My cousin, Harold, e-mailed me and asked me to check my Ancesry results to see if I matched a certain nickname (user). I told him I’d be glad to when my results come in, sometime in October. He replied that my results are in and have been for a couple days, as I’ve been showing as a match to him. Hmmm….would have been nice if Ancestry had notified me. We’ll chalk this up to the internet troll eating the e-mail notification message. Thank you cousin Harold.
When Ancestry received my kit on August 21st, they said to expect my results in 6-8 weeks. They beat their own mark by at least 50%. It took about 3 weeks instead of 6-8. Everyone is always happy receiving something early. It’s all about setting expectations correctly, and they did.
I was excited to take a look. Sure enough, there was cousin Harold, right up at the top of the match list. Harold and I have been working on a particulary elusive genealogy problem for some time now, so both of us test everyplace we can in the hopes of cracking this tough nut. In a future blogs, we’ll talk about using genetic genealogy to do focused testing and solve very specific problems.
I only have just a few minutes this morning, so it’s a good thing that Ancestry’s user interface is easy and intuitive.
I was disappointed to see that Scandinavian show up. I know beyond any doubt that I’m not 12% Scandinavian. That’s equivalent to one great-grandparent. I did a pedigree analysis as part of a paper titled Revealing American Indian and Minority Heritage Using Y-line, Mitochondrial, Autosomal and X-Chromosomal Testing Data Combined with Pedigree Analysis that was published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. CeCe Moore has already reported on this false Scandinavian problem at Ancestry.
Given my time constraints this morning, I had to limit myself to a quick test drive. I have one 3rd cousin match, Harold, nineteen 4th cousins and 90 distant matches. In total 122 matches and of those, only 14 don’t have pedigree charts, although I’ve noticed that some charts are very skeletal, with only parents and maybe grandparents listed.
I couldn’t resist scrolling down the list and clicking on “review match” links for the 4th cousins. I find the “nicknames” frustrating. Some are marginally recognizable. I use my full name in mine, but others are entirely obfuscated.
I had no idea who Alyssa2309 was, but she is listed third on my 4th cousin list, so I clicked on Review Match. Much to my surprise, she is truly a cousin. My great-grandfather is her great-great-great-grandfather. I was very glad at this moment that I had taken the time to manually enter my pedigree chart information for 10 generations. Without that information, Ancestry could not have connected our common ancestors on our trees.
Ok, that’s very cool. This isn’t a brick wall line for me, but it’s still fun to find a new cousin. Maybe she has some photos that I don’t, or vice versa. Alyssa2309, I’ll be in touch, count on it! Here’s a picture of our common ancestors, Lazarus Estes (1845-1919) and Elizabeth Vannoy (1846-1918).
I continued clicking. It has now taken on an addictive quality and I’m only through about 5. Oops, I’ve hit my first “private” tree. How disappointing. I wish Ancestry had done the common surname analysis so I know whether or not to bother attempting to contact this person.
You can see, above, that Ancestry compares the charts of the two people who match and shows you the shared surnames, in this case, the very common Miller and Moore. You can then click and go to that surname on the person’s pedigree chart, or you can simply scan down the chart, displayed to the right through 10 generations. This is a very nice feature.
I finished a quick look at my nineteen 4th cousins. Of those nineteen, there are three where I can clearly identify our common ancestor, and there are two or three more that with some genealogy digging, we might well be able to connect the dots. One of those is a dead end brick wall line for me, so I’m hopeful. More than half show no common surnames.
More than ever, now I really desperately need more information and the raw data to continue with my ancestor matching project. While the Ancestry match information is a tantalizing teaser, that’s all it is. They don’t show how or where you match, how much, segment size or number of SNPs, the chromosome(s), start and stop locations, nor the raw data, of course. No chromosome matching or mapping like at both Family Tree DNA and at 23andMe. How frustrating. It’s like showing you the tip of the iceberg and refusing to provide you with the rest, although you know full well it’s there and available, because other testing companies using the same test platform provide this information. This is SO FRUSTRATING!
In essence, we have the shiny user interface (complete with erroneous population data), and the surface matching information, but no substance. Nothing under the hood. Knowing there is information there that I need and can’t have is worse than not knowing at all.