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Exploring the new ancestry.com DNA feature: total cMs

Ancestry.com has a new feature which shows you the total number of centimorgans (cMs) and segments for your DNA matches. You have to go and look at at specific match to find it. Once there, you click on the little “i” in a circle next to the confidence level description and a dark box will appear with the information.

Here is what that looks like for my brother and our first cousin from her account.

AncestryDNAnewCMsSmll

Ancestry has its own algorithm for removing matching DNA that it thinks is not recent. This means that these numbers will not match what you see at GEDmatch. Perhaps some of the excluded data will appear as “Ancient” over at DNA.land but not all these kits are uploaded there yet so that report will have to wait.

Here are a few examples of the numbers for my brother’s family matches at Ancestry, as compared to those same matches at GEDmatch or ftDNA:

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Ancestry.com News

So much to report, teach me to take a vacation! Ancestry.com has a new database: Social security applications and claims index, and DNAgedcom has a new tool to report your ancestry DNA total cMs, and I missed mentioning the Ancestry DNA sale at $79 instead of the usual $99 because it ends tonight. Hopefully there will be another one soon.

SocSecAppIndxI tried looking for my uncle in the index and it found him quickly. It listed his birthplace and parents names, useful information.

To learn more about the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index read this post from Randy Seaver: http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/07/new-ancestrycom-database-us-social.html – I recommend following his blog for news about databases added to familysearch and ancestry plus many good genealogy articles.

I hope to review the DNAgedcom ancestry client soon. It requires a subscription which seems fair as increased usage is bound to be costing them money and it is hard for these free sites to exist on donations alone. I like this trend whereby you can subscribe to a site like DNAgedcom or GEDmatch and get extra functionality but there is still plenty of good stuff available for free.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Ancestry.com and profit slightly when you click my links, see my footer here for all my affiliations.

British Censuses, Probates, and BMD Records at Ancestry.com

Sometime in the last year a whole slew of British records from the 1800s, at least for the London area, came online at Ancestry.com – I think it has been that long since I last looked for my UK relatives.

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Regina Gundelfinger Gugenheimer

Last night, around midnight, I followed a green leaf for my 3rd-great-aunt Fanny Gugenheimer Mandelbaum, who had moved from Germany to London, fully expecting it to be yet another person who had copied my tree. Instead I found her and her husband David in the 1851 and 1861 London censuses. I had thought that they had no children but there were suddenly two daughters, and one of them married a fellow named Anton Benda and had many descendants in more censuses, 1871, 1881 and 1891 and other records. When I next looked up it was 3:30 a.m… oops.

I have to admire ancestry’s matching algorithm. Most of the hints were spot on and kept me clicking away until the wee hours. After a while some of the Benda descendants started appearing in other trees so I shot off messages to three new people and all three of them answered (very unusual on ancestry)! So far they are all just related by marriage.

Also now I have a surname to look for in our DNA results and in modern London – Benda. It seems to be East European, perhaps Latvian or Hungarian in origin. Not sure if it is Jewish. The Benda descendants seem to have marriage banns published so perhaps they did not stay Jewish.

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In defense of Ancestry.com’s DNA offering

The recent good sales prices got to me, so I broke down and tested my brother with the Ancestry.com DNA test. I had held off testing there, not because of the low opinion of their DNA tools held by serious genetic genealogists, but because my ancestors emigrated to the USA so recently that I doubted whether I would have many useful matches in a database that is 99% American.

So why do the serious genetic genealogists complain? My DNA cousin and blogger Kelly Wheaton  on the DNA-NEWBIE yahoo list described ancestry’s offering as “a dumbed down product on steroids;” which really says it well.

ShipleyAncestryDNAsmllShe went on to say, “What Ancestry.com DNA testing does better than anywhere else for people with a decent sized tree (1,000 people or more), and who are American or Canadian, is make matches for you. If you have a DNA match and a tree match it does the work for you. Although these suggested matches may not be accurate in terms of who the ancestors in common are for two people who have multiple relationships, for most they do a fine job.” I completely agree with her.

By the way, the serious genetic genealogists do not like it because you cannot see where the DNA segment match is and thus triangulate with another cousin to prove that this is the right common ancestor. You have to load the raw data from ancestry to GEDmatch in order to look at the segment overlaps and not all your matches at ancestry will do this. But you have to give Ancestry.com credit for good marketing and for making it easy for folk who are not interested in doing the hard work to prove these relationships.
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Angie Bush reports on a new DNA ancestry.com sharing matches feature

Ed note: My friend, genetic genealogist Angie Bush, the author of this post, is an expert user of the DNA functions at ancestry.com so when she excitedly reported this new feature on the ancestry group at Facebook, I asked her to do a step-by-step explanation of it for my blog. Thanks Angie!

AncestrySeeMatchesSmllAncestryDNA launched a new feature today that allows DNA test results to be shared in much the same way that family trees can be shared with other Ancestry users.

So if you have family members that have taken a DNA test, and you want to see the DNA matches you have in common with them, you finally can! In order to find this new feature, go to “Your DNA Home Page” and click on settings.

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