upcoming Ancestry data purge: August 1st. Please object!!

+25 votes

Roberta Estes writes:

Here’s the bottom line. Ancestry’s planned purge of smaller segments, 6-8 cM, is the exact place that African Americans (and mixed Native Americans too) find their ancestral connections. This community has few other options.

I’m sure, given the Ancestry blog post by Margo Georgiadis, Ancestry’s President and CEO on June 3rd that this detrimental effect is not understood nor intentional.

Click here for the full blog.  Then please use one or more of the suggested half-dozen methods of begging Ancestry to re-consider.

in The Tree House by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
The real reason is lack of computing and DB resources. They need a way to reduce query load which is killing their business. It was not designed to scale effectively.
Wouldn't it be better to just allow customers to choose their own limit?  Then those whose trees are like the Legal Genealogist can set their cut-off for 15 cMs or whatever works for them.  When they become interested in smaller matches, they can open it up to that level for one or two reports, then close it back up to the higher cut-off.  But people who really need those smaller matches to get back to pre-emancipation or pre-contact could keep their settings larger.
Would be better if it were possible to implement given the current design limitations.  Sometimes search queries are facilitated by indexing rules, so could be the case that all potential matches would also have needed to specify same desired cut off when their accounts were created.

I have over one hundred legitimate matches with "common ancestors" at 6-7cM due to someone having done the necessary genealogy. Imagine if they had not gotten around to it and there was no overlap yet. All of those cousins would be lost and potential brick walls orders of magnitude more difficult get past. The legal genealogist clearly is not using matching like I am where 6-7cM  represents a 6th cousin with shared brick wall surname. Should be obvious how valuable that is.
I hear you, Mike!  

Question is, does Ancestry hear you?

While you're at it, let's bring up the desire for a chromosome browser.  Please sign the petition at change.org to ask Ancestry to provide one: https://www.change.org/p/ancestry-com-dna-llc-give-ancestrydna-customers-dna-segment-data-a-chromosome-browser-now?use_react=false 

Anticipating this may happen. I just added all my 6-7cms matches with Common Ancestors to a new group. My wrist needs a break. That was just my first kit of 7. Argh!
To be safe, y'all might want to add matches with 2 segments totaling 14cM or less or 3 segments totaling 21cM or less, etc. to your list. I don't think it is clear whether the filter will remove matches with *total* cM less than 8cM or if it will remove all such segments.

In the last couple of days I have been mining matches with trees that mention unusual placenames in my tree. I have found several such at 6-7cM that weren't showing up in my common ancestors list. So you might want to group more than the weak matches under the common match filter. I'm also going to go through my strongest matches and most interesting genetic networks and add all of the weak matches that show up in the shared matches lists.
I Not signing this it's attached to a change.org petition ....the first article is  BLM movement... I won't support ...it's just a hook to get you to sign
Terrance, change.org has numerous petitions.  That's what the site is about -- you can start a petition for 'whatever'.  The information at the top of the page is only telling about a different petition; it has nothing to do with the ancestryDNA petition.
I took a look at the change.org platform again. It certainly is a home for grievances across a wide variety of spectrums and interests, including politics. I could see touting your largest petition ever (regardless of topic) on the main page of the web site, but having it appear on every page you visit is a tad overkill.

Just for kicks I searched for petitions for my home town and the town I live in now. I saw a new petition to save the Lincoln Theater in my hometown of Decatur, Illinois. I did sign that one as I have an interest in preservation also. I also saw some that were mad ramblings that I had no idea what they wanted accomplish.

For me, the petitions for causes I care about is where this platform excels, but I still I have only signed a few. The rest is just noise I choose to ignore.

BTW, If you search "Genealogy" on chage.org you will find other petitions, that may or may not be of interest to you personally. .
I have no connection with Ancestry and have used FT and Gedmatch exclusively for all au DNA triangulations. There are some instances where 7+cM have been used in those triangulations, especially at 7C level. So, when you are dealing with low level triangulation it does become important to know lineages and to be able to be certain there are not adjunct lines that could play in. Thankfully we have a good database at WT, but to me the Ancestry set up is invalid.
How can I help object?  I haven’t done the Ancestry DNA testing!  If I can help object I’d like to. But I also think someone said there are ways around the concern.!?
There are ways around losing your 6-7cM matches by annotating the matches now. But presumably you're also going to lose common ancestor indication and suggestions even if your trees overlap.

5 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

Shirlea, The Legal Genealogist, Judy D. Russell, had a blog about this yesterday in which she mentioned being able to save your matches before they are removed. You may find it helpful. "Chilling with AncestryDNA"

by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (458k points)
selected by Porter Fann
I wouldn't trust that comment she made.  Recently Ancestry emailed me regarding their new messaging center and deleting old folders.  Before they delete them you have the opportunity to download the folders.  I went to do so and there was no place or way to download them.  When I called them, I was told that they were having problems and that they have not updated that part of the program.  They will delete the folders by about 28 August,  I asked them when they were going to complete the update to have the ability to download the folders and was told possibly 2 to 3 weeks. I told them it better be before that date.  I am not a happy camper at the moment.
I had the same experience, but the new messaging center complete with [Download folders] button is available to me now. Maybe check again...
+17 votes
Ww need Ancestry DNA to keep their records in tact! Beause ofthe intermxture of slave,Native American, and so=called "white" peoples in the early colonial days and early US history. This is needed for genealogical pursuits of some of us.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+6 votes
While I occasionally find matches with well-developed trees with that level of DNA specificity, mostly I ignore anything below a 10 cM match.  There are so darned many matches already, I can't imagine wanting more.  I mean, if they had a chromosome browser, it would matter, but otherwise, I find it difficult to care.  But since this matters to you, more power to you.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (209k points)
+6 votes

Generally, this decision by Ancestry is not a problem, at least for most purposes. (See IBD, iBS, or IBC?.) Matches between 8-cM to 10-cM are suggested to be Identical by Descent (IBD) about half the time. Matches below 8 cM are more likely Identical by Chance (IBC).

However, sometimes those small 7-cM matches on Ancestry can and do mean something, especially when many other people share the same common ancestors with that person. Sometimes when I check with one of my cousins, I find that they share significantly more DNA with that same person, more or less confirming that the match is IBD. Since I have been exploring Cluster Analysis programs, I have come to realize that the small matches can be more meaningful, when shared with several other people who are cousins. I feel that such matches may eventually lead me to find distant ancestors who are presently unknown to me. In that sense, the removal of small DNA matches will certainly make some of those connections harder to establish.

I have two takeaways from this:

1) Matches with notes, group tags, or messages will not be removed (although their ThruLines may disappear.) So, I am adding comments to any matches whom I want to keep within my match list., which should keep them available to me.

2) This decision by Ancestry underscores the importance of Gedmatch.com for DNA comparisons. Gedmatch also seems to be more accurate than Ancestry. Gedmatch often shows larger matches than Ancestry, although occasionally much less. If everyone uploaded their DNA to Gedmatch, the impact of Ancestry's decision would be minimized.

When dealing with statistics, even rare events can and do happen every day. In the case of small DNA matches, the trick is determining which of those rare events is meaningful. That is certainly a neat trick, but not always possible to perform.

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (155k points)
edited by Bill Vincent
+4 votes
There's an article that gives a great discussion of the small cM utility.

What comes to mind first is that users should download their Ancestry DNA results and upload them to:

FamilyTreeDNA & MyHeritage

I'll amend this post with the article and link when I'm not on mobile.
by Porter Fann G2G6 Mach 6 (64.0k points)

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