GRAVES FAMILY BULLETIN
Vol. 16, No. 1, Jan. 23, 2014
A Free, Occasional, Online Summary of Items of Interest to Descendants of all Families of Graves, Greaves, Grieves, Grave, and other spelling variations Worldwide
Copyright © 2014 by the Graves Family Association and Kenneth V. Graves. All rights reserved.
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** General Comments
** The $1,000 Genome Has Arrived (Sort Of)
** How to Contact People When Their Online Address Changes
** Planning Your Online Legacy
** Who Are the Parents and Ancestors of the Graves/Greaves Ancestor in the First Generation of a Genealogy?
** Special Offer From MyHeritage
** Learning Videos from the University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center
** Christmas Family Reunion This June in NC
** To Submit Material to this Bulletin & Other Things
This issue of the bulletin includes a couple of answers to questions that I get asked, and some interesting subjects that may be of some help to you.
Although there is no article in this issue about this, if you are descended from a genealogy where no one has taken a Y-DNA test, it is really important that you find a male with the Graves/Greaves surname to take a test. In addition, upgrading existing Y-DNA tests to a much as 111 markers will help us find where unknowns fit, as will taking the Big Y test, both available only from Family Tree DNA. Although only males can take the Y-DNA tests, everyone can take a Family Finder or other autosomal test, which I recommend doing.
THE $1,000 GENOME HAS ARRIVED (SORT OF)
We have been hearing for a while about how technological advances would soon lower the cost of sequencing the entire human genome to $1,000 and less. The total cost of sequencing the first human genome in the Human Genome Project (completed in 2001) was estimated at $2.7 billion over a decade.
The following paragraphs discuss the claim by Illumina that the $1,000 cost has finally been reached. Roberta Estes in her blog article of Jan. 17 states that this may be true if you calculate the cost a certain way, but it will still be a while before the consumer and the genetic genealogy community see a test for this price.
Jay Flatley, the CEO of Illumina, has announced the launch of a new sequencing machine known as the HiSeq X Ten which can sequence five genomes in a day, and states that the $1,000 genome has finally been achieved. The chart below shows the rapid decline of sequencing cost compared to Moore’s Law (which predicts the doubling of computing power ever two years). More information about sequencing costs can be seen on the National Human Genome Research Institute website. The press release from Illumina can be seen by clicking here.
Excerpts from Illumina’s press release of January 14, 2014 are below.
SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) today broke the ‘sound barrier’ of human genomics by enabling the $1,000 genome. This achievement is made possible by the new HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System. This platform includes dramatic technology breakthroughs that enable researchers to undertake studies of unprecedented scale by providing the throughput to sequence tens of thousands of human whole genomes in a single year in a single lab. Initial customers for the transformative HiSeq X Ten System include Macrogen, a global next-generation sequencing service organization based in Seoul, South Korea and its CLIA laboratory in Rockville, Maryland, the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the world’s leading research institute in genomic medicine, and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, a world leader in biomedical research.
“For the first time, it looks like it will be possible to deliver the $1,000 genome, which is tremendously exciting,” said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute and a professor of biology at MIT. “The HiSeq X Ten should give us the ability to analyze complete genomic information from huge sample populations. Over the next few years, we have an opportunity to learn as much about the genetics of human disease as we have learned in the history of medicine.”
Added Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina, “With the HiSeq X Ten, we’re delivering the $1,000 genome, reshaping the economics and scale of human genome sequencing, and redefining the possibilities for population-level studies in shaping the future of healthcare. The ability to explore the human genome on this scale will bring the study of cancer and complex diseases to a new level. Breaking the ‘sound barrier’ of human genetics not only pushes us through a psychological milestone, it enables projects of unprecedented scale. We are excited to see what lies on the other side.”
An article about this announcement is in Business Week. Expect prices to drop even more in the future. However, there is much more to DNA testing than the mechanics of getting the numbers. The real challenge will be doing something useful with the numbers at a reasonable price, and that will be a long process of learning more about the components of the genome and their interactions, and developing tools to present those findings in a useful manner. Although this research and development is mainly for health reasons, it will eventually benefit genetic genealogy greatly also.
HOW TO CONTACT PEOPLE WHEN THEIR ONLINE ADDRESS CHANGES
In the “old days”, which some of us actually experienced, there was no email or online chatrooms, no instant messaging, and no social media like Facebook and Twitter. People would write to each other using their names and addresses, and you always knew who they were and where they lived. Even if they didn’t call you on the phone, you could always find their phone number from directory assistance or from a phone book.
Today, most people, including those searching for their ancestors, use email. They usually give no information about where they live, no telephone number, and sometimes not even their name. Using a message system such as that provided by Ancestry.com gives even less information than that from an email message. This poses great challenges to people like myself who are trying to help others learn about their ancestors and relatives. It also makes it more difficult for all of us to communicate effectively. And, after all, communicating with others to ask questions and exchange information is the main way most people learn more.
One of the biggest problems is when a person changes their email address. Even if they notify everyone they are presently corresponding with (which doesn’t usually happen), those who might want to contact them in the future will not be able to do so by using an obsolete address posted in an online query or elsewhere. I have had many instances where I have been asked a question that I can’t fully answer, years later I find the answer, but I can’t contact the person because their email address is no longer valid and I have no other way to contact them.
So what can we do about this? What I try to do is get additional contact information from everyone that I interact with. I try to ask for address, telephone numbers, and names and contact information of relatives. I don’t usually get that information, but I do get at least some of it from many people.
What can you do about this? If you want to contact a person but only know their name, try a search on Google or other browser, using their name and any other relevant information about them. For instance, you might search for “Susan Smith” Milwaukee artist if you knew that she might have lived there and was an artist. You can also search on social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, or on genealogy sites like Ancestry. Very often when a person changes their email address (at least in the U.S.) it is because they have switched telephone companies or television providers, and they keep the same characters before the @ symbol in their new address, so you can try sending to whatever they might have changed to (for instance, common new services include comcast.net, verizon.net, gmail.com, bellsouth.net, etc.).
Finally, you should be thinking about how you can prevent yourself from becoming one of those who can’t be found. The best way to do that with email is to keep the same email address forever. No one has to use the address given to them by their phone or TV company. You can use one of the many free email services such as yahoo or gmail from Google, and then you can keep that same email forever. If you don’t want to have to use a browser to look at your mail online with these providers, you can easily set the email up to go to whatever mail program you have on your computer.
If you have other suggestions, please let me know.
The next article addresses another related problem caused by electronic technology.
PLANNING YOUR ONLINE LEGACY
Hiawatha Bray, columnist for the Boston Globe, wrote an interesting article on Jan. 16 titled “Time to plan our online estates” that all of us should be thinking about. You can read the entire article here. The gist of the article is that almost everyone is putting things online. This includes email, social media postings, photos for us and our friends and relatives to look at and retrieve, questions and answers on genealogy lists and websites, family trees, DNA test results, and on and on. What will happen to all that stuff when we die or even when we become unable to do anything with them before we die? How will those who survive us even know our passwords to access much of what we leave behind? We see the results of this situation every day with email addresses that are no longer valid, distant cousins found through genealogies or DNA testing that we can no longer contact, and material that we want to look at that has disappeared. Hiawatha wrote: “Given that Facebook has more than 1 billion users, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a few million of them are dead by now. What happens to their postings and photos?” He suggests some actions we can take now to deal with some of the potential problems.
WHO ARE THE PARENTS AND ANCESTORS OF THE GRAVES/GREAVES ANCESTOR IN THE FIRST GENERATION OF A GENEALOGY?
Occasionally I get asked about the parents and earlier ancestors of the person at the head of a genealogy. My answer is always that I don’t know. If I did know, I would have added the earlier generations to the genealogy, or I would have added that genealogy to whatever genealogy the ancestors were part of. Based on DNA test results (and sometimes other information), I often make guesses about what I think the ancestry may be. When a genealogy is part of a group of genealogies, all descended from a common ancestor, as shown by DNA testing, you can go the charts page (the page for numerical listing of genealogies) on the GFA website and see the charts that have been created. Whenever the connection with an earlier genealogy is established, the genealogies are combined, but until that time they are kept separate.
SPECIAL OFFER FROM MYHERITAGE
Family Tree DNA partner MyHeritage is offering a special deal to customers of Family Tree DNA. I and some others just received an email notice of an offer for a 13-month PremiumPlus membership to MyHeritage. The price is $99.95 for both existing and new customers, and the offer is only available through Jan. 31, 2014. They point out that the special price is 1/3 the price of Ancestry.com’s competing service. You should be able to read the entire message here. The message stated in part:
“Family Tree DNA has teamed up with MyHeritage to integrate our DNA tests to their international customer base of 75 million users. This represents an additional step by Family Tree DNA in expanding into new markets for the benefit of our more than 7,800 Surname and Geographic Projects.
Family Tree DNA is again partnering with MyHeritage to offer a limited-time price reduction on their specialized historical records collection, SuperSearch. You will save over 50% when you sign up for a new subscription or renew your existing subscription.”
Soon after I received the email, I got a phone call from someone at MyHeritage about the offer. In response to my questions, he said that this offer is not open to everyone, only those who received email invitations (although others might be able to get a less-reduced rate), and that another offer may be made in about a month. However, the MyHeritage web page here seems to indicate that the offer is open to all FTDNA customers.
I have also been asked about this offer by several others who received it, so I did some investigation. A response I received on an ISOGG list was: “I am very pleased with MyHeritage. I have found many more European connections and records, even filling in some blanks in baptismal records, for example, that FamilySearch doesn't fill.” An article by Dick Eastman about MyHeritage is here. It was pointed out, however, that MyHeritage does provide some sponsorship of his newsletter, so he might not be completely unbiased.
I don’t have enough experience using MyHeritage to make a strong recommendation one way or the other. However, they do seem to be a strong competitor to Ancestry.com and the price makes it worth giving it a try. I think I will sign up.
LEARNING VIDEOS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH GENETIC SCIENCE LEARNING CENTER
The Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah has a series of videos to help people learn about a variety of genetic subjects. You can go to their main page to see the overall offerings, or click on “Heredity and Traits” and then “Molecular Genealogy “ to see videos about the four types of DNA (autosomal, X-chromosome, Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial).
CHRISTMAS FAMILY REUNION THIS JUNE IN NC
Mr. Shannon Christmas recently posted the following notice on Facebook. Mary Graves, born about 1726, married John Christmas. She was a daughter of Henry White Graves and his second wife, Mary Williams, and was descended from Capt. Thomas Graves of genealogy 169.
“Save the Date: The 2014 Christmas Family Reunion will unfold June 20-22, 2014 at Lake O' The Woods Plantation in Warrenton, North Carolina. As many members of the Christmas family are Gen. 169 descendants, we extend an invitation to Graves family members to attend this year's reunion, just as with years prior. Visit The 2014 Christmas Family Reunion Page for updates.”
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