DNA Genealogy Experiment: Iowa DNA Project Matches

Recently, Yaniv Erlich of DNA.Land shared a graphical image of 4300 DNA.Land users that have at least one match in their new database.  The image depicted a supercluster with more than 2500 connected users where as stated by Yaniv, “one person is the cousin of another person who is the cousin of a third person who is the cousin of … and so on.”  In the discussion that ensued on ISOGG’s Facebook page, I learned that Göran Runfeldt, a software developer, hobbyist genealogist, and Administrator and developer of the dnagen.net website has been experimenting with a similar graphics tool for Family Finder Projects.

I’d previously had the pleasure of using the DNA Genealogy Experiment  tool created by Staffan Bettner and Göran  Runfeldt, which allows individual Family Finder users to view their matches and their interconnectedness in the form of colorful graphs. The tool is free, fully customizable and in depth information and instructions can be found about it at the Swedish DNA Project News.

The possibility of using a similar tool to map out the connectedness of the entire  Iowa DNA Project was very exciting indeed!

The ICW tool is still experimental but Göran generously set me up with an Iowa DNA Project ICW tool preview. For privacy, the names of project members have been stripped.  It’s Göran’s hope that in time the ICW tool will become available to all interested FTDNA project administrators who will be able to automatically create specialized graphics and charts for their members.

Currently, the Iowa DNA Project has 342 members with 245 inter-project matches.  Using the ICW tool, I was able to view various charts such as highest number of matches per kit, summaries of longest/shortest/average cM’s/segments per kit, and match related timelines and pie charts.


Figure 1 Top 20 Matches

The figure above uses the Matches Bar Chart to depict 20 kits with the highest number of matches in the project.  Our project is fortunate to have several multi-generationally tested families and extended family testers. As the project administrator and sender of new match updates, I’m aware that some of these project members have matches with another project family, and that family has matches with yet another project family. Some of the matches overlap between some members of each family yet not with other members of the same family.

Using the Atlas component of the ICW tool we can visually display these connections.  It’s also possible to alter the number of nodes depicted per image, as well as to apply a multitude of filters.  In Figure 2, 45 Nodes, or project member kits are shown, including the 3 closely related families which are circled.  Other members with at least 1 project match are also shown. Lines are drawn to show connections between the family groups and their more distantly related cousins within the project.


Figure 2 45 Nodes

In Figure 3, 75 Nodes are shown, with each having at least 1 project match. The original families are still essentially isolated, but connections are starting to form with other kits.


Figure 3 75 Nodes

In Figure 4 100 Nodes are represented.

100 nodes

Figure 4 100 Nodes

At 150 Nodes, there are numerous connections between project members:


Figure 5 150 Nodes

Below are 245 Nodes representing all 245 project members and their matches within the Iowa DNA Project.  The originally isolated families have many connections with other project members, who are in turn also connected with one another.  When using the Atlas in the ICW tool, it is possible to mouse over each node to see the kit number as well as to magnify the entire field.


Figure 6 245 Nodes

As mentioned above, the tool is not yet available to all projects. It also has the current limitation of being able to process up to 1000 project members.  Göran is also working on a project which will involve, “rendering of Family Finder project Y/mt results on the more up to date ISOGG, YFull and PhyloTree haplotrees: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/dnagen-experiment/about/results .”

For those who are already members of the Iowa DNA Project, more information about the tool and how you can access our results will be available on our project  Activity Feed.


11 thoughts on “DNA Genealogy Experiment: Iowa DNA Project Matches

  1. My great-grandparents married and had children in Iowa, later moving to Nebraska. I’ve already done my DNA with Ancestry. I’d be happy to supply you with the raw data if that would be of any use.

    Liked by 1 person

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