Last Sunday I gave feedback to Ancestry on my ThruLines. As I was writing the feedback message I realized it might be good material for a blog post. At the end of the feedback message, I let them know I might use it in a post.
Wowsers! Those ugly grrr!! images I’d added to my great-grandfather’s step-mother and all of her ancestors are missing.
Could it be Ancestry took my feedback into consideration and got the step-relationships fixed? Had they been ready to roll out a fix before or after I sent my feedback? Does it matter? Well, yes, I would like to know why it happened so quickly following the feedback I gave. I want to know if this step relationship bug in the ThruLines was solved for everyone or just for me.
I’m seeing Milla Susan PETERS as my great-great-grandmother. I’ve been hoping to see her ever since they gave me Nancy Elizabeth JOHNSON, the 2nd wife of Gordon Washington ROOP, as a potential 2nd-great-grandmother showing half-cousins as full cousins.
Why, you ask, was I so excited about one ancestor being corrected? One right ancestor means I should be seeing her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents in my ThruLines. All of these ancestors are from lines with many descendants who have had their DNA tested.
Although Milla Susan’s ThruLines shows only two DNA matches, the next generations have many more matches:
107 DNA matches through Jordan N. PETERS (father of Milla Susan)
33 DNA matches through Rachel PROFFITT (mother of Milla Susan)
68 DNA matches through Zachariah PETERS (father of Jordan)
129 DNA matches through Kesiah LIVELY (mother of Jordan)
113 DNA matches through David PROFFITT (father of Rachel)
110 DNA matches through Sarah COCKRAM (mother of Rachel)
123 DNA matches through Joseph LIVELY (father of Kesiah)
128 DNA matches through Mary L. CASH (mother of Kesiah)
97 DNA matches through Augustine “Austin” PROFFITT (father of David)
97 DNA matches through Elizabeth “Betsy” ROBERTSON (mother of David)
231 DNA matches through Edward COCKRAM (father of Sarah)
232 DNA matches through Mary WORTHAM (mother of Sarah)
It’ll take time to confirm each match is a descendant of the ancestor he/she is listed under as the lines down are only as reliable as the trees ThruLines uses to make the connection. The large number of matches for the PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines was expected due to the families being large and having many descendants.
But wait! Not only was the step-relationship corrected for Milla Susan PETERS, but I am now seeing <<drumroll>>
William is my most frustrating brick wall. Sarah Ann’s branch and all matches associated with it are very important. I hope they will help me to sort out all the matches for her side. This would leave only matches which will point to William’s unknown parents and ancestry. At least that is the way I believe it should work. ThruLines is showing potential parents for him which I cannot accept at this time.
Sarah Ann WOOD’s ancestry is bringing in many matches which will also have to be verified.
41 DNA matches through William A. W. DEMPSEY.
45 DNA matches through Sarah Ann WOOD (wife of William A. W.)
87 DNA matches through Elijah WOOD (father of Sarah Ann)
93 DNA matches through Rachel HONAKER (mother of Sarah Ann)
92 DNA matches through William WOOD (father of Elijah)
90 DNA matches through Mary Ann McGRAW (mother of Elijah)
162 DNA matches through Frederick HONAKER (father of Rachel)
154 DNA matches through Rachel WISEMAN (mother of Rachel)
70 DNA matches through Bailey WOOD (father of William)
95 DNA matches through Nancy _____ (mother of William)
147 DNA matches through Martin McGRAW (father of Mary Ann)
109 DNA matches through Margaret “Polly” _____ (mother of Mary Ann)
173 DNA matches through Hans Jacob HONEGGER (father of Frederick)
30 DNA matches through Maria GOETZ (mother of Frederick)
202 DNA matches through Isaac WISEMAN (father of Rachel)
204 DNA matches through Elizabeth DAVIS (mother of Rachel)
Another New Feature
ThruLines are now connected to the tree linked to a DNA test. On the pedigree view of the tree, there is now a DNA symbol in on the left to turn on this feature which adds a little blue ThruLines icon next to the ancestors’ names. William, Sarah, and Milla are ThruLines ancestors but in the pedigree view above they haven’t been updated. I discovered this about the same time my ThruLines were fixed on Wednesday.
Did the feedback I sent on Sunday to Ancestry on the ThruLines help them to get this fixed? I will likely never know. But I believe this was a lesson in giving the best feedback possible to help the team to get ThruLines working correctly. As I wrote in my feedback to them, ThruLines could be a powerful tool.
This is the first of two posts on Ancestry‘s ThruLines regarding an issue I have had with the new feature.
Access to ThruLines™ Beta is available to customers without an Ancestry subscription for a limited time.
Unfortunately, hundreds of user trees on Ancestry cannot be taken into account when building ThruLines. The Legal Genealogist went ballistic last Saturday and wrote How do we know? It’s an excellent post with an example of a user tree which cannot be taken seriously. Judy G. Russell recognized the errors in the tree but can a computer program do the same? I think not.
This is not meant to provoke negative comments concerning Ancestry and the features offered by them. This is about giving feedback concerning a known problem in hopes of getting positive results.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
I have given feedback several times before [concerning the reason I am not satisfied with ThruLines] and will try to be more detailed as there is a bug in the system which has not been fixed.
I realize, at this time, ThruLines is a free tool on AncestryDNA. However, your long-time customers’ experience in family history research should be taken into account. We can work together to get this fixed.
The problem is a known bug in the system as other users have complained about it on social media. Some users who gave feedback say their ThruLines were “fixed” within days. I do not believe Ancestry has taken the step to go into one user’s ThruLines to fix this bug. I strongly believe it was a coincidence the users’ ThruLines were corrected after feedback. It is more likely another user’s tree, which was being used to build the connection between the ancestor and the match, had been corrected and this resolved the issue.
This is the issue I have with ThruLines’ “step bug”
I am seeing a step-parent as the parent in the ThruLines. The information is correct in my tree. No other tree is being used to create this ThruLines ancestor. Along with this step-parent, I am seeing all of her ancestors, unrelated to my line, as my ancestors in ThruLines. Not as POTENTIAL ancestors with a dotted borders – they are being shown as ANCESTORS.
The ancestor who is showing up incorrectly in ThruLines is:
The pedigree of the incorrect person in my tree:
I’ve added images to her ancestors showing they are NOT the ancestors of the home person and/or test person. [This is so that I can quickly recognize them on ThruLines.]
This is her husband, my 2nd great-grandfather, in my tree. His information is correct and includes his two wives and their respective children:
This is the pedigree of his first wife, my 2nd great-grandmother, who along with all of her ancestors are NOT showing up in my Thrulines. There are many DNA matches for people who descend from her PETERS, LIVELY, PROFFITT, and COCKRAM lines, on the match list, but they are being ignored by ThruLines.
I want to stress that ONLY entries in my tree are being used for this (incorrect) ThruLines ancestor. No other user tree is being used to make this connection between the half-cousin matches whose relationship is incorrectly calculated to full cousins.
I understand the idea of ThruLines and believe it could be a powerful tool. One problem will always be the hundreds of trees which are incorrect due to sloppy research, i.e. accepting hints without looking at dates, places, names, etc.
However, in this case, the tree being used is correct and ThruLines is overriding my information and picking the wrong person in the tree. I have no experience in programming. I can only tell you where I am seeing the bug. I’m fully aware of the fact that detecting the source of the bug may be more difficult.
Thank you for your time. In hopes of a quick resolution to this problem,
I wrote the above last Sunday but didn’t want to post it on my blog without giving Ancestry had a bit more time to fix the issue. This was the first time I included links to the specific areas where the “bug” was detected. Will this kind of feedback help resolve the issue I have with Ancestry‘s ThruLines?
Last week was an exciting week for many genealogists who attended the RootsTech conference or, like me, who followed the live stream from home. My interest was focused on DNA related news. Ancestry added MyTreeTags™, New & Improved DNA Matches, and ThruLines™to their site. The most talked about is ThruLines™ which is available to customers without an Ancestry subscription for a limited time.
I found a few things about ThruLines™ which were helpful but there was something which upset me so much that I stopped checking. I took a few days to calm down before I gave feedback to Ancestry on their new ThruLines™ tool. First the good and the bad, then my feedback.
TrueLines or TrueLies?
There are several reasons for my snarky title. I may know and you may know that ThruLines™ is not the same as true lines or true lies. But do all users, especially those who are very new to family history research, realize this new feature is like the Ancestry Hints and Shared Ancestors Hints? It isn’t a fast and easy fix. We still need to do research.
ThruLines™ has helped me to find two cousins descended from my great-grandmother Laura Belle INGRAM’s half-sister Ocie Ola INGRAM. Ocie has been ignored by many in their trees. The marriage of her mother to my great-great-grandfather Irvin Lewis INGRAM took place in 1888 and no 1900 census listing has been found to show the family group. As far as we know, they had only this one daughter. The marriage ended in divorce in 1904. I have tried to follow Ocie’s children and grandchildren but I would probably not have found these DNA cousins without looking through thousands of matches. ThruLines™ pulled them right up and with the correct connection even though the matches did not have public trees back to the INGRAM common ancestor.
I’m now seeing 63 of my 64 maternal 5th great-grandparents in the ThruLines™. The missing ancestor, Gerard MALAMBRE, was found in other trees with a different surname spelling. It wasn’t a surprise to find all maternal ancestors except this one listed. Not many people who have worked on these lines have their trees on Ancestry. I have very few maternal matches, mostly 5c and 6C, from clusters of descendants of a few immigrant families in America.
Ancestry’s New & Improved DNA Matches and ThruLines™ are ignoring my 2nd great-grandparents William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as the parents of my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY. In the case of this family line, ThruLines™ resembles quick & dirty tree work which shouldn’t be public or searchable unless it has been proven.
Don’t get me wrong. They haven’t changed my tree. People who are new to genealogy research and those who do not know how to use this tool will take this seriously. They will accept these errors without bothering to verify.
The white boxes are actual entries in my tree while the dashed boxes are from information they have knitted in from other trees. The third cousin match has a private tree which likely includes William A. W. DEMPSEY as he is showing up on the match’s side. Why, if we both have this name in our trees, does the common ancestor show up as a Private person three generations further back? Why not William A. W. DEMPSEY?
ThruLines™ shows Emmanuel DEMPSEY of Logan County, West Virginia, as the father of my great-grandfather William Henderson DEMPSEY and this is reflected in the Common Ancestor match above.
I was hoping this new feature would help with my great-grandfather’s father William A. W. DEMPSEY’s brick wall. I was able to get the error above fixed. A person with a large tree likely accepted a Potential Father and Potential Mother and attached the wrong parents to my great-grandfather. The owner is not a direct descendant. The tree is so large I could not figure out how or if he is related.
I placed a comment on the tree with the wrong father for William Henderson DEMPSEY. The tree owner was quick to thank me for the help. He unlinked him and added the correct parents. There are still a few issues which I have further commented on. The owner appears to be willing to work on fixing his tree.
In ThruLines™ Emanuel DEMPSEY, his parents James DEMPSEY and Dorcas HAGER, his grandparents John DEMPSEY and Rachel SOLOMON, as well as the HAGER and VANNATER grandparents, have disappeared as potential ancestors. On a positive note, I was surprised to see this happen overnight.
I’m very disappointed I’m not seeing my 2nd great-grandparents William A. W. DEMPSEY and Sarah Ann WOOD as ancestors. There are hundreds of matches who descend from Sarah’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents (WOOD, McGRAW, HONAKER, HONEGGER, WISEMAN, and DAVIS) and they are not being found with the ThruLines™ tool. Matches I need to sift out of the rest to be able to find fourth cousins who descend from William’s unknown parents or more distant cousins who descend from his parents’ ancestors.
This is not the only 2nd great-grandparent who is missing. My Gordon Washington ROOP was married twice and there are DNA matches coming from both wives. However, ThruLines™ is only recognizing his second wife, the step-mother of my great-grandfather Walter Farmer ROOP. This means I have the wrong potential 3rd, 4th, and 5th great-grandparents. Once again this is a branch of the family which has hundreds of matches, descendants of PETERS, LIVELY, CASH, PROFFITT, ROBERTSON, and COCKRAM. The branch and all other matches are missing. Yes, they are still there but difficult to ferret out.
What I Am Doing to Make this a Good Experience
This could be a good feature when used correctly. When we find cousins who are DNA matches and fit into our tree we cannot accept the connection without following the records to prove the relationship. I’m worried about the people who accept shaky leaves, potential parents, and now a line back to a potential common ancestor using 2, 3, or 4 trees. I don’t want to throw away the good with the bad. I’ll take a close look at each ancestor and the matches they are supposedly coming from.
I’ve had a public tree with only ancestors linked to the DNA test I manage. I don’t have any other public tree on Ancestry. In the past days, I’ve added known and proven matches to fix some ancestors on the ThruLines.
It’s strange that the lines with the most descendants are not showing up correctly. I’m hoping this might turn out to be more positive – with people cleaning up their trees so that the correct connections get noticed.
My Feedback to Ancestry
I’m finding ThruLines useful in that it pulls up distant matches which would not have been found due to the thousands of matches which are impossible to sift through.
I would not say that it adds value to my Ancestry experience. It only reminds me of the many errors in trees. Mine is not perfect and the reason I attached a public tree to DNA with only ancestors. In hopes this will help improve ThruLines, I have started to add the siblings of ancestors with DNA connections and the descendants who are DNA matches.
Since the public tree I’m using is based on well-researched work on my part, I hope it is being managed appropriately by Ancestry and not being used to suggest false potential ancestors as I am seeing up to 4 different trees are being used to show a line down from a potential to a match.
I DO NOT want a quick and easy way to add an ancestor or a match to my tree or anyone else’s tree. I believe people should take time to analyze and then add to the tree. Any trees with quick & dirty work should be made private and unsearchable.
I strongly disagree that having a common ancestor with a match is proof that the DNA is coming from this ancestor. The only way this can be proven is by using a chromosome browser for comparing with other matches with the common ancestor.
Although I am not overall happy with ThruLines at this early time, I strongly agree that we should check back often as more people take the test.
New & Improved DNA Matches gives us the ability to sort matches using colored groups. MyTreeTagsTM should help eliminate the need for strange ancestor names and keep our research and connections to new matches more organized. The lists of matches who descend from common ancestors seen in ThruLines™ will help both our research and proving of ancestors.
Will all the hoopla about these recent additions to the Ancestry experience distract us from the lack of a chromosome browser? Perhaps for a while but I’m still referring matches to my Dear Cousin post.
This year I planned on spending more time working with my brother’s AncestryDNA results and sharing discoveries here but…
The census analysis I’m doing for James SIMS and his sixteen (16) children for the Rewriting the Biography series is taking a lot more time than I had expected. I normally give myself a break the day after a post is published to look over new matches on AncestryDNA. OK, I admit I find myself checking more often than the day following a post.
MedBetterDNA has an option you can check to “always show Notes” of your matches on AncestryDNA (see link at the end of this post for more information about this extension). All notes made for matches will show on the page you are viewing without your having to click each to open them. You see all your notes! And this simple trick is helping me to feel like a DNA rock star!
Take this match, for example. When she first turned up there was no tree linked to the DNA. She had a public tree which was viewable but it did not have a paternal side. Public trees which you can see do not necessarily have to have the match as the home person or even be the match’s tree.
Shared Matches on AncestryDNA
When I looked at the Shared Matches (SM) with all the notes open, I saw a pattern which indicated the match was coming from a particular line. Right off I could tell she is a paternal match for my brother. I use an emoji of a bride for maternal matches, a groom for paternal matches, and a leaf for Shared Ancestor Hints (SAH). The groom was showing up in many of the notes for the Shared Matches.
The first cousin is a paternal match, i.e. points to DEMPSEY or ROOP. There are no shared matches with second cousins. The two 3C matches are cousins who share Alexander CLONCH, who was the grandfather of my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP.
The first two matches in the 4th cousin category have Alexander CLONCH as the MRCA or most recent common ancestor. The next two have William CLONCH and Mary “Polly” DOSS, Alexander’s parents.
The next four 4C matches have as MRCA, the CLONCH-DOSS couple or Alexander CLONCH.
The next four of five 4C matches have the CLONCH-DOSS couple as the MRCA. One match has no tree and their name is not familiar to me. However, this test has a match with a cousin who also shares the CLONCH-DOSS couple as the MRCA.
There are 22 more predicted 4C shared matches (Possible range: 4th – 6th cousins). Nearly half of these do not include trees and an MRCA has not been determined. Seven have the CLONCH-DOSS couple. One match is a double 4C1R through Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY (parents of William) AND through Levina DOSS (mother of Polly DOSS) – which will make for interesting chromosome comparisons. Four matches are at least 5C1R and have Jeremiah CLAUNCH (father of Dennis) as the MRCA.
Taking a Look at The Big Picture
Viewing the shared matches’ notes at the same time makes this part of “guessing” where the match may be sharing DNA much easier. In this case, I was able to assume she must have a connection to Martha Angeline CLONCH, a daughter of Thomas Eli CLONCH and granddaughter of William CLONCH and Polly DOSS. This may not be obvious from the above notes. I have access to one of Martha Angeline’s descendant’s tests (one of the shared matches above) who is a much higher 3C match to this lady. The Shared Matches he has also point to this area of the family tree.
And Then A Tree Was Linked
Now for the ta-dah moment. Early in July while checking out the DNA matches I noticed the match now had a tree attached. She’s on the first page (top 50 matches) with 60 cMs on 4 segments which made it easy to spot when all notes are open. Skimming through the notes I notice when a match who had No Family Tree or a Private Tree in mention in their notes are now showing an attached family tree. When I viewed the public tree she’d linked to her DNA results I saw it included her paternal side which was missing in the public tree I had viewed.
Who did I see as her great-grandfather? Thomas Eli CLONCH, the son of William and Polly and the father of Martha Angeline. Her grandmother Fanny was Martha’s sister. Her great-grandfather Thomas Eli was my 2nd great-grandfather Alexander CLONCH’s brother.
Can you imagine my excitement [insert genealogy happy dance here] at finding our match is exactly where I thought it would be? I shortened the note to read: 60 cMs 4 segs. 3C1R thru William CLONCH and Mary E. “Polly” DOSS. MRCA found 9 July 2018. Need to follow up with a message.
I sent a message on July 22 including the link to my post, Dear Cousin – We Have a DNA Match, Now What? and received a reply less than 48 hours later followed quickly by a second with her Gedmatch kit number. She matches known cousins descended from the CLONCH-DOSS couple on Gedmatch on chromosomes and segments which can now be attributed to the couple.
We’ve shared a few more messages. She’s given me permission to use her match, without identifying information, as an example. To help others understand how they can use Shared Matches on AncestryDNA – to figure out which part of the family tree the match is coming from or to zoom in on the possible most recent common ancestor.
How This Helps in the Long Run
The fourth cousin shared matches to DNA matches who are related through one of the CLONCH ancestors are going to be the keys to open the doors in several brick walls. Both sets of grandparents of my 2nd great-grandmother Tabitha Ann COOLEY, wife of Alexander CLONCH, are unknown. The father of my 3rd great-grandmother Mary “Polly” DOSS, “wife” of William CLONCH, is also unknown. Matches are also showing up for people who descend from siblings of Dennis CLAUNCH whose mother’s name is unknown.
MedBetterDNA can do more than always show notes. Click here to see more filtering options.
I’d love to hear about the methods you use to help work with your AncestryDNA results. Anything which makes this complicated subject easier is always welcome.
P.S. My apologies to my followers who receive notifications per email. The post was inadvertently published on the day I began writing it instead of the moment I hit the publish button.
My AncestryDNA Circles went missing in mid-January. By mid-February, I was no longer being patient waiting for them to return. I sent a message to Ancestry through their Facebook page and received this in reply:
Thanks for reaching out, Cathy. Unfortunately we are experiencing a delay in Shared Ancestor Hints and DNA Circles populating currently. It is taking several weeks for hints and circles to calculate, but we are working on fixing that so it happens much faster. We are very sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime! While we are working on a fix, please let us know if anything changes on your end or you come across any other issues!
Why did my AncestryDNA Circles go missing?
I know it takes a while for Shared Ancestor Hints and DNA Circles to appear when you link a tree to your AncestryDNA test. There are many different reasons why they don’t show up or why they disappear. In my case, I knew they should be there and they simply weren’t. Personally, I thought a delay in Shared Ancestor Hints and DNA Circles populating was caused by users who changed their trees too often. How much data can Ancestry handle?
I’ve had two different trees attached to the test I manage since June 2016. The first was for only direct ancestors. The second was my full tree and I had linked it in November 2017 in hopes of hearing from more matches.
Between Christmas and the New Year while doing location comparisons I noticed an anomaly. People born in Luxembourg were showing up in Utah and a Maryland born person was in Bermuda. My Susanna FEILEN, born in Germany, was showing up in Louisiana. This sent up a red flag as I don’t have any ancestors born in Utah, Lousiana, or Bermuda.
The places were entered correctly in my tree however on the DNA page they were not the place they should be.
This meant matches were seeing incorrect information in my tree. How could matches take me seriously when there was such a mess showing in the tree linked to the DNA test I manage? Half of our ancestors were born in Europe and many of these were showing up as born in the USA. I suspect (in my opinion) Ancestry was using some kind of location identifier which converted places when the tree was linked to the DNA test.
Hoping it was only a glitch on the AncestryDNA site, I waited a few weeks for it to fix itself. That didn’t happen and in mid-January, I decided to go back to the original tree with only direct ancestors. This fixed the location problem.
While my Shared Ancestors Hints remained the same, my DNA Circles, previously between 28-30, disappeared. I knew by linking a new tree I would reset Shared Ancestor Hints and DNA Circles. It would take a few days for things to get back to normal. I waited and waited.
A month after I linked the tree I still did not have DNA Circles. That’s when I reached out to Ancestry the first time and was told about the delay.
Three weeks later the DNA Circles were still missing and I wrote several more messages to Ancestry. Shared Ancestor Hints were still growing and the missing Circles were taking far too long, in my opinion, to populate. I suspected my tree was just stuck in some kind of never-never-land and asked if perhaps by linking it again the problem might be solved.
We’re very sorry for the delay Cathy. We do not advise to unlink and relink your tree since this will remove any shared ancestor hints and it may take time to populate them again (if they are following all the requirements).
At this point, I was not a happy Ancestry client. I knew other people were complaining and I let Ancestry know my dissatisfaction. I was given a free month’s subscription to be taken when I wish. This is appreciated but I would much rather have my Circles back.
Our developers are aware of issues with the DNA circles and are working to get them out of beta. Until such time, there will be irregularities with their behavior. We apologize for this and ask for your patience and understanding.
What I did to get my missing DNA Circles back
Earlier this month I went through each of my Shared Ancestor Hints and added the information to the Notes available for matches. I added SAH and the information about the relationship and the ancestor. I also included an emoji leaf 🍃. At the same time, I also added emojis for paternal 🤵 and maternal 👰 matches.
My patience had run out. I was preparing to do what Ancestry said I should NOT do.
I finished adding notes to all of the 412 matches with Shared Ancestry Hints on Thursday evening. Then I went into Settings and clicked on the X to unlink the tree. I waited 3 seconds and linked the same tree again.
Over the weekend I did not have time to check on AncestryDNA. On Monday morning I found 23 DNA Circles!
My re-linking the same tree triggered the change I was hoping for. My DNA Circles are back after nearly three months and my Shared Ancestor Hints did not disappear. Nine new ones came in over the weekend when they normally just trickle in one at a time.
Please take note that Ancestry does not recommend unlinking and linking your tree again. I took the chance and it worked. Perhaps Ancestry got the problem fixed at the same time I risked losing my Shared Ancestor Hints in favor of the DNA Circles.
Now I am going to go in and tag all of the matches who are in the Circles and make a note of the people who are in the Circles but don’t share DNA with the test I manage. Just in case they disappear again.
You may also wish to read the following DNA related posts:
UPDATE (31/12/2018): Please note this post has been updated to reflect the switch over from GEDmatch to GEDmatch Genesis.
Making the first contact with a DNA match has us running the gamut of emotions from excitement at finding the match to the disappointment of there being no tree. From the joy of hearing back to the exasperation of never receiving a reply. From the frustrations of the trying to explain your need to use a chromosome browser to evaluate the match to the delight of making contact with cousins who are ready to work with you.
I have tried different approaches in writing messages to DNA matches on Ancestry. Keeping them short, giving more or less information, asking right out to upload to GEDmatch, sending my email in the subject line, including links to articles on my blog about shared ancestors, etc. The number of persons who reply is very low. The list of reasons for this is too long to go into.
So I’ve decided to use my blog to write to my cousins. I will continue to write short messages and include a link to this post. The instructions are up to date – I tried them out while writing. If anything changes, I can fix them and won’t have to copy/paste and re-write instructions I have been sending in messages or emails.
We have a DNA match, now what? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and getting back to me. AncestryDNA does not offer a chromosome browser. I find the best solution to be GEDmatch Genesis.
GEDmatch provides DNA and genealogical analysis tools for amateur and professional researchers and genealogists. Most tools are free, but we do provide some premium tools for users who wish to help support us with contributions. You will need to upload DNA and / or genealogical (GEDCOM) data to make use of the tools here. Registration requires your name, email and a password of your choice.
UPDATE from GEDmatch’s homepage: As of 12/18/2018 all new raw DNA kit uploads are only accepted by Genesis. The legacy GEDmatch site will continue to be available for some time, but results are “frozen” with all new kits being accepted, processed and results available only on Genesis.
Did you notice in the quote that MOST TOOLS ARE FREE? Yes, there are some premium tools which require payment but the chromosome browsers we are lacking on AncestryDNA are on GEDmatch Genesis and FREE.
Would you please consider transferring your raw DNA to GEDmatch Genesis? Here are the latest instructions: [If you already have your GEDmatch Genesis kit number, scroll down to Thank you to continue reading.]
Fill out the form per instructions and click on Register.
Download raw DNA file
The next step would be to download your raw DNA from Ancestry. If you haven’t done this before:
On your AncestryDNA page in the upper right-hand corner click on Settings. On the right is a Download RAW DNA Data button.
You will be prompted to enter your Ancestry password and check the box showing you understand Ancestry is not responsible for the file they are sending you. Click Confirm.
As soon as you click Confirm a window will open advising you that they are sending an email to proceed with the download. It may take up to 5 minutes for the email to come in.
The email has a Confirm Data Download button. Be sure to make a note of where you save the file on your computer. The request expires after 7 days or after the first use.
Upload raw DNA file
Login to Genesis. Click on Generic Uploads (23andme, FTDNA, AncestryDNA, most others) on the right side under Upload your DNA files – for Genesis BETA ONLY. Fill out the form and upload the file without unzipping it.
(If you are a Mac user the file may have been unzipped during download. As a Mac user, you are likely aware of this and know the procedure to get it zipped. The zipped file may be in the Trash.)
It doesn’t take long to upload the file but the processing on site may take a day or two. This means you will NOT be able to use all features right away. A one-to-one compare will work before processing is finished. To try this one out, compare your kit to one I manage: (see the kit number in my message to you). Please email your number to me as I won’t see you’ve been added until it’s completely processed. If our match is lower than my top 2000 3000 matches it will not show on my list but I can still do comparisons with your number.
What else can you do?
While you are waiting for your kit complete all processing and have good status (GEDmatch lingo) consider exporting a GEDCOM from your genealogy software and uploading it to GEDmatch. Using genealogy software allows you to export as many or as few individuals in your tree as you need.
If you have a tree on Ancestry you can export your family tree data, as a GEDCOM file, to your computer via Trees > Create & Manage Trees > Manage Tree > right side > Export Tree.
When you click on either of the versions to upload a GEDCOM file to GEDmatch you will find some suggestions pertaining to the file. The most important thing to remember is that the GEDCOM will be public and viewable to all persons who have access to the GEDmatch site. For this reason, it is recommended that you privatize living individuals prior to uploading.
UPDATE (5 January 2019): The option to upload a GEDCOM to Genesis is now available. The above directions are for the classic GEDmatch site. Please go to the homepage of Genesis, scroll down to Upload GEDCOM (Genealogy .ged files) on the right side and follow directions.
You’ve uploaded the raw DNA and your GEDCOM file (optional, but so very valuable to your matches) to GEDmatch Genesis. On the homepage, there are some things which will be useful to you.
User Lookup : This lets you check by kit number, GEDCOM number, or email address to get more information on a person using GEDmatch.
GEDCOM + DNA Matches : This will generate a list of all persons who match you (or whoever’s kit # you search) and who have a GEDCOM file attached to their kit. This is practical as you won’t have to use the User Lookup to check each kit to see if they have a GEDCOM file. Closest DNA matches are at the top of the list.
One-to-many matches : as soon as your kit is processed you will be able to check all matches to your kit. It will generate a list limited to the first 2000 3000 matches with the closest matches at the top. When you do this the table will have some boxes in the first column (kit #) highlighted in different shades of green. The darkest are new matches. As time goes by the color gets lighter and finally turns white. In the column GED/WikiTree you will find links to a match’s GEDCOM file or WikiTree. The Select column allows you to choose 3 or more kits for further comparison. Click on the Submit button at the top in the text area for additional display and processing options. Presently (5 January 2019) not available on the new Genesis version of the site.
People who match one or both of 2 kits : When you check your kit and another kit with this tool it will give a list of all matches shared by both at the top, followed by a list of all kits who match the first and not the second, followed by a list of all kits who match the second and not the first. I check all the boxes (of the people who share), submit, and then use 2-D Chromosome Browser to view the matching segments on the chromosomes. This helps to narrow down the matches both kits have to others on the same chromosome segment. As chromosomes are two-sided further analysis is needed to determine if the matches are paternal or maternal.
This is not a complete list of what you can do on GEDmatch Genesis but the most useful in the beginning. When you are just starting out, DNA is a complicated subject. Take it slowly and one day, after you have read something for the 3rd, 5th, 10th time it will sink in and seem EASY.
Thank you, cousin, for taking the time to read this. If you already have your AncestryDNA on GEDmatch Genesis please send me your kit number. Usernames on Ancestry do not always match up with the name or alias used on GEDmatch Genesis.
If you decide to upload your raw DNA to GEDmatch Genesis, I will do a one-to-one compare between our two kits as soon as I know your kit number. Then I’ll add the chromosome information to Genome Mate Pro (GMP), the program I use to keep track of all matches and to map chromosomes. I can then assign the segment(s) we share to the Most Recent Common Ancestor(s) (MRCA) and Voilà!
I will have our shared segment(s) in living color on my chromosome map and can use them to assist with other matches on the same segment. In turn, if we don’t know who our MRCA is, the other matches on the same segment will aid in the analysis.
There are also other possibilities: FTDNA and MyHeritage will accept uploads of raw DNA from AncestryDNA and they both have chromosome browsers. It would be very much appreciated if you choose to upload your raw DNA to any of these sites. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing this I will understand and we can continue working together, using the tools available on AncestryDNA (Shared Matches, Circles, Map and Locations, Pedigree and Surnames).
Last year my brother had his DNA tested and turned the results over to me. As I write these last articles on my maternal 4th great-grandparents, I will be checking his matches to see if any hold the key to open a door in a brick wall on this side of the family tree. These brick walls being mostly descendants of my maternal ancestors who have not been traced mainly due to emigration.
I have been waiting impatiently to write about this couple, Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER. This is what I know about their lives and where I found information which has not all been documented.
Where the Information Was Found
Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER of Ernzen, Germany, were my 4th great-grandparents. The bits and pieces I have for them come mostly from Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 – such a long title for the family book of the town of Ernzen and environs. I call it simply FB Ernzen.
Church records are available online at FamilySearch for Ernzen up to 1797 as it was then part of the parish of Echternach in Luxembourg. Civil records for births from about 1798 to 1907, marriages from 1798 to 1937, and deaths from 1798 to 1987 are not online. Although a short 20 minutes drive from where I live, the Kreisarchiv in Bitburg, Germany, houses these records. Tentative plans are being made to visit the archives with my genealogy society Luxracines next spring.
From WILTINGER to WILDINGER
Wilhelm WILTINGER was born about 1770 in Ettelbrück, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was the son of Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG of Ettelbrück. These two “facts” were likely taken from his 1849 death record. As he died in Ernzen, this record will have to be obtained from the archives in Bitburg. I am hoping the person who took the information off of the death record may have made an error in noting both parents were from Ettelbrück.
I have tried to shed more light on Wilhelm’s parents. I am inclined to think Margaretha DIESBURG was not originally from Ettelbrück. My guess is she is from the DIESBURG line which originated on Diesburgerhof near Ferschweiler, the next village over from Ernzen. I found a child with the same name born in 1744 who would be a perfect match. Her family group is recorded in the FB Ferschweiler and I found her in the 1766 census living with one of her married sisters. She was not yet married. This leaves me with a four year period from 1766-1770 when Michel and Margaretha could have met and married. But where? Marriages in Luxembourg have been indexed for the time period and I have tried all variations of the names without locating a marriage. It has crossed my mind that a different surname may have been used by the groom, i.e. a house name.
As for Wilhelm’s father I have searched all available GEDCOM files online to find persons with the WILDINGER name – the spelling which has been used in my family from 1798 to present. It is my mother’s maiden name. The only hits I get on the Luxracines website (members only access to GEDCOMs) are my own file. I am beginning to suspect that while my ancestor’s name may have been WILTINGER and changed to WILDINGER, the original surname may have evolved to the more common and widespread WILDANGER. Most were found in the Girst and Dickweiler area and spread out to Echternach. These are all in Luxembourg.
For now Michel WILTINGER and Margaretha DIESBURG, the parents of Wilhelm WILTINGER will remain a brick wall. A more time consuming one-name study of the WILDANGER individuals in Luxembourg and the nearby German area may the only way to solve this brick wall. Or could DNA also be part of the solution?
The WELTER line
Margaretha WELTER was the daughter of Michael WELTER and Katharina KLEIN. Michael and Katharina married in Ernzen on 22 November 1764.
They had not yet had any children when the 1766 census was taken. Their names were spelled Michel and Catherine and they were living in a KLEIN household.
Their first child was born the year the census was enumerated, followed by a set of twins in 1768, a son in 1770, another set of twins in 1773, and finally their youngest in 1777. Both sets of twins were a boy and a girl.
Margaretha was their youngest, born and baptized on 18 April 1777 in Ernzen (present-day Germany). Her godparents were Margaretha KLEIN and Nicolaus HUSS, both of Ernzen.
A Marriage Before 1798?
Margaretha married Wilhelm WILTINGER before 1798. The marriage is estimated from the time their first known child was born. No marriage record has been found. Church and civil records were checked in Ettelbrück and Echternach to no avail.
Wilhelm and Margaretha had the following children, all born in Ernzen:
Nicolas born on 29 September 1798.
Elisabeth born on 21 August 1805.
Franciscus “Franz” born on 6 Aug 1810. He died on 8 December 1812 in Ernzen.
Bernardus born on 12 May 1813.
The only daughter Elisabeth married Dominik WEBER (1803-1840), son of Johann WEBER and Katharina PETRI of Hoesdorf, on 13 December 1831 in Ernzen. Hoesdorf (Luxembourgish: Héischdref) is a village in the commune of Reisdorf, in eastern Luxembourg.
Margaretha WELTER, the mother of Nicolas, Elisabeth, and Bernard, died on 8 January 1833 in Ernzen. Her oldest son Nicolas was 35 years old and still single. Her youngest son Bernard was going on 20. Her daughter Elizabeth had been married a little more than a year.
On 12 October 1833, nine months after the death of her mother, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, a daughter Maria. She chose her brother Nicolas to be the godfather. Maria THEIS of Hoesdorf was the godmother.
My third great-grandparents, Nicolas WILDINGER and Catherine SCHRAMEN married on 18 January 1834 in Ferschweiler. Catherine was the daughter of Michael SCHRAMEN and Elizabeth SCHMITT. She was born on 23 October 1812 in Ferschweiler and was baptized the next day. Their story can be found here: 52 Ancestors: #42 The WILDINGER-SCHRAMEN Family of Ferschweiler .
Elisabeth’s husband Dominik WEBER died on 9 May 1840 in Ernzen and was buried two days later. He left Elisabeth with four children.
Wilhelm WILTINGER, likely now using the WILDINGER spelling, died on 28 September 1849 in Ernzen and was buried two days later.
Where Are the Children?
Wilhelm’s death came at a time when many were thinking about moving across the newly established border to Luxembourg or even further abroad, to America. Elisabeth’s brother-in-law Theodor JARDIN went to America with all of his living children after the death of his wife Katharina WELTER, sister of Dominik, in 1855. Elisabeth and her brother Bernard had been close to the JARDIN family, both being godparents to JARDIN children.
Elisabeth WILDINGER was 53 years old and had been widowed seventeen years when she obtained an Auswanderungsgenehmigung (emigration approval) on 9 October 1857 for herself and her two children, Mathias, born on 10 November 1840, and Maria, born on 12 October 1833. The petition was admitted to the hearing without a stamp due to poverty. Elisabeth made her mark on the petition.
There is no mention of where the family immigrated to or of the other two children, Anna Katharina born 1835 or Theodor born in 1838. However…
Richard Schaffner was not the first to compile a family book for the parish of Ernzen. A copy of Familienbuch Ernzen 1 (1823-1900) is in the parish of Ernzen according to Schaffner. He does not mention the compiler’s name. In the entry for Elisabeth WILDINGER in Schaffner’s version, he notes on page 45 of the first book the following information was found: “Die Witwe Elis. Weber zog im Jahr 1857 mit ihren 4 Kindern und ihrem Bruder Bernard Wildinger nach Nordamerika.” The widow Elisabeth WEBER moved in the year 1857 with her four children and her brother Bernard Wildinger to North America.
Early on I searched for Elisabeth and her brother Bernard WILDINGER in the USA but never found either of them or her WEBER children. Perhaps they went to Canada or Mexico. Not having experience with these countries I left this research problem for another day.
My third great-grandparents Catherine SCHRAMEN and Nicolas WILDINGER had five children born between 1835 and 1852. Catherine died on 2 November 1869 in Ferschweiler and was buried on 4 November 1869. Four and a half years later Nicolas, the only child of Wilhem WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER to remain in Germany, died on 3 June 1874 in Ferschweiler. They left three living children, two of whom have been traced. All that was known of their youngest son Peter is that he fled from military service – “militärflüchtig laut Anzeiger z. Amtsbl. Trier 1873, Seite 243.”
Let’s Talk About DNA
As mentioned earlier I now manage my brother’s DNA. As our mother is from Luxembourg (and all of her ancestry is centered in this tiny area) the DNA we share with her is either not getting many matches or is difficult to find within the thousands of matches showing on AncestryDNA.
There are several ways to sort matches on AncestryDNA. The most obvious (easiest) are those who have matching ancestors in their trees followed by matching surnames. Many users have private trees. When you search for a surname, matches with private trees will turn up in the list but you cannot access the information and therefore do not know who their ancestor is with the surname.
Even today searching for the WILDINGER surname on AncestryDNA turns up zero hits. Checking the box to Include similar surnames is not helpful as it turns up too many matches. I tried the known spellings and still had no results.
Then in April 2017, a match was found which looked promising.
This predicted 4th cousin match showed PETERS as a shared surname. This match’s PETERS line appears to be German, unlike mine which is believed to be English. There were no Shared matches with this person which raises the possibility of this being a maternal match as opposed to a paternal match. It must be noted that shared matches are only listed up to 4th cousins.
Clicking on Location I found he had a WEBER ancestor from Ernzen. This is not one of my ancestral surnames and at the time I was not expecting a match to a family on our maternal side. Taking a closer look at the attached tree I realized the connection could be WELDINGER on his tree. A spelling I had not tried.
Predicted 4th cousin is a 4C1R
The year of birth for the daughter of the WEBER-WELDINGER couple in the pedigree chart above is 1818. My 3rd great-grand aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER was born in 1805 and would have been only 13 when this child was born. Even with this error, it looked promising as the husband’s name matched that of Elisabeth’s husband and the location fit.
I got to do US research – checking census, BMD, etc. – and found Elisabeth WILDINGER had emigrated to America before 1860. She was living in Berwick in Seneca County, Ohio, with her married daughter Catherine in 1860. She was listed with the surname WEAVER. Her daughter was only 24, born abt. 1835, and a good match for the child seen in the pedigree chart above with year of birth being 1818. Although she was still living, I have not found Elisabeth in the 1870 or 1880 census. She died on 10 March 1891 in Big Spring, Seneca County, Ohio, at the age of 86 years.
Two of her children were also found. Catherine, who was the ancestor of the match with my brother, and her younger brother Mathias. I have not found the older daughter Maria or the son Theodor nor have I found the immigration records. I entered this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor into the tree I have attached to my brother’s DNA.
This was done only after confirming this match’s line back to my WILDINGER ancestor. The tree has only the direct ancestors – no siblings, children, etc. I am considering the pros and cons of adding each confirmed match’s line back to the MRCA (most recent common ancestor). This tree includes sources but I have not attached records from Ancestry. I don’t usually work with it and have not considered the hints (shaky leaves) that are showing up.
2nd Great-Grand Uncle Discovered
However, while entering this match’s line, I took the time to check the hints for Ancestry Member Trees. I was surprised to find Wilhelm WILTINGER and Margaretha WELTER’s grandson Peter WILDINGER through their son Nicolas (my third great-grandfather) in four trees. All four had my Nicolas as the earliest known ancestor. No mention of Wilhelm and Margaretha. One member tree has for Peter: “Killed in WWI Action on the German Lines” in 1873. That is not what I would call a reliable statement.
The other three member trees are for a Peter WELDINGER who married in Illinois, had children there, and later moved to Iowa. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 census show he came to America in 1870 and was naturalized in 1880 (U.S. Naturalization Record confirms 30 October 1880). If this Peter WELDINGER is my second great-granduncle (there is presently no match or the owner/descendant has not done a test) then he must have fled from military service by emigrating to America.
Another DNA discovery was made as several new matches showed up when I did a new search for the locations Ernzen and Ferschweiler while writing this. I will have to work through these first but it looks promising as one of them may be the key to unlock the door in the DIESBURG brick wall.
Sources:  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach undteilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Richard Schaffner, compiler, Familienbuch der Pfarrei Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler mit: Diesburgerhof (ab 1803) und L(a)eisenhof (ab1830) 1680-1899, PDF (Kordel, 1999), p. 43-44, Family #193. Diesburg-Schmitt.  Luxembourg, Dénombrement, 1766 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Archives Générales du Royaume, Bruxelles), Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Feischveiler (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 250 of 753. Household Nr. 13, Mathias Petri. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DK-Y?i=249&cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages, décès 1706-1778 > image 145 of 293. 1764 Marriage Record, right page, 1st entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32399-12418-50?cc=2037955 : 9 January 2015).  Luxembourg 1766 Census, Decanat de Bittbourg v. 1 A-K > Erntzen (paroisse d’Echternach) > Image 245 of 753. Household Nr. 7, Jean Klein (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLL-M7DL-W?cat=1184675 : accessed 6 October 2017).  FB Ernzen, p. 240, Family #846. Welter-Klein.  Luxembourg Church Records, Echternach > Baptêmes 1761-1797 > image 83 of 131. 1777 Baptismal Record, left page, 7th entry. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32399-12819-27?cc=2037955 : accessed 9 November 2016).  FB Ernzen, p. 246, Family #869. Wiltinger-Welter.  Ibid., p. 225, Family #800. Weber-Wildinger.  FB Ferschweiler, p. 349, Family #1625. Wildinger-Schramen.  Ibid., p. 295, Family #1378. Schramen-Schmitt.  FB Ernzen, p. 117-118, Family #380. Jardin-Welter.  Josef Mergen, Die Amerika-Auswanderung aus dem Kreis Bitburg im 19.-Jahrhundert  “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6CM-WJX : accessed 5 October 2017), Elizabeth Weaver, 10 Mar 1891; citing Death, Big Spring, Seneca, Ohio, United States, source ID v 4 p 216, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 388,771.
Last week I wrote about the six things I include in the notes on AncestryDNA for each of my brother’s DNA matches. With matches for hundreds of 4th cousins or closer and thousands of distant cousins on AncestryDNA, I needed a simple but efficient method of working through and sorting his matches.
As you can imagine I don’t have notes for every match. There are so many matches with no trees attached and I have become choosy about which ones I add notes to. Close matches and shared matches have priority.
When I’m on the results page or viewing shared matches I click on the notes icon to open up the information I have on the match. There is no need to go through several clicks to get to the information as described in my post last week.
When I’m viewing Shared Matches and they don’t have notes, I take a moment to add the cMs/segs and the other 5 things I add to notes when accessible.
Chrome and atDNA Helper
Although Google Chrome isn’t my default browser I’ve added it to my list of tools along with the web browser extension atDNA Helper. It adds extra functionality to the AncestryDNA site. A warning if you are not familiar with this extension. There are known issues of the extension not always working. Very often I have to close the browser and open it again to get the extension to work. This workaround, as well as several others, are mentioned here: Welcome To atDNA Helper Extension Website
atDNA Helper Extension Update (25 April 2019): The name of the Chrome extension AncestryDNA Helper was changed in March 2019 to atDNAHelper after they were notified the name was a violation of Ancestry’s trademark name. The support team for the extension has set up a new website at www.atdnahelper.com (the old URL was ancestrydnahelper.com). Bob Pittman has updated the user guide as of 25 March 2019 to reflect the change and simplify the instructions: atDNA Helper Extension for the Chrome Browser, Vol. 1 Installation and Scanning.
The extension has a feature which allows you to search for users, surnames, and notes. I use it to manage my notes. For sorting through my DNA matches, in Chrome, I click on View all Matches. The search box feature (circled in yellow above), found above Ancestry’s filters for Hints, New, and Starred, is what I use to search the text in all notes.
I can search for surnames in the notes, messages sent, or kit numbers. When I search for the term cMs a complete list of all matches with notes is generated. This is the consistency I mentioned in my post last week. Each match has different notes but cMs is the one word which is used in all notes.
The success rate of contacting matches through Ancestry’s message service has been low for me! I would like for people who share DNA with my brother to upload their raw DNA to GEDmatch so that I can use the tools on the site to compare the results. While I wait, this is the method I use for working through and sorting my brother’s DNA matches.
How are you sorting through your DNA matches? Have you been more successful getting replies to messages? Please leave a comment below. I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks!
With matches for hundreds of 4th cousins or closer and thousands of distant cousins on AncestryDNA, I needed a simple but efficient method of working through and sorting my brother’s DNA matches. A spreadsheet in Excel was not an option as I wanted something I could refer to while on site.
Reducing the Clicks on AncestryDNA
To find out more about an AncestryDNA match you have to click on View Match.
This takes you to a new page with your match’s name, ethnicity, predicted relationship, and DNA Circle connections (when available) at the top.
To see the amount of Shared DNA you click on the little i.
At this point, to avoid having to repeatedly go through these extra clicks, I add the following information to Add note. The note, limited to 500 characters, can be added to each match.
1. Amount of Shared DNA
The first item I include is the amount of shared DNA. I shorten “245 centimorgans shared across 10 DNA segments” to “245 cMs 10 segs.” Consistency is important as will be seen in my follow-up post next week.
2. Proven or Assumed Relationships
If I can determine the relationship to the match I add, for example, 2C1R instead of 2nd cousin once removed, and the common ancestor(s).
In this example, H.L. had a public tree (not a tree attached to her DNA) with 7 people. By checking the Shared Matches and the tiny tree I was able to figure out the relationship. There were 51 shared matches – two 2nd cousins, three 3rd cousins, and 46 4th cousins. Many had scanty trees, no family trees, or private trees. The top shared matches suggested a Dempsey connection, a name seen for 2 of the 7 persons in H.L.’s tree.
3. Match’s Member Profile
I administer my brother’s DNA results and have access and editing rights to a more distant cousin’s DNA. He is in the 5th-8th cousins range and does not show up on the Shared Matches which is only available to the 4th cousin level. Ancestry has a feature which shows matches to tests you administer or have editing rights to. Click on the match’s name to View Member Profile. Below the profile photo and description is a box titled AncestryDNA.
I have not had my DNA tested and therefore this person is not on my DNA Match list. But when I click on your the two tests I have rights to can be checked. Surprisingly, in this example, both tests I admin are matches to H.L. This does not mean all three match the same ancestor.
I add to the note that there is possibly another connection. My brother’s match to H.L. may include DNA from our paternal grandmother’s side through the CLONCH or DOSS lines as well as DNA from our paternal grandfather’s side.
4. Date Message Was Sent/Received
When I contact a match I include the date the message was sent in the note. As replies or queries come in I note the date a message is received.
5. Date Results Were Viewed
If a match doesn’t have a tree or it is private, I make a note of this with the date viewed. This way if a tree is added later I will know it hasn’t been checked.
6. Match Name and Kit Numbers
If the match has shared his/her name, GEDmatch and/or FamilyTreeDna kit numbers, I include these in the note.
“We found potential new ancestors—just by looking at your DNA.”
A month after my brother’s AncestryDNA results came in I started seeing New Ancestor Discoveries. These are potential new ancestors or relatives who are not already in the attached family tree on the DNA page.
I found this a bit misleading until I realized what we can do with these “shaky leaves” from Ancestry.
The first one to pop up was for the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle. It had 15 members and 3 had DNA matches with my brother. I say “had” because after a few weeks it disappeared.
However, before it disappeared the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle showed up with nearly the same members as the Boles circle. At first, I was stumped by the names Mary Ann BURKS and Alexander McDonald BOLES. They could hardly be potential new ancestors as they were born around 1852, a time period in which all my ancestors are known and well documented.
In the Mary Ann Burks DNA Circle are 13 members, 3 of these have matches with my brother. One match belongs to a larger family group of 10 persons – none of the others in this group match my brother.
After taking a look at the trees of L. and G., two of the matches, I discovered the connection. The Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle had shown up because he was the father of Mary Ann BURKS’ children – but they were not married.
One of their children, J.P. “Hard” BURKS, has been in my database for a dozen years. He was married to Susie REELS, daughter of Isaac “Ike” REELS and Margaret Ann WEAVER. Because I do a lot of collateral research the surname REELS was familiar to me and I knew right away where this was taking me.
Genealogy Happy Dance
In 2004 and 2007 I corresponded with David, a descendant (2nd great-grandson) of Ike REELS through his son Millard Green REELS.
At the time I was part of a group of PETERS researchers working together under the guidance of Paula Kelley Ward who has been doing genealogy for over 40 years. We have her to thank for the work she did on Jordan N. PETERS’ War of 1812 pension file.
When David first contacted me we were not certain if the wife of Andrew REEL, Susannah PETERS, was a daughter of Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY of Franklin County, Virginia. Born about 1815 she was the right age to be their youngest daughter. However, at the time there were two groups of PETERS families in Franklin County which further complicated matters. One of English ancestry (ours) and the other being of German ancestry. By process of elimination, we determined Susannah had to be the daughter of my 4th great-grandparents, Zach and Keziah.
I needed more than finding the REEL/REELS surname in the families trees of these people who have matches with my brother. When I checked the Shared Matches I found L. and my brother had 4 shared matches – 3 of these have very small or no family trees attached. The 4th has 6 DNA Circle connections with my brother which point to the PETERS family.
G. has two shared matches with my brother. One of these has a private tree but since our PETERS group had worked on the collateral lines I recognized her as a descendant of my Jordan N. PETERS through his first wife Mary “Polly” TROUP. As her tree is private she is not in the DNA Circles.
I believe these DNA matches are further proof of the connection between Susannah PETERS, wife of Andrew REEL, and her until now assumed parents, Zachariah PETERS and Kesiah “Keziah” LIVELY. I contacted David, L., and G. about my discovery and am waiting to hear back from them.
Don’t wait to check out your New Ancestor Discoveries. Take a good look at them as soon as they appear because they might disappear as quickly as they showed up. If a circle does disappear and you didn’t have time to look into it, don’t despair. It may show up again. While I was finishing up this post the Alexander McDonald Boles DNA Circle reappeared!