Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Using the New Ancestry DNA Matching Tools Features

Ancestry.com announced their new DNA Matching Tools page with added DNA features last week at RootsTech - see Ancestry.com Introduces New and Improved DNA Matching Tools Feature in Beta.

With all of the RootsTech hoopla, I haven't had much time to work with it until this week, so here is my review of these new and "improved" features:

1)  You have to select "Extras" on the Ancestry.com home page to get to the "Ancestry Lab" page in order to "Enable" the new DNA Matching Tools.  

2)  Once you have Enabled the New & Improved DNA Matches, then you can go to your "DNA Matches" list and see the revised format for your matches:

The DNA Matches are still listed according to the perceived relationships and the amount of shared DNA (in cM) of each match.  To the right of the Match's name is the perceived relationship and the number of cM and segments.  In the right-hand column there is a set of colored icons - a "star" that is user selected (I use the star to tell me if I have evaluated the match against shared matches and have added a note), and a link to "Add to Group."

The "Group" feature is new - it's a dropdown menu at the top of the Match list.  When you add your DNA match to a specific group, then clicking the "Group" down arrow will open the list of DNA Matches assigned by you to each group.

There is also a "Filter" dropdown menu next to the "Group" dropdown menu, and that is also new to this set of DNA Tools.  I won't discuss that in this blog post.

Below the "Add to Group" link on the right side of the screen above is your Note for the DNA Match, but only the first 60 or so characters of your Note.

3)  In order to see information about each DNA Match, you can click on the Match's photo or their name on the left-hand side of the screen above.  I selected one of my DNA Matches further down the list, and saw (three screens below):

*  The first screen (above) has my photo and would have my DNA Match's photo if s/he has one.  It tells me the predicted relationship, the amount of shared DNA and segments, and my full Note.

*  The second screen is:

This second screen shows the most important features - the  family tree of the DNA Match (if it is public), the common ancestors with the DNA Match, and the Shared Matches - the other DNA Matches that share DNA with me and this DNA Match, presumably in the same segment region of my 22 autosomal chromosomes.

I can click on the common ancestor person to show the descent from the common ancestor for me and this DNA Match. 

The screen above shows the top six Shared Matches, and I can click on the green "View all shared matches" button to see all of them if there are more than six.

*  The third screen on the DNA Match page shows the ethnicity estimates, the world map of ethnicity regions, and the Shared Migrations information for me and this DNA Match.

4)  I wanted to use the "Group" function from the first screen of the DNA Match page, so for this specific DNA Match, I clicked on the "Add to group" button, and a "Create custom group" screen appeared:
 I decided to use the 24 available groups to cover my 8 sets of 2nd great-grandparents and my 16 sets of 3rd great-grandparents.  I may change that as time goes on.  

In the "Group Name" field I typed "White/Oatley Descendants" because they are the common ancestors for this specific DNA Match (and they are my 2nd great-grandparents).  I accepted the color assignment provided - I could have clicked on the icon to select from a dropdown list of colors.

I clicked on the green "Save" button to start this specific Group.

After doing that, I went through my first 20 DNA Matches and created three more groups for my 2nd great-grandparents on my Seaver side of the pedigree, and assigned those that I knew were a descendant of those ancestors to the correct Group.  For close cousins, that meant some were in all four Groups for the 2nd great-grandparents, and therefore would have more Group colored circles on the DNA Match list.

5)  After I had assigned Groups to the first 20 on my DNA Match list, I clicked on the "Group" down arrow and chose the "White/Oatley Descendants" group to see who is in that Group: 

All four of the DNA Matches at the top of the screen above are in that selected Group.  I also see that I didn't add the 4th match to the other three groups, so I will go back and do that.

6)  My comments about the new DNA Matching Tools:

*  I like the Group feature - that will be helpful.

*  I like seeing who the Common Ancestors are (if they are known) on the DNA Match, and to be able to click on the Common Ancestor and see the descent from that Common Ancestor to me and my DNA Match.  I don't know how they handle two or more sets of Common Ancestors.

*  I don't like seeing only a portion of my Note in the DNA Match list.  I want the whole Note (my Notes are typical 100 to 200 characters long).  I worked hard to add Notes for almost 1,000 AncestryDNA Matches.  More information is better than less information.  Yes, I can see the whole Note for a specific DNA Match.  I hope that AncestryDNA adds the full Note to the DNA Match screen for the specific DNA Match page.

*  I don't like not seeing the Note and the Star icon for the Shared Matches information.  That is how I usually figure out which Group to put a DNA Match into.  More information is better than less information.  I hope that AncestryDNA adds the full Note to the DNA Match screen for the Shared Ancestors.

*  My major complaint is that on the DNA Match list only 20 Matches are shown - the old system showed 50 Matches per page, and the user could advance to whichever screen they wished).  At the bottom of that 20, the system looks for more Matches and adds them, but it takes some time for more to be added.  I have 51,000 AncestryDNA Matches.  On my Windows 7 computer, sometimes the DNA Match list never shows more than 20 (the computer just spins sporadically).  If I am working on Match number 41 and want to go back to see Match 42, when I use the Back arrow it takes me to the first batch of 20 Matches and I have to wait to see Matches 21-40, and then wait some more to see Matches 41-60, in order to pick #42.  So this is not helpful to me.  I usually "Disable" the DNA Matching Tools feature in order to write Notes about my DNA Matches, and even to see how many Matches I have as 4th cousins and total Matches (because I want to know these things - I'm a numbers person).

7)  All in all, this new DNA Matching Tool is is a worthwhile addition to the AncestryDNA analysis tools, although I have problems seeing my Notes and the entire DNA Match list at this time on this computer.

UPDATED:  8 p.m. 5 March - added the two missing images and modified the text to reflect them.  AncestryDNA was down for me from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. for some reason.


Disclosure:  I have had a fully paid Ancestry.com subscription since 2000.  Ancestry.com has provided material considerations for travel expenses to meetings, and has hosted events and meals that I have attended in Salt Lake City, in past years.

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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RuDan said...

Have you figured out how to edit or add a note?

Lisa Van Gemert said...

Thank you for this. I appreciate how thorough you examine everything.

Larry A said...

Adding a note & editing is more of a pain now as you have to click through 2 screens first as you have to click on the matches name in the second screen above. I would be useful to be able to add or update from the first screen.

Linda said...

How did you even get the new DNA features to work? I have tried several times over the last few days and all I get is "Page Not Found"? Other people have had the same experience.
Linda J.

searchshack said...

Wouldn't using the 24 available groups to cover 8 sets of 2nd great-grandparents and 16 sets of 3rd great-grandparents be duplicative? Wondering if you reviewed this process and decided to many any changes?

Randy Seaver said...

That is a problem, isn't it? One alternative is to just use 24 different surnames from the 32 3rd great-grandparents or 24 father-mother surnames from the 32 sets of 4th great-grands. No alternative is great.

searchshack said...

Wish they'd give us more options at least 34 - 32 pairs of 4th great grandparents + In RM but not match found + not in RM - no tree or private and allow us to see the full notes! We can dream and ask for these additional options. But having the dot does tell me that I really looked at and analyzed that DNA match...