Ancestry ThruLines Help

+4 votes
Some help understanding the following; on Ancestry ThruLines I have a 3rd great-grandfather and mother. The grandfather shows zero matches and indicates I'm currently the only DNA tested descendant. My grandmother has 46 DNA matches between 8 & 3,465cm.

My first thought is the grandfather is not my grandfather, could there be other explanations ?
in The Tree House by Robert Wood G2G6 (7.8k points)
On Thru-lines, direct line of parents and grandparents, I have 237 Matches, 110 maternal and 127 paternal and 6 not linked to my tree. It is the 6 that disturbs me. They are in my tree, they are linked. I have even added the 6 (supposedly unlinked profiles) to my tree (causing duplicates) and days, weeks and months later, they still show up as not linked to my tree. The really weird thing is, I have real documents for these 6 people and the ones Thru-lines shows as not being linked 1) don't have sources or 2) they link to my cousin in my tree. Any suggestions???

5 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
Robert, do you have the grandfather (that has no matches) in your tree as your grandfather?  I have the same thing in my tree and ThruLines at ancestry.  In my case, it's because I have the purported person in my tree.  With zero matches (for me), I interpret it that the person is not in fact my grandparent.  (FYI, my tree is very large -- over 70,000 people -- so I have a lot of ThruLines matches for my ancestors that are indeed my ancestors...)  I sometimes add a person (and their lineage) into my tree in trying to break down a brick wall.  I then allow time for the system to look for DNA matches.  When I get none after a few days (or weeks, if I'm busy with other things), I detach that person and keep researching.  This method has allowed me to break down some walls...
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
selected by Maggie N.
Yes, the grandfather in question is in my tree and I agree that the program lets you with the assumption he isn’t my grandfather.

Plus, I’ve notice ThruLines does not have a suggestion beyond my grandfather in that line.
Yeah, I don't think it does that (but I may be wrong!).  I know with DNA Circles, it would give us people that it said were related to us.  Most times (for me) it wasn't that the person was related to me, but rather that he/she was a parent or spouse of someone that was related.  One thing I've noticed, though, is that if you have a name spelled differently in your tree than others have it in their tree, it won't show you the other person as related (i.e. say you have it as Heinrich Schnell and they have Henry Snell).  If the wife is spelled the same, ThruLines will connect you to the wife but not the husband.  I told a cousin about that the other day as he wasn't appearing as a DNA match in ThruLines.  As soon as he changed the spelling of the grandparent to be the same way that I (and most others) had it, he suddenly got 'connected' on ThruLines!
Darlene, I found your tip regarding spelling profound and verified that the spelling of my grandfathers name in my tree was correct and that it matched with other trees.

I also went back through my files for this person, which date back to the early 2000's to be sure none of my cousins listed a different person or spelling as my grandfather. All agree on one person as our grandfather but it seems we may all be wrong.
Gotta love a mystery!  It sounds like you may have a NPE.  Oh, boy!
I had missing ancestors because of a spelling/date disagreement. But they just didn't appear at all in Thrulines -- they were totally absent, not there with 0 matches. Because you have the Thrulines panel, but just 0 matches, it sounds like your case is different -- like maybe an NPE.

Because it is a grandparent, the Leeds method should be really helpful. You should have 4 main clusters of matches, one for each grandparent. If one cluster is unfamiliar, look through their trees and see if you can find a common ancestor. I did that and found my wife's true great-grandparents.
+5 votes
ThruLines are only as accurate as the trees of your matches and other trees at Ancestry, and will only work for matches that have attached their DNA result to the correct person in their tree. You won't share DNA with every distant relative. Only 2nd cousins and closer always share DNA.

The Leeds method is a good way to start evaluating your matches, grouping them according to your 4 grandparents.
by Living Ford G2G6 Pilot (148k points)
Thanks for the response. I understand how ThruLines work and it’s limits.
Using the Leeds method you can identify your grandfather's group. Then look for commonality between those matches. At grandparent level it shouldn't be too difficult to work out who your bio grandfather is.
+2 votes
Thrulines are accurate to a point. What you need to do is build your tree and attach your DNA to it. That way the Thrulines will show up.

Or it could be that no one from your grandfather's line, other than you, have tested. It's hard to say without visuals.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (608k points)
I have been on Ancestry since the early 90’s with a tree of over 500 individuals.

It seems to me that if my grandmother has 46 DNA connections than so should my grandfather since everyone of their children gets 50% from each.

Is that a wrong assumption?
If by 46 DNA connections to your grandmother you are referring to your grandmother's descendants, and you're expecting all of her children to have the same father, then yes, it would be reasonable to expect similar for your grandfather.
Yes, I'm talking about descendants.
+2 votes
I think it should be possible to "double check" the results of Thrulines yourself by comparing your dna matches on your own.

If you use MyHeritage they have a similar feature Smart Matches where you can find a dna match who also matches you in your tree and then it will show who else shares a dna match.  

They also have the autoclusters feature which may be helpful.

Maybe someone else who has dna matching experience can recomend some key matches to try to look for to gain some more insight.

Good luck.
by Erik Granstrom G2G6 Mach 3 (37.1k points)
+1 vote
Through Lines are based on user donated trees not on DNA matches and that can be confusing.  I have several of these that are not only wrong but impossible because the person they are based upon died when she was 3 years old and could not possibly have any children.   I wish there was a way to remove the erroneous ones and give a reason and that goes back to all the bad tree donors.   Sigh...  I have real issues when you can't say, no this is so wrong...  

Anyway, what I would suggest is upload your Ancestry DNA to both MyHeritage and GedMatch.  Both allow for reports with actual Chromosome and SNP matching and reports based only on DNA.  

I run the GedMatch Many to One Report and then run the People Who Match 1 or 2 Kits report for yourself and your top matches.   The top of that report creates a family branch as all of those displayed are matching both you and the matching person you ran for.   This is only based on DNA.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (721k points)
I did as you suggested as I had already uploaded my results to gedmatch. This did not get me any closer to figuring out if my 2nd great-grandfather is actually my grandfather or not.
Robert  what is the cm level of your top 5 matches....and do you know who those people are?  (For privacy don't include names in your answer.   Initials are fine.. or even something that makes sense to you but keeps them anonymous)


LS unknown person 1266 cms

GF known 1st cousin      866 cms


What we are looking for is a group of 3 people in a family branch who triangulate on the same chromosome with an overlap of at least 700 SNPs.   That are on your Grandfather's side...

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