+6 votes
Really liked's new ThruLines feature. Noticing people are making their trees private because of this. A number of matches on several lines are decreasing. I identified at least one was because they made the tree private. Just disappointed. For all the obvious reasons.

I can't be the only one who gets frustrated over privacy controls. Just venting.
in The Tree House by Tim Campbell G2G3 (3.6k points)
edited by Tim Campbell
Hello, I currently don't have a paid account on ancestry at the moment, so am curious about the new changes there until I pay again. What is a through line feature and why would people be hiding because of it?
Ancestry's "ThruLines" feature is much like MyHeritage's new "Theory of Family Relativity". They basically compare searchable private and public trees to your tree linked to your DNA test. They are matched against other DNA matches to show you how you may be connected.

If you make your tree not searchable in your options you can't be linked in.

Why would people do this? Maybe privacy controls are easier than wrapping their entire basement bunker in tinfoil? Beats me. Genealogy and privacy don't mix well. Can't be done in the dark. If all your ancestors had their privacy controls on, we'd know nothing beyond our personal knowledge. Except for the people who made trees and took DNA tests and potentially benefited from the work of others. They get to know but they don't have to share...
Oh ok, thanks! I admit DNA is a foreign entity that produces nothing but question marks above my head. Mybe entity is wrong word but whatever. Laughing about the tin foil, haha!
You're welcome. I'm just grumpy. If you've taken an autosomal DNA test or plan to, comparing the tree info of your matches is the primary source for leads to expand your tree. Verifying and sourcing is up to you. This new feature is not all inclusive but it does automate some of that labor for you.
Good share. I was having issues with the Ancestry site when using the Chrome browser. Much of the site wasn't working and the through lines was missing. I cleared the site cookies for Ancestry and it fixed it.

This isn't the cause of the missing matches. I know one of my matches made their tree private and not searchable after the feature was launched and that disconnected them. I have another match that was showing 35, then 34 then 33 through a particular ancestor and I do believe the hits were correct. I believe that people are turning on their privacy and making the trees not searchable.

Another user had a private but searchable tree. They were not a DNA match but their tree had matches. That ancestor first appeared as private. When you selected the profile link you'd get a page that indicates the tree is a private tree that contains information on Name, birth date, etc. If you ask nicely the owner of the tree may let you blah blah blah. It's no longer linked.
Reading the linked article someone expressed concern about incorrect tree info. That happens regardless. You have to be able to verify and source.

This could actually be beneficial. I have followed the sources, the traditional paper trail to some ancestors. I have a lack of DNA matches on some that have me open to the possibility that I erred or that some other non parental event occurred, etc.

So you substitute person "A" in your tree for another, person "B" and you see if you get DNA and tree matches via "through lines". Maybe you add a generation or two to your theoretical ancestor's branch. If this fails and you have other hunches, rinse and repeat.

I imagine this could be extremely useful when you follow the wrong John Smith that was born the same day as 20 other John Smiths and were descendants of another line of John Smiths from the same town.
Thank you for sharing this! I did clear my cache and it worked--my ThruLines are back.

I'm asking about your comment back a year ago on ThrulLnes. You said, "So you substitute person "A" in your tree for another, person "B" and you see if you get DNA and tree matches via "through lines". Maybe you add a generation or two to your theoretical ancestor's branch. If this fails and you have other hunches, rinse and repeat." 

So, I had one line from a 2nd g.grandmother that produced NO DNA matches through ThruLines. Her parents I listed were only my best guess. I substituted a new set of parents for her, and all of a sudden, I got 9 DNA matches!

My question is, what, if anything, does this prove? At first, I thought I was on to something. But then I read Ancestry's description of ThruLines, and it basically told me that the predictions were only as good as the trees we've constructed. That sounds like the new DNA matches I got might be misleading.

Bob S. 

3 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
I completely agree, Tim.

The privacy issues are the biggest frustration I have with It drives me nuts that people can take my information, but aren't willing to share. I was really annoyed when people were taking photos where I was the photographer, I could see that we are cousins, I could see that they were constantly on, but they would not answer my e-mail when I offered to collaborate. Of course, this problem on compounded for me with DNA testing, as your post mentions.

All that does is create tons of crappy trees on, with limited mechanisms for correction. I much prefer Wikitree's one person one profile philosophy.
by Alex Stronach G2G6 Pilot (333k points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Been there. I have deduced a DNA match cousin has expanded their tree from my research and added to theirs. All while refusing to share.
+4 votes
I have a tree on Ancestry and it is private.  I made it so to avoid people pouncing on information I had researched and adding it incorrectly to their tree.  I just couldn't bear the thought of a mistake based on my hard work repopulating throughout the internet.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
I have a funny story about a user and DNA match clearly using my research and refusing to communicate or share with me. The particular line seems correct via the traditional methods and sources but I lack DNA matches. I don't feel guilty. I am of the opinion that it is up to them to verify and source.
That sounds selfish to me.

The “adding incorrectly “ statement is just an excuse to not share your data.

I’ve been researching for over two decades and many, many individuals have used the data I’ve worked hard to discover. I’m happy to share so others benefit and can learn. In turn I expect others to share as well.

To take and not share is just selfish.
+4 votes
My full tree is privatized, but I did create an abbreviated "direct line" public tree to use specifically with my DNA results.
by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
Thank you for at least trying to find a happy medium. Other genealogists including a distant cousin from this site have a private ancestry tree but have an open tree here with their gedmatch kit.

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