Think Icicles!

Analyzing our Matches at AncestryDNA through Shared Matches

With about 20 million atDNA tests taken, we now have many Matches and lots of data. This blogpost describes one method (a “hack”) to manage some of that data. In this case, I’m trying to squeeze more information from my AncestryDNA Matches. Ancestry doesn’t report shared DNA segment data, but they do have several unique features we can put to use. In preparation, we need two things: Notes, which I’ve posted on here and here; and a spreadsheet of all the Matches.

  1. Notes. When known, I’ve been entering #A (with the Ahnentafel number and surnames of our MRCA Ancestors) and #T (with the Triangulated Group ID#) into the Note box on the DNA page for each Match at AncestryDNA. I have over 1,000 Hints, so I have a #A entry in the Notes box for each Hint. For hundreds who have uploaded to GEDmatch (or used another company too) I have a #T entry in the Notes box. This data is very helpful, but not essential.
  2. Spreadsheet of Matches. I have downloaded my 83,000 AncestryDNA Matches to a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet includes the Match name, the Admin, total cMs, all my entries in the Notes boxes, a URL link to the Match, and a URL link to their Tree. This is a great tool for exploring and managing my AncestryDNA Matches. I use DNAGedCom Client for a fairly quick download (small subscription fee).

So I took my spreadsheet (which is sorted on total cM) and added about 20 columns. I then chose an interesting 4th cousin (4C) Match and clicked on Shared Matches (SM). I then put a “1” in the first blank column of my spreadsheet for this 4C Match and also for each of our SMs. Since I started down the list with a middle-of-the-pack 4C, some of our SMs are higher in the spreadsheet, and some were below the SM I started with. (I yellow-highlighted the 1 for the SM I started with – to remind me who I started with). Note that the SMs are all classified as 4C or closer by AncestryDNA, although I’ve found a number of them to be really 5C or even 6C. But that’s OK – these “4C” Matches result in a manageable group of Matches – about 3,000 out of the total of 83,000. So I was working with the top 3 percent of my Matches – all sharing at least 20cM with me. This process resulted in a column with 1’s in it, generally spread out over all of the top 3,000 Matches.

Next, pick another interesting 4C (your choice – I picked one I knew was a real 4C on a pair of 3xG grandparents I’ve done a lot of work on and with whom I have several established Triangulated Groups (TGs) from the other companies. I went to the next column and entered a 2 and yellow-highlighted that 2. I then ran Shared Matches on that Match, and put a 2 in the same column for each one of the SMs – again, some were closer cousins, higher in my spreadsheet, and some were lower, getting down to the end of the 4C SMs.  Again, another column with all the same number. I made a blank row at the top of my spreadsheet with the numbers 1 to 20 in that row, and then froze that row, so I could see it as I scrolled down.

I chose more 4C Matches which did not yet have a number, gave them a yellow-highlighted number, ran the Shared Match for each and repeated the process.

Figure 1. Portion of Spreadsheet showing headers, columns Notes and icicles.

Down the spreadsheet, these numbers began to look like icicles hanging down. Nearer the top portion of the spreadsheet, some of the Matches had several numbers, and very near the top some of the Matches had many numbers. Think about this! We are actually looking at an upside down Tree – the trunk at the top and the various large branches (multiple numbers) hanging down, gradually separating into individual branches representing individual ancestors at the 4C or 5C or 6C level. This is as it should be! If we keep going we should find 16 couples at the 4C (or 3xG grandparent) level. Some more will be there because we are actually dealing with some 5C and 6C in the AncestryDNA “4C” category.

Time out for reflection on this process. This methodology is not as finite or rigorous as forming a Triangulated Group – which TG has only one basic solution. TGs are based on segments. These icicles are based on genealogy relationships. The SMs actually have In Common With relationships, and some of them don’t share the same Common Ancestors with you and the base Match. The SMs may relate in different ways, and thus not really all be on the same ancestral line. This often shows up in the spreadsheet when a 4C Match down the list winds up with numbers from more than one icicle. Often, in the Notes for that Match, it’s possible to determine which ancestral line (icicle) they belong. In this case I color their other icicle number red (for wrong icicle).

Another way to tell which ancestral line icicle is correct is to take a 4C Match (down the spreadsheet with multiple icicle numbers), and set them as the base, and run the Shared Match list. Usually it will be very clear that their SMs are on one icicle and not on the other icicle(s), maybe with one or two exceptions due to endogamy.  If it really looks like that Match is creating an ambiguous mess, highlight that Match row in red and focus on the more “well behaved” Matches.

Remember, this is just a process and tool for you to use. You are in charge. Don’t become disoriented by a few Matches. Look at the big picture, and come back later – maybe much later, when the “dust has settled” and see if you can rationalize those few Matches.

Another thing to watch for is basically duplicate icicles. This happens when you pick a new 4C Match as the base, and the SMs wind up being almost exactly the same as a previous icicle. In this case merge the two columns. In any case use your judgment – if you want to keep the two, slightly different, icicles, OK; if you want to merge them, OK. At the end of the day it won’t make much difference.

At some point, after you have created many different icicles, it’s time to check your Notes (with MRCA and/or TG info in them) see if you can determine an ancestral thread running through the icicle.  At the top of my spreadsheet, I inserted about 20 rows (one for each icicle column) and added the numbers in a diagonal fashion – like a matrix – with each number in its respective column and on a separate row. After each of these numbers I added a description that I felt best described the icicle – usually an Ahnentafel number with the surnames of the MRCA couple; or the TG ID# if that seemed to be the theme of the icicle – there being no consensus on the MRCA yet.

I am now in the process of rearranging the icicle columns based on information from the 2C and 3C Matches. Done correctly, this will wind up with all the paternal icicles on one side and the maternal icicles on the other side of the 20 columns I started with; and within those two sides will be the split between the grandparents (an objective of the Leeds process which has a similar methodology). Theoretically, by using 4Cs, we should be able to sort out the 16 MRCA couples with an icicle for each – or maybe two or more icicles for each of these 3xG grandparent couples. It depends on how far down the list we are willing to go.

Note that the process of forming these icicles does not depend on genealogy knowledge. I am using this process now for a friend with an orphaned grandfather. It would be the same process for an NPE or adoptee at the grandparent level. I’m winding up with multiple icicles, and with some info on the other 3 grandparents, I’ll determine which icicles are from the target grandfather. Then I’ll combine all the downloaded surnames from those Matches, combine them into one spreadsheet, sort on surnames and then analyze the surnames that look promising. I’ve already found a new surname for one of my own brick walls this way. I’ll review that process in a separate blog post, because it can be applied to any icicle which includes Matches with Trees.

On a side note about this icicle process… On almost every icicle I formed, I got distracted. For most of them I started with a 4C Match for whom I had a pretty firm MRCA and/or TG. As I worked down the Shared Match list, I’d see a Match with a 20-people Tree. I clicked on the Match and often quickly found a clue to follow, and it often led to the same MRCA. And now at AncestryDNA, we can see “Unlinked Trees” – BINGO! That sometimes led to an MRCA too – usually on the same ancestral line. It was like picking the low hanging fruit all over again. I had to force myself back to the boredom of filling in my icicles. It is work! But it appears to me that these icicles, like TGs, will each provide a cluster of Matches which is very helpful.

Extra Credit…. I have over 1,000 Hints – almost all of them with valid MRCAs. However, most of them are also more distant than 4C, some with fairly small shared segments under 10cM. But most of them have some Shared Matches. All of these SMs are all 4C or closer – I’m now going to see how many of these Hint Matches with MRCAs can be linked back to one of my icicles. Maybe these little cM Matches with MRCAs will give me important clues for the icicles.  This is because a 6C Match can have 4C Shared Matches, even though the 4C Matches do not show the 6C in their Shared Match list. So it is worth my time to start with the 6C Matches with an MRCA Hint and see which 4C icicles they match.

Summary: Download or make a list of your top (closest 2-3%) Matches and group (or cluster) them through Shared Matches. I found it relatively easy to do this with a spreadsheet. It’s work, but provides interesting insights. The icicles formed are a tool to help us analyze our Matches. Often this lets us impute ancestral lines and/or TGs to other Matches.

Edit 20181030 – a portion of my speadsheet has been added as Figure 1. The Names and Admins were condensed for privacy. The Notes field has many “shorthand” entries that I have entered at AncestryDNA, and they are included in the spreadsheet download.

 

[19A] Segment-ology: Think Icicles!; by Jim Bartlett 20181030

AncestryDNA Search on Notes

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

I have been religiously typing information in the AncestryDNA Notes box – for all Hint Matches and as many 4C Matches as I can (because they show up as Shared Matches). I use the MEDbetter Chrome extension (google it) to display all of my Notes, all of the time. This is particularly useful in the list of Shared Matches – to get a sense of a cluster of Matches. I’ve blogged about using the Notes box: format and usefulness.

I now use MEDbetter hashtags as follows:
#T for a Triangulated Group (TG) identification code (ID) – e.g. #T[01S24] means the TG is on Chromosome 01; the letter indicating the start location: roughly 10Mb for each letter (A = 0-10Mbp; S = 180-190Mbp); the two numbers after the letter indicate the first two generations of the Common Ancestor (CA) – in this case, on my father’s father’s line (using ahnentafel numbers). A lot of info is in the TG ID.
#A for the Ahnentafel number of a CA – e.g. #A0018P for my ancestors: John NEWLON 1798-1872 [Ahnentafel 18] married Mariah ALLEN 1805-1882; the P reminds me it’s on the Paternal side. A lot of info in the #A code.
#G for a GEDmatch ID – e.g. #GmA123456
I don’t really use the MEDbetter hashtag filter feature because it doesn’t consolidate for me; but I love MEDbetter for displaying the Notes all the time.
HOWEVER – I just tried the AncestryDNA Search feature and was blown away! I typed in [01S24] in the search box, and selected: Notes (this test). In 1 second it displayed 31 hyperlinked Matches with [01S24] in the Notes box! WOW!! What a way to review all of my Matches with one TG tag; or to view a cluster of Matches that you attributed to a Common Ancestor; or to find the Match with a GEDmatch kit you typed into a Note box. A lot of different ways to sort, find and group your Matches.
BOTTOM LINE – You can search on whatever you put into the Notes box!

EDIT: The Ancestry Search Notes option is added by the AncestryDNA Helper Extension in Chrome – it is required to do these searches. MedBetterDNA is not required to use the Search Notes option.

 

[22V] Segment-ology: AncestryDNA Search on Notes TIDBIT by Jim Bartlett 20180601

Confusion about Base Pairs

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

Let’s sort this out. A Chromosome is a long string of DNA – which has the form of the famous double helix. If we flattened out the double helix it would look like a ladder, with two sides connected by lots of rungs. On each end of every rung is a molecule we call a base – called A, C, G or T for short. The two ends of each rung are always paired, with A on one end and T on the other end, or C on one end and G on the other. That’s because in chemistry, the A molecule bonds much more readily with a T; and a C bonds easily with a G. They form what is called a base pair. And if you know one end of each rung, you know the other end. 23 chromosomes make up a genome, and a genome has about 3 billion of these base pairs*.

As we look at one side of the chromosome “ladder” we see one of these molecules at every rung. Important: There is no hard and fast rule about the order of the ACGTs along one side of the ladder.

In our bodies we have two genomes – one set of chromosomes from the father and one set from the mother.

For atDNA testing a laboratory looks at, say, 600,000 specific base pairs called SNPs (pronounced snips). Each of these SNPs is at a specific location on a chromosome, and the lab looks at one side (the “forward” side) and determines if it is an A, C, G, or T. Because we have two of each chromosome, they actually get two values (called alleles), one from the paternal chromosome, and one from the maternal chromosome. Because all these SNPs are floating around in a soup, we don’t know which one is from Mom and which one is from Dad. One convention is to list them alphabetically, resulting in ten possibilities: AA, AC, AG, AT, CC, CG, CT, GG, GT, and TT.  You can see that in these “pairs” the A is not necessarily paired with T. That’s because the DNA from each parent came to you from very different, and usually very distant, paths – they don’t touch or interact with each other. And, the SNP base pairs were chosen for and atDNA test, because they offer variability.

A shared DNA segment between you and a Match consists of a long string of SNPs (usually 1,000 or more) where you have at least one of your two alleles match at least one of your Match’s two alleles. The longer the shared segment, the greater the probability that it had to come from a Common Ancestor.

BOTTOM LINE – As genetic genealogists we are not concerned with the “base pairs” on each end of a rung, we are very much interested in the two SNP alleles we got from our two parents – not called “base pairs.”

*[An experiment you can do at home: at GEDmatch compare your kit to your kit in the one-to-one utility – you’ll match on 22 chromosomes, from start to finish. Add up the “End Locations” and see how close to 3 billion you come – add in about 155 million for Chr X to get a full genome].

 

[22U] Segment-ology: Confusion about Base Pairs TIDBIT by Jim Bartlett 20180502

First Time at GEDmatch

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

I’ll try to answer the question: “I just uploaded to GEDmatch, it’s so complex, what do I do now?”

FIRST – take a deep breath, and exhale slowly…….. GEDmatch is a powerful tool, with a lot of features. In many ways it is complex. But it also has some very simple and helpful utilities – I’ll point them out.

SECOND – take a few minutes to look over your GEDmatch homepage – there are several broad areas. The main tools are in the blue box on the right side titled: Analyze Your Data – I’ll come back to that and focus on some of the tools. Other information is in gray boxes – please review the titles before launching into the tools.

On the left side:

Your Log-in Profile – a box with information about you, and how to change it.

Learn More – a box with several links to more information about GEDmatch – you might want to click on each one to get a feel for the resources that are there to help you.

Your DNA Resources – a box with a handy list of your DNA kits at GEDmatch (in the beginning you’ll only have the one you just uploaded, but you can upload more kits whenever you want.)  At the bottom is a link to “EDIT or DELETE” any of your listed DNA Resources – you can open this up to just look.

Your GEDCOM Resources – a box which lists any GEDCOMs you’ve uploaded, and a link to manage them.

On the right side:

File Uploads – a box with tools to upload your raw DNA data files and tools to upload GEDCOMs (a GEDCOM is a file of your genealogy, not your DNA)

Analyze Your Data – a box with tools to utilize your DNA data and a box to utilize GEDCOMS – more below

Tier 1 Utilities – a box with more tools to utilize your data for folks who pay a subscription (wait to see how much you utilize GEDmatch before you subscribe…)

Genesis Beta – a box for certain kits (23andMe V5 kits – since July 2017; and LivingDNA kits)

THIRD – So, after this overview, where to start first?

I’d start with the first tool: One-to-many Matches – Click on this link and use the little “down triangle” to see your kit number and select it (or just type in your kit number – the form is like: A123456). Leave everything else alone and click on Display Results. After a second or two, you’ll get a table of your top 2,000 Matches – with their name, email, kit number, and other info. The default is to list the closest Matches first. Please read the information above the table, before we jump into the fun part. It’s important to know this info and that it’s here as a reference (many folks just look immediately at the Matches and then ask questions which are answered in this introductory material).  Next read each of the column titles – some won’t make sense, yet, but note that some folks list Haplogroups; some have linked genealogies [under GED/WikiTree column]; and there is summary data on the Autosomal and X data. The chart is sorted on Total cM, but notice the small blue triangles that let you sort on most columns.

In one sense this is similar to your results at AncestryDNA – a list of Matches with summary DNA info, and sometimes a link to a Tree.

To see the specific DNA segment(s) you share with a Match, click on the A link (under Autosomal Details). This takes you to the “one-to-one” utility, with your kit and the Match’s kit already filled in. Just click on the Submit button to see the DNA segment data. Or, for a more colorful version, go back to the one-to-one page and click on the Graphics and Positions button and then click on Submit. Again, please read the legend at the top first – then scroll down the page to see all 22 chromosomes – a solid blue bar indicates a shared segment. This view puts the shared DNA with a Match into perspective.

Just like with any other DNA site, you still have to work with your Matches and/or their posted Tree to determine a Common Ancestor. The emails at GEDmatch give you a way to do this.

FOURTH

If you know of someone’s GEDmatch kit number, you can click on the “One-to-one compare” utility on your home page and fill in your and your Matches kit numbers to see the shared segment data.

FIFTH

Try the GEDCOM tools. Click on “GEDCOM + DNA Matches” and fill in your kit number to get a list of your DNA Matches with linked GEDCOMs (Trees). Note a Match (under DNA Name) and click on the link under the GEDCOM ID column to get a summary box. Then click on Pedigree, and adjust the number of generations to suit your search.

If you’ve uploaded your own GEDCOM, my favorite utility is “2 GEDCOMs”. Fill in your GEDCOM number (remember it’s listed on the left side of your GEDmatch Homepage, after it’s uploaded) and your Match’s GEDCOM number (from the GEDCOM + DNA Matches list) and hit “Compare”. This amazing utility will list every ancestor who is the same in both GEDCOMs. Finding a Common Ancestor doesn’t get easier than this!

SIXTH

Try the any of the other utilities in the Analyze Your Data box (some are fun, some are helpful):

-Admixture (there are several different utilities from different scientists – noodle around)

Are your parents related?

Archaic DNA matches – compare your DNA to DNA from the “Clovis” Man or “Kennewick Man” or “Altai Neanderthal” and other ancient people whose DNA has been extracted. Includes a link to an ancient DNA site. Try the kits in the one-to-one utility.

You cannot “hurt” anything here – so click on anything that interests you and noodle around.

SUMMARY

GEDmatch lets you compare with folks who have tested at other companies –to find close relatives who tested, but not at the same company you used. Find new relatives – particularly close ones.

A main feature is the ability to “see” the shared segments with your Matches – including between different companies. This feature is essential for Triangulation and/or Chromosome Mapping.

Note: I often find Matches who tested at one of the companies, but for some reason don’t show up as a Match at that company.  I’ve tested at all the companies, and still find many new Matches at GEDmatch.

The 2 GEDCOMs utility gets you straight to Common Ancestors (you have to have uploaded your GEDCOM too).

In the end, it’s still up to you to find to work with your Matches (and their info) to find Common Ancestors. GEDmatch provides some good tools to help.

 

[22T] Segment-ology: First Time at GEDmatch TIDBIT by Jim Bartlett 20180501

Contact Your Matches Soon!

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

Contact your Matches soon! This is an imperative!

Over 12 million atDNA kits have been sold. Two of the largest companies are AncestryDNA and MyHeritage, who really push for hefty, annual subscriptions. Because of this, and several other reasons, our Matches are dropping out in droves. If you don’t act quickly, many Matches may never see your message. NB: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and MyHeritage all use a messaging system – if your Match pulls the plug, you may miss out on the chance to ever make contact.

So….

-Make up a standard message to include your real name and email, and perhaps a link to your Tree. Express your desire to determine your Common Ancestor(s), and promise to help them through the DNA maze (if you’re reading this blog, you already know more than most Newbies.)

-Send this message to your newest Matches – while they are still logging on to see their ethnicity and closest Matches – before they decide to drop out.

-Give them a way to contact you later (maybe after they lose interest in DNA)

-You will STAND OUT as one of thousands of other Matches, as someone who cares enough to make contract, and as someone who may be able to help them.

-As always, the recommendation is to start with your closest Matches and work your way down the list, as your time allows. Include as many new Matches as possible.

 

[22S] Segment-ology: Contact Your Matches Soon TIDBIT; by Jim Bartlett 20180415

When a Plan Comes Together…

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

I love it. My prime objective with atDNA has been to map my genome to the most distant Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs) that I can. The two essential ingredients for a Chromosome Map are Segments and Common Ancestors. So my basic game plan is to collect and Triangulate as many shared segments over 7cM as I can, and find as many MRCAs as I can. I have basically completed Triangulating the shared segments with all of my Matches (culling out many Identical By Chance (IBC) or false segments along the way), and now have 360 Triangulated Groups (TGs) covering 97% of my 45 chromosomes.

It’s now a full-court-press to find MRCAs with the Matches in these TGs. Of course, not all MRCAs will be correct, but the more I can find in each TG, the more data I have to develop and test possibilities.

Two ways to find MRCAs with segment data:

1. Start with MRCAs and get the Matches to test/upload to GEDmatch to determine shared segments [see Shared Ancestry Hints below], and

2. Start with Match segments and review their Trees (including getting them to share private Trees) [alas, so many Matches have no Tree.]

One process that has worked pretty well for me, focuses on AncestryDNA Hints. I have 830 Shared Ancestor Hints (SAHs), and I’ve sent a message to every one of them. It’s a standard message saying I agree with the Hint, but note that we might have other Common Ancestors, too. For that reason, and because I’m mapping my DNA segments to specific ancestral lines, I’d like for them to upload to GEDmatch so we can see the shared segment. It’s easy, and I will do the DNA analysis and give them a report back.  About 5-10% of these SAH Matches upload.

Today, in response to my request 7 months ago, I got a message with a GEDmatch kit# for a SAH who is a 5th cousins (5C). At GEDmatch I found our shared segment, typed the info into my Master spreadsheet, and Triangulated with other overlapping segments. The new segment was in one of my few remaining TGs with no known MRCA. So, from the Hint, I now had an MRCA! And it “fit” at the grandparent level with adjacent TGs. I then checked our Shared Matches – there were only 3 – one Private, one No Tree, and one with 57 people.  Well, the 57 people Tree had just the barest of a clue – a maiden name without dates or locations. But I knew where to look, and quickly determined it was the same line as my new GEDmatch kit. Wow! Identify an MRCA in a TG, and get another cousin with the same MRCA line in that TG at the same time.

I have over 600 Matches with MRCAs that “fit” at the grandparent level. And it’s becoming easier every day to find and rule potential MRCAs in or out of a TG.

Communicating with Matches to find MRCAs is the key. Sometimes it literally takes years… You’ll only get a small percentage of responses, but the more emails and messages you send out, the more you’ll get back.

Communicate!

[edited to identify abbreviations]

 

[22R] Segment-ology: When a Plan Comes Together TIDBIT; by Jim Bartlett 20180316

Make a Resolution to Contact Your Matches

A Segment-ology TIDBIT

Genetic Genealogists will get the most out of our atDNA tests when we contact our Matches!

We have a lot of issues and hurdles with atDNA:

– Many of our Matches have no Trees, very small Trees, and/or incorrect Trees.

– Many of our Matches are unresponsive – for a wide variety of reasons.

– Many of our Matches will have Common Ancestors with us beyond our genealogy horizon.

– Some of our Matches will have multiple Common Ancestors with us, and it’s difficult to sort out which one, if any, is the genetic Common Ancestor.

– Some of our Matches with shared segments smaller than 15cM will be false – they are not a true genetic relative. It’s often hard to tell which such shared segments are true and which are false.

BUT – many of our Matches are what I call intermediate cousins in the 4th to 6th cousin range. By that I mean cousins with a good chance of having a Common Ancestor (CA) in our Tree, or right on the fringes, and within reach of available records/research. These are cousins who can help us assign a side in a Triangulated Group (TG); or determine a more distant CA to a TG (move the “knothole”). These are cousins who can get us closer to resolving brick walls. They are out there….

At the beginning of 2018 there are probably about 10,000,000 people who have taken an autosomal DNA Test at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, My Heritage, LivingDNA, etc. It appears our Match lists are STILL about doubling every year – twice the Matches; twice the 3rd cousins; twice the number of segments in each Triangulate Group; twice the chance for a close Match; twice the number of intermediate cousins; twice the chance for a breakthrough Match – every year.

We have a lot of things which are out of our control (see above). But there is one thing which is very much within the control of every genetic genealogist – contacting Matches. It appears our natural tendency is to look at their Trees, look at their ICW list or Shared Matches, analyze Matrix info, and even Triangulate their shared segments – anything and everything we can do, except contact them. As an example – I have had my brother’s DNA at FTDNA and 23andMe for 5 years, and I’ve received less than two dozen emails or messages from his Matches. And I have two sons, a maternal uncle and several close cousins who have tested with the same pitiful result – virtually no contact. On the other hand, I have sent out several thousands of emails and messages to Matches. And I’ve worked out CAs with over 600 Matches (NB: I don’t claim all are genetic CAs – that is to be determined – but they are all important clues). Yes, many of these CAs I found by looking at my Matches’ Trees, but many were found by my Matches after I contacted them. Some I found by extending a Match’s Tree, but I always try to get an agreement from the Match. Some of my Matches, once I contacted them, turned out to be have a treasure trove of information about my more distant (lesser researched) Ancestors. Many Matches have additional information, not in their Trees. Communicating with Matches has great potential.

And while I’m on this topic, when a Match contacts you, be sure to respond! …in the most positive, helpful, way you can (or have time for). Your Matches are your cousins – treat them like you would any relative at a family reunion… Try not to be dismissive, or to treat them like a salesperson – they are kin, hoping to work on some of your genealogy, too.

Each person has their own objectives in genetic genealogy. And we all usually have a limited time for this hobby. So my advice here is to start with closest Matches and work down. Or work with Matches on a particular line, or within a TG of interest to you. The point is to develop a plan to contact some of your Matches. Although most may not respond, work with the ones who do.

One process that may help is standardized text. If you find yourself writing essentially the same email or message several times, save a copy to a Word (or text) document. Then you can copy and paste it to the next Match. Over time, I try to improve my standard texts – use BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) to get their attention quickly; be as brief as you can; offer to help; promise feedback; provide your email and or link to your tree.

Make a resolution to contact your Matches! You’ll be glad you did.

 

[22Q] Segment-ology: Make a Resolution to Contact Your Matches TIDBITS by Jim Bartlett 20180107