Help for Advanced Interpretations

I love RootsFinder and feel like the DNA tools could really help me break through my brick walls. The tutorials are very helpful for getting started with these tools and copying in data from gedmatch. HOWEVER, there doesn’t appear to be any information on how to interpret what one can see in these tools, leaving me to scratch my head and return to building my own database tools in Access and Excel.

Segment View:
I can’t puzzle out how to interpret this tool at all. It doesn’t help that the maternal and paternal segments are all mashed into one view. It would be much more helpful if the paternal fanned out left, and the maternal to the right, with a third option for the unmatched. As it is, I can’t get this tool to mean anything. Why do some matches push out way to the right? What do all those kit listings mean exactly? These people share the same segments? Or are they maternal and paternal matches that match anyone at that spot?

Triangulation View:
Why are some nodes close to other nodes? Do they share more DNA? Or they just match on the same segments, but may be a maternal or paternal match? Why do they cluster? What does it mean when one lone node is super connected to two different groups of nodes? Are these more likely to be siblings of my matches or descendants of other lines?

Circle View:
What are the nuts and bolts of how the height and thickness of lines are computed? How are names grouped?

I guess the bottom line is that without understanding how the program builds these visual aides, they are pretty but almost completely useless in actual interpretation.

RootsFinder is amazing. But we need some experienced super-users to make some videos of how they interpret their views, and more documentation on how these tools work, what each visual cue indicates, and how the program builds these views. Please!

I’m glad you love RootsFinder and thanks for the feedback! I’ll try to answer your questions.

Segment view: I agree that you need the ability to separate the maternal and paternal lines in the segment view. That’s planned to be implemented by the end of October. Smaller matches, which match sub-segments of larger matches, are pushed to the right. The kit listings are all of the kits that match your chromosome at that segment. They could be maternal or paternal matches.

By the way, a lot of our DNA users are on the RootsFinder DNA Tools facebook group: You could get some interpretation help there.

Triangulation view: Roughly, the closer two nodes are, the higher the match between those two nodes. GEDmatch exports triangulated matches, so the closer two nodes are, the more and larger the segments they share (paternal or maternal). By the way, no one exports phased matches into paternal vs maternal matches. You will need to figure out for yourself whether the matching regions are paternal or maternal. The nodes cluster when lots of nodes share DNA with each other.

Circle view: names are grouped roughly according to how closely they match each other. Shorter lines indicate closer matches.

The DNA tools are still in beta and undergoing a lot of change. I’m adding the ability to import matches from Ancestry, FTDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritage later today for example. And I’ll be adding several other important functions later this Fall. I’m actively looking for feedback from people on what they need. Once things settle down in a couple of months, we will create some interpretation videos. Until then, please check out the facebook group. There are people on that group who know a lot more than I do about how to interpret DNA.

Thank you so much for the long reply. It really helped me better understand how each chart works. Look forward to checking out the FB group and learning more!