• Dec9

    Can you say consanguinity? Sure you can.

    If unfamiliar with the term, or kind of familiar as I was before I dove headfirst into this whole genealogy world, The Wikipedia nicely defines it this way:

    Consanguinity (“blood relation”, comes from the Latin consanguinitas) refers to the property of being from the same kinship as another person.

    As one gets going with genealogy, the first real hurdle we need to get past is the whole “What is this ‘eleventeenth cousin thrice removed’ stuff all about?” So, being mostly a visual sort of learner I created a chart to help myself get the idea straight.

    Over time I’ve moved on from needing to reference that chart too often, but lately I’ve found I needed a new addition to that cheat sheet – Shared DNA percentages.

    Why on earth would one need such a thing? If you’ve had your autosomal DNA tested at 23andme or FTDNA, then you are probably getting hints for new cousins all the time. When the familial connection is not obvious (as it almost always is not), it is a good to know how much DNA one might share with a, say, 4th cousin, so you can start looking in the right part of the old family tree for them.

    Consanguinity Chart Now With More DNA Flavor!

    To give me the visual my brain needs to absorb the info, I created this chart at right. If you’d like a copy for your very own, feel free to click this link and download a full size copy from my Box.com account.

    However, shared DNA is not an exact measure of “relatedness” as it falls in the traditional family tree. Due to the random magic of recombination, there is actually a range for how much DNA actually gets passed on from one’s ancestors. For example, while on average one inherits about 50% of each parent’s DNA, the actual amount can be somewhat greater or lesser. As you can imagine – apply that inheritance wiggle room to a 4 or 5 generations between yourself and your match on 23andme and the number can vary quite a bit.

    (I suggest reading ISOGG’s Autosomal DNA Statistics page for a nice overview of this whole topic.)

    In fact, a recent relatively close match of mine on 23andme illustrates this point nicely – I had a new match show up in my results as a possible 4th cousin, among my highest. Nicely for me, this cousin was on my mother’s side, and she has been tested as well.

    23andme Cousin Match Comparison
    Using my handy-dandy consanguinity chart, at 0.27% shared DNA over 3 segments, one can see the result is a bit above the 4th cousin level. All righty! But, if you look at what my mother shares with this same cousin you’ll notice a disparity in the estimate – they share 1.04% over 6 segments. The other good news in this particular match was that she had an obvious surname and location in her profile that I knew about – and is the first person I have been able to find that I can tie directly into my known genealogical research.

    Her actual connection to my mother is as a 2nd cousin, once removed, and a plain vanilla 3rd cousin to me.

    As such, I should expect to share about 0.781% DNA with her – but because I did not happen to inherit 3 of the segments my my mother shares with her, we only have a third of that amount in common.

    Without access to my mother’s results in addition to my own and without the ability to connect to established paper-based research, I easily could have started barking up the wrong tree – and at the 4th or 5th cousin level there are a lot of trees.

    So, while I still think the chart is a nice reference to have as a starting point in the process, those shared DNA percentages need to be taken with a grain of deoxyribonucleic acid. or maybe some sodium chloride.

    Hope people find the chart useful – I have posted it under a Creative Commons license as listed below.

    Creative Commons License
    Consanguinity Chart Now with More DNA Flavor! by John J. Tierney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
    Based on a work at http://currach.johnjtierney.com.

  • Nov11

    Our thanks and prayers go out to all the Veterans today.


    Veteran's Day Thanks & Prayers

  • Nov7

    OK, This ain’t genealogy, but fun for anyone who ever went to a drive-in movie in the 50s through the 70s. They were still using this at the Drive-in we went to in upstate New York until the 1980s!

    What seemingly silly things from our childhoods do we need to record for our children and theirs?

    No hot dogs were harmed in the filming of this advermercial. But they were delicious.

  • Sep25

    I have been helping a friend lately by looking to see what I could put together for her family tree. Luckily for her, almost immediately a torrent of records began to pour from the online coffers, so the tree began to fill up quite nicely.

    As is often the case, there are a few records that may be for parallel persons of similar name, so definitely some work to do on locking those down as properly vetted and assessed.

    XBut, in the short run I found an interesting thing: both her great grandfather, and his father both seemed to have served in the Fighting 69th volunteer infantry – although the elder was before the Civil War, and the younger in World War I.

    While looking at information for what appears to be the younger Francis Kearney’s stay in a a “National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers”, I found something slightly puzzling.

    His history at the home lists him as being “Admitted” on May 4, 1925, and then on Oct 31, 1926 his Cause of Discharge is “Dropped.”

    Francis Kearney Military Home Record DetailThe images for these records come in pairs of pages, and I quickly noticed that the next fellow’s record has many entries for “Discharged” and “Transferred”.

    Anyone out there in the genealogosphere have any knowledge on the term “Dropped” in this context? Hmm.

    Record Citation:

    “United States National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21051-37678-11?cc=1916230&wc=MMRT-VYX:n30335972 : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Togus, Maine > Register no. 18000-19499 > image 262 of 771.

  • Sep25

    A site well-known to genealogists has this dandy message about cookies that pops up across the top of one’s screen. Over. and over. and over. and over.

    I finally took a minute to look into it, and seems someone from their support forum helpfully mentioned to another (un-)interested party that when one’s browser has the “do not track” setting enabled, there is no way to stop the cookie message.

    She also suggested that their developers “would love to her feedback regarding this banner.”

    I have sent them the following message/request, and am also posting it here in a stand of anti-cookie message on all sites. LET US STAND TOGETHER AND EAT ALL THE COOKIES.

    Feedback message:

    Over the last few months I’ve found the “cookie warning” at the top of the page comes back over and over and is terrifically annoying. I see in the online support forum that someone said it is related to the “do not track” browser setting and that there is no way to stop the message if that setting is enabled.

    They also mentioned that the Developers would love to hear feedback, so here’s mine:

    1. Do Not Track is enabled because I want it to be.
    2. Every site and their grandmother’s site on the Internet uses cookies. It is a staple of the Internet diet.
    If someone doesn’t already know this, then the message is only going to confuse them – “Wait WHAT? THEY ARE TRACKING ME” the more uninformed paranoid might say. I doubt any of the uninformed are saying “Oh, They’re tracking me – GREAT I WAS LONELY.”

    If some crazy legal thing has occurred that is making such a message necessary, I would have to say there is probably a better way to implement it. I do not have this problem on any other site – when I do see cookie messages, they are always one-off’s, at least until I clear my browser cache. Which of course, ironically, clears out one’s cookies.

    So, Dear Developers,
    Please make the cookie message go away. Or at least send me some real cookies. Chocolate chip. no nuts.
    thx.
    .JT.