Ancestry is Playing Around With Your DNA

>> Thursday, June 4, 2015

And you have no say in the matter.

Ancestry has decided to reinvent not only genetic genealogy, but also genealogy itself.
They do not give us the ability to check their predictions against the known facts of genetic genealogy by refusing to provide a chromosome browser capability.If you can get your match to upload their results to gedmatch that is wonderful. Then I can get an idea of how this person might fit into the family I am helping.

However, and it is a really big however only about 10% of the Ancestry testers make it to gedmatch, So we can not check between multiple matches. Another big "However", Ancestry provides the capability to share DNA results. I have records of sending out several hundred sharing requests and have received 3 agreements to do that.

Now Ancestry has taken it upon themselves to do 3 things, supposedly in place of a chromosome browser. One of their excuses has been that the average DNA tester cannot work with chromosome data. Has anyone at the company tried to figure out how the new approaches that Ancestry now gives us really works for adoptees. It s a lot more complex than working with chromosome data, I assure you.

The 3 things Ancestry has given us are:

DNA Circles; A grouping of people Ancestry has decided are related to you, no matter what the DNA says, The position is that they take a couple of people who do share DNA with you and try to link up others who share tree connections in their collections. One of my questions after writing a lesson on using these tools, is why do I want to include third cousins 3 times removed in my tree? Almost all of the people they present as being related to me are - so what? They are not people one would normally have added to a family tree. I will admit that I identified the offspring of a very distant cousin through these circles, but if I had wanted to, I would have already discovered them in a more direct way.

Predicted Ancestors, called New Ancestor Discoveries. I prefer to refer to these as Predicted Ancestors as they may be someone's New Ancestor Discoveries, but they are not mine. As an adoption researcher, they might as well give me the Emperor of China. I would have as much chance of finding the tie in as I do with these "NAD"s.

Your Ancestor's Life. Now here comes Ancestry's attempt to reinvent your genealogy. For your DNA Circles matches and Predicted Ancestors, they scrape the bottom of the barrel and lump together all those erroneous trees and give your Ancestor a totally new life. My third great-grandfather, for instance, one of a line of namesakes, marries his step mother in their version, and moves around the State of Maine when in fact, the county and town names changed. Who can I get to correct this? Ancestry is contaminating the carefully researched life histories reported by many genealogists, In my book, this is a crime.

I do suggest to people that they test first with Ancestry as the database and resources are so huge that I am eventually solving many of my cases with the help of their data. There is a difference in data and information. I am looking at Ancestry for data. They want to give me information, data that they have processed and given their slant.

When I suggest that people test with Ancestry, I tell them that they must upload the results to Gedmatch and to FTDNA so I have a backbone of chromosome data to work with. That has been working reasonably well. If possible a person should also test with 23andme so that they can fish in all the ponds of test takers.

We are all aware that interpreting your test results can involve a lot of work. The advertisements make it sound like you test and they hand you the ancestors you need to identify, Well, it does  not work that way. We at DNAAdoption and DNAGedcom work hard to provide educational resources to help you.

I have been rewriting our classes with a different approach in mind. What if I give you the chance to actually work through a case with me. I explain the theories and facts along the way and provide lots of resource and hints about how to proceed.  We have split our old class into a Basic Autosomal Class and an Advanced Class. The Basic will give you all the instruction you need for 95% of the cases, but if you have a particularly difficult case or you are a DNA Junkie type person, I will go deeper into some advanced techniques in the Advanced Class.

We also have a Beginning Class for the very new Beginner,We have First Look classes for when you get your First Results to help you move around the vendor's web site and a Y-DNA class.

You can see the list of classes at We have an automatic sign up process that takes payment through Paypal.  You can always send us a check instead if you prefer. We have extremely low charges for these online classes that you take at your own pace. If you have a financial hardship we will waive the fee.

I am sorry it was so long between posts but I have been awfully busy.I hope this one helps you to skeptically look at Ancestry information and prove or disprove it in your search.

Happy Searching and enjoy the journey



Margo Lurvey November 23, 2015 at 10:44 PM  

Diane, I wish I had read your blog before I found the mess that Ancestry has made with the DNA circles and the common ancestors profile! Can you repost it to the newbie group?


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