*Note: It’s very late but I had a flight tonight and I wanted to get the information out.  With little sleep, I am sure there are countless errors.  I’ll fix it up tomorrow.  I figured everyone would rather have the information quickly rather than perfectly!


The first thing on the agenda for the morning was the International Society of Genetic Genealogy 2013 Meeting.  ISOGG was born at the 2004 FTDNA conference.  Katherine Borges spoke about the development and launch of ISOGG in 2004 and 2005 and the fact that it is free.  It is a self-supporting and volunteer organization.  There is always a need for help.  If you have a niche where you can help, that would be great.

The ISOGG Y-Browse is now up.

One ISOGG wiki page that is getting a lot of hits is the new page for Free DNA Tests.  Many administrators sponsor tests and some projects raise money to sponsor tests.

The Journal of Genetic of Genetic Genealogy was founded the same year as ISOGG at the FTDNA conference.  Katherine said that she has been lobbied to take JOGG under ISOGG’s umbrella but she has resisted because it wasn’t broken.  At this point JOGG is not working well but we are not at that point yet.  Katherine is determined not to let it die.  The current editor of JOGG is Dr. Turi King of the University of Leicester who worked on the King Richard III project.  Turi has been very busy with this and now there is a rumor that Dr. King will have to work on the King Arthur project.

Katherine reminded us to be very careful when we talk to reporters, as they can take out sound bites that might be good or bad.  After a two hour conversation, they could pick out one line that may or may not be relevant.  What you say applies to all of us, including the people in your projects.

The ISOGG Wiki is a great resource.  Be sure to use it but be sure to source it.  You are welcome to set up free project pages on the wiki.

ISOGG has had a presence at several conferences. “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” Conference in London takes place in February.  This is the biggest conference in the world.  It averages 11,000 – 15,000 people in three days.  FTDNA has had a stall there and is very busy for the entire time.  Brian Swann has arranged for an ISOGG Stand each year.  The Free DNA Testing list gets posted in this stand.  This year there will be a specification for how many tests the project would like to sponsor.  The SCGS Jamboree & ISOGG’s DNA Day takes place in June in California.  ISOGG has had a booth since 2005.  Maurice Gleeson will talk about the Dublin event later in the day.

Alice Fairhurst shared that 358 people attended DNA Day at SCGS Jamboree.  The SCGS Jamboree usually has attendance of around 1,500-1,700.  This is a new movement for public DNA conferences instead of relying on project administrators.  Alice reminded us that there will be a DNA Conference on August 16-17, 2014 in Washington, D.C.  CeCe Moore said that a site will be forthcoming.  Alice stressed that she is happy to see something happening on the east coast as well as the west coast.

In 2006 the YSNP tree was started in 2006.  At that time,  we were primarily getting SNPs from academic papers. Alice gave us some numbers that really show the growth!

  • Year                     # of SNPs
  • 2006                     436
  • 2008                     790
  • 2010                     935
  • 2012                   2067
  • Sept 2013          3610
  • Announced by David Mittelman yesterday  25,000

The Y Team had a meeting last night.  In the past they’ve been able to associate each SNP to an academic paper but they will likely not be able to keep that up.  Individual SNPs would be a work level that no one can keep up with.  Everyone is a volunteer.

On July 20-25, 2014, CeCe Moore, Debbie Parker Wayne, and Blaine Bettinger will teach a course entitled Practical Genetic Genealogy at the Genealogical Research Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Dr. Michael Hammer presented Origins of R-M269 Diversity in Europe. In 2010 the R-M269 clade would fit on one page.  Now it can be made into a scroll!  Now we can start talking about breaking up haplogroups with SNPs and this is very exciting.  SNPs are appearing much faster than they can even type them in populations.

There were three major expansions into Europe.  The first anatomically modern humans from Africa were about 45,000 years ago.  Around 17,000 years ago after the Last Glacial Maximum out of the southern refugia there was a major expansion of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers.  Neolithic Farmers from the Near East expanded beginning about 10,000 years ago.

In 2003, Diamond & Bellwood suggested that when these farming centers appeared due to independent origination of farming technology, these food production genes conferred an enormous advantage to farmers vs. hunter-gatherers.  This triggered the outward expansions of farming populations.  Their hypothesis was followed up by several studies looking at genetic replacement in Europe.  There is disagreement about origins and timing.  The Balareque group argues that “geographical distribution of STR diversity on the background of R-M269 is best explained by spread from a single source into the Near East via Anatolia during the Neolithic.”  Busby’s study of 2012 contrasted that and found that there is no relationship between diversity and longitude for R-M269.

Dr. Hammer felt that P311 had to be pretty old and he thought it should be watched as a pointer.  Alternate hypotheses include one that says that R-P311 originated prior to the Neolithic wave of expansion and the other indicates afterward.  Dr. Hammer turned to the ancient DNA literature.  There is now enough data out of different ancient DNA studies with Y chromosomes.  There were samples from caves in France, Spain, Germany, and the well known Otzi sample.  These are 5,000 – 7,000 years old.  The cave in France yielded 20 G2a samples and 2 I2a samples.  The cave in Spain yielded 5 G2a samples and 1 E1bibi.  In Germany 1 G2a3 and 2 F*.  Three populations studied close to the French site yield about 60.5% R1b.  The second site 52.8 and the third 53.3.    This indicates that there is something different going on now than there was 5,000 years ago.  This evidence supports a recent spread of HgR lineages into Europe.  The R-P311 lineage moved after the Neolithic agricultural transition.  This is the Y chromosome only.  The mitochondrial lines indicate something totally different.  This is a male driven process.

U106, L21, and U152 each have a different epicenter in Europe.  These radial distributions are the pattern that they’re seeing with the subhaplogroups.  This suggests that the differentiation process may have occurred in multiple localized centers of expansion after the Neolithic period.  Archaeological sites reveal that the spread of the Neolithic was not constant.  There are “centers of renewed expansion” across Europe.  Dr. Hammer proposed a model.


Another clue is that G2a appears to be the Neolithic version of R1b.

There are new SNPs that revise haplogroup K.  There was a rapid diversification of K in Southeast Asia and a later appearance of R and Q in western Eurasia.  This suggests a very strange picture where people who got out of Africa were in Southeast Asia and it wasn’t until later after the diversification center that they headed west.

We are now talking about population movements without about the past 4,000 years.  R1b appears in the Caucasus by the early Neolithic.  By the end of the Neolithic, it is still isolated to pockets in Eastern Europe.  Then in the Early-Mid Bronze age about 4500-4000 years ago, R1b was found in central Europe.  By about 4000-3500 years ago, R1b begins to reach western Europe.  In the Iron Age 3200-3000 years ago there was a period of differentiation in centers of renewed expansion.  It is possible that this continued through the Iron Age and can be seen as recently as 2,000 years ago.  There is a lot left to be learned and the ancient DNA contribution will be very large to determine the R1b overtaking of the Neolithic chromosomes.

if you investigate SNPs under L21  the DF23 M222 is at high frequency in Ireland but lesser in Scotland and England.  In Scotland the CTS11722 is at very high frequency but very small in England.  DF21 is quite high in frequency in England in comparison to Scotland and Ireland.  There is optimism for using SNPs for things arising within the past 2,000 years.  Dr. Hammer would be very interested in working with anyone who has significant numbers of individuals who can’t work it out with the STRs.  There might be a couple of examples to beta test this idea.  Dr. Hammer suggests that we should explore this a bit further in projects.

The frequency of G2a in Europe now is about 4 -5%.

Questions for Dr. Hammer:

Will the slides be posted?  He’d be happy to do that.

Is there an answer to what conferred advantages to R1b over G2a?  This is something we should think about.

Are these SNPs being tested in Geno 2.0?  Yes, every one of them.  As the data comes out, you will see trees based on the Geno chip that will show 13 lineages under haplogroup under N and 20 or so under M222.  Most other branches have equal growth.

Any thoughts on why R1b didn’t infringe on J?  Could be due to Roman legions bringing Mediterranean haplogroups.

When will Geno and FTDNA migration maps be updated to reflect this information?  They will be upgraded and made larger and they’ll probably need a new look with this new information to take advantage of.

Are these SNPs informative for the last hundreds of years vs. thousands of years?  We don’t know yet.  Given the rapid turnover that we’re seeing, it could be found out with more work of this sort.

How and when will the new SNPs become publicly available?  Bennett assumes National Geographic will publish a paper on this.  Miguel said it will be months.

Dr. Hammer is ready to start moving data out as soon as FTDNA can provide some frequency of the SNPs.  That info will be made available to the ISOGG team and Nat Geo.

What kind of patterns might support this out of Southeast Asia expansion?  Dr Hammer asked Migual Vilar.  There are some old mitochondrial R in Southeast Asia.  They need Doran to answer that.  Maybe next year!

If someone has taken Geno 2.0 is there an advantage to Big Y?  They are very different.  Geno 2.0 is for everyone looking for a specific SNP that they have.  When you are looking at large expanses of the Y chromosome, it’s like a personal Y chromosome discovery project to see what SNPs you have that are unique and which are clade defining.

What kinds of tests would be good for looking downstream?  Look on the tree.  He doesn’t have it memorized.

The Sciethean people of northern Ukraine?  That sounds interesting.  It needs to be researched.

Bennett asked who built Stonehenge?  Mike said he thinks it’s haplogroup G2a.  It is not R1b.

Is the mitochondrial picture in Europe different than Y?  There is more continuity in Southern Europe but in northern Europe there is more continuity with neareast.  Miguel Vilar said that some of the mt lineages are much older even than the paleolithic.  What we see today is very heterogeneous.

Why doesn’t the ISOGG tree have all of the markers downstream of L23?  Because it’s hot off the press!


Dr. Marja Pirttivaara from Finland traveled from Finland to present Bridging Social Media and DNA.  Marja is the administrator of the Finnish DNA Project.  Finns are strongly present in DNA.  The Finland DNA project has 3,750 members.  Marja spoke on the Finnish main radio about Genetic Genealogy and the following day on the television.  Many people decided to join the project after this.   The population of Finland is about the size of Minnesota and geographically it is about the size of Finland.  If you match a Finn, please contact them!  They are very much about cooperation.  Finns are known to be fluently quiet in many different languages.  They learn many languages at school but they are not so talkative.

Marja showed a Uralic languages map, which indicates migration.  Men came from the east and women came in from the west.  This is one of the reasons Marja started this project to learn more.  Based on this part of their background in Finalnd, they have interesting cooperations.    They have learned quite a lot of new things.

Turku, the capital, was full of foreigners in the old times.  This is because of the Hanseatic League.

You have a network identity that includes your name, context, and presence.  This might include Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and forums.  You can do one at a and then combine them.  The content might include writing, comment, files, photos, facebook sttus, tweets, newsletters, and mail.  Your role could be that of an administrator, broker, challenger, diplomat, connector, controller, expert, faciliatator, follower or silent user, innovator, interpreter, judge, mediator, producer, preacher, referee, and sharer.  Marja talked about protecting privacy and giving and gaining trust.


The engineering team gave an Enginnering Update and IT Roundmap.  The new Chief Technology Officer, Jason Wang, came from Arpeggi.  Jason went to Carnegie Melon where he studied Computer Science.  Max said that Jason is a big data person and big data is what FTDNA is all about so it is a perfect fit.  Jason said that when they started Arpeggi just 10 months prior, they never imagined doing this but they met Max and Bennett and saw that the parts were greater than the whole, the longterm visions were aligned, and the chemistry was great.  It’s been three months and the merger has gone as smoothly as could be predicted.


Elliott Greenspan officially joined the company in 2006.  Elliott gave the Year in Review.

In 2012, they processed 107.6 Petabytes of matching data.  This year is 413.7 Petabytes.  This could wrap around the entire equator if you put it on cd’s.  In October 2013 there was a 62.20 TB/hour run speed.  Now it’s 640TB/hour!  This means faster uploads, more frequent uploads, and soon transfers will match within about 5 minutes and results will start showing up right after that.

There is a new look and new character cards for the Family Finder, as well as an Advanced section.  One of the new features is the push to chromosome browser.  This allows you to still have all the features and filters of the matching page without having to remember.  There is a new look for the profile.  Elliott has gotten some feedback that people don’t like it because the About Me section has been removed.  It will be added back.  Elliott said this new look has more noticeable email, which will make it an easier experience for customers to get in contact with each other.  Known relationships have been reinvented.  Even though it’s still the same grid, it looks better.  The download section has a Build 36 and Build 37 section.  David mentioned Build 38 yesterday so Elliott said they’d better get on that.

There have been major updates for Family Trees, known as Gedcoms.  This looks a lot better now.  The primary problem has been getting people to add their gedcoms.  They thought if there was a little place to click and there was an incentive, then people would do it.  Thousands of people have added gedcoms in the past couple of weeks since they added this feature.

Connie will talk more about the SNP Request Form.  If you know a SNP is not really good and it’s not offered by FTDNA you will no longer have to email or call in to a CSR.  You can fill out the form and the lab will do some vetting.  They will be evaluated and added to the page for ordering.

mtDNA went to build 14 this year.  They did some changes to matching.  One off steps on mtDNA results still give a relationship if you share the haplogroup.  It might be distant, but there is still a relationship.  They want to give us the chance to expand further and take into account a random mutation.  They plan to skip 15 and go straight to 16 unless 17 is out and then they’ll go to that.  Code is in place and it just needs testing.

They helped a lot with Geno 2.0.  There has been extensive research and gettings.  They have had a streamline flow of data to National Geographic.  In the past a 12 marker was just an excel document but a 150,000 SNP file requires calculations and has been quite an endeavor.

As a result of that, there is the new Y-Tree.  The YCC 2010 – L21 tree has changed.  It has been done in conjunction with National Geographic.  Nick of FTDNA has gone through SNP by SNP for all samples to evaluate data.  There are some samples that were found that mutated 7 different times.  That has to be decided if they should stay in the tree and if they have value.  It takes so long to produce because of this evaluation process.  The new tree has 6,200 SNPs and 1,000 branches.

Looking ahead there is a commitment to take Genetic Genealogy to the next level.  The Big Y will provide constant updates to the official tree.  They have a commitment to accurate science.   If a single sample comes back with a positive, it will go on the draft.  It doesn’t mean it’s a haplogroup but it will be constantly updated for people to see.  This will allow continuous testing with advanced SNPs and allow scientists in the future to test the areas they need to and keep science flowing.

Another reason it took so long to come up with the new tree is that not every SNP is covered.  As an example, CTS3402, L365 and L366 are working but L579 is not, there is a question of whether they’re parallel or downstream.  You can’t just throw them on there.  Nick has ordered thousands of SNPs to vet the Geno 2.0.  They have done and committed to 6,000 SNPs to reevaluate those SNPs that failed on the Geno 2.0 chip.  They make the same commitment to the Big Y.  They will test it if necessary.

X-Matching!  Elliott gave a background of X-chromosome inheritance.  They used Matt Dexter’s data and his son1 and daughter1 only shared 15%.  Son1 and daughter2 shared 90%.  This differential was enormous.  Matt and his first cousin 1x removed had no match.  Bennett Greenspan and his 3rd cousin had a match.  They are going to do an X feature and make it an advanced feature.  You will be able to see if it is an X match as well.  You can rule in a relationship on a line with this feature but not rule it out.  It is important to understand this.  There will also be a browser with the X chromosome and you’ll be able to get matching lengths and hopefully more indepth features like what Matt showed during his presentation.

Finally, Population Finder.  It is in need of an upgrade.  Ray’s full time job is to work on this.  They have restarted it 2-3 times this year because they really need to get it right.  The new system will have more populations, allow for faster upgrades in the future, and have a new look.  This will be easier when they have a new population to add in.


Will you improve the search engine on the FAQ?  Yes! It needs it.

Will you please allow admins to show full view to be a full view instead of close and intermediate?  Yes.  They can do that.

Are there plans to upgrade the gedcom viewer?  Yes!  Continue to upload the gedcoms.  They are saving the full gedcoms.

Please combine raw autosomal and x-dna into a single file?  Elliott asked for a vote.  People said yes.

Are you using Geno 2.0 for new population finder?  The data is private for National Geographic.  FTDNA does not get any of the survey data back from Nat Geo.  They couldn’t use the data even if they could.

Remove the term steps and go back to genetic distance?  If people have been confused, they will change it.  Rudy can work on it.

What is the launch date for the x-matching?  Bennett whispered to Elliott.  They decided January 1.  Elliott won’t work Jan 1 so Jan 2.  Bennett says December 31.

As my gedcom changes should I update with you?  Does a new one update the old one?  Yes, if you want your matches to be able to have that data.

Several early testers of Y show M269.  Are they being re-run with the new SNPs from Geno 2.0?  Not, most of them were predicted as M269 so they’d show up as reds.

Some third party sites use kit numbers to identify data.  How safe is that?  Not very.

If someone knows my kit number can they figure out my identity?  Maybe.  If you happen to be in a surname project that lists kit numbers with names instead of kit numbers with oldest known ancestors, they could.  This should be a note that the privacy subject is not going away.  We need to keep this as an enjoyable, fun hobby without a lot of impact when you have database miners sleuthing.  They are not doing us or FTDNA any good.  There might be rules or suggestions that make things more difficult but they will allow a situation where your members have more privacy.

How many new populations do you have and do you have any idea where they are?  Elliott does know where they are!  In Europe there are over 50 populations.  It is quite extensive.

If Geno 2.0 updates an mtDNA haplogroup over what has been done on FTDNA can we have an override?  Not for matching purposes but yes for display.

Are there plans for an ipad app?  Bennett will bring that to the engineering guys for discussion.

How many gedcoms are in the system?  No idea but since the coupon has been offered, many thousands have been uploaded.  They expect to continue to make the coupon offer.

Can we have more time on the admin before it times out?  <HUGE APPLAUSE>  The answer can’t be heck no!

My family group is used to looking by results by participants name and not group number.  FTDNA charts don’t allow admins to choose by name.  Can this be added back as a choice?  This is a damned if you do or damned if you don’t situation.  Bennett will send it to focus group but he will vote no.

Is autosomal DNA from the Geno 2.0 usable for matching?  No, even if you transfer it over there are not enough SNPs.  The overlap is about 50,000 out of the 700,000 they use.  The overlap is not enough.

Will the new population finder be able to break down results into African subgroups?  There will be a minimum of 3 different subgroups in Africa.

A cousin does not want to test.  What can I do?  That’s a real issue that comes down to trust.  If you can’t build trust, they are not likely to test if they come with preconceived notions.  Sometimes you can agree to pay.  Sometimes you can put them in the project under a pseudonym.  Demonstrate to them that you have the ability to keep them private in the system.

Can we have the option to generation phased files?  There are many goals and features that they want to add to Family Finder.  This one is on the table.  There have been meetings on Friday, meetings during the conference, and meetings on Monday with some people who have raised issues.  They are listening now that they have commited to an engineering team of any size it takes to get it done.  Many of the items that weren’t high on the radar have been substantially elevated.  BY the first and second quarter of next year new things should start to roll out.

About Y-SNP prediction, can there be more of a balancing act between accuracy and precision?  In many cases For example, the R1b1a prediction for M269 is virtually accurate but terribly imprecise. Can we do something?  They’ve talked about it and one of the things they’ve discussed is going to further levels for prediction using more SNPs.  When you have a 37 marker kit it starts to break down much easier.  They will continue to work on that and with Geno 2.0 it brings in a ton of data and samples with even 25 or 37 markers they will have enough data to do that.

What is the timing on the new Population Finder?  It’s going to be whenever they’re comfortable with the results.  Most of the display and the new look is done and the features are done.  They’re working to separate certain regisions such as Russia and Poland.  France looks like everyone in Europe.  When they are comfortable with those things and have something revolutionary, they will launch it at that point.

Bennett welcomed everyone back after lunch.  He gave an update on Bill Hurst.  They removed all of his tubes and he’s moving to a place in Mt. Vernon.  Bennett said that Haplogroup K people will be taking care of him.


Dr. Connie Bormans runs the day to day operations of the lab.  She ensures that all tests get processed in a timely fashion and meets deadlines with accurate data.  She also gets the questions from the CSRs.  They have a lot of contact, although indirect.

In the last months, there have been several laboratory updates.  There are new procedures for handling customer requests for new Y SNPs.  They are now a regulated lab.  Over the past four years, they have gotten several accreditations.  They have improved communications between lab/customer service/IT to improve results delivery.

They have been working for the past month or two on a new SNP request pipeline.  They now have a simple method for submitting requests.  You enter the request information online and the request will be forwarded to the lab for evaluation, as Elliott said earlier.  The lab will look at the frequency of the SNP and then design and validate an assay.  They will add it to the automated lab pipeline and activate the new product for orders.  This will be handled on a first come, first served basis.

When you complete the SNP request form, they ask that you fill out all of the fields so that they don’t have to go looking for missing information.  You are probably the ones who know this information best.  They would like the approximate haplogroup so that when it’s working they can look at how many people are in the haplogroup.  If it’s something that will benefit many, they will offer it.  For smaller haplogroups, they will be fair.  If there’s a SNP that has potential impact for a haplogroup of a couple hundred and 50% might test positive, they will definitely take that into account.  It’s not possible to make everyone happy but in the lab, on the robot assays, there is limited real estate.  There is room for approximately 2,000 SNPs on the deck and that’s all they can do at once.  As they approach that number they have to stop and think about how important those SNPs are.  If they offer one, it could mean not offering another and they will try to balance it as best they can.  If you have any suggestions, let them know why.  The request form offers you this chance to explain.  They also would like to know where the SNP was discovered and also who submitted it.  There are many recently added SNPs and SNPs in Progress.  Connie would like to add SNPs on batches every week.

As the director, accreditations are very important to her.  Accreditation of the lab by an independent agency means that you meet the standards in the very large booklet.  You have to have many binders of Standard Operating Procedures.  Once you have all of the standards met, they will come in for an audit.  The auditor is generally someone who has a very strong background in what you’re doing.  They look at all of your procedures and policies and decide if you meet their standards.  The agencies that they deal with are CLIA, CAP, AABB, and NYSDOH.  An inspection is required every two years.  The College of American Pathologists is the gold standard for labs.

Erica was hired to handle regulatory affairs.  They submitted their application, had their audit, and the inspector came.  They were told that it would be two days but by lunch, he told Connie that he would not need to come back the next day.  Typically the first audit is very hard but they did a great job.  It was a really big milestone for them.  They had only 8 minor infractions so they just needed to say what they would do to correct them and within the next 2-3 weeks they should receive their certificate.  Then they will be able to get started right away on new things.

Between the accreditations, they usually have an inspection every year.  This ensures very high quality.  Accreditation requires strict protocols to ensure that there is no variation between runs, technicians, or samples.  Methods used in the lab are validated as meeting the highest laboratory standards.  This reduces error and increases accuracy.

Why is this important?  Genetic genealogy is not regulated yet, but the lines between ancestry and “medical” testing are becoming blurred.  The FDA has decided to start looking at all of these tests and deciding whether they want to regulate.  FTDNA wants to be in front of the curve.  In case of regulation, they will be ready.

They have worked in the last year to improve communications between the lab, customer support, and engineering/IT.  As a small company it is ok to have informal communication but as you grow, there need to be more formal lines of communication.  FTDNA found some gaps so they are trying to develop methods so that nothing falls between the cracks.  There is a new interface for handling customer requests for results reviews, sample status, and retests.  There is a direct path between the departments to decrease response time.  Everything can be tracked by multiple people.  It’s a nice, efficient open line of communication that is very structured.

They have also been doing some work communicating with Engineering/IT.  They have improved their software for data analysis.  They have moved to a new software that takes half the time.  If it takes 15 minutes per batch instead of 30, the same technicians can double their output.  They have improved the process for uploading the results for Family Finder, like Elliott said.  They also have better tracking of sample status in the lab.  They know whether they have no DNA, need new DNA, or need repeat testing.  As soon as the DNA is empty, they will pull the vial if they have it.  This will save probably a week in turnaround time, which gets the customers the results earlier.  They have added some layers of oversight so that as soon as they know something didn’t pass, there is someone getting it back into the lab and tracking it.

On the immediate future projects list is an improved method for mtDNA analysis.  They also are looking for improved lab techniques and equipment.  There are always new things that come along.  They are looking at these new methodologies to see if there is a place for them in the lab.  They are looking at one in the lab now and if they can get it to work, they may reintroduce, in some form, the deep clade test.   It’s all about adding to the lab without making something else suffer.


With all the huge discovery of new Y SNPs, how will you test them economically?  They are currently in talks with a company that sells new technology to see if they can use it efficiently to do this.

What trace DNA tests will the lab do?  They get at least 1-2 requests per week.  Janine will let Connie know every time there is a request.  If the demand is high enough, Connie would like to hire someone in the lab to do this full time.  They’d need to hire someone really, really good to do this.  It’s on the radar.

What will change with the improvement of mtDNA analysis?  Nothing, it’s just a different software that will produce a list of mutations faster.

With only space for 2,000 SNPs  and a large number coming up, how will you do that?  They’ll try to use panels and use new technology.

Is the greater frequency of mtDNA in ancient DNA due to bias?  I would say it’s due to copies.

How many shifts per day?  One but people work different hours.

If someone is deceased can we find out how much of our dna we’d be using?  If there was a request they could pull the vial and let you know how much volume is left and how much that test would be using. Contact customer service and they can put in the request.

Is there a formal way to submit a request if you think there is an error?  Yes, if you call customer service they will open a request with the lab.  They will provide the kit number and the lab will go back and look at the data and give an answer.  They can say whether it looks clean or no, there could be something wrong.  There is a process for requesting a retest.

As new SNPs are found with the Big Y test, will any be added automatically?  No

Has there been a revision of L144 vs. L144.1? They are the same SNP but L144.1 means that it’s found in more than one location.

If we recently had a 111 marker upgrade from 67 markers, was the whole thing redone?  No, but they do have check markers in the upper panels to make sure the data is the same.  There are at least 2 markers repeated when you get the Y111 to make sure it matches the first 67 markers.  The initial 67 markers are not re-run.

Will you provide any match lists with the Big Y data?  No, it is a personal discovery project.  The only people you match you should already mark on 37, 67, or 111.  The attempt is to find new subclades on already established groups.  They should be able to start producing frequency maps about where they are found.


Dr. Maurice Gleeson gave a review of the Back to Our Past conference and Genetic Genealogy Ireland  2013 in Dublin.  This was the first time that FTDNA had a presence with the Irish public and it was a great success.  Derrell Oakley Teat, Maurice Gleeson Jr. Maurice Gleeson Sr., Katherine Borges, and Cynthia Wells went to the Dublin event.  Derrell organized the trip and all of the free tests, coordinated the stand, shipped all of the materials.  Maurice organized the speaker and youtube channel.  Maurice’s dad took delivery until every arrived and entertained them.  Katherine and Cynthia provided support with press releases and worked the whole entire time on the stand.  A big thank you to Bennett, Max, Janine, Nir, and Rudy of Family Tree DNA.

Back to Our Past was held at the Royal Dublin Society, which is a Georgian Building established in 1751.  It’s been running for about three years but it’s never had a DNA testing company offer testing directly to the Irish public.  This is a first.  They had a stand that was positioned very close to the speaker area.  This was very useful because as people emerged from the lectures, the first thing they saw was the stand.  If people had questions, they could be directed upstairs to the lectures.  If people had trouble decided, they were directed to the lectures.  The lectures really drove people to take the test.

As far as preparation, the stand and speaker area was organized in June.  The speakers were organized in July, and the publicity and advertising strategy took place August – October.  A website was developed using Google blogger.  It was very very easy and produced a professional looking website.  They posted regularly using a drip-feed approach.  The speakers were gradually announced.  The lecture schedule was finalized, resource pages were added, free DNA tests were announced and the number grew over time, prize draws were held for four tests sponsored by Ireland Y-DNA & mtDNA projects, press releases were done, and they had a DNA testing survey  to find out what kind of tests the Irish public wanted and a feature article was written.


In addition, they started to post to Facebook about 8 weeks before the event.  To access the Irish public, they put regular posts on each of the county genealogical Facebook groups.  This was a good way to reach local genealogists who might be interested in testing.  They also posted on mailing lists, did a mailshot to all professional genealogists in Ireland, and did four press releases.  Maurice also went onto Irish radio five days before the event.

How successful was it?

There have been more than 17,000 page views.  The peak views were the day before the event itself.  They are still getting 150-200 hits per day.  About 40% of hits are from the US, 26% from Ireland, and 17% UK.  Proportionally based on population, this suggests that they are reaching their target audience.

Six sponsored tests were sold.  Doolan, Hudson, Knowles, Taylor, and Waston.  They used 99 kits in total  They sold 25 on Day 1, 28 on Day 2, 42 on Day 3, and 4 after the event.

The average attendance at lectures was 40-60.  The room maximum capacity was 75.  Some people stayed for the whole day.  Professor Dan Bradley was a big draw.  It was also noteworthy how many Americans were in the audience.  They had incorporated it into their vacation schedule.  One man came from Atlanta just to hear the lecture on the McCarthy project.

Maurice used screenrecorder pro but you can use cam studio to record the screen.  14 presentations were recorded in this way.  They’ve had 2,005 page views since they uploaded the files.

There was an extreme amount of goodwill about the conference.  There was a lot of encouragement from the general public.

There were 113 tests ordered for the 99 kits.  Most were Y 37 or Family Finder.  Of the Family Finder, 220 were male and 36 were female.


Brad Larkin introduced the Surname DNA Journal.  Surname DNA Journal is a peer-reviewed genetic genealogy journal that can be found at www.surnamedna.com.  Citizen scientists and project leaders can publish.  This was conceived at the Fall 2012 FTDNA Conference in Houston.  The first article was received January 6, 2013.  The journal was established to provide a peer-review publication process in the field of genetic genealogy.  They have a commitment to rapid action using information technology to automate the workflow of peer-review.

Some 2013 highlights include Y-DNA of the British Monarchy, Using Y Chromosome DNA Testing to Pinpoint a Genetic Homeland to Ireland, and others.  Some suggested parpers include DNA Sample Collection from Ancestral Geographies to trace Dispersal patterns, DNA Sampling of Famous Families, Solving Historical mysteries through the use of genetic genealogy research, and new analytical technicques in genetic genealogy.  Submit material to editor@surnamedna.com.

For authors, there are no fees and it’s open access for readers.  You retain your copyright.  Papers are published on completion of reviews.  There is prompt review and publication and no delay because of others’ work.  There is no formatting necessary because it’s done by a platform.

What is peer reviewed?  There is critical review prior to publication by persons with scientific interest in the field of genetic genealogy.  This depends on shared data, independent verification, and based on evidence instead of argument.  The reviewer should have a keen eye and an encouraging tone.

The reviewers depend on the topic of the paper.  Reviews are typically solicited from persons with knowledge and study of one or more pertinent aspects of the paper.  After the reviewers read it and send you back feedback, you can respond to the reviewers.  Once you’ve incorporated or considered the reviews, then it will be published.  They have customized automated reviews and peer correspondence for WordPress publishing.  There is a responsive layout that can be read on iphone, ipad mini, ipad, and pc/mac.  It will be zoomable.








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