Category Archives: How To

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


As long as we remember, they never die!

“Now I’ve heard everything!”. The older one gets, the more often one might say that. Yet the world keeps surprising. This morning I discovered that someone sells gravestone cleaning solution kits!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great idea. They say that solving puzzles causes a dopamine rush which in turn causes addictive behavior. Which, they go on to say, is how genealogy can become addictive! Let me warn you, finding “lost” tombstones can also become addictive.

This picture is known as “The Genealogist Adventure Park.”. A copy of it is hanging in the Monterey Family History Center in Seaside.

This picture is of a genealogist getting a dopamine rush!

And this picture is of a tombstone cleaning kit which is available to buy at Billiongraves.com. Next time you go sleuthing for someone’s grave site and you know it is going to be an old one, perhaps you should carry a bottle of D/2 Biological Solution. Just to honor your ancestor, of course.

40% off Sale Price

The Original

How To Clean

What makes this especially rewarding is that just last night at the MoCoGenSo Board meeting, we discussed creating a “tour a graveyard” excursion for locals in the Monterey County area. If you are interested, contact any Board member. See Board of Directors


“You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever had your photo taken in front of a tombstone and you were actually smiling!” — my Quote excel file


Searching with Google

A few years ago I taught a class here about using Google for searching, genealogically speaking. The other days, I ran into a pile of handouts that I had prepared for that class that were not given away. I will drop them off at the FHC for people who are not familiar with Google search syntax items. The syntax has not changed over the years.

I am also including a PDF of that handout here: GOOGLE SYNTAX.

I recently opened a Pro account at Geni.com and was reminded that anyone can search specifically in Geni’s One World Tree using Google for free! Using syntax described in the above file, just do a search that looks like this.  The plus sign restricts it to Geni only.

+site:geni.com “andrew robeson” OR “andy robeson”


“Study predicts more dead Facebook users than living by 2070.” – Oxford Internet Users


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


Third Party Tools for DNA Testing – a video

Heads up folks. Those of you who are interested in DNA and Genealogy should try to watch a new video about third party tools for genetic genealogy. You have to hurry, it is FREE for only 5 more days (as I write this), free until March 12.

The webinar is by Michelle Leonard, a Scottish genetic genealogist. It is provided by Legacy Family Tree Webinars. You will still be able to watch the video after March 12, but a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars will be required.

It is an excellent, fact filled overview of the main 3rd party tools for DNA testing. It is 1.5 hours long.

Watch it here:
https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=978


The video is long, but it is like attending 2 or 3 of our DIG meetings! Keep a notepad handy.


23andMe Maps

Honestly, I don’t hang out in the DNA testing sites as much as you might think. And when I do go to a site, I usually have a purpose, so I don’t try out new stuff that often. 23andMe has a new feature I just noticed a couple of days ago called MAPS. It is located in the DNA Relatives section, under either Ancestry or Family & Friends. Today it is highlighted in bright orange. I wasn’t expecting much as Maps at other sites are usually pretty boring. But I needed to try it.

When you see a match, you can click on it and it shows you the person’s name, relationship and city. Clicking on that display links to the DNA Comparison section with you and that person compared, which includes the segment comparison. It is slick indeed.

The MAP covers the world, wherever 23andMe has customers. I saw a few matches in Northern Europe, cool. Perhaps they can help me with some brick walls.

I decided to look around my local area, the Monterey County section, where much to my amazement, there are two 4th cousins showing! I was flabbergasted. Neither surname is known to me. But they are real 23andMe customers who are related to me somehow and they live just down the road. I am going to have to contact them.

Of course, my first email has to be gentle. I don’t want them to think I am stalking them! I need to locate some of those “recommended introductory” email examples that are floating around. I might even invite them to come to the FHC to meet me!

Then I stopped to think: “Could they see me all this time and have never contacted me?” Humm. Remember, I don’t know how long the MAP feature has been around. That thought led me to wonder about my own personal Profile in 23andMe. The current City was showing for people in my MAP, so that meant the Profile had to allow current location to be visible to everyone. Humm again. I had setup my profile so long ago that I couldn’t remember what it said. So I decided to check it, because I want my relatives to be able to find me!

I went to Settings under my name, clicked Edit under Personal Information and found Current Residence. It was blank! Darn…. I quickly changed it and am now waiting for someone to find me!

My recommendation to you, if you are a 23andMe customer, is to try the MAP. Look around, look where you were born, look where you live now, etc.. Then, if you like what you see, check your Profile too. Make sure you have Sharing allowed and Current Residence filled in. And then send your own “recommended introductory” emails.

And if you get an introductory email from a cousin, answer it!


”Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity.” – Andrew Ng ==> then plug me in


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