Do you ever have one of those days where you say, “If one more thing goes wrong….”?
Well, I was and I did and it did.
One of the things I do daily as a reward and a fun thing is to sign in to Ancestry to check my DNA matches – in particular shakey leaf matches because it means we also share a common, identified, ancestor.
I keep a spreadsheet of my shakey leaf matches. I know exactly how many I have, and if my “shared ancestor hint” match number has changed, I then go and look for my new match.
I check to see the identity of our common ancestor, and then I put them on my spreadsheet, tracking them, the common ancestor and if we have other common ancestors or surnames.
Sometimes my number goes down by 1 or so which always makes me go “hmmmm.” Sometimes my number increases by one or two but there are no “blue dots” for new matches. I just chalked it up to, well, Ancestry being Ancestry.
Today, I signed in and my match number had increased, but no new blue dot match. I noticed a relatively close match that I didn’t recognize, so I checked my spreadsheet to see if they were there – and they weren’t.
So, I checked the next 10 or 20 and guess what – more were missing.
My day went from bad to worse.
I had 175 prior shakey leaf matches, 176 with my newest one today.
I went back and checked all of my shakey leaf matches.
There were 30 “new” matches that have never shown up with a new “blue” button – so I have never put them on my spreadsheet. And no, in case you’re wondering, no one but me has access to my account.
However, there were 44 previous matches that are missing entirely. Where the devil did they go? That’s 25%. Poof. Gone. Just gone. And these are people I DNA match with AND share a common ancestor. What’s going on????
These weren’t all distant matches either. Six were 3rd or 4th cousins, some of which I know are legitimate because we have also tested at Family Tree DNA and/or are at GedMatch and triangulate.
Altogether, that’s a total 74 “changes” that happened. So, the truth is, I actually had a total (after Ancestry’s phasing purge) of 220 shakey leaf matches but since the 44 disappeared gradually as the 30 arrived, the shift was very subtle and went unnoticed.
If we can’t depend on Ancestry’s match numbers nor the “new match” blue dot indication, then we’re going to have to go through and reconcile our shakey matches one by one, by hand, from time to time. You can’t download this information. This wasn’t fun. It shouldn’t be necessary. It’s ridiculous that we have to do this.
I hate to say this, but trying to deal with substandard software in the form of bad NADs, unannounced matches and disappearing matches in combination with no chromosome browser to verify anything is making this more and more like work and less and less like fun. Yet, we don’t need a chromosome browser because we are supposed to trust Ancestry. Yea, right….when pigs fly.
I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned and frustrated. This is not some cute parlor game – for Heaven’s sake – this is my ancestors, my flesh and blood, my DNA. This is sacred to me. This matching shell game is not amusing in the least.
I don’t know whether to beat my head against the wall, cry, throw in the towel with Ancestry or just keep plugging with the hope that maybe, someday, Ancestry will get their act together. How many years does it take??? Given that every iteration so far has been supposed to be “right,” how will we ever know when things really are accurate – especially without any tools to verify? Maybe this is why we don’t have those tools?
Twenty five percent lost matches of people with both DNA and tree matches and we’re supposed to have any modicum of confidence? This isn’t exactly a minor adjustment. And it’s not like this is the first problem we’ve seen with Ancestry’s DNA product, or an anomaly. There has been issue after issue.
So, if you’re not tracking your Ancestry shakey leaf matches independently, you need to start. If you are already tracking them, check to see if you have unannounced new matches and matches that have disappeared. You probably have a few surprises waiting.
As for me, I’m taking two aspirin and going to bed. It’s so late it’s early and tomorrow just HAS to be a better day!
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