can a DNA reported location be incorrect?

+10 votes
I received a DNA report from Ancestry which states that my 5th great grandmother, Anna Submit Colton Buell, died in Seattle, Washington. However, all other research claims she died in 1772 in Somes, Tolland County, Ct. Find a grave shows her tombstone there as well. I did call Ancestry's customer service but got absolutely no help at all. I was told that if the DNA showed she died in Seatlle then it's correct even though I've found no connection at all to Seattle. Now I'm wondering what else may be wrong with the DNA report.
in Genealogy Help by

That would have been quite the trick for her to have died in Seattle when "the first European to visit the Seattle area was George Vancouver, in May 1792."

2 Answers

+10 votes
Best answer
Ancestry DNA reports do not give you sourced information about where or when people died. Perhaps you are looking at the information another user who matches your DNA has put on their tree. This could, for example, appear in the narrative to a DNA circle. If so, then the information is only as accurate as their research. If you have sources that say otherwise then you should rely on your own judgement.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (631k points)
selected by Edie Kohutek
Thank you Lynda for your response. When I looked at the My Story section of the DNA report, that's where they have dates separated, i.e. 1700, 1725, 1750 etc. when I stopped at 1750, that's when it showed she died in Seattle and when I clicked onto the icon at the Seattle location, all the information there was correct about her. The other problem is she died in 1772, not in the 1750's.
OK. Now I understand what you were looking at the. When you open a slot on the timeline, e.g. 1750, it will just show you all of your direct line ancestors that were alive at that time. It is not telling you that something specific happened to them in that year. As to location, that will be as detailed as you have entered on the individual. If you have entered a town, that will show, if you have just entered a country then it just sticks the pin into a central location.
Edie, Thanks for the best answer star.
+6 votes
When you say "received a DNA report," what do you mean by that?

It sounds like you mean that you have a "DNA Circle" for Anna Submit Colton Buell - which means that you and at least two other Ancestry DNA testers each match one another and each have Anna in your respective trees.

The situation you describe (an incorrect death place) is unfortunately rather common, in that the genealogy information they give us in the DNA circles is often a summary of what each of the testers in the circle report on their trees.  They also factor in the information provided by other Ancestry users who have entered in Ann to their family trees.  As such, if Anna's death place is listed as Seattle in some of these other trees, this somehow becomes the information listed in the DNA Circle summary.

I see this all the time in my circles - particularly with regard to the names of spouses and the names and information on the children of an ancestor.  If any of the other public member trees for my ancestor have different information on the spouse name or information on the children, it often throws off the information listed on DNA circle summary.  I have also seen these details change frequently as Ancestry updates the circles.

Bottom line - the Ancestry DNA Circles are just being developed.  The Seattle death place location is likely just a product of a limitation in the technology, as a death in Seattle in the 1700s wouldn't make sense at all for your ancestor who lived in Connecticut her entire life.

Hopefully this death location will update in a future update of your circle.  Like I said, I see updates in the circle information frequently.
by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
Ray, I think he may have been referring to the new timeline function under the DNA Story which combines what were previously ethnicity and genetic communities.

Hey Lynda!

I have seen the new timeline in the DNA Story.  OK - I see what you mean in which the year listed in the timeline in DNA Story makes reference to ancestors in your tree.  Still though, the Seattle death location for the ancestor is still likely to be the information provided by other Ancestry users who have entered in Ann to their family trees.

I never even look at the timeline because it is not helpful fo researching my ancestors. It is just a pretty story, maybe based on fact, maybe not.
Edie, the new timeline on DNA ethnicity is actually quite useful in the way that it groups people from your tree in the map at each period.

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