Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kitty Munson Cooper - Using DNA to Aid your Research

Earlier today Kitty Munson Cooper presented 2 engaging and informative sessions at the monthly meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society.  Following Kitty’s presentations I thought I would go back and look at my DNA results and try out some of her many suggestions.

Kitty’s first presentation was entitled: I Tested My DNA How can it help my research?

Trying to understand all the information we are given when we do DNA testing can be daunting. Kitty discussed the ‘help’ out there for us from the testing companies we used as well as places like the ISOGG wiki or just ‘Googling’ our questions to find the places for answers.  After reminding us to download our DNA results from each company Kitty discussed uploading your results to several sites such as Promethease and GEDmatch. 
  • Pomethease is a fee site that will take your DNA results and provide health information based on your genetic profile. 
  • GEDmatch is a third party website for analysis and comparison of raw DNA data.  The advantage is that most of the DNA testing company results can be uploaded to GEDmatch for comparison.  Not everyone tests with the same company so this is a great place to do comparisons.
Comparing our DNA results with others frequently helps us break through our brick walls.  Kitty talked about first recording DNA matches in our family trees to help document connections.
a brief start of recording my DNA matches on my Legacy Tree
  • For Ancestry Kitty talked about using an Icon in the Suffix box to mark people who have done DNA testing.
I picked a star Emoji that was available
Kitty emphasized starting with the closest matches as you begin to break down those brick walls.

Kitty’s second presentation was entitled DNA Segment Triangulation

As Kitty stated “Segment Triangulation is the standard by which we infer that a specific DNA segment is from a common ancestor that we share with at least two other people.”  With closer generations we can use charts that give us information about relationships based on the amount of shared DNA.  Determining common ancestors as we get back to great-great-grandparents, etc. there are so many more possibilities that this method becomes more difficult and ‘triangulation’ becomes a more necessary method.  This method takes time and organization of your raw data on spreadsheets, etc. 

I still have so much to learn in the area of using DNA results to help me determine relationships of more distance matches.  I am by no means fluent in these areas and hope I have correctly documented some of what I learned today.

Be sure to check out Kitty’s blog at for detailed additional information.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. Wish I could have been at her presentation. Thanks for sharing the highlights with us.

  2. And I am beginning to see the importance of Hashtags #.