What if you could find an automated program that would help you…
– Look through your DNA matches trees to find shared ancestors
– Identify triangulated groups, and
– See DNA segments that you share in common with your matches
Would you be interested?
DNA Gedcom tools can do all of that! Rob Warthen, who founded DNAGedcom in 2013, was looking for a faster, better, more understandable way to interpret DNA test results. He and a team of super-smart generous volunteers created the tools in DNAGedcom that can help all of us work with our DNA results and find answers to our family history questions and mysteries faster.
Most Recent Common Ancestors
One of the key goals in using DNA in our family history research is to find ancestors that we share with people in our DNA match list(s). We are working with people living today (or who have recently passed away) who have tested their DNA. We use our relationships with them to learn the identities of our common ancestors.
We try to identify the most recent common ancestor(s) (MRCA) that connect us to a specific DNA match. The term “most recent” is used because we may have more than one ancestral line that shares grandparents. We are looking for the common ancestors that lived closest in time to today. The simple diagram above illustrates how I connect to my 1st cousin, Kelly. Our fathers are brothers, which makes our common ancestors our paternal grandparents. This concept can be applied to more distant cousins, with multiple generations between, say, two 3rd cousins that share 4th great-grandparents.
DNAGedcom.com can help you sort through your DNA matches, the online family trees attached to your DNA matches, and the DNA segment data that you share with your matches. The tools can help you more thoroughly examine your DNA data, and help you identify your common ancestors. Your valuable time can be used more efficiently, and you can connect faster with living cousins who may help you learn more about previously unknown ancestors.
Something else great about connecting with our cousins are the stories we can share of memorable, meaningful, and funny memories. It is so fun to talk to my cousin Kelly’s family and swap stories that make us roll with laughter!
Why do we need to identify our common ancestors?
– To firmly establish the relationship we share with our DNA match.
– To confirm known relationships
– To establish identities of previously unknown ancestors.
– To identify ancestors needing further research.
Once the MRCA(s) are identified, you can assign the DNA you share with a match to those ancestors, and “paint” that shared DNA in DNAPainter.com. You can label it with the names of the ancestors that passed those DNA segments on to you. As you repeat the process, you create a chromosome map. Information on the chromosome map can be used to discover how other DNA matches are related to you. To learn more about chromosome mapping, read my last post here.
Key steps in using DNA Gedcom:
1. Register with DNAGedcom
2. Subscribe to the DNAGedcom Client. ($5 per month or $50 per year).
3. Retrieve files from FTDNA, 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch
Retrieving the files requires some patience. It may take hours or overnight to extract the data. The good news is that you can still use your computer to do other things while the file retrieval takes place. I also found that I could retrieve files from more than one DNA testing company at once.
4. If you subscribe to Tier 1 in Gedmatch, you can download your DNA segment and “In Common With” information. This can then be used in JWorks and KWorks.
5. Use the Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer (ASDA) to see your DNA segments and those of your DNA matches that overlap. The program looks at which people share DNA in common with (ICW) others. The image generated will help you identify triangulation groups
6. Use JWorks – this is an Excel macro program that you download on your computer that sorts your DNA data, creates a spreadsheet of overlapping segments, and assigns ICW status if DNA segments overlap with others. This program was created by Jay Pizarro.
7. Use KWorks – Kitty Munson Cooper created this online version of JWorks. KWorks also sorts your DNA data, creates a spreadsheet of overlapping segments, and assigns ICW to segments that overlap.
8. Use G Works—this tool compares Gedcom files, that consist basically of a family pedigree. Gedcom stands for Genealogy Data Communication and is a universal program file that can be moved between different types of genealogy software. In the process of comparing the Gedcom files, frequent surnames are identified that can help you in your search for your ancestors.
9. Use the Collins-Leeds Method to cluster your matches into family groups. In my post, 10 Ways to Group Your DNA Matches into Genetic Networks; you can see an example of the beautiful output from this program. Additionally, this fantastic tool helps to cluster the matches from more than one company together in one graph.
This link gives instructions based on AncestryDNA data: https://www.dnagedcom.com/docs/KittyBlogInstructions.pdf
This link gives instructions about how to combine results from all DNA tests you have taken: https://www.dnagedcom.com/JWorks/Combining_results.pdf
To learn more, ask questions, and keep up with the latest information, join the DNAGedcom User Group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNAGedcomUserGroup/
DNAGedcom is also affiliated with DNAAdoption.com, which has fantastic online classes and instructions on how to use your DNA results. I highly recommend the resources that DNAAdoption offers.
Jump in and give DNAGedcom.com a try– you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can identify the ancestors you have in common with your DNA matches!
Other articles in the Research Like a Pro with DNA series:
Step 1 Take a DNA Test: Which DNA Test Should I Take? and DNA-Recommended Testing Strategy
Step 2 Assess: Understanding and Using Your DNA Results – 4 Simple Steps
Step 3 Organize: Seeing the Big Picture: 3 Ways to Chart Your DNA Matches
Step 4 Research Objective: What Do You Want to Know? 3 Steps to Focus Your DNA Research
Step 5 Analyze your Sources: DNA Sources, Information, and Evidence: Sorting it All Out
Step 6 Locality Research: Where in the World Has My DNA Traveled? DNA and Locality Research
Step 7 Research Planning: Genealogy Research Planning with DNA
Methodology and Tools to use as you plan your research:
– Charts for Understanding DNA Inheritance
– Clustering or Creating Genetic Networks
– Pedigree Triangulation
– Chromosome Browsers
– Segment Triangulation
– Chromosome Mapping
– DNA Gedcom – You Are Here
Step 8 Source Citations: DNA Source Citations
Step 9 Research Logs: DNA Research Logs: how to Keep Track of Genetic Genealogy Searches
Step 10 Report Writing: DNA Research Reports – the Ultimate Finish
Step 11 What’s Next? Continue Your Research & Writing, Productivity, and Education