Family Tree DNA has been rolling out updates and upgrades fast and furious.
On July 7th, Family Tree DNA released Phased Family Matches which included phasing to people linked to your tree who have DNA tested who are related to you. These phased matches allow Family Tree DNA to assign matches to maternal or paternal buckets, or both. The people that could be utilized for this phased matching were as follows:
- First Cousins
Of course, because everyone wants the most people possible in their assigned parental buckets, the first clamor was for the addition of:
- Half siblings
- Half “other relatives” such as aunts, uncles, first cousins, etc.
- Second Cousins
- Third Cousins
Family Tree DNA said that there would be additional new developments shortly, and exactly 20 days later, they quietly rolled updated capabilities that includes matching to…..you guess it….all of the above, plus more, including:
- Grand uncles
- Grand aunts
I’m certainly envious of anyone who can test their great-grandmother – although my grandchildren have their great-grandmother, grandmother and both parents in the system.
In my case, before this change, the only relative that I had in the system that originally qualified was my mother. I was very excited to have people in my maternal bucket and was wishing for people in my paternal bucket. I do have several cousins who have tested on my paternal side, but none as close as 1st cousins.
Imagine my delight when I signed on to my account and discovered 359 individuals in my paternal bucket and one in both, in addition to my 256 maternal phased matches.
These 359 phased paternal matches come from the combination of the following 8 individuals that have tested and I had previouisly linked to me in my tree:
- Half sister’s granddaughter
- Two first cousins once removed
- One first cousin twice removed
- One second cousin
- One second cousin once removed
- Two third cousins
Of course, now I’m searching through my DNA matches to see if I have anyone else who qualifies that has tested.
And I’m thinking about any other cousins that would benefit my phased parental bucket assignments if I were to be able to convince them to test.
I unlinked and relinked a few people to see how many people were added to the buckets because of them.
The second cousin once removed added 12 new people. Yet, one of the third cousins added 82, so you really never know. Some of the people who might have been added to a bucket by the second cousin may have already been added to the parental bucket by an earlier match.
Regardless, the more people linked to your tree from third cousins closer, the better your chances for having people assigned to maternal and paternal sides of your tree, even without having your parents.
Keep linking people in your tree when you know where and how they connect to you – regardless of where they are located in your tree. You never know how that may benefit you – which morning you may wake up and find additional information or more people in your buckets. What a great surprise!!!
This is a pretty amazing feat if you think about it, given that just a few years ago autosomal testing wasn’t available at all, and even today, no other vendor does phased matching, assigning individuals to maternal or paternal buckets utilizing parents and other relatives when parents aren’t available.