How to Create DNA Source Citations And When to Use Them

How to craft DNA Source Citations & Research Reports

Skilled genealogists know the worth of citing our sources, however noting that data turns into a headache when utilizing DNA proof. So how can we cite our DNA sources, and the place ought to we use these citations?

Citations for Paperwork

When now we have a Deed from Fremont County, Idaho, we will shortly create a supply by specifying the writer, title, publishing particulars, and the place to seek out the title.

Fremont County, Deeds, 1880-1928, digital photographs, FamilySearch ( accessed 27 June 2021), Joseph E Lamborn to Orlando Gooch (1916); citing Fremont Depend, County Courtroom, e book 16, web page 289.

No matter whether or not FamilySearch at all times has this assortment or not, we will observe down the Fremont County Deed Guide 16 and have a look at web page 289 and discover the sale of land from Joseph to Orlando.

The Downside With Citations for DNA Databases

However with genetic proof, the DNA databases are fluid entities. Algorithms, instruments, and processes change continuously. Moreover, DNA testers add and take away their outcomes continually. Thus, the power to seek the advice of the unique useful resource on which we base our conclusions decreases over time.

Moreover, the proof a couple of DNA match comes from a number of knowledge factors. For instance, whereas I might decide {that a} DNA match shares 104 cMs throughout three segments in a single location on a genetic family tree web site, understanding how I’m associated to that particular person requires different inputs from a number of areas on the websites. Moreover, that data usually will depend on whether or not I’ve examined both one or each of my mother and father.

If we evaluate this data to a family tree supply, it is like discovering the delivery data for all of a pair’s youngsters on a number of pages in a delivery registry. And it is couple’s contingent upon the mother and father’ data being the identical or comparable sufficient to piece all of them collectively.

Once we cite these entries, we create separate citations. However with DNA proof, researchers will usually try to have one quotation to serve all of them.

DNA proof can solely predict a lot.

Many web sites will state that an 875 cM match is a primary cousin. However in keeping with the Shared cM Tool on DNA Painter, this could possibly be any of the next relationships:

  • great-grandparent
  • aunt/uncle
  • 1st cousin
  • half aunt/uncle
  • half 1st cousin
  • 1st cousin 1x faraway from a great-grandparent
  • 1st cousin 1x faraway from a grandparent
  • half niece/nephew
  • great-niece/nephew
  • great-grandchild

And the cMs relationship is not going to let you know if that is out of your mom’s or your father’s aspect. With out extra items of proof, a single quotation is inadequate.

Reproducing Genetic Family tree Analysis Is Tough

The reproducibility drawback will increase should you use the WATO (What are the Odds Instrument), Leeds Technique, triangulation, or clustering instruments. This drawback outcomes from these derived sources relying on inputs from a number of elements.

As an example, you’ll have a triangulated phase of three individuals sharing 13 cms on Chromosome 1. Nevertheless, that solely tells you that they share DNA in that place. It does not disclose to you HOW they’re associated.

So, how do you cite your DNA sources in family tree analysis?

All of it will depend on the place you are citing your sources.

For additional insights, watch this video:


DNA Supply Citations in On-line Bushes

If you happen to’re creating DNA supply citations, maybe our associates at WikiTree have some quotation tips we should always implement.

WikiTree, a free household tree constructing platform, presents customers an ordinary to observe when marking family relationships as DNA confirmed.

This primary instance is for shut genetic relationships confirmed with autosomal DNA testing:

[Paternal/Maternal] relationship is confirmed by [company] take a look at match between [person 1] and [person 2 – either ID or relationship between the two]. Their most up-to-date frequent ancestors are [couple] the [relationship to person 1] of [person 1] and [relationship to person 2] of [person 2]. The anticipated relationship from [company] is a [relationship] based mostly on sharing # cMs throughout # segments.

Paternal relationship is confirmed by AncestryDNA take a look at match between Devon Noel Lee and first cousin as soon as eliminated. Their most up-to-date frequent ancestors are George Geiszler and Evaline Townley Peak, the paternal great-grandparents of Devon and the maternal grandparents of 1C1R. The anticipated relationship from Ancestry is a primary cousin based mostly on sharing 209 cMs throughout 12 segments.

After I examined with Ancestry, the corporate couldn’t inform me that I used to be associated to this 1C1R. It solely advised me we had been 1-2nd cousins. Moreover, I might solely inform how the 1C1R and I had been associated as a result of we each uploaded our household bushes to the platform.

In the meantime, the next is a triangulation citation.

[Paternal/Maternal] relationship is confirmed by a triangulated group on [Company] consisting of [name 3 persons] who share [# segments on chromosome #]. The latest frequent ancestors shared by all three are [couple]. These matches have been independently verified by [person names] by way of the [tool]. [Person A] and [Person B] are [relationship abbrev.]; [Person A] and [Person C] are [relationship abbrev.][Person B] and [Person C] are [relationship abbrev.].

Paternal relationship is confirmed by a triangulated group on MyHeritage consisting of Devon Noel Lee, N Colwell, and M. Townley, who share 18 cM on chromosome 7. The latest frequent ancestors shared by all three are Richard Townley and Anna Sexton. These matches have been independently verified by Devon Lee by way of the MyHeritage Chromosome Browser. Devon and N. Colwell are 1C1R; Devon and M. Townley are 3C1R. N. Colwell and M. Townley are 3C.

Discover how the triangulation is a mixed supply quotation. The triangulation instrument doesn’t let you know the way you’re associated. As a substitute, it’s a must to have a look at bushes to find out how the group is expounded.

What occurs when you do not know a relationship, however you are engaged on a case?

As an example, I’ve a 2nd-Third cousin on Ancestry who I can’t inform how we’re associated. I haven’t got my mother and father’ DNA. My match didn’t add their household tree. I think this relationship is thru the Hankinson/Cramer line. On the Shared Matches web page, this 2nd-Third cousin matches a match that descends from the Hankinson/Cramers from my maternal line.

How would I cite this unknown match?

I suppose I do not. Or, if I am engaged on a case, I must go away off our frequent ancestor and the maternal line as a part of the quotation however embody my suspicions within the report. (Which I will reference later.)

How to craft DNA source citations & Research Reports

How one can craft DNA Supply Citations for Complicated Evaluation

With the citations above, we could also be utilizing sources so as to add proof to our household bushes, very like an important file, land file, or census.

Once we mix genetic proof with paper trails, we will verify our analysis and our ancestors’ relationships.

Nevertheless, many instances are far too complicated to resolve with a easy quotation as listed above. Thus, we would wish to jot down a analysis report and add citations to that report. Then, we will share our findings and cite that report as supporting proof.

Nevertheless, some fellow researchers will dislike citing ourselves on this vogue. It would fall into an “I do know as a result of I mentioned so” class. Nevertheless, it could be the one approach to assist another person make sense of our discoveries. A lot in the identical approach, a fancy family tree analysis report helps to determine an ancestor that had little direct proof to grasp.

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DNA Supply Citations in a Analysis Report

I’ve to offer credit score to Robin Wirthlin, of Household Locket, for her tips about how to write DNA Research Report. I particularly just like the construction and the way it can adapt to almost any state of affairs.

To raised clarify how Andy found the identification of my Grannie’s organic father, we might observe this course of.

Analysis Goal:

Establish the daddy of Louise Lengthy, born Marie Anderson, daughter of Agnes Anderson.

Background data:

  • Louise was born in 1920 in Columbus, Ohio, to Agnes Anderson.
  • Louise has three dwelling descendants who’ve taken a DNA take a look at – two daughters and a granddaughter of her deceased third daughter.
  • Agnes Anderson was a single lady, in her 30s, on the time of Louise’s delivery. She had labored for the B&O railroad in Newark, Licking, Ohio.
  • Agnes had no different youngsters apart from Louise.

Physique of Report:

  • A feminine DNA matched the daughters and granddaughter. (Establish how a lot DNA every particular person shared with the feminine match.)
  • She hoped the match linked to her mom’s line.
  • DNA comparisons between the daughters and granddaughters confirmed that the feminine DNA match might solely be related via Louise’s delivery mother and father. (Add extra DNA matches to show this reality)
  • The feminine DNA match didn’t have any connections to the household of Agnes Anderson.
  • The feminine match’s mom’s line didn’t have a male who lived in a city the place Agnes lived within the Nineteen Twenties. (Establish the paper data that place the lads in these areas.)
  • The feminine match’s father’s line had two brothers who lived in Licking County, Ohio. One of many brothers labored for the B&O railroad and lived inside a mile of Agnes’s house. (Establish the paper data that place the lads in these areas.)
  • Further DNA matches found which might be descendants of Louise’s half-siblings confirmed this idea. (Add different DNA matches to determine this reality)

Inside this report, I might embody some screenshots from the WATO instrument to help the chance of the connection based mostly on the shared DNA cMs. I might additionally insert the Shared Centimorgan Undertaking chart.


Louise Lengthy, born Marie Anderson, is the established organic daughter of Agnes Anderson, based mostly her on adoption papers. DNA proof and family tree data counsel that her organic father is Delbert Hankinson.

DNA analysis will be difficult. So search out skilled help from our associates over at ,,Legacy Tree Genealogists. Inform them Devon Noel Lee referred you.

The place do the DNA Supply citations go in a report?

Each time we point out a supply, we should always cite the data. Thus, after I point out the data that helped place the potential fathers of their time and place, I’d cite the sources that offered that data.

With DNA, now we have a special problem. I must use a mix of the next citations, based mostly on suggestions from Family Locket with a minor modification.

  • “Member Matches for Devon Lee and Feminine DNA Match,” AncestryDNA ( accessed 1 June 2018), predicted 2nd-Third Cousin, sharing 133 cM, 6 segments.
  • “Member Matches for Aunt A and Feminine DNA Match,” AncestryDNA ( accessed 1 June 2018), predicted 2nd-Third Cousin, sharing 277 cM, 13 segments.
  • “Member Matches for Aunt B and Feminine DNA Match,” AncestryDNA ( accessed 1 June 2018), predicted 2nd-Third Cousin, sharing 372 cM, 12 segments.
  • “Member Matches for Feminine DNA Match and Recognized Paternal Match of Aunt A & B,” AncestryDNA ( accessed 1 June 2018), no DNA matches shared.
  • “Member Matches for Feminine DNA Match and Recognized Kin of Agnes Anderson,” AncestryDNA ( accessed 1 June 2018), no DNA matches shared.

I am undecided I want a quotation for DNA Painter, however this is a potential quotation if required to make use of one.

  • “What Are The Odds,” DNA Painter ( accessed 1 June 2018), Ancestry DNA Knowledge for descendants of Potential Father A.

As soon as we full our analysis stories, we should always add them to on-line bushes as media information. Then, we will then use the next quotation:

Lee, Devon Noel, “Establishing the Identification of Louise Lengthy’s Organic Father,” analysis report, 18 June 2018, in possession of Andrew Lee, Los Alamos, NM.

We are able to add this supply quotation to our household bushes and a supply to validate our conclusions.

Quotation Type Tip:

Regularly I see genealogists add the HTTPS:// or HTTP:// of their citations. The inclusion of this element is redundant data in a supply quotation. Will and take you to the identical place?

Sure. Sure, it would.

In actual fact, after I wrote this weblog submit, my enhancing program mechanically created a URL hyperlink for each.

Thus, the https:// and http:// is redundant. Would you please cease utilizing these in your citations? It signifies that you do not perceive how the web works.

Moreover, it is also acceptable to drop the “www.” However that is not as pointless because the HTTP. So be at liberty to maintain the the ‘www’s.

DNA source citation question from Reddit

Citations I Would not Use for DNA Proof

In reviewing the feedback on the above Reddit dialogue, I agree with many factors concerning the citation recommendation discovered via a credentialing group.

“AncestryDNA,” database, ( : 16 September 2014), predicted 4th to sixth cousin match to the person “[AncestryDNA user name],” and shaky leaf trace figuring out shared ancestors as Fredrick Charles Bush (1859-1938) and Martha White (1857-1938)” whose shared ancestors is Fredrick Charles Bush (1859-1938) and Martha White (1857-1938).

My first drawback agrees with a critic of this quotation. It is that the “shaky leaf trace” is ineffective. The trace does not let you know how correct the suggestion or the supporting doc was.

Furthermore, the critic mentioned it greatest, “that [the hint] is simply Ancestry telling you that certainly one of your matches added that particular person to their tree. For instance, I might add Odin to my tree six generations again, and if Ancestry would inform my match that that was their ancestor’s title regardless that it clearly wasn’t.”

So true!

Moreover, the second half of that quotation references evaluation. It is my expertise that evaluation requires a number of methods. We might have consulted, ThruLines, Frequent Ancestors from the Shared Match web page, a dialog with the match, and descendancy analysis. A lot of this evaluation takes a number of steps, so I’d once more go to the report methodology.

Depart off the shaky leaf advice and pare the quotation all the way down to:

“AncestryDNA,” database, ( 16 September 2014), predicted 4th to sixth cousin match to the person “[AncestryDNA user name].”

Then if you wish to reference bushes or ThruLines, you should use one thing like this within the analysis report.

“AncestryDNA ThruLines for Devon Lee,” matches via George Joseph Geiszler, Ancestry ( accessed 1 June 2018.)

Give these options a strive when citing why you assume a relationship exists based mostly on DNA proof.

Extra Report Writing and Quotation Ideas