Tag Archive | ancestry.com

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.

Ancestry.com DNA Day 2015 sale has arrived!

To celebrate DNA day on April 25, Ancestry.com is having a five day sale starting today.

I have advised many of you to wait for this $79 price and now it is here! Go get some tests.

To learn more about the DNA test at ancestry see this blog post of mine. Also I advise that you also upload your ancestry results to either or both of family tree DNA and GEDmatch to find more matches and have a chromosome browser.


Free transfer of DNA data from Ancestry to Family Tree DNA!

Finally a way to give our Ancestry.com cousins a chromosome browser! If you have not been able to convince them to use GEDmatch, perhaps it will be easier to convince them to transfer their data to Family Tree DNA – that wonderful and very reputable company which started the personal genome testing revolution. This is a more private way to compare data than at GEDmatch since only your DNA matches can see your information and compare where they match you. There is a free transfer which gives you an account with just your matches. Or for $19 you can transfer to a full featured account there with all your matches and ancestry composition (called MyOrigins).


This transfer is possible since you already have the raw data from the DNA test. The link for uploading your results from another company (including MyHeritage) is at the top left under DNA Tests  [update 30 sep 2017] .

To download the raw data from ancestry, you need to click on the settings button next to the person whose data you want on your DNA homepage. You can get the raw data for kits you manage or have been shared with you as an “editor.”

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The GEDmatch Chromosome Browser (for my cousins with ancestry.com kits)

Most of my matches at ancestry don’t see why they should upload their data to GEDmatch. I send them the URL of my slide presentation and extol the delights of the fun ancestry composition (admix) tools but it is hard to explain why I like to see where my DNA matches someone else’s. Curiosity? It’s fun? I love making these spreadsheets? Possibly it is because I am very interested in how DNA inheritance works and love to see which grandparent gave me which piece of DNA (n.b. it takes a lot of work to get to that point).

MyGEDmatchSlidesWhen I know the common ancestor for a specific segment sometimes a new match fits in immediately to a family line. The best example of that is finding my previously unknown 3rd cousin Katy. When I saw where she overlapped I emailed her that it looked like she was related on my WOLD line to which she responded that her grandmother was a Wold. She has since sent me many wonderful family pictures that I had not seen before.

Today I got an email from someone who had tested at ancestry and uploaded to GEDmatch. She wanted to know how to use my tools with her GEDmatch data. However my tools require a CSV file of overlapping segment data which cannot be downloaded in one fell swoop from GEDmatch, unlike at 23andme or Family Tree DNA.

Personally I built my many CSV files (one per person tested) slowly, as I compared each individual’s DNA results, contacted that match, and then cut and pasted the overlap information into my spreadsheets. Jim Bartlett did a great guest blog here on the process of building these DNA spreadsheets.

But I can understand the desire to see a quick picture of your matching DNA. GEDmatch does have a chromosome browser where you can see the overlaps, although the presentation is somewhat different from other sites. A little known secret is that you can massage that function’s table output into a spreadsheet (see end of this post for the technique).

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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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