Sunday, March 26, 2017

Facing the Music

Alright, I admit it: I've been away, playing in Florida instead of being glued to my desk chair, busy chasing those elusive brick wall ancestors. Now, it's time to face the music and see how much I actually accomplished after the customary two weeks' measurement of work. I can tell you already: not that much.

I managed to gain a whopping twenty two verified names on my mother's tree, bringing her total to 9,696. For my mother in law's tree, I didn't do much better: edged up thirty nine to total 10,534.

Of course, if I don't rectify that imbalance, the disparity between those two trees will only grow more obvious, so I'll need to pay more attention to how much time I spend on each family. I find myself working more on my mother in law's family, because they are just so much easier to track. Time to bite that bullet and tackle the harder side of ye olde family tree.

The rate of increase in DNA matches garnered at each company has slowed, now that all the holiday season's sales—and the Christmas gifts they inspired—have been run through the mill. I now have 1,895 matches at Family Tree DNA, an increase of thirty seven matches, and my husband has 1,201, which is up twenty eight. AncestryDNA has likewise seen their numbers settle down. My count there is at 489 matches at fourth cousin or closer, which was an advance of only fifteen in the last two weeks. My husband's count there now stands at 232, an increase of only six.

Things will soon be changing at Family Tree DNA, though this won't necessarily affect our number of matches for autosomal tests. However, since both my husband and I also chose to do the separate mitochondrial DNA test—the one showing the mother's mother's mother's line—we've recently been informed that the company will be doing a significant update early next Tuesday morning. Moving from "Build 14" to "Build 17" (which is the most recent phylogenetic build for the mtDNA test), this update will be the fruition of several months of work.

As the company put it in a recent email sent out to project managers,
To give you an idea of the scope of this project, Build 14 was based on the analysis of 8,216 modern mitogenomes, while Build 17 was designed using 24,275 mtDNA sequences—almost three times as much information! Build 17 increased to 5437 nodes from 3550 in Build 14, an increase of 1887 haplogroups.
This is a significant revision. According to FTDNA, "the update provides a much finer resolution in terms of haplogroup assignment." I'm sure there will be many who are curious to see what that does for their predicted matrilineal haplogroups, once the update is run.

Of course, this also means down time for access to the FTDNA system early next Tuesday morning, from 5:00 to about 8:30 in the Central Daylight (U.S.) time zone, or until the switch is completed. By the time that is all settled, I should be home from my travels and back up to speed with my usual research progress. 


  1. I hope you had a good time! Your ancestors will wait for you :)

    1. I'm sure they'll still be there when I go back ;)


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