I’ve been waiting a couple of months to upload my Family Finder results from Family Tree DNA to Gedmatch. Gedmatch lets you compare DNA results from several companies, as well as offering you different tools to help you interpret your results. Gedmatch exists on donations and has been down for a while upgrading its server to handle the ever-increasing numbers of DNA results uploaded by eager researchers, trying to understand what they mean.
It takes Gedmatch a few weeks to chart all your matches, but while you’re waiting, you can play with some of the tools. You can match one-to-one with someone, as long as you know his/her kit number. Since my brother’s Family Finder results have just come back, and I’ve uploaded them to Gedmatch, I could compare where we match on each chromosome. That’s not so useful with my brother’s results since I already know how we’re related, but it does help me become familiar with how Gedmatch works so I can use the tools when my other matches come up. I’ve got a couple of DNA gurus among my Huff cousins that I hope will teach me how to use all the tools, once they are all functional.
What’s really been fun is working with the Admixture (ethnic percentages) tools. I’m not an anthropologist or a mathematician, but I’m guessing that the creators of the different admixture models are. It’s really interesting to see how they differ with each other. I’m guessing that the differences exist because the creators of the models compared against different populations or used different mathematical formulas to determine the percentages of ethnicity. What’s fascinating is how closely they do match.
In every model, I’m at least 50% Northern/Northeastern/or Western European and from 26 to 30% Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is sometimes further differentiated as Neolithic, which doesn’t surprise me, as my mitochondrial haplogroup, T2, came from northern Italy in the Neolithic period. As most of my known ancestors can be traced back to England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or Germany, the North/Northeast/West Europe percentage does not surprise me either. I was excited to see on most models that I am at least 1% Native American. Combined with other Asian percentages, as Roberta Estes does in calculating Native American heritage, it is even more. On one model it is broken down as .49% American, .53% Beringian, and .23% Siberian.
Ancestry.com also does its own "Genetic Ethnicity Summary." Mine shows 44% Central European, 33% British Isles, 21% Scandinavian, and 2% Uncertain. Again, not too surprising, except for the large percentage of Scandinavian. This appears to be a flaw in the Ancestry.com formula for calculating ethnicity, as has been discussed online by Roberta Estes and other genetic genealogists.
In my next post I’ll talk about comparing my brother’s Family Finder results with mine and using FTDNA’s Chromosome Finder to pinpoint the chromosomes on which relatives with particular surnames may occur. I hope when we are both fully up on Gedmatch, we will find even more to help us extend our family tree.