As you read through my blog, you may find some words or phrases that are unfamiliar, or you’re not quite sure what they mean. Here’s some of the meanings of the genealogy terms that appear in my blog:
Ancestry: The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related genetic genealogy websites. Ancestry also sells DNA kits.
AncestryDNA: The DNA kits that Ancestry sells. Ancestry has the biggest database of all DNA testing companies. You can buy an Ancestry DNA kit here. I always recommend beginning with AncestryDNA if you are thinking about doing a DNA test.
Centimorgan: Unit for measuring genetic linkage. It is defined as the distance between chromosome positions for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01. The more centimorgans you share with someone, the closer you are related. Sometimes abbreviated as cM.
Endogamy: The practice of marrying within a specific social group, religious denomination, caste, or ethnic group. This is seen occasionally in my French or Maritime searches.
Gedmatch: An online service to compare autosomal DNA data files from different testing companies. For example, if someone tests with AncestryDNA and another person tests with 23andMe, they can both upload to Gedmatch for free to see how many centimorgans they share. Gedmatch is also the only service besides FamilyTreeDNA that law enforcement can use for investigations.
Leeds method: A method of organizing DNA matches, created by Dana Leeds. This method works best if there are enough matches, from all four grandparent lines, and no endogamy. I often do a modified version of this method.
Maternal side: Someone’s mother’s side of the family.
MyHeritage: A genealogical website headquartered in Israel, that has genealogical and historical records, and also sells DNA kits. Many people from Europe often test with MyHeritage and it is free to upload from other DNA sites. You can buy a MyHeritage DNA kit here.
Paternal side: Someone’s father’s side of the family.
Search angel: Someone who is experienced in genealogy who helps others find family members, records, or other information. Often search angels will have a specialty or particular niche.
23andMe: Another DNA testing site that focuses mostly on genetic health with the ability to match to other users. There are no records on this site and I personally would suggest testing with AncestryDNA first as it has the largest database, records, and the ability to see other’s trees. You can buy a 23andMe kit here.