by Jim Bartlett


Today, I want to talk about another blogger – a new blogger – Jim Bartlett.  I’m very glad to see Jim enter the blogging space.  Welcome Aboard!!!!

You might be surprised to see one blogger recommending another.  Don’t be.  There are few people in any field who agree 100% of the time, but Jim is the ultimate, respectful professional and shares graciously and willingly with others, and has for years.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome Jim, and to tell you something about him and why you might want to follow what he has to say.  He may be a novice blogger, but he certainly is not a novice genetic genealogist.

It’s interesting to learn about your fellow genetic genealogists.  None of us began in this field, because most of us began our careers long before this field existed.  For the most part, we were or are professionals in another scientific or technical field.  Jim is no exception and he, like others, brought the best of his professional experience to genetic genealogy.

Jim is an engineer by education (Bachelor and Masters degrees), and spent 50 years in various aspects of construction, including a Design Engineer for the Smithsonian Institution; Program Manager for the $2 billion TRIDENT Base in GA; Program Manager for US NATO Construction, etc.  Jim has a knack for puzzles and spatial design. Jim says, “As soon as I learned about autosomal DNA, I caught on pretty quickly. I view the mapping of my chromosomes to my ancestors as the ultimate puzzle.”  Isn’t that the truth!

Jim has been active in genealogy since 1974 (visiting courthouses, scrolling microfilms, lunches at DAR Library, etc.  In 2002 he began the BARTLETT-DNA Project, which has grown to over 300 participants and has identified 23 separate lines.  Jim cut his genetic genealogy teeth on the Y chromosome.

Since 2010 Jim has been involved with the newest DNA tool, autosomal DNA, which provides matches with cousins from any/all of your ancestors. He has tested at all 3 companies, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe and Ancestry, and also uses GEDmatch.

The simple version of Jim’s advice is: communicate; share; find common ancestors!

The more complex version involves spreadsheets, segment analysis, and triangulation and that’s what his new blog will address.

In any up-and-coming field, new experts appear on a daily basis.  If you follow any of the social media or genetic genealogy lists, you’ll probably notice from time to time that a new “expert” whom you’ve never heard of before appears and states “facts” or opinions as facts.

There are but a handful of individuals whom I truly consider to be experts in this field.  Some are very specialized in one area and some are both wide and deep.  One characteristic in common with them all is that they have years, as in many, MANY years of experience in both genetic genealogy AND genealogy.  None of them are newcomers by any definition.

Jim is one of these seasoned experts with a very unique claim to fame.  Jim has mapped more of his autosomal DNA than anyone else that I know of.  And I mean bar none.  He is #1!  Jim is one of the most dedicated researchers I have ever met.  He is the example that the rest of us aspire to.  That’s because Jim is both retired and committed – working on his genetic genealogy every day!

I asked Jim how much of his autosomal DNA he has been able to attribute to a particular ancestor or ancestral group.

“I now have over 4,000 different Matches in my spreadsheet. I’ve mapped over 88 percent of my 45 chromosomes (based on base pairs). I’ve determined Common Ancestors for about 70 percent of my DNA (based on base pairs). Most of my 340 triangulation groups are heel-and-toe on the chromosomes with only a few gaps over 10cM left (mostly from my maternal grandmother’s immigrant ancestor from Scotland and Germany in the 1850s.)

This has been a fantastic journey. I’m now working with the matches in my triangulation groups to dig deeper into finding our Common Ancestors.”

Fortunately for the rest of us, Jim has decided to share his experiences, advice and puzzle solving expertise with the genetic genealogy community and recently created his new blog,  You can follow his blog by clicking on the little grey follow button on the right hand side of his main blog page.

So far, Jim has published four articles:

What is a Segment?
Benefits of Triangulation
Does Triangulation Always Work?
How to Triangulate?

If you subscribe today, you won’t miss any of what Jim has to say.



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9 thoughts on “ by Jim Bartlett

  1. Roberta – thank you very much. You were my inspiration to try blogging, and it was you who nudged me into this. You’ve also shared some tricks of the trade – I’m very grateful for all your help. As I talk about DNA to genealogy groups, I always point out there are two levels of involvement: Level 1: Accept your Matches as your cousins and work with them to determine the Common Ancestor – you don’t need to know how to spell DNA; Level 2: Learn about DNA, understand what the data means, and how to use it to your advantage – there is a steep learning curve. Autosomal DNA, in particular, can be fairly complex. I hope through my blog, I can explain some of the concepts and “rules” to genealogists whose main focus is on genealogy. Thanks, again, for introducing me to blogging. Jim Bartlett

    • Very happy that Roberta told us about your work. I’ve been muddling along and helping people find good links through DNA. I think that triangulation may be extremely helpful to get to the next level. Looking forward to learning much more about that part of the “story.”

  2. I rejoiced to see this new blog of Jim’s. His comments on Rootsweb mailing lists have been immensely helpful to many. Readers should also look for other points of view, as Jim’s experiences and opinions on them may not apply to everybody. He certainly is relevant to people living in the USA with a long family history there, and with cousins who have tested. Debbie Kennett comes from England and has a different experience. Their recent discussion on Triangulation and Segment sizes is very relevant:
    I live outside USA and my situation is more like Debbie’s, but I aspire to link with more DNA cousins and to build a knowledge of my segments like Jim.

  3. I’m so new to this, I can hardly spell DNA! I ordered my DNA kit from before I found this site. I am looking forward to learning about how to use the information.

    • Ancestry has no tools that will allow you to do this. However, you can transfer your result to Family Tree DNA for $39 and to GedMatch for free and fish in both of those ponds too – and both have tools for you.

  4. Thanks for your introduction of Jim. I’ve already “met” him on Rootsweb and only sensed that he was very knowledgeable, he’s way more than that! I’m liking his blog!

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