Friday, April 20, 2018

"The Genetic Detective" Series Premiere - May 26, 2020 @10pm/9pm on ABC

**This blog is no longer being updated. CeCe will be blogging from**

Don't miss the ABC series premiere of "The Genetic Detective"
May 26th at 10pm ET/PT and 9pm CT/MT

Monday, November 20, 2017

Don't Miss Me on "Finding Your Roots" Tuesday Night + I4GG Reminder + Sales

Finding Your Roots
I hope you have been enjoying Season Four of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  The next episode airing on Tuesday, November 21st will feature actress Tea Leoni's mother's adoption story. Due to the adoption taking place in Texas, which is a closed adoption record state, we were unable to learn any information regarding her biological family through the records, so DNA was the only answer. Fortunately, I was able to identify both of Tea's biological maternal grandparents through DNA research. I will briefly appear on the show to discuss my work with Dr. Gates. I hope you will watch! 

From what it appears, most markets will air reruns of Finding Your Roots from Season 3 for the following two weeks. Based on the schedules I found online, it seems that the two episodes on which I appeared last season will re-air on Dec 5th. So if you missed LL Cool J's mother's adoption story and DNA success and Jimmy Kimmel's touching episode last season, please tune in for those as well! The new season will then restart with the last two episodes on December 12th and 19th. For my genetic genealogy friends, Charlayne Hunter-Gault also had some very interesting DNA research. It can't all be included in the episode due to it being so extensive, but some of it will appear. Following is the schedule to my knowledge. Please check your local listings. 

  • Tues., Nov. 21, 2017, 8 p.m.: “Relatives We Never Knew We Had” with Tea Leoni and Gaby Hoffmann
  • Tues., Nov. 28, 2017, 8 p.m.: “The Stories We Tell” with Donna Brazile, Ty Burrell and Kara Walker (encore broadcast from Season Three)
  • Tues., Dec. 5, 2017, 8 p.m.: “Family Reunions” with Sean Combs and LL Cool J (encore broadcast from Season Three)
  • Tues., Dec. 5, 2017, 9 p.m.: “Tragedy + Time = Comedy” with Jimmy Kimmel, Norman Lear and Bill Hader (encore broadcast from Season Three)
  • Tues., Dec. 12, 2017, 8 p.m.: “Southern Roots” with Questlove, Dr. Phil and Charlayne Hunter-Gault
  • Tues., Dec. 19, 2017, 8 p.m.: “Funny Business” with Garrison Keillor, Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari

Institute for Genetic Genealogy
If you haven't yet signed up for our I4GG Conference on Dec. 9th and 10th in San Diego, Tuesday November 21st is the last day for early registration. It will be two entire days of exclusively genetic genealogy instruction! We have many wonderful speakers from among the leading researchers in our field as well as representatives from all five of the major DNA testing companies that offer genealogy features. The schedule can be found here. We are getting very close to filling up and registration may close at any time, so please don't delay if you plan to attend. 

Black Friday Sales
Stay tuned for the upcoming Black Friday DNA kit sales later this week. I will publish them here as soon as they started coming in. In the meantime, 23andMe's great Thanksgiving deal is coming to an end this Thursday. Single Ancestry-only kits (no health results included but can be upgraded later) are only $69 and if you buy two or more, then are only $49 each, which is an amazing deal. The offer runs through Thursday. Order here

**Disclosure** Ordering through links found on this blog will result in "The DNA Detectives" receiving a small commission from your sale, which helps to defray the costs of my extensive volunteer work and allows me to continue to dedicate a significant amount of time to these volunteer activities. A portion of these commissions also benefits The DNA Detectives Kits of Kindness donation program (details on program at link). Ordering through these links will not increase the price that you pay. Thank you. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Discrepancies with Amount of Shared DNA for Close Family Matches at MyHeritage

I was previously aware that there are some issues with the more distant matches on MyHeritage DNA, so I have been advising caution about using those in genealogical research, but was more confident about the close family matches. I uploaded both my parents' data and my aunt and uncle and all matched me and each other as expected. However, in the last couple of days, I have become aware of some pretty serious issues with matches in the category that includes half-sibling relationships (~25% shared).

Case #1
For several months, I have been working with a woman who was abandoned as a baby. We had successfully zeroed in on her biological family through pedigree triangulation on AncestryDNA and were trying to determine which of two sisters was her biological mother. The daughter of one of the sisters had agreed to test at MyHeritage, with the expectation of a DNA share consistent with either first cousins or half-siblings. Her results came back with 17.9% (1,294.9 cM) DNA shared between them. This was unfortunate since it fell in a gray area where the ranges of shared DNA for the two possible relationships overlap, so it looked like we would have no definitive answer to the question of her parentage. We then uploaded her data to Gedmatch and were shocked to see that they actually shared ~25% (1,758.9 cM) of their DNA - a clear half-sibling match.

This is what the comparison on MyHeritage looked like:

This is what the comparison looked like on Gedmatch:

That is a 464 cM difference! This pushes the relationship solidly into the half-sibling relationship category without any ambiguity. We expect small differences between the different companies and/or third party comparisons, but in all the years I have been involved in genetic genealogy, I have never seen a comparison vary so drastically. In fact, they have been so consistent in the eight years we have been working with autosomal DNA matching, that it has given our community great confidence about the reliability of the matching algorithms that we work with at the three major DNA companies and Gedmatch. 

This was very concerning to me so I followed up on some potentially similar situations I had heard about in my DNA Detectives Facebook group and immediately found two more examples like the one above.

Case #2
Here is the comparison between two half-siblings at MyHeritage:

Here they are at AncestryDNA:

And here they are at Gedmatch:

As you can see, this set of half-sisters was reported to share 1,142 cM at MyHeritage, 1,620 cM at AncestryDNA and 1,699.4 cM at Gedmatch.  Again, this is highly problematic with a difference of 478 cM and 557 cM between MyHeritage's estimate and the other two services.

Case #3
This is a comparison of a full uncle/nephew at MyHeritage:

and at Gedmatch:

Again, we see a large discrepancy between the comparison at MyHeritage versus the one at Gedmatch - 937 cM at the former versus 1,409.2 cM at the latter, for a difference of 472.2 cM.  Also note, that the number of matching segments is doubled in the Gedmatch comparison as opposed to the MyHeritage one.

I would really like to see the MyHeritage comparisons on a chromosome browser to determine exactly what is going on here. Hopefully, they will soon add that feature.

Don't get me wrong, I welcome new companies that offer services to our community and am very supportive of their efforts, however accuracy is absolutely essential when using DNA to draw genealogical conclusions and determine the relationship between two people. These very significant discrepancies definitely can and, perhaps, already have caused MyHeritage customers to reach inaccurate conclusions about their relationships to each other. This can be very damaging to the reputation of our industry and, especially, in relation to the work I do assisting people of unknown parentage to identify and connect with their biological families. If we cannot count on reliability in the reported amount of shared DNA, this undermines our efforts to convince newly-found family members that the proposed relationship is authentic. It is my hope that MyHeritage will move quickly to correct this very serious issue. In the meantime, I recommend always double checking your comparisons by uploading to Gedmatch and running the one-to-one comparison there. 

I was able to locate these examples very quickly, so I am confident there are many more out there. Please comment below if you have an example of your own.

[Edited to add - I am still recommending that people of unknown parentage get their DNA into the MyHeritage database due to the many success stories we are seeing there, but I strongly suggest checking any important/significant matches at Gedmatch, if at all possible, to confirm any newly-found relationships.]

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Fourth Pond: MyHeritage DNA

For years we have been advising DNA testers, specifically those searching for birth family and attempting to solve family mysteries, to test at all three of the major DNA testing companies, in other words to “fish in all three ponds.”  These three autosomal DNA databases – AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA - now contain between about five to six million testers in total. 

For another company to be able to compete in this space, they must offer a test comparable in resolution and features, and be prepared to tackle the challenging proposition of “catching up” with the databases of the other three companies. That is a tall order and, so far, there have been no other companies to earn our recommendation. With that said, I believe the time has come that we must consider revising our advice to include a fourth “pond,” MyHeritage DNA.

When a genealogist or person of unknown parentage is seeking to answer a specific question about their ancestors, near or far, the chance of success, at least, partially relies on luck. Who else has tested at the same company? For unknown parentage this is especially true. For example, an adoptee may test at only one company, while the birth parent or sibling is tested at another. If the attempt to search goes no further, then there will be no successful outcome. Since all of these databases are proprietary and only a relatively small percentage upload to the third party comparison site Gedmatch, it is essential for those engaged in unresolved searches to make sure the DNA is submitted to all databases where there may be a unique match.

Recently, MyHeritage launched their DNA matching service. For most of us, it may be easy to ignore them for now while they work out their questionable matching algorithms and grow their database to a size that earns our interest, but for those of unknown parentage or for birth parents who have yet to find success in their searches, it may not be prudent to do so. In the last couple of weeks, I have been made aware of several unknown parentage cases that were resolved through MyHeritage DNA. These searchers had made sure that their DNA was “fishing in all three of the ponds,” plus Gedmatch, and yet had not found the answers they were seeking in any of those databases. Since MyHeritage offers a free upload of the raw data files from the other three DNA testing companies, this has encouraged some in my DNA Detectives Facebook group to try it out.

Well, it turns out that MyHeritage is having success at attracting its own unique group of testers who are not at the other three companies. Lo and behold, for some, what they have been looking for is in that database and nowhere else. Since it is, undoubtedly, still the smallest database, the odds of finding a close match are presently low, but they are clearly not zero.

Consider these three recent MyHeritage DNA success stories.


From Robin:

The father was my first love, high school sweetheart. He was three years older.  We had talked about getting married but something happened…he turned and suddenly didn’t want anything to do with me.  I was devastated and distraught. 

I gave my daughter up through the LDS Social Services in a closed adoption.  At the time they did not do adoptions with pictures or information given to the birth parent after the birth.  I had told my counselor that someday I wanted to meet her.

I had tried everything to try and find her.  I had always thought she was adopted in California.  It wasn’t but about 20 years ago that I found out it was actually in Davis County, Utah.  I had been looking in the wrong place.  I tried to register in the Utah adoption registry, but they wouldn’t let me because the birth had to be in that state.  I tried to register in the Hawaii adoption registry, but they wouldn’t let me because the adoption had to be there.  The birth was in Hawaii and adoption in Utah -- just opposite from their rules.  I tried to send for the amended birth certificate hoping someone would screw-up and send it to me.  I got the original one….  I tried talking with people in Hawaii.  I tried talking with people in Utah.  I tried writing the court to tell them I had cancer in 2003 and it was imperative that I get a hold of her to let her know the medical history.  They never wrote me back… I even had a friend attorney try to find a loophole the in Hawaii law code that would permit me to have the records open. No luck, nothing.  I was pretty discouraged.  My mother passed in 2001 and I had always wanted her to meet my daughter but it didn’t happen.  I even would say, ”Mom, I know you know who she is now and please just whisper her name in my ear.”  If I had a name I knew the chances of finding her were pretty good.

My husband and I also wanted to do our DNA even though we had a fairly good idea of our roots and where we were from. For Christmas 2016 we decided to both do our DNA through AncestryDNA.  My friend Jennifer was helping me… and in the process I told her my story about having a child at 15 and giving her up for adoption.  She said, “You have to meet my sister-in-law!!” Her sister-in-law Mckell, came over to my house and told me how she helps people find people.  She told me that I have to upload my DNA data with other sites.  I was a little skeptical at first because that was really putting myself out there, but, oh well, the government knows everything about us anyway, what the heck!  She had me go on this site and that site and to MyHeritage. This was in January 2017.  I was grateful to her but really didn’t think about it much after that day.  Every now and then I would get an email from the sites saying they found my 14th cousin….ok, that’s an exaggeration but you get what I mean.  No big deal, right. 

So on Sunday April 2nd I had received a notice on my phone that I had an email from MyHeritage.  Oh another one of those….  I hadn’t been feeling good so I pretty much lay around, watched TV all day.  That evening I got ready for bed and decided to look at my emails.  It was about 10pm.  I pulled the email up and started to read...

Hi Robin,
Good news! We’ve discovered new DNA Matches for you.
(OK another one….)
Your top new DNA Matches
Age 40's
From USA
49.1% shared DNA suggest the following possible relationship:
(What the heck…)
It took my breath away. 

Robin's MyHeritage Match

I quickly called Jennifer, she didn’t answer so I texted her: "MyHeritage…..Daughter….call me ASAP!" She called Mckell and Mckell called me all calm like.  I told her and she said,  "Robin, that is HER!"  I kept questioning because I just couldn’t believe it. The next two hours Mckell and I were on the phone trying to find out everything I could about Becky.  I still couldn’t find her birthday.  That was the one piece that would cinch this whole puzzle for me to really know if it was her.

At 7:40 am I sent Becky a private message to her Facebook page,
"Hi Becky my name is Robin … and I live in Mesa, AZ.  My Heritage DNA messaged me yesterday and if you are who I think you are, I have been looking for you practically my whole life.  When is your birthday? Please call me 480 -…"

I went to work and stewed all day.  I couldn’t focus and I tried to keep myself busy.  Finally at 2:33pm I got a response:
Hi Robin! What a surprise! Can you tell me the birthdate of the person you think I am? (Winky face)

Me: Yes I gave birth to a daughter January 10, 19xx [removed for privacy] in Queens Hospital in Honolulu Hawaii. I was 15 yrs old.

Her: (Big smiley face) OMGoodness!!! WOW!!! Yes, it’s me (cheezy grin) Forgive me, I’m kind of in shock.  Can we text for a bit before we talk? 

Me: Yes, I found out last night about 10pm.  I have a friend that made me sign up in MyHeritage…I was up till 1am,  got up this am at 6. Had to take a sleeping pill I was so excited….I’m at work but its ok.  Whenever you are ready…I’ve waited this long :)

We continued to talk back and forth until she had to go get ready for work.  I told her we have seven children and that she has five sisters and two brothers.  She was blown away, but in a good way.  She was so excited to have sisters.  She always wanted a big family.  I told her we have 30 in our family -- and that is just my husband and I, our kids, their spouses, and grandchildren. 

Becky had done her DNA through MyHeritage to find out her roots….she got a lot more than she bargained for.

So much more happened…. Then we met….that’s another story….

Robin and her biological daughter Becky meeting for the first time

Robin's daughter Becky had only tested at one DNA company.  

Unlike a person of unknown parentage searching for their birth parents, when a birth parent is searching for their biological child, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. This is because that one person (or their descendants) has to have also taken a DNA test. Very importantly, they must be in the same database. In this case, if Robin had only submitted her DNA to one, two or three of the DNA testing companies, and if Mckell had not encouraged Robin to upload to MyHeritage, she would not be reunited with her daughter today. 


Nancy used MyHeritage in her search for her mother's birth parents

From Nancy:

Well thanks to you and a 20/20 piece you did, I took my first DNA test with AncestryDNA last year. (My husband did as well and found his birth father!) I was trying to uncover my mother’s true origins. The story I had heard was that my mom's birthmother had my mom and went away with her. She then came back to the birth father’s house and dropped her off to never be seen again. In the end, my mom was raised by neither birth parent and ended up being adopted by someone else.

I took all available tests out there and transferred my raw DNA data to all sites that were free. My best match was a 4th cousin on AncestryDNA.

About two weeks ago I get an email from MyHeritage about a match with 870.8 cM shared and, at the same time, I got a match on AncestryDNA with 355 cM shared.  The MyHeritage match turned out to be my half-aunt on my maternal grandmother’s side and the AncestryDNA match was my half-first cousin on my maternal grandfather’s side, so each match identified one of my mother’s birth parents! 

My aunt told me that my mom’s birth father and grandmother came and took the baby from her and told her to stay away! She said the family knew about my mom and they would celebrate her birthday and keep her memory alive in the family. Tragically, according to my aunt, my maternal grandmother died heartbroken over losing her daughter.

Nancy's mom and her birthparents

Bittersweet discovery, but finally some answers. 

It turns out that while Nancy's DNA was in all the databases, her aunt had ONLY tested at MyHeritage. 

She explained, "I was bored one day from surgery and I started looking into it. I bought my kit, sent in my DNA, and the rest is history! I have never done this before. I am so glad I did -- LOOK. We found each other, Mija. I am so happy." 

She further explained her main goal in testing was to confirm Native American ancestry. It is difficult to predict why a person might test in one database and not another – even the smaller ones.


Get your tissues out for this beautiful story of sisters, Morgan and Jennisara, finding each other.



These recent success stories have convinced me that for those searching for close biological family members, if all else fails, it is time to give MyHeritage a try. Thanks to the company's offer of free raw data uploads it will cost nothing to do so and the small effort may pay off handsomely. You just never know who it sitting in that database waiting to be matched to you, or who will test there next week or next year. It is worth the effort to make sure we are covering all the bases. 

If you are looking to break down more distant genealogical brick walls, you may also want to consider uploading your raw data while it is still free. Please note, however, that at this time there seem to be issues with the matching algorithms, so I would approach the matches with caution. (Of course, any close family matches like the ones in the story above should be very reliable due to the ease of detecting/predicting these.) For those researching more recent European roots, I believe MyHeritage DNA will continue to grow in importance due to their appeal to testers outside of the United States. 

You can upload here.

Best of luck with your searches/research and I would love to hear about any more MyHeritage DNA success stories in the comments below.

[Edited to add: MyHeritage has offered my readers a free 14-day trial for their genealogical records Complete Plan, plus over 50% off for the year for those who continue after the trial period. This offer is good for new customers only. The trial can be be found here.]

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The New Living DNA Test: A Review of My Results

I mailed in my complimentary Living DNA kit at the end of October. The test is performed using the Illumina Global Screening Array Chip. I took some photos of the kit, so testers will know what to expect. 

The Kit

Living DNA uses a swab for sample collection, as shown here. There are two in each kit. The collection process is relatively easy and involves no liquid. Although Living DNA is a British company, the mailing address for my kit was Eurofins Genomics in Louisville, Kentucky. (Eurofins is one of their partners according to the website, and the testing is done in Denmark.) The decision to use swabs for DNA collection instead of saliva, undoubtedly, makes shipping the samples to the lab from the United States, and internationally within Europe, simpler.

I received my results on February 7th, just as I was leaving for RootsTech. Now that I am home, I have had a chance to finally look them over.

My results include an admixture prediction (percentages of overall ancestral origins based on autosomal DNA) and my mtDNA haplogroup (which was correct - U5b1b2). Males will also receive their Y-DNA haplogroup. 

Currently, there is no relative matching feature, but it is expected to be added in the near future, which will be essential for genealogical and unknown parentage applications. This will be a terrific addition to the U.S.-based databases we already use in our research, since it will have a unique British, and presumably, European market. 

I was excited to receive these results since I have recent English ancestry and they promised to provide a very detailed breakdown of ancestral origins within the British Isles, with 21 separate categories. You can see the descriptions of those categories here

Reportedly, this test is only looking back to where your ancestors were about four to five generations ago, but the What you are made of section on the site states, "A typical profile provides your genetic ancestry going back about six generations." Either way, this is not a deep ancestry analysis and should reflect what we know about our recent ancestors. (Edit: The site has been updated to reflect a ten generation reach, which makes more sense to me.)

Like 23andMe's former version of Ancestry Composition, the admixture results are presented at three different levels: Global, Regional and Sub-Regions. 

Here are mine. 


At 23andMe, I am 100% European. 
At AncestryDNA, I am 99% European.
At Family Tree DNA, I am 97% European.


At 23andMe, I am 24.8% British/Irish and 22% Finnish. 
At AncestryDNA, I am 0% Great Britain, 10% Irish and 21% Finland/Northwest Russia.
At Family Tree DNA, I am 27% British Isles and 23% Finland and Northern Siberian.

It is immediately obvious that something is off with the Living DNA estimate, since my grandmother was of full Finnish ancestry and all three of the other companies accurately detect that (21% - 23%). Conversely, Living DNA only estimates 12.6% in their Europe East category for me, which includes Finnish DNA.  (On a side note, I consider this a misnomer. Finland is generally not considered to be part of Eastern Europe.) 

 Results Map

On the "Your Family Ancestry" page, in the How the Science Works section, Living DNA states this:
I do not accept that explanation and I hope their other customers will not be misled by it either. It is absurd to claim that it is realistically possible to inherit 0% of a grandparent's DNA. 

LivingDNA estimates that 81.7% of my DNA comes from Great Britain and Ireland. That is a significant overestimate. I have one great grandfather of full British ancestry (~12.5%) and one second great grandmother of full British ancestry (~6.25%). All of the rest of my known British ancestry, with the exception of two possible Irish 5th great grandparents, is Colonial American.  I do have some genealogical brick walls, but my matches on those lines do not indicate that behind any of them is a recent British ancestor. The other reputable companies estimate I am between 10% - 27% British/Irish. 

CeCe's Family Tree, British Ancestors in Red
Click on Image to Enlarge

I also have a great grandparent of full Norwegian ancestry as well as a significant amount of German ancestry. 

So, let's look at my Sub-regional estimates:

Sub Regions
Click on Image to Enlarge

According to these results, my ancestors came from many different areas of England, which is certainly possible if you look very deep into my pedigree, back to my immigrant ancestors in the 1600's. Focusing on my more recent English ancestors, let's see if these estimates are consistent with their known origins.

My great grandfather, George Henry Allen was born in Australia, but both of his parents, George Allen (b.1851) and Flora Chitts (b.1849) were born in Gloucestershire, England, as were their known ancestors. So, I should have inherited about 12.5% of my DNA from this area. According to this page, Gloucestershire ancestry would fall into the South Central England sub-region. I have an estimated 8% from this category. So, a little low, but not impossible when taking into account the randomness of recombination. 

My third great grandfather Thomas Armstrong was born 1801 in Cumberland (as were his known ancestors). I would have inherited approximately 3.125% of my DNA from him. The area that was once Cumberland is now part of Cumbria. According to Living DNA I have 6.4% in the Cumbria category. 

My third great grandmother Dorothy Hudspith was born 1811 in Northumberland (as were her known ancestors). I would carry about 3.125% of her DNA. Northumberland would be in the Northumbria category. 0% of my DNA is predicted to have originated in Northumbria.  

As I mentioned, I have two unconfirmed fifth great grandparents from Ireland (on different lines). One of them was reportedly born in County Armagh. If this is accurate, then I would expect to have about 1.56% of Irish DNA. I have 2.1% in the Southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland category, so this appears to be roughly consistent. 

What does that leave?
14.5% South Wales Border - no known recent ancestry from this area
14.1% Central England - no known recent ancestry from this area
12.4% Southeast England - This category could be representative of my German ancestry. The site states this about it: 

5.8% Cornwall - no known recent ancestry from this area
5.1% South Yorkshire - no known recent ancestry from this area
1.3% Northwest England - no known recent ancestry from this area
1.1% Devon - no known recent ancestry from this area
11.5% Unassigned Great Britain and Ireland 

12.6% Finland and Western Russia - expected ~25%
4.2% Scandinavia - expected ~12.5%

Due to my large amount of distant Colonial American ancestry, my overall British DNA is likely a challenge to specifically categorize. Focusing on my last six generations, these results were not consistent with my known ancestry. Failing to recognize half of my Finnish ancestry and significantly underestimating my Norwegian/Scandinavian ancestry does not inspire confidence. The site explained that German ancestry could be included in the Southeast England category, so that may explain why none of mine showed up elsewhere. Even with this caveat, however, this does not accurately portray my ancestral origins. 

I suspect that I am not the only one who will see over-inflated British percentages, but that remains to be seen when more results are delivered and reviews published.  

This test's launch has been highly anticipated and has definitely been getting a lot of buzz, but I think it is important to recognize that any time a company is claiming to provide very specific sub-regional percentages, we must take it with a big dose of salt. As always, I support and appreciate the efforts to advance our field. It has to start somewhere and we can't expect perfection. I look forward to improvements and the future of this exciting company. 

If you are interested in seeing what Living DNA will predict for you, you can order your kit here

Monday, November 7, 2016

MyHeritage Launches DNA Testing Service

MyHeritage is announcing a new DNA testing service today, MyHeritage DNA.

MyHeritage DNA results will include ethnicity reports and a DNA matching service for $79 + shipping (intro price). The initial reports currently include 25 ethnicities, but will grow to more than 100 thanks to MyHeritage’s Founder Population project, also unveiled today. More than 5000 participants have been handpicked to serve as references for this project by MyHeritage from its 85 million members, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. (More details in the press release included at the end of this post.)

MyHeritage DNA will integrate viewing family trees for DNA Matches to pinpoint the connection path, and automatically identifying which surnames and geographical locations they have in common (not common ancestors at this time). I am told that a chromosome browser will be coming in future updates and that the testing chip is "industry standard" which should mean it will be compatible with Gedmatch. If you haven't uploaded your raw data from another testing company to MyHeritage yet, you may want to consider doing so quickly before they cease offering that option.

We are still waiting on many details of the test and I will report back when I know more. I am not ready to recommend the product until I learn more about it, but it has exciting potential. In the meantime, I have posted some screen shots of results provided by MyHeritage. Check out the site here

Matching Service

Possible Relationship Predictions

Ethnicity Estimates

MyHeritage DNA kit

Official Press Release:
MyHeritage Launches Global DNA Testing Service for Uncovering Ethnic Origins and Making New Family Connections
Unique Founder Population project conducted by the company expected to empower the highest resolution ethnicity analysis available on the market
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, November 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the leading international destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage DNA, its global integrated genetic testing service. The move represents a major turning point for the DNA industry, as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.

With 85 million users worldwide, 2.1 billion family tree profiles, 7 billion historical records and availability in 42 languages, MyHeritage’s new DNA service further strengthens its position as a global leader in family history.

DNA is the hereditary material in the cells of the human body and it carries within it a unique genetic record. The MyHeritage DNA kit enables users to test their DNA to reveal valuable information about their family history and ethnic origins. The kit consists of a simple cheek swab and takes only a minute to complete, with no need for blood or saliva. The sample is then mailed to MyHeritage DNA’s lab for analysis and the user is invited to view the results on the MyHeritage website. In its initial version, MyHeritage DNA provides two main features: detailed ethnicity reports that map the user’s ethnic and geographic origins, and DNA Matches for finding relatives. Additional features and capabilities are planned for the future.

MyHeritage DNA results include fascinating ethnicity reports, showing the percentage of the user's DNA that come from different populations around the world. The initial reports currently include 25 ethnicities, but this will improve dramatically thanks to MyHeritage’s unique Founder Population project unveiled today — the largest of its kind ever conducted. More than 5000 participants have been handpicked for this project by MyHeritage from its 85 million members, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. In the next few months, the project will be completed, resulting in a rich DNA data set of more than 100 ethnicities that will enable MyHeritage to show users their ancestral roots with far greater resolution than other services. To this end, the company has been sending its DNA kits to project participants far and wide, from Uzbekistan to Fiji, from Greenland to South Africa, and every corner of the globe. Standard ethnicity reports are currently available, with the expert reports to be released at no additional cost to users following the completion of the Founder Population project.

DNA test results complement MyHeritage’s core offerings, including family trees and historical records — the tools traditionally used by family history enthusiasts. DNA can be used to prove or disprove a documented family tree connection, or answer the question of whether two people sharing the same rare surname are actually related. DNA is also indispensable for overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles in traditional research, as in the case of adoptees searching for their biological family without access to their adoption records. On the other hand, when DNA locates a match between two people who have the same ancestor or ancestors, family trees and historical records are often essential for piecing together the exact relationship path between them.

MyHeritage DNA is seamlessly integrated with the other services provided by MyHeritage on all web and mobile platforms, as well as offered on a dedicated standalone mobile app released today named MyHeritage DNA. Thanks to its expertise in family trees and its vibrant community, MyHeritage provides its DNA customers with features not offered by most competing services including 23andMe, such as viewing family trees of the majority of their DNA Matches to pinpoint the connection path, and automatically identifying which surnames and geographical locations they have in common. DNA can be a fascinating introduction to the world of family history, and customers who embark on this journey by taking a DNA test can easily use MyHeritage's tools to further explore what made them what they are.

“DNA testing is the future of family history,” said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “We see DNA as a natural evolution of our business and look forward to harnessing it to reunite families, engage in new pro bono projects, and enrich the lives of millions of users.”

MyHeritage DNA kits are available at the affordable introductory price of $79 + shipping (prices vary by location). To order, visit the MyHeritage DNA website. MyHeritage has already amassed a significant number of DNA kits uploaded by its users from other DNA services, providing valuable matches on MyHeritage from day one. With the launch of MyHeritage DNA, the company will cease to offer DNA kits of other vendors. Users who have already tested their DNA on other services are welcome for a limited time to upload their DNA data to MyHeritage at no cost to benefit from free DNA Matches.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the leading global destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground­breaking search and matching technologies. An extension of the core MyHeritage brand, MyHeritage DNA offers technologically-advanced, affordable DNA tests that reveal users’ ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage and MyHeritage DNA are available in 42 languages.

Aaron Godfrey, VP Marketing
Phone: +1­-347­-542­7902 Email: