RootsFinder, owned by FindMyPast, is a family tree building and DNA analysis website. The premium level allows the use of DNA features and costs $5 a month. RootsFinder has a DNA feature called the triangulation (cluster) view, which allows you to view your matches in clusters – otherwise known as a network graph. In a network graph, the nodes are DNA matches and the connecting lines are shared match connections. I’m sharing how to view your AncestryDNA matches and shared matches as clusters in RootsFinder. Viewing your matches in clusters helps you find relevant matches that are probably related along one family line and can help you as you research a specific ancestor in your family tree. RootsFinder has a Facebook group called RootsFinder DNA Tools which you might want to join.
Tree Set Up
Import your gedcom file to create your tree. I recommend just bringing over the ancestors in your tree for about 7-8 generations. Follow this tutorial from RootsFinder to add your tree: How to Start a Tree with a GEDCOM.
DNA Set Up
Follow the instructions here to set up your DNA profiles: Getting Started: Create Your DNA Profile
Importing Match and ICW Files
Next, you will download your AncestryDNA matches using DNAGedcom. This requires a subscription to DNAGedcom. After you subscribe, you can download the DNAGedcom client. DNAGedcom creates two .csv files – the match (m) file, and the in common with (icw) file. I imported the ‘m’ and ‘icw’ files to RootsFinder. To add DNA matches to your RootsFinder account, follow these tutorials:
The screenshots of DNAGedcom in these tutorials are a bit outdated. I recommend that you download a subset of your matches. I downloaded 40-200 cM. If you download all your Ancestry matches, it will take a very long time (2-3 days). Also, the RootsFinder triangulation is not able to load more than 25,000 shared match connections. You may get this message: “There are over 25,000 links between matches, which is too many to show. Please click on “Filters” to add a filter.” If you get this message when you go to triangulation view, click ‘filters’ and change the centimorgan range so there are less matches selected.
The AncestryDNA matches I downloaded with DNAGedcom included the notes I had made about common ancestors with some of the matches. These imported into RootsFinder, along with links to the match page and the match’s tree at Ancestry. I used these notes to help me color code the matches. RootsFinder helps you do this easily by asking who the match is. You can specify that the match is a descendant of someone in your RootsFinder tree. When you do this, RootsFinder gives a color to the match. The help article about color coding your matches says “By Default, the paternal paternal line is blue; the maternal paternal line is green; the maternal paternal line is red; and the maternal maternal line is yellow.”
After you have color coded your matches, your triangulation view will be colored. I was not able to identify all the matches, so the ones that I didn’t identify a common ancestor for will remain white with black lines in the triangulation view. Click on the arrow down at the top of the DNA page, then click “triangulation.” If you have a lot of matches and shared matches in the files you uploaded, you will need to select a filter so the triangulation page is able to load. I chose to view matches from 70-120 cM. The triangulation view shows shared match connections when using matches from AncestryDNA. At first, you may see a blob of interconnected matches, like this:
By clicking the outward facing arrows at the top next to the plus and minus sign, you can expand the network graph to more clearly separate clusters. As you do this, you may need to click the zoom out (-) button.
The maternal lines, yellow and red, share several double cousins. As you can see, the red and yellow clusters are interconnected. The paternal lines separated out nicely into green and blue clusters. Although I didn’t know all the matches and their common ancestors, I can now infer that the unknown matches in the blue cluster are from the paternal paternal line.
I then selected someone in the blue cluster – Linda. Then, I chose to view only matches connected to her. I chose a larger range of centimorgans to view: 40-200 cM. I also chose to include matches up to 2 degrees of separation from Linda. This resulted in 100 matches connected to Linda, many of them probably related on the paternal paternal side.
The following network graph resulted:
You can also select more than one DNA match in a cluster by using the keyboard shortcut ctrl+click. From there, click the eye icon to see connections to the selected matches. This helps you hone in on certain clusters and learn more about one line of the family. To learn more about features of the triangulation view, read this article: Triangulation Features.
Triangulation Data from GEDmatch
If you want to try using the network graph feature with triangulation data from Tier 1 GEDmatch, follow this tutorial: Triangulation Set Up, Update and Navigation. This view shows you clusters of individuals who share segments, instead of ‘icw’ or shared matches utilized above in the AncestryDNA example.