Using tree building from DNA tools: DNA2Tree and Genetic Affairs to Solve Unknown Parentage Cases
KITTY MUNSON COOPER
If your roots are deeply American, you may only need to test at Ancestry
Any of these matches may resolve the case for you right away but proceed carefully with contact
Enter the cMs and get probable relationships https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4
This online calculator that gives you the probable relationships is an invaluable aid
The DNA Adoption site has much help, with a match that close contact is your next step ... review their advice here: https://dnaadoption.org/first-timers/step-9/
Then read step 10: https://dnaadoption.org/first-timers/step-10/
With less close DNA matches, the basic methodology to resolve unknown parentage involves analyzing and building the trees of your best matches ...
Look through the family trees of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousin DNA matches for common ancestral couples.
Build private, unsearchable family trees down from each common couple to find where they intersect to produce someone in the right place at the right time.
This may only get to the grandparents or great grandparents
Once you have a candidate parent build their pedigree tree back to about 1800
Make sure this tree is private and unsearchable initially but once you are ready to try it out, make it searchable so that Ancestry's ThruLines can use it for you
Add a fake child to that parent and then connect your DNA to that fake person
Ancestry will use auto complete in the name field
Select the pedigree tree you created and link your DNA test to the fake child
Now wait ... it often only takes a day to get common ancestor hints ... see if they are consistent with your hypothesis
Select Common ancestors on your match page plus whatever group you are working with. Consistent with your theory?
In this case our entire set of 4th cousins in the BUGDEN group got common ancestors. I like to note the relationship to see if the numbers work
Check the cMs of each match and compare them to the charts
Do they fit your theory?
Is there a faster way to check them?
The "G" trick
The cousin level = the number of "G"s , else the greats plus one
If you are in different generations take the shorter path and the other is removed by the generation difference
Using the Genetic Affairs tree building feature is a faster way to look to see if the centimorgan amounts fit
Close up of the Genetic Affairs tree diagram
Or you can use the "What Are The Odds" tool at DNApainter to check your theory - https://dnapainter.com/tools/probability
Read this to learn more https://blog.familyhistoryfanatics.com/2019/08/what-are-the-odds-dna.html
Is there automation for comparing trees
to find common ancestral couples?
Or for building trees?
Can collect and compares the trees of your matches by cluster and includes a GEDcom
Finds the common ancestors from your Ancestry matches and builds trees!
DNA2tree is only on iPhones and iPads via a paid subscription but it is a real game changer for unknown parentage searches
clicking on Load Some Matches gets these options
Favorites = starred
Next click on Find Common Ancestors
Here is a sample set of Common Ancestors
Note the repeating usernames (privatized)
See what happens when you Merge Common Ancestors
Now there are only three lines, with no duplication of user names
Details of the Bugden matches
Click on Graph to see an image
It did not all fit on the screen !
Click on Build
then fill out some forms
also you have to tell it whether paternal or maternal side
Click on Build
DNA2tree asks you what to call the tree and then builds that tree on your account at Ancestry
BUGDEN tree at Ancestry built by DNA2tree
Thomas BUGDEN at Ancestry built by DNA2tree
Notice that only his children with DNA tested descendants are listed
And the two Elizabeths are the same person
So much work is still needed
Thomas BUGDEN at Ancestry with all his children added by us
BUGDEN pedigree for father's mother, full story here: https://blog.kittycooper.com/2019/12/can-ethnicity-help-with-unknown-parentage/
You may remember the screenshot from the beginning of this talk.
After we found Elana's grandparents for her, she tracked down a cousin of her father's and got her, Joanne, to test, the DNA fits!
There are two sons of the parents we found for her and Elana is still working on finding them
2. Are there any close matches (1st cousins or closer), figure it out from there
3. Does the genetic affairs clustering and tree builder solve this?
4. If you have DNA2tree, use it to find common ancestors and build a research tree or two
5. Still puzzled? Run GWorks on DNAgedcom and add trees collected elsewhere
6. Once you have some common ancestors, build those trees down to the present looking for someone in the right place at the right time
My CURRENT APPROACH
1. Use the "Are your parents related" (AYPR) tool at GEDmatch on the adoptee
I have a blog in progress on the new tree features at Genetic Affairs. Here is my blog post on using DNA2tree:
Unknown Parentage Cases using Automated Tree Building -i4GG 2020
By Kitty Cooper