MyHeritage Amazing Time-Machine is now launched

MyHeritage has launched a new photograph feature on their website. To borrow a sentence straight from their announcement email, “With the AI Time Machine™, you can see yourself as an Egyptian pharaoh, a medieval knight or a Viking, a 19th-century lord or lady, and much more, in just a few clicks! “

MyHeritage suggests uploading some close-ups, some upper body shots, some profile shots and some full-body poses. So, what are the photo results like? I did two rounds — one using photos taken within the last year where I was fairly careless with my choices (resulting in themed images with a noticeable frown), and then a second round in which I took care to use more flattering photos of my (younger) self.

One of my faves is this image. Apparently, I was born to wear a crown 🙂

Or maybe I should have been a cowgirl?

Both of these AI images I find fairly flattering but they’re clearly airbrushed, my eyes appear gray rather than blue, and my mouth is not true-to-life. But it’s all in fun, right?

Punk Rocker Me and 16th Century Royalty Me look sufficiently like the real me, but Greek Goddess Me doesn’t look like me at all! Still, a cool picture. Perhaps I’ll use that as my Facebook profile pic.

Some other themes are below. There are some glitches with the AI — the head is cut off in many of the “1950’s Illustrated” theme. The mouth and teeth in “1970s Hair” don’t match reality. “18th Century France” and “Ottoman Empire” themes, at least for the photos I used, were two of the least realistic, IMO.

I’m including the “Race Car” theme below. You can go modern with that theme (as well as “Astronaut” and “Futuristic Cyborg”).

Later on, I did a second round of photos, this time choosing photos that were about 15 years old and uploading almost 30 photos total. (Suggested is 10 – 25.) Although the themes are the same, the AI results you get will be completely different.

These themes are Saxon, Cowgirl, Viking (I look startlingly like my mother in that photo — not that she goes around with horns on her head — but I do get my Danish heritage from her side), 1970s flower child, 18th century bride and punk rocker.

The funniest picture I got was this one — the 3-armed (!) Saxon warrior with the slit skirt up to her navel. In general, it seems the AI struggles with realistic hands and fingers — in one photo I have 7 fingers, and in several other photos I have 3 arms. (Of course that might be due to my own photo selection.)

Both of the image sets below belong to the Saxon theme. There is a painterly quality to the images, and a few where my head is cut-off.

Below are the themes 1950s Chic. They look like me, but also look painted. Then, Roman — which looked unrealistic. The AI struggles with a human-looking face for the full-body photos, probably because the full body photos I uploaded have relatively small facial features to go by.

The other themes are 1920s Black & White, and finally Baroque which looks least like me of all the themes. (In this set of images, anyway. The second go-round was better.) I suspect that the miss on the similarity is due to the Baroque theme using waist-up “portraits” and again, there’s not enough clarity on the facial features.

Finally, a last few more — from Celtic, Shaman and Punk Rocker themes.

This was fun, like dressing up in costume — and in some cases looking like my ancestors might have looked. MyHeritage has a FAQ, sample photos, and a how-to video on their site if you want to try it!

AncestryDNA is now assigning a parental side to your matches

I’ll go one better than the parental split about your ethnicity… now it’s your matches. Well, for most people. (Sigh, not yet me, as you can see below!)

That said, I really can’t complain because all the accounts of DNA testers I manage already have the new parental split. (Perhaps it’s because I’ve got a really old account?) I digress… Mom has her split, and Dad has his. I’m super excited about Mom’s split, because she actually has several hundred paternal matches!! Her dad was born in the United States, but both his parents (and his eldest brother) were born in the Marche region of Italy.

Turns out Mom has hundreds of matches who have ancestors from Fano, Italy (where my Mom’s paternal grandfather was born). None match our known surnames — but we know so few anyway.

And with respect to Mom’s maternal matches, I’m psyched that so many were in line with what I had researched already. One thing I noticed, though, about her “unassigned” matches were that a fair number of them are clustered to her Hill/Geho line (from southwest Penn to Guernsey County, Ohio): her great-great grandmother’s parent’s line. I’m not entirely sure why Ancestry marked these matches as Unassigned, but pretty much the entire cluster of those matches is Unassigned so at least it’s consistent.

If you have done DNA testing at Ancestry, do you have the new feature on your account yet? And, if so, has it helped you?

(BTW — side note — I spoke with an Ancestry representative about a week or so ago; they said the rollout will be continuing for the next few months.)

AncestryDNA has a ethnicity-by-parent breakout now

I saw from following DNASleuth’s blog that Ancestry has a new ethnicity feature, wherein your received ethnicity is assigned to either Parent 1 or Parent 2. So, naturally, I had to check it out. Ethnicity estimates were also revised!

My dad formerly (as of last week) was listed at 100% Irish. He is no longer. Now he’s 90% Irish, with the remaining 10% being Scottish and Welsh. And, honestly, in the past, AncestryDNA has shown him with Scottish, Welsh, and even English ethnicities. It all depends on the calculation at the time, I guess.

All that said, I believe this estimate is quite in line with the paper genealogy, and the birthplaces of my great-grandparents. I have 4 Irish/Celtic great-grands, 2 Italian great-grands, 1 great-grandparent whose parents were born in and immigrated from southern Denmark, and one great-grandparent whose line in the U.S. extends back to early 1700s and is largely of German and English descent.

If you have taken a DNA test at Ancestry, do go check out the new info!

1950 U.S. Census — Volunteer Project at

Today I spent about 2 hours validating that the computer-generated indexes already created — and not all 50 states are yet done — were accurate. I worked on Indiana, Oregon, and Arizona. Technology has come such a long way in the past 10 years; I am amazed at how accurate the indexed data appears already.

You can validate names in a given state, or, if the name validation is complete, you can validate family groups. And the cool thing is you can select names, so for the family groups I was validating (in Oregon and Arizona) I specifically searched for COPPLE households. (And recognized some of the names I already have in my COPPLE tree on

There is plenty to do for anyone interested, and you can do just a little bit or do a lot — any amount helps get the indexing done faster.

Copples in the News: Triplets born in Gilbert, Arizona

Back in the spring of 1935, three daughters were born to Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Ross Copple, who were Oklahoma natives living in Arizona at the time.

I believe this Jesse Ross was married to Mary Elvira Goins, and was kin to me through both my Copple and Wright lines. His 3rd great-grandparents were Jacob Peter Copple and Mary Elizabeth Garren (or Fouts). Their son Jacob Peter Copple married Elizabeth Wright, who was also kin to me, being the granddaughter of Richard and Ann [- ? -] Wright, my 7th great-grandparents.

The likely family tree of these triplets, my distant cousins, is below:


“Girl Triplets Born in Gilbert,” Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona), 3 May 1935, p. 38, col 3; ( : accessed 25 Sept 2020).


Copples in the News: a new Copple Surname Group on Facebook!

I have recently created a Copple surname group on Facebook for persons interested in DNA, genealogy and researching their Copple kin. This private group is all about connecting with folks who have a Copple line in their family tree, and trying to tie DNA test results to that Copple branch. Variant spellings include Copple / Cople/ Cobble/ Cauble/ Capple / Gobble.

If your DNA/genealogy interests or your family tree branch includes Copple, please consider joining! You can check it out here.


4th Cousins on a quick study


Last week in the “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” group on Facebook, Blaine Bettinger posted a study of his own 4th-cousins-and-closer matches on which can be viewed here.   I decided to do the same.  These are my results:

Cathy’s 4th cousin (and closer) matches on

Matches which are included here are matches who, in general, share at least 20 cM of DNA with me (although I have some matches at the 20 cM level who are labeled as “distant” cousins).

The “Amt DNA” information does NOT come from Ancestry; it comes from having done a process called “chromosome mapping” or “visual phasing” and it required the DNA results from both my parents, as well as from my sibs, compared against that of my 1st and 2nd cousins who have tested. On my dad’s side, the amount shared skews towards my grandmother, in part because one of my X chromosomes comes from her and her alone.

The number of matches sharing >= 50 cM with me also skews towards my paternal grandmother because 2 of my dad’s 3 maternal 1st cousins have tested at Ancestry, as well as some of their children and grandchildren. All are no more distant than 2C1R to me. (Note: in that figure I do not include my dad, my sibling, or my paternal 1st cousins — since they share both paternal grandparents with me.)

However, in total numbers of matches, my two grandparents with “colonial” ancestry (and by that I mean roots in the U.S. at least as early as 1790 — but not necessarily as far back as, say, 1650), are the ones with the most matches. That seems to correlate with what I’ve heard from others who have tested at Ancestry. My paternal grandfather has one line — his maternal grandfather — that is “colonial”. My maternal grandmother has 2 lines — both of her maternal grandparents are “colonial”.

I compared the paternal and maternal labeling, but it doesn’t tell me much, in my opinion. Ancestry only labels the DNA match as paternal or maternal if the match is >= 20 cM for both parent and child. Where there are differences in the totals, it is due to the match being >= 20 cM for me, but not for my parent. That’s an artifact of the computer algorithms.

Finally, tree availability in and of itself may not be the be-all end-all for matches. 85% of the matches I identify as paternal unknowns — I cannot discern which grandparent they are kin to — have public trees. The trees have done nothing to help me figure out how that match is related to me! Any suggestions?

Copples in the News — Sam and Libby get married

This is the wedding notice of my great-great grandparents, Samuel Adams Englehart and Libby Copple (here listed as Libby Jewell). I posted about Sam here. He was 26 in December 1878 when he married Libby Jewell at the home of her adoptive mother, Mrs. Polly Esther (Keeler) (Jewell) (Fike) Rose.

Libby was 17 years old on her wedding day. She was born in Mendocino County, California in 1861 to Ben Franklin Copple and his wife Phoebe (Harvey) Copple, who died in childbirth or very soon after Libby was born. But that’s a story for another post.

“Married: Englehart-Jewell,” Healdsburg Enterprise (Healdsburg, California), 26 Dec 1878, pg 2, col 1; digital images, California Digital Newspaper Collection, ( : accessed 3 Sep 2020).

Copples in the News – Pink Carnations for the bride

Lucile McDonald, a native of Collin County, Texas, married Earl Harold Copple in Kerr County, Texas (in what is known as the Texas Hill Country) on 17 February, 1941. She was 24 years old.

Her husband Earl was 32 years old and also a Texas native, being from Kimble County (adjacent to Kerr.) Earl was one of 10 children and the youngest son born to Virgil O. and Rosa (McDonald) Copple. Earl may be related to me twice over, as his paternal grandparents were cousins in some degree.

The bride was married in blue, with a corsage of pink carnations.

“McDonald-Copple Marriage Solemnized,” Kerrville Mountain Sun (Kerrville, Texas), 20 Feb 1941, pg 2, col 3; ( : accessed 21 June 2020).

DNA Match Changes at

As is the case with everyone who has had a DNA test at Ancestry, my small matches are gone.  (However, I did go through the match list of my parents and my sibling and 1st cousins, “saving” small matches that were of interest (like “Thru Lines” matches) by marking them with a group identifier or making notes.

For me, the issue was removing old notes for small matches where I had indicated “doesn’t match mom or dad” so those false matches would not be saved!

The blessing of having both your parents alive and willing to test means you can check any of your own matches to validate whether they match one of your parents (if your parents give you collaborator access).  I had already determined — via 3rd party tools — that over 25% of my matches were invalid.  Meaning they didn’t match one of my parents.

So, all in all, I’m not at all upset at losing matches.  Especially if it speeds up server response time.

How many matches did my family members and I lose?  Over 50% in each case!

Ancestry Match Counts 912020

The reduction in matches (everyone with < 8 cM of DNA shared) isn’t the only change. Ancestry also updated the number of shared segments with your matches. Mom and Dad still show more than the 22 autosomal segments they share in actuality, but it’s a lot closer. You can see that all he segment numbers go down for my matches with my closest kin.

My segments with my father were always fewer than with my mother. One reason is that there are fewer recombinations passed down from males, as I understand it. Another reason may be that my dad and I tested back in 2012, and therefore tested under a different version than my mother, who tested years later.

Here’s a list of my mom’s top matches, noting old number of segments compared to new number of segments. Segment number only changed when appropriate, so some of these 50 cM matches show no change.


The last change at Ancestry DNA was the addition of longest segment information.  From what I’m hearing, this feature will be most useful to those who have significant endogamy in their ancestry (Acadian French, Ashkenazi Jewish, etc.)  However, it can be useful if your match has tested elsewhere, and you have the chromosome segment information.   

For the match below who has tested elsewhere, I already know that my mother’s (and mine, for that matter) primary segment match is on chr 9, and is hugely long (60 – 90 cM) per other vendors.  So, seeing the below information validates that Ancestry shows the match on chromosome 9 as well, despite the fact they don’t tell you where you match.  

The longest segment is calculated before Ancestry’s algorithms massage the data by removing “pile-up” regions (shared by many people) which are not considered genealogically relevant.