How do you use your auDNA test on WikiTree?

+55 votes

In case you missed it in the newsletter, I wrote an article about how I use WikiTree to find my common auDNA ancestors with my matches.  This is not triangulation and it can not be used to mark a profile as confirmed with DNA, but finding cousins is why I participated in a 23andMe / FamilyFinder test.  How do you use WikiTree with your auDNA matches?

Here is my method, in practical application:

1. I look at the family tree posted by one of my matches on their FTDNA account page. (This is why it is so important to upload your family tree to your FTDNA account!) I look for any familiar surnames and locations. (For example: Smiths in the northern U.S. states, but not in the south. Coopers in the south, but not in the north.)

2. Once I find a familiar surname, I go to and start adding the branch from the earliest listed ancestor on the FTDNA family tree. I proceed up the direct ancestral line as displayed on the FTDNA page with a Source of “Private tree on FTDNA”. When I get to living or recently deceased profiles, I make them Anonymous Surname with a privacy setting of “Private with Public Family Tree”. (I make their birth year “blank for extra privacy” and death year “blank because living”; and I mark the gender.)

3. Once I have their direct line in the WikiTree, I go back to the earliest ancestor and work the other way to try and connect the line to the WikiTree trunk. Sometimes I get lucky and my branch connects nicely with the new twig and I can easily see our common auDNA ancestor.

4. Then I email my match and send them links to the various important WikiTree pages (their Anonymous profile, family tree, and our relationship page) and offer to let them take over their Anonymous profile. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but they always seem to appreciate my efforts to make the connection and that their FamilyFinder investment is paying off.

5. I go back and try to add better sources than "Private tree on FTDNA" after the initial research.  It is easier for me to do the sourcing and the connection research separately.

6. If a match has not posted a family tree on their FTDNA account, I encourage them to do so and I send them my list of Surnames and ask if any of those names are also on their family tree.

Without the WikiTree cousin connections, I would never be able to narrow these relationships. It is the interconnectivity of the family tree branches on FTDNA with the full tree on WikiTree, that enables me to find my common auDNA ancestors that are shared with my matches.

How do you use your auDNA matches on WikiTree?   

in The Tree House by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (531k points)
edited by Chris Whitten
Very nice Kitty. We could do this with Ancestry as well.
What is the advantage of doing it with Ancestry rather than WikiTree?
I wasn't too clear, was I? I meant that we can take our matches from AncestryDNA and apply them to WikiTree the same way that Kitty has done with FtDNA. Sorry for the confusion.
Thanks! :-)
Sounds like a practical approach, will give it a try...
Thanks for the info. I like that widget so much I have added it to my profile making it easy for anyone to pull up the name list.
IM new to WikiTree.  If i start building the anon tree as you did, will I not affect other researchers with potentially bad data (i dont know that the tree I am copying has been properly sourced).  I do this today on ancestry with a mirror tree that I keep private.

Sounds like a great idea but i want to be sure i dont misdeirect anyone else.
Welcome to WikiTree, Ron! Please don't enter profiles here on WikiTree if you don't have any sources for the information you enter. You're so right that we don't want to add bad data to WikiTree.

In order to use your DNA test effectively on WikiTree you'll want to change your privacy level from 'private' to 'private with public biography and family tree'. Right now, when your privacy level is 'private' only people on your trusted list can see information about your DNA test and how you might be related to them.
Thanks for your insight, Kitty.
Thanks Kitty! I do something similar called "mirror trees." I look at matches trees and put them on floor paper. I start seeing a real connection with everyone going to an MRCA. Still, some pieces of the puzzle are missing. I will try doing what you do in Wikitree by inputting my floor paper tree people into Wikitree. I may be surprised as to what I find. Thanks again!

4 Answers

+15 votes
Kitty, you're procedure probably encourages participation in WikiTree more than mine. I've always been hesitant about using the contributors complete ancestral line fearing they might not like it so I create a profile of their earliest known ancestor and attempt to find sources. If the person submitting the DNA responds to my email, I invite them to fill in their family data at WikiTree. Sometimes they do this and sometimes they don't. I can see where having one ancestral line already on WikiTree might encourage them to add more of their family.

If they don't respond, I search the internet for information. This generally achieves results and sometimes leads to a person who is interested in adding information to WikiTree.

If there are several matches with a common surname, I place their location on a map because I'm more of a visual person.

Following is an example of where this procedure worked:

Here is a map created for a brick wall ancestor who has several matches, but we've not yet located the MRCA although he may be the Stephen Vaughan listed within the group (or maybe one of Stephen's brothers):
by Debby Black G2G6 Mach 8 (81k points)
I am always a little unsure of adding the anonymous profiles, but I feel like anonymous and a surname and gender is pretty benign.  Generally, if a person is in the 1940 U.S. Census, I feel they are already "out there" so my anonymous naming is pretty safe.  

Thanks for your input, and so good to her from you Debby!
Rather than going down to living people I only enter dead people on the line back to a match on Wikitree. Actually if I can find a match I, I work from the profile on Wikitree toward the DNA match. If you check on FamilySearch trees for some of the people in the line you can often find trees as well as sources or can do a search and add sources to the Family Search branch. I only add profiles with sources, at least one, even if it is Find A Grave. I entered the lines of two friends to their grandparents and find we are 8th and 9th cousins, not close enough to share DNA but interesting. I then try to connect the spouse the same way, even children and their spouses if it hard to connect to the one world tree. This works especially well in New England. The branches that ended overseas, Ireland and Germany are dead ends. If the match is on Ancestry I check to see if they have sources I can use, census, birth, death. marriage records.
+10 votes

Here is some contact etiquette from Help Index: .

by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (239k points)
Thanks, John!  Always good to look at the WikiTree Index.
+11 votes
I have been doing something similar Kitty but mainly adding the direct lines when I actually find the connection, hoping it will lead me to more.  

I have however been using WIkitree quite extensively to find their ancestors that I call 'ancestors of interest', and using categories to help me keep track of them by DNA kit numbers, linked to my personal category tag which helps focus on 'repeat customers' of which I have a few, also utilising any gedmatch IDs I find there which has helped firm up some potential connections.  Then doing my own research and adding it to wikitree for their family, or in a lot of cases, tidying up their profiles and adding sources etc.  Not helping my DNA research but helping Wikitree!  For matches that only list their oldest ancestors I have been adding them too.  

Most of my ancestors from my known research are supposed  to come from the British Isles and some European.  No known US ancestry - yet, although I am on the verge of a discovery there.  I have so many matches with people with colonial US ancestry, that there must be siblings that have gone to the US.  So my quest in researching 'ancestors of interest' is trying to get them back to England.  Until more of the US pedigrees are connected 'across the pond' those of us outside the US aren't able to get as many connections from WIkitree as you lucky US types!
by Veronica Williams G2G6 Pilot (136k points)
Nice, thanks, Veronica!
+3 votes
I wish I was completely following this. First question: does wikitree give you any alerts that there is has a potential DNA match to you from the wikitree?

Second question: Not sure what you meant by "...go back to earliest ancestor and work the other way back to the wikitree trunk." Could you possibly give an example?

by Theresa Myers G2G6 Mach 1 (13.4k points)

!. The DNA connections are shown on each profile, but you do not get an alert of a match on WikiTree.  Here is an example of several yDNA and my auDNA test on one of my ancestors:

2.  Let's say that you and I have an auDNA match and we both have the name Gibson in our list of ancestor surnames.  If you could only go back to Jane Gibson, but I had additional research to add her earlier ancestors, that is what I mean by going back.  Going back from Jane, adding her earlier ancestors, as far as I can take the line.

The hope is that in adding additional ancestors, we will find our common auDNA ancestor on the Gibson surname.  

Thank you, I see. Because I tested at ancestry, my uploaded results on FTDNA produce few matches, however I'll look again with this in mind.

Another question, can you be more specific about: "Without the WikiTree cousin connections, I would never be able to narrow...."  - what exactly are the "cousin connections?"  


Hmm, I added a reply that I don't see, so not sure if this is a duplicate, but here goes:

First, thanks for your response. I'll take a look at both FTDNA and Ancestry matches with an eye to using your procedure.

Another question: can you be more specific about "Without the WikiTree cousin connections, I would never be able to narrow..." - what are "WikiTree cousin connections" exactly - I find the navigating on WikiTree very complicated, you may notice. :-)

Finally, how do you make the treewidget for the names list?

Thanks again!

Cousin Connections.  This is one of the best features on WikiTree.  Once you add a few more generations to your twig and connect to some bigger WikiTree branches, you will start making connections.  For instance, here is my cousin connection to Chris Whitten, our WikiTreer-in-Chief:  It says that he and I are 10th cousins once removed.  You can check if you are related to anyone on WikiTree.  First go to any profile, such as mine, Cooper-1.  At the right side, top of my profile is a drop-down menu called Cooper-1.  Click that, and near the bottom is an option to find the Relationship to Me.  Click that and it will tell you if you are related to the profiled person.

This is your current list of auDNA surnames:  As you add more people, they will be added to this list.

Thank you! I have one more question, that I also posted somewhere else - maybe on the DNA project page? - which is, can you recommend a way to split my ancestry tree so that I can upload to WikiTree in a step-wise way? I have RootMagic Essentials, which is the free but limited Mac version (and the only Mac version so far) that doesn't allow me to do this. Thanks so much for your help!

You should be able to find that here:

I added a couple of census records to your Donahue line.  

thank you, I didn't think RootMagic Essentials could do that, but I'm trying to process it now.  And thanks for the census records!

Related questions

+18 votes
0 answers
+17 votes
2 answers
+19 votes
0 answers
241 views asked Aug 28, 2014 in The Tree House by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (531k points)
+13 votes
2 answers
237 views asked Mar 27, 2014 in Policy and Style by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (531k points)
+10 votes
6 answers
787 views asked May 12, 2016 in Policy and Style by Ken Sargent G2G6 Mach 5 (56.6k points)
+20 votes
2 answers
+17 votes
0 answers
377 views asked Dec 19, 2014 in The Tree House by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (531k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright