Category Archives: Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com can identify your DNA matches by parent

If you have a tree at Ancestry.com and have added a DNA test to the mix, there is a new tool that might assist you in solving some of those roadblocks.  This tool is still in beta status, but I am sure it is a keeper. 

I have to admit that Gail Burk brought this to my attention, I hadn’t yet seen it.  When she said “You have no idea how stoked I am with this new tool” I figured I had to check it out.

To get to the new tool in the DNA section, go to Ethnicity Estimate, then click View Breakdown under Ethnicity Inheritance. Then move down to “Matches split by parent” and click View Matches.

Ancestry has split your DNA matches by parent! 

They have labeled your matches “maternal” and “paternal” and provided statistics for the two groups.

Let me repeat — You can now see your matches split up by parent.

Ancestry’s new tool is quite accurate.  I had been tagging my matches with color dots to add maternal and paternal groups and have not found any “errors”.  I am not sure how Ancestry is doing this, but you really need to check it out.  Maybe a roadblock is waiting to be solved!! 

Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Estimate has a Sideview

If you have tested your DNA at Ancestry . com, you need to check in with the recently added “Sideview” display that breaks your ethnicity estimates down by your parents, without testing your parents! It is really intriguing and potentially useful for improving the accuracy of your own paper research. I for one didn’t know my maternal side had Welch DNA floating around. I knew about the Irish. When you realize that Wales is only about an hour boat ride from Ireland, you begin to realize that some wily sailor could have joined my ancestors a few generations ago! To see your Sideview, follow these steps.

Go to DNA in the menu bar and select DNA Story

In the Ethnicity Estimate section, select See What’s New

Select View Breakdown

Notice that the two sides are labeled Parent 1 and Parent 2. They can’t tell which half of your genome is which, but maybe you can. Play with the ethnicity sections at the bottom and se if you can decide which side is Mom and which is Pop.

If you can determine “Sides”, like my Maternal has the Irish genes, then select Edit Parents below.

You pick for the Left side. You can always change this later, or even clear and start over.

Once you have chosen sides, you get a nice breakdown like this. Looked at like this, you can see there are subtle differences in my background.

I just wish I knew where that Aegean Islander snuck in from!

Ethnicity Estimates often change, but when they do it is because they are becoming more accurate. I like this new breakdown. When I share this type of data with my family, they seem understand it better than just seeing what my Personal breakdown was. This is meaningful to siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.


Shared DNA Matches in Ancestry


”They say that our genes create proteins that help define our attributes. Like height, width, etc. And they say that some of these genes correlate with multiple attributes. Like bright teeth and bright eyes. Let me warn you, I ain’t nearly as smart as I look – those genes must not interlace! Shared matches in Ancestry . com prove it, every time!”


Roberta Estes, on the other hand, does seem to understand Shared matches in Ancestry. She wrote a really good blog post the other day all about some of the confusing aspects of Shared matches. Please read her post here as it will explain lots of the confusing details.

DNA EXPLAINED

Ancestry displays some shared matches with all of your matches, regardless of the size of your match to that person. However, Ancestry ONLY shows shared matches to a third person if you share more than 20 cM of DNA with that third person.

The takeaway of this is if you have a larger (20 cM or over) and smaller match (under 20 cM), always request shared matches from the perspective of the smaller match because the smaller match won’t show up as a shared match on any shared match list. The only way you can see shared matches that includes people under 20 cM is to request to view shared matches with individual people who match you below 20 cM. .

My problem is that I still see shared matches in 2nd/3rd cousin range where Person A links with B & C, but C does not link with A. My intelligence gene folded the wrong direction. (Maybe you can explain it to me in the next DNA Discussion group.)

Download DNA Matches from Ancestry . com

Jim Bartlett is a genetic genealogist who loves to work with spreadsheets. I too like spreadsheets, but he is way beyond me. I follow his blog and always wonder if I should try my hand at building the “master sheet”!

Meanwhile, “clustering” is all the rage now. There are automated methods to build clusters and kindship charts for FTDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe and Gedmatch. But Ancestry.com has decided to not provide a cluster option and as even blocked others from doing so.

The other day, Jim Bartlett posted a method to manually create a clustering spreadsheet for Ancestry! Manually!? I read the post and decided he was a bit crazy. It would take forever to type all those DNA matches I have in Ancestry! Then I remembered that he has a “master sheet” somewhere, and it is probably easy for him to add the cluster-logic.

You can read his article here. This is a must read if you plan to try this. You don’t have to read all of it.

https://segmentology.org/2022/02/26/manual-clustering-to-find-ancestors/

So, I consulted Google and went searching for a method to download all my DNA matches from Ancestry. Google didn’t fail me, I found a spreadsheet that you can copy screens of matches into. It is a special spreadsheet that is loaded with code to scrape data from the DNA match list screens that only works in the Google Docs arena. It helps to have prepared your Ancestry matches ahead of time. It still requires a few hours of work to identify clusters. But it works! I now have 179 matches split into 10 different clusters. Each match has hot links into Ancestry to review trees and add notes.

Using this special spreadsheet is a bit complicated and I am not going to even try to tell you how. The following links do a good job explaining it, good enough for me to make it work. The YouTube is a real how-to video.

I read this but did not use the links here.

https://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/download-ancestrydna-matches-hack

This is the YouTube with the instructions that I used. The link to download the spreadsheet can be found in the comment section after the video, click “show more” to see it. But do watch the video first. Click Watch on YouTube below.

Hint: download the sheet, but don’t open it. Just upload it to your Google Docs area and use it there.

Ancestry.com Puzzle

I have always wondered if it was possible to put two names within the surname field in Ancestry.com and not screw up the searching algorithms in Ancestry. Everyone I have ever asked either doesn’t know or says try it and see. Ya well, time marches on and then tonight I accidentally copied a record with a graphic character in the name field. And the copy took!

See the funny character after my grandfather’s name? That is some kind of a UTF-8 or UTF-16 character that can be copied from place to place! Yes, I know it is a picture of a DNA strip. I can envision hanging this character on my DNA match people.

But meanwhile, my original question has yet to be answered. Is it possible to put two names in a surname field, like for example “Tenorio Franich”? If it is, there should be no difference if the surname field contained a regular name followed by a space followed by that funny character above.

I will try to place it here: “Robeson 🧬” . Humm, this blog system takes it. Trust me, it shows up in color some places, and not others. The important thing is that Ancestry shows it in color. Perhaps you too, if you are so inclined, can copy it from here and use it in your own Ancestry tree! Give it a go… 🧬 🧬 🧬

Meanwhile, can someone answer my original question?

And now I need to see if I can find a list of all the possible UTF-8/16 characters. There might be a different picture that we could use, like a ball, or bullet, or whatever. possibilities abound.

Haplogroup teasers

According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, a haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on either their paternal (Y-DNA) or maternal (mitochondrial) lines.

Not every DNA testing companies show us our haplogroups. AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA kits do not test for the specific SNPs required to determine haplogroup, while 23andMe and Living DNA do test segments of the mtDNA and Y-chromosome and display our haplogroups and, most importantly, those of our shared matches.

FTDNA also includes Y haplogroup and mtDNA haplogroup information, only if you buy specific tests related to those traits. Gedmatch displays haplogroup info that is self-reported.

I have found the haplogroup information displayed automatically at 23andMe to be invaluable in some of my research.  In a future DNA Discussion meeting, I will give a show-n-tell of how this additional information helped unlock puzzles in our family trees.

Meanwhile, when searching the internet for haplogroup information, I found this page which has lots of comparative details about the various DNA testing companies.  Eupedia is a great sight for exploring.  And this page in particular should interest most everyone who has read this far!  Do page through it.

https://www.eupedia.com/genetics/which_ancestry_dna_test_to_choose.shtml


My Y-DNA haplogroup is I1a-​A13294 and my mitochondrial haplogroup is ​H1e1a.


Using our tools

MoCoGenSo’s DNA Discussion Group will be meeting Wednesday with an open forum. Join us via Zoom. Feel free to drop in for conversation and stay for lunch.

They say that the pandemic has given lots of folks extra time these days to work on their genealogy. Perhaps, but there is still never enough time.

The wife and I have done our DNA tests at the “big 4” of course, and every so often I make the rounds looking for new matches. Never underestimate that auto-tree at 23andMe.com – it can be full of surprises. Once built, the tree remains static. But you can and should refresh the tree periodically. It is a pain to figure out how to refresh it, but it can be done via the help system.

We discovered a new branch of 4 cousins in my wife’s refreshed tree the other day that contained people we had never heard of before and the branch was placed in an impossible position. After a couple of weeks of sleuthing, we have decided that the stories about her grandfather’s escapades were true! How else can you have a half first cousin show up out of nowhere!

23andMe.com provides lots of information about DNA matches that are really useful in solving puzzles. Birth year, haplogroups, shared matches, triangulation, etc. Add a subscription to Ancestry.com to the mix for source searching and you can solve lots of thorny NPEs. Ancestry.com has tree building and a bigger match base, but 23andMe.com provides so many more DNA tools. You really need to test at both places.

The centimorgans Tool at DNA Painter is invaluable at justifying tree placement. In addition, Genetic Affairs can create an extremely useful cluster analysis from 23andMe data. I ran their Auto Cluster tool on the wife’s 23andme Me data and am still finding new information.

The MoCoGenSo DNA Discussion meetings are a better place to talk about this stuff. I hate typing…. Perhaps I can show-n-tell this case at some future meeting. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to learning about Gail Burk’s methods used at tomorrow’s meeting. See you tomorrow noon on Zoom.

DNA Discussions Wednesday Noon: Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 897 1823 5118
Passcode: 738495



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/