Monday, July 28, 2014

Genealogy: The Paper Trail

DNA genealogy research is painstaking, detailed analysis of both DNA matches and the paper trail to confirm shared ancestors.  Excluding adoptees, about 90% of the matches with whom I share DNA have not put together a basic family tree so trying to find a common ancestor can be difficult.  This blog is dedicated to the paper trail.

Getting Started

First, get a genealogy program like Roots Magic to record your findings.  Starting with yourself and moving backwards generation by generation, try to answer these questions:

Who was this person’s parents and why do I think so?
Who did this person marry and why do I think so?
Who were this person’s children and why do I think so?

Exact dates are nice to have but not necessary.  If I don’t have a date for a marriage, I assume they were married before their first child was born.  If I don’t have a birth date, I assume that males were at least age 21 and females age 18 before they married.  While this can vary somewhat, it puts you in the right decade for evaluating the reasonableness of your research.

Source Data

It is important to answer the question “why do I think so?” with references to source material.  The quality of your sources determines the potential accuracy of your research.  It often takes more than one source to adequately establish the answer to one of these questions.  For example, before a marriage takes place, both families are probably residing in the vicinity so not only do you need a marriage record but proof that the family lived in the area at the time.

Family Search (free) and Ancestry (paid) are great resources for data but be aware of the that not all source data is equally reliable.

Sources can be classified as primary, secondary and questionable.  Most people can document the first few generations of their family with primary sources.

Primary sources while they can contain inaccuracies are often the most reliable information.  In a perfect world, we would document our genealogy with primary sources such as:

Birth, marriage & death Certificates
Wills, probates, etc.
Land records - deeds, leases, etc.
Bible records
Pension records

Secondary sources are less accurate and subject to errors of memory or clerical mistakes. Some of these include:

Transcriptions, extracts, and abstracts
Bible entries predating date of bible
Events recorded at a later time
Historical narratives
Cemetery Markers
Diaries & Letters

Questionable sources are those that give you a clue to where to look but should be confirmed with primary & secondary sources.  These include:

Family Histories
Family Stories
Family Genealogies

In the beginning, I must have made all the mistakes that someone new to genealogy can make and that are too numerous to list here.  Finally, I settled into this simple but adequate approach for establishing a paper trail of my ancestors.

~ Becky ~

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Genome Mate: Import Data Page

The Import Data page is the main function for imputing bulk data into the application.  To update your database with new matches just load a new version of the input file.  Genome Mate will skip duplicate data and just add the new matches and relatives.

Genome Mate accepts data from several sources.  Some data is copied and pasted from browser pages while others can be imported from a comma separated values (*.csv) file from different sites.

The format of these files is determined by the site creating the file so it is important to select the correct option when loading.  If you have difficulty loading a file, send the file and a description of the issue in an email to

There are two types data that may be imported:

1.  DNA segments shared with a Relative
2.  Relative specific data such as surnames, ICWs, email address, etc.  

When DNA segment data is imported, a table will be presented for you to review prior to adding the data. Please review any messages and if everything is okay, press the Add Data button.

When Relative data is imported, it will be automatically updated.  

Import Data Page

Step 1 - Select Data Source

Choose the origin of the DNA data segments to be posted to Genome Mate - 23andMe, FTDNA, FTDNA or Ancestry (relative data only).

Step 2 - Set the Criteria for Adding Matches

This criteria can be modified on the Options Page but overridden here for the current import.
  • Minimum cMs - Only import DNA segments having a cMs greater than the value shown
  • Minimum #SNPs - Only import DNA segments having SNPs count greater than the value
  • Add New Relatives - Check to automatically add a new relative record if one is not found
  • Show Duplicate Matches - Display duplicate matches in the table and rejects report

Step 3 - Select the Import Option

The import options for the selected data source will be presented.  See these links for more specific information about each:
Rejects and Summary
After the data has been processed, a table of DNA segment matches will be displayed along with any error messages.  If it looks okay, press Add to load into the database and get a process summary.

For relative data only like surnames, email addresses, etc., Relative records will automatically be updated and a process summary shown as well as a list of any rejects.  The most common problem loading Relative data is the present of a new line character in the notes field.  If this occurs, delete the data in the original file and reprocess.

Backups & Restores 

Backups are recommended before loading new data to ensure that work is not lost!


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014