AncestryDNA Has Now Thoroughly Lost Its Mind

I, like I’m sure many users of AncestryDNA, today received an email saying that they found me a new ancestor. Oh boy! That sounded promising. Or exciting. Could they really do that?

Yes, they could if they knew which segments on which chromosomes are inherited from which ancestor, and if they matched that from my matches to my DNA data. And, technically, their database could be big enough to figure that out if they did some really good triangulation. If it were possible to know via DNA things that can only be found through genealogical research, then yes, they could do that.

But, I was doubtful.

The email looks like this.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.34.02 PM

Okay, cool. So Obadiah Pierce (1774-1836) is my “new ancestor.” I clicked on “Show Me,” and got this.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.36.24 PM

The four “DNA Circles” on the bottom already existed. I have no idea who Peter Hamblin and Susan Tye are, which I suppose is the essence of their being “new ancestors.” But where is Obadiah Pierce? Maybe he was just an example for the sake of confusion.

I clicked on Peter Hamblin.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.40.35 PM

But, wait! Are you asking me or telling me that Peter Hamblin is my ancestor (or my relative)?

Susan Tye’s was similar.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.43.12 PM

Clicking on “LEARN ABOUT Susan Tye” (or Peter Hamblin) actually brought me to kind of a neat overview of this person’s life (however wrong it may be). But you gotta hand it to Ancestry – they do make things pretty.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.48.53 PM

Notice it says at the top that this information was compiled from 237 family trees. I wonder if those are public trees only or public and private trees?

Anyway, you can see here that Peter Hamblin was her spouse, which explains why both of these “new ancestors” appeared at once.

So here’s the thing.

There is no place in my pedigree where these people would fit. Obadiah Pierce would have a better chance of fitting! Either I have documented proven ancestors who already take up the time period, or mine are younger than Peter Hamblin and Susan Tye (thus, in theory they could descend from them), but they were immigrants. I don’t have to even do additional research to tell you that these people are not my ancestors. I mean, I can file them in the back of my mind (or just let Ancestry do that), but I’m not going to start down a wild goose chase to find how I’m potentially descended from these people.

So, like I said, AncestryDNA may say it has found me a “new ancestor” using just my DNA (from the email, above: “AncestryDNA has a new feature that allows you to discover new ancestors—just through your DNA”), but it lies.

One, then they use the possibly awful incorrect horrendous undocumented trees of the people I match to make one of their circles (so it’s not “just through” my DNA).

And two, the technology does not exist to do what it is they say they are trying to do. (And to be quite honest, if or when it does exist, I do not expect it will be Ancestry that develops it.)

Ancestry does not have the ability to take the DNA from however many people they think should be in the Susan Tye circle, for example, and say that this is where the “Susan Tye pieces” are, and then look at my DNA and say, “Oh, you are descended from Susan Tye because you match these 3 people who are also descended from Susan Tye because all of you have Susan Tye DNA pieces!” None of the companies can do that – it is only through combined paper and genetic genealogical research that this can be done.

Quit wasting my time, Ancestry. Just give me tools, or at least the ability to download my matches and where we match (chromosomes and positions) into a damned CSV file (you know, like FTDNA and 23andMe do?). Here are the columns to use, in this order: Name, Match Name/User ID, Chromosome, Start Position, End Position, cM, SNPs. Do it for 1cM and above. Thank you.

I don’t care if this is Beta. That is not a good excuse for putting out a stupid feature that any half-serious genetic genealogist would know is just plain wrong.

The only thing that will give them grace in my eyes is if it turns out that they just accidentally matched me up with the wrong ancestors (e.g., their algorithm loop started with a 2 instead of a 1 or something). Because I’m still wondering about Obadiah Pierce (1774-1836). But I’m not going down that path yet either.

Oh, boy. I pity the people who will take these seriously.


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89 Responses to AncestryDNA Has Now Thoroughly Lost Its Mind

  1. For the first time I recently got involved in the DNA thing for genealogy. I thought ancestry would be the guru or most reputable. I was saving to do it and for Valentines day my husband said buy yourself the DNA kit you want . I around this time Met a distant cousin on my moms dads side and she is a retired I think Bio-chemist and I asked her advice and she suggested 23and me. I ended up not doing my own DNA sample but asked my 89 year old dad if he would do it and he said yes, the preliminary results are in with two more weeks out to see potential matches of potential family ……. I feel like I don’t have a good chemistry background being that I took it twice in college and went from a ” D” to a ” D+”…… What amazes me was Barbara the distant cousin was able to go in and just tell from the prelinary results and look at other people she is related to and tell if my dad could possibly be related ….I’m new to all of this. I feel like a prospect miner coming from the east coast or the Midwest to the goldrush country thinking the streets are paved with gold……. Now I am waiting for my 23 and me kit so I can do my own DNA. Thanks for your article / story of events , interesting read
    Colleen o’Connor- Garner


    • I’m glad you went 23andMe, and a very good choice to do your dad first. I wish I had my parents’ DNA, but it is way too late for them. If you do decide to do AncestryDNA, you can then import your data into Family Tree DNA. You won’t be able to do that with your 23andMe results because of a version mismatch problem. There are a couple of good articles out there on how to get the best bang for your buck when doing DNA testing. If you are interested, I can post them. Let me know.


    • Greg Matthews says:

      Ancestry isn’t the guru of anything. They had to buy a lab to do the testing for them because they don’t know anything about DNA. This is the kind of thing that should be researched before jumping into. Ancestry is to genealogy what Wal-mart is to retail. They’re the biggest and everything is the cheapest, but when you buy cheap you get what you pay for. On the other hand you could go to a hardware store or a clothing store or the grocery store where the employees actually know about what they sell.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gene in L.A. says:

      They don’t yet have my results from the new program, but they did–some time ago–put me in 6 different circles. All of them are accurate; they show me the descent of the circle members and what they show of mine is confirmed by my trees. I don’t know what I’ll find when the new information is available, maybe educated guesses, maybe more relatives, maybe mistakes. I’ll just wait and see.


      • Peggy Muraco says:

        Gene, I would like to know if these “circles” they put you in had your name in a family tree previously? If they are researching family trees and just picking out your cousins, then this isn’t good, especially when someone is not sure who they really are. This is what happened to my daughter just yesterday. Here results came in and it showed a match to two cousins who were already in a family tree with her name in it.


  2. I hope Ancestry DNA rethinks this and provides a chromosome browser.


  3. Gaye Tannenbaum says:

    I manage several kits and have access to several others. About half of these “New Ancestors” are from collateral lines.

    My MIL (but not my husband) has three “New Ancestors” who I’ve easily proven to be downstream on a collateral line from her 7th great grandparents.

    My older son (who previously was linked to a separate tree with only his father’s side) has four “New Ancestors” who are all downstream on a collateral line from my 5th great grandparents.

    Then there are the others. Since I work with a lot of adoptees, I can’t really tell whether their “New Ancestors” are bogus or not. That being said, I find it highly suspicious that these “New Ancestors” are from Connecticut while the adoptee’s closest matches are all from the Deep South.

    Now, I did find ONE instance where Ancestry got it right. This was a close cousin to a solved adoption case. He was just starting out on Ancestry and hadn’t built out his tree very much – certainly not as far as the adoptee and many of her other cousins had. He got a “New Ancestor” that really was one. Same thing he would have gotten by using the info in the adoptee’s tree (and many many others) to extend that line.

    So far – I’m not impressed.


    • It would be very easy to write software that could determine a collateral line – since they are basing everything on everybody’s “trees.” I’ve written a similar algorithm for a company where I previously worked (although our data was accurate, but whatever…). Thanks for sharing.


  4. Adam Staines says:

    To make the world of DNA feel better I did get an email from someone who matches me (3-4th cousin) on ancestry; no known common ancestor, but when he looked at my tree he spotted an unusual naming pattern in my tree which matches his family, (its too unusal not to be a link). Whether this was the reason we matched out DNA who knows without triangulation, but a win for him….

    BTW I like the idea of ancestry actually using confirmed triangulation to ascribe SNPs to family lines, it would give them a USP.


  5. Mark Younger says:

    I got the e-mail as well and as you stated well i can not make heads or tails on who I match from the ancestry DNA information. I cannot match anything directly to my trees. I have submitted my DNA to all of the services I am aware of. Tribalcode, FTDNA, Ancestry and 23 and me. The two most useful/fruitful to me at this point has been FTDNA and 23 and me.


  6. js says:

    I had Obadiah Pierce in my email, too. I think it’s just the example, for whatever dumb reason. This is a terrible “tool.” I responded to the beta feedback page just asking them for simple tools like being able to find common matches with a specific DNA match, a chromosome browser.. anything that would actually be useful, unlike this flawed “tool.”


  7. Marci Bowman says:

    Thanks for a well done blog. They haven’t “found” any ancestors for me yet, which is just as well because all it will do is annoy me. Just give me a chromosome browser and I can find my own ancestors, I have at least 3 brick-wall grandmothers whose lines could be proven in a few hours if only they’d give me some basic chromosome match information. I can’t get the matches to use GEDMatch and without that I have nothing.

    Ancestry – after seeing your video, and reading all the comments on various blogs, I’d say this is coming very close to being a scam. Maybe we should report it to the Utah Department of Consumer Affairs.


  8. Kathleen S. says:

    I received the same email and when I clicked on it, there was actually an Obadiah Pierce (and it’s feasible as I have PIERCE ancestry) but then when I looked at the circles…it’s complex and possibly not a direct ancestor at all….


    • Okay, that’s now three of us falsely descended from Obadiah Pierce! 🙂


    • M Roarty says:

      I know this is an old thread, but Kathleen S., your comment about “direct ancestor” is spot on. Just because Ancestry reports someone as an ancestor doesn’t mean there is a direct line between you and that person. Ancestry has matched my DNA test to numerous people who are related, but not a direct line — we have a common ancestor, e.g. my 3x great grandparents — but there is not a direct line between us (and, yes, I do know there is a 2nd, 3rd or 4th cousin relationship as I have met some at family reunions).

      Something else that needs to be considered is whether or not there could be a undocumented or undiscovered adoption of someone who is your direct ancestor where you may not be aware of the true birth parents.


  9. Woody McElroy says:

    Concerning Ancestry: Can you say $$$$.


  10. Karen says:

    I got my email from Ancestry saying they had found me a new ancestor. There was Obadiah Pierce sitting there as pretty as he could be. I was so excited! I have a brick wall Pierce line and thought, finally!! I clicked on the link and boom! Obadiah was no where to be found. Instead I found ancestors of some of the people in my circle matches. I didn’t have to research…. I already knew who they were. What a big, fat disappointment! blah!


  11. samantha jones says:

    You’re very on point with this and I thing we should demand that ancestry roll this flawed tool back or reword it significantly (I love the ‘are you asking or telling me?’ line). I have cousin matches who are on ancestry who aren’t even going to understand what Beta mode means. And another blogger observed that this is going to result in people saving these erroneous new ancestors to their trees which in the future is going to cause even more issues.

    I believe that should fully feel the sting of an all out backlash on this new feature. I think that whoever was in charge of rolling it out should have known better. The misleading wording in identifying a new ancestor through the science of your dna. Wow, if it weren’t for the fact that so many of my cousin matches on ancestry also align as cousin matches on gedmatch; I would be thoroughly questioning the integrity of their entire DNA matching right now. Just because they are blatantly wrong on the science piece of this feature.


  12. ArchaeoCJ says:

    Perhaps Ancestry was trying to draw attention away from the story that broke this week about one of their workers tossing some records at a U.S. facility (military records?) to keep his/her production up. Ancestry should 1) Hire professionals– a professional Historian or professional Genealogist would never do that; 2) Stress quality over quantity in their workers– production quotas & historical records are not a good mix– another example is transcribed records with qazillions of typos; 3) As a company, try to be more scholarly & less concerned about the profit margin– with the expensive subscription fees, they should be able to do all 3 of these; 4) Reward researchers with excellent, well-documented trees by offering free subscriptions– this helps everyone– I recently found a new set of GGG Grandparents– about 15 trees on Ancestry have the wrong parents for my GG Grandfather– they are amateurs who all copy from one another; 5) Encourage people with private trees to make them public; 6) Relating to the DNA story, why don’t they Beta-test these things before mass-introducing them? Again, hire professionals– have a ready pool of Beta testers test a new feature & work with management & development. One gets the sense that Ancestry management knows little about genealogical research.; 7) Stop using fraudulent practices to lure in new customers– example, if one does an Internet search on an ancestor, you often get a result from Ancestry with a person’s ‘record’– it even says ‘record’ in the web addy / URL, that is often a completely fictitious amalgamation of similarly named persons from various trees, with 2,123,456 matches on family trees! How can Ancestry except the public to respect them with such slimy tactics?; 8) Improve your search algorithms!!! My 2nd biggest peeve with Ancestry. You get a mix of search results that should be prioritized by likelihood, but no! I’ve found pertinent results far down the list. You have to remove middle names when doing a search cuz you get the middle name as a 1st name + all the initials of that name, as well as the actual 1st name– crazy! They should use the names & relative ages of siblings as the strongest criteria for Census searching.

    Thanks for reading / letting me commiserate! 🙂

    P.S. I’ve been a professional Historian since 1986; Senior level since 1991.


    • You hit quite a few nails on their respective heads! Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ArchaeoCJ says:

        🙂 Thanks again for letting me commiserate– hopefully someone on Ancestry is reading your blog! (BTW– subscribed to your blog about an hour ago. If you’re interested, I got the link from the Mid-Antrim Yahoo mailing list. Also, I haven’t yet received an email from Ancestry, so I must be one of the few people on the planet *not* related to your Mr. Pierce– haha. (Perhaps Obadiah just got around a lot, eh? 😉 ))

        (Tried to post this about 9:30 P on 4/3– Please delete xtra if there’s a duplicate.)


      • This is the only one I saw. Apparently this article is getting around! Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • plaidsheep says:

      Absolutely spot on!! I was just venting about this in a comment on another blog.
      For example, I recently stumbled upon an improperly indexed ship manifest for one of my ancestors (thanks to an otherwise VERY well documented tree belonging to a distant cousin I found on Ancestry pointing me at the record – she doesn’t yet know that the index is wrong).
      The designation of the “children” traveling with adults was wrong – probably because the person doing the indexing did not understand how to translate French. (p.fille is “petite-fille” or “granddaughter”… not “daughter”). Easy enough to miss if you’re not looking at the actual document, and very closely! I caught it because the age of the adults didn’t seem to work with the age of the children.
      Finding this was very shocking to me, an NPE where I wasn’t expecting to find one! However, this does give me more “food for thought” in contacting DNA cousins that are potential matches on this line at 23andme.
      There is no such capability to sort this out via Ancestry. Seriously…who you thought was Ancestor Mary’s father is really her grandfather?? Now all of a sudden you don’t know who Mary’s parents were. Back to the dusty paper trail. An even bigger nightmare if the paper trail you need is in a non-English native country.
      How on EARTH are budding genetic genealogists / genealogy hobbyists going to be able to sort stuff like this out when we all still have to rely on some very badly indexed records? Add to that the “lazy genealogist” trees for people that click on every shaky leaf and “add” the data to their trees… one of my biggest rants. Some of these shaky leaf hints are horrendously off as far as location, spelling, and timeline are concerned.
      I suspect that (as is common in a lot of software companies these days), they’ve automated what they can, outsourced their coding and QE to what I like to call “code bots” in non-native-English speaking countries, while their marketing and sales people are in the US and are drive by numbers over customer satisfaction.
      Honestly, I think they offered a better product years ago than they do today, but I still tested with them and are waiting to see what the “circles” hold for me.
      It’s a bit like taking very bitter medicine – given the brick walls in my trees I had to leave no stone un-turned.



  13. Karen McIntosh says:

    I received the same email and when I googled Obediah or was it Obadiah Pierce, I found a bed and breakfast in Massachusetts named for him and he was a sea captain. Maybe he had a girlfriend in every port? 😳

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I reposted in a FB genealogy/DNA group that I co-admin, and the response was deafening!!!


  15. Jan Tripp says:

    Thanks for the interesting post. The new Ancestry technology roll-out comes a week after I sent them my kit. It should be interesting when my lab results come in from what I read here and elsewhere on their new science. The results are, as one of my old co-workers would say “fantastic,” or not to be believed.

    I’ve tested at FTDNA for the purpose of confirming my grandfather had an unacknowledged son 119 years ago. A family legend in the son’s family, I only learned about it recently. Autosomal DNA proved the relationship where not too surprisingly no paper trail exists. Having said that, I have numerous 2nd to 4th cousin matches that are seemingly unrelated to me. The common surnames are BROWN and SMITH with absolutely no common ancestors in the same place or time. This looks to me like a wild goose chase and time better spent elsewhere.

    My hope at Ancestry is that it will give me another pool of genes that I can match to. My current interest is in resolving a brick wall with a maternal 3X great-grandmother. I’ve done mtDNA testing and that has pointed me to Ireland in the early 19th century.

    The upside is that Ancestry will sell more kits to new customers that will improve my chances of solving my problem. The downside is the hype and promise goes way beyond the “shaky leaf” advertising and promises customers much more than could possibly be delivered. Seasoned genealogists know this but it is going to drive people away when Ancestry gives them a family tree looking like a tarot card reader made it up.


  16. Cheryl Sigsbee says:

    Thank you for this information. I’ve been disheartened with Ancestry DNA since they reworked the matches and took away people that I had confirmed were actually related to my family tree. I even gave them “gold stars.” I called Ancestry and asked them to reinstate my gold star matches because I had confirmed the relationships, but they did not. Now, I can’t depend on Ancestry for correct matches like before. So sad.


  17. Ann Hinds says:

    I’m glad to see this. I had hoped others would have jumped in and filled out their questionnaire about the page. I sort of gave them an ear full. I am doing the Do-Over on a private tree. My main tree is wrong and I now know that. I was appalled to see it as one of the sources for the combined (what did you call it), possibly awful incorrect horrendous undocumented trees. It’s not that bad but my new tree is documented and all the ducks are in a row. I think their new page does even more damage.


  18. carolmcl says:

    I’ve not had any luck with anyone from 23&me either, tho…it shows that I ‘match up’ with many many people, but they don’t know their genealogy, so what good is it? What good is it knowing where we match up with someone on our dna strands, either, if people don’t know their genealogy?!


  19. Theresa Ager says:

    I got Obadiah Pierce, also. I wonder how many people got the same person? I am not paying right now, so I didn’t get the page about Peter Hamblin, but I actually have someone with the surname Hamblin in my tree.


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  22. toni says:

    I was starting to think I would buy the kit when it got to $50. Now I think not. I spend money on the kit and still have to pay the subscription to ancestry to get the answers? Not going to happen at my house until I win the big one. I’ll just keep plodding away at the paper stuff. It’s the story I’m after, not the More is Better.


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  24. renegadesouth says:

    I am so glad that I visited your blog, and this post in particular. I have been so disgusted with Ancestry DNA and the “matches” they have found for me. Almost none of them make sense at all–out of my many, many surnames (some quite unusual), Ancestry will assign me a cousin based on the shared name of something like “Davis”, or “Evans”. Not only are these names common, they appear so far back in my family tree as to be almost meaningless in terms of kinship. I have no expertise in DNA analysis, but I perceived from this that most of the matches are indeed paper matches rather than biologically determined. Seems like I could make most of them myself simply by studying people’s trees!

    Vikki Bynum


    • The only advantage I see to AncestryDNA is that their DNA database is so large, and since I have been working with genetic genealogy for about a year and a half, there is potential there – but only potential. They leave us wanting for tools, and make me growl. Thank you for reading and following!


  25. jimwalls9 says:

    I just noticed that my DNA information was no longer on my Ancestry page. I called and they told me that the old information was removed and that I had to buy a new test. My complaint is that I originally bought the test back in 2008 at about $120 as I recall. Then a few years later they got me to upgrade to the “new” 42 marker info from the original test and that was another $50 +/-.
    So now I’m left with the decision to buy the new test at $110 (including shipping) or just switch to FTM or some other research site. What do you folks think (recommend) ?


  26. Bill says:

    A few thoughts on Ancestry. As for the “implied” relatives, I have not much to say except that the people who appear in my New Ancestor Discoveries DNA circles also all appear in my known ancestor DNA circles, but not in my tree. Are they related to me? Possibly, which is all Ancestry is saying, I suppose.

    As for the usefulness of Ancestry’s autosomal test in general, for my purposes it has turned out to be the most useful tool that I used in finding my previously unknown biological father. I first tried as a simple tree-making tool to build out my family tree, and then I decided to try the DNA test just as a lark. I found the surprising result that I had no matches that included my last name. At first, I put this down to the likely possibility that no one genetically close to me had been tested. Then I started thinking about a few things that my recently deceased mother had hinted at during my youth (I’m now in my 50’s). Although my results returned no one with my last name, I did have second cousin matches who did not appear at all in my tree and in whose trees I did not recognize anyone. I decided that it was quite possible my biological father (whom I had never met) was not, in fact, my father. I tracked down a supposed half-sister I had never met via an online obituary for the man I thought was my father, and she told me that she had always been aware of my existence and that “our” father admitted that he was my father, at least biologically. She agreed to take the autosomal DNA test and the results showed we were not related and none of her results appeared in my list of matches. That’s when I contacted the unknown second cousin through Ancestry’s message service, and she began to help me uncover the truth. After about four months of digging through trees and using the DNA matches (along with help from other Ancestry members), I found out who my father was, and it turns out that I had actually met him once when I was about 12 years old. I am in contact with previously unknown half-brothers and a half-sister, one of whom took a test that verified our close relationship (the results say “close family – first cousin,” the same results I got when I tested my known half-brother with whom I share our mother). Unfortunately, my bio father passed away five years ago, but his sisters and my half-siblings are still around.

    As I became obsessed with finding my father, I decided during the search to do three things: (1) upload my Ancestry results to Family Tree DNA; (2) take the Family Tree Y-DNA test; and (3) upload the results of my Ancestry DNA results to I had particularly high hopes for the FTDNA Y-DNA test, as it tests only for male DNA, which would hopefully show who my father was, but it turned out to be the least useful of all my new tools because no one closely related has been tested (so far). The GEDmatch data, although it did not lead me to my father, was intriguing, as it provided all of the chromosome-matching tools (and more) that people clamor for (the basic matching info which matches you against tested kits from all three major DNA testing services is free, and for a $5 donation I had access to all of the chromosome and other advanced tools). But it was Ancestry’s large and (in crucial instances) helpful database of people and the invaluable collaboration I got from other Ancestry members in key situations that turned out to be the most useful for me.

    So, in my unusual circumstances,’s autosomal DNA test was the most helpful of all my tools. However, it would definitely be better if Ancestry provided the tools that GEDmatch provides for (almost) free, as that would make all the better. I have no idea why they refuse to do so. In the meantime, I suggest that people who need the capability to do chromosome matching upload their test kit results to GEDmatch, as they provide a terrific set of tools.

    Sorry for the long post, but I am still excited about having found my bio father, aunts, and half-siblings and wanted to share the news with anyone who is doing a similar search for an unknown mother of father and let them know it is possible to find success. I know that I was tremendously lucky in having matches to my DNA test who had public trees and who turned out to be very helpful (it is very disappointing to find private trees and people who don’t respond to requests–whey do they even do the test?). If it hadn’t been for the help of my previously unknown second cousin and one other Ancestry member, I may not have been successful in my search.


    • Congratulations on your finds! That is wonderful. You are right to be excited.


    • MKD says:

      I think you bring up a lot of great points in regards to your experience. I’ve been seriously considering purchasing the DNA kit and am curious to see if anything unexpected turns up. I can’t imagine that in ALL my documented generations, there hasn’t been one case of an unknown affair or illegitimate child. All it takes is just one, to throw off generations of documented ancestors. Just because we feel confident that our documentation proves our genealogy, doesn’t mean things are always as they appear! 🙂 Maybe Ancestry is doing a better job than people think! 🙂


      • MKD, thanks for commenting. I still have nothing good to say about the New Ancestry Discoveries from my own experience. Maybe someday, one will make sense. Honestly, there is one that makes sense if the genealogy is right, but I’m pretety sure all of the trees have as their source the same book. The other dozen or so make no sense.

        Ancestry has added some features since this article that I like, especially the Shared Matches feature. However, I believe the last I heard, it ony matches if the relationships are 4th cousin or closer.

        If you test, I recommend AncestryDNA first, then download your results and upload them into FamilyTreeDNA and GEDMATCH. You can find out more about those sites from Roberta Estes’ blog DNAExplained, Judy Russell’s blog The Legal Genealogist, and other places on the web.


      • toni says:

        I agree. And the people at GEDMatch and FTDNA will answer your emails. Many have trees that you can look at.


      • toni says:

        Another thought I hadn’t considered. Well, I sort of have because I have some ancestors with a very colorful past. However, they did not hide it! Maybe we need two trees. The blood one and the family one. I was not adopted and my DNA is connecting me with cousins all the time. I know there was some hanky pankey in 1650, it doesn’t change my family. I would label them Family Tree and Ancestor Tree.


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  28. pianogirl says:

    I wish Ancestry had a chromosome browser. It does not do as well on that front as FTDNA. However, it does MUCH better on the genealogy side than the others. A DNA match does me no good if I can’t figure out where our connection could be because there is no family tree documented.
    I think you need to use your head when examining potential matches. i have found that their ranges for cousins are exactly in line with my documented family tree. I also downloaded to Gedmatch and FTDNA so it is helpful not to just use one place. Ancestry definitely by far has the better user interface. I have found it helpful to cross-check with all of them though.


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  32. I truly enjoy reading on this internet site , it has fantastic content . “He who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it.” by Henry George.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Scott Offord says:

    Somewhat related….

    On this website, users can enter the date on which their DNA kit was activated, the date that the kit arrived at the lab, the date the lab began processing their kit, and the date the lab was done processing their DNA sample.

    To enter your own DNA processing times for AncestryDNA, you must first create an account here. If you already created an account, log in to add or update your dates.

    Providing your dates here on this website will help you and others who are getting their DNA tested to get a better understanding of current or average wait times.

    In addition to the date fields that already existed, today we added three new columns to the website that show the actual number of day it took:

    – Arrival to Processing Begins
    – Processing Begins to Done
    – Arrival to Done

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Nancy Susan Barwick says:

    I am waiting for my Ancestry DNA results. My brother had three done at FTDNA and there are only a few out of over 3,000 that I can find how the contributor relates back to my lines. I am hoping Ancestry results can be another tool to use with the others. I started using Ancestry when it was new and after a year or so dropped it because of all the horrible mistakes in the Trees. I was spending more time sending emails showing errors than researching some days. Memorable one was a bunch of trees had ME as the WIFE of my 5th great grandfather. I am old, but not that old. Those trees have to be approached with caution.


    • That’s hilarious.

      I stopped worrying about correcting others’ trees long ago. Even my favorite ancestral line is all messed up for others because of incorrect research and/or stories. People take others’ research as fact without verification. Genealogy is a neverending adventure.

      There are still issues with AncestryDNA. I have chosen to ignore the crazy things and do what I can with the good features. Several tools have been added since I wrote this article. In particular is the Shared Matches tool. Although it is not as good as tools that you will find on GEDMATCH or Family Tree DNA, it does have its benefits.

      Thank you for sharing, Nancy.


  35. Jerri Griffith says:

    It’s rather ironic that I found your blog post, as it seems my daughter, through her grandfather, is related to you. Your username caught my eye when it first came up on her matches list and I wondered when I saw it today in my google results (for a generic search about ancestry turn around times). Then I followed the link and RENFRO! It’s a small…Internet.


  36. Joyce says:

    This ancestry tool (you share DNA with people from this common ancestor) was what enabled me to find my adopted husband’s father. BUT key to that was he had a 2nd cousin match that helped. It only helps with either a well developed tree or a match that has a decent tree. You cannot fault ancestry for undeveloped trees…you just have not found the trees that will help you…but they obviously exist or ancestry could not have generated the email.


    • Joyce says:

      PS since I followed the lines, back to Canada, hubby has 270 DNA matches confirmed by DNA and trees. It does work IF you can find decent trees to work with. BTW I had to dig up some obits for kids not on Census, due to mother dying young and kids being “farmed out”…so you still need to do some of your own work. With DNA matches that have very little tree info, I do my own mirror tree. That is what I did in above case until I was sure.

      It may not help everyone, but it can help. Beware of NPE’s that you may not know about. A paper trail is only so much help. If a wife married and died when 1st or 2nd child was born (fairly common in early times) -the wife you see on various pages, Census records etc may not be the mother of the child you are looking at.

      I have even run across kids in that situation who did not know who their birth mother was. In early times, many kids were kept in the dark, even as it related to them being adopted.

      Paper trails are useful, no doubt…but when “glitches”come up, look at the other possibilities which are not always easy to find.


    • Mike says:

      You cannot access trees unless you pay for it. Many trees are private and managed by someone. They never answer inquiries.


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