When I started this series, my goaI was to find tidbits that might not be well known – features that people might not realize are available. We can all use all the help/hints we can get, right?!.
FamilyTreeDNA’s myOrigins “Compare Origins” map fits that bill perfectly. The functionality changed recently, probably with the introduction of myOrigins 3, and I had no idea.
It’s a pretty well-hidden feature, so I bet lots of other people don’t know either.
Hat tip to one of my readers who DID notice and suggested this tidbit.
You’ll need to have taken the Family Finder autosomal test at Family Tree DNA or transferred an autosomal DNA file from another vendor. If you haven’t tested or transferred, and you’ve tested elsewhere, you can transfer for free, here. You’ll need to unlock the advanced features for $29 which is a significant savings compared to a new test.
DNA Tidbit Challenge: Sign on to your account at Family Tree DNA and click on the myOrigins tab in the Autosomal DNA section.
The first thing you’ll see is the estimate of your population origins. What you may not notice is that there’s a second tab, “Compare Origins,” shown below.
When you click on the Compare Origins tab, you’ll still see the map, but you’ll also see a list of your matches who have opted-in to sharing their origins.
To opt-in, go to your Account Settings, in the dropdown by your name, and click on Privacy and Sharing. Scroll down to “Origins Sharing” and move the button to on.
If you have not opted in, I believe you’ll see a question at this point asking if you wish to do so. If you don’t opt-in, you can’t compare.
If you’re looking for someone with a specific population ancestry, especially at the continental level, this comparison feature may be particularly useful. For me, that would be Native American, although Donald doesn’t share that population with me. If you do find someone with that same population, that doesn’t mean that’s HOW you match the person, just another hint.
The comparison is a cool feature, but not where we’re focusing in this tidbit article.
Notice this map pin button?
If you click on that pin, a popup screen will open where you’ll be able to select the paternal ancestor markers or the maternal ancestor markers for your matches.
To be very clear, these pins are their direct patrilineal and direct matrilineal lines, only, meaning your Y DNA if you’re a male and your mitochondrial DNA if you are either male or female and have taken the mitochondrial DNA test.
Of course, your match will only have a pin if they’ve taken that test AND completed the Matches Map geographical information on their own page. If you haven’t done that, please do so your pins will be visible to your matches here and for Y and mitochondrial DNA Matches Maps.
Your Matches’ Y and mtDNA Lineages
How can you use this information?
You may not be related to these people through their patrilineal or matrilineal lines. But then again, you may not know how you are related, and location may still be relevant because, let’s face it, our ancestors married their neighbors.
There are two different ways to utilize this map. From the map and from your matches.
Working from the Map
My mother’s grandfather immigrated from the Netherlands. There’s a good chance that the people I match with Dutch roots, especially recent Dutch roots, may be related to that line.
On the map, I clicked on a blue (paternal) pin and the paternal ancestor information for that tester is displayed.
Surnames and locations are both important, especially in countries where surnames weren’t standardized or were/are patronymic.
You can view your match’s profile for additional information or compare your origins.
If you click on “Pin Marker,” you can then go back to the map pin screen and elect to show only pinned markers. Pinned markers are temporary and not saved beyond your current session.
Working from the Match
Each match that has a pin available will be indicated with a pin beside their name.
If you click on that pin, it will display the pin on the map. If no other pins are displayed, it will be the only pin showing.
If you do have all of the pins displayed and you mouse over the pin for that match, it blackens the pin on the map so you can see which pin represents the most distant patrilineal (blue) or matrilineal (red) ancestor for that particular match.
Search for Surnames
When I discovered the search facility in conjunction with the map, I was like a kid in a candy shop.
I entered “Miller,” my great-grandmother’s surname, in the search box.
I have 10 Miller matches on the first page. The Miller line I want to look for is on my mother’s side. You can see based on the little red and blue people icons which of the matches are assigned to either (or both – purple) parental sides based on triangulation between me and identified, linked cousins in my tree.
Of the Miller individuals on my mother’s side, 4 are males. Of those, 2 have pins. Of those 2 men, one man’s pin is in the US, but the other cousin’s pin is located exactly where my Johann Michael Mueller line originated AND that’s also who my match has listed as his direct patrilineal ancestor.
Now, I’ve confirmed unquestionably that we share at least this one common ancestor. Of course, I can’t yet tell if our autosomal DNA match is through this ancestor, but I know where to start looking.
Now it’s time to see if:
- He also matches my mother.
- He matches the other 3 Miller males on Y DNA.
- We share other autosomal matches in common that might shed light on our common ancestor.
- If the matches we share shed light on how those other matches are related to both of us.
Compare Origins Summary
This little-known tool is a great way of discovering if any of your paternal surname lines have Y DNA tested and if they match you autosomally.
If you’ve followed my articles for long, you know that I “collect” the haplogroups of my ancestors. There’s a great deal of ancestral gold to be mined there.
Using Compare Origins, it’s easy to search for the surnames of your ancestors.
As an experiment, I entered the surnames of my 16 great-great-grandparents and found relevant Y DNA matches for 13. Of course, in my case, I had recruited a few of these cousins, but not all by any stretch of the imagination.
For mitochondrial DNA, the red pins, I know that my mitochondrial line originated in Germany, so I’ll be looking for matches in close proximity to my matrilineal ancestral village, then utilize advanced matching to see if we are mitochondrial matches as well.
In countries like Germany and the Netherlands where I have relatively recent ancestry, I’ll be using the “by map” method to view the individuals on the map so that I can inspect that match more closely to see if they also match my mother and maternal cousins.
Take a look at your myOrigins “Compare Origins” matches and map and let me know what you find.
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