Any DNA-friendly folks out there willing to walk me through FTDNA?

+7 votes
I just got yet another email notification that I have another genetic cousin through FamilyTree DNA, and once again, I click through, and my eyes glaze over. I cannot make head nor tail out of what I'm looking at. And once again, I walk away wholly dissatisfied.

I'd love to get on Zoom with someone, share my screen, and have someone coach me through what the heck to do, and how to tell how, if at all, I'm related to any of the long list of people on my FTDNA dashboard.

in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (817k points)
Hi Jillaine,

I have some experience with FTDNA. Send me a PM if someone hasn't already volunteered to help.
I manage several kits at FTDNA and am happy to help as well.
Thanks, you two. I'm thinking of setting up a zoom this weekend for this. I'm on the east coast of the USA and like mornings for my wikitree time. Would that work for either or both of you?
I'm in the midwest of the USA and weekend mornings usually work well for me.
Hey Jillaine,

You seem to have a crowd already, but I am available if you need me - anytime.

Jillaine, I'm more of an evening/night person. :) But I am usually up by 9 or 10 am, mountain time. So after 11 am your time. I'm happy to help out, if it works out, just let us know what time you are available.
Heck, I'd love to 'sit in' on this just to see Jillaine and Mags!  (Hope you both are well!!) I'm presently on the west coast, so 3 hours behind you.  While I get up early, I don't get on the computer before 8 am (ie 11 am EDT).
It's been a while Darlene!

2 Answers

+3 votes
I haven't done FTDNA yet, but they all pretty much have to work the same way.

There's a centiMorgan (cM) number for each match, and that can be used to estimate how closely-related you are to them. The higher the cM number, the more precisely you can tell the relation.

Beyond that, they undoubtedly tell you what other people you BOTH match. Once you start to figure out how some of your matches are related, you can generally tell which side of your family (thru which grandparent, great-grandparent, etc) the person is related from this list. If it's a relative on my dad's side, my 1st cousins (on my mom's side) are not going to show up on that list.

It's very much like a jigsaw puzzle that way - as you get a number of key pieces in place, the next few become a bit easier, and the next few after that become easier still. When I start on a given site, it's usually a "who the heck ARE these people?" situation, even though I've done extensive research on distant relative. But eventually, I figure out who most of the people above about 50cM are.

With the other sites, if they're notifying you of a specific new match, that probably means that it's a fairly high-value cM, and you have a good chance f figuring out how they're related.

So how many cMs IS this new mystery match?
by Frank Stanley G2G6 Mach 7 (77.4k points)
+3 votes

Meanwhile, Jillaine, maybe this can get you started, and I apologize if I'm being overly simplistic.

First, yes, if you share DNA with someone, you are related to the person, especially the strong matches at the top of your list.

From your home page, find the little button for "matches" and click on that, or use the "myDNA" drop-down menu at the top of the page.

On your match list, you will see some little icons next to each person's name.  If there is a tree icon, you can click on that to see their tree.  See the image below on which I've circled the tree icon.

If the person has not posted a tree, then just as on Ancestry or anywhere else, you will have to use other means to try and determine your relationship.

P.S.  To avoid referring to any other living person, I've used someone else's DNA account, and I am the match in the illustration.

by Living Kelts G2G6 Pilot (514k points)
Frank and I were posting at the same time.  His answer discusses some of what I referred to as "other means."
Thanks Julie.  The matches link you're talking about is distinct from the page that is sent to me via email   It's that that is drifting me nuts
Sorry.  I trust that your Zoom session this weekend will enable you to sort that out.  If not, I'd be happy to try and help.
And some other life priorities will result in me having to push this off another week...

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