Friday, July 14, 2017

Working Through Ancestry DNA Matches

After having my mtDNA tested with Family Tree DNA in 2006 and adding the Family Finder in 2013, I thought I was done. Although I uploaded the results to GEDMATCH, I've never taken the time to master their tools or understand their system.

This year, I decided to "get serious" about working through my Family Tree DNA matches and finally also gave in to the Big, Bad

As much as I am not a fan of their prices, I couldn't ignore the fact that they have more than 4 million users in their DNA database OR that my mother, Nana, and two of my Nana's first cousins have tested there. Knowing I could use those existing results as part of the triangulation process helped me decide to go for it. And, yes, Ancestry managed to woo me into the world subscription, so I could get Canadian and British records. *shakes fist just a bit*

That said, I'm more pleased with the DNA service than I expected. Working your way through matches is simplified in a way. How is that?

The Hint Leaf

That little green leaf is your friend. It says, "Why yes, we've found that you and this match share an ancestor."

So my first step in working through my matches has been to look at the ones with leaves, note who our shared ancestors are, and then star the person so I know I've already looked at them. I'm sure people have different ways of organizing their match information and this is, currently, mine.

No Tree & The Privacy Lock

Oh dear. These are a little trickier. However, No Family Tree is a tad deceiving because, in some instances, there is a family tree. The person taking or managing the test just hasn't linked it to a user. So it's worth it to click these matches and see if there's an unlinked family tree.

Of course, those matches with a lock have made their family tree private. Depending on how close a match they are, which other matches you share them with, or how you're working your way through matches, you may or may not find it worth your while to contact them.

Most frustrating to me are the ones who have a hint leaf, showing me a shared ancestor is identified based on our match. It's like a tantalizing carrot held just out of reach by that layer of privacy the user has chosen to add.

In that case, I send a message that asks them a very specific question:

"Would you mind letting me know who our shared ancestor(s) is/are, just so I can make note of it?"

And then I tell them my specific goal with regard to my DNA test:

"I'm looking to connect with descendants of a very specific shared, brick wall ancestor and first trying to eliminate everyone on my match list with a leaf by their name."

That way, they know I'm not out to do anything nefarious. I'm just using process of elimination as my first step in working through my DNA matches.

Next step: triangulating those matches closest to the brick wall ancestor, since I would like to narrow down my focus to that ancestor and her spouses.

Copyright (c) 2017 Wendy L. Callahan

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