Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Zealand Law Commission report on genetic genealogy, DNA, and the Police

New Zealand was the second national jurisdiction to institute legislation on the Police use of DNA. Recently the NZ Law Commission made a new report with 193 recommendations on DNA use and genetic genealogy for Police purposes. The Report recommends that more attention be given to Maori, Treaty of Watangi, and human rights issues. The report is available at The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations.

This issue has arisen within the genetic genealogy community due to the rise of forensic, or investigative genetic genealogy, in regard to Gedmatch and Family Tree DNA. At Gedmatch one has to opt-in to allow law enforecement use (see, "Public + opt-in" and "Public + opt-out") and at FTDNA one has to opt-out to deny law enforcement use of your genetic data in criminal investigations.

It will be interesting to see if the NZ Law Commission Report has any effects within the broader genetic genealogy community and the GDPR and CCPA legal regimes.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Ancestry decision to remove matches below 8 cM will harm African American and Native American descendants

Sometime in August, Ancestry intends to remove matches in the 6 to 7.9 cM range from DNA match lists. This will cause problems for African American genealogists since using those matches, even if 50% are false matches, is often the only way for African American genealogists to find possible connections that predate the end of slavery and the 1870 census.  You can preserve these matches by saving a note or adding them to a dot group or by messaging them. Doing so will take time but it is possible. One way is to search by custom centimorgan size and then to search for common ancestors and add a dot group for each. I have been doing this as group CA67.

The same argument can be made for people with documented genealogical ancestry from Native Americans which predates 1870. This range of matches needs to be preserved and continue to be available to anyone who wants to see them.

See this blog post from Roberta Estes, for a more in-depth analysis of this proposed change: Plea to Ancestry – Rethink Match Purge Due to Deleterious Effect on African American Genealogists

Sunday, April 26, 2020

DNA Day Sales

April 25th is National DNA Day and the genetic genealogy companies had or are having sales on DNA tests.

Check the following sites for the details:

Genetic Genealogy:
Whole Genome Sequencing (Mainly for health and science. Not yet useful for genetic genealogy):
I have tested with all of these companies.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Ken Burns', The Gene, on PBS, April 7th and 14th

Premieres Tuesdays, April 7 & 14, 2020 8/7c

The Gene: An Intimate History weaves together science, history & personal stories for a historical biography of the human genome, while also exploring breakthroughs for diagnosis & treatment of genetic diseases & the complex ethical questions they raise.

This is an adaptation of Siddhartha Mukherjee's book, The Gene: An Intimate History, in 2 two hour long presentations. It is well worth the time for a genetic genealogist to view.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My atDNA matches as of 14 March 2020:

Company Matches
AncestryDNA 168,618
MyHeritage 118,821
FTDNA 8,597
23andme v2 2,674
23andMe v3 2,491
LivingDNA 10

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

My Heritage 2019 event review

Several of the genetic DNA companies are posting reviews of their activities in 2019. Here is one for MyHeritage:

Wrapping Up a Fantastic-2019

MyHeritage is one of the companies I use for my own DNA research. It is the only site where I find information on my Spanish relatives. I encourage anyone with European ancestors to the USA within the past 150 years to test there as well as with the other companies.