What do you think of FTDNA partnering with Geni?

+7 votes
Family Tree DNA plans to associate their DNA results with ancestry in Geni


Geni will not include DNA from cousins who tested with different labs.
in The Tree House by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (716k points)
retagged by Living Sälgö

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
I've uploaded nearly two dozen DNA samples to GENI. So far I think it will be very useful but it has some caveats as well.


The Y DNA and mtDNA results automatically propagate up the tree all the way back to any profile born after 1600. This is just like on Wikitree. Why they decided to cut off pre-1600 profiles I do not know because it would be very helpful in splitting and joining various families back in England. Perhaps they are worried about some controversy. For example it would clearly show certain families are not related 500, 1000 or 2000 years ago and some folks have some very zealous beliefs that they do not want challenged. But still this is going to be a huge win for sorting out progenitors where records fail us. It’ll be a huge win for the South African Progenitor project for example or for British colonies, etc. The thing I like about this is that the process to link profiles to FTDNA is simples and fast. So I think a lot of people will adopt it. In contrast the process to do this on Wikitree is obscure and difficult to find. I only wish they would also link results from YFull and FullGenomes. I’ll give them an A- on this.


One other issue is if the Y DNA or mtDNA files don’t match at all Loci (even if they have the same terminal haplotype) they mark it as contested. This is not correct. The whole point is that loci can and do change over time on different branches and so we should not expect all loci to match. So how many unmatched loci do you accept before you get a contested match? How far back should you go? These are good questions and hard to grapple with so I’ll give them a pass on this.


The autosomal system on GENI is very interesting. I am elated to find that they accept autosomal data from FTDNA, AncestryDNA and 23andMe! Wow! I didn’t expect that. Again the process to connect these data is really simple. You can upload the actual DNA files which allows the site to find DNA matches. On all the kits I loaded the DNA matches appeared instantly. I was very impressed with that. The number of shared CMs and shared segments is shown. However, they do not show the matching segment location! Ouch! Nor do they allow you to register a GEDMATCH kit number! This is a huge fail! You cannot confirm connections beyond a couple of generations without mapping the shared locations of segments and comparing them with more than one person. So I am giving them a B- on Autosomal matching. Why not a C+? Because they are really taking a huge step in letting users actually load files from all three companies and doing the matching in house. I think this will still be helpful but it will be necessary to contact the other profile managers to get kit number’s etc.


One other caveat is that a lot of people there keep the first few generations “private” and on GENI you can’t see a pedigree on a private person. On ancestry for example if you get a DNA match to a private profile you can still see their pedigree. You can work around this but stepping up a few generations until you hit a non-private profile. But it makes finding common ancestors more difficult than on AncestryDNA.

 They also have a two part set of terms which allow you to decide just how much control you are giving them. I think the terms are straight-forward and easy to understand. Some companies have obscured terms which I think is unethical. So I'll give GENI and A+ for this.  

All and all I like what they have done and I’ll give them a B+ on this.
by Living Baker G2G6 Mach 4 (43.4k points)
selected by Cynthia Rushing
Hello Roland,  You said "...the process to link profiles [in Geni] to FTDNA is simple and fast..... In contrast the process to do this on Wikitree is obscure and difficult to find.

What could WikiTree change to make associating FTDNA info with WikiTree profies less obscure and easier?

Thanks and sincerely, Peter
+10 votes
Like Ancestry is having some secret algorithms for creating DNA circles I assume FTDNA will do the same....

Sad that they are not more open and try to work with gedmatch and WikiTree....but I guess they are moving in the direction they think they can earn more money ---- cash is the king... but it's not good for genealogy...
by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (301k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
After thinking about this question my response is I'm glad we're working with someone else but I would have preferred it be ancestry.com. Geni lately has gotten cumbersome and has other issues. I prefer Ancestry for a joint venture not because I think they're better than Geni, but because Geni.com is working so close with Heritage.com in a financial arrangement.   Granted there are a lot of pifalls with Ancestry, including reliability but since it is the go-to company for people tiping their toes in genealogy, it seems we could have a much bigger audience and pool of future wikitree users by going this route. Maybe a nice side result would be Ancestry records could get cleaned up a bit.  My2cents.

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