Whew! There has been so much going on in the world of Genetic Genealogy that I have to keep restarting this post! New videos, new books, new tools! We'll get to all that later - I'm going to continue on from the last post about 3rd-party tools.
My last post talked about the Chrome Extension, MedBetterDNA, and how I use it to take notes and color code my matches on Ancestry.com.
This post will list some of the other 3rd-party tools that I've tried, some with success and others, not so much. Usually, the lack of success is not the fault of the tool but rather the end-user!
The first 3rd-party tool that I tried was gedmatch.com. Because most of the tests that I manage are on Ancestry.com which does not have a chromosome browser, I download the raw data from Ancestry.com and upload it to gedmatch.com to use their chromosome browser and other tools. Of course, I obtain informed consent from each test taker first. There are many free tools available there and an additional set of tools if you join Tier 1 for a small monthly fee.
Trying some of the tools on gedmatch.com was, and still is, a very visual way for me to understand how sharing DNA between family members works. There are great tutorials for using gedmatch.com and its new, updated version, Genesis, the best place to start is the Gedmatch wiki. You do need to create a free login.
Some of the other tools that I am currently practicing with include:
DNApainter.com - a tool that lets you take the chromosome match data and create a map of your chromosome based on which grandparent (or great-grandparent or g-g-grandparent) you inherited the DNA from. It can help you identify unknown matches because, if they match you in the area you received your paternal grandfather's DNA, you only need to look at the part of the tree to research the match. Blaine Bettinger has a video on youtube that explains the process.
Visual Phasing - Using Steven Fox's automated spreadsheet, I compare myself and two siblings and attempt to "paint" each chromosome for each sibling and myself, based on which grandparent we inherited our DNA from. It's a "logic puzzle" and you use other distant cousins to determine the match. Information can be found in the very helpful Facebook Visual Phasing Working Group.
One of my favorite tools is found at geneticaffairs.com, a DNA match clustering tool that groups your matches based on how they match each other. The first time I tried this tool, I was very pleasantly surprised to see how my MedBetterDNA notes from Ancestry appeared at the bottom of the report. I was especially happy to see that my notes agreed with the clustering chart from geneticaffairs.com.
Here is a screenshot of the chart (match names redacted). I have marked the family surnames on the report so that I can more easily remember which cluster is from which family group.
|My results from the geneticaffairs.com tool using Ancestry|
Following the chart is a report which gives more information on each match. It was in this report that my MedBetterDNA notes surfaced. The very first part of the report with names redacted is below.
|My geneticaffairs.com report with MedBetterDNA notes in far right column|
Many of these are discussed in the familytreewebinar.com "A Guide to Third Party Tools For DNA Testing" by Michelle Leonard. There is a fee to join the Family Tree Webinar series but it is very reasonable and there are so many excellent videos that it is an outstanding value in my opinion.
My goal is to continue practicing with these tools as well as learn the new tools that were recently released by several testing companies.