Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday Weekend 2017 DNA Kit Sales - Updated

It is the time for DNA test kit sales...and just in time for the holidays! These are fantastic prices - some of the best ever - and will ensure we all get many more new matches, including from international testers. 

DNA kit sales being offered in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and in select European countries. They are good through the end of the weekend. Click on the relevant links to check pricing in your area. 

AncestryDNA - US - $59 >> Click here to order (update: now $69 until Dec 14th)
Ancestry's incredible Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer - Ancestry DNA Kit at only $59! and Subscriptions at 50% Off! Starting November 23rd 9:00PM PST to November 27th 8:59PM PST. (Note: Free shipping codes do not work with the DNA kit offer.) 
    Don't miss out - it's the lowest price of the year. $59

50% off Subscriptions!

Click here or on the image above for 50% off Ancestry Subscriptions

If your current membership is expiring in the next 90 days, you may be able to gift yourself a new membership by turning off your renewal ("canceling" your account) and setting the gift membership to start the day after your current membership is scheduled to end. 

Ancestry FAQ: 

Are gift memberships available for the international versions of Ancestry — for example,

At this time, you can only buy gift memberships for, our U.S.-based site. However, you can buy anyone, anywhere a World Explorer gift membership that includes access to all the international historical record collections on [bolding/italics mine]

Amazon AncestryDNA kit - US - $54.99 >> Click here to order.
AncestryDNA kits are reduced to $54.99 on Amazon - Cyber Monday only. (Prime = free shipping). Ends Nov 27th 11:59pm PST.

AncestryDNA - UK - £49 >> Click here to order
Don't miss out- it's the lowest price of the year, sale until Nov 27th, 11:59pm! Ancestry DNA Kit only £49!

AncestryDNA - Canada - $79 >> Click here to order
AncestryDNA Kit only $79 CAD! StartinNovember 24th 7:00AM PST until November 28th 12:00 AM PST.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale: Don't miss out - it's our lowest price of the year. Ancestry DNA Kit only $79!

AncestryDNA - AUS - $99 >> Click here to order
Black Friday to Cyber Monday Sale: Lowest Price $99 AUD!
Start Date/Time: 22nd November 12:00 pm
End Date/Time: 27th November 11:59pm 

23andMe US - $69, $129 (or $99 each for two or more) >> Click here to order (for international, scroll down)
23andMe' Cyber Monday sale has started. Ancestry-only kits are $69 and Ancestry + Health is $129 or only $99/each if you buy two or more (which is a great price!).  If you have been waiting for the complete kit with the health results included, this is a good time to purchase. This offer ends Tuesday, Nov. 28th at noon PST.  **Before you buy, look at the offer from Amazon below this one in case you prefer to order from there**

23andMe US Ancestry + Health on Amazon - $129 >> Click here to order
If you have Prime, then this will save you $10 on shipping costs.

If you have Prime, then this will save you $10 on shipping costs.

23andMe International - £59, £129 - UK, $99 CAD, $219 CAD - Canada, $99 USD - Australia (Ancestry only) >> Click here to order (and to check your country's pricing for international, generally $20 - $30 off if on sale).

MyHeritage DNA - $49 US, £39 UK, $64 AUD >> Click here to order (and to check your country's pricing for international)
Black Friday to Cyber Monday DNA sale - $49! Starting November 21st through November 27th, DNA kits will be available for only $49 instead of $99. 
That's 50% off - the lowest price EVER on MyHeritage DNA! 
FREE expedited shipping on orders of 3+ kits (US only) and free standard shipping on 2+ kits.
Don't forget that MyHeritage is still accepting free raw data uploads from other companies too - upload here.

Family Tree DNA - $49 for Family Finder! >> Click here to order
Family Finder is $49 until November 27 and then will be $59. Even better - shipping has been reduced to only $4.95! Y-DNA and mtDNA are on sale until the end of the year.  Don't forget uploads are still free here ($19 for premium features). 

Living DNA - $89 >> Click here to order (and to check your country's pricing for international). Lowest price ever! This Black Friday, through to Cyber Monday, Living DNA are offering all their customers the chance to get a DNA test for a never-seen-before price of $89! 

Although not a DNA testing kit, this is very relevant to genetic genealogy research. also has a Black Friday sale - $20 off a 6 month subscription. I use their service almost every day in my DNA research, so I highly recommend them. (You can also subscribe to through an membership - half off right now.) Offer ends Nov 26th. Click here to order.

**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. 

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.]