No announcement yet.

Changes to autosomal matching!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Changes to autosomal matching!

    Hello everyone, I currently write this out to you in the deepest of frustrations. With the attempt that this crafted correspondence reaches many and potentially garners support to change the way in which DNA matches are generated. As an adoptee who has been searching for his Jewish paternal family for a number of years with no results, I must start asking the question as to why this has happened. What changes can be made so others who are in my situation (I am mixed and can appropriately differentiate between the two parental lines) can easily gain access to information that will solve their dilemmas.

    Allow me to begin by stating that I have tested with every single major commercial DNA company. For the purpose of finding a high/confident immediate family member belong to my Jewish paternal line. To this date, the closest matches generated are all due to endogamy and are no closer than 50cM (w. Timber) or 82cM on Familytreedna, 88cM on 23&me in which the recipient is 9.1% Ashkenazi Jewish but 22.4% Eastern European. I am approximately 50% Ashkenazi Jewish from my paternal line.

    Now for my main gripe, which I believe can be attributed to every single commercial DNA testing company with focuses on generating matches for individuals. There is no way to control how a match list is generated. For example, one would assume that your sample would be compared from the earliest batch list (i.e. registrants from the earliest who opted-in to the latest), however this is not the case. With no way to control with whom I compare my sample with, it becomes a waiting game. In hopes that one day someone either tests or the comparison is made with an older kit.

    Therefore the idea is put forward that if a kit has opted-in to DNA matching, the ability to select the profile/kit to compare directly is an option. Such is a feature on Gedmatch and I am more than willing to pay for this feature.

  • #2
    I have autosomal results at 23andMe, Ancestry, FTDNA and MyHeritage. I can still see my earliest proven matches at each site. Each site, other than Ancestry, allows multiple ways to sort the match list. All of us, adoptee or not, have the potential of not having close matches. This is not the fault of the testing companies. If you close relatives don't test, you will not see them as a match.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding what you want. At the four companies listed above I can compare my results with any of my matches. Yes, I have to know they are in my match list, but this is also true on GedMatch.


    • #3
      To elaborate far too much on what Jim Barrett posted, and also add my own thoughts:

      Kambal: I, too, am not sure I understand what you mean by having no control with whom you compare your sample with. As far as I am aware, all the DNA testing companies for genealogy compare your sample to each new kit they receive, and if the person is considered a match to you (they share enough DNA for that company to consider them a match), they then add that match to your list. Your list of matches is constantly increasing, and you can choose how to sort your list. I know FTDNA shows a match date for each match, but I also know that many of those earliest dates can be inaccurate, because I have matches to close relatives who tested at my request, and I paid for most of the tests; these are all now shown with "Match Date" of 2021, when they all actually tested seven or eight years before that! I'm sure this is due to the change in ownership of FTDNA, and when the new owners regenerated the match lists, the then-current date was used, vs. the original and true testing/matching date.

      Sorting matches:
      • You can sort at the following companies by most recent matches (labeled differently at each site): 23andMe (Newest Relatives), Ancestry (Date, Newest to Oldest), FTDNA (Most Recent Matches), and MyHeritage (Most Recent). Once you do that, if you wish you can go to the last page for the oldest matches. Many people sort by Relationship (Strength of Relationship), but others sort by Shared DNA.
      • You can download your complete list of matches, and then sort them as you wish (see "Concepts – Sorting Spreadsheets for Autosomal DNA" by Roberta Estes).
      ​You can compare any of your matches to yourself at all the DNA genealogy sites, with 23andMe additionally as the only one that allows you to compare your matches to each other. As of now, the sites other than 23andMe do not allow you to compare one match to another match, only yourself to a match. MyHeritage will show triangulating segments, but not match-to-match comparisons. For FTDNA, you can contact Customer Support using the link at the upper right on these forum pages, and make the suggestion to allow comparing matches. There is another thread in the FTDNA forums with current posts discussing why FTDNA doesn't allow this as well. Basically, 23andMe tests in most European countries, and allows you to see how two of your matches compare and no one in the EU has challenged them on it.

      It's all well and good to check your new matches by ordering your list that way, but although I check them that way from time to time, I find most new matches are distant. So I prefer to look at my list in Relationship order. If you get a new match who is closely related, you can see them showing up in the first page or first few pages.

      Your close matches:
      For your match at 82cM at FTDNA, using the Shared cM Tool at shows the likely relationships as follows:
      • 42% Half 2C, 2C1R, Half 1C2R, 1C3R
      • 33% 3C, Half 2C1R, 2C2R, Half 1C3R
      • 10% Half GG-Niece / Nephew, †Half GG-Aunt / Uncle, † 2C Half 1C1R, 1C2R
      • 10% Half 3C, 3C1R, Half 2C2R, 2C3R
      • 2% 4C, Half 3C1R, 3C2R
      • 0.50% Half 3C2R, † 4C1R, 3C3R
      • 0.50%* Great-Great-GrandchildGreat-Great-Grandparent, Great-Great-Aunt / Uncle, Great-Great-Niece / Nephew, Half Great-Aunt / Uncle, Half Great-Niece / Nephew, 1C1R, Half 1C
      • 0.15% 5C, 4C2R

      The majority of possible relationships are very good (for non-endogamous relationship), up to and closer than third cousin. Yes, it may not be that close due to endogamy, but even with that hurdle, and even if this match's percentage of Ashkenazi DNA is less than yours, it may be because this match's parents and grandparents may have had more direct non-Jewish ancestors who married Ashkenazi Jews than your birth father's ancestors; your birth father apparently had two Jewish parents to contribute 50% of Ashkenazi DNA to you. One of this FTDNA match's ancestors may well be one of your ancestors. I would check this match's surnames, and their tree, if they have one posted. If they have no tree, ask if they have one posted elsewhere online.

      For the 88 cM match at 23andMe,
      • 45% Half 2C, 2C1R, Half 1C2R, 1C3R
      • 32% 3C, Half 2C1R, 2C2R, Half 1C3R
      • 11% Half GG-Niece / Nephew, †Half GG-Aunt / Uncle, † 2C, Half 1C1R1C2R
      • 8% Half 3C, 3C1R, Half 2C2R, 2C3R
      • 0.85% 4C, Half 3C1R, 3C2R
      • 0.50% Half 3C2R, † 4C1R, 3C3R
      • 0.50%* Great-Great-Grandchild, Great-Great-Grandparent, Great-Great-Aunt / Uncle, Great-Great-Niece / Nephew, Half Great-Aunt / Uncle, Half Great-Niece / Nephew, 1C1R, Half 1C
      • ~ 0%** 5C, 4C2R
      ​Again, work with what you've got. At least note what you can, so in the future if you find your birth father's surname, and eventually his parent's names, you might be able to see if they fit into this match's ancestors. Since 23andMe currently does not have a tree feature that others can see, ask if the match has a tree posted online elsewhere.

      One of your problematic issues is the endogamy common with Ashkenazi ancestry. I have an endogamous line in my own ancestry (not Jewish, but Maltese), so I know it is difficult. Some articles on dealing with endogamy, and Ashkenazi ancestry which might be helpful for you (if you haven't come across them already):
      • Concepts – Endogamy and DNA Segments by Roberta Estes
      • ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki​) Wiki page on Endogamy
      • A guest post by Paul Woodbury on Endogamy and DNA on Kitty Cooper's Blog (Kitty has some Ashkenazi ancestry)​ - this article may have much the same content as the two part series by him shown on the ISOGG Wiki page above
      • FTDNA's (old) Learning Center page of DNA testing and Ashkenazi Jewish (via the "Wayback Machine," For the second question, there is this statement:
        As a result of frequent intermarriage, a Family Finder cousin match may show a total value of centiMorgans composed from the combination of different lines. That is, they are a more distant cousin who is related in multiple ways.​ . . .Beginning on April 21, 2011, we have modified our Family Finder matching algorithm to address this. The changes affect the match list for Ashkenazi Jews. The outcome is calculated Family Finder relationships that more accurately reflect relationships to other Ashkenazi Jews.
      • From Lara's Jewnology: Endogamy in Practice: Updated​​, and Aunt Shaindel was Lost -- and Found (A DNA Success Story)​​
      • khazaria (who has posted in the FTDNA forums in the past) has a page on Jewish Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries, and you may find other items of interest on that site
      Adoption:Does the state you were born in have any restrictions on obtaining your original birth certificate? Link to 2019 .pdf, "Access to Adoption Records," and link to "State Statutes Search," both from the previous link's website. 4th great-grandparents and earlier (as you may possibly share with your 82cM and 88cM matches) can be found, once you have enough information. You first need to find your birth father's name, and his parents' names.

      Y-DNA testing (I know, you didn't ask about this):
      Also as an adoptee, specifically with your Ashkenazi ancestry being from your birth father, you may want to try Y-DNA testing. Y-DNA will give you matches, many of which will be further back in time than a genealogical timespan. But, it's possible you may see a surname prevalent in your Y-DNA matches, which could be your birth father's surname if you don't already know it. Your Y-DNA haplogroup might be identified with SNP testing as one known to be Ashkenazi, or other Jewish group. If, on the other hand, if only one direct male line ancestor of your birth father was not Jewish, you may not have a recognized Y-DNA Jewish haplogroup. See "Catalogue of Y-DNA Jewish branches" for a list of Jewish Y-DNA haplogroups.

      ​I know this is all too much information, but maybe you can glean something of use from it.


      • #4
        When FTDNA made one of their BIG autosomal updates all existing matches were assigned a match date of May 14, 2021. At the time we were told the match dates would be corrected. A year and a half later that still hasn't happened.


        • #5
          My closest relatives (known, who tested for me), and all but the last on the first page, have a date of May 09, 2021, so close enough to May 14. Yes, I wish they'd get that fixed, if they said they'd do it.


          • #6
            I just came across another article on endogamy by Roberta Estes, from 2022. She addresses both Jewish endogamy and a bit of info for unknown parents, and gives a lot of tips: DNA: In Search of…Signs of Endogamy .

            Another thing you might do (if you somehow know any of your non-Jewish birth mother's relatives who have either done DNA testing, or might be receptive to doing it), is to
            • have them test at or transfer to FTDNA
            • create a basic family tree that includes those relative(s)
            • link those relative(s) to their place in the tree
            This will at least filter your maternal matches into their own "bucket," actually a tab on your autosomal (Family Finder) match list. At FTDNA, this is called Family Matching. The FTDNA Learning Center currently describes this Family Matching, but not in as much detail as they used to (there is a link for how to link matches to your tree on that page). Again, Roberta Estes' has two articles on this Family Matching feature at FTDNA, both from back when it was first introduced in 2016. They may give more details than the Learning Center information:You can link relatives to your tree who are up to 3rd cousins to you.​

            The remaining matches, which don't fall into that maternal matches tab, may be paternal matches, which you can check by looking at their trees and surnames to see if they have Jewish connections. But some of those non-maternal matches actually could still be on the maternal side, depending on how many and how close the tested and tree-linked maternal relatives are (the more you have, the better your matches can be refined).

            I'll also add that:
            • a match I had at MyHeritage, with total shared DNA at only 26.8cM to me, and 101.7 cM with my late father, was the one who broke a genealogical brick wall for me. She is a 2C1R to my father, and her mother, who has since that time tested, is a previously unknown 2nd cousin to him. The 26.8cM match had information from her grandfather that confirmed my paper research for the place of birth and family of one of my great-grandmothers.
            • a match at 23andMe shares 54cM with my father, and after contacting her, and later some work by a researcher in the old country, the common ancestor turned out to be a 3rd g-grandfather to me, 2nd g-grandfather to my father. A surname in her profile was one I had in my ancestry, and the reason I contacted her.
            • I have some matches at Ancestry, for which although I know how we are related, we have never met or known each others' families. I have been in touch with other of our mutual relatives who have exchanged information with me, so that's how I know of them. These matches share from 43cM (a half 2C1R), to 33cM, 31 cM, and 28cM (all 3rd cousins to me), and one who shares 23cM is a 2C1R to me (previously unknown 2nd cousin to my late mother) with our common ancestors being our 2nd great-grandparents. I even have a match at Ancestry, who shares a total of 6cM with me, and is a half 3rd cousin to me. He is only still on my match list because I went to great pains to save all my matches < 7 cM, when Ancestry announced they would be removing such matches. I had to mark all those matches to save them. I had sent the same message to him and two others (who are his first cousins), and he was the only one who replied.
            So, even if you have endogamous matches at 82cM and 88cM, and let's say, for example, that those relationships could be equivalent to perhaps half that amount for a non-endogamous match at 41cM or 44cM, those endogamous matches may be closer than 3rd or 4th cousins to you.

            I think that is it from me on these topics for this thread.

            Last edited by KATM; 6 January 2023, 02:38 PM.