My husband Greg and I have had our DNA tested. We used ancestry.com. The tools that ancestry.com employs to compare details of family trees and shared DNA matches to help establish how we are related to others who have also tested at ancestry.com are quite useful but could be better. However, ancestry.com does not provide a chromosome browser.

A chromosome browser produces a diagram of where on your chromosomes you share DNA with your match. If you know how you and your match are related, you can deduce that you have both inherited that shared DNA from your shared ancestors. You can then attribute that shared DNA to those ancestors. When you don’t know how you are related, you can look at where you match and based on your analysis of who you inherited that bit of DNA from, you can predict how you are related. Ancestry.com in effect does this calculation for you with their shared matches tool but ancestry.com doesn’t show the calculations in making its predictions.

The tools offered by MyHeritage.com, GedMatch and Family Tree DNA include a chromosome browser which ancestry.com does not provide. A chromosome browser gives you the detail of what DNA you and your cousin share.

MyHeritage chromosome browser for 2nd cousin LB

MyHeritage chromosome browser showing where Greg and one of his second cousins share DNA

 

So far with matches from MyHeritage, GedMatch, and FTDNA, Greg has been able to attribute 27% of his DNA to particular ancestors. The tool DNAPainter graphs attributed DNA based on matches with multiple cousins.

DNA Painter view for Greg Young November 2018

One of the genealogical puzzles I sought to solve with DNA was the parentage of Greg’s great grandfather Henry Sullivan. I produced a hypothesis that he was the son of Matilda Sullivan nee Hughes. I need more data on how various cousins share DNA to show that Matilda Sullivan nee Hughes was indeed the mother of Henry Sullivan. The shared matches tool of ancestry.com is incapable of showing that descendants of Eleazar Hughes, Matilda’s first son are definitely connected to descendants of Henry Sullivan. A chromosome browser would help to show that these cousins do indeed share inherited DNA.

To download DNA data from ancestry.com, choose the settings link on the top right hand corner of the AncestryDNA home page. On the right hand side you are given the option to download your raw DNA data. The steps are:

1. From the AncestryDNA status page click the link ‘manage test settings’.
2. On the ‘manage test settings’ page click the ‘Get started’ button on the right under ‘Download your raw DNA data’.
3. Enter your password. This will trigger an email that will be sent to your email account on file, which will include a link to confirm download of the DNA data.
4. Open the email and click the ‘Confirm data download’ button in the email.
5. On this download page click the button “Download Raw DNA Data”.
6. The file will then download to your computer.

Uploading your DNA data to MyHeritage is done at the page www.myheritage.com/dna/upload and the process is explained at www.myheritage.com/help-center#/path/DNA/Upload-DNA-data/ . It takes about a week before the data is processed and you can see your matches and the details of where you share DNA.