Monday, February 25, 2013

Changes Coming to Your Family Finder Test Results

For the past couple of months, ftDNA has been in the middle of upgrading from build 36 to build 37 in reporting their Family Finder autosomal DNA results. This means they are refining their matching algorithms, specifically based on how the centimorgans values, or the length of DNA shared, are determined and reported. This refinement will reduce the amount of false positives between you and your matches and hopefully result in more accurately predicting relationships between you and your matches.

We are just starting to see the results of these changes come through. But unfortunately, as of ftDNA's announcement on February 24th, 2013, there were some problems with the new build and some kits are having to be re-run.

What does this mean?

If you log in to your account and see a significant decrease in the number of matches it could be for one of two reasons:

1) Their tests are being re-run and when they pass QC will be uploaded back into the database. If they are a true match they will show back up again

2) These matches were refined, identified as false positives, and removed from your results

There is hope!

You may not know this, but at the same time ftDNA is trying to convert to this new build, they are also allowing for test results from other companies such as 23AndMe to be uploaded to their system. This is beneficial because now testers from 23AndMe will be matched up with matches in ftDNA's database and ftDNA testers will receive additional matches from people who took the 23AndMe test. It is a win-win situation for all parties.

In case you are wondering, people who took the 23AndMe test are able to transfer their test results to the ftDNA database for $89.00!!!

Here is a snapshot of my match results for the various tests I manage. I currently manage 6 tests on ftDNA:

#Matches on 2/16
# Matches on 2/25
- 43
My Mom
- 31
- 71
- 52
- 87
Cousin’s Half-Sister
- 75

I’m very excited that our results will be better refined and false positives will be reduced by this new build. I’m equally excited about our match database being opened up to 23AndMe uploads. I’m sure the 23AndMe testers are the most excited as they will now have the advantage of being matched from two databases, not just one. Likewise, integration with the ftDNA database will ensure a much higher success at match interaction and building genealogical connections as these testers did not join for health reasons, like many at 23AndMe did.

What can you do?
I would refrain from spending a lot of time analyzing your chromosome data or looking at your list of In Common Withs until the build has been completed and the 23AndMe data has been uploaded. Continue working with the folks you have been in contact with. Re-run your data after the new build to ensure they are still a match to you, especially if you have not yet found a connection.

Let me know in the comments below how your numbers are progressing. You can look up the number of matches you have by clicking on the chromosome browser. In the list of names, it shows 1 of 10 of ____ total matches.

To Cite This Post:
Ginger R. Smith, "Changes Coming to Your Family Finder Test ResultsGenealogy By Ginger, 25 February 2013, ( : accessed [date])

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