Review of the DNA Study Group: Playing With Matches

The following post is from Red Rider, host of the SL DNA Study Group. You can join us for these meetings at 5:30 p.m. SLT (same as Pacific Time), on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month at the Family History Centre in Second Life.



Our last SL Family History Centre DNA discussion focused on working with matches. After initially going through our matches when we get our results it’s necessary to return to our results pages frequently in order to keep up with the continual flow of matches.

I generally review new matches at least once a week. Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA have filters which will list your most recent matches from newest to oldest. You need to click on the drop down menu at 23andMe, then click newest matches. At AncestryDNA there is a new match filter button in the top left portion of the match list page. At Family Tree DNA it’s easiest to just click the date at the top of the match list. This will display newest matches at the beginning of the list. At GEDmatch new matches’ kit numbers are highlighted in green.

After shifting my newest matches to the top of the list I will then take a look at the best matches, those that share the most DNA. I will click on those at AncestryDNA and 23andMe. I will then check for common surnames if a tree, or name list, is available. At Family Tree DNA you need to click the pedigree chart icon, below the match name, to see a full tree. Sometimes surnames are listed on Family Tree DNA’s match list pages. At AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA I will then click shared matches or common matches. This can help narrow the possible relationship if they match someone I’ve already established a relationship with. At 23andMe you will need to compare matches with each other in the chromosome browser, in order to see if they are related to one another.

At Family Tree DNA it’s a good idea to compare your common matches in the chromosome browser to see if you can find triangulations.

I also check for matches who share my surnames by searching my match lists. All of the companies allow you to do this. The companies also provide the ability to create notes for matches. At AncestryDNA you can star interesting matches.

At AncestryDNA I often take a look at hints which will be displayed if you click the hint filter located near the new filter, at the top portion of the match list. You can also access hints from the AncestryDNA home page. You will receive hints for matches who have the same ancestral couple, or ancestor, on their tree. AncestryDNA will than display exactly how you and your match are related. The hints need to be taken with a grain of salt because it’s possible you may share other ancestors besides those on your trees.

Someone at the last discussion reminded me that you can sometimes preview trees at AncestryDNA even if the match list says a match doesn’t have a tree. This is possible because some matches have Ancestry trees but have not attached them to their DNA results.

tree match

I also just noticed that you can download all of your matches’ ancestors’ names. There is a button you can click at the bottom of the name list on your matches’ page. A CSV document will then be download to your computer with all of their names. This may be quicker to review if a match has a large tree.

Our next discussion on April 3rd, at 5:30 SLT (or Pacific time), will explain how segments are used to establish relationships with matches. I’ll also talk about how mapping segments helped me discover a wrong connection I had made with a match.

Notes From the Second DNA Study Group Meeting

The following post is from Red Rider, host of the SL DNA Study Group. You can join us for these meetings at 5:30 p.m. SLT (same as Pacific Time), on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month at the Family History Centre in Second Life.


At the second meeting of our SL DNA discussion group, I went over some DNA jargon. If you want to get the most out of your DNA results, it is important to read about the subject. Joining groups at Facebook such as the ISOGG group, or the DNA Newbie group, is also a great way to learn about the subject.

Reading about new findings in the field, and joining groups, helps us stay on top of changes regarding the evaluation of our results. Genetic genealogy is a new field, and the interpretation of our results is subject to change. Since DNA terms are not always explained, it is helpful to look at some of these terms and definitions before embarking on further study of the subject.

Here are my slides with the terms and definitions we went over on Sunday, March 6:


A new blog post by Roberta Estes, “Concepts – Identical by…Descent, State, Population and Chance,” introduced me to some new terms for defining Autosomal DNA (atDNA) segments. Identical by chance or coincidence, or “IBC,” for one.  This would apply to matching segments not shared by parents, or not inherited through your parents. Identical by population, or “IBP,” would be segments which are common to particular populations, such as ethnic populations. These segments are not considered “identical by descent” because they cannot be attributed to a common ancestor. However, in the case of population segments, “IBP,” they can sometimes be useful if you can link the segment to an ancestor because they are the only possible source of the population segment.

IBP segments lead me to a term I left out Sunday. I forgot to include “pile ups.” This term is used to  refer to these population segments.  A pile up is literally many people sharing a segment in the same location (see illustration below). AncestryDNA removes populations segments using their Timber filter. The other companies do not.


When it comes to the interpretation of results, Autosomal DNA is the most challenging to work with, which is why I included so many terms for this test in my “DNA Jargon” presentation. For instance, we need to know something about the statistics regarding whether a segment is IBD or not. We need to build out our trees as far as we can in order to draw accurate conclusions from our shared segments. We need to collect and map segments. We need to compare trees carefully looking for all possible shared ancestral lines, especially if we are from endogamous populations. These complexities have resulted in the proliferation of terms and acronyms.

Finally, I suggested we might discuss topics being discussed at the Facebook ISOGG group during our SL Sunday chats. Anyone can ask to join this Facebook group. An ongoing topic is how we determine whether autosomal DNA segments are IBD. I suggested reading “Another Triangulation Success, Another Etne Cousin” by Kitty Cooper, as well as the comments below the post at Facebook.

Since not everyone attending the Sunday discussions has tested yet, we will go through the testing process in more depth, and talk about what we can do to get the most out of our results, at the next meeting. See you there! 😀

Questions? Contact Red Rider for more information.

TONIGHT: Methodology Discussion

Genie's Gazebo

Join us tonight at 6:00 p.m. SLT for our monthly Methodology discussion, hosted by the lovely Carolina Belle!

The March reading is “Analyzing Wills for Useful Clues” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, from OnBoard 1 (May 1995): 16. Read the article for free on the BCG website.

NOTE: We will meet tonight at Genie’s Gazebo at Relatively Curious, which is just up the hill from the Fire Pit. If you land at the Fire Pit, head up the stone path to find the gazebo. 🙂

TONIGHT: March SL-APG Meeting

rumsey maps

Be sure to join us for tonight’s Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) monthly meeting!

Genie Weezles will give a brief demonstration on how to use the FamilySearch Indexing Beta that we adopted as our chapter project for this year.

Afterwards, we will be taking a FIELD TRIP to Rumsey Map Islands, where hundreds of historical maps are on display. You can read about this fabulous collection here.

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 2016
TIME: 6:00 p.m. SLT (same as Pacific Time)
WHERE: Fire Pit at Just Genealogy SLurl

This meeting is open to all interested genealogists in Second Life. Please contact Ellington Sweeney for more information.


Second Life Genealogy Newsletter: March 2016


MARCH 2016

Happy March, Second Life genies! March is a big month, genealogically-speaking. Not only is it Women’s History Month, but it is also Irish American Heritage Month. So whichever you choose to celebrate, we hope you find what – and who – you are looking for!

Be sure to check out this month’s genealogy events in Second Life.  For more information, please contact Ellington Sweeney, either in-world, or at




Irish Records at FindMyPast

This week has been a big one for those doing Irish research! If you have Irish ancestry, be sure out the new Irish Catholic Parish Registers from FindMyPast. They’re free, and will always stay that way. 🙂

Findmypast is also making its entire archive of over 110 million Irish records, the largest available anywhere online, FREE from 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday March 1 to 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday March 8, 2016. So that’s ONE WEEK for you to get started for FREE!

Read more about it here.


Irish Genealogy News

“Irish genealogy research is famous for being difficult, if not impossible. This reputation isn’t entirely deserved, although there can be some fundamental difficulties in discovering your Irish ancestry, particularly if you don’t know where your ancestors lived.” Check out Clare Santry’s blog, as well as her companion site, Irish Genealogy Toolkit.


@Irish_Genealogy – Follow Clare Santry for more Irish genealogy updates!



Tuesday, March 1
6:00 pm – Tech Tuesday

Genie Weezles promises a fabulous discussion about some cool organizational tools. All are welcome! At the Just Genealogy Firepit

Sunday,  March 6
5:30 pm – DNA Study Group (NOTE NEW EVENT & NEW TIME)
Need help getting started with genetic genealogy? Join us for this new bi-monthly group hosted by Red Rider.  Meets on the front porch of the Family History Centre in Adam ondi Ahman.

Monday, March 7
6:00 pm – Meet & Greet – Get Some Second Life Help
Gather at the Just Genealogy firepit to discuss the ins and outs of SecondLife – how to sit, stand, fly, talk… Anything you might need help with! At the Just Genealogy Firepit

Thursday, March 10
6:00 pm – APG Second Life Chapter Meeting

The award-winning Second Life Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) welcomes all to this monthly meeting.  You won’t want to miss hearing Genie Weezles give details on how to participate in the chapter’s 2016 project: FamilySearch Indexing Beta. Bring your questions! For more info about the chapter, contact in-world Ellington Sweeney, Chapter President, or Genie Weezles, Chapter Representative. At the Just Genealogy Firepit

Sunday, March 13
5:30 pm – Family History Chat
Join other family historians and genealogists of all skill levels for a casual discussion on the front porch of the Family History Centre in Adam ondi Ahman.  Host varies, style is both Q&A and presentation.

Tuesday, March 15
6:00 pm – Methodology Tuesday
Exploring old and new research methodologies with your fellow genealogists! The March reading is “Analyzing Wills for Useful Clues” by Elizabeth Shown Mills from OnBoard 1 (May 1995): 16. Read the article for free on the BCG website. This month’s discussion will be hosted by Carolina Belle at the Fire Pit in Just Genealogy. 

Sunday, March 20
5:30 pm – DNA Study Group (NOTE NEW EVENT & NEW TIME)
Need help getting started with genetic genealogy? Join us for this new bi-monthly group hosted by Red Rider.  Meets on the front porch of the Family History Centre in Adam ondi Ahman.

Thursday, March 24
6:00 pm –  NGSQ Study Group

The Second Life NGSQ Study Group focuses on a specific article from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly monthly. Please feel free to attend even if you are a prospective NGSQ member. Hosted by Ellington Sweeney. Click here for the 2016 Reading List.  At the Just Genealogy Fire Pit.

Sunday, March 27
5:30 pm – Family History Chat

CANCELLED due to the Easter holiday.



For more information about Genealogy events in Second Life, please feel free to contact:
(in-world): Genie Weezles, Clarise Beaumont, Ellington Sweeney.

See the Facebook page:
Follow us on Twitter: @SLGenealogy
And our blog:
See the listings on the GeneaWebinars calendar:
Or stop by Just Genealogy in SecondLife!


DNA Study Group: 1st Meeting Re-Cap


The following is a guest post from Red Rider, who serves as moderator and host of our DNA Study Group.

The first meeting of our DNA Study Group at the Second Life Family History Centre was an overview of all types of DNA tests available. Autosomal (atDNA), Y DNA, and mitochondrial (mtDNA), are the 3 tests offered by the genetic testing companies. Only Family Tree DNA offers a list of genetic matches with their Y and mtDNA tests.

Here is a review of some of the material we covered:

  • Y DNA is only passed down to sons from their fathers. It only traces the direct male line. This is a marker test. The cost of the test depends on the number of markers tested; 12 to 111 marker tests are available. Mutations on markers change the numerical value assigned to marker testers. The marker mutations separate family lines. Y DNA tends to mutate frequently enough for it to be useful in separating family lines.
  • Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is passed down from mothers to sons and daughters. Fathers do not pass their mtDNA down to their children. This test is good for solving problems along the direct maternal line. The partial mtDNA test, which generally includes HVR1 and HVR2, can include cousin matches who share ancestors over 28 generations. Or around 700 years ago. The full sequence test helps eliminate matches beyond the genealogically relevant time period. Full sequence matches generally share an ancestor within the past 500 years. The reason these matches can share ancestors so far back in time, and still match us, is mtDNA mutates slowly. As with the Y DNA mutations are used to assign matches. Mitochondrial DNA mutates more slowly than Y DNA.
  • The autosomal test is the most popular because it provides more comprehensive results. Instead of just looking at the male or female lines this test includes all inherited DNA lines. We inherit half our autosomal DNA from each parent. Roughly a quarter of our atDNA comes from each grandparent. Recombination means that we share varying amounts of DNA from more distant ancestors. This test is offered by the 3 major testing companies, i.e., 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA. Matches are assigned based on matching segments on our autosomal chromosomes. This test is most accurate for close relatives. More distant relationships require verification using traditional genealogy research methods.

Future meetings will focus on the vocabulary used in genetic genealogy, and resolving problems encountered when using DNA to solve genealogy problems. Group member discussions will allow us to share our experiences with using DNA for genealogy. There have been heated debates on genealogy forums, and in the media, about exactly what DNA purports to tell us, and what can really been proven using DNA. We’ll discuss some of these challenging issues during our next Sunday discussions.

Second Life Genealogists Announce DNA Study Group

Second Life Chapter APG DNA Interest Group

With genetic genealogy becoming an essential part of the genealogist’s toolkit, the Second Life genealogists group is pleased to announce the formation of a DNA Study Group.

Beginning February 21, 2016, the DNA Study Group will meet monthly on the 3rd Sunday, at 6:00 p.m., at the Family History Centre in the Second Life virtual world. Topics will range from beginning to advanced, based on the needs of group members. All interested genealogists are welcome.

For information about this group, please contact Ellington Sweeney at, see the Genealogists in SecondLife Facebook page, or visit the Second Life Genealogy Group website at Click on the “Tutorials” link for help getting started with Second Life.