Did you see the latest DNA improvements, especially for X chromosome comparisons?

+39 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

Today we released significant improvements to our DNA Descendants pages:

  • We made a change to privacy controls so that if you're on a private descendant's Trusted List you can see their name on the list.
  • We indicate if a descendant is living, i.e. if they're a potential test-taker.
  • We highlight if a descendant has already taken a relevant DNA test.

This isn't such a big deal for the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA tests because we already indicate on the ancestor's profile and on DNA Confirmation Aids when descendants carrying their Y or mt have taken Y or mt tests.

It is a big deal for X chromosome comparisons. The inheritance pattern of the X is complex, and we don't yet indicate on profiles when X comparisons would be useful.

As you may know, genealogists don't take XDNA-specific tests. The X results are included for free in our Family Finder, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe autosomal tests. This means that hundreds of thousands of genealogists have X-chromosome matches with each other but most aren't aware of how to use them, or it's just too hard. That's why these changes are significant.

If you're interested in confirming specific family relationships using X chromosome results, here's what you can do:

  1. Go to your DNA Ancestors page. (Select "DNA" from a pull-down menu that starts with your ID, or click "DNA Confirmation" on the "My WikiTree" menu and select the button for "DNA Ancestors".)
  2. Scroll to your X chromosome ancestors section. Look for a distant ancestor who doesn't have a DNA checkmark indicating that they've already been confirmed with DNA.
  3. Go to that ancestor's DNA Descendants page by clicking the descendants icon next to their name.
  4. Scroll to the ancestor's X chromosome descendants section. Look for anyone who has been tested. To confirm relationships all the way back to the starting person you'd need descendants of separate first-generation children. You might suggest a test to anyone who's living but hasn't been tested.

Anyone care to write out what to do at the various testing companies and GEDMatch to compare X results?

Thank you to Peter Roberts for suggesting the XDNA additions and many other improvements, and for being an all-around champion for WikiTree's continued leadership in family tree-DNA integration.

Onward and upward,


P.S. If this inspires you to recruit a cousin for DNA testing (it did for me), be sure to use one of the following links. These will give WikiTree a commission on the sale. Thanks!

in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Am waiting for return information mtDNA ancestry.com now :)

"Anyone care to write out what to do at the various testing companies and GEDMatch to compare X results"

I can explain how it worked for me on 23 and me.

In the DNA relatives section is a long list of people with whom you share more than 7cM of DNA. You may be able to contact the individuals who you share with . I was contacted by a man from Canada, I didn't recognise any of the names on his list of surnames and it wasn't a large match  so it wasn't one of my priorities but I said yes.  In a section called Family inheritance advanced I was able to compare his genome to mine and discovered that the match was a segment of 26cM  on the X chromosome  This person  also had a family tree on My Heritage. Looking at that, I did recognise a name,  Lucy Satchell  meant nothing but fortunately he had included  her maiden name of Gurney,which did.. I knew that my gggg grandmother was  married to a Gurney..

It didn't take much research to find that Lucy's father Jeremiah Gurney was the brother of  Arthur Gurney, my  ggggrand father.  They had the same mother. The x chromosome pattern was correct (ie there can't be two male descendants in a row because a man receives his x chromosome from his mother)

In the 'widget'


 my Canadian  'match descends from  Bessie Lainchbury

He actually has a guest member profile on wikitree but has not confirmed it, so I  don't feel able join the dots on here.

There's a really interesting article on the X chromosome here which also throws some light on how Family Tree DNA reports matches (it seems that as this match was just on the X chromosome it wouldn't have been reported! ) https://dna-explained.com/2014/01/23/that-unruly-x-chromosome-that-is/

2 Answers

+12 votes
:-O Awesome!

Thanks Chris!

Here is an earlier blog about how you can use your X chromosome matches to confirm your ancestry in WikiTree:

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (725k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
+10 votes
Is there a reason why non-biological children and their biological descendants show on this list? Wouldn't it be better to just hide them completely?
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (656k points)
They're highlighted as non-biological.

Yes, it might be better to hide them completely. There's no good UI reason for not doing so. It's that it would be difficult technically given the peculiar way we create this page.
Is it possible to mark the descendants of the non-biological as not-related-by-dna? It is kind of confusing when some of those descendants have "confirmed by dna" markers next to their names (because they are confirmed by dna to their biological parent / grandparent, who is not biologically related to the ancestor).

Edit: If it is too difficult to do, don't worry about it. It probably a very rare case where this is a problem.
Hi Jamie. Can you point to an example of this? It shouldn't be possible, since Non-Biological and Confirmed with DNA can't both be set; they're alternative Relationship Status settings. I guess you must mean their parents' relationships to their grandparents are Confirmed with DNA, but an illustration would help me understand why it's confusing. It may not be clear, because it's confusing, but only individual parent-child relationships are confirmed, not family lines.
Right, I wasn't thinking clearly. You can just follow the confirmed line up to the non-biological parent and stop there. I was thinking along the lines that at a quick glance you may not notice that the descendants of a non-biological person are not related to the ancestor.

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