Review – DNA Painter

Tech Tuesday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Last fall, Blaine Bettinger mentioned in his Facebook group, “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” an introduction video was available on YouTube for DNA Painter. I respect Blaine’s opinions, so I knew that I wanted to give it a try. It took a while for me to get to it and I’m glad I finally did. Wow, great program.

DNA Painter helps you understand exactly where your DNA came from. With it you can determine if a segment of your DNA you have may have come from your great grandmother on your maternal grandmother’s side or from another ancestor.  You can paint with common DNA information from GEDMatch, Family Finder (Family Tree DNA), or 23&Me. Sadly, Ancestry doesn’t provide DNA segment matching data, so it can’t be used. However, the raw data from Ancestry may be exported by the DNA owner and then imported into GEDMatch or Family Finder where you may export the data for use in DNA Painter.


The DNA Painter video was great. I only needed to watch it once and I was confident I understood the tool enough to use it for DNA painting. I was right; the tool is very easy to use.

I am fortunate because I have had my mother tested and I have her results. So, if my mother has a DNA Segment and I have it, I know it came from her. All the other DNA that I received from my biological father, who passed away before autosomal DNA testing became available.

I began doing the DNA painting, copying the data about matching segments of DNA from various cousins. When I looked at the matches from my half-aunt and myself, I could see exactly which DNA segments came from my maternal grandfather (and his ancestors). I compared with a known third cousin and saw which DNA came from our common second great-grandparents.

Image of Note: Chromosome 3 has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Image of Chromosome 3 has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and a one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.

I could see where bits of DNA came from.  In another example, I received a nice 141cM chunk of DNA from my father on Chromosome 3. Based upon other DNA matches, of that fragment of DNA a 21cM piece of it and another 17cM piece of was inherited from Asa Roberts. He also had a sizeable 47cM chunk of DNA inherited from another ancestor that apparently was not Asa. I don’t know who it was yet, but additional samples should show its source. It was fun to do, but I couldn’t see a substantial genealogical reason for doing it. How could I use this tool?

Image of DNA Painter - AHW match on C13
DNA Painter shows three DNA segments match on C. 13 for Glennis.

Then, I thought about my half-sister Glennis, so I started a new profile and began painting her DNA. We share a common mother, so, once again, I was able to copy that information into her profile and have all of her maternal DNA. Then, I could focus entirely on her unknown paternal side.  I began finding any of her biological cousins that do not contain our mom’s DNA. That is when I started to see a pattern.  There were segments that were shared by a common ancestor of multiple individuals. That proved, to me, that these segments were from a common ancestor. Their trees indicated that they shared a known ancestor, so I know that Glennis shares either the same common ancestor or an ancestor of that individual. Furthermore, if the individual is more genetically distant than a second cousin, I know that the descendants below the person’s second great-grandparent cannot be a direct line. That can save me considerable research disproving a potential family line.

DNA Painter is a great tool that can help identify likely genetic ancestors and help identify unlikely descendant lines. I like it.

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DISCLAIMER
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We’re Related – My Possible Relatives – Stephen King, Walt Disney, Britney Spears

Review by Don Taylor
Famous Friday

Certainly, one of the fun, new apps from Ancestry is their app, “We’re Related.”  I’ve seen several genealogy friends talk about the app and thought I’d see who I’m related to. Randy Seaver, in his blog Genea-Musings, speaks about his connections in the sense of likely, possible, and unlikely. I thought it might be fun to see who I’m related to that I don’t know about.  I also thought it might, just might provide some areas of new research. Setup was easy. Download the app from the app store, connect the app to your Ancestry.Com account.  Select a tree to use and select yourself from within that tree. Easy-peasy. Next, just look at the possible relationships. Select one and see a tree indicating the relationship. Here I go with some of my results.

Stephen King

The first match I looked at was with Stephen King.

Oh well.  Not a likely match at all. We’re Related’s  path to 7th cousin, once removed Stephen King went through my mother, her mother Madonna Montran, and her father, Max Fisher.  Oops.  Max Fisher was her step-father, not her biological father.  Not even worth further research.  I understand that Ancestry wants to provide all the famous matches that it can, but a fourth cousin of my grandmother’s step-father isn’t a relationship I have an interest spending any research time investigating or confirming. It might be that someone else has a tree that doesn’t define Max as a step-father. So, I’ve hidden this unlikely relationship.

Walt Disney

Next came Walt Disney, a 10th cousin 2x removed.

Walt Disney - 8th CousinA quick look at the ancestral path matched my Roberts Line.

  • Hugh Eugene Roberts
  • Essie Pansy Barnes
  • Joel Clinton Barns
  • Mercy Eliza Taft

Then Joel Cruff Taft and six other ancestors I am not familiar with. Ancestry’s adding seven ancestors to my tree to get to a common ancestor with Walt Disney is disconcerting, but entertaining.  It does provide areas for further research and will pursue it as a part of my standard ancestor research. I’d call my relationship with Walt Disney as a possible Relationship.

Britney Spears

The third famous individual I matched was 8th cousin, 1x removed, Britney Spears.

This line followed my mother, her father, Richard Earl Brown, his mother, Mary Elizabeth Mannin[i], and her mother “Sarah J. Garvin.”  Who?  My research indicates that Mary Elizabeth Manning’s mother was Eliza Jane Fannin.  I never heard of Sarah J. Gavin. So, I’m probably not related to Britney Spears. But the suggestion by “We’re Related” does give me pause to double check my sources for Mary Manning’s mother, but I’m pretty confident this is an unlikely relationship.

Randy Seavers

Based on my Facebook friends, “We’re Related” suggests that I’m related to several friends.  Most interesting is possible 9th cousin Randy Seaver. Yes, the same Randy Seaver whose blog, Genea-Musings, I follow and recommend. Following my tree up towards our shared ancestor, I see, my mother, her father, Richard Earl Brown, his father Arthur Durwood Brown, and his father, Henry Mack Brown.  Oops.  I’ve run into this relationship in several other trees and have investigated it.  I am confident that William Henry Brown was Arthur Durwood Brown’s father and not Henry Mack Brown. I wrote about that relationship in, “W. Henry Brown (1843-c.1895). So, I believe this is an unlikely relationship, and certainly not through Henry Mack Brown.

Conclusion

Famous Person Relationship Comments
Walt Disney Possible Research Ancestors of Mercy Eliza Taft
Stephen King Unlikely Not through Max Fisher
Randy Seaver Unlikely Not through Henry Mack Brown
Britney Spears Unlikely Not through Sarah J. Gavin

“We’re Related” is fun to look at the possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and has the potential of providing clues into further research.  It will be interesting to see what it shows when I look at my wife’s family tree using this app.  I know of her relation with a couple of famous Swayze individuals. Will the app show those relationships? We will see….


Endnotes:

[i] Mannin and Manning are used interchangeably.  I tend to use whichever one that is used in the source that the information comes from.

Family Tree Maker for Mac 3.1

I’m returning to Family Tree Maker for Mac.

Tech Tuesday

In December 2015, I ranted about how unhappy I was that Family Tree Maker was being dropped by Ancestry as a product. I did consider staying with Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac; however, I kept having problems the synchronization of my tree with Ancestry was corrupting my database. So, I decided to search for alternative products.  I wished that Legacy Family Tree had a Mac version and I wanted Roots Magick 7 to have a real Mac product and not a runtime windows version.  Besides the weird file locations (C: and F: drives), I never could get the fonts correct and details displayed in inconsistent ways. I tried several other products, Mac Family Tree, Reunion, and Heredis.  I settled on Heredis and have used it for the past year but I’ve been having problems with it.  When I zoom into some of my sources, the system crashes, sends a crash report to Apple (who is supposed to send it on to Heredis) and then allows me to restart.  It seems that details that I cut and pasted from a website, which has several different fonts and hyperlinks seem to be the culprits. I finally decided to drop Heredis because of this and use something else for my 2017 research. I decided on using Roots Magic 7, exported my two large research files from Heredis to GED format, importing them into Roots Magic, then began working with them.

Then I received the notification that Family Tree Maker has been re-released by MacKiev.  The upgrade from FTM 14 for windows and FTM 3 for Mac was free.  I decided to upgrade and give it a try. I exported my two Roots Magic files to GED format then imported them into FTM.

Wow within a seven-point starWow.  I was immediately reminded of how much I liked Family Tree Maker Mac 3 when I reviewed it in December 2013. I began working on one of my projects, Project Drexl, and saw how nice it was to work with.  Clearly designed for Mac, all the features worked. There were many features that Heredis didn’t have that I was really happy to have back, such as a calendar function. (For example, a calendar of all my ancestors who had birthdays in January.) Also, and probably the biggest thing, was that there are templates for sources that follows Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained.  Linking sources to facts is easy. I liked navigation through family members a bit better with Heredis, but the FTM method is fine.

I haven’t tried to upload and sync my FTM files with Ancestry, yet; and I am not certain that I will do so.  I may just upload what I have with FTM and then break the link. In any event, I’m hoping that Ancestry’s on-line tree isn’t the master of all.

So far, I’m very happy that Family Tree Maker is back and I am looking forward to using it over the next year or so. I think they may have gotten me back.

My Best of 2016 & Expectations for 2017

Happy New Year - 2017

Happy New Year – 2017

My Best of 2016

I changed my blogging platform during 2016. Switching from Blogger to WordPress was a challenge and switching from blog.dtaylorgenealogy.com to www.dontaylorgenealogy.com was even worse.  My former domain, dtaylorgenealogy.com was supposed to redirect to the new domain, but it never worked reliably.  I don’t know why. Eventually, I just let the old domain lapse. Anyway, because of the changes, statistics are not available in one place but rather are spread between the two like apple butter and orange marmalade. Both are good on toast but don’t go together at all.

WordPress

As I mentioned, in September I switched to WordPress from Blogger. It has taken much longer to rebuild my direct following then I expected. I still have more “followers” via Blogger than I do via WordPress. As I am no longer posting to the Blogger site, anyone subscribing to via Blogger should subscribe using WordPress using the widget Right Column – Top instead. Actually, if you want to follow my genealogy blog, that is the best place to do so.  Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter are nearly as reliable to follow with.

Looking at the site statistics on the WordPress site, interestingly, the number one posting in views is a 2013 article regarding the McAllister Murder – Murder Suspect and Wife – Jan 20th. [Darling Research]

My number 1 article from 2016 is an April article posted on the Blogger site and moved to the WordPress site regarding the MGS Spring Workshop. [Reviews]

Finally, the number one posting since I made the switch to WordPress is about the Birth Record of Patience A. Roberts. [Roberts Research]

Google Search is, by far, the most common referrer to my site. FaceBook is a distant second.

Blogger

The review of Family Tree Maker Mac 3 that I did in 2013 is still, by far, my most read posting on Blogger. [Reviews]

My most viewed family history posting on Blogger was an article about my William Price (1782-1846). [Howell Research]

Finally, my most read Blogger post, and my most read posting of 2016 was Compulsive Searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949).  That is an article about my excitement regarding researching my grandfather, show name I only determined a few weeks before.[Roberts Research]

Again, Google was the most common referrer to my site, and Facebook a second. Ow.ly was the third most common referrer. I post links to my site to Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter using HootSuite which uses ow.ly as the URL to shorten the link.

I think the most interesting posting I have done during the past year are was Compulsive Searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949). [Roberts Research]

2017 – The Future

Certainly, my five major research lines will take the majority of my effort.  These are my ancestors on the Brown and Roberts lines and my wife ancestral lines of Darling and Howell.  Also, the vaudeville career of my grandmother, Donna Montran, will be a major thread in my activities.  I’ll probably drop activity regarding the “Great War” as a major category and move it under “Other.”

My volunteer work at the Scarborough Historical Society has been growing.  I’ve developed a website for them and expect that I’ll post quite a lot there. Check it out at scarboroughhistoricalsociety.org.  I suspect that much of my work that I post there I will cross post here. So, look for SHS as a new major topic on my Blog.

I am also involved with the Maine Genealogical Society and the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society. I anticipate that I will be posting content regarding them, their activities, and my participation in those activities.

I have several projects that I am working on. I expect to continue working on many of them and posting about them.  I may break active projects out of “Other” into its own category.

DNA – Genetic Genealogy is a really important part of my research. It has provided clues to determining my biological father. It has also provided the starting point for connections to cousins I might otherwise have never gotten to know. I also have a significant project to learn the biological father of my half-sister Glennis.  I think I am zeroing in on potential candidates. This is a very exciting project for both Glennis and me.  Also, I am a regular participant with the Maine Genealogical DNA Interest Group and maintain a website for them at mainegenealogicaldig.wordpress.com.

Finally, I still have my food and travel blog, D. Taylor’s Food and Travel. I don’t spend a lot of energy on it, but you might find it interesting.

My blogs are:

Blogs I maintain for others:


Please let me know what you would like me to focus upon on my blog posting activities.  Are there specific areas you would like me to focus upon?  If so, please let me know.  Are there any of my posts that you found to be particularly interesting? Please use the comments form below. If you do not want your comments made public, please add “Please do not publish” to the first line of text in your message.

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Why I’ll never do business with MyHeritage again.

It is seldom that a company angers me enough that I say, “I’ll NEVER, NEVER EVER, do business with that company again.” MyHeritage has successfully achieved that status with me.

I was enticed to use MyHeritage when 23 and Me eliminated their own ancestry trees and transferred them to MyHeritage. My tree was transferred to MyHeritage and I eventually subscribed to them because of 23 and Me’s endorsement. I didn’t find their service particularly useful and decided to drop them.

Rant On

First of all, it seems that every responsible company I do business with sends a notification a week or two before an automatic renewal takes effect. On rare occasions, when a company doesn’t send such a notification, I have always been able to call them the following business day, have the automatic renewal canceled, and have the money refunded. Not so with MyHeritage.

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-6-48-17-am-copyA few months ago I had gone onto Pay Pal and canceled my automatic renewal. I thought that I was done. But when I was charged, I checked Pay Pal and found there were two entries for MyHeritage.  The first one I had canceled. But there was a second entry.  It had an expiration date of Dec 13, 1901.  I had no idea that I had to cancel that too.  I thought, no problem, I’ll just call them, they’ll refund the money, and we’ll be square – No harm, no foul.

I was wrong. I explained I hadn’t used the service in months. I explained that I canceled one service. I explained that I didn’t realize I need to cancel a service that had an expiration date of 1901, to no avail.  After talking at length with a “customer service representative” the bottom line was, “We typically don’t refund renewal fees.” Finally, I asked to speak with a supervisor.

I waited several minutes. Finally, the same customer service representative came back. I couldn’t speak with his supervisor, but his supervisor said I could have half my money back and he’d allow the annual subscription to remain active for the year. Certainly, I felt disrespected by the supervisor who wouldn’t even speak with me. An unhappy customer with a problem deserves being spoken to; that is why supervisors usually have the flexibility to go outside standard protocols.

MyHeritage renewal canceled
Both entries now canceled

The good news is that I did receive half of my money back ($59.40). The bad news is that I paid half-price for a subscription that don’t want and I’ll never, never ever, use.

I believe Pay Pal is also culpable. Further investigation revealed that MyHeritage’s automatic subscriptions do expire in 80 years.  Had Pay Pal displayed an expiration date of Dec 13, 2095, instead of Dec 13, 1901, I would not have missed that I needed to cancel that also,

There are only a handful of companies that I’ll never do business with. Congratulations to MyHeritage, you have made my list.

Rant Off

Could MyHeritage come off my list? Sure; but, they would need to take the next step in making this former customer happy.  Have you had problems with MyHeritage and their renewal process?  If so, feel free to comment below. I’ll publish some of the better comments.