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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog

DMT Version 1.5.1 and IAJGS and DMT Workshop - 5 days, 18 hrs ago

I fixed a few bugs in Double Match Triangulator that I found while preparing for my workshop at the IAJGS Conference on Monday. I also changed DMT to display people ordered by longest segment rather than total segments, and released it as Version 1.5.1.

I’m looking forward to giving the workshop. We’re dealing with a lot of endogamy among these participants and there are still many advances to be made in the field of Triangulation with regards to developing methods to find common ancestors and map a person’s chromosome segments to those ancestors.


I expect to learn as much as the 25 or so participants of my workshop. Each will have slightly different sets of matches, different sets of people they’ve DNA tested, and interesting problems to overcome that I have not seen before. I look forward to hearing their questions, comments and suggestions and using this information to further develop Double Match Triangulator.

I gave all the participants a 4 page handout with some preparatory work they should do to download and assemble their own Chromosome Browser Results file along with a few CBR files for a few of their DNA relatives. This way the workshop will be more useful as they will will be analyzing their own data.

Over half the people will be bringing their own Windows laptops that have Excel 2007 or later on it. Currently DMT is a Windows program and uses Excel libraries to create the Excel output files that we will be analyzing. The others, some of whom will have Macs or iPads, are currently out of luck (unless they have a Windows emulator) and will have to used a workshop-supplied Windows computer or sit with their neighbour. I have plans to eliminate DMT’s dependency on Excel and to make a Mac version, but alas, not available yet.

It should also be very interesting to compare everyone’s DNA matches with everyone else. With endogamy, most participants will show up in other participant’s match lists and vice versa. Wouldn’t it be exciting if we had a few discoveries of genealogical cousins at the Workshop?

This will be my first IAJGS Conference. I look forward to it and to the opportunity to personally learn more about genealogical research in my ancestral towns from some of the experts who will be in attendance. The banquet on Thursday night will feature Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of the PBS program “Finding Your Roots” who will speak on “Genetics and Genealogy in America”.

Skip Gates 
Henry Louis Gates will highlight the week

And of course, I’ll get to see many of my genealogical friends again, and meet some others for the first time. Isn’t that always the best part of any Conference?

Match Categories at FamilyTreeDNA - Fri, 14 Jul 2017

One option I didn’t realize existed at FamilyTreeDNA until Jay Sage alerted me. You can selectively hide or show the people whose matches are deemed “Immediate”, “Close”, “Distant” or “Speculative”.

Here’s Jay’s instructions:

In the upper-right corner of the home screen, mouse over the name and kit number block. A pop-up menu opens.


Click on "Account Settings". In the page that opens, click on "Match and Email Settings".


Turn off matching and notification for speculative matches. Then click "Save".


In effect, FTDNA then ignores speculative matches. They are not seen in any of the screens, and they don’t send email notices when additional ones appear. It speeds up a lot of things.

When I select No for Speculative, my number of matches that I see get reduced from 11,432 down to 1,715, a reduction of 85%. 

The Chromosome Browser Results (CBR) file that I download gets reduced from 228,910 lines to 36,866 lines, a reduction of 84%.

Checking the match list you can download, I can see that the Immediate/Close/Distant/Speculative (ICDS) categories correspond to the “Suggested Relationship” column as follows:

Immediate = 1st Cousin or closer
Close = 2nd Cousin
Distant = 3rd or 4th Cousin
Speculative = ‘-‘  (dash)

Do note that any of your matches you’ve assigned a Linked Relationship to will always be included, no matter what their suggested relationship is.

This turns out to be an excellent way to reduce the size of your CBR downloads if you just want to compare segment matches of closer relatives.

Thanks Jay for this tip.

A Pet Peeve - Say the Words: “GEDCOM” and “GEDmatch” - Mon, 10 Jul 2017

It is very true. The English language is full of inconsistencies. And one of these inconsistences is the pronunciation of the letter “G”.

There is the hard “G”, as in: great, gallop, flying, guppy and goat.

And there is the soft “G”, as in gentle, giraffe, gem or gymnasium.

Hard “G”s usually precede the vowels “a”, “o” and “u”.

Soft “G”s often precede the vowels “e”, “i” and “y”. But because this is English, there are exceptions such as get and give and gynecology.

Okay, then how is the word “gene” pronounced. Any online dictionary will tell you to pronounce gene as [jeen], with the soft “G”.

Dictionaries also tell you to pronounce “genealogy” as [jeeneeoluhjee], with the soft “G”. And I know Australian’s like to be more emphatic as in: [jeeneeAluhjee]

Gene, genea, genus and genealogy all have Greek origins with the soft “G”.

So how then do you pronounce “GEDCOM”?

With a hard G?  as in G(oat)-EDCOM?  Yuck. Eck. Ewww. I’m peeved.

GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. The “GE” stands for “genealogical”, so would you really want to make an exception to the general rule of soft “G”s preceding the letter e for this word? Maybe you do so because you also pronounce the word “genealogical” as g(oat)-enealogical. I have heard it said that way by a few and it sends chills up my spine.

Let’s take a turn at GEDmatch then. Hard “G” or soft “G”?

If you need the opinion of some experts, I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Bill Harten (aka, the father of GEDCOM) and Curtis Rogers, one of the creators of GEDmatch, and both pronounce their words with a soft “G”.

If by now you don’t realize that you’ll have me coughing and sputtering in disgust if you pronounce these gene-based words with a hard “G”, then good gracious you can go and grind out great greasy gobs of garbage all you want.

I say don’t let the goat get you. Please be as gentle as a giraffe with GEDCOM and GEDmatch.