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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog

Join Me for #genchatDNA Tomorrow - Fri, 16 Mar 2018

Both #genchat and #genchatDNA are Twitter chat sessions which meet periodically and gather together genealogists to provide their set of insights about the current topic.

Tomorrow, I am the #genchatDNA featured “Answerer”. If you are a genealogist who is also on Twitter, join me tomorrow, Saturday March 17 for a very fast hour starting at 8 pm GMT. (Check your local time in North America, below.)

The #genchat sessions are once every two weeks on Friday evening. The #genchatDNA sessions are every month on a Saturday afternoon.

The #genchatDNA discussions only began in November last year. Previous chats were:

  • Sat Feb 10, 2018 – DNA, Q&A and “The Chromosome Browser” with special guest Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.
  • Sat Jan 13, 2018 – What to Expect When Both Parents Test
  • Dec, 2017 – (no session this month)
  • Sat, Nov 18, 2017 – Where Do I Start?

I try to join in here (and at #genchat) whenever there is a topic of interest to me and I’m available. I pretty well have to be at home and on my computer to make it manageable. Different people do it different ways, often handling the multitude of tweets during the hour with a Twitter client such as TweetChat or Hootsuite. I tried Nurph a couple of years ago, but decided on a simpler way even before Nurph was discontinued.

What I do is keep 4 browser windows open to the Twitter site:

  1. My primary window will be open to a search of #genchat or #genchatDNA with “Latest” selected. That shows all posts with the tag in it from newest to oldest. Every minute or so, it updates with a message that says “nn new tweets” and when I’m ready I can click on that and read the latest. The other nice thing about this window is when I click on the Tweet button, the “Compose New Tweet” form already has the search term #genchatDNA in the box for me so I won’t forget to add it.
  2. My 2nd window contains my Twitter notifications, so I can see any reactions to any of my tweets and respond if I get a question or comment.
  3. I keep one window open with my own tweets and replies, just so I can refer back to what I had said earlier.
  4. My 4th window has my own Twitter feed. That way, if anyone I follow forgets to add the genchat hash tag, I’ll still see it.

    There is a webpage home for #genchat at:  www.genealogygenchat.com. There, you will find a schedule of future #genchat session. Amy Johnson Crow will be the guest on March 30th in “Learning the Write Stuff”.

    Some of the #genchat-ers got together at RootsTech last month holding their #GenChat cutout that they were using to promote the chat sessions:

    I believe there is also a #genchatDE, but that one is all in German, so I for one would have trouble following and participating.

    Another genealogy chat session seen on Twitter is #AncestryHour which appears to be very popular and is on every Tuesday at 7 pm GMT. It is more a free-for-all, with no specific topic and no moderator asking pre-set questions.

    And I believe there is an #iamnextgen chat. I am very familiar with the NextGen Genealogy Network made up of some of our brightest young new genealogists between the ages of 18 and 50, but I haven’t participated there because I think I’d be classified as #iamprevgen.

    DMT Now Reads @MyHeritage DNA Segment Match Files - Wed, 7 Mar 2018

    I’ve just released version 2.1 of DMT which includes support for MyHeritage DNA’s new segment download files.

    MyHeritage DNA made some big announcements last week at #RootsTech, and included among those was the ability to download your match list and your segment match list.

    Double Match Triangulator reads two or more segment match files and shows you all triangulations between the people involved. It can read segment match files from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, GEDmatch and now MyHeritage DNA. Note that Ancestry DNA still does not allow you to download or even display your segment match data, so DMT (and many other DNA tools) cannot use Ancestry DNA data.

    For MyHeritage DNA, the procedure to download your segment match data is simple. Go to your DNA matches page, click on the “Advanced options” download, and select “Export shared DNA segment info for all DNA Matches”.


    Once you do that, your data will be downloaded into a file with a name that looks like:  nnnnnn DNA Matches shared segments dddddd.csv

    Where: nnnnnn is the name of the DNA tester, dddddd is the date, and .csv means the type of file is comma delimited text. The file looks like this:


    and when you open that with Excel or another spreadsheet program, you get:


    When you use one of these MyHeritage files as Person A, and a second file as Person B (e.g. my uncle), Double Match Triangulator will find all the double matches and triangulations both Person A and Person B have in common with all their other matches and will present them both numerically and graphically in a spreadsheet for you. DMT also does it’s best to delineate triangulation groups and puts boxes around them. The goal of all this is to help you analyze segments of your DNA and quickly give you data you can use to try to find common ancestors and determine which segments of DNA they passed down to you.


    I was very excited to hear that MyHeritage DNA was enabling data downloads and I immediately started using it for my own DNA analysis.

    If you’re a MyHeritage DNA customer, you can now use DMT to help you analyze your matches. One of other exciting announcements by MyHeritage DNA at RootsTech was that they enhanced their Chromosome Browser and it now can show you segments that triangulate. It actually will check that the segments of yourself and up to 7 people match each other and if so, it will show a box around the parts that do triangulate.

    DMT provides you great information to help you find those triangulations. For example, if I take myself, my uncle, and the first 7 people with those long green X’s in the above output from DMT and enter them into the MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser, I immediately get:


    and I know these people are all in one triangulation group on my father’s side (since my uncle, Person B, is my father’s brother).

    If I knew who any of those seven people were, I might be able to identify the grandparent or great-grandparent (or maybe even further back) that was the ancestor who passed this segment down to me.

    The next step then would be to go to the bottom of the MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser page where there’s the Shared DNA segments info:


    That tells me the exact locations where these people all triangulate. Of course, I could also get that from Double Match Triangulator which gives me a more complete list of the 97 people that triangulate over a slightly larger range.  DMT tells me the full triangulating group is from locations 4,440,598 to 18,528,026

    Then the next step would be to go to Jonny Perl’s wonderful tool DNA Painter, which won the RootsTech DNA Innovation Contest last week, and to add that segment and specify that it belongs to the ancestor I’ve identified.


    You can see that the hashed grey line under the “SHARED OR BOTH” label fits in nicely to the blue segment belonging to my father and is likely on my paternal grandmother’s side because it starts just after that short black line belonging to my paternal grandfather.

    We’ve got exciting times coming with the use of all these tools together.

    Day 4 – #RootsTech –The Final Day (Sob!) - Sat, 3 Mar 2018

    Saturday is the most difficult day to have a #NotAtRootsTech day for me, because all of the family is home and I have to excuse myself upstairs to the office and mostly ignore them. But let’s continue.

    1. First I tried to catch up on the #RootsTech twitter feeds and blogs which I found impossible to complete. Here’s an article in yesterday’s Deseret News about: “What Scott Hamilton told RootsTech about his family and how he inspired a fan during a battle with a tumor.”

    2. Here’s Jill Ball’s 10 minute interview of RootsTech emcee Jason Hewlett (no relation to Hewlett-Packard) for a wonderful inside look behind the man and how the past two years hosting got him learn a bit about genealogy.  And here’s Jill’s 9 minute interview of Howard Hochhauser, CEO of Ancestry. And also Jill’s 9 minute interview with Jen Allen and Brandon Beckstead. Jen is Rootstech Director and Brandon is RootsTech Logistic Manager. They said they were truly afraid the fire inspector was going to close the Conference down on Wednesday because of the number of people in the hall without the Expo Hall being open.  
      Jason Hewlett, Howard Hochauser, Jen Allen, Brandon Beckstead
    3. The Connect Belong video at the beginning of the Live Stream today was fun to watch. It asked people if they Connect or Belong. Great selection of people asked and great answers. I hope that gets posted somewhere. If so, I’ll add the link here.
    4. The live stream had Jason Hewlett sitting with Natalia Lafourcade, who is the singer of “Remember Me” in the movie Coco and will be singing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles tomorrow as it is up for best song. She sang 3 songs including Remember Me for the RootsTech audience.
      Natalie Lafourcade was very excited to find out that her father’s side came from France because. Earlier she had mentioned she thought it odd that she was Spanish from Mexico/Chile but had a French last name.
    5. The magnificent Henry Louis Gates Jr. was the Keynote Speaker at the IAJGS Conference I attended last July in Florida, so I knew to expect the best. I’m a regular watcher of his Finding Your Roots series.
      “In social studies class, every child will have to do their family tree. Down the hall to the science class, every kid will spit in the test tube. … We’ll reignite the love of learning.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr.

      CeCe Moore followed Dr. Gates and told us how DNA is exploding.

    6. “Advancing Your Genealogy Research With DNA” by Anna Swayne who works at Ancestry. She gave a really nice slide of the AncestryDNA Science Team:
    7. Curt Witcher once again (lucky guy got to be involved in 3 live stream broadcasts during the Conference).  “More Web for your Genealogy”. As much data as Ancestry and Findmypast and MyHeritage have, it’s the “snowflake on top of the iceberg. … Think about it.” Search tools don’t index the web completely. So his successful surfing strategy is to visit the websites of local public libraries, state libraries, state archives, historical societies genealogical societies, and GenWeb. I downloaded his handout from the RootsTech app.
      Curt Witcher


        The final day of RootsTech (or any conference) is always a downer for me. I find it so sad for it to be over. In my first year there, 2012, my flight home was Sunday morning, so I was able to enjoy a post-RootsTech event which was a Dick Eastman dinner for readers of his EOGN newsletters. That was a lot of fun. But after that RootsTech turned Saturday into Family Discovery Day which invited many thousands of younger people into the Convention Centre for free for inspirational stories. So in 2014 and 2017, I took the Saturday afternoon flight home, leaving while the action was still on and avoiding the end. However, I also missed Dick’s dinners and I’m so sad that I’ve never been able to attend a Dear Myrtle post RootsTech party which she hosts and sounds like so much fun.

        This year, I see they’ve eliminated the Family Discovery Day and have a full slate of Genealogy topics all day Saturday which is great. Next time I’m at RootsTech (and there will be a next time), I’ll stay over until Sunday to catch some of the post-conference events, and I think I might even try to come the Sunday before to catch some of the pre-conference events. Being there the whole time might even give me a slight chance of being able to visit every booth in the Exhibit Hall.

        #NotAtRootsTech 2018 was a lot of fun. Looking forward to 2019, whether I’m there or not.