The Latest Innovations in DNA and Genealogy
The latest, greatest information about DNA and Genealogy was presented at Roots Tech. There were exciting new programs, tools, and technology announced and explained by DNA companies, and leading experts in the field.
Nicole wrote eloquently about some of the classes she attended, and the fascinating concepts presented. It is an exciting time to be involved in genealogy, with new and improved ways of accessing and analyzing information at our fingertips!
This article will highlight two of the new programs announced at RootsTech: ThruLines™ by AncestryDNA and The Theory of Family Relativity™ by MyHeritage.
What it is
ThruLines™ at AncestryDNA.com is a Beta program that searches for people who appear in your family tree – that is connected to your DNA results – and other Ancestry member trees. ThruLines creates a pedigree-like chart that shows suggested connections between you and your DNA matches. The potential relationships between you and your DNA match are positioned in the pedigree chart along with the amount of DNA you share.
The ThruLines tutorial says,
“ThruLines makes it easier than ever to make new discoveries—whether it’s finding out which ancestors connect you to your DNA matches or analyzing how well your DNA match relationships line up with what you know about your family’s history.
Using the public or private searchable tree linked to your AncestryDNA test, we search for people who appear in both your tree or other Ancestry member trees that are marked as public or private searchable. ThruLines uses this information to illustrate how you and your DNA matches might be related through common ancestors.
ThruLines may also suggest potential ancestors. They will appear with a dashed outline around their names. These are people who are not in your family tree, but appear in the trees of other Ancestry members who may share a common ancestor with you.
People who appear in ThruLines are labeled with their potential relationship to you based on their position in your family tree. Your DNA matches are also labeled with how many centimorgans (cM) of DNA you share and the relationships that are possible between you. These DNA relationships, shown with relationships suggested in your tree, can help you understand if your DNA matches support what you know about your family’s history.”
The Theory of Family Relativity™ is a new feature at MyHeritage.com that offers theories about how you and your DNA matches might be related. One or more theories are listed in a pedigree-like graphic that illustrates the generations from you to your common ancestor and back down to your DNA match. Shared Smart Matches™, Shared Ancestral Surnames, or Shared Ancestral Places are new elements that assist in identifying family connections between your family tree and others in the database. Family trees and historical records are combined with DNA information and theories are suggested that simplify the process of identifying the connection between you and your DNA match.
(Image used with permission from MyHeritage)
MyHeritage describes the new feature,
“This unprecedented feature helps you make the most of your DNA Matches by incorporating genealogical information from all our collections of nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles, to offer theories on how you and your DNA Matches might be related. If you’ve taken a MyHeritage DNA test or uploaded your DNA results to MyHeritage, this revolutionary technology may offer astounding new information on your family connections.
Until now, family history enthusiasts used two distinct domains for making discoveries: the paper-trail world of historical records and family trees, and the biological world of DNA connections. When you received DNA Matches, it was often not clear how exactly the match is related to you and who your common ancestor may be. The “holy grail” of genetic genealogy is receiving DNA Matches where you know the full relationship path between you and each DNA Match and can add new information to your tree based on that…. With the release of the Theory of Family Relativity™, we have bridged the gap between DNA Matches and historical records and integrated both worlds seamlessly. The “holy grail” has been found!
Through this new feature, we provide you with leads explaining the relationship between your matches based on our entire collection of family trees and historical records, removing the guesswork, and saving you hours of research time. You can then examine the theories and the information associated with them and verify their correctness.”
What it isn’t
ThruLines ™ does not use your actual DNA results to make connections between you and your DNA matches. My adopted cousin took a DNA test to help him identify his biological relatives. ThruLines, ™ “Possible Ancestors,” created pedigrees based on his adoptive family. It did, however, say that he may not be related to any DNA matches through those possible ancestors. In this case, ThruLines did not help achieve the research objective of finding his biological family. The results used the genealogical information available, but not the science.
Theory of Family Relativity™ also does not use the actual information in your DNA to make connections, but it does bridge the relationship by using the amount of DNA shared with a match and records and available trees to identify the pathway between you, your common ancestors, and your DNA match.
What it means
-ThruLines primarily uses genealogical records and information about matches to create the ThruLines™ and Possible Ancestor hints. You must have at least a 3 or 4 generation family tree connected to your DNA to show up in Thrulines.™
-With Theory of Family Relativity™ You get to decide which of the theories about the relationship path between you and your DNA matches is correct by looking at which sources of information that helped MyHeritage establish the connection.
-You have some exploring to do- this gives you names of possible relatives to investigate, but it does not necessarily mean that they are genetically related to you.
How it can help you
Now you have a logical starting point, or a short cut to figuring out who your DNA matches are and how you connect to them. Before these features were launched, it was necessary to look through the trees of each DNA match – if they had a tree – look for common surnames and build a connection between your tree and their tree. It was more difficult to identify the connections and figure out the identity of some of the DNA matches.
ThruLines™ at AncestryDNA.com and the Theory of Family Relativity™ at MyHeritage.com help you with that process by suggesting connections between DNA matches. Just like any short-cut, you need to use the clues available to make sure you are on the right path. In genetic genealogy, those clues are the amount of DNA shared, analysis, and genealogical records.
Try out these 2 new features and give feedback to the companies about how they work for you. It’s exciting to have new tools to Research like a Pro with DNA!
 AncestryDNA, “Thrulines™ Introduction Tutorial,” Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 March 2019) > DNA > Your DNA Results Summary > Explore ThruLines > Question mark image > View Introduction Tutorial > pgs. 1-4.
 Esther, “Introducing The Theory of Family Relativity™ — a Genealogy Game-Changer,” MyHeritage, 28 February 2016, (https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/02/introducing-the-theory-of-family-relativity-a-genealogy-game-changer/#start_comments : accessed 6 March 2019), para. 1-4.