Category Archives: Ancestry.com

Proving family tree with DNA

Recently I decided to try and see if I could “prove” parts of my family tree by finding DNA cousins who linked to my paternal line via Y-DNA and my maternal line via Mitochondrial DNA. I figured it would be easy.

My AncestryDNA account has the most matches, so I decided to start there. I was in for a surprise! It isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Y-DNA is passed only from father to son. Using Thrulines in Ancestry, I went back to my 2nd great grandfather Andrew Robeson and began to look for matches that were male to male all the way to now. I found only one line out of 12 that was fully male from Andrew, but even it ended in a female 3C1R cousin. So I sent her an email asking if she had brothers who had done DNA test who knew their Y haplogroup. Well, she did have a brother who even had a son, but she didn’t know if he had done DNA. She would ask… arghh

The Mitochondrial side was even more frustrating. I did find a 2C2R cousin who is female and descended female to female from my great grandmother. Hooray, I thought, she is a true Irish Mito person! I sent her an email, but she is one of these non-responders. Patience is required. Yes, she is the only one out of 25.

I turned to MyHeritage. The Theory of Family Relativity is useful when checking individuals, but I don’t see a way to selectively pick those who stem from a specific ancestor.

Some people talk about offering to buy a test for individuals in my tree who fit the requirements. Not me… I figure “crowd sourcing” (lots of autosomal matches) is good enough proof that I descended from Andrew Robeson and/or his wife!  My 2 Big-Y test cousins and I come from Scotland in the 1600s.  Of course, 3 different surnames are involved!  So who knows who came first: Robeson, Grierson or Marshall. 🙂

If you have success stories along these lines, come tell us at the DNA Discussion group on first-Wednesdays at noon. Look for Zoom details soon.


” Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison


Some disconnected and unrelated hints 

  1. If you are in a Zoom meeting on a Windows 10 computer and want to save something showing on the screen, it isn’t obvious how to do it.  To Capture your entire screen and automatically save the screenshot, tap the Windows key + Print Screen key. Your screen will briefly go dim to indicate that you’ve just taken a screenshot, and the screenshot will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots.
  1. Ancestry.com is a great site for building your genealogy tree.  I spend lots of time now adding descendants down to DNA matches.  Sometimes I want to send my new ‘cousin’ a relationship chart. There is a relationship chart built into Ancestry that is hidden!  In fact, I just found it the other day when poking around.  Go into the Profile page of the person in question.  In the upper section under the name there is a line that shows the persons relationship to you.  Click on it. Bingo!  Print to a PDF and save it, upload to the persons Gallery, email it, or print and save in your documentation notebook.
  1. In AncestryDNA if you want to easily look for new matches that you haven’t reviewed before, go to your Match List. Then filter your list by Unviewed.  I do this scan using the app in my iPad daily when eating breakfast!  There is a way to do this in MyHeritage, but it isn’t easy enough for breakfast. Use Sort by, then Most recent.

AncestryDNA’s health test is to be discontinued

Bloomberg News reports that Ancestry are discontinuing their health test after just over a year to focus on their core family tree business. This will lead to the loss of 77 jobs. These job losses are on top of the 100 redundancies announced in February 2020 which were attributed to “a slowdown in demand across the entire DNA category” now that “most early adopters have entered the category.”

It was announced in August that Ancestry was to be acquired by the investment company Blackstone. The $4.7 billion acquisition was duly completed in December 2020. At the same time, we learnt that Margo Georgiadis, Ancestry’s President & CEO, was going to leave the company at the end of 2020. A new CEO is expected to be appointed in early 2021 who will “drive the next phase of the company’s ongoing growth”.

Read more here: https://cruwys.blogspot.com/

Regarding These Sales

Personal views follow…

We advocate doing DNA tests for genealogical purposes.  DNA testing is not required to do excellent genealogical work, but it can help break some roadblocks or just help discover new cousins that have those long lost pictures!

But testing at just one company is like only fishing in just one pond.  Some of your relatives might pick a different sale this month, for example.  So I always recommend that you test at each of the “big 4”:  AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA.

That can get expensive!  That is why we always mention sales around here.

Picking which place to test is a subject best suited for our DNA Discussion Group.  But it is important that you remember that AncestryDNA and 23andMe do NOT accept data file uploads while MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA DO accept DNA data uploads at a considerable discount in price.  Perhaps testing at AncestryDNA or 23andMe first might be a good idea for some.


” L.O.C.K.S.S. ===> Lots of copies keep stuff safe.


Another Big Sale

AncestryDNA has joined the Black Friday competition!

The basic service is 40% off, you can get it for $59 (normally $99) thru Nov 25. There are other options that include the 3 month membership for only $60 or a more expensive one that includes the new Health service.

The 3-month membership for only $1 more is a good deal unless you already have an account with Ancestry. You can do 3 months of research like crazy and then cancel, or if you get addicted like me, continue with a renewal. Your DNA will remain online as will any tree you create.


New Scandinavian Cooking

When AncestryDNA recently announced that they were updating their ethnicity tables, I got all excited. I really like Scandinavian food, especially their fish n potatoes, and I figured that now, finally, Ancestry would finally prove that I was descended from Vikings! I watch the PBS program New Scandinavian Cooking regularly and have figured that they were all my cousins.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Yes, the Scottish and Irish may have descended from the early Danes or Norwegians, but my DNA supposedly doesn’t prove that! Or does it have something to do with the fact that ethnicity data via DNA only reaches back about 500 years or less and my ancestors moved out of the Scandinavian areas before then ?

This new swipe at my ethnicity feels a bit more accurate, but alas, I still don’t feel satisfied. Perhaps I need to try to do percentages from my genealogical tree!

If you did the AncestryDNA test, be sure to check the new ethnicity estimates. You might be a bit surprised!


“It’s important to keep an open mind, in the absence of data.” – Elissa Epel


The AncestryDNA matching updates have been completed.

Darn, I was wrong when I wrote that post inviting us to the DNA Sig meeting: Ancestry.com actually HAS competed the changes they promised! It took a woman in London to set me on the correct path. Embarrassing, it is.

CLICK HERE to see the Cruwys news blog by Debbie Kennett where she does a pretty good job talking about the changes.

Hopefully we can have a good discussion tomorrow at the DNA Discussions meeting. I can at least show how I got confused.


Now I have to change the other post to “make it right”!


Ancestry has a new Owner

Ancestry has been in the news lately, many new things have been announced in the last 5 weeks.  We are now finding out why!!  What a deal….

The first recent announcement came out yesterday:  the new HEALTH DNA test is now available.  $179 will tell you all….

The second announcement came out today: Blackstone Group Inc. acquired a 75% stake in Ancestry for $4.7 billion !  Wow, that is lots of money for only 3/4 of Ancestry.  According to Bloomberg, Silver Lake and Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte have been majority owners since 2016, when they bought it for $2.6 billion. It was taken private in 2012 for $1.6 billion by private equity firm Permira.  It was originally a public company, raising $100 million at its IPO in 2009.  This has been quite a ride for “just a genealogy company”!

Their statistics show this:

Given their size and recent financial dealings, it is understandable that they have wanted to get their computer systems to perform better and faster.  The simple changes they have announced regarding DNA are

  1. Accurate # of shared segments (early August)
  2. See length of longest segments (mid August)
  3. Sharing cutoff will be 8 cM (late August)

We now know the rest of the story!!


July was a busy month for some

Lots of things made the news in July 2020.

<:> Jeff Bezos said he would double any Bitcoin sent to him! So did Warren Buffet, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. A 17 year old kid will probably be found guilty, and then hired since he is obviously well skilled in Twitter tricks!

<:> Gedmatch was hacked so that, temporarily, all kits were eligible for search by police! And unreal kits appeared. Who was hurt? The owners of Gedmatch, Verogen, Inc., were a bit embarrassed. But it doesn’t seem that any real people were hurt. (I doubt we ever figure who was responsible. Hopefully lots of unsolved cases get solved this year!)

<:> MyHeritage users are possibly being targeted by phishing emails. If you get an email from ‘info@myheritaqe . com” instead of “info@myheritage . com” (note the “q” instead of “g”), hit delete quick! This actually could be quite dangerous, do watch out for MyHeritage emails that want you to click on something.

<:> And big noisy news came from AncestryDNA. They are making changes again, some of which lots of people do not like! More on that later.

<:> July was so exciting that the Daughters of the American Revolution decided to wait until August 1st to quietly announce that they are beginning to accept autosomal DNA as evidence of lineage submitted with DAR membership!

CLICK HERE to see the announcement on their Blog. What a deal. Of course, there are gotcha stuff in the details. It only works for the first 3 generations, and only when traditional documentation does not exist or cannot be obtained due to sealed records. I need to be honest, I haven’t read the fine print, but this could be quite exciting news for adoptees and children of adoptees. If you are considering joining the DAR, be sure to read more about this on your own.

SAR has accepted autosomal DNA for a while. When I Googled SAR DNA, I discovered that they require the cM segment size to be 7 cM or more! And you have to have 30 cM or more composed of 7 cM segments! Leave to the SAR to complicate things. Hopefully we will get details from a Daughter or Son on this “quiet” news.

AncestryDNA

First off, if you use Chrome with the extension MedBetter, please uninstall MedBetter. Then Google it to find out why.

The changes:
1) More accurate number of shared segments (goes live in early August)
2) Ability to see the length of the longest shared segment (goes live in mid August)
3) Distant DNA matches must share 8 cM or higher (goes live in late August)

Please note the difference between the SAR and AncestryDNA. They should have discussed their differences first! Not very empathetic of AncestryDNA!


Hopefully some of you will join us at the next DNA Discussion Group and explain these Newsy items more clearly!


” If you place a humidifier and dehumidifier in the same room, you can wirelessly transmit water!” – Reddit


AncestryDNA Changes

AncestryDNA is making some changes to their matching system and will be updating their database in the coming days.  Debbie Kennett, at her scholarly blog called Cruwys news has outlined the changes from her viewpoint. You can visit her blog from the top at

cruwys.blogspot.com

A direct link to this particular post will always be found:

CLICK HERE

Quoting from the end of Debbie’s current post:

“In other news AncestryDNA’s corporate page has been updated to show that they have now tested 18 million people. AncestryDNA now have by far the largest genetic genealogy database in the world. 23andMe is the next largest with a database of 12 million people. MyHeritage have 4 million people in their database, while FamilyTreeDNA have tested over two million people.”


“People began to fixate on individual liberties without understanding that one of the most fundamental civil liberties in the US is the right to health – the right to stay alive.” – Lee Riley