myOrigins 2.0 update – FTDNA

Back in April, FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) finally updated their myOrigins.  This was initially set to roll out shortly after November 2015’s 11th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy held in Houston, Texas.

FTDNA started off with Population Finder, which was replaced by myOrigins in May of 2014.  With Population Finder, they had an Oceania (Papuan, Melanesian) category.  When they switched to myOrigins, they removed the Oceania category.  Since Polynesians are about 75% Southeast Asian and 25% Melanesian (Oceania), Polynesians would show up as just Southeast Asian.

They increased their population clusters so now they have a total of 24.  I believe prior to this newer version there were about 18 of them.  While a lot of people have reported how “off” these results are, focusing on just the Polynesian genome, I notice that there is a consistency to have about 3% – 9% Northeast Asian along with the predominantly nearly 75% Southeast Asian.

Population Finder, myOrigins 1.0 and myOrigins 2.0

These are the different versions.  FTDNA seems to be ever increasing the amount of European that I have for whatever reason.  I usually range between 8% – 12% at various DNA companies.

Below is a breakdown of what other Polynesians have been getting with the new version of myOrigins.


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Percentage breakdown by the various East Asian and Oceanian categories.

For now it seems that the new version of myOrigins are giving a lot of people many trace regions.  While I did not include them in the image above, I have been seeing this for eastern Polynesians so far.  Maybe in the future there will be an update that could refine these trace regions so that it appears less for everyone.


MyHeritage Ethnicities

As of May 30, 2017, MyHeritage finally released their Ethnicity Estimate (beta) to those who uploaded their raw data.  So far this service is still free.  Not sure if they will discontinue that service.  Currently their tests are at a reduced price of $79.


Not only does MyHeritage (MH) have an Oceanian category but they included Polynesian along with Melanesian and Papuan.


Last year and probably the year before that, they reached out to people who had a tree at MH whose 4 grandparents were listed in a given geographic area confirming ties to that particular place or country.  And while they seem to have obtained more than Ancestry’s 18 Polynesian samples, they did not take into consideration that these people may be admixed.

A lot of admixed Polynesians who did test with MH are reporting to have lost a lot of their European while simultaneously having an increased percentage of Polynesian.  There seems to be about 10% difference.

Here are my mother, my maternal aunt and my own results.

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My mother and her sister are 85% Hawaiian while 15% is of European background.  My mother gets about 17% European at the varying DNA testing companies.

Several Polynesians have shared their Ancestry results with me.  Comparing it to MH it seems that the numerous samples that they used for the Polynesian category included some admixed Polynesians of European heritage.  I have been hearing the same situation for those with admixed Native American background reporting 20% to 30% more Native American while reducing the amount of European.

What is interesting about MH is that they did have other populations not covered by the other testing companies.  They separated the Melanesian and Papuan, commonly grouped together and labeled as “Oceanian” by other companies or at GEDmatch, and provided a separate Polynesian category.  They did something similar for the Asia group.

MH has specific groups within the Southeast Asia area, such as Filipino, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian.  While the thinking is that if you come from that particular background which they tested, you should score perfectly with that group.  This may not apply for some either due to the limited number of samples and/or where they got their samples from, such as taking samples from one specific area.  I have only seen a few Filipinos’ results where they score 100% Filipino/Indonesian/Malaysian.  A couple of Chinese people received majority Chinese and Vietnamese and a smaller percentage of Filipino/Indonesian/Malaysian.

My guess is that this breakdown of the various Southeast Asian groups helps separate Polynesians (and Micronesians) who also have some Southeast Asian background.  At Ancestry, Chinese people were reporting about 10% Polynesia, Vietnamese as high as 15% and Filipinos around 32%.  Ancestry has no Southeast Asian category, so those of Southeast Asian background will get some of the East Asian, or what Ancestry has as “Asia East” along with a small percentage of Polynesia.

Aside from MH engulfing the European for admixed Polynesians, it seems fairly accurate at least for me being that I am half Filipino and 43% Hawaiian and about 12% European background.  I am going to assume that the West Asian below is part of my European background while the South Asian is part of my Filipino backgroundc

New 5th Cousin connection helps map out chromosome!


Now that I had figured out who my mother’s biological parents were it has become easier to find connections.  (You can read about it here:

While there is one branch where I find a lot of relatives on my great-grandmother Rose Holbron’s side, I am slowly finding distant connections on my great-grandfather Frank Kanae’s side.  Frank Kanae was Rose Holbron’s husband.

Earlier this week I received an email from a woman named Raychelle who saw me and my numerous kits of family members that I manage on as a match to her.  I began the normal response, almost ready to dismiss her since many of these matches appear to be close when in reality we are usually distant, and for others, much more distant.  And from what I could see, it wasn’t such a huge amount.  At GEDmatch, Raychelle and my mother shares 62.9cM total, with a large segment of 10.7cM.  So at least a 4th cousin level.

After I told her that she could find me on Ancestry (since she uploaded to GEDmatch via Ancestry) and look at my HOLBRON family tree, she found out that we have the LEWIS connection.

She is a 5th cousin to my mother, and a 5th cousin once removed (5C1R) to me.  I come from Isaac Lewis who was known as Isaac Lewis Kanae or Isaac Kanae Lewis, and also known by the Hawaiianized version – Aikake Lui.  While Raychelle comes from John George Lewis, and his Hawaiianized name was Keo Lui.  My assumption is that Keo was short for Keoki (George).  Keo could also be short for Keoni (John) and then there was the catholic version – Ioane for John.

But what was interesting is that she had this genealogy and I had updated mine from this to reflect what a couple of people have been researching.

According to the information that has been circulating at various sites on the internet, Isaac’s father – Captain Isaiah Lewis was the son of Captain Ezra Lewis.  And John G. Lewis was the son of Captain John Lewis, who was Captain Ezra Lewis’ son but through a different wife.  I listed them as spouse #1 and spouse #2 because different sites and people will switch the spouses showing Isaac as the son of one spouse, and another will show Isaac as the son of the other spouse, and vice versa for John G. Lewis.

Click to see larger image
So the question is, were Isaac and John full brothers, or (maternal) half-brothers?  And if they were (maternal) half-brothers, were their fathers paternal half-brothers?

While all of this information going back that far is based solely on people creating these trees without further documentation, for now I am only going by what was documented.  The trees habitually say that Polly was known as Sarah Pauline “Polly” Holmes.  While I can understand that Polly could be a diminutive for Paula and Mary, I’m not so sure that these are the same person, especially since a lot of the information lists this Sarah Pauline “Polly” Holmes having been born in Massachusetts and died there,  and that her husband Captain Isaac Lewis from Massachusetts too.

What we know for a fact according to testimonies from people who lived during the time of Polly Holmes and her father Oliver Holmes.


I am still in the process of confirming and documenting all of these ancestors, so for now I am considering Raychelle and I 5C1R, and that her 3x great-grandfather John George Lewis (Keo Lui) and my 4x great-grandfather Isaac Lewis Kanae (Aikake Lui) were full-brothers.



I compared Raychelle to all of the relatives to see which segments we all had in common.  Any common segments or segments that multiple relatives share would indicate that segment was inherited from a common ancestor.  In this case, Polly Holmes and her husband Isaiah Lewis.

And while autosomal DNA inherited from our common ancestor can remain in our genome for about 5 – 6 generations, there are some cases where it can span several generations and for some as we have seen, in larger segments. These larger segments tend to be passed on within generations entirely intact and having not recombined.

With endogamy, that may confuse things as it isn’t guaranteed that the shared segment came from that same common ancestor.  Especially for Polynesians where we share many small segments.  And these multiple segments may not be in common with other relatives, or rather these segments may not overlap as what I am about to demonstrate.  So when looking to map out these segments, and at the 4x great-grandparent level, if the segments are really small, that may be suspect to being segments randomly inherited.  It may or may not be from the common ancestor, or may come from the same common ancestor multiple times through their different descendants.

I first compared my brother Kaimi and Raychelle and looked for the chromosomes that should match my mom.  Kaimi and I have different fathers, so I decided to use his to compare because his father is also Hawaiian.

I use Kaimi’s unphased and phased data to be sure that if there are extra segments that does not match our mother, then the presumption is that the segment came from Kaimi’s father.  These were the results.


You can easily see how with the phased data the size of the segment is somewhat smaller if it doesn’t remain the same or disappear altogether.

The real work comes in when I compare Raychelle to my mom’s brother’s son Chris, her half-brother’s daughter Lena and her maternal half-sister Aunty Stella.  The detailed specification of their relationship is to help you understand how they are related and know what is to be expected as far as sharing DNA with different relationships go.

What I did first was compare Raychelle to all of those family members mentioned and then see which of those matching segments actually matches up with what my mother matches.  Here’s a diagram of how we are related and descend from Isaiah Lewis and Polly Holmes.


I’ll start first with Chris, the son of my mother’s brother Joseph.


While there were other segments that Raychelle shared with Chris, I am only comparing overlapping segments that are shared with my mom.  There are 3 chromosomes where they share overlapping segments.  Ch 6, 7 and 20.

With Aunty Stella, there were segments on different chromosomes, sometimes on the same chromosome but in different parts of the chromosome that did not overlap.


Only one overlapping segment which is on ch 7.

Then with Lena, the daughter of my mom’s half-brother George.

Lena also shared different segments and different chromosomes with Raychelle that my mom does not have, except for ch 7.

So what is consistent with all of them is that a segment on chromosome 7 is shared with Raychelle.

The diagram above  shows how everyone matches each other, with the last one again showing my mom with Raychelle and that consistent block of segment.

So the fact that we all shared an overlapping segment in common with each other indicates that particular segment was inherited from our common ancestor.  In this case, both Isaiah LEWIS and Polly HOLMES.  But how do we figure out if that segment came from Isaiah vs. Polly?  Remember that there was a discrepancy that Polly’s two husbands – Isaiah LEWIS and John LEWIS were paternal half-brothers according to some other genealogy and that Isaac LEWIS KANAE was Isaiah’s son, while John George LEWIS was John LEWIS’ son.  Both Isaac and John had the same mother – Polly HOLMES.

The best way to distinguish that inherited segment being inherited from Isaiah LEWIS or Polly HOLMES is to test members of each of those families.  That would be distant relatives of whom we cannot find a connection to just yet.  Instead, I used another method.

Since my mother tested at 23andme, they have the ability to show the ancestry broken down by each chromosome. This is what my mother’s 7th chromosome looks like.



23andme identifies portions of the Hawaiian segments of the chromosome as a combination of East Asian & Native American, and Oceanian.  I simplified it by just indicating Hawaiian.  Both of my mother’s parents were Hawaiian, but her mother Rose KANAE also had European ancestry.  Which is why in that diagram one chromosome is labeled as the paternal chromosome, the other as the maternal.

My mother’s maternal grandmother was Rose HOLBRON.  Rose’s paternal grandfather John HALBORN was from Hull, England, and her maternal grandfather William LUDLUM was an American whaler from Jamaica, Queens, New York.  Rose HOLBRON’s grandmothers were Hawaiian (Kanaka).

But it is Rose KANAE’S father – Frank KANAE whose paternal grandmother Mary LEWIS KANAE’s father was Isaac LEWIS KANAE.  Isaac’s father was Captain Isaiah LEWIS.  Isaac’s mother Polly HOLMES was the daughter of Oliver Holmes of Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts and Mahi, daughter of the chief Kalanihooulumokuikekai of Ko’olau.  My assumption was that the European portion from Rose KANAE’s father is too far back.  In other words, the European portion of that chromosome that my mother inherited from her mother could have only come from John HALBORN or William LUDLUM, or a combination of both.

There are a few factors that could make a segment remain in tact for several generations:
1) The length of the chromosome.
2) How many cross-over events there were for that particular chromosome.
3) Location on the chromosome (some areas are more SNP dense than others).
4) The possibility of having fewer cross-over events or none at all (we see this happening as well).
This segment seems to match nicely ranging from 7.1cM (my mom) to 9.1cM (Aunty Stella) with all the relatives.

So when I visually compare the section of chromosome 7 that matches up with the shared overlapping segment for all of us, this is where they line up.

If you have read my other posts, you would have read that multiple segments for Polynesians can remain for awhile given that we come from a few common ancestors multiple times.  This paritcular segment had to have come via Polly HOLMES’ mother – Mahi who got it from her parents Kalanihooulumokuikekai and his wife.  And since Raychelle is also a descendant of Polly HOLMES and Isaiah LEWIS, this portion of chromosome 7 did not come from my HOLBRON side.

While my family members used for comparison descend from Isaac LEWIS KANAE’s daughter Mary LEWIS KANAE, there are other descendants through Mary’s sister Papanaha LEWIS KANAE who got DNA tested.  But only one of them was a match to Raychelle.


This cousin shares an overlapping segment of 8cM on chromosome #7.  But when I compared that relative to my mother, they did not share that particular overlapping segment, although all my other close relatives did share that overlapping segment with this cousin.  After looking into it further, I found out that my mother seemed to have inherited a smaller section of that overlapping segment compared to other family members, and her matching criteria just did not qualify as a match according to where all of this analysis was done.  After all, she shares the least out of all the relatives only 7.1cM of this segment and Aunty Stella shares 9.1cM.  And while she gave me and my brother Kaimi this segment, my brother Travis did not inherit this segment.  Which means this portion of chromosome 7 for him was from our grandfather, not our grandmother Rose KANAE.

But that is what is complicated about mapping out segments for Polynesians. These segments could be from any of these lines going back to the same common ancestor multiple times. That means that Raychelle could just so happen match all of us via my maternal grandmother Rose KANAE’s mother’s side, or my great-grandfather Frank KANAE’s mother’s side, or John KANAE’s father’s side, and so forth.  It could also be just by chance, that we share the segment with any other of her Hawaiian ancestors.

Since many Polynesians share multiple small segments and as small as 7cM, as well as having these segments line up very close to each other if not right next to each other, it makes chromosome mapping very difficult to do.  For example, I mentioned one of Papanaha LEWIS KANAE’s descendants share that same overlapping segment on chromosome 7 with the rest of us, while the other descendants  share multiple non-overlapping segments.  I cannot easily assign them to our common ancestor – Isaac LEWIS KANAE, or presume that all of these multiple segments came from our common ancestor.

Since Polly HOLMES is 6 generations away from my mom and all of her descendants share this same overlapping segment, it is safe to presume that this segment came from Polly HOLMES’ mother – Mahi.  And now I can assign at least this small portion to Mahi.


Determining half-relationships with Polynesians – Part II

In my last entry I demonstrated the difficulties of determining the half-relationships after receiving the DNA results of my half-first cousin.   Within an endogamous group, that could be even more difficult as we see larger amounts of DNA shared.

While the ISOGG Wiki Autosomal DNA Statistic page can list the average amount of centimorgans shared,  Blaine Bettinger’s The Shared cM Project  demonstrated that the minimum and maximum amounts shared can vary.  This becomes more evident as the distance of relationship increases.

Within an endogamous group it makes sense that having more than one pair of common ancestors may increase that amount.  The same would apply if you descend from the same common ancestor multiple times.  Both would produce higher amounts shared.

A few months ago I got the results of my aunt believed to be a full-sister of my mother.  My aunt suspected that her father was not her biological father.  And she was right.  But she was not the only one who knew of this, but the rest of the family, particularly the ones of my generations believed that this Aunt’s father was her biological father and did not suspect otherwise.

From my mother’s Family Finder (autosomal) match list at FTDNA:

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 5.21.34 PM

The top is my mother’s sister while the one right below it belongs to my half-1st cousin whose father George was mentioned in the last entry – Determining half-relationships with Polynesians.

Initially I was confused by the total amount since I knew it was more than what I shared with two of my half-brothers.  This is how two of my half-brothers compare to me and to each other.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 5.47.08 PM

So my mother and her sister did share a bit on the high-end for half-siblings, but low end for full-siblings.  These are the predicted averages shared for siblings vs. half-siblings.

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The next step was to take a look at the X chromosome.  For half-sisters who had the same father, they would share an entire X chromosome based on how the X is inherited.  To my surprise, it looked like someone took a razor blade and sliced out some pieces of the image.


5+cM setting

5+cM setting




For half-sisters they share a lot compared to what I saw when comparing my half-brothers to each and to me.  Also, I decided to include both the default 5+cM setting and the 1+cM.  With my brothers, we hardly get anything when I lower it to 1+cM.  But with my mother and aunt, you can see a difference although chromosomes 4 and 18 are more likely to be IBS, but given the situation (endogamy, small communities, & isolation) it just may be IBD from a very long time ago.

So the X was not helping me one bit since I thought maybe they were areas on the chromosome that could not be read – no calls.

I immediately uploaded to GEDmatch for further analysis.  No surprise that when I looked at the X, it was the same exact thing.   Knowing that it wouldn’t be helpful, I turned to the other 22 pairs of chromosomes.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 6.52.44 PM

What you would be looking for in full-siblings are full-identical regions (FIR) which are the green sections on the bar graph.  Here is an example of my 1st cousins, a brother and sister.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.55.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.56.08 PM

About 25% will be fully identical.  You can read more about how much full versus half-identical regions siblings would share at ISOGG’s Wiki – Fully Identical Region page.

This is what my mother and aunt showed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.18.11 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.18.36 PM

There are only small chunks of  FIR rather than long segments of it that you would see in full-siblings.  So this confirms a half-sibling relationship.

Determining half-relationships with Polynesians

I recently got my cousin’s results to compare to my mother and my brothers.  This cousin’s father was my mother’s half-brother George, so a half-first cousin relationship.

Prior to making contact with my mother’s relatives I was thinking of having these cousins tested as a means to figure out who my mother’s biological father really was.  But a couple of months ago when I did make contact with these long lost relatives it was revealed that my mother’s biological father was Joseph Kaapuiki Akana, the man whom I doubted was my mother’s father based on his name (Akana is of Chinese origin) and the fact that my mother remembers her father being pure Hawaiian and her DNA composition does not support Chinese ancestry.  I thought that maybe testing these half-cousins would determine if their grandfather was my mother’s biological father.  But it is more complicated than I realized.

Like my mother’s father Joseph Kaapuiki Akana, George’s father was also Hawaiian.  George and my mother shared the same Hawaiian mother.

This is what the ISOGG Wiki Autosomal DNA Statistics page says about how much should be shared between a half-aunt and also to half-cousins.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.17.17 PM

Combining with Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM Project, the total shared for a half-aunt would range from 540cM to 1348cM, averaging 892cM.  The average is around the amount indicated by the ISOGG Wiki page.

For a half-first cousin, Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM Project says it would range from 262cM to 1194cM, averaging 458cM.  Again, that average is what is indicated on the ISOGG Wiki page.

This is how compares my half-cousin to us.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.33.09 PMIt is obviously on the high end, for a half-aunt while half-first cousin, not that extreme.  But we are talking of one example only.  There are more half-cousins that I could have test and probably will in the future.  And all of these cousins have had a grandfather that was Hawaiian, so I would expect their amounts to be high.

Comparing to non-endogamous groups, I compare my paternal aunt to her nephews and nieces and a great-nephew and great-niece on GEDmatch.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.45.46 PM

My cousin Terri may share the lowest total among the 1st cousins but it does not seem that significantly different from the average 1700cM.  It is interesting to see that her largest segment is 104.7cM.  When I look at my half-first cousin and how much she shares with her half-aunt (my mother), the total is 1412.8cM, and largest segment is 103.3cM.  That figure can be misleading.  I have more cousins on my father’s side that I have yet to test and there may be other cousins who share less or more with our aunt than the cousins that have already tested.

If I take my aunt out of the equation, this is how the cousins compare to each other.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 7.50.04 PM

A couple of my paternal 1st cousins share much less with each other than my half-cousin does with me and my brothers.

It will be awhile before I can get an ample amount of Polynesians who have close relatives tested to fully make a comparison.  Initially I wanted to see if testing half-cousins would help determine if my mother’s siblings were half or full siblings and when I was not certain that Joseph Kaapuiki Akana was her biological father.

It is clear now that any type of half-relationship is difficult to determine if the other parent is also Polynesian, and in our case Hawaiian.  My grandmother married 3 different Hawaiian men and so far from what I know, they have ties to geographically different places.

The endogamous nature just makes it hard to determine the relationship even if it is a close relationship.  It does not have to be a distant 3rd cousin and beyond to appear as a closer relationship.  Even with cousins (half or full) and half-siblings, they seem to appear on the higher end of the relationship, possibly giving a false prediction if the true relationship was not known.

Confirming what could have been a NPE (non-paternal event) or misattributed parentage

Another useful tool for DNA testing is to answer those questionable paternity that either was brought up by a family member or documentation may not support what is known.  This was one of the main reasons why I got DNA tested in the first place.

Quite a bit of people getting DNA tested are finding what is known as an NPE (non-paternal event) or a misattributed parentage.  That is when the presumed or putative father was not the biological father.  This could have happened either recently, a generation ago, or way beyond that to where current living people may not be aware.

This is when people need to take the extra steps by testing other family members or also getting other specific tests, such as a Y-DNA test. Sometimes it can be a Y-DNA test that makes people realize that there was an NPE.

Back in July of 2015 I figured out who my mother’s biological mother was.  Her name was Rose Kanae, and Rose was married three times.  I found that one of her husbands — Joseph K. Akana  resided at the same address where my mother was born.  So the assumption was that he was probably my mother’s biological father.  The  Akana surname is of Chinese origin, and it is what initially made me believe that he was not the biological father.  My mother was told after having met Joseph Akana once as she was 5 years old, that he was a pure Hawaiian man.

Last October a cousin confirmed that Joseph indeed was my mother’s biological father.  It was explained to me by a couple of relatives that Joseph took the surname – Akana from his Aunt who married a Chinese man surnamed Akana.  Joseph’s original name was Joseph Kaapuiki, and later he went by Joseph Kaapuiki Akana.

This same cousin who confirmed that Joseph was my mother’s biological father did question Joseph’s paternity, suggesting that Joseph’s mother Elena Kauhi was not so faithful.  This is how I was able to confirm that Joseph’s father – John Kaapuiki was his biological father.

Below is my mother’s top 5 matches.Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.18.58 PM

These all say “Possible range: 1st – 2nd cousins.”  Her first match is how I was able to figure out who her biological mother was.  This is how Frank is connected to my mother.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.23.11 PM

Frank and my mother are actually 1st cousins once removed, making Frank & I second cousins.  With females there is less ambiguity whereas with men there can always be that questionable paternity.

The second top match was “lkauhi” and this is how that person actually is related to my mother once I was able to get my grandfather’s genealogy.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.20.32 PM

“lkauhi” is off to the right, and she matches my grandfather Joseph Kaapuiki (Akana) via his mother’s side, through Elena Kauhi.  This would confirm that Joseph is the biological father of my mother since “lkauhi’s” grandfather Johnathan and Joseph’s mother Elena were brother and sister.

One of my cousins gave me the names of our grandfather Joseph Kaapuiki Akana’s ancestors going back as far as his grandparents.  His father John Kaapuiki‘s father was Kukahuna Kaapuiki.

Further research online revealed that the Akana-Kaapuiki family listed my ancestor Kukahuna and traced it a few more generations back.  But I was not confident at first to know that any of the names beyond Kukahuna were my own ancestors.  This is the same family that I was told my grandfather Joseph took his surname from, and that they were related.  Given that they listed Kaili Kaapuiki who married a Chinese man surnamed Akana as the sister to my ancestor Kukahuna Kaapuiki, I knew that was probably the connection but could not confirm it through documentation.

I looked for the genealogy of my mother’s 3rd match “milt17th.”  I contacted him and he confirmed his genealogy, that he was the grandson of Kaili Kaapuiki and Akana.

This confirms that John Kaapuiki was the biological father of my grandfather Joseph Kaapuiki Akana.

The randomness of autosomal DNA

Now that Ancestry is able to show how many centimorgans and number of segments are shown, I was comparing my top two closest matches.  They are listed as “lkauhi” and “Frank”.  They are under the 2nd cousin category predicted in the 2nd – 3rd cousin range.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 1.55.19 PM

Prior to my mother getting DNA tested, I had no idea exactly how close they would really be.   Now that my mother got DNA tested and I figured out who my mother’s biological parents were, I was able to construct a diagram.  “lkauhi” is on my grandfather’s side while Frank is on my grandmother’s side.

How Frank & “lkauhi” are related to me.

My mother Judy is a 2nd cousin to “lkauhi”.  That makes me and “lkauhi” 2nd cousins once removed.  While Frank and I are 2nd cousins, because his mother and my mother are 1st cousins.

Here is how much Frank and I share and how much “lkauhi” and I share.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 1.53.14 PM

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224 centimorgans is what “lkauhi” and I share

And although my mother shares 439cM with Frank while sharing 430cM with “lkauhi” (not shown in any diagram), the amount shared seems pretty high for a 2nd cousin.  However, we are talking about Hawaiians whose ancestors have gone through repeated founder’s effect which resulted in our high shared amounts.  She in return managed to pass unto me more of her father’s DNA so that when compared with “lkauhi” we end up sharing more compared to Frank who is in my generation and on my grandmother’s side of the family.  Unfortunately my grandparents are not alive to get them DNA tested for a true comparison.

Also, both of these people have not transferred over to GEDmatch so I am unable to get a better comparison.  This reminds me of what my cousins said about how much I look a lot like our uncle, and that both my mother and I really look like my grandfather Joseph Kaapuiki.  Maybe it is something genetic?  If my mother shared a lot with “lkauhi”, it could be because we inherited more from Elena Kauhi, my mother’s paternal grandmother.

The good thing about all of this is that it confirms that Joseph Akana fka Joseph Kaapuiki was my mother Judy’s biological father, since Joseph’s mother was Elena Kauhi.  And “lkauhi’s paternal grandfather Johnathan Kauhi was a brother to Elena Kauhi.

Both of these closest matches are from each of my maternal grandparents’ side.  Frank is from my grandmother Rose Kanae’s side while “lkauhi” is from my grandfather Joseph Kaapuiki’s mother Elena Kauhi’s side.

Comparing Western and Eastern Polynesians

In my last blog entry “Tiny Segments from the Same Common Ancestors“, I began comparing Western Polynesians (Samoans & Tongans), and Eastern Polynesians (Maori and Hawaiians), and compared them to each other in order to show how the tiny segments appeared like missing teeth on the chromosome browser.  Now I will show how people compare to each other based on total centimorgans and their longest block (FTDNA).

First I compare Tongans and Samoans to each other.  Both Samoans and Tongans are Western Polynesians and are the most diverse.   Polynesian settlement began in the west in the Tonga/Samoa/Fiji area.  I mentioned this in a previous entry “Loss of heterozygosity – from Western Polynesia to Eastern Polynesia.”

T = Tongan
S = Samoan
– = no match

I colored it to make it easier to see or compare Tongans to Tongans in light green, and Samoans to Samoans in light blue.  The ones not colored are comparing Samoans to Tongans.  The top number is the total shared in centimorgans, while the bottom number is the longest block (largest segment).  The average totals seem to be between the upper 200s to mid-300s. The lower numbers (in the hundreds) is due to the fact that the person is admixed.  In other words, they are not pure Samoan/Tongan, and usually have some European ancestry.


Comparing Tongans to themselves:
lowest –  117cM (part Tongan)
highest – 340cM
average – 258cM

lowest – 5.79cM
highest – 10.51cM
average – 8.54cM

Comparing Samoans to themselves:
lowest – 165cM (part Samoan)
highest – 366cM
average – 271cM

lowest – 5.66cM
highest – 16.54cM
average – 9.20cM

Comparing Tongans to Samoans:
lowest –  143cM
highest – 321cM
average – 248cM

lowest – 5.79cM
highest – 11.07cM
average – 7.81cM

This is what it looks like when I compare those same Tongans and Samoans to Hawaiians and Maoris who are Eastern Polynesians.

H = Hawaiian
M = Maori
T = Tongan
S = Samoan
? = unable to determine if a match
– = no match

In this graph, I again colored it for easy comparison.  Hawaiian vs. Tongans in light brown, Hawaiians vs. Samoans in golden yellow, Maoris vs. Tongans in pink, and Maoris vs. Samoans in light green.


Most of the Eastern Polynesians are admixed except for two Hawaiians and one Maori.  But those that are admixed are still more than 75% Polynesian which still keeps the totals fairly high as you can clearly see it still above one hundred with the exception of one Hawaiian who is admixed to the Tongan that is admixed.  In fact, that admixed Tongan only shares with one Hawaiian and one Maori, both less than 100cM.  Yet their longest block still falls within the range.

Comparing Hawaiians to Tongans:
lowest – 72cM
highest – 341cM
average – 199cM

lowest – 5.34cM
highest – 12.12cM
average – 7.94cM

Comparing Hawaiians to Samoans:
lowest –  135cM
highest – 314cM
average – 213cM

lowest – 5.09cM
highest – 11.50cM
average -7.57cM

Comparing Maoris to Tongans:
lowest –  68cM
highest – 240cM
average – 202cM

lowest – 5.31cM
highest – 10.94cM
average – 7.87cM
Comparing Maoris to Samoans:

lowest –  147cM
highest – 278cM
average – 229cM

lowest – 5.28cM
highest – 10.94cM
average -7.81cM

When looking at the average, it seems to be consistent as far as comparing Eastern Polynesians to any Western Polynesian.  However that changes drastically when comparing Eastern Polynesians to themselves.

H = Hawaiian
M = Maori
? = unable to determine if a match
– = no match

I colored Hawaiians in light blue and Maoris in light green when comparing to themselves.  The non-colored portion is when they one group is compared to the other.


Comparing Hawaiians to Hawaiians:
lowest –  225cM
highest – 780cM
average – 463cM

lowest – 8.45cM
highest – 23.58cM
average -14.90cM

Comparing Maoris to Maoris:
lowest –  581cM
highest – 694cM
average – 641cM

lowest – 12.51cM
highest – 19.98cM
average -16.66cM

Comparing Maoris to Hawaiians:
lowest –  291cM
highest – 773cM
average – 514cM

lowest – 8.98cM
highest – 29.68cM
average -16.20cM

So to recap, showing just the average total shared and the average longest block size:Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 4.45.54 PM

Although I used only 3 Maoris compared to 8 Hawaiians, it was based on the top matches to my mother.  There were a few more Maoris but I did not have access to their data and that would have allowed more “?” in the charts.  But as we can see, the Western Polynesians tend to have lower totals since they are more diverse unlike the Eastern Polynesians.  More admixed Polynesians will result in lower totals, but the longest block is not that much difference from those not admixed.

In the future I will probably attempt to look at admixed Polynesians and compare them to show the average longest block sizes compared to those not admixed.

Tiny segments from the same common ancestors

Disclaimer: This post demonstrates the use of 1+cM when comparing specific groups of people in order to see patterns of multiple descent from a few ancestors.  It should not be used to validate connections with matches, particularly in this example where connections are beyond a genealogical time frame reaching at least up to 500 years.

Recently I have been comparing both western Polynesian (Tongan and Samoan) and eastern Polynesian (Hawaiian and Maori) matches.  I compared western Polynesians among themselves, and  did the same thing with eastern Polynesians comparing them among themselves.  Then I compared the two groups to each other.

To those who are not familiar with Polynesian origins and/or are new to reading my blog, I will recap.  The ancestors of Polynesians originated from the Melanesia area and thrived there for thousands of years. Thousands of years later a group of “Austronesians” originating from Southeast Asia moved into the area, intermingled briefly and continued to move into western Polynesia where Polynesian culture was born.  At least a couple of thousand of years would pass before they would continue to expand further eastward.  As Polynesians moved from west to east, their genome became less diverse due to repeated founder’s effects and bottle necking.


I analyzed my mother’s results and compared her to a Hawaiian (orange), and a Maori (blue) below.  The Hawaiian is her top match, sharing a total of 693.60cM, longest block 15.52cM, consisting of 158 segments.  The Maori is her 4th top match sharing a total of 517.90cM, longest block 18.08cM, consisting of 119 segments.  FTDNA counts all the tiny segments as low as 1cM once the criteria of a match is met, which is why the number of segments is high.


With the default at 5+cM I did not see anything unusual other than ordinary small segment matches.  But when I reduced the setting down to 1+cM (above), you can see a lot of tiny segments resembling a comb.  The slightly bigger gaps are just the missing teeth of a comb.  Some of these patterns begin to appear at 3+cM, although most do not appear until you reduce it down to 1+cM.  In my mother’s example above I show only chromosomes 1 – 20 since there were no segments that looked like a comb on the other chromosomes.

Then I looked at a Maori woman’s results (below) and compared hers to other Maoris and one Hawaiian.  She also shows the missing teeth at 1+cM, but only in a few areas.  Some areas have the comb pattern while other areas seem random.  The random segments could be IBS (Identical by State) or IBD (Identical by Descent).  Polynesians lack genetic diversity, particularly eastern Polynesians more than western Polynesians, so the random looking segments could be both IBS and IBD segments.


Then I looked at two Tongan men and compared them to other Tongans and Samoans.  With Tongans & Samoans there seem to be more randomness.  A few of the tiniest segments may be close to each other, but nothing resembling too much like my mother’s results, a definite comb-pattern.  Take the purple and green colors for example for this one Tongan man below.  Notice how on some chromosomes they seem to be closer together while on others it just looks random.  Again, these are only using the bare minimum 1+cM.


The other Tongan example.


As you can see, it is hard to look for patterns that resembles a comb, and instead you see random colors all over the chromosomes.  What was interesting to see was how little X these Tongans had.  Unlike with the Maoris and Hawaiians, many of them shared multiple segments with each other.

But what does all of this mean?  These are very small island populations.  They have had repeated emigration from these small islands that resulted in a series of founder’s population.  There there was also bottle necking that occurred a few times.  All of these combined would leave only a few closely related ancestors to populate and repopulate new areas every time.

So the multiple, very small segments that represents a comb with missing teeth is the result of people descending from just a few ancestors who contributed that particular segment, but was inherited from multiple lines going back to the same ancestor over and over again.

Below is an image where I compare my mother with two Samoans (yellow & green) and three Tongans (orange, blue & purple).  There seems to be more randomness, however, there are a few of those comb patterns.


Notice how the X chromosome is much more full, unlike what we saw when comparing the western Polynesians (Tongans & Samoans) among themselves. The yellow color belongs to a Samoan woman. The fact that women have 2 X chromosomes may be the reason why there is a long match versus using two Tongan men whose matches included two women in their examples above.  But these are Polynesians, so you would expect more of a match on the X.  My observance of matches for the past 2 years was limited to only my mother being compared to others, which means I have seen a lot of X matches for her, and the same for myself and my brother.

From what I am noticing so far is that these patterns look like what is mentioned in research papers about Polynesian genome and the loss of heterozygosity going from west to east.  The last place in Polynesia to be settled was in the east, ending at the extreme points of the Polynesian triangle, namely Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the south east, Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the south west, and the Hawaiian islands in the north.  This explains why my mother and the Maori woman have less random looking tiny segments compared to the Tongans and Samoans.  And if we compare western and eastern Polynesians to each other, we may see some randomness but not as much as we would see with western Polynesians alone.  Other types of Polynesians getting DNA tested would help to exhibit any other additional patterns that I cannot currently see with the majority of Hawaiians and Maoris getting tested.

Small segments on the X; male vs. female

Kitty Cooper put out a blog post where she entitled it What Can the X Chromosome Tell Us About the Importance of Small Segments? by Kathy Johnson.   Kathy Johnson had gone through the males in her project and began analyzing and compared to females, determining how much of the females were producing false positives vs. the men.  Because not many men would get a lot of X-matches.  This seems to be an ongoing investigation with various people blogging about the validity of phasing, or rather how effective if not necessarily is it to weed out any false positive matches. It seems to be based on FamilyTreeDNA’s X-matches where they include many tiny segments as little as 1cM.  And the more substantial matches with 10cM or more tends to reduce the actual X-matches significantly, which would be due to the lack of phasing.  You can read more about it on Kitty’s blog, although most of the discussion about evaluating all of these matches took place outside of the blog and on Facebook’s “International Society of Genetic Genealogy” page.

That made me curious, because others have expressed how some men had little to no X-matches.  This was not my situation at all , and went through my list of 9 pages on FTDNA and counted 47 X-matches out of the total 89 matches that I have.  I noticed that one of them was actually an X match on my father’s side of matches, a Filipino.  I knew that was wrong.  So when I looked at it, no X match showed up in the chromosome browser until I reduced the threshold down to 1+cM where I saw a 1.9cM, a false match.

Aside from one woman mislabeled as a male in my matches, I actually have 20 men and 26 females as X-matches, not counting that Filipino false match.  That’s half of my matches.  My mother has 93 X-matches out of her 159 matches, so not that much more than me.  Could that indicate that my mother’s X-matches are more, or less of false matches?  It’s an interesting idea to see how men can have less false matches but we are looking at Polynesian matches which just adds something else to it.

I know that I do have a lot of my matches below 5cM on the X chromosome, so I used’s ADSA (autosomal DNA segment analyzer) to at least look at my ICW (in common with) matches on the X, but I had increased the threshold to 700SNPs and 10cM.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 12.30.11 PM

I was thinking that not only would it be easier to use this tool by instantly seeing my X-matches above a specific threshold, but it would also compare me with others with whom we share the same segments, therefore decreasing the chances of false matches.  But taking into consideration that we are referring to Polynesians.  How would that affect it really?

I cannot determine from comparing my own to my mother’s X-matches if they would be false matches or not. Our problem, lack of documentation, lack of genetic diversity and the unpredictability of the X chromosome itself just to mention a few.

I have recently begun testing my first cousins on my non-Hawaiian side in order to take a closer look at the X chromosome and how that is passed on knowing the X path, that is how it is passed on unrecombined from father to daughter versus mother to children.  I also felt that knowing how it is passed on, it would be easier to distinguish which part of the chromosome was inherited from my grandfather versus my grandmother.  And not until I begin testing relatives from each of my grandparents’ side, I will not be able to fully distinguish all of them with the rest of the other 22 pairs of chromosomes.

Having said that, I cannot see how these X-matches, at least among Polynesians would be consist of a lot of false segments or not.  Especially when there are long segments with the more distant people, e.g., Maoris or Samoans and Tongans, of which I do have X matches with.  But the Samoans and Tongans are not included in the ICW due to the fact that I increased the threshold to exclude anything below 10cM.

I also used Gedmatch’s ONE TO MANY to get all my matches, sorted them by the largest segment on the X and just looked at how many were above 10cM.  There were only 20.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 8.21.57 PM

I did the same for my brother, he got 17 above 10cM.  I also looked at other Polynesian men just to compare and the numbers varied, usually not exceeding 20 with 10cM minimum threshold.  It is still all interesting although it is hard to decipher how much of it is true for Polynesians.  Hopefully as more Polynesians get tested, we will start to notice more differences, or confirm that we just all have a high amount of X-matches.

Polynesia Category –

Earlier this year I tested with (or since I’ve been noticing non-Polynesians coming up with this new category.  This is way after the fact the research does not specify a Polynesia component, but rather a Melanesian and Asian or East Asian or Southeast Asian component.  I have seen other Asians, specifically Filipinos coming up with decent amount of this Polynesia category, as well as those of European descent coming up with small traces of Polynesia.

Under their Polynesia category, it mentions the sampling size was 18, and that one of the samples showed 11% Scandinavian.  A larger sampling size would yield better results especially in this case where one of the 18 samples had some European admixture.  This was enough to cause those with Scandinavian ancestry to come up with small traces of Polynesia, and in return cause people to wonder how they could have ever had such ancestry in their lineage to a point where some people create possible scenarios how they could have inherited this less than 0.1% Polynesia.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 9.07.24 AM


Their Polynesia category was one of those categories where they had the least amount of samples.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 9.42.16 AM

After receiving my results, as I suspected due to the fact that I am half Filipino, my percentage of the Polynesia category was pretty inflated.  It showed that I had 57% Polynesia versus 34% Asia East.  Knowing that my mother is 80% Hawaiian, and that my father was pure Filipino, I figured the amount of Asia that I showed 34% was missing 16% that was thrown into the Polynesia category.  That would in turn leave me with 41% Polynesia.  My mother is 20% European, and according to Ancestry I am 8% Europe, which seems to be about right.  The other DNA companies I tested at showed more than 10% Europe.  But adding the 41% plus the 8% comes out about right, 49%.

Recently I had a cousin on my father’s side of the family test, and she got her results.  She too is half Filipino, while her other half is completely Europe.  I expected her to show some Polynesia but I did not even guess how much that would be.  I was surprised to see 16% Polynesia for her, which is the same amount I had deducted from my own.  In fact, she shows 33% Asia while I show 34% Asia, and more specifically we both share 31% Asia East.  So they both are consistent.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 9.03.53 AM

Although my mother was given an AncestryDNA kit, she has yet to take it.  But I can easily guess that she will easily show 20% Europe and 80% Polynesia.  Any other person who is Polynesian but admixed with some other Asian it may include part of their Asian component into Polynesia.  Maybe the fact that we are Filipinos and they have ancestral ties is why some of it is classified as such.  I did have another paternal cousin tested, she is half Filipino and half Japanese so not sure what type of results that will yield with the Polynesia category.  Will it be the same and show her as 16% Polynesia?  Or will it give her more due to her Japanese ancestry, or is that different enough to not be classified under the Polynesia category?

To find out more about AncestryDNA’s ethnicity/ancestry categories, you can read through their Ethnicity Estimate White Paper.

Polynesian mtDNA in Botocudo of Brazil

Back in mid-September Roberta Estes had a blog entry Native American Mitochondrial Haplogroups.  It’s basically a list of mitochondrial haplogroups that exists among Native Americans.  But what caught my eye was the Polynesian motif – B4a1a1.  She wrote, “B4a1a1 – found in skeletal remains of the now extinct Botocudos (Aimores) Indians of Brazil, thought to perhaps have arrived from Polynesia via the slave trade.  This haplogroup is found in 20% of the mtDNA of Madagascar. Goncalves 2013” and “B4a1a1a – found in skeletal remains of the now extinct Botocudos (Aimores) Indians of Brazil, thought to perhaps have arrived from Polynesia via the slave trade.  This haplogroup is found in 20% of the mtDNA of Madagascar. Goncalves 2013.”   And although there is the actual research out there, it started with an article back in April 2013 titled, “DNA study links indigenous Brazilians to Polynesians.”  Although the article’s title itself only mentions a link, it can be confusing to the reader and can be misleading once you begin reading through it.

The article quoted Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand where she said, “But to call that haplogroup Polynesian is a bit of a misnomer,”  since the haplogroup is known to be in populations as far west as in Madagascar.  The actual research can be found here, Identification of Polynesian mtDNA haplogroups in remains of Botocudo Amerindians from Brazil. It basically says that “Here we report the identification of mitochondrial sequences belonging to haplogroups characteristic of Polynesians in DNA extracted from ancient skulls of the now extinct Botocudo Indians from Brazil.”   She does not seem to have been referring to the actual Polynesian motif but the fact that the research cited the mutations that is defined as the Polynesian motif.

The paper questions how did the presence of a Polynesian mtDNA show up in the gene pool of an extinct Brazilian Amerindian group who lived in the interior of Brazil?  There are specific mutations occurring on the mitochondrial which identifies it as the Polynesian motif,  and considering the evolutionary history of the Polynesian motif which is associated with the Austronesian expansion and the settling of Polynesia being much more recent than the peopling of the Americas.  Why hypothesizing how the introduction of the Polynesian motif could have entered into South America, the article says in part, “….considering an ancient Paleoamerican origin of the Botocudo haplotypes, we should expect new ‘private’ mutations to have appeared.  On the other hand, because we did not sequence the whole mtDNA, we cannot rule out the existence of such variations in the coding region.”

What is interesting to note is that is it not certain that these two skulls that they have analyzed were actual Polynesians or not. That is due to the fact that there was never a full sequencing test done on those two skulls that came up with the mutations that indicate the Polynesian motif.  Instead, only HVR1, HVR2 and typed specific mutations on the coding region were sequenced.  The findings mention specifically:  6719C, 15746G, 14022G and 12239T. These specific mutations on the coding region not only exists in my own mtDNA results (B4a1a1a3, now known as B4a1a1c) but so does a friend of mine who is identified as having the Malagasy motif. The paper already mentioned how these two skulls could have come back with such a haplogroup is possibly through the slave trade, originally from Madagascar.  And there were trips originating from Madagascar that eventually took these slaves into Brazil.

So the real question is were these two skulls the result of that recent slave trade originating from Madagascar, or did somehow a very few handful of Polynesians made their way all the way to Brazil?  The Botocudos lived in the interior portion of the state of Minas Gerais, so very far from the Pacific Ocean.

Lisa Matisoo-Smith  said it best, that to call that haplogroup Polynesian is a bit of a misnomer, particularly because we know it also exists in the Philippines and the subgroup – B4a1a1b (Malagasy motif) is in Madagascar.  Until a full sequencing test is done, there still may be some debate as to whether or not Polynesians have gone that far into the interior of South America, or that these skulls were the descendants of Malagasy brought over during the slave trade.