My Journey with Genetic DNA and Genealogy Part 3

This is part 3 of my journey with genetic DNA and my genealogy. I have been working with my DNA results from both and  There has been a lot to learn about the tools that they offer and what I need to be looking for.  I have also uploaded both DNA Raw files to and Each of these websites offer different tools and have different ways of showing their results.

Here are some of my thoughts, insights and experiences with each of these companies on what I have learned thus far.

An important note to keep in mind is that people don’t always test with  more than one company. Some test at Ancestry, some at MyHeritage, some at familytreedna and some at 23andMe. And not everyone uploads their results to Gedmatch. Plus, there are a lot of people that don’t add a family tree. What this means is you will not find the same results or Matches on all of these websites.


Starting with, I took an autosomal DNA test.  This type of DNA test uses your 23 Chromosomes, which has 50% of  your mother’s DNA and 50% your father’s DNA.  Currently I have over 5000 Matches. I bought a 1-year Premium Membership, otherwise I wouldn’t  be able to see my Match’s family trees.  I started a family tree with 7 people, myself, my parents and their parents and now have over 2,000 relatives in this tree. This is due to the smart matches and instant matches that they notify you about. My original family tree I keep on my computer and use MyHeritage tree to help with proofing.  I use Rootmagic software which is sync able with MyHeritage and can download information straight to Rootmagic.   I can search their database by a person’s name or by a source.  There is  a very good triangulation tool that shows when you and your Match match up with a third person.  They show you total cMs (centiMorgans), the largest cM, how many segments of cMs each Match and  the start and end positions of each cM, which is important when looking for triangulation Matches. The Chromosome browser map  shows  which Chromosome they match you on.  I was able to download my Raw data, and upload it to Gedmatch, which is a third party website that has even more tools to help analysis my data. You can also download your entire list of Matches, which goes as low as 7cMs. Anything below this can possibly give you a false reading. The more cMs the closer the relationship the Match will be. You can also download a shared Match list. They do an ethnicity estimate.  In your shared Match list  you can see any triangulation Matches. I have found several 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins on both my maternal and paternal side with MyHeritage.

I did AncestryDNA’s autosomal test  so I could  compare it with MyHeritage.  Ancestry gives you a list of Matches. You need to subscribe to one of their Memberships in order to see your Match’s family trees.  I signed up for their two-week free trial and then cancelled. Many of my Matches didn’t have trees, so in order to find anything out you need to contact the person.  They want you to build a family tree ­­ so they can match you with others. I don’t feel that they give you as much information as MyHeritage. They have what they call DNA circles which are other family trees that have common ancestors you. I currently have 7 family circles.  You can see how many cMs each Match has and the number of segments, but they don’t give you largest cM or the start and end distance of each cM.  Ancestry doesn’t show you what Chromosomes that your Matches have in common with you. You can download your Raw DNA data file.  AncestryDNA does give an ethnicity estimate.


I uploaded both of my raw autosomal DNA data files from Ancestry and MyHeritage to familytreedna for free.  I have over 3,000 Matches. The results were similar to those found on the other two sites. I created a family tee with 15 people on this site, which is 4 generations.  You can view other Matches’ family trees if they have one. They have a Chromosome browser and an in common with tool.  Familytreedna also gives the total shared cMs and the largest segment.   You are able to see which chromosomes  match  and this is downloadable in an excel file.  The Chromosome  matches can be viewed  in a table format or map layout which will give each Chromosome, the start and end of the distance, the size of the cM and number of matching snps.   Familytreedna does offer YDNA & MtDNA testing which both Ancestry and MyHeritage do not. I do have a male relative’s YDNA results that was done with familytreedna and I just sent in my own MtDNA test to them. They are different from the autosomal results. YDNA and MtDNA are direct line ancestry results, meaning YDNA goes from son to father and on back several generations. The same for MtDNA which goes from daughter to mother and on back several generations in a straight line. Familytreedna offers a free downloadable guide book to help you to learn more about their results. This is written by Blaine Bettinger and Matt Dexter.  Family Tree is free and gives you access to family trees of those who have put them up on their site.


This is a 3rd party application that doesn’t do testing, but does have all kinds of tools to help you to analyze your results from other companies. They have a One to many matches which will list all of your matches. They allow people to upload a GEDcom/wikiTree. They show both MtDNA & YDNA matches, Autosomal  and XDNA results. They show Total cMs and largest cMs. They give the Username and email of each Match. Their Chromosome browser has 2d and 3d viewing, a one to one comparison tool and much more. I have several 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins matches.  The Tier 1 Utilities includes  7 more tools, which includes a triangulation tool. There is a $10 fee a month for the use of these additional tools. Everything else on this site is free.


I find that all of the above companies have their pros and cons. I think of the four that MyHeritage and Gedmatch seem to offer the most, but familytreedna is a close contender. I’m not  totally impressed with AncestryDNA even though they have the largest genealogical family tree database.  They seem to have the least to offer as far as tools to help you in your analysis.   I have no experience with 23andMe so I’m not able to provide any insight into what their website is like.    With the use of my DNA results I have been able to connect to 4 family branches that I was not able to by using just the paper trail. My DNA Matches have connected me so many new relatives.  The important thing to remember is that you can’t just use genetic genealogy to find your relatives you also need to use your family tree genealogy with a record source to help prove and verify your findings
Wishing you all the best in your family search.

A Review on 3 of the Top Genealogy Software Programs.

There are so many choices these days when it comes to creating and organizing your genealogy information. There are websites that offer an online genealogy  services for storing your family tree, for usually a fee. There are a several  free open source software programs out there like Gramps, ScionPC and MyHeritage Family Tree builder,  if you don’t need a lot of features and or are on a tight budget.  Then there is genealogy  software that you  purchase and install on your computer. These come in either a download format or a cd version that is shipped to you.   Of course there still is the old fashion way, which was used before the time of the home computer or laptop, pen and paper.

Well in this article we are going to compare some of the features  of  3 of  the top genealogy software programs  for 2017 that you can purchase and install on your computer. These can be downloaded or shipped.

Legacy Family Tree 9 – $34.95-$99.95
Legacy Family Tree is a powerful genealogy program that creates over 25 charts and 20 reports to help you visualize your family line and share your research with others.  It has many tools researching, charting and organizing your family tree. It has an in-app browser that allows you to research your family online directly from the software, and when you find new information, the program can import it directly to your family tree.  Legacy can export and import GEDCOM files offline quickly, which is useful when you work other genealogists.  The program also connects to the web via popular sites like,, My and
In addition to the classic paper charts, Legacy lets you create a full webpage to display your family history. This is a good feature if you are considering starting a genealogy blog or want to share your work with your family.  The index and research tabs come in handy when your family tree starts to get large. The index allows you to access individuals and their information.  It also has an enhance multimedia feature. Errors are flagged with red warning symbols so that you can clearly spot any mistakes that may have been entered. There is  web hints feature in this latest version.

This software is available on CD or as a download. There are also several bundle options. And if you already have an older version you can upgrade for less.  This is compatible with Windows

Legacy is easy to use and they have FAQs section to help answer any of your questions.

Pros: Easy to use, has over 25 charts and 20 reports, has a useful web hints feature to help guide your research.  and can create research forms.
Cons: This program doesn’t give the options to display same sex marriages. However, a planned to rectify this.


chagnon family tree

Family Tree Maker  Deluxe  2014– $69.95

Family Tree Maker is a very popular and well known software program.  has a clean and easy to use interface with enough features to help you find and store thousands of family members in one place.  The program guides you through importing and exporting GEDCOM files and creating  charts of your family history.

Family Tree Maker connects to’s extensive database and community and to One of its optional  star features. Tree Sync, synchronizes the trees you create in the software with your account. When you make changes in the software, the changes carry over to your online profile.  This is especially useful if you’re a member of the’s active community. Family Tree Maker is not compatible with FamilySearch, so you can’t search that site directly from within the software.

You can import GEDCOM files into the program. This is the most common file format that software  and online family tree databases use for sharing information between program..

Family Tree Maker give you access to a physical map of your ancestors migrations and origins.  You can view your map in 2D 3D, aerial or road view.

This program alerts you if you enter any information that may be wrong. For example, we if a child’s birthdate is very close to its mother’s or if the mother age is under 13 years old at the time.

You can add same sex marriages in the program.  It is tricky though to connect same sex couples, since the program adds a spouse of the opposite sex by default.  You have to add individuals separately and then connect them as spouses.

Family Tree Maker has 10 types of printable charts and 27 reports. You can these publications to create full books about your ancestry.  Family Tree Maker has an extensive sourcing, reporting and research features accessible through clearly marked tabs. This software comes in  both Mac and PC operating systems.

Pros: The multiple web – enabled features keep you connect to popular genealogy search sites like Ancestry and My Heritage. Does have the ability to enter same sex marriages.

Cons: It does not support in- program searches of Only  has 10 charts. The developer Ancestry has discontinue further updates for this program as of end of 2016.


chagnon family tree

Family Tree Heritage  Platinum 9 – $38.99 – 39.99
Family Tree connects to the top genealogy sites such as FamilySearch, Ancestry and Rootweb.  And you can easily add any genealogy site to this program.
Family Tree has a web hints feature. Adjusting errors in your tree in bulk is one the advantages of this package. Another benefit of this program is the merging of two trees. This is easily done with Family Tree Heritage 9.
A ditto tool is provided that will enable you to attach numerous people to the same source. So this can save you a lot of time when you are citing your records.

It has a user friendly interface. New features color coding to id generations. Offers other more than 20 charts and 15 reports.

There is also no in-app browser, so a separate window is needed when search online. This can lead to confusion when you switch between the two programs.Though it has direct access to The are sold on

Pros: Great for printing out records, can add any genealogy websites to this program. Offers a free trial so you can test it out before buying.
Cons: no in app browser. Same sex marriages is not supported. You are not able to sync your tree to the web in order to enter any found information.  Comes in Windows or Mac platforms.

There are several other genealogy software programs available. Out of the three that I reviewed, both Legacy Family Tree and Family Tree Maker have lots of the same great features. I feel for the money though, Legacy Family Tree 9 gives the biggest bang for the buck at $39.95. The disadvantage for Family Tree Maker 2014 is it is no longer being updated as of  the end 2016 and it is priced at $69.99. Legacy Family  Tree has  pretty close to the same features as Family Tree Maker, with the exception of  not being able to enter same sex marriages, but they are working on rectifying this with an update soon.  It connects to, and  easily, prints books and wall charts. The Family Tree Heritage 9 doesn’t seem to have an many features though they claim to have more features than any other genealogy program.

Depending on what is important for you to have in your genealogy software for features, I would suggest that you go directly to each of their websites and any other software programs that you may be interested in and check out their full list of features that they offer and then decide.

Hope this info was helpful. Happy Seeking!