Tag Archives: DNA

It not for you are I to choose

It’s not for us to choose

When the DNA results are not what was expected… The question came in again this past week, as it has so many times in recent years. A genealogist had asked others in the family to test to further the genealogist’s own research. When the results came in, well, they…

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MyHeritage Cybersecurity Incident

Accessed: June 6, 2018, My Heritage Blog

MyHeritage Statement About a Cybersecurity Incident

Today, June 4, 2018 at approximately 1pm EST, MyHeritage’s Chief Information Security Officer received a message from a security researcher that he had found a file named myheritage containing email addresses and hashed passwords, on a private server outside of MyHeritage. Our Information Security Team received the file from the security researcher, reviewed it, and confirmed that its contents originated from MyHeritage and included all the email addresses of users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017, and their hashed passwords.

Immediately upon receipt of the file, MyHeritage’s Information Security Team analyzed the file and began an investigation to determine how its contents were obtained and to identify any potential exploitation of the MyHeritage system. We determined that the file was legitimate and included the email addresses and hashed passwords of 92,283,889 users who had signed up to MyHeritage up to and including Oct 26, 2017 which is the date of the breach. MyHeritage does not store user passwords, but rather a one-way hash of each password, in which the hash key differs for each customer. This means that anyone gaining access to the hashed passwords does not have the actual passwords.

The security researcher reported that no other data related to MyHeritage was found on the private server. There has been no evidence that the data in the file was ever used by the perpetrators. Since Oct 26, 2017 (the date of the breach) and the present we have not seen any activity indicating that any MyHeritage accounts had been compromised.

We believe the intrusion is limited to the user email addresses. We have no reason to believe that any other MyHeritage systems were compromised. As an example, credit card information is not stored on MyHeritage to begin with, but only on trusted third-party billing providers (e.g. BlueSnap, PayPal) utilized by MyHeritage. Other types of sensitive data such as family trees and DNA data are stored by MyHeritage on segregated systems, separate from those that store the email addresses, and they include added layers of security. We have no reason to believe those systems have been compromised.

Steps We’ve Taken

Immediately upon learning about the incident, we set up an Information Security Incident Response Team to investigate the incident. We are also taking immediate steps to engage a leading, independent cybersecurity firm to conduct comprehensive forensic reviews to determine the scope of the intrusion; and to conduct an assessment and provide recommendations on steps that can be taken to help prevent such an incident from occurring in the future.

We are taking steps to inform relevant authorities including as per GDPR.

We will be expediting our work on the upcoming two-factor authentication feature that we will make available to all MyHeritage users soon. This will allow users interested in taking advantage of it, to authenticate themselves using a mobile device in addition to a password, which will further harden their MyHeritage accounts against illegitimate access.

We set up a 24/7 security customer support team to assist customers who have concerns or questions about the incident.

What Our Users Should Do

MyHeritage users who have questions or concerns about this incident can contact our security customer support team via email on privacy@myheritage.com or by phone via the toll-free number (USA) +1 888 672 2875, available 24/7.

For all registered users of MyHeritage, we recommend that for maximum safety, they change their password on MyHeritage. The procedure for doing this is described in the MyHeritage FAQ article. Once MyHeritage releases the upcoming two-factor-authentication feature, we recommend to all our users to take advantage of it.

For now, there are no other actions that MyHeritage users need to take as a result of this incident. However, we always recommend that you take the time to evaluate your security practices. Please, avoid using the same password for multiple services or websites. It’s good practice to use stronger passwords and to change them often.

Going Forward

As always, your privacy and the security of your data are our highest priority. We continually assess our procedures and policies and seek new ways to improve our approach to security. We understand the importance of our role as custodians of your information and work every day to earn your trust.

Thank you for your understanding.


Omer Deutsch
Chief Information Security Officer, MyHeritage
Email: dpo@myheritage.com

DNA Comments and Questions

Most recent comments and responses. Africanamericangenealogydna.com

Comparing Kit 130690 (*Valerie C.) and 250893 (*Marine W.) Alphanumerical number excluded.

Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 300 SNPs
Mismatch-bunching Limit = 150 SNPs
Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 3.0 cM

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
8 41,846,352 53,127,075 3.7 399
Largest segment = 3.7 cM
Total of segments > 3 cM = 3.7 cM
1 matching segments

402014 SNPs used for this comparison.

Comparison took 0.03957 seconds.
Ver: May 24 2017 20:18:13

Response. A match too far below the threshold that it can be a false read. 7 cM’s 1000 SNP’s is the normal depending on testing company math formula used to calculate relationships.


ok, here goes…My grandfather was Harold L,  b 1900 in Missouri or possibly Nebraska d 1974 in Big Spring Tx. His father was William S  b June1856 in Iowa City Iowa. Grandpa’s mother was Lorretta M  b 1866 in Illinois.
William S  parents were William & Caroline . Loretta’s parents were Thomas C  and Hanna Alma . Looking for any help for more info on this line. We have all been stumped for years. Please and Thank You

Answer: I teach you to do the work and to learn the subject matter. If I give you the answers what have you learn, what can you tell others about how you did the research? How vested are you in finding the answers?


Why would my number of matches at 23andMe be dropping? I had 1044 matches a few weeks ago, and now I have 1011; the total drops by a few to several at a time. I don’t seem to be missing any of my closest matches.

Answer: The algorithms used to determine matches has improved with each passing day. Meaning mathematical formulas design to search populations in specific areas, ethnicity, known data factors in the database such as location, surnames, known other relatives you have in your tree, and with 23andMe known health factors. Sequencing is done 100’s of time separating SNP’s to get down to known possible matches. then the sequences look for comparable cM’s on Chromosomes. This sequencing is done in seconds and the results are what you get. It is not an exact science.

Questions or not a question?

I have 4 new dna matches all managed by one person. So I messaged them yesterday letting them know they are matching my brother and I and so it is on my mothers side (since my brother and I have different dads). Well the person messaged me back today and said this “my mother is 93 years old and you match her, my sister and my sisters 2 daughters. Both grandparents on both sides my mom and my dad are from India. My mom was born and raised in Panama but we have lived in St. vincent and Barbados and currently live in Trinidad. I hope this helps you.” His 93 year old mother and I share 12cM. Her admixture is South Asian. His sister shows South Asian and Native American. The 2 daughters show South Asian, Native American and Mali.
My mom shows 1.5% Native American and 1.5% South Asian, 86% West African and 11% Irish.

The cousin match managing all 4 kits has shared with me that their grandparents from both his maternal side (who my brother and I are matching) and his paternal side are from the country India. Now my question becomes…how did they get from India (his mother is 93 years old) to Panama??? Second to that, this confirms we have a shared set of 4th great grandparents. Who were they?

Answer: Africans were sent to India as slaves from Madegassee, Yemen, South African, and served the British empire, afterward there was a need for labor to work on the Panama Canal,.Indians came to work on the construction of Panama Railways and later Panama Canal in the early 20th century.” Just as in Brazil they were abandon and left in Panama. So yes you can see how that can happen. Their DNA still exist there and in most of the Caribbean. From what we know, you most like have ancestors and living relatives in Mexico, and other South American countries. Good job, dig further using the Caribbean and South American resources available. Surnames would help a lot.


I have narrowed down my Malagasy connection to my 4th Great-Grandparents Adam Price who was born in Maryland and Catharine “Katie” Price who was born in Virginia. I have not found a death certificate for Adam or Katie, therefore I have not found Katie’s maiden name. Katie as born around 1815 in Virginia and Adam was born around 1810 in Maryland. Katie is listed as “Mulatto” on the census records. Does anyone have any suggestions how I can try to find Malagasy roots? Me, my mother, and sister have Southeast Asian DNA and I have DNA matches from Vietnam somehow. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Price is a surname found in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Katie may be a free woman of color and her father was most likely a slaveowner. ths is based on the information you provide. She was listed in the census of 1815. She would have been a free person. look for information on plantations in Henrico Co, Powhatan, Goochland, King William and James City County. No assurances. Ask around with relatives if there any Clays’ in the family. Be sure to interview everyone you can.

I did not change the wording of any author inquiry, it is their own as written.

Harlem Genealogical Conference May 19, 2018

It's that time again! Hope to see you there!

Posted by Deborah Robinson on Saturday, April 28, 2018

Best DNA Test for Ancestry by Mark Orwig

Source: Mark Orwig Post access March 30, 2018, Smarter Hobby. Click the link below.

Best DNA Test for Ancestry

Africanamericangenealogydna.com has over 22 affiliates and associates providing excellent information and the current best practices in the field of Genetic, genealogy, segmentology, and many other connected fields.

African American Genealogy DNA does not advocate one test over another test. It is the decision of the consumer, but we hope to assist in that decision by providing sound information.

DNA and Law Enforcement: Gedmatch Notification

Resource: www.gedmatch.com access April 30, 2018

Presented as written.


April 28, 2018 We now have facility to allow users to delete their registration/profile and associated DNA and GEDCOM resources. If you are interested in how to use this facility Click here to find more information.

Deletion of Registration/Profile


We now have a facility to allow a user to delete their Profile/Registration along with all of their DNA resources (ie kits they have uploaded), GEDCOM resources (ie family trees) AND their login profile (ie user login) from the current database used by www.gedmatch.com

This deletion will be permanate and cannot be undone.


  1. You can access this facility under the “Your Log-in Profile” section with the link “View/Change/Delete your profile (password, email, groups)”.
  2. Click on the right tab labeled “Profile/Registration Deletion”.
  3. You will see DNA and GEDCOM resources and a place to verify your password at the bottom of the page.
  4. The next page is the final warning where you can click the delete button.
  5. You will then see DNA and GEDCOM resources as they are deleted – you can then click continue and will be logged out and directed to the login page.
  6. At this point your Profile/Registration and all resources are either deleted or scheduled for deletion.


April 27, 2018 To correct a BIG misunderstanding, we do not show any person’s DNA on GEDmatch. We only show manipulations of data such as DNA matches

April 27, 2018 We understand that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify the Golden State Killer. Although we were not approached by law enforcement or anyone else about this case or about the DNA, it has always been GEDmatch�s policy to inform users that the database could be used for other uses, as set forth in the Site Policy ( linked to the login page and https://www.gedmatch.com/policy.php). While the database was created for genealogical research, it is important that GEDmatch participants understand the possible uses of their DNA, including identification of relatives that have committed crimes or were victims of crimes. If you are concerned about non-genealogical uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded. 

How a Genealogy Site Led to the Front Door of the Golden State Killer Suspect


A Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy carried bags of evidence from the home of the suspect in the Golden State Killer case on Thursday. CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

SACRAMENTO — The Golden State Killer raped and murdered victims across California in an era before Google searches and social media, a time when the police relied on shoe leather, not cellphone records or big data.

But it was technology that got him. The suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested by the police on Tuesday. Investigators accuse him of committing more than 50 rapes and 12 murders over decades.

Investigators used DNA from crime scenes that had been stored all these years and plugged the genetic profile of the suspected assailant into an online genealogy database. One such service, GEDmatch, said in a statement on Friday that law enforcement officials had used its database to crack the case. Officers found distant relatives of Mr. DeAngelo’s and, despite his years of eluding the authorities, traced their DNA to his front door.

“We found a person that was the right age and lived in this area — and that was Mr. DeAngelo,” said Steve Grippi, the assistant chief in the Sacramento district attorney’s office.

Investigators then obtained what Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento district attorney, called “abandoned” DNA samples from Mr. DeAngelo. “You leave your DNA in a place that is a public domain,” she said 

The test result confirmed the match to more than 10 murders in California. Ms. Schubert’s office then obtained a second sample and came back with the same positive result, matching the full DNA profile.


Investigators obtained what Anne Marie Schubert, the Sacramento district attorney, called “abandoned” DNA samples from the suspect. CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

Those who had investigated the case for years in vain were ecstatic by the sudden breakthrough. “He was totally off the radar till just a week ago, and it was a lead they got, somehow they got information and through checking family or descendants — it was pretty complicated the way they did it — they were able to get him on the radar,” said Ray Biondi, 81, who was the lieutenant in charge of the homicide bureau of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department during the crime spree.

The big players in commercial DNA testing — including 23andMe and AncestryDNA — extract genetic profiles from the saliva that customers send to the company in a tube by mail. It would not be easy for law enforcement to upload a profile to one of those sites. Over the past few years, numerous smaller genealogical websites have emerged, however, giving customers more avenues to upload a DNA profile and search for relatives.

If law enforcement located the suspect through a genealogy site, it could raise ethical issues, particularly if individuals did not consent to having their genetic profiles searched against crime scene evidence. GEDmatch said in its statement that it had warned those who used its site that the genetic information could be used for other purposes. “If you are concerned about nongeneatological uses of your DNA, you should not upload your DNA to the database and/or you should remove DNA that has already been uploaded,” the statement said.

The Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, tormented his victims with sadistic rituals. Some he shot and killed with a firearm. Others were bludgeoned to death with whatever he could find — in one case a piece of firewood. He had many trademarks: He wore a mask, he bound his victims’ hands. He started by raping single women and then went on to raping married women with their husbands present, before killing them both.

Among the numerous serial killers who stalked America in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s — the Zodiac Killer, the Son of Sam, to name two — the Golden State Killer was among the most notorious.

Ms. Schubert has been central to the efforts to find the killer. Her childhood in the Sacramento suburb of Arden-Arcade, just miles from where the suspect prowled through houses and raped women, was marked by the terror of wondering if she or people she knew might be next.

 “It wasn’t a matter of if he was coming, it was when,” Ms. Schubert said. Her parents were “not gun people,” she said, but her father bought a firearm. Her mother kept an ice pick under her pillow when she slept.

Monica Miller, who was in charge of the Sacramento F.B.I. field office from 2013 to 2017, said that when she retired, the case of the Golden State Killer was cold. She said that Ms. Schubert, “was central in leading this, convincing people this was worth pursuing.” For the people of Sacramento, she added, “it was almost an open wound. People would still talk about it. He was a phantom or a ghost in people’s minds.”

In her career as a district attorney, Ms. Schubert championed DNA technology and taught courses about cold cases, creating a unit in the Sacramento district attorney’s office to pursue them. Eighteen years ago she reached out to an investigator from Contra Costa County who specialized in the East Area Rapist, beginning a collaboration to re-energize the case.

Two years ago she convened a task force on the 40th anniversary of the attacks in the Sacramento suburbs. It was the work of that group — a collaboration with counties in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and the F.B.I. — that helped solve the case, Ms. Schubert said.

Many questions remain about the suspect. Did his family or his former colleagues have hints about his grisly past? Why did he appear to stop his spree of rapes and murders in 1986? Did he leverage his job as a police officer to elude detection?

All of these questions swirled in conversations among residents of Citrus Heights, Mr. DeAngelo’s neighborhood. They awoke on Wednesday shocked to find that their neighbor, a man who liked to tinker with his motorcycle in front of his neat beige stucco house, had been accused of being one of America’s most notorious serial rapists.

Attacks Associated With the Golden State Killer









Pacific Ocean

“It’s crazy — they were looking for this guy for 40 years and he was right here under our noses,” said Ashley Piorun, who lives five houses down from Mr. DeAngelo. “We were shellshocked to find out.”

This suburban neighborhood of well-kept homes, northeast of Sacramento, is a classic California housing tract of looping cul-de-sacs and towering palm trees. Ms. Piorun calls it a “quiet, sweet, boring neighborhood.”

Paul Sanchietti, another neighbor, said he had taken an interest in the case six months ago and combed through the Wikipedia entry that listed all of the grisly and sadistic crimes the Golden State Killer was accused of committing.

“Here I was looking up the guy on Wikipedia and he was five doors down,” Mr. Sanchietti said of Mr. DeAngelo.

From the outside, the house seemed meticulously maintained. The roof is new, the garden hose is perfectly coiled, the landscaping of sod, wood chips and decorative rocks is neat.

Mr. Sanchietti said he had nothing more than polite interactions with Mr. DeAngelo over the past two decades, but like other neighbors, he remembered Mr. DeAngelo as having a temper.151COMMENTS

“He would get volatile,” Mr. Sanchietti said. “He would be out here tending to his car and he would get very angry. There were a lot of four letter words.”

“Every neighborhood has some strange little dude,” Mr. Sanchietti said. “But for him to be a serial murderer and rapist — that never crossed my mind.”

Where did your ancestors come from?

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