How to Use the NEW MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser

The new MyHeritage DNA chromosome browser offers two different kinds of browsing–and a triangulation tool. Here’s what these tools are and how to work with them.

Just last year, if you had asked me if I thought anyone could catch AncestryDNA in their race to own the genetic genealogy market, I would have been skeptical. However, it is clear that MyHeritage intends to be a contender, and they are quickly ramping up their efforts to gain market share–and your confidence.

MyHeritage began 2018 by making a much needed change to their DNA matching algorithm, which had some errors in it. They were able to adjust it, and now it is humming right along, telling our second cousins from our fourth. Another development, launched in February, is the addition of a Chromosome Browser.

The new MyHeritage DNA Chromsome Browser

Much like you would browse the library shelves for the perfect book, or browse through the sale rack for a great bargain, you can use a Chromosome Browser to look through your chromosomes for the pieces of DNA you share with your genetic cousins. Chromosome Browsers can be everything from a fun way to review your genetic genealogy results, to a tool to assist in determining how you are related to someone else. Let’s go over three tips to help you make use of this new tool:

Navigating to the Chromosome Browser

There are actually two different kinds of Chromosome Browsers in MyHeritage: one to view only the segments you share with one match (the One-to-One Browser), and a browser where you can see the segments shared with multiple matches (the One-to-Many Browser).

To get to the One-to-One Browser, head over to your match page and find a cousin for whom you would like to see your shared DNA segments. Click on Review DNA Match, then scroll down past all the individual match information, past the Shared Matches and Shared Ethnicities until you see the Chromosome Browser.

Using the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser

To find the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser, you can use the main DNA navigation menu at the top of the MyHeritage homepage. Click on DNA, then on Chromosome Browser, as shown below.

In the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser you can compare yourself, or any account you manage, to anyone else in your match page. To choose a match to evaluate, just click on their name and they will be added to the queue at the top:

Clicking on Compare will then allow you to see the actual segments you share with each person:

In this One-To-Many view, each individual match gets their own line for each chromosome. Since we have added 7 people to the Chromosome Browser, there are seven lines next to each chromosome number. Each match not only gets their own line, but also their own color. So you can easily match up the lines on the chromosome to the match that shares that piece of DNA with you. For the majority of people the majority of the time, these Chromosome Browsers are just another fun way to visualize the connection you have with your DNA match. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you are sharing on the chromosome, just how much DNA you are sharing. You can obtain that information from your main match page and never look at this Chromosome Browser image, and still make fantastic genetic genealogy discoveries.

The Triangulation Tool

Another feature of the Chromosome Browser on MyHeritage is the Triangulation tool. To understand how this works, you first need to understand that you actually have two copies of each chromosome. Two copies of chromosome 1, two copies of chromosome 2, etc. One copy is from mom, and the other from dad. However, in the Chromosome Browser image, you see only one line for yourself (in grey). Therefore, when you see someone matching you on chromosome 14, for example, you don’t know if that person is matching you on the chromosome 14 you got from your mom, or the chromosome 14 you got from your dad.

Likewise, if you see two people whose shared piece with you looks to be in the same location on the same chromosome, you can’t tell if they are both sharing on the same copy of that chromosome, or if one match is related to your dad’s family, and the other match is related to your mom’s family. However, this is what the Triangulation tool does for us. It tells us if two (or three or four, etc.) matches are sharing on the same copy of the same chromosome. Be careful when you use this tool, though. Many erroneously assume that when they see a segment shared between multiple people, that indicates the presence of a recent common ancestor for all of those people. However, that is not always the case.

Start Using the MyHeritage DNA Chromsome Browser

Ready to start exploring what the MyHeritage DNA chromosome browser may tell you about your family history? You have two options. Click here to upload your autosomal DNA test results from another company to MyHeritage for FREE. Or click here to order a MyHeritage DNA test kit. Either way, you can start using all the great tools at MyHeritage DNA!

The Author: Diahan Southard

The Author: Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

Diahan is Your DNA Guide at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She’s the author of a full series of DNA guides for genealogists.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

DNA News and Classes at RootsTech 2018

RootsTech 2018 was so exciting—especially for a genetic genealogist such as myself! There were so many DNA lectures to choose from every day, including the one I’ve recommended at the end of this post. (It was so much fun–I did it with Lisa Louise Cooke! And it’s such an important topic!) But before you watch it, here’s some important DNA news that broke at RootsTech this year.

DNA news from RootsTech 2018

MyHeritage’s Big Tree

Addressing the biggest problem in genetic genealogy, namely the looming What Next? question facing millions of newly swabbed participants, MyHeritage announced the Big Tree. This giant network of genetic and genealogy results will automate much of the match comparison and tree searching to replace your head-scratching with light-bulb moments. They have already made significant headway on this project, as reported in the journal Science, on which MyHeritage’s own chief scientific officer Yaniv Erlich collaborated.

The journal reports that the team of scientists successfully extracted public family trees from Geni.com (a MyHeritage daughter company), and then used a computer program to clean up and link the trees together. It sounds like MyHeritage will be adding genetic data to this kind of tree data in their Big Tree project.

Helping adoptees

MyHeritage is showing support for the 7 million adopted individuals in the United States with their new DNA Quest campaign. Lisa’s already blogged in more detail about this, but in short, MyHeritage will provide 15,000 DNA test kits to eligible adoptees (free of charge) to help them use DNA to reunite them with their biological families. With this initiative they “hope to make this project a shining light for corporate philanthropy and an example to be followed by other commercial companies in their own lines of expertise to make the world a better place.”

MyHeritage has assembled an advisory board of genetic genealogists and genetic counselors to help drive this project and ensure it meets the needs of the community. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, you can head on over to the DNA Quest website to fill out an application. But you better hurry: the application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Living DNA: Matches are coming

The UK-based company Living DNA announced that they plan to add DNA matching to their popular origins test by third quarter 2018. When they launched in October of 2016, LivingDNA was not offering cousin matching, but opted instead to focus all of their resources on providing very detailed origins reports, including breaking down the UK in up to 46 categories. (Living DNA can already detect up to 21 regions in the UK, four in Italy and four in China—and the company is adding more regions all the time. Click here to order a DNA test from Living DNA.)

In the months since their launch, they have been working on a genetic matching system, called Family Networks, that will appeal to a wide range of users and will “reduce the risk of human error and take away the tedious task of figuring out how each person on a user’s list are related to one another.” They are promising an experience that provides “a level of relationship prediction and specificity beyond anything currently on the market.”

So it sounds like if you are currently struggling with turning your DNA matches into genealogical discoveries, our testing companies want you to know you are not alone, and they are working hard to provide solutions to these problems! Time will only tell if they can succeed.

Some of the best DNA news: “No tree required”

At a RootsTech live-streaming session, now free to watch on the RootsTech website, Lisa Louise Cooke and I teamed up to talk about how to work with DNA matches who haven’t posted tree data. It’s true—sometimes you can learn important details about your family history even without their trees. Other people’s trees may include the ancestors you have in common, and with persistent sleuthing, you may be able to find them.

The Author: Diahan Southard

The Author: Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

Diahan is Your DNA Guide at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She’s the author of a full series of DNA guides for genealogists.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

Major Pro Bono DNA Testing Initiative for Adoptees

MyHeritage Launches DNA Quest:

A Major Pro Bono Initiative for Adoptees and Their Biological Families to Find Each Other via DNA Testing

MyHeritage will distribute 15,000 DNA kits, worth over one million dollars, for free in the first phase of this initiative. Here’s the scoop:

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the launch of a new pro bono initiative, DNA Quest, to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. As part of this initiative, MyHeritage will provide 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, with free shipping, to eligible participants. Participation is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, and to anyone looking for a family member who was placed for adoption. Preference will be given to people who are not able to afford genetic testing. The first phase of the initiative is open to USA residents, involving adoptions that took place in the USA. Application opens today on the project website, www.dnaquest.org, which includes detailed information about the initiative.

Introducing DNAQuest,org A Pro Bono Initiative for Adoptees and their Biological Families to reunite via DNA Testing – Tweet this

Many of the approximately 7 million adoptees living in the USA today are searching for their biological parents or siblings. The search is time-sensitive, because every year some of the people who are searching pass away, missing the opportunity to reunite. Currently, the main avenues for adoptees and their biological parents to find each other are adoption agencies, registries created for this purpose, and genetic testing. With formal adoption records being unavailable or difficult to obtain in most states, genetic genealogy opens new doors in the search for relatives, and MyHeritage believes everyone should be able to access this valuable technology.

To maximize the potential of this initiative to successfully reunite families, MyHeritage has set up an advisory board of top experts in the fields of genetic genealogy and adoption to guide and support this initiative on a voluntary basis. This alliance ensures the best possible professional support for participants, with each advisory board member bringing unique expertise. The advisory board includes: CeCe Moore, founder of The DNA Detectives; Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist; Richard Weiss of DNA Adoption; Richard Hill, DNA Testing Adviser; Katharine Wall, founder of Adopted.com; Brianne Kirkpatrick, founder of Watershed DNA; Pamela Slaton, investigative genealogist; Leah Larkin, The DNA Geek; and Susan Friel-Williams, Vice President, American Adoption Congress.

DNA Quest is an expansion to the USA of another one of MyHeritage’s successful pro bono projects to reunite adoptees from the Israeli Yemenite community with their biological families. In that project, MyHeritage facilitated successful reunions between adoptees and their biological siblings, solving challenging cases where the protagonists were searching for each other without success for more than 60 years.

“We have a company culture of using our resources and technology for the greater good. In this spirit we’ve initiated several significant pro bono projects, such as returning looted assets from WWII to their rightful owners and documenting family histories and traditions of tribal peoples who lack access to modern technology. DNA Quest is a natural extension of these efforts,” said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet, who conceived DNA Quest. “There is a great need for a project like this — to help adoptees find their biological families — and we are the right company to take it on. We’ve already successfully reunited many families and are confident that through this initiative, together with a wonderful alliance of top experts, we’ll be able to utilize the power of genetic genealogy to help many more.”

“Few things are more fulfilling than a life-changing adoptee-family reunion”, said CeCe Moore, founder of DNA Detectives, the largest group on Facebook that brings together volunteers with genetic genealogy and searching experience, and those seeking biological family. “I’m very excited to be a member of the DNA Quest advisory board and look forward to assisting participants in finding the lost loved ones for whom they are yearning.”

There are already more than 1.25 million people in the MyHeritage DNA database — one of the fastest growing among the major DNA companies. Additionally, MyHeritage is unique among the top three DNA companies to offer the option to upload DNA results from other test providers, and this is available for free. The company is uniquely positioned to reunite families and has indeed facilitated many emotional success stories, with more taking place in every passing day.

Adoptees and family members searching for their biological relatives can apply for a free MyHeritage DNA kit at DNAQuest.org through April 30, 2018. Participants will be selected, and their free DNA kits will be shipped to them by the end of May 2018. Results are expected as early as July 2018.

Those who have already taken a DNA test with another company can upload their DNA data to MyHeritage for free and participate in this initiative as well.

The privacy of all applicants and participants will be strictly enforced. The DNA is owned by the participants and not by MyHeritage. The company has never sold genetic data and has pledged to never do so in the future without users’ explicit consent. DNA Quest is a pro bono project without gotchas or caveats.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage has transformed family history into an activity that is accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive database of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and groundbreaking search and matching technologies. Launched in November 2016, MyHeritage DNA is a technologically advanced, affordable DNA test that reveals ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to find new family members, discover ethnic origins, and to treasure family stories, past and present, for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. For more detail, visit www.myheritage.com. DNA Quest is available on www.dnaquest.org.

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

New European Genealogy Records Now Online

Here’s a roundup of European genealogy records recently published online:

  • Danish military conscription rolls and the 1845 census;
  • English military, parish and burial records;
  • Irish police register and digital news archives;
  • records for Portugal,
  • Slovenia and Spain;
  • more Swedish church and household examination registers;
  • and a short documentary about digitizing the Nuremberg Trials.

Ready to explore more of your European genealogy? Millions of records have been published online recently! Scroll down to learn about free or subscription-access records for ancestors from:

  • the British Isles
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • and Sweden.

British Isles

Genealogy giant subscription website Findmypast recently announced several new additions for those researching their British family history. Here are the collections along with notes supplied by Findmypast:

British Armed Forces records:

  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Births and Baptisms. Over 92,000 records added. “This collection brings together records held by the General Register Office and The National Archives in one search and consists of birth records of children born to those working within the armed forces, merchant navy, and consular forces, as well as civilian ship passengers.”
  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Banns and Marriages. “Search through over 35,000 new additions and discover marriages pertaining to military personnel, British Consul staff, and other British nationals working overseas. Records will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s birth year, banns year, marriage year, marriage place, occupation, organization, marital status, father’s name, father’s occupation, the names of witnesses and spouse’s details.”
  • British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials. “Search over 193,000 records to uncover the details of members of the British armed forces who died while serving their country overseas, British civilians who died while traveling or working overseas, and individuals, including seamen, who died at sea.”

Hertfordshire parish records. Over 87,000 records have been added to their collection of Search Hertfordshire Baptisms. (Transcripts list year and location of baptism, names of parents and father’s occupation. Images may include additional notes.) Nearly 62,000 records have been added to Hertfordshire Marriages. (Transcripts list the name of bride and groom, date of first banns reading, date of marriage, ages, and names of fathers. Images can include considerably more detail.) Over 66,000 records have been added to Hertfordshire Burials. Dating as far back as the 1400s, these records include burial date, age at death and burial place, and potentially more.

Burial inscriptions. The site has added thousands of burial inscriptions to multiple collections. These include 8,000 new records in Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions (covering cemeteries in Rawmarsh, Thorpe Hesley, and Treeton); over 30,000 records covering 26 burial sites in Northumberland & Durham Monumental Inscriptions.

Denmark

Free genealogy giant FamilySearch.org has added over 71,000 records to their online collection, Denmark, Military Conscription Rolls, 1789-1792. According to the collection description, “The records usually include name, number, birth place, age, residence, height and other remarks.” The total records indexed are just under 150,000; images are included.

Subscription genealogy giant MyHeritage.com has published the 1845 Denmark Census, which also covered the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. “Information recorded in the census includes: name, residence, age, marital status, birthplace, position in family, occupation, and religious affiliation,” states the collection description, which also has additional helpful notes. To read it, click the down arrow next to the collection header when you’ve gotten to the collection page, as shown here. For example, you’ll find a description of how the census is organized in market towns and rural areas, and you’ll find a reminder about changing boundaries in Denmark since 1845.

Ireland

Nearly a century’s worth of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) General Register has been published online as a free, browse-only record collection at University College Dublin’s Digital Library. “The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) General Register covers recruitment and transfers within the Dublin Metropolitan Police,” states the collection description. “The first 252 pages of this volume are available through the UCD Digital Library. There are 12,567 entries on these pages, covering the period 1837-1925.”

Irish Times has reported on the digitization of two Irish news sources covering recent years:

  • An archive of 1500 hours of TG4 news bulletin broadcasts by TG4, an Irish-language program, of stories spanning 1996-2004. (Click here to read more on Irish Times.)
  • A new collection covering the Troubles and the 1990s peace process. The archive “features a wide range of material relating to the 1990s when Northern Ireland made the transformation from conflict, to a peace process, to the Belfast Agreement of April 1998.” Click here to read more on Irish Times.)

Portugal

Those researching Portuguese ancestors should know that FamilySearch continues to add to its collections of free genealogy records for Portugal. Updated collections in January 2018 are:

Slovenia

FamilySearch has nearly doubled the numbers of indexed names its free database, Slovenia, Ljubljana, Funeral Accounts, 1937-1970. The collection describes these records as follows: “Sheet recording the date and place of birth, death, and burial, as well as the cost of the burial for those dieing in Ljubljana, the capitol of Slovenia. The birth date and place are also reported. Includes an index which covers years 1915-1936 for which certificates were not acquired.”

Spain

Online Journalism Blog reports on the publishing of the first central database of victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. The database has been created by the Innovation and Human Rights (IHR) association to document the “125,000 people [who] died, disappeared or were repressed in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and during the Franco dictatorship, according to historians. Many of their families still do not know, 40 years later, what exactly happened to them.”

FamilySearch.org has added nearly 140,000 indexed names to its free online collection, Spain, Diocese of Cartagena, Catholic Church Records, 1503-1969. According to the collection description, “These records include: baptisms, confirmations, pre-marriage investigations, marriages, deaths, indexes, testaments, and parish financial and land records. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable as part of this collection. Additional indexed records will be published as they become available.”

Sweden

MyHeritage.com announced the addition of three decades of records to its important collection, Sweden Household Examination Books, 1860-1930. This “primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the parishes of Sweden” now extends back two more decades (1860-1880) and forward an additional decade (1920-1930) not previously covered on the site. MyHeritage claims these records are uniquely available online at its site.

FamilySearch has added more than 35,000 indexed names to its collection, Sweden, Örebro Church Records, 1613-1918; index 1635-1860. Note that actual record images are available earlier and later than the timeframe of records currently indexed. As always, FamilySearch volunteers continue to index additional records and the site posts these updates as frequently as possible.

The Nuremberg Trials

Harvard Law Today recently reported on its progress digitizing some of the 20th-century’s most valuable legal history documents: a million pages relating to the Nuremberg Trials, held just after World War II to prosecute the Nazi regime. They have released this short video about the ongoing project.

More help for European genealogy

We make it easier to start researching your ancestors in a new country! Our free series of beginning genealogy articles introduce you to the key records and research strategies for your ancestors’ homelands, including these European nations:

Scots-Irish genealogy: Getting started (NEW!)

Beginning Swedish genealogy

Irish genealogy help: DIY and Pro

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

MyHeritage DNA Matching Update AND a New Chromosome Browser!

We have a MyHeritage DNA matching update! Not only has MyHeritage DNA released a much better matching algorithm, the company that lets you upload your DNA for free has also introduced a chromosome browser. Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard shares the good news—and a quick introduction to her favorite matching tools on MyHeritage DNA.

In my first job as a grocery store clerk, I learned that most customer service issues can be solved if you listen carefully to the customer and do all you can to make it right. This is what MyHeritage has done.

For months after the launch of their in-house DNA testing product in the fall of 2016, their DNA matching algorithm had problems. Even a year later, there were concerning reports of discrepancies between the match lists of parents and children. And yet, the genetic genealogy community was patient—because MyHeritage had so far delivered on every promise they had made to the community. They had delivered a competitive origins (ethnicity) product, adopted a stringent privacy policy, and let everyone upload their DNA for free.

MyHeritage DNA matching update

Now in January of 2018, all that patience has paid off. MyHeritage has updated its matching algorithm and recalibrated all the DNA matches in their system. The result is a much more robust depiction of our relationships with others in the database. Most users are seeing a dramatic increase in the total number of matches, and a significant decrease in the number of false positives, or matches that are on your match list but shouldn’t be.

Additionally, to the delight of many genetic genealogists, MyHeritage has launched a chromosome browser. This tool allows you to see the locations on the DNA that are shared with your match. Many genetic genealogists like to use this tool to help them visualize the shared DNA, and group their DNA matches.

Now that the matching algorithm has improved, I’d like to recommend three great tools you should be using at MyHeritage to help you identify your genetic matches. Yes, one of them is the chromosome browser–but take a look at these others, too. And take note: you won’t find these exact tools at AncestryDNA.

Tool #1: List of possible relationships for your genetic matches

In a recent blog post, I described how you can narrow down your possible relationships to your genetic matches by comparing your total shared DNA to a table developed by genetic genealogy experts. MyHeritage DNA simplifies that process for you with a customized chart for each of your genetic matches. Each chart visually shows you all possible relationships, even taking into account factors like your age and gender.

To access the chart, log in to your MyHeritage account. Under the DNA tab, select “Genetic Matches.” Then click on the little question mark icon next to the relationship suggestions:

Then you’ll see a chart that’s been customized for this relationship by highlighting all your possible relationships to this genetic match:

Tool #2: Longest piece of shared DNA with your genetic matches

In addition to the range of possibilities above, you can also be misled by the total amount of DNA you share with your genetic matches. Yes, you might actually be third cousins. But if your ancestors lived in a community that intermarried a lot because they were isolated geographically or culturally, you might also just share a lot of common DNA. You might be sixth cousins three times over.

The size of the biggest piece of DNA you share with a genetic match is really important for puzzling this out. Let’s say two of your genetic matches each share 30 centimorgans of DNA with you. Both are predicted to be your fourth cousins, but one person’s longest shared piece of DNA is 18 centimorgans long, and the other’s is 9 centimorgans long. The closer match–the one you should pursue first–is the one that shares the longest piece of DNA.

At MyHeritage DNA, you can sort your list of genetic matches by longest shared segment. At the top of your list, under the “All” drop-down menu, select “Largest Segment.” You may see your match list rearrange itself (this is a clue that the total shared DNA doesn’t tell you the whole story about genetic relatedness):

Then, click on your top genetic matches to see more detail about that longest segment:

Tool #3: NEW Chromosome browser

The new chromosome browser at MyHeritage is what they’re calling an “initial release” or first draft that “will be enhanced further soon.” It’s currently embedded in each of your individual match pages. That way, you can compare what areas of genetic material you and each of your matches have in common.

“It’s a free feature that can be used by all users on MyHeritage who have taken the DNA test or uploaded DNA data,” says a company press release. “It shows the shared segments between you and a DNA Match in purple. When you hover your mouse over any shared segment you can see the genomic position of the shared segment, the size of the segment, and the number of SNPs there. Grey segments are not shared with the DNA Match and crisscrossed sections were not analyzed due to the lack of SNPs in those regions.”

I’ll be back soon with more tips and tutorials on getting the most out of the new MyHeritage chromosome browser. I just wanted to alert you that it’s there—one more valuable tool in the MyHeritage DNA matching toolbox.

Advanced DNA tools for family history research

If you’re ready to get more genealogy information out of your DNA testing experience, consider whether Diahan’s Advanced DNA Bundle might be a good investment for you. These laminated guides are available singly (click on individual titles below) or as a value-priced bundle and can help you with very specific “next steps:”

  • Gedmatch: A Next Step for Your Autosomal DNA Test. Gedmatch is a third‐party tool for use by genetic genealogists seeking to advance their knowledge of their autosomal DNA test. This guide navigates you through the myriad of options and point out only the best tools for your genetic genealogy research.
  • Organizing Your DNA Matches. With millions of people now in the possession of a DNA test–and most with match lists in the thousands–many are wondering how to keep track of all this data and apply it to their family history. This guide provides the foundation for managing DNA matches and correspondence, and for working with forms, spreadsheets, and 3rd party tools.
  • Next Steps: Working With Your Autosomal DNA Matches. This guide outlines what to do next to maximize the power of DNA testing in genealogy. With this guide in hand, genealogists will be prepared to take their DNA testing experience to the next level and make new discoveries about their ancestors and heritage.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

The Author: Diahan Southard

The Author: Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

Diahan Southard is Your DNA Guide here at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She’s the author of our DNA guides Getting Started: Genetics for Genealogists, and Y Chromosome DNA for Genealogists (click STORE in the menu above)

New Records Include German and Holocaust Records Online

You can now find more Holocaust records online. Read here about the 1939 German Minority Census and Polish and Czech Holocaust records. Also featured this week: German vital records, new collections from Belgium and Estonia, and an update to the US War of 1812 pension files.

New Holocaust records online at MyHeritage

Among new Holocaust records online is the German Minority Census, 1939 at genealogy giant MyHeritage.com. The collection contains “the names of all individuals listed in the 1939 census of Germany who lived in a household where at least one person in the household had a Jewish grandparent.”

According to MyHeritage, “Many of these people were killed in the Holocaust and this census is the last written trace of them. These approximately 410,000 individuals come from the supplement census cards that recorded each person’s Jewish background. Information listed may include: name, maiden name, birth date, birthplace, residence, death date, death place, place of imprisonment, deportation or emigration, and whether they were a Holocaust victim. Some of this information comes from the original census cards, and some of this information was researched and annotated much later. This collection is provided in partnership with Tracing the Past.”

German vital records

Genealogy giant Ancestry.com has added or updated the following German collections

More Holocaust records online

Two free Holocaust-era databases at Ancestry.com are also worth mentioning, as one is new and one has just been updated. Note: these collections are free to search because the indexing was done by World Memory Project contributors from the digitized holdings of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Collection descriptions below come from the USHMM website:

  • Poland, Łódź Ghetto Transportation Lists, 1939-1944 (new) “consists predominantly of the records of Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski, the Eldest of the Jews in the ghetto in Łódź, Poland, and of his administration. Included are letters, announcements, circulars, charts, publications, reports, essays, name lists, and photographs.”
  • Prague, Czechoslovakia, Selected Holocaust Records, 1939-1945 (updated) consists of “records generated by German occupational institutions and Czech auxiliary agencies dealing with matters of internal security and racial policy, especially anti-Jewish measures. Includes reports regarding aryanization of Jewish businesses, questionnaires of Jewish properties, lists of Jewish workers, documents regarding situation in Theresienstadt (death statistics), Lety camp, and deportation of Jews to Theresienstadt. Also includes lists of art objects in Sbirow castle (including Jewish art), information regarding Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), and Russians in Gdańsk, Poland, and various propaganda materials.”

More European genealogy records online

Belgium

Google Translate provides this translation of a January 17, 2018 announcement at internetgazet for Neerpelt, Limburg, Belgium: “The municipality has digitized all civil status documents and makes the documents that are more than 100 years old publicly available via dept. Neerpelt.be. That was announced today. Through this website you can view, save and print birth, marriage and death certificates from 1797 to 1917. Thanks to a search function, you can easily look up the birth, marriage and death certificates of residents of Neerpelt and SHLille.”

Estonia

Also new at Ancestry.com is Estonia, Census, Tax and House Lists, 1784-1944. This collection for this northern European country spans over 150 years’ worth of “various lists of residents of Estonian towns and rural municipalities,” according to its description. “These documents serve as population registers and contain personal and family information about inhabitants of each administrative unit, regardless of their social status or religion. The collection covers two historical eras: Estonia under the Russian Empire (the period until 1917, in which records were kept in German and Russian) and during the Estonian Republic (1918-1940, in which records were kept in Estonian language). The structure and format of the records vary between regions and over time. There are also gaps in certain periods and places, as some of the municipal archives have not been preserved.”

Update to free US War of 1812 Pension Files at Fold3

The growing collection of free War of 1812 Pension Files at Fold3 is now 2/3 complete, after a January 17, 2018 update. Because pension eligibility for veterans or their widows was extended decades after the war, you may find valuable family history information dating for many years after the conflict ended. Documents vary but among them, you may find declarations of pension/widow’s pension; Adjutant General statements of service; questionnaires completed by applicants; “Pension Dropped” cards; or marriage, death or discharge certificates. These may have information on the veteran’s age, residence, service details, and death, as well as identifying details about soldiers’ widows who applied.

A note from the site states, “Although digitization of the War of 1812 pension files was previously temporarily paused, Ancestry, the National Archives, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies are working in cooperation to resume digitization. The first of these newly digitized pension files are already available for free on Fold3, with more to be added to the site in installments throughout 2018 and beyond. So if you don’t see your ancestor’s pension file yet, keep checking back!”

Help put more Holocaust records online

Volunteers power millions of new online genealogy records every month–including Holocaust records. For example, you can help curate a growing collection of Holocaust-related newspaper articles from your local newspapers for the History Unfolded project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Do it on your own, or with your local genealogical or historical society! Click here to read more about how you can help.

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Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast. She’s especially known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her latest favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club. Sunny is also a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine and the NGS-award-winning Co-Editor of Ohio Genealogy News.

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