Someone wrote to me with the following question/commentary about autosomal DNA and data organization on my blog. Her request is below:
“My overwhelming need is organization and I suspect others are in the same boat. I have only a rudimentary knowledge of spreadsheets which makes directions on setting them up for triangulation intimidating. What I am asking of you is that you do a blog about third party utilities which could be useful, perhaps doing a comparison of those available, i.e. ADSA, Genome Mate etc. I was also wondering if you could set up a hierarchy of which should come first and so on.”
I took this question to the ISOGG Facebook list, as I don’t use GenomeMate and was looking for input from people who do. I also have known how to use Excel virtually “forever” so I have never looked at newbie resources for Excel either.
My Comment on FB: I am hoping that someone has already done this, or at least compiled a list with some commentary, as I don’t use all of the tools extensively. For example, I use spreadsheets, not GenomeMate – although that implies nothing negative about GenomeMate. Anyway, does anyone have any pointers for this gal? Does anyone know if there has been an “intro to excel for genetic genealogy” done? Thanks.
First, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the conversation on the ISOGG Facebook list. I have distilled the commentary to what I perceived to be the most relevant responses, below:
I would highly recommend that she skip the spreadsheet phase and go straight to Genome Mate, since she’s not really experienced with either. (Nothing against spreadsheets – I love ’em – but GM will give her more bang for the learning curve buck. Also, those using spreadsheets all do them differently, so it’s harder to draw on a community for help.) The GM user group here on FB is extremely friendly, and IIRC the quick-start guide for the new and improved GM is either now out or imminent.
GenomeMate vs GenomeMate Pro, the new version. There was very positive commentary about the Pro version.
There is a GenomeMate Pro FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/816785941743656/
There is a GenomeMate User Group FB group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1487955884768702/
Blog article about using GenomeMate
Some reports of problems with GenomeMate on the Apple platform, others say it works fine, especially the new Pro version. Commentary says that if you’re just starting on GenomeMate now, begin with the newer Pro version.
There will be a quick-start guide for Mac users of Genome Mate Pro soon. There is currently one for the PC.
Dan Stone writes a blog that has featured using Genome Mate; and Jim Sipe has written a how-to-guide for it. I’m helping to beta test Genome Mate Pro; and I love it! It organizes your matches by each position on your chromosomes; points out overlapping segments and possible triangulations; allows you to segment map your most recent common ancestors, etc. I gave up spreadsheets for Genome Mate and am thrilled–it essentially “automates” what I used to do in organizing matches across the Big 3 and Gedmatch.
This is a list and most people are probably already aware of these tools, but take a look just in case.
Roberta’s comment: I use many of the available tools, but am particularly fond of the tools at www.dnagedcom.com, www.gedmatch.com and the tools on Kitty Cooper’s blog. These are for the most part created for all levels of genetic genealogy users. Some of the other tools are for more advanced users. Most all of these tools are designed to be used in addition to a spreadsheet or some form of organization – which is where this conversation has focused. None of them, with the possible exception of ADSA (Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer available at www.dnagedcom.com), could replace an organizational spreadsheet or GenomeMate, although ADSA does not work with 23andMe data.
A couple of people referred to some training videos for Excel including “Twenty with Tessa, Tips and Suggestions for Spreadsheets” which is focused on using spreadsheets with one name studies and genetic genealogy, but the principles are the same. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_cfhOZTl0&feature=youtu.be
In addition, one person mentioned that they joined www.lynda.com and took the basic Excel class which she found very useful.
Kitty Cooper has instructions on her blog for how to make a matches spreadsheet. The good news is that you can download your matches into a spreadsheet format from either 23andMe or Family Tree DNA, but you do need to understand something about the basics of sorting and how to stay out of spreadsheet trouble.
www.DNAadoption.com has some good courses their DNA for beginners covers using spreadsheets, not just for adoptees!
I heartily agree that the www.dnaadoption.com tools and classes are not just for adoptees.
DNAAdoption reportedly does not utilize GenomeMate for their purposes because GenomeMate focuses on the direct line trees, while in order to put families together for adoptees, who don’t know their direct line tree, they must use the combination of other people’s trees to determine where they fit in which line. So GenomeMate does not work well for adoptees who are searching.
This discussion about GenomeMate Pro has almost convinced me to give it a shot. I must admit, much of what is done manually in a spreadsheet could certainly be automated. The issue holding me back before, aside from the fact that I already have so much done in my spreadsheet, was that the original version of GenomeMate required Silverlite be installed. The new version does not.
Here’s a link to the GenomeMate page if you want to take a look. I may take a test spin. I think reading the user guide would go a long way in helping me decide if this tool might be for me.
Let me know if you install this product and how you like it.