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Practical limits of a GEDCOM upload, etc?

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  • Practical limits of a GEDCOM upload, etc?

    Assume that I have a handle on my paternal line for 11 generations. On the maternal I'm only sure out to my great-grandmother. In between the two I have some lines that presumably go 50 generations. Is there any practical benefit in uploading any of my GEDCOM beyond 11 generations. It looks like autosomal DNA gets pretty diluted beyond a few generations.

    Also, are there any hints on preparation of a GEDCOM for upload. I presume you'd want to break any links to adoptive and foster parents? The Family Tree DNA system seems to toss any facts beyond birth and death dates, so I assume that everything but BMD facts can be stripped out too? Does Family Tree DNA use the Christen and Burial events as substitutes for Birth and Death if they are not present?


  • #2
    I do not know about the GEDCOM at FTDNA, but I have something to share.

    Everyone has two trees of ancestors. The first is the genealogical tree, that includes her or his parents, their parents and so on. Then there is the genetic tree, or genetic ancestry - it turns out that beyond say 10 generations back there are many ancestors from which a given individual did not inherit any DNA whatsoever.

    Please take a look for example at
    How many genetic ancestors do I have?
    by Graham Coop

    So..., yes it makes no sense to include those ancestors who are not your genetic ancestors. However, you have no idea which ones! Assuming that no matter what Family Finder cannot see beyond 7th cousins, including no more than 10 generations back seems to be the best. There are two exceptions though: mtDNA and Y DNA. I would include the entire matriline (i.e. your mother, her mother, and her grandmother, etc.) and entire patriline (i.e. you father, his father, and his grandfather etc.).

    Good luck in preparing your tree!

    Mr. W.

    I would assume that the FTDNA program responsible for GEDCOM import has no knowledge about your specific circumstances or conventions, and thus hardcode everything. Since you do not want to falsify data, I would recommend working around, for example, with the unknown date of birth, but known the date of baptism, I would place the year of baptism (and only year) as the date of birth.
    Last edited by dna; 10 March 2018, 01:56 PM. Reason: It should be "no more than 10 generations back" !