22 December 2011

Caution Regarding 23andMe

     Over the past few days there have been important changes in the Frequently Asked Questions and Terms of Service at 23andMe. I can't tell you when the changes were made because there was no announcement.  They didn't bother to tell their paying customers that there were changes in the services we've been paying for - or should I say what we aren't paying for?

     When I purchased my five DNA kits from 23andMe it was with understanding that I would be paying $9 a month for a year for updates to my Relative Finder and Health Reports. If I choose not to continue my subscription after 12 months, I would maintain the reports I had already received, but would not receive further updates.  For many months now there has been discussion on the 23andMe message boards on whether folks plan to renew or not.

     The other day, someone noticed that the FAQs had changed and a new thread was started to discuss these changes. Apparently it has been decided that anyone opting not to renew/continue their subscription, would no longer be able to access their Relative Finder and Health Reports - at all.  We're being cut off from all of the reports that we've been paying for the past year.  They will no longer be accessible. Not just new results - the old ones as well.

     Based on conversations on the message boards, 23andMe has angered a lot of their customers with the changes. I'm not very happy myself. When I purchased this test it was with the understanding that I was getting and keeping a certain level of test results after fulfilling my obligations.  I never planned to continue to pay after my 12 months. Unless I change my mind (I won't), all I will have is my raw data.  I don't feel that it is ethical of 23andMe to change their policies on pre-existing customers this way.

     23andMe has created a feedback form for customers to respond directly regarding these recent changes. This is one of very few ways to contact 23andMe. If you send them an email, it will take about two weeks to hear back. There is no one you can call - there is no customer service phone number. This has already been a source of irritation for me with this company.

     Unless they act on our feedback and reverse these new policies, I will not be purchasing any more DNA tests from 23andMe. I won't be recommending their services, though I will leave it up to individuals to decide for themselves if they feel the service is worth the money.

     And finally: soon, Family Tree DNA will allow 23andMe customers to import their data for $50. I'll be taking them up on this offer.

20 December 2011

DNA: The Wait Is On, Again

     First off, I've decided that I've spent more than enough money on DNA tests this year (over $900!).  Even having gotten every single test on sale and having not paid for one test personally, that's a whole lot of money... which I could have put to more practical use... Oh well! The good thing is, I got a lot of relatives tested. Also, not all the results are in yet so I still have more info forthcoming.

     On December 14th I received emails from both Family Tree DNA and 23andMe that my kits had been received.  At ftDNA I'm testing the Y-DNA my first cousin twice removed, Lewis Waters. At 23andMe I'm testing the autosomal DNA of my double cousin, Anne Barfield Brown. On my dad's side, Anne is both my 1st cousin twice removed and my 2nd cousin once removed.

   So, which test results will come in first? They are different types of tests, so it's not a true comparison on which company will be fastest. Regardless, I'm curious about how fast each company completes the test given the multiple upcoming holidays.

13 December 2011

Albea DNA Update

     A little while back I was contacted via email by a family researching the Albey family of Vermont. They were interested in finding out more about my Albea/Alby DNA Project and how it could help them trace their Albey line.  Although our families didn't connect on paper and didn't live in the same areas, they both spelled their name "Alby" at some point in time.  It's an uncommon name that isn't spelled the way is sounds, which leads to many variations (Albea is pronounced ALL-bee).  Surely we were related?  Or could the name have multiple origins?

     We recently got our results back and they weren't what I was expecting.

     What was I expecting? A clear cut result where we either matched through the 37 markers that we tested or no relationship at all.

     What were the results? A twelve marker match with a distance of One. According to Family Tree DNA, this relationship indicates that we have a "Possible Relationship"
"You share the same surname (or a variant) with another male and you mismatch by only one 'point' on only one marker. For most closely related or same surnamed individuals, the mismatch markers are either DYS 439 or DYS 385 A, 385 B,389-1 and 389-2. To ensure that the match is authentic you should utilize additional markers.
     As you can see here, our mismatch is at DYS385 B. My Uncle has a 15 and they have a 14.

     At the 25 marker level, we have 8 mismatches. These are at DYS markers such as "458, 459a, 459b, 449, 464 a-d, which have shown themselves to move most rapidly".

     At the same time, the Tip Report gives a 75% chance that we are related within 28 generations. I could be wrong about this, but from what I understand, that is 28 generations between the two testors, not from them to the common ancestor. So there's about a 75% chance that we are related about 14 generations back.

     So from all this, I believe that our two Albea/Alby/Albey families are related - but at such a distance that we will be unlikely to find our common ancestor (both lines are currently stuck in the 1700s).  We're both looking for other folks to test who have paper trails on our specific family lines.

     Are there any DNA savvy folks who would like to comment?

02 December 2011

A Young Man's Draft Card - A Deceptive Title, An Unexpected Find

     Today, Ancestry.com added a database called "U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1898-1929." Well color me excited!

     I quickly began a search for my Grandfather, Thomas Craft, in Georgia. No results. What do you mean no results? Ok, just give me anyone named Craft in Elbert County, Georgia. One result. What?! That can't be right. Well, the ancestry.com searches have been acting up, let me start over. I went back to the landing page for the new database and that's when I saw it: despite the title of the database, this is a limited collection. The only records in this "U.S" collection are from North Carolina.

     Well, now I'm disappointed.  I assume that the database will be expanded to include other states over time, but for now the title is misleading.

     I was about to say "the heck with it" when I paused.  My Great-Grandfather Mack Huyler eventually ended up in High Point, North Carolina in later years. He traveled a lot in his youth - I wonder if he might have been there for the draft?

     Yep, he was.

     He was the only Huyler in the state and registered under his birth name, Vary.  He's living in Charlotte, NC in 1942. His "Person Who Will Always Know Your Address" is a Mrs Charlotte Bristo[w] in High Point. It would appear that his connection to High Point, NC does go back further than his retirement years. Mack might have been able to hide from his family in the 1930s and 1940s, but he can't hide from me!

     One thing to note: if you do find your relatives in this database, make sure to scroll to the next page. There's no indication of it, but these records are two pages long.

Vary Huyler - WWII Draft Card pg 1

Vary Huyler - WWII Draft Card pg 2

01 December 2011

DNA Sale from GeneTree

     I got an email today from GeneTree.com announcing their holiday sale. From now through December 30th, they are offering a discounted price on their Enhanced Paternal and Maternal DNA tests. This is a 46 marker Y-DNA test for $119 and a HVR 1, 2, 3 test for $129.


Related Posts with Thumbnails