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New Newbie - Where do I start?

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  • New Newbie - Where do I start?

    Both my husband & I had an autosomal DNA test recently through Family Tree DNA. Neither of us have parents or grandparents living. All our results are given as 3rd cousins or further. I have 700 plus matches & my husband has 1100 plus. My question is where to start to narrow the possibilities down. What is most important - relationships, segments, length etc. In most cases there is not a name that jumps out. What are the stats to show how many are legit or 'accidents'. I have a fair amount of genealogical research that I have done on our families the old fashioned way. I know a fair amount on several branches but we both have one line where I have been at a brick wall for quite some time & it was suggested to have our DNA tested to possibly help in that area. Both my husband & I have asked a brother to be tested & our daughter is also, though we don't have those results yet. I did get an email the day we got our results. He identified himself as a cousin & yes I knew him from past research. He promised me I would have 'fun'. This is my only positive relative found so far (incl. a dau. & his aunt) Thanks for any guidance.

  • #2
    I think many people start first by sorting by longest segment. You could use the search box for a surname or location. Make sure you put a list of surnames and locations in your "About Me" section of your profiles, so matches can see them. And upload or construct a tree ("myFamilyTree" in your accounts).

    You should also check your settings to allow for which matches you want to show. This ISOGG page has a chart for Ranges of total centiMorgans of IBD segments based on family relationship. ISOGG's Beginners section will be helpful, too. See also Blaine Bettinger's blog for his charts for his Shared cM Project.

    If you have any aunts or uncles, or known first to third cousins who could test (even "half" relatives), it would help in phasing your maternal and paternal sides. You would need to upload a .ged file, or create a tree by hand, in your myFTNDA account. Once these types of relatives have tested and received results back, you then link them on your tree at FTDNA, and it will sort your matches. The cousin who contacted you could be linked, also, if he is within the group of relatives FTDNA says can be used for such phasing. You can do it with your brother and daughter once their results come in, but your daughter won't help with phasing into maternal and paternal.

    Roberta Estes also wrote about this on her blog:
    Last edited by KATM; 15 February 2017, 11:04 AM.


    • #3
      Testing your siblings/children is nice, but it probably won't help you narrow much down. Having maternal and or paternal aunts/uncles/cousins would help you identify which matches are from your mother/father thus a great place to start.