you accept uploads of synthetic kits if they meet your QC requirements? Unfortunately we’d prefer not to.

My relationships disappeared why? How to correct? You had known relationships mapped and the linked had deployed. The known relationships on the tree will be linked and you can get them back. It’s now a small segment on its own.

Behar is talking about mapping the paternal tree of humanity and we hear about whole genome testing. What type of infrastructure will be needed to handle this data? A lot. To give context, Big Y is small in comparison. The amount of data for a single standard whole genome is about the size of 60 Big Ys for a single person and that may or may not be good enough for future understanding of whole genome.

On population finder, why not expand Africa? The goal is to expand everywhere but they start with where more customers come from. They would love to expand to Africa and Polynesia but the questions of most of the customers from those areas are currently being answered.

From the matches page you can add people to a small list and click the button to go to the chromosome browser. They allowed the ability to use the filtering option from the main page. The search options are minimalistic.

Can you make the system intuitive so when links are made on one kit suggestions are made on another kit? What was proposed is that you would link it on your tree and another suggestion occurs on the other person’s side. They are thinking of doing this.

How is parental matching different from in common with? ICW uses the people on the match list and nothing else and says who is on the other person’s list. The parental matching feature actually uses DNA. It’s comparing the DNA blocks to the other people. It’s not a kind of dumb system of using just names – it’s actually basing it on DNA.

In the haplotree I’d like to see breadcrumb nodes when I go to the path? Elliott said that would not be terribly hard and it’s a good idea.

Have you considered eliminating the Y-12 and/or Y-25 kits? Bennett said there are some parts of the world where it seems to matter. In the US we would probably rather start with Y37. In other places in the world customers are buying 100 kits at a time and based on the results, they’ll upgrade to Y111. The only other place someone can buy a Y-12 is the administrators. The general public cannot buy a Y-12. With the exception of these 100 or 200 kit orders from the Middle East, less than 1% of volume is Y12 and Y25 is much much less than that.

Testing for Neanderthal percentage? Elliott doesn’t believe in it. Doron says it’s possible. The common belief in the scientific community and the criticism is that there was a mixing and they should look very carefully at this because they don’t want to give misleading results. The level of admix of Neanderthal into humans is very small and they don’t want to pollute that by noise. They have not looked at it very closely. He will inform after deep consideration.

Are there any plans to add more features for group admins to analyze autosomal DNA? Elliott says the question is what features do you want and what are they supposed to look like? Elliott proposed the question to everyone in the room. Write it down and let the staff know.

When is next year’s conference? They don’t know but they are shooting for the same weekend next year. They should know within a couple of weeks from a logistics standpoint.

What international marketing efforts is FTDNA pursuing? They have a distributor in UAE and a distributor in Switzerland to take care of European languages. They go to England every year to attend Who Do You Think You Are Live. They have had teams to Sweden and Ireland this year. When the shows take place, they are involved. Max added that they are having the partnership with MyHeritage and they have a very good reach in Europe and they are planning to have on the results page the transfer people where people can transfer the results to FTDNA. Max suggests we flood them with emails to put an enhanced button to request transfer of results to FTDNA. They will not offer Y or mtDNA so this is important. Also, the people can then join projects.

An update on accredidation efforts? They are currently accredited by an organization that used to be AABB. That gets them the right to do legal testing. They are also registered with CLIA, that in theory provides some oversight. Their accreditation is superseded by the College of American Pathologists, which they also have at this point. As far as accreditation, they are done. However, there is still New York State. They have made their application to NY and they are waiting for it to reach the top of the pile and then they will be accredited. They are already registered to do relationship and paternity testing in NY. Then if they were inclined to do medical testing, then they would be able to do it in NY, which is the hardest to get through. This doesn’t matter much since they are a genealogy company but there’s always something to learn by  having inspectors come to visit the laboratory. It’s a lot of work but it’s a good thing for the lab to go through. CAP invited Connie Bormans to audit other labs since her lab standards are so good. Bennett said she is considered a real badass.

Will we be able to see 8-10 generations on the tree in FF again? The dropdown allows you to see different numbers of generations.

Bennett said he had a demonstration to do. He has been asked by the lab folks to change how swabs are done. They are making a change to the swab because of productivity. They are limited with the current extraction modality. They have a limitation of about 1,000 samples a day so they can end up with backlogs. Bennett does not like backlogs. FF results are coming out now in 2-3 weeks and they want that to be the standard. They need to automate this one last portion of the production line. The new swab has a sponge on the end. There is a black line that is a mark. You stick the swab into the bottle to the black line and then break it off.

When will we stop showing Houston we have a problem? Elliott says usually that happens because there is a problem. It’s not random. What Elliott asks us to do is copy that entire screen and send it to groups@ftdna.com or the help desk. If it’s simply a timeout they are aware of it and working on it. If it’s not, maybe they don’t know it exists. There are tens of thousands of customers logged in on a daily basis so sometimes they miss things.

Since FTDNA will process samples for MyHeritage, if someone later wanted to have a Y or mtDNA can they authorize FTDNA to do that test without submitting a new sample? Yes, the same as with National Geographic. FTDNA keeps the vials. After they are transferred, they pull it from the freezer or storage and process.

Assassins Creed? A few months ago Fox Entertainment and Find My Past came saying they would launch a movie that was related to a video game. The theme was about genetics and the past and the warrior gene and wanted to know if it would be possible or interesting to develop a product that FTDNA could sell to their audience. They developed the FF & Warrior gene and it’s the Assassin’s Creed bundle.

What are some considerations if a family member swabbed a recently deceased individual but some other family member disagrees? Be family and work it out.

Is the metal age invader the source of Denisovan DNA? No, absolutely not.

There is a disclaimer from FTDNA that they are not useful in a court of law. Is this true or an elaborate charade? Those tests are not submersible because there is not a chain of custody. This would confirm that the DNA you have taken is from the person you say you have taken it from. A witness would have to sign an affidavit and come to the lab via currier with certified receipt then when it gets to the office there is a whole series of affidavits. In relation to this case, it was not to prove who the abductor was, it was to find the family of the girl. It is not relevant to this case.

Does the Seven Daughters of Eve trace mitochondrial? No, it all coalesced to one. You can count how many maternal lineages have survived since the time they coalesced. Itt is highly likely in that time period there were many more mothers but their mtDNA is extinct now.

Are there new discoveries in the future for DNA? With respect to mtDNA, once you have the whole molecule you can’t extend the information but large databases should help better location of origins of lineages. We are around the right calculations now. There are many more discoveries waiting for DNA. For example, the epigenetic phenomenon that we don’t know how to explain. Things like copy number variations, mutation processes.

Will Brad update the how to video for the FTDNA video using the new swab? Brad will make a new video.

Do the Kalash face extinction or do trends offer hope? There is a trend wiping out cultures and languages at the rate of about 2 per week and 100 per year. There were thousands of languages in the world when Columbus came to America and they have decreased and it will probably continue.

Can you talk more about Haplogroup I in the Bronze Age? I and G were the first guys into Europe followed by R1bs and the Neolithic Farmer. That’s been well understood for the last 3 or 4 years. It was probably I or G folks who did the cave paintings in France.

In GAP, you can add in a little wildcard * or ? instead of using just an exact match.

Frustration with MailChimp? It’s an emailing service that doesn’t allow much in the way of bounced email. In the past they had this problem with AOL and Yahoo.

What will happen to old swabs not yet received in the lab after the switch? Is there a cutoff date? Older kits will always be accepted. They will establish a second extraction line and it will gradually transition.

Some questions are individual and those will not be responded to here. Please ask those questions after we are done.

How liable are we as admins for privacy? Can we be sued for damages? If someone wants to sue someone else, you don’t need much to be sued. Max says the best thing is to abide by the rules that Janine outlined yesterday. One of the things they do to reduce the risk is give us guidelines to reduce the risk.

The Basque origins show no Metal Age? There are still questions about the Basque people. They are one of the only groups speaking their type of language. Their populations seem to be the result of a few events. There is a huge debate.

There is an understanding that sending back US shipping is free but I have to go to the post office? It is prepaid.

Can kits be ordered and shipped to Chile? Yes, the only place that was rejected was Iran but they tried again and it seems to be working.

Does FTDNA have any plans to add a medical pedigree? No, absolutely not.

Is FTDNA’s strategy to avoid anything health related? They purge their chip of data that is found to be in any way touching that medical subject. They want you to be able to say that this is not a medical test.


In sales & marketing 101 Bennett learned that volume is very forgiving. If you have a lot of volume you can sell a product for a lesser price and still be around tomorrow. The last couple of sales have demonstrated that nicely. There were thousands and thousands sold with hardly a glitch. They have ot balance the sale price with what can they produce at all that their email board doesn’t light up because they want to be able to answer real questions. They do plan on having a sale this year and it will go live today. They will appear on the website. On every Monday between now and the end of the year, all customers will receive a holiday coupon. Those can be applied to the pricing seen here. Y-DNA 37 will be $139 without a coupon. There will be coupons for $10 or $20 off.  Family Finder will be $59!!! If someone buys a bundle, the price of the FF will be $49. In addition, if you have a $10 Y-DNA STR coupon, you will be able to get an additional $10 off on the bundle price. If you give that coupon away you will get another and most likely different coupon. Because you gave away a coupon to someone who purchased it, the way it’s supposed to work is that you have a greater chance of getting a bigger or better coupon. If you get a lot of your friends, relatives, neighbors, etc to test, there is a potential reward for you.

On behalf of Max and himself and the entire team, Bennett thanked everyone for coming.

5:01pm central

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