Sunday, June 25, 2017

WikiTree for Genetic Genealogy, Part 2

Over on WikiTree, I shared a link to Part 1 of this series and asked for feedback. One bit of feedback I received (Thanks, Kay!) was a reminder that there are some links in the DNA Connections section that I didn't cover.

In my previous post, I showed you how, once someone has included test information on their profile, that test information is also listed on the profiles of everyone with whom they might share a genetic connection. Depending on whether the profile is for the person who was tested, or was for someone connected to them, that section will be titled DNA Tested or DNA Connections, but the information found in that section is the same.

Figure 1: DNA Tested section on My Profile on WikiTree
I'd like to give you a closer look at the information and links in the DNA Tested or DNA Connections section, but before I do that, I need to point out that, so far, all my examples have focused on autosomal testing results. The reason for that is that I have only taken an autosomal test.

How Dna Results Are Listed on Profiles

Let's take a quick glance at what you'll see about DNA on profiles with different types of DNA testing.

If someone has had no DNA testing (or at least, no testing supported by WikiTree) and no one with whom they are likely to share DNA has had such a test, their profile will say so:

Figure 2: DNA — No Tests
Someone who has had yDNA, mtDNA, and autosomal tests, or who shares DNA with relatives who have had these tests will have all of these listed:

Figure 3: DNA — All DNA Test Types

WikiTree uses a set of symbols to help distinguish the type of test noted on a profile.
  • For yDNA, also written as Y-DNA, the symbol is: 
  • For mitochondrial DNA, also written as mtDNA, the symbol is:
  • For autosomal DNA, also written as atDNA or auDNA, the symbol is:

Understanding Links in the DNA Section

The links in the DNA Tested or DNA Connections section on a profile may be to a profile or function within WikiTree, or may take you outside of WikiTree.

Figure 4: Links in DNA Connections
  1. To open the profile of the test taker, just click their underlined name.
    Note: Some test taker's prefer to keep their profiles anonymous. See the section on anonymous profiles.
  2. To see the relationship between the person whose profile you are on and the test taker named in the DNA Connections list, click the double arrows: 
  3. To go to the Family Tree DNA website (FTDNA), click the Family Tree DNA link.
  4. To see the tests and a link of all people who might share the test taker's DNA, click the test details link. (See Figure 5, which shows my dad's results.)

    Note: The test details link is only available to those logged in to WikiTree.

Figure 5: Family Tree DNA Family Finder Test Details & Connections
The Test Details & Connections page will be covered in greater detail in a later post.

Anonymous Profiles

WikiTree offers it's members various levels of privacy for themselves and the profiles they manage. Some members choose to keep specific profiles, especially those for living people, private, while others will choose to have a public biography, a public family tree, or both. (For a more complete description of WikiTree's privacy rules, see Help: Privacy and Help: Living People.)

You will, as you are exploring your DNA connections on WikiTree, almost certainly encounter folks who have profiles on WikiTree and have entered their DNA tests, but who keep their profiles or family trees private. If that's the case, you may see a message telling you that the results are privacy protected:

Figure 6: Test Details & Connections Privacy Protected
When this happens, you can contact the profile manager to introduce yourself and open a discussion about your connection. Often, a profile manager will agree to make their family tree public, even if they prefer to keep their profile private.

You can find the profile manager in the yellow and green box beneath the vitals section.

I hope this helps you get started in understanding how to use WikiTree to enhance your genetic genealogy. Any thoughts on what you'd like to see for Part 3 will be welcome.

ETA: Added Figure 6, along with intro text. Sorry it wasn't available in the first draft, but I was having a hard time finding anyone with  privacy protected DNA test details and connections. That's a good thing!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

WikiTree for Genetic Genealogy, Part 1

I've been a WikiTree member since May 2013. During that time, the collaborative genealogy website has grown immensely. I'm not sure how many people were involved when I first joined, but today there are 433,449 genealogists managing 14,443,459 profiles for ancestors around the world.

Almost everyone involved with WikiTree is a volunteer. The site is free and promises to stay that way. Although the display and entry features could be considered a bit bare bones, it offers tremendous flexibility and the site is in the process of becoming a true genealogy powerhouse.

The WikiTree Honor Code asks that genealogists using the site follow a set of principles that honor: collaboration, accuracy (list your sources!), privacy, and respect for others. We constantly remind each other of the need for sources and accuracy. This emphasis on accuracy, supported by sources, will, we hope, make WikiTree the most accurate single-family tree available.

One way in which WikiTree is doing this is by offering a very different set of tools for folks who are using DNA to enhance their genealogy efforts. If you've gotten DNA tested, then you know that once your test results are complete, you get a list of matches and some numbers showing the approximate distance of your connection, but it can be really hard to figure out the exact links in that connection.

This is where WikiTree can be really useful. Adding your test IDs to your profile on WikiTree, and creating profiles for your ancestors and other relatives, can help you to discover distant cousins and to determine your MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor).

Before I go any further, I think I should mention that WikiTree does not do any genetic testing, nor do they post or share your test results. They come at this from the opposite direction. Who are your ancestors and which are likely to have contributed to your DNA?

The WikiTree method is an unusual and complementary approach to genetic genealogy, unlike the approach found on genetic genealogy testing sites. When someone enters their test IDs, WikiTree connects those tests to the profiles of other relatives who are in their direct line. This can be a big help in identifying the path between you and your family members. Here are the tests shown on my WikiTree profile, now.

Figure 1: DNA Connections for Pamela Lloyd
I've been able to confirm my connection to all of the people listed here. I did this through a combination of genetic genealogy, comparing my tests to theirs, and by traditional genealogy, discovering the paper trail (albeit through the use of online records, by and large). I also added the genetic test results to each of the profiles on WikiTree, recording my findings in support of our connections.

For example, my connection to my second cousin, Judy Stafford is noted in the source lists of our profiles and the profiles of our family member as shown below:

Figure 2: Connections Linking Judy and Me
What does all of this do for me?

Well, besides helping me to confirm my relationships, it also means that people who share any of my ancestors as relatives will be able to learn about their connection to me, and I to them. Connecting to cousins is a big goal for me, and I hope it is for you, too!

Right now, I know of 125 descendents of Alpheus and Ella, but they had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood, and I haven't traced all those lines down to find all of my possible living relatives.

Now, consider that Alpheus and Ella are just two of my eight great grandparents, and that this process works for more distant relatives, as well.

Also, so far, I've only been working with autosomal DNA. One of my known relatives has had his Y-DNA tested, and I plan on upgrading my dad's DNA test to a Y-DNA test in the near future. I know that one of my paternal first cousins recently tested, so his results will contribute to the findings, as well. Since Y-DNA is useful much farther back than autosomal DNA, this means the potential pool of relatives will grow very quickly, and the likelihood of finding them on WikiTree will go up, too.

Let's look at Figure 1, again. Tests I entered on my profile connect to Judy, me, my father, and a first cousin once removed. In this case, we all knew about each other before we put the information up on WikiTree (although it was through our online genealogy that I connected with Judy and John, or perhaps I should say that Judy connected herself and John with me), but if someone I don't know about who is in my direct line tests and shares that information, their name and information about where they tested will show up, making it easier for me to connect with them.

Also, those tests populate to all of my direct line ancestors. Here's what's shown on my paternal grandfather's page.

Figure 3: DNA Connections for Elmer Bruce Lloyd
Notice that the list of connections here is different. My dad and I are still shown, but Judy and John aren't listed, because my connection to them is through my mother. More importantly, there's someone new, PJ. PJ and I are fourth cousins. PJ and I also "met" through our respective research, although I'm not sure now whether it was through WikiTree or Ancestry, because we are both active at both sites.

WikiTree makes it easy to see our exact relationship and to discover our MCRA. All I need to do is click the link to her profile and select Relationship to Me from the drop-down menus:

Figure 4: WikiTree Relationship Found Page for PJ and Pamela
I've covered a lot about how WikiTree can help expand your understanding of your genetic genealogy in this post. There's lots more, and I'm still learning about this, so I plan on discussing more of WikiTree's tools for DNA in future posts. I hope you've enjoyed this post and will join me for those future posts, as well.