No announcement yet.

Nonsense From iGENEA

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Nonsense From iGENEA

    This is pure nonsense from iGENEA.

    I have two recent matches whose names are just initials (R E and R H), email adresses are only numbers and zero identifying information.

    I object to test kits being allowed with absolutely zero identification information and I refuse to cooperate with this type of nonsense from iGENEA.

    Collaboration is the spirit of genealogy and DNA testing. One sidedness will not work.

  • #2
    I've noticed this as well. I manage my father's account, and had taken a few notes about these matches. He has two in the 2nd to 4th cousin range, five in the 3rd to 5th cousin range, one 4th to remote and three 5th to remote, at least (I got tired of looking for them in his match list).

    A few of these "igenea" matches are in common with each other, and some of my other (related) kits. All had multiple small segments matching to my father. The two estimated 2nd to 4th cousin matching kits shared 64 cM (22 cM longest segment) and 51 cM (21 cM longest).

    Just for jollies, here are the initials (I don't think this could be considered identifying information, per se, since they aren't actual names): MH, LB, DB, SM, MF, DN, CH, SW, AB, MM, OH, and JL.

    So far I have not tried to contact any of them, but it's hard to figure out the connection when they provide nothing. What is the point of having their kit here?


    • #3
      I found an old thread from 2009 about contacting IGENEA matches.

      The poster "swimmingly" in that thread indicated that the email addresses are created by IGENEA and go to someone AT IGENEA (not the match). At least back then, at first there was some indication that IGENEA would then forward emails to the match, who may or may not have been able to understand English. But then, "swimmingly" found out from IGENEA that they do NOT forward the messages if the match doesn't provide another email address, besides the one IGENEA has assigned them.

      It's all a bit confusing, but it seems that these matches from IGENEA are essentially useless as things stand now, and should not appear in our match lists, certainly if they have email addresses (which at least in 2009 were not useful). I wonder if the recent GDPR rules have any part in this?

      Time to submit a Customer Support request and see what they say, I guess. Sigh.
      Last edited by KATM; 29 August 2018, 09:52 AM.


      • #4
        This certainly sounds like a pointless business model! What does this "iGenea" organization (?) purport to do, and why? What do its customers (?) expect and what do they get?


        • #5
          iGenea has a testing partnership with FTDNA, among others.

          It is a Swiss-based company, according to the Partnerships section of the Wikipedia page for FTDNA.


          • #6
            FTDNA has a testing partnership with iGenea, among others.

            It is a Swiss-based company, according to the Partnerships section of the Wikipedia page for FTDNA.


            • #7
              European privacy issues

              I once did Google search and found a "pass-through" link to my Slaton Slatton Slayden yDNA project on iGenea, and contacted them. It is obvious that you cannot see anything there unless you order a test from them, whereas you can Google Slaton DNA and see my public site. It seems obvious to me that potential samplers might want to see the Project before ordering, but that is not the iGenea way.They also do not update the Project information for member number or verbiage, so the posting there is "frozen" from when we had 30 fewer members and before we altered the verbiage to emphasize a need for European results.

              Since they are in partnership with FTDNA, I was hoping to have a means of promoting some European results, since all I have are a couple of Brit-based men in the US several generations from their Kent and Lancashire ancestors. We are all interested in the possibility of Germanic origins (or any Euro origins) for the surname and for DNA within historical times. Occasionally I get a screenshot from MyHeritage by members there, and that piques our interest in Schleidens and Schlattens who might not even be aware of yDNA, since the atDNA juggernaut from that other DNA website has overshadowed Y testing.

              Even before GDPR, I got no sense of extending my project's reach to this "partner," similar to Oxford Ancestors (not a partner), which required me to test there to get any information, and I do not qualify by their rules. This irked me because we might have men in our projects whose DNA, surnames, and family stories might suggest a connection, but we will apparently never know.
              Similarly, a surname project on FTDNA with an English admin would not allow me to see the results that matched men in my project unless I could prove a connection (??) Kinda hard to make bricks without straw...

              iGenea was cordial in response, but in no sense did I deduce that my project gave me any leverage to encourage FTDNA selling even sponsored tests through them.

              There is a completely different privacy ethos in Europe, some of it admirable, because they are cracking down on the marketing of mailing lists that people do not even know that they are on, but the idea of voluntary association is suspicious in some cultures (France and Germany are especially paranoid goverments about this) and the most benign clubs require government approval. GDPR is indicative of the good and the bad from this attitude, since even those who wish to co-operate across the ocean are now liable for fines. The precedent for those regulations are not based on established laws or test cases, and give the regulatory agencies a "blank check" to come after people, in my opinion.

              I also have a "passthrough" link at the Guild of One Name Studies (UK based) and again, asking them to help me contact potential samplers was like asking them to steal someone's children.

              Interestingly, the most vociferous complainant at the Guild is a transplanted Englishman (now in Florida) who felt that GDPR was a denial of the basic civil right of voluntary association. I guess he is an American now!
              Last edited by clintonslayton76; 1 September 2018, 05:51 PM. Reason: additional


              • #8
                It seems to me FTDNA has an absolute right and interest, and SHOULD REQUIRE, that surname projects contain a definite minimum set of data elements (including the name and dates of the earliest known patrilineal ancestor) that should be visible to the public without the need for kowtowing to an administrator. Requirements imposed by project administrators about proving lineages, becoming a member of a surname society, etc. have no place in FTDNA's surname projects.

                At the same time, FTDNA should provide some guidance about what NOT to display to the public.

                These are not strange or difficult requirements! Let's advocate for making the surname projects useful!


                • #9
                  I think Mr McCoy and I are in agreement, but iGenea is using my surname project to promote their tests, which are very expensive and I doubt very much would ever translate into the FTDNA surname project that I administer (no way to test that theory).
                  Their language says: (after using my old "overview" language from the public site) to join SlatonSlatten Project [use one of three links to order one of their tests.] This seems like bait-and-switch to me.

                  However, we cannot require PANs of samplers when they are unknown or only one gen back and possibly still alive. That would require permission from the dad, and that might be a nightmare to enforce legally. And any FTDNA surname admin has the right to request members to join Haplo or Geographic projects as a best practice. They do not have to comply, but the admin does not have to keep them in the project either. Some admins allow any JOIN request, but I find that ridiculous since anyone can see our Project without being a member, otherwise the Activity Feed becomes a fishing hole.
                  Last edited by clintonslayton76; 1 September 2018, 07:42 PM. Reason: additional


                  • #10
                    My message to iGenea

                    Sent a minute ago to iGenea:

                    I am confused: your surname list states that to join the SlatonSlatten Project, order one of your tests from one of the three links.
                    Are the 22 members you show people who have ordered through you that I cannot see at all? That seems to be what we call a form of bait-and-switch, against the law in the US, since you imply that they will be members of the site that I administer with 64 members.
                    If that is "frozen" language from the past, again, how is your "partnership" with FTDNA reflected in your site, if I cannot sponsor results to expand them?
                    SInce I cannot see any results on your site, it seems odd that any changes (from GDPR?) were not conveyed to me, since my site is being used to advertise yours with no reciprocity.
                    Last edited by clintonslayton76; 1 September 2018, 07:33 PM.


                    • #11
                      I'm not suggesting that we require the customer to provide information about their earliest known patrilineal ancestor (since it is possible the customer has no knowledge beyond someone who is still living), only that the surname project be required to display the patrilineal ancestor data that customers have provided. In other words, I expect FTDNA to set some standards regarding what information needs to be freely available to the public for these projects.

                      The "partnership" arrangement that has been discussed here needs to be clear and enforceable as well!


                      • #12
                        Answer from iGenea to my previous posted note to them

                        >> only that the surname project be required to display the patrilineal ancestor data that customers have provided.

                        Why would any admin not show this, if the customer allows it in their privacy settings? I think the real problem is that many customers have no idea what their privacy settings are. But this is off the point....

                        From iGenea

                        We will update the information about your project soon. We only take the information publicly available at the FTDNA website as we have no further access to your project of course.
                        Our customers are part of the FTDNA database like every FTDNA customers. We do not know, if one of our customers joined your project yet, but all iGENEA kit numbers start with "E".
                        We will happily answer any further questions you may have.

                        The information referred to is an ancient version of my project overview that was never updated by them and showed a membership of 22 (it has 64 today). I will state that I gave them permission to use this verbiage back in Oct 2016 when they first came to my attention, on the understanding that it might expand my membership, but no one can join my surname project without requesting permission, unless they purchase the test through the project (which is how the last dozen or so have joined, to get the project discount). Their language implies that customers are joining our project by purchasing one of their kits, but in fact they are simply "joining" an FTDNA database.

                        So it is unclear how many of their customers are in the FTDNA database, or if any of the surname holders found in the membership search could be any of them. Every year I have a third-party invite the surname holders who are not members, and have never gotten any response.

                        I am still very confused about the "partnership" part, but I have never seen a test kit with "E" anywhere. Possibly they are on GEDMATCH?

                        I would urge any Project admin to do a SURNAME search at iGenea site, and see if your own project overview is being used to sell their very expensive kits. It is unclear how their yDNA information is structured or if it even exists as anything that can join an FTDNA Project. If not, I am not sure that I should allow my language to be used on their site, I am not getting anything out of it.
                        Last edited by clintonslayton76; 3 September 2018, 09:03 PM. Reason: correction


                        • #13
                          Clayton, that's my question too, why any administrator would NOT show the patrilineal ancestor that the customer has freely provided! However, there are surname projects where that information is not shown, and for those projects, there is really no way we can see if anyone who descends from one of our known ancestors has been tested. In other words, those particular surname projects are close to useless.

                          I would be surprised if any of the "partners" will be willing to cough up the terms of the agreement, but what you have uncovered definitely smells bad.


                          • #14
                            Answers from IGenea

                            As before, answers from IGenea are reasonable, but untestable. I am not bound by GDPR and so I am quoting them for informational purposes.

                            Here are excerpts:
                            If someone orders the test via a surname project page at [IGenea] website, we check their surname and then tell them how to join the project.

                            Our Premium and Expert tests contain a Y-DNA analysis. But most customers who are interested in a certain surname project contact us via phone or email and in theses cases we also offer a Y-DNA 37 test without anything else.

                            Of course I cannot verify how they know that someone has ordered a test based on my overview on their surname list. Also, the Y37 test they mentioned as a custom order does not appear on their website, so I assume that is a standard FTDNA Y37, which begs the question, can I or they use upgrade strategies from FTDNA sales should they join the project? I suspect not,and we typically encourage Y67.

                            They say that no one has ordered "via [my] surname project page at our website," and there is no evidence to suggest that they have. I have communicated personally with all members or sponsors. And there is a huge limitation in that only the "first" name of my project, SLATON, appears on their list, whereas at the Guild of One Name Studies, the list of variants can be searched. There are over 20 spellings.

                            I am skeptical about the whole thing, but at least our surname appears at another testing website. GDPR in a Swiss context is commented on here: I do not endorse that information as accurate, and I am still leary that none of the GDPR is based on test cases or precedent that allows anyone to really know what constitutes a violation at what level of involvement.
                            Last edited by clintonslayton76; 8 September 2018, 03:05 PM. Reason: clarification


                            • #15
                              I am facing the same problem, I have one match and after reading this post, it seems pointless trying to email the address given.