Have you seen Ancestry new groups feature?

+15 votes
Ancestry has some new EXTRA features in beta and one of them allows one to assign groups to matches and to filter on various criteria including groups. Just enable 'New and Improved DNA Matches.'  N.B. this might undo setting used by those who using chrome extensions.
in The Tree House by Thom Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (47.2k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I'm still thinking about it. I did find one match with a guy ON my DNA list that seems promising. Another was my sister's tree, so I guess I forgot someone. But several matches were incorrect or based on Ancestry Trees with people NOT on my DNA list. Those are pretty useless. I'll want to look at it a little more.

I don't really like it because it seems that there is little likelihood that it will continue to yield results. At least with the circles you could get future DNA matches who descend from the same people as you.
I personally like this feature, but have not fully replaced DNA Circles with it.  But I did find information on the brother of my 2nd Great-grandfather from the tree of one of his descendants which also points to the third great-grandfather... they had the first and last name with a slightly different spellings so I probably never would have found them otherwise. So I can see the potential for this beta tool being a good thing.  Just have to be really careful about false or erroneous information.

10 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Also, if  you go to Extras at the top  menu and click on Ancestry Labs it now gives you two new Beta options, My Tree Tags, and a new search feature, New and Improved DNA Matches.

by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 8 (83.7k points)
selected by Thom Anderson
+11 votes
I've been looking at the Thrulines feature, which puts your DNA matches in more of a tree format.  It's been very helpful to me identifying some matches, that while I was aware of them, didn't know how they fit.  In a couple of cases, it showed ones where the tree was private.

It even has potential ancestors, but I did find three of my Potential ancestor suggestions that I knew were wrong.

I like it, but I do know that they can be wrong..
by Craig Albrechtson G2G6 Mach 8 (85.5k points)
It looks like the potential ancestors are based on other people's trees, so if a tree is inaccurate, you get erroneous suggestions.  (I sure did... there's one line I've thoroughly documented and confirmed with DNA.  Someone has the wrong great grandma in their tree and I've got her and all of her ancestors listed as potential relatives.)  I was hoping to get hints for a couple of brick walls, but nothing so far.  I do like that it quickly shows how multiple matches are related to you through a single ancestor.  It'll speed up sorting out match clusters.
I do like the feature and it has helped me, but bad trees in the mix can really throw things off.

Beyond the suggested ancestors, in a couple of cases, it actually replaced an ancestor I had in my tree, with one from a different tree that I knew from research and dna evidence was wrong.
I wish they would only have throughlines for MRCAs of DNA matches. I don't understand why they feel the need to make a through line for my 2,3 and 4x great grand fathers, when my only matches are through my great grandfather...
I'd like to be able to dismiss incorrect potential ancestor hints the way you can dismiss hints for records, etc. on a particular profile.
Well, it is true enough that one can expect false positives.  I had seen this with their earlier attempts to match trees.  This new feature, however, goes beyond just finding matches in two trees by using trees of third parties that have a match in each of the trees of the other two parties.  In other words, some of the gaps in trees get filled in.

So far, I have one good true positive and no false positives.  Too small a sample set for any statistical analysis but I'll take a win whenever I can get one!
Thrulines looks interesting at just a glance. I am researching a current hypothesis for a gggg grandfather and did find a match with his sister’s descendants and my ggg grandmother’s sister’s descendants. The gggg grandfather and his sister relationship is documented via the Mayflower books.
+10 votes

I like this ThruLine feature a lot. I just noticed this today.  Like most things concerning online trees you have to research and verify verify verify. I will gladly take any tool though that might provide useful hints. I really do love how I can visualize it now on a tree format.   However, I doubt it will help me much with my specific  family history goals.



by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 8 (83.7k points)
edited by James Stratman
+10 votes
I think this must be their 'big announcement' that they are making tomorrow morning at RootsTech.  I had hoped the announcement was going to be that there were finally going to give us a chromosome browser . . .

That said, ThruLines is interesting, although I have some grave concerns about it.  I am afraid that people are going to start populating their trees with all of these suggested potential ancestors and really make things worse than they already are with so many ancestry trees.  However, in the brief time I looked at it, I see some interesting possibilities to review and start looking for through auDNA matches . . .

As Lisa mentioned, it would be good if we could 'dismiss' or somehow mark a line to be erroneous.  One of my potential ancestor hints is a man that was at one time believed to be my grandmother's father.  DNA has proven that he is not my great-grandfather...  I clicked on it to see where they were coming up with it and whose DNA was attached.  It took me to a single person's tree with this man's name on it.  But not one single DNA match for this 'potential ancestor'.  So that's a bit of hogwash!
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (419k points)
+5 votes
I see some changes, but can't find the button to enable New and Improved whatever.  As far as I can tell, they still don't give us a way to filter out matches with No Tree or matches with Private Trees.
by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (593k points)
You can filter it to show only public, linked trees.  You still get the 4-people-no-common-ancestor matches, but they're easily seen for skipping purposes.
Thanks, Nan.  Where is that filter?
Hi Herbert, try clicking on the Extras button at the top of the page, then go to Lab (I think it's at the bottom of the drop down). You can enable their 'New and Improved' from there. Maree.

Thanks, Maree!  They buried that deep, didn't they? 

Huge improvement to the match list without the clutter of useless No Tree and Private Tree matches.  smiley

You're welcome. Maree
+5 votes
The first one I pulled up had a tag on it showing a note I wrote to the tree owner 10 years ago trying to find out if she had any documentation to prove the claim.  It does not sound right to me but I am stumped at the moment.  Of course, as usual with most family trees on Ancestry, I did not get an answer.  The local census, which I know can be wrong, shows my person as being born in North Carolina, the other tree shows Ohio.  Not one of the shown siblings or anyone that I have found connected to him moved to the Carolinas or Georgia.  Anyway, I have started a one name project on here and hope to find the connecting lines through that.  Wikitree has given me more hope than I have had in years in connecting the dots.
by Paula Franklin G2G6 Mach 4 (42.5k points)
+4 votes
I noticed this this morning when I was doing my usual ritual of checking new DNA matches with my morning coffee. I was able to poke around with it a bit and have some potential avenues to look into with my brick wall 3xgreat grandmother.

However, I am taking these suggestions with a huge grain of salt, as it is more likely that the 4 DNA matches I have on this line may have guessed at the parents of their ancestor, as I am unsure what actual good documentation exists for this family.

My 3xgreat grandmother was Abigail (Hitchcock) Lapish. There was a prominent Hitchcock family that lived in the Wolfe Island/Kingston area of Ontario in the same timeframe, though I'd been unable to figure out where Abigail fit in. I believe there has been some evidence that her parents were Thomas and Margaret Hitchcock due to circumstantial evidence (I believe one of Abigail's daughters was listed in the Census with Thomas/Margaret at one point). I also got a single match at My Heritage that listed Thomas and Margaret Hitchcock in their ancestors.

This new Ancestry tool has pointed out 4 potential DNA matches to my mother - all very small matches at around a single 8-11 cm segment - that also list Thomas and Margaret Hitchcock as an ancestor. So this is more evidence, I suppose, though I am unsure when I can definitely point to Abigail's parents as being Thomas/Margaret or if this just adds more questions. I have to see if the estimated relationships (3rd cousins 1x removed and 4th cousins) are within the range for that small of a match.

And do research, as the Ancestry trees listing Thomas Hitchcock have him being born in 1790, which would be kind of weird since Abigail's year of birth is consistently listed at around 1815 or 1816.

This is a nice tool, to be sure. I do wish they'd add a chromosome browser, though.
by Kristen Louca G2G6 Mach 2 (28.9k points)
+3 votes
I like the ThruLines feature.  I was playing around with it last night. I discovered matches for a 5x great grandfather that I had previously discounted and disconnected from my tree so I never would have had a "circle" for him.   I matched quite a few members that claimed him as their ancestor through 4 or 5 of his children.  

I agree with others here, it is based on member trees which could be incorrect. I will spend more time checking it out.
by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (190k points)
+4 votes
I just found the Truline features yesterday and enable it.  I have one BIG problem with it though.  My husband is adopted and at one time was building his adopted family tree, but later changed it to his biological family.  He disconnect his adopted family, but we later found out that his adopted  mother is his cousin (7th cousin).  So she is in his tree but is currently listed as his cousin, not his parents.  Tru Line show a parental relationship to his adopted parents that is not shown in his tree and is showing data from his adopted parents, not his biological parents.  I have tried to call Ancestry but not answer....
by C Fish G2G5 (5.9k points)
+2 votes
I found that feature last night, had a look and then turned it back off and went searching for info on how to use it. So far I have gathered that I can colour code my DNA matches and that I can now filter my matches but there doesn't seem to be much info on how to use it. I like the idea but I don't like the visuals as opposed to how the DNA matches are set up now. I will go back to it when I know more. I have a feeling though that the only way to learn about it is to use it.

In regard to Ancestry's new ThruLines I have mixed feelings. Like everyone else I have suggestions that don't belong on my tree and there doesn't seem to be any way of removing the suggestions. Other suggestions may be correct but more research is needed before they can be added to my tree. It is a worry that because people see the suggestions on ThruLines they may put them in their trees and therefore corrupt their trees even further.

I like that it shows me people that should be in my tree but I haven't added yet and that it has family groups of DNA matches some of which I did not know where they belonged before ThruLines.(as some were locked behind private trees and others had no trees or very limited trees). It's best feature is that I can now navigate around my own tree and my DNA matches more quickly than when I used to have to go to to my tree and to my DNA matches separately.

It's big drawback is that it obviously relies on many trees having the same people expressed in the same way as such ThruLines does not include the great majority of my DNA matches.
by Maree Waite G2G6 (6.4k points)

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