Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Check out my guest post at Geni.com!

Here it is! It's about all the benefits that genetic genealogy has to offer. I wrote about my experiences with 23andme.com!

My Close Relatives & 23andme

Well, since I last posted about 23andme a lot has changed. I have had several of my close relatives tested. Also, the customer database of 23andme has dramatically increased in size. When I first got my results, I had only 214 cousins on the website, but as of today I have 657! During the past year, I have found out several interesting things about my genetic ancestry and I have also been able to confirm eight generations of my Napier line.

I am planning to write about all of my experiences soon, but for today I thought I would do a post about my close relatives and just summarize who I asked to take the test and why I wanted them to get tested.

Here is my full sister and how much DNA I share with her as well as the number of segments that we have in common. Siblings are expected to share about 50% of their DNA --- my sister and I share slightly more than expected, just by random chance.

Getting your siblings tested at 23andme is very useful because they will have DNA (and relatives along that DNA) that you do not have. You can see that I share 53% of my DNA with my sister, but that leaves 47% that we do not share.

Overall, 269 genetic cousins on 23andme have accepted contact with me & my sister. We both share DNA with 77 of them. Then there are 100 relatives that I share DNA with, but she does not. There are also 92 relatives that she shares DNA with, but I do not. If I did not have her tested, I would have missed out on these 92 relatives.

So to summarize, if you don't have parents available to test (mine are deceased), siblings are invaluable because they have DNA from your parents that you don't have.

However, getting your sibling tested will tell you nothing about which side of your family a 23andme cousin comes from. After all, by definition, your sibling shares the same parents (and grandparents, etc etc) that you have.

To try to narrow down which side of your family a 23andme cousin comes from, you have to turn to relatives that you have from only one side of your family.

I have had my two half-sisters, my dad's double cousin, my paternal aunt, my maternal aunt, my maternal uncle, my maternal great-uncle, and my maternal great-aunt tested.

Here is my comparison with my two half-sisters.

The theoretical percentage shared between half-siblings is 25%. You can see that I share more than expected with one sister and less than expected with the other. Again, there's no real rhyme or reason for this, it's just random chance.

Getting my half-sisters tested allowed me to sort out which of my parents many of my relative finder cousins came from. The "con" of testing half-siblings, though, is that they will have many matches that you do not have because you have only one parent in common.

Here is my comparison with my aunts and my uncle.

The theoretical percentage shared between an aunt/uncle and a niece/nephew is also 25%, the same as half-siblings. You can see that I share almost that exact amount with my two aunts, but slightly more with my uncle.

The difference between your half-siblings and your aunts & uncles, in terms of DNA testing, is that you are related to all of the 23andme cousins that your aunts and uncles have. Even if you don't share a DNA connection with them, you are genealogically related because your aunts and uncles don't have any ancestors that you don't have. Your half-siblings do.

So to a greater degree than with my half-siblings, I can identify relatives and make a genealogical connection with someone, even if I personally do not share any DNA with that person.

I have also had my maternal great-uncle as well as my maternal great-aunt tested (my grandmother’s siblings).

The theoretical percentage here is 12.5%. You can see that I share a bit less than expected with each one.

Getting my great-aunt and great-uncle tested has been very useful because it allows me to identify many relatives that come from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. And what I said before applies to this relationship too --- even if I don’t personally share DNA with all of the 23andme cousins that they have, they are still my relatives because my great-aunt & great-uncle do not have any ancestors that I do not have.

And last but not least, I have tested my dad’s double cousin.

I wrote in a previous post about what a double cousin is, as well as more info about the double cousins in my family. But I will summarize here --- double cousins share all four of their grandparents in common rather than just two. This occurs when two siblings from one family marry two siblings from another family.

My dad would be expected to share 25% with all of his double cousins. As his daughter, I have half of his DNA and therefore I would be expected to share half as much --- 12.5%. You can see that I share a little more than expected with this particular cousin.

Double cousins are pretty rare, especially nowadays, but they are very useful in terms of DNA testing because (as with aunts & uncles) all of their relatives are your relatives because they have no ancestors that you don’t have. He also helps me to identify which parent my 23andme cousins come from.

I hope this was a good summary of the family that I have on 23andme and what I have learned from all of them. If you have any questions about my family or about 23andme in general, please let me know :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Double Cousins

In my family, three Badger brothers married three Woodward sisters. So, my grandparents married one another, and in addition, two of my grandfather's brothers married two of my grandmother's sisters. Hopefully that makes sense.

They used to kid that they were the only two families in town.
And honestly, that's probably not much of an exaggeration!

So, the children from these unions were double cousins. They have different parents, but all four of their grandparents in common. My dad had three siblings, and eleven double cousins (although one of Lewis & Veva's children, Mabel, died in infancy).

In technical terms - first cousins generally share 12.5% consanguinity. Double cousins share twice that, or 25%, which makes them as related as half-siblings. Pretty interesting, I think. They were quite close, of course. No matter which side of the family they got together with, their mother's or their father's, their double cousins were always there. I just think that is so cool.

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation. Well, then again, I do like modern technology. And wearing pants. But I sure would have loved to be around for this, the wedding of my great-aunt & great-uncle. Unfortunately I never even got to meet anyone involved in this story.

The day was beautiful and we had the noon meal at my Aunt Lena and Uncle Ed's. Then hurried back to my folk's home to get ready to go see the Judge Spees (I'm not sure how he spelled it but sounded like Spees). He lived on a farm about two miles out of Dupree, S.D.

Lewis had gotten the license on Friday or Saturday at the courthouse and told the Judge we'd be there at 5:30 p.m. Babe, Otto and Mattie went along with us, in the folk's old Chevrolet touring car! We got West of the farm, just out of sight, when the car stopped suddenly! Babe said, "it's a halfmoon key in the rear-end". A friend, Zelma Davis, came by on her horse, she had been a school mate and friend of mine, we sat and visited. The men repaired the car and Zelma left on her horse. We went ahead about thirty feet and it broke again!

Babe said, "that's it, we must go back and try again tomorrow!" Lewis said, "no, when I start somewhere I go there!" So, he took off on foot to a farm near by. Mr. Griffith had just come in from the field, he was a man, who, if he didn't work any other Sunday, would work on Easter. Lewis told him of our "break down" and Mr. Griffith said, "take this team and spring wagon and good luck!" So, we went on, but Babe decided to walk home, to let the folks know what had happened.

By the time we got to Judge Spees' farm, he had given up on us, changed his clothes, and was at the barn milking. He came in, again put on his suit and performed the ceremony. Mattie and Otto were our attendants. It was 25 minutes of 10 p.m. --but we did it!! Then we drove back 12 Or 14 miles to my folk's. It was about midnight when we got there.

We stayed there and the next day Lewis returned the team and spring wagon and took along a saddle horse to come back on. Babe and Otto repaired the car again! The next morning we started to Ft. Pierre to catch a train to Huron S.D., where Lewis had work. Of course Babe drove us and when we stopped to go through a gate about eight miles from home, the car broke down again!! A neighbor came along, taking his cream to Lantry, to catch the train, to ship it to a creamer.

So, we hooked a ride, with our luggage, in the wagon with Mr. Sprague. Babe rode along to within a mile of home, then he walked. We got tickets, caught the train and went to Obridge, S.D. There we stayed at a hotel till 4:00 a.m. We had them wake us up, so we could catch a train to Aberdeen, S.D. Then we took another train to Huron, S.D. There were no country telephones then, so, Lewis hired a taxi to take us out to the farm where "Pop" Badger was manager. Lewis worked there till that fall I and I helped "Mom" Badger cook and wash for twenty men who worked there, on what was a Mennonite Colony farm before World War 1.

We left for Lantry in October. Then I taught school at Little Bend, at a school that had "run their teacher out". I was to fill in until they found another teacher, but I quit one month before Arminta was born. Lewis was working for the Sutten Cattle Co., cutting water holes in ice and looking after cattle. That was quite a year but we were so happy - we had a shack to ourselves and were looking forward to our first child.

*Babe - Jesse Woodward, Veva's brother.
*Otto and Mattie (Albers) - Veva's sister Mattie and her husband.
*Mom & Pop Badger - Omer & Bertha Badger, the father and stepmother of Lewis.
Now is that a cute story, or what?

It's almost April 20th....Happy Anniversary, Lewis & Veva.