Ancestry Tools [in Beta] for Genetic Genealogy by Neal Varner and Kelly Becker – Class Notes from RootsTech 2019
Kelley Becker and Neal Varner from AncestryDNA shared new genetic genealogy tools at their site! Some are in beta still, meaning they are brand new and still under development and you have to sign up to try them. Go to Ancestry.com/Beta to sign up to try these new features. I’m sharing my notes from their class at RootsTech 2019 yesterday.
New & Improved Tools for DNA Matches [new filters]
You can now easily switch between tests with the test picker tool. Also, you can easily see in the AncestryDNA match list if the match is on your mother’s side or father’s side. It’s helpful to know which side of the family we share with a match. If your biological parents have been tested, AncestryDNA will clearly show which side the match is on. You can have an aunt, uncle, or cousin tested, then use the shared matches to make a hypothesis about which side they are on.
There are several new filters to help you sort your DNA Matches: groups, notes, messaged, trees, common ancestors.
Custom Groups – This is the top requested feature – to be able to color code or label your DNA matches! It’s now live at AncestryDNA. You can color code up your matches into up to 24 custom groups!
Common Ancestors Filter – This uses ThruLines and helps you get up to two times more matches than you had before. This can open up doors to new discoveries. “Ancestry trees suggest you and K.W. are related through [possible ancestor] Susan C. Bingham.” Then you can go evaluate these possible ancestors.
Relationship Likelihood – See the relationships that are possible based on the amount of DNA you share. i.e. there is a 40% chance that you are 2nd cousin 1x removed. This chart is available on every relationship view. You can also access it from the DNA match view when you click the “i” info button.
See how you may be related to your DNA matches through common ancestors.
Go to the AncestryDNA home page and you will see the third card on the right side of the screen is ThruLines. You’ll see a nice tutorial about how to use it.
If Neal asks, “who else might be related to me through my ancestor, Susan Bingham?” he can click on the match, then click ThruLines. “ThruLines suggests that you may be related to 18 DNA matches through Susan Bingham.”
You can view the match suggestions in either relationship view or list view. Neal said, “Being able to see multiple descendants under a common ancestor show the distance from me. By showing all these people who descend from the common ancestor, we can see if everyone makes sense. Using the relationship chart, you can see if this matches the probabilities of the relationships predicted, and then go forward and verify them with traditional genealogy research.”
ThruLines shows you a list of ancestors who are in your tree and helps you explore the potential descendants of that ancestor using shared matches and clustering.
Case Study: Identifying a Close Match
1 out of every 8 parents has had children with more than 1 partner. Half relationships are 2.5 times more common than full relationships between matches. This affected Neal’s family last summer as he had a new match named Donna who was estimated to be a 1-2nd cousin. Ancestry predicted Donna was on his mother’s side, because Neal’s mother had tested. Neal and Donna shared 769 centimorgans of DNA, across 29 segments. He looked at Donna’s age group in her Ancestry profile, age 50-59, same age as his mother. He eliminated a lot of the possible relationships from the possible relationship chart because of her age, and theorized that Donna was a half aunt/uncle.
Neal looked at his shared matches with Donna. He created a group of shared matches with her and another one around his grandmother, who had tested, and titled the group “Maternal Grandmother.” Using the relationship probabilities and the age, he figured out that she was his half-aunt.
Case Study: Multiple Relationships
The custom of only marrying within one’s community [endogamy] creates challenges in identifying DNA matches. You may have more than one shared ancestor with a match there is endogamy in your family tree. Here are some facts about having multiple relationships with DNA matches:
– 17% of possible relationships based on the amount of shared DNA are affected by multiple relationships
– 4.4% of possible relationships based on the amount of shared DNA are significantly affected by multiple relationships.
Using ThruLines, Neal saw that one of his matches seemed possibly related through two different common ancestors. This match, Lesley, could have been his aunt or his 4th cousin.
Step 1: Which Relationships Are Possible? Use the predicted relationship chart.
Step 2: Look at family tree and documents
Step 3: Create custom groups to find overlapping matches.
Neal confirmed that he is both the nephew and 4th cousin of his aunt; and he found out that he is his own 4th cousin once removed.
Have you tried ThruLines yet? How about the beta tools? Don’t forget to go sign up for beta! Go to https://Ancestry.com/Beta to sign up. Here is a screenshot of the page to sign up. It’s easy, you just toggle them to be on.