Last week at RootsTech, ancestry.com unveiled three new features for users. The details of their announcement of the features is here. The feature I have been exploring is the Common Ancestors feature for DNA matches. The directions for enabling these new features are found in the ancestry announcement here. Remember, these features are in beta, which means they are not perfect (and may never be), and issues or errors may (will) happen.
I have been working through my DNA matches on ancestry and before the introduction of this new feature I had identified how I was related to 279 matches. The new common ancestors filter (green leaf, in circled in blue box above), announced last week at RootsTech, identified an additional 215 new DNA matches for me. That is 215 matches over and above the 279 matches I had already identified!
So far I have worked through 50 of the matches. Are they all perfect? No, are there a couple of matches that I’m not sure work, or the suggested path to relationship seems wrong. Not as many as I expected, 4 out of 50, which isn’t too bad. I also have 2 matches, one at 101 cM and one at 93cM where ancestry identified a match that I didn’t (common ancestor is 6th great grandparents), but missed the match where we are also 3rd cousins, 1 time removed.
The other feature ancestry.com introduced as part of the new DNA matches is the ability to attach colored dots (2nd blue box above on the right) to a person. You can define a maximum of 24 groups. I tried one scheme and ditched it, in favor of my current scheme. My scheme is:
- Star = identified/confirmed lineage
- A dark pink dot = mom’s side of the family (Barbara)
- A dark blue dot = dad’s side of the family (Marvin)
- Pinks, reds and oranges = primary surnames on my mom’s side of the family (Smeltzer, Cribbs, Cunningham, Faith, Gibson, …)
- Blues, greens and yellows = primary surnames on my dad’s side of the family (Williams, Moorhouse, Hayes, McGranahan, Kenley, Charlesworth, …)
Forgot what a dot represents? No problem, the list shows you the names associated with the color, and if you hover the cursor over the color it tells you the group name!
Are these new features perfect? No, but it is certainly helping me more quickly identify how I am related to a DNA match, and isn’t that the goal?