Category Archives: Ancestry.com

Ancestry Tree Sharing Hint

The other day I tried to share my tree in Ancestry.com with another Ancestry member. I used the Ancestry user name during the Share steps and it did not work. I have shared my tree successfully in the past and so was confused about what was wrong. I sent a note to Customer Services and received a reply within a couple of hours. I decided to share the answer here in case this has stumped others in the past..

Ancestry has both usernames and display names. Some people choose to show their display name in place of a username which appears to be the case here.

In order to share your tree, you’ll need either the username or email address which she can find when she click’s her display name in upper left corner while she’s signed in and share either of those with you so that you can send the invitation.


” Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet


ThruLines Cookie Workaround

Follow-up to our DNA SIG meeting yesterday:

We discussed the Cookie problem when using ThruLines in AncestryDNA. It has been posted in the web that clearing cookies before going into Ancestry will solve the disappearing Thrulines problem. But many people do not know how to clear their cookies! We know AncestryDNA is working on the issue, but they can’t rush a fix since this is their bread-n-butter system.

Suggestions have been made as a workaround that should help those who don’t know how to clear their cookies. In Chrome simply open an Incognito window by clicking on the 3 dots in upper right corner and then click the menu item before going into Ancestry. In Firefox, open a Private window via similar right click menu.  This should work in all OS types, Windows, Apple, Linux.

See Kitty Cooper’s blog for more information about ThruLines in general and the note about the work around.
blog.kittycooper.com/2019/03/ancestrys-new-dna-feature-thrulines.


“The infantry is always ahead of headquarters.” – James Barksdale


Ancestry . com Shaky Leaf Algorithm & the Suffix – reply

So my question for the group is: Is the name Suffix used by Ancestry.com for anything? I can’t find where the Shaky Leaf or Manual Searching are documented.

A reply came in yesterday from Dayna Jacobs @ “On Granny’s Trail” which I feel is important enough to share in a separate post so Followers see it.

I attended a class given by Crista Cowan a couple of weeks ago. She is the one known as the “Barefoot Genealogist” and is employed by Ancestry to represent them and get people interested in their product. Anyway, she was teaching us how to use Ancestry DNA and she showed us how she uses the suffix field to identify her ancestral lines after finding cousin matches on Ancestry DNA. She uses a colored heart icon in the suffix field. She has eight colors, representing each of her great-grandparent lines. She did not mention any possible problems with the shaky leaf hints resulting from this, and I am assuming it is not a factor since she is the Ancestry guru and pretty much knows everything about it.

This is another interesting way to document DNA findings in your Ancestry . com tree. Thanks, Dayna

Ancestry . com Shaky Leaf Algorithm & the Suffix

In Ancestry.com can we use the name suffix to display DNA haplogroup values (like for Y-DNA or Mitochondrial) without upsetting the Shaky Leaf or Manual Searching software?
or
Is the name Suffix used by Ancestry.com for anything?

A member of our DNA Interest Group told me how she displays haplogroups for people in her tree at Ancestry.com ==> she puts the haplogroup code into the suffix of the person’s name!

You know, the suffix is where things like Jr. or Sr. or Dr. are put. Instead of something like George Robeson, Jr. she would have George Robeson, I1a-A13294.

You can always document the “suffix” elsewhere as alternate names.

Given how Y-DNA and Mitochondrial DNA is inherited, I could see how this would add value to the tree when displayed. It is easier to see the person’s code than putting it into the NOTE field or the DNA Marker. (She suggested that perhaps this was used in her private trees, not certain here.)

But, I have to admit that it makes me nervous to do this. The reason is that I do not know if Ancestry uses the suffix in their Shaky Leaf or Searching algorithms. The Hint feature in Ancestry, called the Shaky Leaf, is one of the most powerful tools within Ancestry. The computer is constantly look for “source” records for your people. And “source” records are most important for proof and validation that your person is legitimate.  Sure, sometimes the system gets it wrong, but hey, it has found lots of good things for me, and I would hate to break the Hint functionality.

So my question for the group is: Is the name Suffix used by Ancestry.com for anything? I can’t find where the Shaky Leaf or Manual Searching are documented. Does anyone know? If you do know, for sure, please contact me, and I will update this post. Thanks


Marking DNA in Ancestry . com Trees

It has been suggested that humans are only capable of having 150 good friends at a time, see Dunbar’s Number. My AncestryDNA page tells me that I have over 669 4th cousins or less who have tested with Ancestry! How am I possibly going to become BFF with that many people?

“Finding the correct ancestral line for each piece of your DNA is a difficult process. Researching and documenting your family Tree is a difficult process. But these are the tasks we accept in genetic genealogy.” by Jim Bartlett

But that doesn’t mean that I will remember a 3rd or 4th cousin who lives in a distant state who I’ve never met with whom we solved our MRCA after a few emails. Even if the aging process was not at work, 150 does seem to be my limit. (Besides, I picked up new friends when joining MoCoGenSo so some old ones got booted!)

I hate to research lines previously solved. So I have taken to flagging cousins I place in my tree via a DNA match with pictures and text, similar to pebbles left by Hansel and Gretel. I want these pebbles to be visible and permanent in that they can be transferred by gedcom or syncable by software, not like breadcrumbs that are easily lost. Documentation that I can actually find later is critical.

For DNA confirmed Cousins

In the Profile of the person:

• Click into Gallery section and upload an icon similar to this. Then click into the Face display and make that icon default picture. 

• Click “View Notes” in upper menu bar beneath name. Create a note similar to this:
DNA match to Jim 189 cm / 9 segs

• In the Fact display, click on “Add” to add a Fact or Event. Scroll into the Event Type list to the DNA Markers item and click it. Ignore Date and location. Update the Description field with the same line as above Note.

When a Gedcom is downloaded from Ancestry, the Note will come across as type NOTE, the Marker will come across as type _DNA. Only the Note will be transferred when synching with RootsMagic, as the DNA Marker is not yet added to the Ancestry API. RootsMagic does pull the images. (Most programs will ignore the _DNA type gedcom record too. But I keep using it in case they ever do update the Gedcom standard!)

For Ancestors

For ancestors who are MRCA confirmed by DNA, click into Gallery section and upload an icon similar to this. Then click into the Face display and make that icon the default picture.

Note: for persons for whom we have a real face photo, always use it instead of these “marker” icons.
Note note: These are just personal views. Icons not required! But Notes are good. 🙂


“Have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” – Larry Page