I embarked on my DNA journey in late 2010. My goal is to be able to confirm my pedigree with DNA back to at least my 5th great grandparents – just to be sure I am researching the right ancestors!
Since then I have been lucky enough to have had my mother and three of her siblings tested which has enabled me to utilise the Visual Phasing technique to be able to map my maternal segments back to my 4 maternal great grandparents. As time progresses we hope to be able to confirm many more generations.
As far as my paternal side goes, I have limited testers to help me. I am an only child and have had to go back to distant cousins on both my fathers maternal and paternal sides. Thank you to those who have helped me with this.
The following table indicates how many of my ancestors I have identified through traditional research. It also identifies the ancestors I believe have been confirmed with DNA as being the right people. I first read about how important ‘tree completeness’ was on Roberta Estes’ blog in 2012. Since then I have been updating the table about once a year to keep me motivated! There is still much more work required to complete my genealogical tree in order to discover more about my genetic tree. You can read more on the ‘Genemonkey Explains‘ blog about how I use FTM filters to help me gather this data.
Hopefully, many new exciting discoveries lay ahead!
Table of tree completeness and DNA confirmed ancestry (using segment analysis) – as at 30 Jul 2023
Pedigree view of tree completeness and DNA confirmed ancestry (using segment analysis) – as at 30 Jul 2023
The above chart was developed in DNA Painter and shows my progress in completing my pedigree (out to 10th great grandparents) and the ancestors that have been confirmed by DNA to date.
Past second great grandparents (3rd cousins) it is essential to use chromosome analysis to confirm your pedigree. I’ve started to work backwards in time from myself and confirm each generation systematically. This provides a solid platform upon which to be able to identify segments inherited from each of my ancestors and priority research areas. Building on segments from recent ancestors enables you to confidently tackle more distant ancestral connections with DNA matches, by ‘Walking Back the Segment’ over time.
The DNA confirmation chart uses three colours to demonstrate my progress:
- Green – the individual ancestor is DNA confirmed. The DNA confirmation for matches up to 3rd cousins is consistent with the expected total shared cMs and has a paper trail. Beyond 3rd cousins or where there was no paper trail, the ancestor was confirmed by segment triangulation or Ydna/mtdna testing;
- Moss Green – the ancestral couple is DNA confirmed. For 2nd great grandparents and beyond, to confirm each individual ancestor, segment triangulation is required to a more distant generation;
- Orange – DNA matches exist back to these ancestors, however no segment data is available to confirm that the genealogical connection is in fact also a genetic one (eg AncestryDNA matches);
- Grey – not yet DNA confirmed (or identified).
It should be recognised that my ancestral DNA confirmations are gathered from tests taken by other ancestors and cousins. As such, I may not have inherited segments from all my ancestors, this is quite normal and to be expected. For more detail regarding my DNA confirmations, please refer to My DNA Story page on Wikitree or my ever expanding chromosome map at DNA Painter.
My DNA Questions Blog also includes stories about many challenges I’ve faced in resolving some of these mysteries. My biggest research challenge is my 2nd great grandfather George Courtney, he has a whole blog dedicated to finding him!
First published 2015, last updated 30 Jul 2023.