New Icon: Match connected to Tree
Ancestry has unveiled a new convenient feature: the ability to link a DNA match to their entry in your tree. No one can see the resulting tag but you or someone with whom you have shared your DNA results.
In the past, I would add the pathway to the relationship in the notes for a match. Below is how the match to my second cousin John looks now. The tree icon with a check next to his name means that I have connected this match to my tree. Clicking on that icon will take you to a view of him within my tree. On the right you can see how I explained his connection to me in the notes next to the notepad icon.
Over in your tree, each person that has been connected to a DNA match also has that icon on their image. Here is how my brother looks in the pedigree view in my tree now with the new icon next to a green leaf. People I have shared BOTH my tree and DNA with can also see that icon but not on the living unless they specifically have permission to see living people in your tree. Also they have to have turned on “connected DNA Matches” from the DNA icon at the bottom of the far left tower of icons. That icon is only there when a DNA test is connected to that tree. Clicking it slides in a panel on the right where you can select which DNA icons you want to see. For example, since I have turned on the ThruLines indicator, my parents and grandparents have the ThruLines icon showing in the image below.
Pedigree view of my brother, yellow arrow pointing to the DNA icon added by me
Why is this useful you may ask? Well for me it is most useful on those distant cousins with no trees whose relationship I figured out a while back and have probably forgotten the details of by now. Or maybe Ancestry found it for me and I added that family branch to my tree (click here for my post for how to easily do that).
Since I have shared both my DNA and my tree with my brother and a few interested cousins, they can look at my match list for those icons to see if I have already figured out how a newly found cousin connects to us.
The other time I have found this new feature to be really useful is when I have a research tree for an unknown parentage case and have built out the tree of a match as a floating branch within that tree to much more depth than they had in their own tree. Now I can connect those matches so that I can quickly click to see what I have built for them.
Here is the step by step of how to set up a connection with this new tool using my brother as an example.
Sharing DNA results at Ancestry is very useful when you want to see how much your relative shares with other relatives. All that this sharing allows you is the ability to see their match list, their ThruLines, and their ethnicity results, not their raw DNA nor the ability to download it.
Being able to see a cousin’s ethnicity may help figure out which side of the family that Finnish DNA is from or whatever puzzling ancestry you are interested in. Seeing their match list can be extremely useful for solving a mystery or just for the fun process of collecting family data.
For years I have been referring my cousins to an old blog post kindly written by genetic genealogist Angie Bush which explained how to initiate a share. However by now the screen shots are long out of date, so here is a new step by step for this process created by sharing my results with my brother.
1. Go to your DNA home page by clicking on Your DNA Results Summary in the drop down menu under DNA in the top menu (see my pink arrow)
2. Click on Settings at the top right of the page (another pink arrow)
The great new features just keep coming for Ancestry‘s DNA product. Now we can click new people into our tree from a DNA match with an Ancestor hint. This can be done from the page where it shows the pathway for each of you to the common ancestor, explained in detail on the next page of this post. Hopefully you will all be careful about this, checking sources and so forth …
One thing I love about Ancestry‘s common ancestor feature is that it always uses my tree first before extrapolating from other trees and records. Yes that’s right, it uses records!
When I look at a DNA match with a common ancestor I always note the relationship in the notepad and then color code by great grandparent line. This means that when I look through my DNA matches with common ancestors, the ones not yet categorized are easy to see since they have nothing added in the right hand column, for example Susan in the diagram above.
The other approach would be to filter by “Matches you haven’t viewed” and visually scan for common ancestors since you cannot combine those filters. [UPDATE 22-Apr-2020: they can now be combined, Ancestry now has a better menu bar than the one shown above with more ways to view your matches] Personally I have too many distant cousins that I have not looked at yet, but I often use the group filter of “Close matches – 4th cousin or closer” and combine it with the sort by date. People who have just gotten their test results are more likely to be on the site and thus may respond to your message.
The problem with the latter approach is that some matches you have already viewed may have recently added some tree information and Ancestry has found a common ancestor that was not there before. Therefore it is best to add notes and/or color codes and periodically check the list of people with common ancestors for new finds.
The other day I saw a very fanciful looking match with distant cousin “A” to my VE line from Hordaland. Her ancestry was almost entirely Norwegian with a bit of Swedish so that fit. Curious about an ancestor called just “J” in her line I had to investigate.