We would like to facilitate use of the various DNA testing services to connect Riehle relatives. The obvious choices here seem to be Ancestry.com and 23andMe although FamilyTreeDNA also gets favorable mention in many reviews and does more intensive analyses on mtDNA and Y-DNA. GEDmatch uses downloads of tests conducted by other services to match with similar “kits” and provides detailed DNA comparisons. We welcome comments on any of these or other services.
A major ploy for the promotion of DNA testing is the potential to trace ancestry to specific geographic regions. While this may have some value in suggesting broad geographic patterns, at the margins and in terms of any level of precision, we have not been impressed.
We have quite a few DNA matches with relatives using the various services and have been able to use these to confirm DNA ancestry within the Wagshurst Riehle family using autosomal DNA back to Johannes Riehle, born in 1756. In addition, we have Y-Haplogroup matches providing strong confirmation of male ancestry back to Mathias Riehle, born in Wagshurst in 1697, and back down to other branches of the Wagshurst line to a 7th cousin. Of course in addition to our namesake male lineage we have made numerous relationship confirmations along other family lines.
We are also working to discreetly collect Y-Haplogroup data from other branches of the family (beyond just the Wagshurst Riehles) in order to explore other genetic and thus familial connections. We encourage participation in this program by any and all Riehle males so please check out the above link.
From what we have learned from 23andMe, we would encourage those who use this testing service to update your settings to show as much information as you are comfortable providing, but especially to update the “DNA Relatives” settings. Here it is helpful to enter “Riehle” under the option labeled, “What are your ancestors’ family names”. This will make it easier for others who are identified as DNA Relatives to connect with you through a search using “Riehle” as the keyword. Of course it is probably also desirable for you to identify such other surnames as are of interest to you. Birthplaces for your grandparents and other ancestral locations are also useful for other users trying to understand the relationship of a genetic match.
For those using Ancestry.com, maintaining and linking to a public family tree on their site will be even more helpful for establishing the line of connection between yourself and other users. The more generations of direct ancestry you can show, the more helpful it will be. This is especially valuable in the enabling of their ThruLines(TM) feature. Keep in mind of course that these matches are only as accurate as the trees upon which they are based and if, as often happens, bad data has been copied from one tree to another, ThruLines(TM) will show a match on the erroneous data.
Although there are a number of references on this subject, one which we would recommend is The Family Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blain T. Bittinger. This can serve as an introduction and a review of testing options but it also provides strategies for more thorough genetic analysis as well as services which provide a wider opportunity for discovering matches and tools which can be used to explore these.
Please leave your comments and question regarding DNA services, testing and analysis here or at our blog page and we will get back to you as appropriate.
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