Mentors Tips - Trying to understand DNA confirmation and WikiTree? Part I - Citations

+36 votes

Yesterday I got a kick in the bum (completely unintentionally) from one of my heros, DNA expert extraordinaire, Peter Roberts.  I was doing the things I do and noticed him working with a profile.  As a part of what he had done we had a short email exchange about DNA confirmation and why it's important to Cite the confirmation in the child's profile here on WikiTree.

The kick in the bum made me go back and add my citations!

So for example, my grandmother's DNA has been proven using a method called triangulation (basically I have found two other people who match my DNA, through testing, and our genealogical research sync's-up as well). I am using auDNA (autosomal) with 4th cousins.  But how on earth do I cite this? I went to the DNA Confirmation Help Page and looked it up!

The citation ended up looking like this:  

In her bio it says: Eunice was born in Westminster, SC to Nola Ellen Dillard.  

I added the citation in line
<ref>Maternal relationship is confirmed by a triangulated group consisting of [[Gaulden-7|M. Gaulden]] GEDmatch F340555, [[Sharp-2415|Sandy Sharp]] GEDmatch A759497  and [[Peterson-3499|Larry Milton Peterson]] GEDmatch F34276 sharing a 26.7 cM segment on chromosome 9 from 103,348,186 to 123,946,544.</ref> 

Here is how it looks:

  1.  Maternal relationship is confirmed by a triangulated group consisting of M. Gaulden GEDmatch F340555, Sandy Sharp GEDmatch A759497 and Larry Milton Peterson GEDmatch F34276 sharing a 26.7 cM segment on chromosome 9 from 103,348,186 to 123,946,544.
WikiTree profile: Eunice Hunt
asked in The Tree House by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (460k points)
edited by Mags Gaulden
Nice post!! You are my hero.  Sincerely, Peter
Thanks for this.  The DNA stuff has me bamboozled.
This is a prime example why DNA connections should NOT be hidden away or made optional, it is too powerful of a tool to confirm or correct family lineages.

Great story well told Mags!
Great post, Mags!
This is great info for a beginner like me, thanks!
I agree with this completely.  The DNA testing should be visible and open for everyone to see.
My mom and Dad love to give me books as gifts. This year I have Genetic Genealogy books (not arrived yet - waaaa!) on their way to my DNA knowledge hungry self.

So I am sure there will be more to come. Thanks for all the great comments!

Would you please share the titles of the Genetic Genealogy books that you recommend.  I am interested in something more on the intermediate level.  I understand the concepts of Genetic testing and using the different tests for genealogical purposes.  What I would really like is tips and pointers on using especially autosomal testing to solve brickwall questions (ie testing strategies, organizing data, which tools are most helpful such as Genome Mate Pro, Gedmatch, etc.)
Ms Miller, I found a site that has a lot of DNA information. It is fairly technical but readable. It is under the name ISOGG. I don't know if it will have the information you are interested in but it is free.

ISOGG is a Best answer in my book!  Thanks Jerry.

Yes ISOGG is a good website.  I am aware of it.

2 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer
Wauw Mags what a story and what a great profile :) So awesome that the DNA proved she really was her daughter !
answered by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (245k points)
selected by Lynden Rodriguez
Thanks Bea!  It has been fun working out the mystery.  There is still a mystery...I didn't post it on her page, yet, but I will when I work it out!

Really did a great job Mags , love the mysteries and must have been great finally solving this thanks to the DNA , and to be continued ...very curious now :P
+7 votes
I appreciate your documentation, Mags, but I (and probably many other contributors) am reluctant to emulate your example because I don't want to invade my cousins' privacy by posting their names and DNA data.

I've posted some deliberately vague descriptions of the three-way matches that caused me to mark certain ancestral relationships as "confirmed by DNA," but anyone who wants names, chromosomes, and locations  is probably going to have to contact me.
answered by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (913k points)

Hey Ellen,

I certainly understand you want to protect your cousins information - that is important to you and is valid.

The information in this citation are from members of WikiTree, who have posted their DNA information to their profile.

I would also state that the information an individual posts to WikiTree regarding their DNA does not include any raw data - meaning there is nothing to gain from "hacking" or otherwise getting DNA information posted to WikiTree.  An individual may post as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. WikiTree provides an avenue for showing how you connect to your Ancestors.


I agree with you, Mags, but that doesn't ensure that my cousins would feel good about having their information posted.

I see a bit of a paradox here. WikiTree profiles for living people can get a high degree of privacy protection. DNA triangulation is based on fairly private information about living people, and the profiles where it needs to be displayed often are for people (in my case, my great grandparents) whose profiles are not subject to the same protection.

Hey Ellen,

In that case I would use the same basic citation.  In place of the other's names and ID's you might place "Information available upon request" note. This way you can be the privacy-keeper of this information.  

It might look something like this:

 Maternal relationship is confirmed by a triangulated group consisting of M. Gaulden GEDmatch F340555, Information available upon request and Information available upon request sharing a 26.7 cM segment on chromosome 9 from 103,348,186 to 123,946,544. 

In the meantime I'll touch base with others in the DNA project and see how we create a citation where the information needs to remain private. Then add it to the help pages.


Thanks, Mags. For what it's worth, here's one of the citations I created earlier:

DNA confirmation of Allen Gates Clark's relationship to his mother, born Mary Simonds, is based on three-way autosomal DNA matches between three great-grandchildren of Allen Gates Clark (two grandchildren of Doris Clark Smith and a grandchild of Louise Clark Anderson) and a great-great grandchild of Mary Simonds' sister Martha. 

That looks good Ellen, though I don't know about the technical threshold information - "sharing a 26.7 cM segment on chromosome 9 from 103,348,186 to 123,946,544."



I could add that info.

I have now added that info to the two profiles of great grandparents where I had noted DNA confirmation. Thanks for the advice.

In one case, the segment that is shared by all lines of descent is on the X chromosome. When I went to add that, it occurred to me that I needed to state that this is a family line from which all of us could expect to have inherited part of our X chromosome(s).  I don't know if there's standard terminology for saying that. What I came up with is this:

The Simonds ancestor is predicted to be a potential X-chromosome contributor for all four persons tested.

Thanks for your suggestion for the citation Mags. Like Ellen, I'm another one who is reluctant to encroach on the privacy of cousins. When I joined Wikitree I didn't realise that part of the proof for the DNA match was to publicly cite the gedmatch number. Consequently I've been having a lot of second thoughts about it. I hope it gets addressed in the help section soon.
i joined  wiki  and  am  having  trouble  learning  it....are  there  any groups  in arizona where   some one  can help me learn wiki  ?
Hello Nancy,

Please let me know your WikiTree ID.  I recommend you repost as a separate question with tags for help so people will find your posting.

Most sincerely, Peter

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