Category Archives: Tips

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge (Continued)!; Revealing My Results That Were Processed By Family Tree DNA

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAI have made some previous posts describing my participation with Family Tree DNA ( to have my DNA analyzed with their Family Finder product.

I made a post describing how the information was provided to me from Family Tree DNA and how you as a submitter would see and understand the process of what takes places when you submit for DNA analysis.

The one thing I previously did not share was my actual results!  Yes, I guess I fall into the media specialization of including “teasers” to bring you back for the “reveal”.  Please forgive me for that tactic!

Over the recent years many of you have actually shared with me some of your own DNA results that you submitted through Family Tree DNA.  Now that I have my results, it will be like comparing “Oranges to Oranges” for those of you that also tested through Family Tree DNA.

I cannot speak for how results are presented to a submitter from Ancestry DNA, 23 And Me or any other DNA testing company.

Many of you have told me of the variety of your DNA analysis among many different ethnicities  as identified by the DNA testing company.  No two companies come up with the same analysis.  The analysis of DNA ethnicity is based on company specific algorithms to make that determination.  So someone might be shown as being 84% Eastern European in the results from one testing company while being shown as 80% Eastern European from another testing company.

The results that many of you have shown me indicated significant multipleDNA Clip Art geographic and ethnic areas of origin spread around the world for your own DNA.  Some of your results might have said Eastern European, Scandinavian, British Isles and many other areas of the world.  Maybe you had percentage breakouts for 5, 6, or 7 different world/ethnic areas.

So where am I going with this?  I am going to my big reveal of my DNA analysis from Family Tree DNA that said:

I am 100% European with a breakdown of that showing me as having 98% Eastern European plus 2% British Isles.  That’s it!  No 5, 6,  or 7 different percentage components of ancestral origins as so many of you have had in your own testing that you shared with me.

That’s it!  No big mysteries to uncover among many unexpected ethnicities as so many of your own results have shown, although I do consider the 2% (small though it is) for British Isles as the most intriguing aspect of these results.

So I guess all of my family stories and research showing me as being of Polish origin fits quite well with the DNA analysis that says Eastern European is my dominant ethnicity.

But I was actually quietly hoping for some other ethnic breakdowns just for the fun of it and the mystery it would have conveyed.  Oh well, maybe at some point I will knock on the door of DNA and purchase a kit from them to see what their analysis would tell me about my origins.

I am sure you each had your own quizzical looks on your face when you first saw your own results.  Mysterious, puzzling, intriguing or even what the heck is this report telling me!!

The next item to note for my own DNA results with Family Tree DNA is that the “Matches” part of the overall report connects me to about 300 other Family Tree DNA testers to whom I have some genetic connection.  The highest match shown in the list of these 300 is someone noted as a “2nd cousin – 4th cousin” relationship!  That sure is not a close connection to anyone.  I only have 4 people noted as a match to me at the 2nd-4th cousin level.  Most of my matches are noted as being “3rd cousin – 5th cousin” matches as well as “4th cousin – remote cousin” and “5th cousin – remote cousin” matches.

One major item to note is that you have to be prepared to possibly discover a very close relationship to someone else that submitted DNA to this company, a person you simply may not even know existed!!  One of the report items is something categorized as”Close and Immediate”.  You could be in for the shock of your life if perhaps you discovered an unknown sibling or half-sibling who also submitted DNA for testing with Family Tree DNA.

I did not have any surprises in this regards but was surprised how distantly related I was to the 300 matches I had.  Maybe you experienced similar results and was hoping to have someone much more closely related genetically to come up that you did not know about.  I just note that none of my known cousins has submitted their DNA to Family Tree DNA for testing based on my not having any “Close Relative” results.

Now I have a list of people to contact and see how we might be related.  Now I can also submit my results to GedMatch to see if I have matches to others that submitted to GedMatch but did not test with Family Tree DNA.  They may have tested with or 23 And Me or any other testing service.  Who knows how many more matches I can add to the 300 I already have.

Still more to do related to uploading family tree material to Family Tree DNA.  By including data in your myFamilyTree component of your myFTDNAHome it will make it easier to compare your family tree data to those from the “match” list to maybe be able to better analyze what family connection exists between me and them.  Many individuals take the test and do not upload or create any family tree data.  With no family tree data it becomes difficult to see how you might be connected to someone that is a match genetically.

Lots more to do and lots more to write about to share with you via future blog posts as I start working with my results and matches.  Still plenty to learn about the process.

At least wanted to do my big reveal here and now!  Thought I would have more interesting data results but they are what they are!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library


I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge (Continued)!; Received My DNA Results Analysis

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAWell, my Family Tree DNA results are now available!

My previous posting of this process noted that I should have my DNA results from Family Tree DNA ( sometime between  July 4, 2016 and July 20, 2016.

I am happy to report that my results actually came back more on the early side for FTDNA reporting rather than the later estimated time.  FTDNA did send me an email telling me that my Family Finder results had been uploaded for the Kit Number that was assigned to me.  The email gives clear directions on how to log in to your FTDNA account to access the results.  But, you were probably logging into the system all along to see the status of the kit processing .  The email also provides a lot of information about Autosomal DNA (as this is related to the nature of the Family Finder test I used), as well as some Help Page links to help you to understand how to start interpreting your results.  The email also tells you about downloading your raw data for future use.  FTDNA also within the email re-states some of the wording related to Privacy of your results and cautions you about Privacy if you decide to export some of your raw data.

My results actually came back on July 2, 2016.  Perhaps FTDNA gives you a longer time interval to expect your results but perhaps they generally deliver them faster than they anticipated within the time range they have estimated for you.

It is important that you utilize your online access to your myFTDNA to follow the progress of all of these reported items.  Log in with your kit number and password to your myFTDNA at FamilyTreeDNA.  If your results are completed, as mine are now, you will see more links for you to explore related to your test results.  Some of these are:

  • Family Tree (myFamily Tree)
  • Family Finder (Matches)
  • Family Finder (Chromosome Browser)
  • Family Finder (Known Relationships)
  • Family Finder (myOrigins)
  • Applications (Partner Applications)

You can also click on the link on your signed in myFTDNA homepage that saysDNA Clip Art “Complete Order History” to see all of the activities related to your DNA processing.  For me I received a timeline from FTDNA that showed the following activities leading up to my results:

  • Ordered (Date Given)
  • Batched (Date Given)
  • Completed (1) (Date Given)
  • Completed (2) (Date Given)

The Batch number for processing was linked to each of the above activities.

If you wanted a timeline of all of your activities with Family Tree DNA, you get it here!

I am very happy with the information provided to me from FTDNA via emails as well as via the myFTDNA webpage you access when you log in.  But like anything else, lots of information may simply not yet be too helpful as your mind is spinning with scientific information about the DNA process.  It will take some time on reading FTDNA help material as well as some time looking at the FTDNA series of online videos to help you through the process of learning about how to work with and understand results from each of their various tests.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooo … my results are in BUT I will be providing that information in a new post soon.  Sorry for the ultimate “tease” of this post as to the specific results, but I at least wanted to share with you how FTDNA provides you with notifications about receiving your results and where to go look at the myFTDNA site for these results.

Lots of learning for me to do about beginning to make sense of what you receive.  Lots to learn about downloading your raw results so you can post them in an online product called GedMatch where you should see even more matches from others that have been tested with other services such as Ancestry DNA and 23andMe that have uploaded their data to this aggregator site.  It is daunting but what an opportunity to learn all about this process and how to use it to further expand your family history!

Till next post on my DNA experience!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Permission Granted From Dan Niemiec, Our August 9, 2016 Genealogy Program Presenter, To Post A PDF Copy Of His Handout “Tips And Tricks For Using”

Hi Everyone!

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

What a great genealogy program we had last night!

We had a total of 60 participants in attendance last night and of those 60, 18 were noted as being first time attendees at our program!  In all the years I have been doing this I have never had that many first time attendees at any of my previous programs!


Additionally, Dan Niemiec, our presenter for his program titled “Tips and Tricks for Using” was on fire last night with his presentation.  He really knows his stuff and presented the internet material in a way that was eye-opening, especially on how to use all of the search filters.  He also gave us many fun-filled laughs with his humorous comments made throughout.

See, genealogy can be and should be fun!  Thanks Dan!

Dan has also been kind enough to allow me to include in this post a PDF copy of his 12 page handout from last night’s programs.  For those of you that attended and picked up the paper handout this has little impact on you.  But for those of you that are regular attendees (or for anyone else that comes across this post out in the blogosphere) and were unable to attend last night,  this will be very helpful to you to have access to it electronically.

Here is the link to this 12 page handout:

August 9, 2016 “Tips and Tricks for Using” Handout From Presenter Dan Niemiec

Thank you to all that came out to our program last night.  Thank you to Dan Niemiec for allowing me to include the PDF version of the handout from last night.

I hope the program left you with a lot more knowledge on how to use the website at:


Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

Family Tree DNA Has Sale Of Many Of Its DNA Products; Family Finder Product Normally $99 On Sale For $69

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAHopefully, you have seen me making some recent blog posts about my entering the world of Genealogy DNA with the submission of my DNA for testing.  I submitted my DNA to Family Tree DNA for analysis.

I was able to submit when there was a sale of Family Finder, the “entry” level DNA product offered by Family Tree DNA.  Normally the product sells for $99.  I was able to obtain the product for $79.  I was very happy with that price.

Here is the link to Family Tree DNA:

Family Tree DNA Website; 2016 Summer Sale On Their DNA Products

Well guess what?  That same product from Family Tree DNA is now on sale for:


So if you are on the fence for having your DNA testing as it pertains to your genealogical research but were still holding out for lower price testing, it looks like your ship has come in from Family Tree DNA.  At $69 the price represents a 30% discount off of the normal pricing.

This product has never been offered previously at the $69 price!  I had been monitoring it for sale prices and had always previously seen it discounted to the $79 purchase price I was able to get.

Many of their other DNA testing products that are significantly more expensive are also on sale with some great discounts.

When I look at the website for Family Tree DNA, I cannot find an “end” date for this fabulous sale.  I did find some other material on the web that noted this could be an “open-ended” sale meaning it will last for a while or it could mean that the next time you visit the web site thinking you will purchase a kit you discover that the sale prices reverted back to their higher.

I guess that is the perfect tease!!

I thought I got a great bargain when I purchased the Family Finder kit from Family Tree DNA for $79.  Now you have an opportunity to make a purchase for this same product for $69.  The web site as of my writing this post is still showing this product and many others still on sale.

Don’t wait!  If you have been considering testing your DNA now is the time at such a great price for this entry-level DNA product.

The $79 price sale when I purchased did not last long, maybe 2 weeks.  I was so happy with that discount.  You can get the same thing I got for even less at $69!!

Act now.  Don’t take a chance and think you can visit the site in a week to make your sale purchase.  It could be gone just that fast.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge (Continued)!; Received Confirmation From Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) Of Receipt Of Swabbed Samples; Batch Process Identified; Pending Date Range for Results!

Hi Everyone,

Family Tree DNAAs you may know from a recent post I made, I have taken the plunge into the world of Genealogy DNA.  I submitted my swabbed samples to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA at for processing in their Family Finder product.

I did receive an email confirmation from FTDNA that they have in fact received my swabbed samples.  I will say, it sure does look like FTDNA is doing a good job of keeping me informed at each step of the DNA process as to what is happening.

As of the writing of this post, I have not received any further information from FTDNA about completion of the testing of my swabbed samples.  I know it has only been about 2 days, but this is what happens as you await results.  You can normally expect an interval of 3-4 weeks to receive your results back after they have received your swabbed material.  I am getting more excited as each step reaches conclusion until I finally receive some results for me to analyze and then say “Now What??”.

When I log into Family Tree DNA with the Kit Number and Password they provided, I can now follow the events that are occurring related to processing my DNA.  Each process is identified within Family Tree DNA along with a date for the process when it occurred.  Once they received and confirmed my swabbed material FTDNA they assigned it a batch number when initial processing took place as well as a date.  They are now showing that processing of my DNA has a pending date for completion with expected results between July 6, 2016 and July 20, 2016.

Family Tree DNA is sure keeping me appraised of what is happening, when completions occurred and pending dates for future completions!  Can’t really ask for anything more.

My anticipation level is rapidly rising awaiting my DNA results targeted to be completed in the first couple of weeks of July 2016 (Hopefully earlier rather than later … I am normally a very patient person, but it is so true that you want to see the results fast once they have the material!).

I will let all of you know what piece of information I receive next from FTDNA.

I just keep telling myself, “Be patient”!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

I Took The Genealogy DNA Plunge!; Submitted To Family Tree DNA; Will Share Future DNA Experiences As They Occur

Hi Everyone!

Family Tree DNAThought I would let all of you know that I have personally made the leap into the world of genealogy DNA.  I chose to submit my DNA to Family Tree DNA also known as FTDNA.  You can find them online at

One of our active participants in our genealogy program made me aware that FTDNA was having a short-term sale on their entry-level product called Family Finder.  Normally, it is offered at $99.  I was able to purchase the kit online for $79.  It is a good idea to check the Family Tree DNA website frequently, especially around Holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  It is not uncommon to see sales of their line of products during such times.  Oftentimes you might expect a 20% discount.  I purchased the kit of choice for me at such a discount.  It was only being offered for a very short time.

Thank you Barb P. for our many DNA conversations pertinent to Family Tree DNA.  Thank you for making me aware of the sale of this “entry” level kit.  Thank you for the encouragement to get me “off the fence”!

Now that I have taken the plunge (better late than never!) I also thought that perhaps this would afford me the opportunity to write about the process and my experiences.  Perhaps you are on the fence yourself thinking whether you should or should not submit.  My DNA curiosity finally got to me plus the fact that I think it is important for me to have a real-life experience with such a hot topic as genealogy DNA so that I can be more informed to share with other genealogy researchers.  Maybe my own personal experience with Family Tree DNA will give you the confidence to take the plunge yourself.  Plus, I will relate the process itself to give you a level of comfort.

My initial purchase of the “kit” was done online.  You can contact them viaDNA Clip Art phone number if you are inclined to do so to order a kit.  If you are familiar at all with online shopping you will find this a piece of cake.  Go to Family Tree DNA, select the kit called Family Finder, add it to your cart, provide mailing, email and billing information and click to make your purchase a reality.

Once submitted to FTDNA for purchase, you will receive a confirmation/thank you email from FTDNA very quickly.  It will mention the kit number they have assigned to you as well as a temporary password for you to use at the FTDNA website to watch the tracking of your kit as well as to use the site when results are back to you.  You can change the Password information at any time at the site and make them different from the ones they initially provide.

Expect to also receive some follow-up marketing emails as I did making me aware of the other kits and sales they have with FTDNA, other than the Family Finder one I ordered.  I received one around the time of Mother’s Day when they were offering their mitochondrial (mtDNA) test kit (for tracing or confirming direct line maternal ancestry) .  I did receive a marketing email related to Father’s Day that has come and gone since there is a test related to the paternal line of DNA (Y-DNA).  So yes I have seen a couple of marketing emails!    I do not feel abused with email offerings from FTDNA (thank you FTDNA!).

The kit with a unique kit number designated for me arrived in my mail box within about a week.  It is a small plastic white sleeve that contains a welcome letter, an instructional page, 2 swabs, 2 containers having what must be a preservative liquid, a submission signature sheet giving FTDNA permission to share your e-mail address with other participants at FTDNA that are a match to your results in different degrees, and a return postage-paid envelope.

There are simple directions on what to do with the kit to collect your DNA, plus Barb P. was able to provide me with her own experience related to the scraping of your inner cheeks.  In this case I needed to scrape my inner left cheek with one scraper for at least one minute and then push-button release it from the swabber into one of the vials with the preservative liquid.  Repeat the process with the other cheek.  Each cheek should be swabbed at a suggested time in the morning before you start having some coffee or eating or brushing your teeth.  In other words,  don’t submit scrambled eggs and coffee for DNA analysis!!   The instructions did note that it is possible you might even see a little blood on the scraper when you remove it from your mouth.  Mine were clear with no blood appearing at all.  WOW!  I did not even think that might be possible but at least they warn you.  Other DNA testing companies may require you provide saliva rather than a cheek scraping.

FTDNA does make sure you check the kit number that appears on the return envelope along with the kit number on the vials that everything matches and is the same.  In other words check and double-check wherever you see a kit number to be sure it is all the same number as the original one assigned to you.  Mine was fine.

Barb P. and FTDNA made me aware of a Wednesday batch processing cycle at FTDNA when kits received by Wednesday are processed.  So if your kit arrives back at FTDNA on a Thursday it may sit there for a few more days before they process yours and all the kits they received in the previous cycle.  I don’t think this a big thing but if you are really wanting to get your results quicker get your kit to the Post Office in the return envelope by at least the Monday before the batch cycle Wednesday processing.

So now my level of anticipation is up.  So far, so good!

I ordered the kit, received confirmation of the order and have received the kit at home.  Swabbing was done and mailed back, albeit on a Thursday by me.  So don’t be like me.  If you have the kit in hand on a Monday, swab them cheeks and get the completed kit into the mail that very day so you have a chance to get into the Wednesday batch processing cycle by FTDNA.

So now I await to see that they received my kit and move on to the processing and results from FTDNA.

Will let you know when that happens.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

PowerPoint Presentation Available From Our July 12, 2016 Genealogy Program Presented By Caron Primas Brennan On “Using Family Trees”; You Can Also View PowerPoint Presentations For 4 Additional Programs Presented By Caron

Hi Everyone,

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

Great news!  Our speaker last night, Caron Primas Brennan,  let us all know that her PowerPoint presentation of the program she presented at our library on the evening of July 12, 2016 is available for viewing by everyone!

Thank you so much Caron for sharing that information with all of us last night.

This blog post has the link that will connect you with the presentation material.

So if you missed last night’s program, you can get yourself a front row seat to review the PowerPoint presentation material.  If you attended last night, this gives you the chance to review material that perhaps that did not sink in immediately last night.

Here is the link to Caron’s 67 slide PowerPoint presentation on “Using Family Trees” from our genealogy program at the Schaumburg Township District Library that took place on July 12, 2016:

July 12, 2016 PowerPoint Presentation From Caron Primas Brennan On “Using Family Trees

Thank you so much to Caron for sharing this great information for the benefit of those unable to attend our program last night as well as for those that did attend that would like to review the material.

Additionally, Caron has 4 other PowerPoint presentation programs available at her blog that you can also look at.  Here are the programs for which a PowerPoint presentation exists:

  • “FamilySearch Primer”
  • “ Primer”
  • “What’s New On the Internet for Genealogists”
  • “Where Did I Put Great-Grandpa?: Organizing for Genealogists”

Go to the following link to Caron’s blog and just scroll down the list of programs she has presented and will be presenting.  The above 4 are from her most recent presentation at the Newberry Library on July 9, 2016.  Look for the hyperlink that is noted as “Slides”.

Caron Primas Brennan Speaking Engagements; Look for Available PowerPoint Presentations from Recent Speaking Engagements

Thank you again Caron for making available the PowerPoint presentation from last night’s genealogy program at our library, as well as making available the additional programs you recently presented at the Newberry Library on July 9, 2016.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library