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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog

What RootsTech was Like for an Innovator Showdown Finalist - Sun, 12 Feb 2017

Just back from RootsTech and what a week it was! As one of the ten semi-finalists in the Innovator Showdown, and the ultimate third place winner, I had some extra special experiences that I’ll always remember.


Pre Roots-Tech

Even before I entered the contest, I was planning to go to this year’s RootsTech. I had been there in 2012 (its second year) and 2014. I was thinking every 2 years is worthwhile and was planning to go last year, but the 10th Unlock the Past Cruise was just too close to it to make that possible. So this year I had to go. I submitted a proposal in June for a talk on “Using NoSQL Databases in Genealogy Software” that got turned down, but for making the submission they did give me a really nice discount on the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass.

On September 9, I got an email: “Enter the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Showdown! … $100,000 in cash and prizes. Submission portal closes December 1, 2016”. I had just released Double Match Triangulator a few weeks earlier, and I thought “well, I would think DMT is innovative”, so the next day I created an account for myself on Devpost and submitted DMT to the Innovator Showdown. I believe I was the first submitter, since the date of submission appeared to be the default order the entries were listed. On September 16, I booked my flights to Salt Lake City and my hotel.

It seemed to take an eternity to get to December 1 as the number of submissions grew to 40. Then on December 14, I received an email from Matt Misbach that I was officially a semi-finalist. Open-mouthed smile 

Of course, life takes its toll. Playing squash on December 19, I tore my two peroneal tendons from the bone. I would have surgery on December 30 and I was looking at 6 weeks in a walking boot non-weight bearing (meaning on crutches) and 4 more weeks after that still in the boot but without crutches. Calculating 6 weeks forward from the surgery took me to the Thursday of RootsTech. Oh oh! Being on crutches for RootsTech would have been near impossible. Fortunately, my surgeon was good to me. I had my six week follow-up a week early and she said I was good to go without crutches. All I can say is I’m glad this happened when it did. If it happened 4 weeks later, I might have had to cancel RootsTech and my Innovator Showdown entry. Richard Thomas of Clooz wasn’t so lucky. He emailed me on Feb 1 that he had hoped to catch up with me at RootsTech. He went on to say that he just broke his ankle and had associated surgery and had to cancel his trip and would have a vacant booth for Clooz in the exhibit hall. I felt so bad for him, but so fortunate for myself.

As semi-finalists, we were given two free RootsTech registration passes and an invite to the Tuesday Media Dinner with one guest. I mentioned to Matt that I was going alone (my wife is not a genie and was not planning to come), so I asked him if I could give away my 2nd pass with a contest on my blog like the Ambassadors did and he said that would be fine. So on January 9th, I put up a blog post with the contest that would be open for a week. On January 16th, the random winner chosen was Carole Steers from London, England. Carole came to Jill Ball’s Commonwealth meetup on Monday night and joined me at the Press Dinner on Tuesday. We became great friends and Carole went above and beyond and became my biggest DMT cheerleader.

Our semi-finalist presentations were due by February 5. On January 27, we were informed that T. Craig Bott of Grow Utah was available for business and presentation coaching. I emailed Mr. Bott and he asked me to send him my presentation. I did, and he sent me an email back tearing it apart. He told me I needed to stress the “pain point” and its solution and then talk about the market potential that DMT had. He was right. I made changes and it was stonger and to the point. He said I could send him the revised presentation and he’d review it again. When I did, he said that was much better and made some additional suggestions which I then incorporated. That became my semi-final presentation which I sent in.

I flew into Salt Lake City Monday night catching the end of the Commonweath meetup that Jill Ball organized.


Tuesday – BYU Workshop

On Tuesday, I woke up at about 5 a.m. to catch the early FrontRunner train to Provo, Utah, for the one day Brigham Young University Family History Technology Workshop. I was really looking forward to this, because these were Computer Science and Family History students and professors who were presenting their latest technologies. I had two presentations myself, a 15 minute Developer talk on the programming challenges in building Double Match Triangulator, and a 5 minute Lightning talk on future ideas for genealogy software. Also talking were two other Showdown semi-finalists: Banai Feldstein talked about her CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing and Tony Knight about his Qroma Tag. Speaking as well was Tammy Hepps who won the Showdown with her program Treelines in 2013 when it was then known as the Developer Challange. Also at the workshop was Brooke Schreier Ganz who whose program LeafSeek came 2nd in the 2012 Developer Challenge, the same year I entered Behold and Dovy Paukstys entered AncestorSync. The most interesting talk for me was Amy Williams of Cornell University talking about Inferring Parent Genomes Using Sibling Genotype Data. Amy is trying to use crossovers of children to determine the parent’s DNA and that is right up my alley and similar to the analysis I want to be able to implement into DMT. Amy was the first of maybe only a dozen people that I met during RootsTech week who I was overjoyed to be able to have in-depth talks about analysis of crossover boundaries and what might be possible with DMT.


The day was highlighted by the wonderful hospitality afforded to me by James Tanner and his lovely wife Ann. James picked me up at the Provo train station and took me to the workshop. After the workshop, he invited me to his home to pick up Ann, and drove us the hour drive into Salt Lake City, all the while being a fantastic tour guide providing me with an amazing review of anything and everything about Utah. I was totally enthralled and honored to get the extensive one-on-one with James. He’s an amazing man.

Tuesday evening was the Media Dinner. From 6:00 to 6:30 prior to the meal, the ten semi-finalists set up displays of our products, and we got to meet each other for the first time.


For the meal, I got to sit with Pat Richley-Erickson  (Dear Myrtle) and Mr Myrt as well as several of the other Showdown semi-finalists. Pat gave me the blogger beads right from her own neck for me to wear, which I did with pride.


After the dinner, each of the semi-finalists had a time to go to Ballroom B for ten minutes to ensure that the slides from their presentation were set up correctly and were ready to go.

Brothers Jonathan and Joshua Fowlke going over their Cuzins presentation.

The technical and logistic team for the Innovator Showdown at the back of the Ballroom.

Cathy Gilmore of Kindex rehearsing.


Wednesday – Innovator Showdown Semi-Final Day

7:00 am sharp! Don’t be late. Innovator Showdown semi-final rehearsal in Ballroom B.

Christophe Marin (Champollion) and Heather Henderson (RootsFinder) getting miked up.

Jason Hewlett (the Innovator Showdown and RootsTech host) and Heather Henderson during rehearsal.

We were done well before 9 a.m., when the Innovator Summit sessions started,

Jason introduced Steve Rockwood (President & CEO of FamilySearch) who then introduced our keynote speaker Liz Wiseman, president of the Wiseman Group for a dynamic talk.

This was followed by T. Craig Bott (who reviewed my presentation) moderating a discussion of of Investment Opportunities, Technology Needs, Business and Consumer Trends in the Genealogy and Family History Industry, with a panel made up of Heather Holmes (Tap Genes, the 2016 Innovator Showdown winner), Ben Bennett (Executive Vice President, International), Robert Kehrer (Product Manager, FamilySearch) and Nick Jones (JRNL, Inc, a 2016 Innovator Showdown finalist)

That was all we had time for, because next were the semi-finals. We had to pick up a bag lunch and bring it back stage. I was starving and devoured mine prior to the rehearsal.

First we got made up. That was something completely new for me. This day and Friday would be the first two days I’ve ever got made up in my life. It’s sort of nice getting pampered like that.

Tony Knight (Qroma Tag) getting his make-up.

Then it begins. We’re lined up at the front right-hand side of the room so that we can be miked up and go on stage in sequence. I’m 9th of the 10.

The room probably holds about 1000 people and was full. The judges for the semi-finals were sitting at the table with the black shroud in the first row facing the stage.

Banai Feldstein giving her CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing presentation.

Bill Nelson giving his Old News USA presentation.

Below is the full video of the Showdown Semi-Finals. I’m 9th of 10 at the 48 minute mark:

About an hour later, we semi-finalists were brought together to be told which of us would be the 5 selected as finalists. We were all told together. Double Match Triangulator was named first and my internal reaction of shock, disbelief and joy was such that I didn’t even hear the names of the other four. None-the-less, there were 5 teams that did not make it and I felt really bad for them. The toughest part of it all was that we were not to tell anyone of the results because they were not being announced until 7 p.m. at the RootsTech Welcome Party.

We were being told because the 5 finalists were to get one last mentoring session that followed immediately. My session was with tech entrepreneur Cydni Tetro. Cydni’s advice to me was that my product seemed like an advanced tool and can I indicate somehow that the general public could use it. She also said I should put a bit of a personal story to it. Very good points.

We now had some of the afternoon left to check out other talks that interested us. I headed to the 3 p.m. panel on: How will DNA Continue to Disrupt our Industry. 

Scott Fisher (ExtremeGenes.com – Syndicated Radio Show) moderated the panel of three genetic genealogy experts: Dr. Scott Woodward, CeCe Moore (a keynote speaker on Saturday), and Angie Bush.

During the panel, CeCe said: “everyone is clamouring for third party tools to organize and interpret DNA results for the general public.”  I headed back to my hotel to adjust my presentation to reflect Cydni’s advice, I also included the quote from CeCe.

Then, off to the Welcome Party at the Mariott Hotel. A little fun with 80’s music and games.



At 7 pm at the Welcome Party, they made the announcement of the 5 Innovator Showdown finalists. It was exciting to get all the congratulations from my friends, but I was also saddened for Banai and the others who were there that didn’t make it.

Thursday – Innovator Showdown Rehersal of Finals

We had to have our final presentation on a USB disk by 10 a.m. I spent until 9 a.m. finishing it off at my hotel. By the time I got to the Convention Center, most of the Property Brothers’ keynote was done.

I went to the Expo Hall that had just opened for RootsTech. At Innovation Alley, I met the other Showdown contestants, who by now were all my friends. They all had booths for their products that they had for their products. I turned mine down since I came alone and was told I’d have to have someone manning it at all times.

Bill and Kathy and I were talking about our final presentations and we were all trying to get hold of Jesse Hyde who we were supposed to give our USBs to prior to our Final rehearsal which was at 12:30.

While waiting for Jesse to get back to me, I went to Kitty Cooper’s 11 a.m. talk on How to use DNA Triangulation to Confirm Ancestors. Kitty came up to me when I came in before the talk started. She said she downloaded DMT the night before and tried it and incorporated it into her talk for today.

Kitty Cooper – Triangulation

Me and Kitty

Kitty gave an excellent talk and plugged my program very nicely to a packed crowd of maybe 300. Near the end of the talk, Jesse met me at the back of the room and I gave him my USB.

I snuck out of Kitty’s talk 10 minutes early to get to the MyHeritage sponsored lunch. I sat down with Drew Smith, Randy Seaver, Janet Hovorka and Judy Russell joined us a few minutes later. Unfortunately, the lunch was from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. and the rehearsal for the final was at 12:30 p.m. I told one of the waiters my dilemma, and they gave me my meal early. I ate quickly and conversed quickly and excused myself with good reason and everyone understood.


This was where the rehearsal was, and where the Finals would be:WP_20170209_037
Hall D had seats for 10,000.  There’s another section to the right that is not in the picture.

Behind the big stage was an exciting new world that few people get to see.

We go onstage for instructions.

This is the view we have from onstage, and the teleprompters we’ll have where we’ll see our presentation slides and our notes on them.

The world is quite backwards behind the stage. And it’s hard to hear exactly what they are saying on stage because of a big echo.

At 4:30 pm, I attended Heather Holmes’ lab on TapGenes, her Innovator Showdown winning product from 2016:
My impressions after working with TapGenes during this lab was that it was a fantastic program. My wife and daughters are not at all interested in genealogy, but they just may be interested in family health history (I’m hoping). To my great surprise, Heather gave everyone who attended this lab a lifetime full subscription to TapGenes. The lab writeup said we’d only get a free year. I asked Heather afterwards how she could do such a thing for 30 people in her lab. She said that it was in appreciation to them for being willing to pay for the lab (money she didn’t get) to see her. Wow.


At 6 p.m., I headed to the Legacy Tree Genealogists booth in the Expo Hall. With Jessica Taylor, Scott Fisher and a few others, I headed off, over the fence shortcut behind the Convention Center for a 3 block walk to Finca, where the Genealogy Business Alliance group was about to meet. The GBA was formed less than a year ago by Janet Hovorka and Jessica and I only discovered them a few days before RootsTech started. I was allowed to join their Facebook group and I started participating in their interesting discussions.

There were probably about 20 of us who got together at Finca. It was great seeing Ed Thompson of Evidentia again and talking to him. I spent a lot of time talking to Deena Coutant and Jenny Joyce who were both very interested in Double Match Triangulator and could understand what it can do and were both loading me with ideas. 

Also at Finca was Thomas McEntee. I had run into him a few times already. One of those times was to get a “Canada” ribbon from him since I was told he was giving away all the countries and a “Geneabloggers” ribbon from him as I’ve been part of Tom’s GeneaBloggers community for more years than I can remember. But Tom was one of the Innovator Showdown judges, so all I could really feel right saying to him for now was: “Hi Tom. We really shouldn’t speak until it’s over”.

We broke up about 8 p.m. Tomorrow were the finals so I decided to skip the concert at Temple Square and just go back to my hotel and get a good night’s rest. I did some email, Tweeting and Facebooking until about 11:00 pm and then got over 6 1/2 hours sleep according to my FitBit which is good for me.


Friday – Innovator Showdown Finals

I got to the Convention Center around 9:30 so I missed most of LeVar Burton.WP_20170210_002

At 9:45 a.m., I headed behind the stage as I was supposed to, to prep for the Finals. We all had trouble finding the “Green” room where we were supposed to meet, likely because the room was black and white:

We again got makeup put on us, got miked up, and here’s a selfie of us lined up in order ready for the Finals:

I was up first. I wasn’t nervous at all, but very excited to go up. Once again, we could see (backwards) what was happening on stage, but it was very difficult to hear with the echo:

The whole video of the final is available here. I’m 1st of 5 at the 6½ minute mark, we come out for the People’s Choice at 52 minutes, and then again at 1:05 for the results:

I received Third place for Double Match Triangulator. I was really thrilled. And I was very happy for both Tony and Bill who got 2nd and 1st:

The three of us as well as Cathy who got the People’s Choice then went to the Media Center for a group interview.

I took my picture with (G)root(sfinder).

and checked my check:

went to Paul Woodbury’s lab on loading Kitty Cooper’s Chromosome Mapping tool:

got interviewed:

and ended the day very late at the MyHeritage RootsTech After-Party:


Saturday – Post Mortem

I woke up at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. By the time I got to the Convention Center it was 10 a.m. and I had missed the Buddy Valastro and CeCe Moore keynotes. Looks like I’ll have a lot of the live streams to watch when I get home.

I spent the rest of my time wandering the Expo hall and saying goodbye to all my friends. I did get to spend five minutes to actually talk with Tom McEntee. My RootsTech ended with a group GeneaBlogger photo taken at 12:15 p.m.
(Thanks to Lillian Magill for giving everyone permission to display her photo)

and I then I headed to the airport.


A Few Coincidences

I’m always intrigued by these, so here we go:

I knew I would be late for the Commonwealth get-together at the Blue Lemon. It was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and I was arriving at the Trax station a block away. Right after I get of the train, the first person I see and call over is an Australian, none other than Alan Phillips. The second person I see and call over is another Australian, Jennie Fairs. They both were leaving the restaurant a bit early to go to their hotel.

I was really surprised that among all the people I might just run into, there was Tony Proctor from Ireland. I’ve known Tony on the web for years from the early days of Better GEDCOM with Pat Richley-Erickson in charge. I knew he flew in for last year’s RootsTech, but I never suspected he’d come all that way two years in a row. It was great finally meeting Tony in person and talking to him. The coincidence wasn’t the first running into him, but the 2nd and 3rd and 4th and …

On Friday night I was invited by Lara Diamond to a small get-together of just seven people. One person there was Amy Richmond. At 8 pm, I had to head to the MyHeritage After-Party, and Amy was going to her hotel in the same direction and we had a pleasant talk. So Friday morning, who’s the first person I see at RootsTech? It’s Amy.

Saturday morning on my last tour of the Expo Hall, who should I just happen to see in the public computer area but Ryan Heaton, and I went over to talk with him. Ryan had also given a talk at the BYU workshop but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him then. To see him my first day and then at the end of my last day is one thing. But I also went to Ryan’s talk on GEDCOM-X at my first RootsTech in 2012 and it was the first day of that conference as well. (Important note. I learned shortly after then that photographing slides of a presenter is verboten and stoped doing that. But GEDCOM-X was open and designed to be shared, so I’m sure Ryan would forgive me this time.)

Saturday following the bloggers photo, I headed out the front of the Convention Center towards the TRAX station to go to the airport. There weren’t many people on the sidewalk, but who is coming in the other direction: Bruce Brand, one of the organizers of the Innovator Showdown, and we had just emailed each other a few hours earlier. We stop and talk one last time.

At the Salt Lake City airport, awaiting my flight to Minneapolis, I’m surprised when Laura Hedgecock sits right beside me. She was connecting to Detroit through Minneapolis and was on the same flight as me. It would have been really amazing if we were sitting next to each other on the plane, but alas, she was 6 rows ahead of me. We enough time for a great talk before we had to board for the flight. A nice way to close RootsTech for me.


Final Statistics

Lara Diamond’s tweet of her Fit Bit statistics for Wednesday inspired me to pull my statistics from my Fit Bit. This is what I got:

When What Hrs Sleep Steps
Mon 6 Flight 5h 26m 12040
Tue 7 BYU 5h 2m 10277
Wed 8 Inn Sum 3h 53m 15577
Thu 9 RT 1 2h 58m 15529
Fri 10 RT 2 6h 11m 14414
Sat 11 Fam DD 4h 26m 13866
Average   4h 29m 13617
Normal   5h 55m 6579

My steps were double my normal. My hotel was three blocks away which was about 1200 steps to the Convention Center and took about 12 minutes to walk.

I was averaging about 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night, almost 1 1/2 hours less than my normal of 6 hours a night. Thursday I made sure I got a good sleep before the Showdown finals. And this was all without my normal coffee intake of 2 cups a day, so I was obviously running on adrenalin. I only had 1 cup on one morning (although I did sneak a few Coke’s in for a bit of caffeine kick).

(seen outside Caribou Coffee in the Minneapolis – Saint Paul airport)

Followup: March 17, 2017. Read Nicole Dyer’s excellent assessment of the different aspects of innovation taken by the five finalists.


My RootsTech Tech - Thu, 2 Feb 2017

Several others have already written about the items and the Tech that they’re taking to #RootsTech.

Nichole Dyer wrote about 8 Tech Tools to Bring to RootsTech. Alona Tester gives a big list of her general stuff and techy stuff in RootsTech 2017 – Counting Down. Christine Woodcock gave her list in RootsTech is Next Week! Wait! WHAT?  Jill Ball (GeniAus) gave her Rootstech Checklist in Just 7 More Sleeps. Devon Noel Lee gives her 5 Tips to Survive RootsTech 2017 to you as a video. And Linda Stufflebean lists a few tech items in her Preparing for Double RS – Research and RootsTech 2017.

So just for fun, here’s my list of Tech stuff I’m taking (or not taking):

  1. Two smartphones. I have tried those portable phone chargers before, but I found them to be a nuisance. The phone is hard to use with them plugged in, e.g. taking a picture or whatever. And keeping it in my pocket with the phone recharging is uncomfortable and sometimes the cord comes out.

    Better is to use my current phone, a Nokia Lumia 930 and my previous phone, a Nokia Lumia 920. One phone is not enough juice to last a day at RootsTech, but two do the job. Both have all the same apps on them, and access to the files I’m going to need.

  2. Two cord chargers. Obviously with two phones, I need two chargers. I leave these at the hotel to plug in each night.
  3. My OneNote App. This is probably my most important App. I’ve got everything in here, from my plane tickets to my hotel reservations, to my schedule of what I plan to do, to the people I hope to meet and on and on. The notes I take of happenings and people that I want to remember will go into OneNote. 
  4. My Twitter App. I love to live tweet a conference with pictures I’m taking. And I’ll be following what others say on the #RootsTech tag.
  5. My OneDrive App. At home I have an Office 365 subscription. For $99 Canadian a year, that gives me full copies of Office on 5 machines (me, my wife, my two daughters, and one extra), 60 monthly Skype minutes for each of us, and the biggie: 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user. OneDrive is where I put everything I may want to reference including all the RootsTech syllabi that I’ve already downloaded.
  6. My PowerPoint App. One thing I like about my Windows Phone is that it has mini versions of the Office apps. I can load my Double Match Triangulator Presentation for the Innovator Showdown onto it and also my two Presentations for the BYU Family History Technology Workshop. Then I can review and even update them any time I want, as I usually do on the plane on the way there.
  7. The RootsTech App. One thing I don’t like about my Windows Phone is that a lot of places don’t make Apps for it. The RootsTech App is only available for iOS and Android. But I can do the next best thing and use the online version of their app. I think it works just the same. The disadvantage of it is that it needs wifi, and with 24,000 people going to RootsTech, there will be times when the wifi will be spotty. So that’s why I’ve put my schedule of what I’m going to attend into my OneNote app (see #3).
  8. Windows Live Writer. This is one of my favorite programs which I use for all my blog posts. I just turn on my PC and … whoops. I’m definitely not taking my desktop, and I took a laptop to RootsTech in 2012 but it was so cumbersome and bulky that in 2014 as an experiment, I just took my phone. That worked out pretty well and I found it wasn’t too bad to blog each evening after the day was done back at the hotel on the business computer they provide. My blog would be a compilation of the tweets I did that day and can easily be done just the basic editing that Wordpress lets me do.
  9. Ribbons and Business Cards. Trading ribbons is the latest craze at conferences. Gotta catch ‘em all. They’re the new tech. But some people still want to trade the old tech: Business cards

    No automatic alt text available.

  10. No bags or anything. No pen. I’m not planning to carry anything with me. My phones will be in my left front pants pocket and that is it. If there’s a bunch of swag that the vendors in the Expo Hall are giving away, I’m sure one of the vendors will have a bag I can put it all in.

    I’m not planning to write anything either. If there’s a contest, I’ll use their pen, or throw a business card in the bin.

    If I do any research in the Family History Library, well, that’s what OneNote and the camera on my phone are for.

  11. My boot. I’m so happy my surgeon told me today that I won’t need to take my crutches to RootsTech. But the boot is still required. So a Star Wars  Stormtrooper I shall be.

    image     Image result for stormtrooper star wars

There is one Tech thing I would like to do in Salt Lake City if I get the chance. That is to visit the Microsoft Store in City Creek Centre. It’s just a block away from the Salt Palace Convention Centre where RootsTech is held. We have an Apple Store, an IKEA, and a Disney Store in Winnipeg, but not a Microsoft Store.

Non-Matches by cM - Wed, 1 Feb 2017

Roberta Estes did the first analysis of this and asked someone to do the same thing for an endogamous population. I had that data and I felt I wanted to know as well.

I did a blog post about it a few days ago that I titled Double Match Phasing for an Endogamous Population, but using the term “Double Match Phasing” was not quite accurate, since Phasing is done at the allele level, so it contradicts itself because “matching” works at the segment match level. I’m going to go back and rename this “Double Match Filtering” since what it really does is filter out everyone who doesn’t match to both people. (As it turns out, this is one huge benefit of Double Matching, in that you can choose the two people to filter with – but that will be the topic of a future post).

Regarding the issue of Non-Matches by cM: First let me state that we are not in any way trying to claim that a segment is Identical by Descent (IBD). We are actually doing the opposite and are showing that the match is false and cannot be IBD. This can be shown when there’s a segment match of a child with Person c that does not also match with at least one parent of the child. If neither parent matches, then the child could not have had the segment passed down and it must be a by-chance match with Person c.

The first step of this analysis was to verify that my analysis gave the same results as Roberta. She was kind enough to send me the FamilyTreeDNA Chromosome Browser Results files she used so that I could check and compare my results with hers.


A Free Excel Spreadsheet Template for You

In Roberta’s analysis, she combined the child, father and mother results together and manually inspected them to find child matches that did not match either parent. This was going to be a lot of work on her part, so to reduce the number of matches she’d have to inspect, she first eliminated all matches under 3 cM from the 3 files.

For my analysis, I developed Excel equations that would automate the detection of overlapping segments for me. This would ensure I would not make any manual mistakes and allowed me to use all the data right down to the 1 cM limit that FamilyTreeDNA provides in its CBR files.

I have made available for free a template for this Excel spreadsheet that you can use and try for yourself. It includes a few terse instructions on how to add your child/father/mother CBR files and even includes a graph you can use to compare your results. But it’s caveat emptor. You’ll need to have decent skills with Excel to use it. To understand what it’s results mean, read the rest of this article.

The template is here:  DM Filtering Parents Child Template.xlsx

Roberta did use Double Matching in her analysis but did not recognize it as such. She found all the matches of the child, father and mother, and she looked for double matches between the child as Person a to any Person c, and either the father as Person b or the mother as Person b  to the same Person c. If neither the father or mother matched to the Person c, then she marked that Person c as a false match of the child.

I did basically the same, except that I kept the father’s Double Matches with the child separate from the mother’s Double Matches with the child. This allows for a bit more analysis since you can now also determine the number of matches with both parents which is useful for endogamy. My number matching neither parent is no different than Roberta’s.

Comparing my results with Roberta’s gave this:


In each of the charts on this page, the cM value represents the lower bound of the cM group. So “1” is 1 to 1.99 cM. “2” is 2 to 2.99 cM. The “15” is 15 to 19.99 cM and “20” is 20 cM or more.

In the chart above, you’ll see that at 5 cM and above, Roberta’s line and my line for her data are almost exactly the same. When you go down to 4 cM and 3 cM they start to diverge. The reason for this was Roberta’s 3 cM cutoff. There are instances where the child has a little bit extra random match that puts them above the 3 cM threshold, but the parent who matched was just under 3 cM and was no longer in the file and thus Roberta had deleted.

The same phenomena may be happening to my data at the 1 cM cutoff’ done by FamilyTreeDNA, but that’s the smallest segment that they provide. So the numbers in the Check data may be a couple of percent higher at the 1, 2 and 3 cM level than they should be.

But this is very interesting. It says that for segments 8 cM and smaller, the number of child matches that don’t have a corresponding parent match in Roberta’s data grows from 20% up to a penultimate level of about 80% at 3 cM or less. That is saying that a full 20% of very small segments do have a parent matching on the same segment, which is probably more than most people thought.


Must Match at least Once with Parents

Okay. I’ve verified that Roberta’s results match with mine. During that process, I found something similar to that 3 cM cutoff effect that needed to be handled. This was a situation where the child matches to Person c on one or more segments, but neither parent matches to Person c at all on any segment. In this case, Roberta is including all the child’s segments as non-matches.

About 15% of the the people matching matched only the Child but neither parent. It is not as if there is only one or two matching segments with these people. The minimum match requirements of FamilyTreeDNA are enough that each of these people match the child on between 6 and 29 segments averaging 12 segments. The total cM matching to each person ranges from 20 cM to averaging 33 cM with only a few totalling more than 40 cM.  The average likelihood of one of these segments not matching (according to our results shown in the graph above) is about 70%. The chance of every one of 12 segments on a match all being non-matches is 0.7**12 = or about 1%. So in almost all cases, some of these segments must match to some segments of at least one of the parents. Why don’t they? Because the parent must have just slipped under the FamilyTreeDNA’s criteria of a match and thus were not included in the match file.

So if we include these children that don’t have at least one segment match with a parent, then we are counting all their segments as non-matches which is almost assuredly not true and we are overestimating the amount of non-matches by 15%. As a result, I’ve included the option in my spreadsheet template of “Must Match at least Once with Parents” which I recommend be left at TRUE. You can change it to FALSE to compare to what most studies (who do not realize this is a problem) would come out with.

Here is what Roberta’s results look like when corrected for this. Compare the blue line to the orange line:


The very interesting effect of this is not to lower chances of non-matches for smaller or larger segments, but to lower them for the mid-range segments. This is likely because these matches barely met the criteria required for the child to match and most had a reasonably large segment in the 5 cM or 6 cM range which were called false because the parents just missed the criteria.


Removal of X Chromosome matches

One other thing I found while I did this work was that the X chromosome was different. It had its own pattern of false matches. It should be studied separately (and I will do so at the end of this post). The X chromosome should not be combined with the autosomal chromosomes 1 to 22.

When we take the X out of Roberta’s data, we get this. Compare the yellow line to the blue line:


Removal of the X chromosome gets rid of the strange looking drop we had at 6 cM and gives us a nice smooth line with non-matches starting to be significance when segments are 6 cM or less and ultimately reaching 77% proven false matches when segments are 1 or 2 cM.

And the resulting yellow line is just about the same as Roberta’s initial results, except shifted left 2 cM.

Once again, remember, this is the percentage of child matches that can be shown to be non-IBD simply because neither parent matches on the same segment. This is not the non-IBD percentage which will be higher. This number is a lower bound because there are other reasons why a segment might be IBD.

From this point on, I’ll refer to the refer to the yellow line as Estes*, as it includes the refinements I applied above, which were: (1) going down to 1 cM, (2) excluding matches to no parents, and (3) excluding the X chromosome. This Estes* yellow line will be the base for which I’ll compare other results to for the rest of this article.


The Other Person

We, of course, are only checking that our child and one of his parents both match Person c.  But what about Person c?  What if Person c, who connects to us, does not match either of their parents on that segment? Assuming that it’s as likely to have matches proved false for Person c as what we found for Estes*, and assuming independence between the child’s false matches and Person c’s false matches, it is easy to calculate the additional percentage of false matches as:  1 – (1 - %child-false)**2 and it theoretically will result in this:


Now that blue line takes us up to non-confidence levels many people believe are true with respect to non-IBD numbers, at least for very small segments. I’m still not saying that these represent IBD likelihood, because these don’t. This is just the percentage of matches that can be proven false if one or the other of a match does not have a parent that also matches.

The assumption of independence means that a non-match with a parent on the cousin’s side is not more or less likely when the child is a match or non-match with a parent. If there is a dependency, then non-matches of the child will more often happen at the same time the cousin doesn’t have a parent match. This will reduce the % of non-matches and the combined line will fall somewhere between the yellow and blue lines.

For now, we’ll ignore this double-sided numbers because I don’t have parents for the cousins to enable analysis of the where the blue line is. I can only determine the yellow line. So for the rest of the analysis on this page, we’ll go back to the Estes* yellow line to compare with. We will also always exclude X and exclude the child’s matches with people who don’t match a parent on at least one segment.


The Child’s Sibling

Roberta gave me the data for a second child which she didn’t analyse for her article. It’s easy for me to analyze it with my spreadsheet, so I thought I’d do the calculation for her.


The good news is that the two give very similar results.


Comparing to a Different Child-Mother-Father trio

The question is whether or not Roberta’s example is representative for everyone or it there’s a big variance between the non-match rate for different people.

Kathy Benzi responded to my request for additional sets of Chromosome Browser Results files for child/mother/father trios. When I ran her results, it gave me these results:


Interesting! Kathy’s results give slightly lower non-match percentages than Roberta’s do. Not sure why, but they are still reasonably close.


Bonus! Child-Father-Father’s Mother

Kathy sent me a “bonus”. She also included the CBR file for the father’s mother. At first, I didn’t think I’d be able to use the grandparent, but I put it into the DM Filtering spreadsheet and realized it gives different, but also very useful information.

If a person is related to the child on the father’s mother’s side, then the child’s match must also be a match with the father and the grandmother (which the spreadsheet defines as “both”). We can ignore the matches that are only on the father’s side, because the valid ones would be on his father (the grandfather’s) side. And we can ignore the matches on the “neither” side, because the valid ones would be on the child’s mother’s side.

What is important are the matches of the child that are the same as the grandmother, but are not matches with the father. Those are then false matches that somehow did not go through the father. These aren’t one-off cases of single segments. These are multiple segments that match between the child and Person c and between the grandmother and Person c but don’t match between the father and Person c. Once again, I have to make sure that the father matches with the Person c on at least one segment, or his reason for not matching is that he just missed the match criteria as in the “Must Match at least Once with Parents” as discussed earlier.

With that adjustment, I can determine the number of segments that somehow only the child and grandmother match to, but not the parent in-between, and here’s the results (the grey line):


That is a significantly lower percentage of missing father matches. And that is good, because you’ve got two people, the child and the grandmother both matching Person c.  This Double Match should lower false matches, and it does.


Comparing to an Endogamous Population

I have two sets of Chromosome Browser Results files from endogamous populations that I can use. One has both parents with a son and daughter, and the other which is a completely separate family has both parents with a son.

Comparing their results with the Estes* results gives:


This is very interesting. There are a lot fewer non-matches that in an non-endogamous population. I have no idea why that might be. Also, the 3 cases I have give almost identical results.

I also think the DM Filtering spreadsheet I’ve made also can give you a decent estimate of how endogamous a family is. If you take a look at the number of child-father matches, child-mother matches, and child-bothparents matches, endogamous groups will have many more matches than non-endogamous, and child-bothparents matches will be a much higher percentage of the total. Compare the following total results from the tests that I had:


You’ll notice that the 3 non-endogamous children have about 20,000 matches in total.  The 3 endogamous children have over 6 times as many matches.

The 3 non-endogamous children have a much lower percentage of their matches in common with both parents than do the 3 endogamous children.

And finally, the 3 non-endogamous children have a significantly higher percentage of non-matches that can be disproved because neither of their parents shares that match.


Non-Matches in the X Chromosome by cM

There are much fewer matches in the X chromosome to use than in the autosomes used above. My inspection of the X results indicates more of a difference between males and females than between endogamous and non-endogamous. So I’m going to put the 4 females together and the 2 males together.

Females get two X chromosomes, one from their father and one from their mother . The combined match totals of the 4 female children I have are:


Males get one X chromosome, just from their mother. When tallying the percent non-matches for males, I also include the Father column, since the male cannot get his X from his father.


Graphing these against our autosomal Estes* for comparison gives:


Interestingly, the X non-match percentage is significant even for large segments.

Also interestingly, the male X-segments don’t get worse than 36% non-matches even for very small segments.

I’m not sure why. For the X, I’m just the messenger, presenting the results.


Coming Up

So that’s my analysis of Non-Matches by cM using parent filtering.

But it really isn’t what I ultimately need to know. What I am looking for is to find how much these non-matches can be improved by using Triangulation and also what the improvement is for Double Matches that are missing the a-b match and therefore don’t Triangulate.

My theory is that there should be a significant reduction in the % Non-Matches for all Double Matches, whether they Triangulate or not. I’m wondering what the threshold should be, i.e. what cM level, where you need to start worrying that Triangulated segments can be disproved from being IBD simply because the child does not match one of its parents.

The analysis of Double Matches and Triangulations will be in my next post on this subject. I’m not sure if I can get the analysis done prior to RootsTech, so it might have to wait until after.

Until then, for a preview, go back to the Bonus! Child-Father-Father’s Mother section above. That was Triangulation in action.