How many people can you identify from Ancestry dna

+4 votes
Hi, i have a tree on Ancestry of 13,000 people. six months ago did the dna test that gave me 15,000 people. So far I have managed to identify about 60 people, mainly through use of the common ancestor hints, and then finding matches of shared matches of those identified and also matches where they share a rare surname.

I have also uploaded my dna to MyHeritage, and identfied another 10 matches. Uploaded to Familytreedna and identified one match and uploaded to Gedmatch found zero matches. I have now also done an 23andme test and identified two matches.

My mother is now doing an Ancestry test but have not got the results yet.

Just wondering how others are doing and any hints for finding more matches
in The Tree House by Paul Taylor G2G6 Mach 1 (15.5k points)
retagged by Maggie N.

3 Answers

+3 votes

I would suggest using the colour dots/groups on Ancestry to form “clusters” of matches who share DNA. See: (though you could perhaps go down to 30cM rather than stopping at 90cM - depends how many matches you have.)

Once you have your colour dot groups, you can start looking at the matches in each group to figure out how they are related to each other. Their common ancestors are likely to be yours too (or thereabouts).

Surnames can be a red herring and the common ancestor hints need checking out as they are not always accurate. Personally I find the colour dots really useful and I’ve identified a lot of relationships to Ancestry matches that way. 

ago by Katie Fuller G2G6 Mach 2 (25.2k points)
Thanks for the hint i am already using the dots to group people together based on ancestors but I will look into this leeds method.

But I only have 3 matches over 90cm, actually many of my matches are around the 20cm mark. I do check out the common ancestors but so far I have only found one that Im not sure about.
I think the Leeds method was developed with Americans (and other people with lots of matches) in mind. We Brits can’t necessarily afford to be so choosy as testing is less popular here and we’ll usually have fewer close matches.
I think you are doing a lot of the right things already! However, you might not yet be religiously building your tree down to all the living descendants you can find, because those are your DNA matches. I know I would find even more DNA matches to tag as such on my tree, if I only had time to research 24/7! Alas, sleep is necessary too. Use all the tools, all the sites, and follow the matches that are the most interesting, and light up dusty corners of your tree. :-)
Yes that is the interesting thing, before I did a dna match I was focussed on finding the most distant ancestors, but since doing dna match I have swapped to looking for living relatives. it is quite amazing how many 2nd/3rd cousins you can have.
You can now use the Leeds method with colored dots at MyHeritage, too.
+6 votes

Here are a few resources with tips for identifying matches:

The Genetic Genealogist: Are You Doing Everything to Identify Your Matches? March 11, 2017: Tips from Blaine Bettinger

Masterclass: How to make the most of your DNA results: From LostCousins newsletter, 9 August 2019; strategies for analyzing Ancestry matches including searching for surnames and birth locations; recommended by Paige Kolza on G2G March 18, 2020

Understanding Cluster Matrices from Dana Leeds

Autosomal DNA Table of Consanguinity This elegant table created by WikiTree member Edison Williams can be used to identify our relationships to various descendants of our ancestors. It includes the expected amount of shared DNA for each relationship, both in centiMorgans and percentages. Studying how those expected amounts change as you move across or down the table can help you understand and visualize how DNA inheritance works.

• Or you can consult this Autosomal DNA table from ISOGG for another reference that lists average match strengths for various relationships.

I keep a list of my matches, grouped by common ancestor when known, or family group when not known, organized by generation and then ahnentafel number.  I also keep my own descendant charts for each family line, which give me more flexibility than the genealogy websites.

ago by Julie Kelts G2G6 Pilot (456k points)
Oh, you asked how many matches we had identified using Ancestry DNA.  It's really hard to come up with an accurate number, for all kinds of reasons.  I count around 735, excluding people I already knew like my first cousins, and excluding matches from the old Ancestry DNA Circles, but including matches for some of my other family members who don't match me, and including a few from other websites.  I tried not to double-count people who match me or my family in multiple ways.
+2 votes
Both of my parents are on Ancestry.

Mom has 13,500 matches with about 200 individuals identified with common ancestors.

Dad has 36,500 matches with about 350 individuals identified with common matches.

The big difference is that Mom is half Swedish, while Dad has more Colonial American ancestors.

I have been careful to not enter a large tree on Ancestry.  Their matching software doesn't work very well if there is a mistake in the tree or if it doesn't match that entered by matches.

If you prune your tree on ancestry, you will need to wait at least a day for their software to do it's thing and ID a fresh crop of matches with common ancestors.
ago by Andrew Ross G2G6 Mach 2 (29.8k points)
Andrew, I wouldn't advise limiting your tree just to prevent erroneous ThruLines or possible mis-identification of matches by Ancestry.  And even when Ancestry does show you a possible connection to a match, it's important to review the match's tree for accuracy and reasonableness, as well as to review your shared matches for consistency with the suggested connection.  It's also helpful to ask important matches to upload to GEDmatch so you can review the chromosome detail.

If you suspect you have an erroneous ancestor on your tree, or want to try out a new theory, you can always remove the relationship without removing the person from your tree.  Then if you change your mind, you won't need to do all the work of setting up a profile all over again.

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