Why does my grandfather's profile have DNA people listed on it?

+12 votes
I was just looking at my grandfather's profile.


There are a bunch of people -- Steigers, mostly -- listed in the right hand column under DNA connections. But no one in our family has done a DNA test.

What are they doing here? And what should I do with the information provided?

WikiTree profile: John Smith
asked in WikiTree Tech by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (654k points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
Hi Jillaine, The tests that you see listed there are auDNA tests (called Family Finder tests on FamilyTreeDNA).  These tests are not about a paternal Smith line of ancestry like the yDNA tests.  Instead, an auDNA will provide matches across all family lines to the most recent 4 to 6 generations.

So if you take a FamilyFinder test, you will find auDNA genetic matches anywhere on this list of your family surnames:  http://www.wikitree.com/treewidget/Smith-32867/10, including the question marks.  You may have a Steiger cousin connection in one of those question marks. I suggest that you take a FamilyFinder test to see your auDNA genetic cousin connections.
answered by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (463k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
Thanks for the explanation, Kitty. I just wish the user interface was different.

Unfortunately, I live in a state with laws that prevent me from taking a commercial DNA test.
Hi Jillaine,

Your comment about living in a State that prevents you from taking a DNA test prompted me to look a little bit into this. I know the restrictions placed on 23andme was because they go out of their way add as many SNP's believed to be related to health and trait's. I believe FTDNA and AncestryDNA removed any markers that would draw attention from the FDA.

If you are a resident of New York or Maryland, I believe you can order from AncestryDNA or FTDNA. I did a quick internet search, I found one comment that said you could order from these websites, and no comments that you couldn't.

If they are available and you can afford it, I would order both the AncestryDNA test and the Family Finder test.

Best wishes,

Thanks Ken for researching that. I didn't realize that the law distinguished the different tests and I was probably focused on 23andme because it had been recommended.
That is interesting.  All three services provide essentially the same SNP results.  NY residents can still do 23andme, but must mail it back from outside the state of NY.  MD residents cannot use the test at all.  I could find the same medical answers from any of these three results since they all let you download their raw data.  I assume the reasoning is that 23andme will eventually be allowed to provide health reports again by the FDA, so they are not just an ancestry test.  FTDNA and AncestryDNA have never offered any services other than family finding, so that must be how they get a pass.  Livewello and other raw data reader services work with all 3 raw data files, so they would provide health related reports for AncestryDNA or FTDNA customers.
Hi Rick,

Here is a chart that compares the 3 services:http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_testing_comparison_chart

I am winging this so I may have to make some changes. I began with 23andme when they used the V2 version of the Illumina chip, when they switched over to the V3 version, it required an additional sample. Some SNP's on V2 were dropped and many added, with an emphasis to add SNP's related to health. Existing 23andme customers could upgrade and have both sets. I think My 23andme raw data file has around 1 million SNPs tested.

FTDNA used the same chip as 23andme but removed health related SNP's, like Parkinson's for example, that might cause a problem with the FDA. The remaining SNP's 23andme would characterize as traits. The FDA is not concerned with Traits, like wet or dry earwax.

AncestryDNA's used the same Illumina chip and I believe removed the same health-related SNP's but added ancestry related SNP's. Ancestry Related SNP's have more to do with Ancestry Composition and less to do with genealogy.

23andme then upgraded to their latest version V4 on a new chip. They greatly reduced the number of SNP's and focused on those that also added value to their focus on health.

Each of these 3 companies actually focus on 3 different markets. FTDNA focuses on the genealogy, AncestryDNA Ancestry, and 23andme Health.

I can't tell you how many people at FTDNA have expressed some negative attitude because I manage 12 accounts, who they do not have direct contact with. Something that is quite common and expected on 23andme.

I can't tell you how many people at AncestryDNA and 23andme who have expressed surprise at finding a list of DNA Relatives. My AncestryDNA cousins tell me they bought the kit or where given the kit so they could find out if their Ancestry was what they expected. This is part of a major advertising campaign. 23andme cousins bought or were given a kit so they could get health results or so they could participate in some illness related sponsorship. In other words, a single 23andme program might subsidize all or part of 30,000+ kits and not inform them about the other features.
Very well stated Ken.  23andme does market to genealogists and ancestry as well, especially now that the FDA won't let them do health reporting.  But I do see your point.  I have transferred my 23andme results into FTDNA, but have not yet been willing to pay the fee to interact with others there.  I like it though and am hoping when I can afford the yDNA test that it will also allow me to interact based on the auDNA.

I suspect that the customized chips between the sites have a significant amount of overlap and many must still relate to health topics to some degree.  I am on the V3 from 23andme and my mother is on the V4.  There are some variations, but it is hard to see them really.  Both versions upload just fine into FTDNA and provide the autosomal matching to other users there.  I can see some who I have connected with on 23andme and the cM values are nearly identical between the systems.  That is the reason that I suspect there is not much difference.

I run 4 accounts on 23andme and know many others who do that as well.  It seems odd that FTDNA folks would not typically do this.  Ideally, I would want to have cousins from all my major surnames take the yDNA test there even if I had to pay for it.  Then I would likely run all of those despite my actual surname not matching.  Seems logical to me.
Hi Rick,

For some reason, many Wikitree users are still very high on YSTR tests but the early return on investement is usually quite low unless you know about a match ahead of time.

I looked at your tree, and it appears you have a living aunt and 2 uncles on your fathers side. If this is true and they are willing, I would purchase family finder kits as soon as possible for all 3.

The main reason I choose FTDNA, is because they will store the sample, and you can order a yDNA and mtDNA later. To save some money now, you could order one or more $69 mtDNA kit replacing the Family Finder kit.

I know that some people would suggest only your uncle, but there is still plenty of technology yet to be developed in the autosomal area.  My best example would be www.gedmatch.com "Lazarus" support. It "generates 'pseudo-DNA kits' based on segments in common with your matches". In other words, you can generate a DNA kit for your grandparents using a combination of the decendents of your grandparents and their other blood relatives, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. The more that test, the more DNA in the pseudo-DNA kit' results in better quality results.

Best wishes,


Hello Ken,

You noted, "For some reason, many Wikitree users are still very high on YSTR tests but the early return on investement is usually quite low unless you know about a match ahead of time."

What you say is off the mark.  Many genetic genealogists think highly of Y-STR tests  because they are more useful for direct paternal line ancestry (which our surnames usually follow).  Confirming direct paternal line anestry with Y-STR matching is much easier than using autosomal DNA to confirm ancestry.

Sincerely, Peter


Some of us cannot search with Y-STR matching. My father is deceased & had no brothers. His father is an Unknown (Lithuanian) Jew who coupled with my Gm in 1906 in either Frankfurt (my father's birthplace) or Karlsruhe (my gm's family residence before she was 17). ULJ's name was Kept off The Birth Register. We can infer the families' reasons, but inferences are guesses. I found one family of my father's paternal relatives through ftdna.com's FF (audna) test. Of the three, 2 are now deceased. Only today I've read of an "ftdna autosomal transfer." but searching on ftdna's site, I do not come up with any information about it. I now must start seeking help from GENETIC GENEALOGISTS, yet I am a humanities person (not scientific) by education and 3 degrees. So they will be having difficulties trying to get their "simple" answers to looking at these connections to pierce my dense skull. Sigh.  All that said, I have gained so much from this research. I only wish I could tell my father.
Hello Roberta,

It will be to your benefit to add your AncestyDNA or Family Finder (but not both) to GEDmatch and add your GEDmatch ID to your DNA Tests page in WikiTree.  Half of your X DNA (which is included with your auDNA results) is from your father's mother.
Dear Peter!, What a relief to receive your quick note. It indicates a very direct approach, through DNA at ftdna instead of that large tree of mine (with all its flaws) done at anc.com. What a shorter and more direct approach! and what a godsend!!! (Between the start of my trying to download my overlarge tree and now, I've had a life crisis and had to put that process aside. This may be one time when all things come together.) Too, on my large flawed tree, my Ashkenazi relatives can't be shown because with the lack of the name of my paternal gf, I have no way to search and connect through historic records my tree to the much loved and revered (by me) Bermans.  --thank you for your knowledge in these new areas and, more, for the kindness and compassion you show by telling me how to find a way through all the silence.
+2 votes

Here is how John and Cindy are related.  


Cindy and John are second cousins twice removed

answered by Ken Sargent G2G6 Mach 5 (56.5k points)
Thanks, Ken. I subsequently figured that out.

Seems like it be more useful to simply have one line that says "this person has probable DNA connections on wikitree. Click for more details."

Then the link could go to a page that includes the list and the current text (although I found Kitty's description a bit easier to understand).

The more people who take DNA tests, the longer that list will become, pushing all the other right hand column info too far down the page.

Hi Jillaine,

I made virtually the same statement earlier.  The list you saw was from a group of people who all tested at just AncestryDNA, but if they also tested at 23andme and FTDNA, the list would be 3 times the size.  I know they will have to revisit this once more people begin to add their tests.

Not too long ago, these people only appeared on those profiles that were about 2nd cousins or closer. Predicting 2nd cousins is ~100% accurate, while predicting 3rd cousins is ~90% accurate.  https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/autosomal-ancestry/universal-dna-matching/probability-relative-share-enough-dna-family-finder-detect/

Remember, on Wikitree, they are a connection. :)

Best wishes,


+1 vote
Jillian - If you do not know these people already, I recommend you contact the owners of the dna profiles. Compare family trees. It would appear that you both claim your grandparent as relative - are these folks really cousins that you don'r know about or is there an incorrect match with someone similar to your grandparent?

answered by
Hi Tony,

We share a common ancestor, not my grandfather, but 2 generations above my grandfather.

That's in part why I was surprised to see this information on my grandfather's profile.

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