Computer Skills

Facebook Messenger

Facebook has a sister site/app called Messenger which handles the messaging between Facebook users.

Messenger may not be the best contact method in every instance, but it is quick and easy to use and allows you send more than just text – you can attach pictures and files.

This guide covers the basics of sending and receiving messages, explains how to track the messages you have sent and  (importantly!) how to check you are seeing all of the messages people are sending you!

Facebook Messenger

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Computer Skills, DNA Testing, Genetic Genealogy

Facebook and Genetic Genealogy

People often have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  There are many groups on Facebook to help you learn how to get the best from your DNA results, so if you are not already a member, joining Facebook is worth considering.  As well as offering resources to help you learn about your DNA results, it also provides another way of contacting your new-found DNA relatives.

If you are new to Facebook, it can all seem somewhat overwhelming.  The notification system alone can be enough to drive you scatty with its constant reminders about new posts and comments…  This information sheet aims to help you get the best from Facebook and enable you to apply settings that fit with how you would like to use Facebook!

Facebook and Genetic Genealogy

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DNA Testing, Family History, Family Tree, Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy

Understanding Relationships (Part One) – What’s a 3c2r?

Today’s information sheet turned into a bit of an epic six-pager – and that is just part one of the story!

If you are working with DNA results you will spend a lot of time puzzling over where your new-found matches fit into your family tree.  Some of them will be very straightforward, maybe family you already know, or people who share a distinctive surname that you recognise.  Other DNA matches will take you weeks or even months to find a place for, or may be a perpetual mystery!

In order to work out where people belong in your tree you will need a good understanding of the way that family relationships are described.  The descriptions for close family members are part of everyday language, but once terms such as “half-cousin” or “third cousin twice removed” start coming into play it gets more complicated.

The fact that your Mum and her sister have different fathers may not make any difference to you whatsoever on a day-to-day basis – she is “just” Aunty Mabel to you.  However, if you want to use DNA results to work out where people belong in your family tree, factors such as having one parent in common will be reflected in the amount of DNA that people share and therefore affect the possible relationship between you.

Part One can be found by clicking the link below – Part Two will look at how much DNA you can expect to share with different relatives:

Understanding Relationships (Part One) – What’s a 3c2r?

Click here to see all the information sheets currently available.

Ancestry, DNA Testing, Family Tree, Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy

Linking your AncestryDNA results to your Ancestry tree

So far, we’ve talked about DNA tests in general  – with AncestryDNA being the best place to test initially in most circumstances – and creating a private/unsearchable tree on Ancestry.

The magic of Ancestry is its ability to bring DNA and trees together so that you can see (or at least try and work out!) how your new-found DNA Cousins link into your tree.  Ancestry cannot presume that it knows who you are testing and who they are on your tree – you have to go through a few steps to let it know that this test relates to that person in that tree.

Linking your DNA to your tree is a step that you can take at any point, but there’s no reason why you can’t do it whilst you wait for your results to be processed.

Click on the link for the information sheet:  How to link your AncestryDNA results to your Ancestry tree

Click here to see all the information sheets currently available.

Ancestry, DNA Testing, Family Tree, Genetic Genealogy

Waiting for results – use your time wisely!

There is a lot of waiting involved with DNA testing – waiting for results, waiting for replies to messages, waiting for new matches to appear – the list is endless!  Creating a family tree is one step in your preparation for results day.

Learning as much about family trees and genetic genealogy as you can will also help you – but don’t get overwhelmed by jargon and diagrams.  Read articles, books, blogs, join groups on Facebook.  Brush up your computer skills.  Do you know how to screenshot interesting information to capture it in a hurry?  Have you thought about where are you going to save/file all your research?  Review the information that you do have about your family – is there any other research you could be doing?

Today’s information sheet focuses on Creating a Private and Unsearchable Ancestry Family Tree.

You can create a tree on Ancestry without a subscription – or even if you have no idea who your parents are.  A tree with only one person in it may not seem that useful, but you have given yourself a place to work when you do have more information.

If you are looking to solve family mysteries, then it is sensible to ensure that your research remains private – at least to start with.  The debate about private/public/non-existent trees will probably rumble on for ever, but letting someone discover by accident that they are listed as your half-sister is not the best way to introduce yourself!

Click here to see all the information sheets currently available.


DNA Testing, Family History, Genealogy

How can DNA testing help me?

Today is DNA Day which seemed a good day to launch my new blog and Facebook page about discovering your DNA family.

It is almost two years since I took my first test, hoping that it might help me find out about my Grandfather.   I wanted to share the knowledge and techniques that I’ve gained over the past two years and make DNA testing something that helps you in your family history research – rather than something that makes you want to throw your laptop across the room in frustration!

Despite my love of computers, I still prefer learning by reading printed words on a piece of paper.  I decided that as well as general blog posts, I would create information sheets in a format that could either be read on-screen or downloaded/printed and digested at your leisure.  Hopefully, over time, they will build into a useful reference library.

Today’s information sheet is for those of you who are thinking about taking a DNA test, especially as many of the testing companies have discounted kits for sale at the moment.   How can testing help?  How much will it cost?  Where can I buy a test? Which test should I buy?  What else should I consider?

Click to read/download:   How can DNA Testing help me?