Ancestry’s Disappearing ThruLines – Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Ancestry has quite a mess on its hands right now, and genealogists are losing their collective minds. I have some information here to help.

You are always welcome to post links to my articles on other sites, but this article in particular may help many people – so please feel free to pass it on.

I’ve been trying to write an article on ThruLines, but the Ancestry site has been experiencing so many issues that I can’t manage to actually get through my ThruLines to evaluate them and write the article.

There are two different scenarios:

  • You’ve never had ThruLines and you aren’t sure if they have been rolled out to your account yet. They will be rolled out to everyone through the month of March.
  • You’ve had ThruLines, but now you don’t and your account has reverted back, meaning ThruLines no longer shows and the Circles placard has returned, or the Ancestry site simply doesn’t work and says the pages are no longer present.

Scenario 1 – Never Had ThruLines – Does My Account Even Have Them at All?

If you’re never had ThruLines yet, or aren’t sure, you need to do the following in order to qualify for ThruLines and to make sure they work.

For ThruLines to work, you must be sure:

  • Your tree is connected to your DNA.
  • Your tree is either public or a private searchable tree. Unsearchable trees won’t have ThruLines.
  • Your tree is at least 3 or 4 generations deep.
  • You only have one kit for any individual person connected to that person in the same tree. If you have multiple kits for the same person connected to one tree, only one kit will have ThruLines. If this is your situation, you can create a “twin” to yourself in your tree and attach the second kit to that person and both kits should get ThruLines. There aren’t many people like me who have tested twice with AncestryDNA, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

You can have multiple kits attached to the same tree, but each kit must be connected to a different person in the tree

Do the following:

At the top of your Ancestry DNA Summary page, you’ll see “Extras.” Click there and then on Ancestry Lab.

ThruLines Ancestrylab.png

To enable Ancestry’s new features, you’ll see the following screen.

ThruLines Ancestrylab enable.png

I’m not positive you need to enable to active ThruLines, but if you want the other new features, you definitely do, so enable just to be sure.

If you see this next “we’re sorry” screen instead of the one above, you’ll need to move to the Scenario 2 and clear your cookies, but read the instructions all the way through, first, please – to save yourself a lot of grief.

ThruLines sorry.png

Do You Have ThruLines on Your Account?

If you’ve already had access to ThruLines and now it’s not functioning correctly, move to the next section, Scenario 2. If you’ve never had ThruLines, read this.

If you don’t have access to ThruLines, you’ll see this screen with Circles showing to the far right:

ThruLines not available.png

If you have access to ThruLines, but you don’t have any ThruLines, you’ll see this placard, below:

ThruLines available but you have none.png

You do have ThruLines if you see the next screen, with the green “Explore ThruLines” box at the bottom of the ThruLines box. Click on that green box to view your ThruLines.

Thrulines present.png

Scenario 2 – You Had ThruLines But Don’t Now or They Don’t Work

I had ThruLines on one of my two accounts. They were present and I was working through them one at a time – right up until they stopped working a couple days ago. Initially, it was flakey, like the Ancestry site was having problems, but then, the old screen showing the Circles placard in place of ThruLines reappeared and ThruLines were entirely gone.

This, on top of the issues with the ThruLines themselves is proving incredibly frustrating. I’ve called ThruLines an array of not-very-complimentary names derived from Thru…but I’ll be the better person and not print those here:)

I waited, not so patiently I must admit, but today in the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques group of Facebook, Paula Williams posted about how to clear specific cookies. Not ALL of your cookies and not your cache – just the Ancestry cookies. I was very skeptical, since “clear your cookies” is always the “go to” answer when the answer is unknown and it almost never works. It’s kind of the last resort and won’t hurt anything, but will make it so that no “memory” functions if you have sites that remember your preferences, for example.

However, Paula’s instructions tell you how to clear specific cookies for one site only, and they aren’t destructive to other cookies.

Best of all, this actually worked to correct the “disappeared” ThruLines issue.

I have no idea why Ancestry is having so many problems right now, but these suggestions should help you restore your ThruLines if they have disappeared or the Ancestry site is acting flakey.

Good luck and thanks to Paula. Instructions reproduced with permission, below.

Deleting Specific Site Cookies

Many of us have had issues with Ancestry in the last day or so. Deleting your Ancestry cookies should fix problems such as not being able to load pages. This particular issue is in the cookies, so you’ll need to delete your **cookies** and not your cache.

Here are some links that explain how to delete your cookies. Do note that many of these sites also explain how to delete cookies from just one site, so you can delete just your Ancestry cookies if you’re afraid to delete any others.

Chrome (note the Computer, Android, and iPhone/iPad tabs just above the words “Clear All Cookies”) :…


Safari (Mac):…/manage-cookies-and-website-…/mac

Safari (iPhone / iPad):

Microsoft Edge:…/4027…/windows-delete-cookies

Internet Explorer:…/windows-internet-explorer-d…

If I’ve missed your browser, go to Google and search for “delete specific cookies” (without the quotation marks) and your browser or device – for example, delete specific cookies Samsung Galaxy.

I’ll still be writing about ThruLines as soon as I can actually finish the review.

Other Options

With or without ThruLines working, there are other DNA comparison options you may want to consider.

The MyHeritage Theories of Family Relativity tool is working fine and you can transfer your DNA file easily.

Both GedMatch and FamilyTreeDNA, although they didn’t make any announcements of new products recently work just fine too. You can also compare your segments at all three sites which you can’t do at Ancestry.

I wrote about how to transfer to MyHeritage here and FamilyTreeDNA here.

Have fun, enjoy!



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116 thoughts on “Ancestry’s Disappearing ThruLines – Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

  1. Pingback: Ancestry’s ThruLines Dissected: How to Use and Not Get Bit by the ‘Gators | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  2. My frustration with ThruLines is that they have the wrong man as my father. Last year I confirmed that my mother’s husband, who I’d thought was my dad all my life, in fact wasn’t. With some digging and DNA I confirmed who my bio father was, and he’s listed as such on our Family Tree on Ancestry in place of my mother’s husband, who I removed as father. (As an aside, my “former” father turned out to be a 9th cousin!), Anyway, ThruLines is useless to me with the wrong person as my bio father. Not sure if there’s any way to correct that.

  3. I have the same problem with one of my ancestors. Other people have put wrong information on their trees and now it appears on my ThruLines. I have sent messages to those whose trees are wrong and hope that they will correct the information.

  4. The Good – the linear aspect of the DNA Matches per ancestor is much better than the Circles. I was able to see all the descendants down to my DNA matches on my Mitchell line from my 2 x Great Grandpa Mitchell and that of his half-siblings. The Circles was definitely more cumbersome. And, yes, I did go back and prove each descent with census records, birth, marriage, and death records to verify that the descent of the DNA matches was correct and not some error of wishful thinking in somebody’s tree. It was neat to down arrow the descents to each match and see them next to each other, which was not possible in the Circles.

    The Bad – potential ancestors (and I know you did another post on this topic). I mean, one of the potential ancestors was an actual confirmed relative . . . my 2 x Great Grandmother on my mother’s side who I happen to have pictures of from my mother. Oi! As for the other “potential” ancestors . . . well, they give me a jumping off point that I have to prove or disprove for myself. I’ve never trusted Ancestry trees as is and always tell people to prove it for themselves with all the required documentation. So, as wrong as some of those “potentials” probably are, I am going to prove that wrongness or rightness for myself.

    Side Note – none of the New Ancestry Discoveries showed up as “potential” ancestors. Hmmmm . . .

  5. I wanted to leave a comment related to the Ancestry Lab and enabling the new features. I’m fairly sure this is unnecessary and I’m mentioning it for anyone on the fence over the warning about the Chrome extensions.
    I’ve had clients and research cousins contact me about their ThruLines and they just magically appeared one morning. Meaning they certainly didn’t click through to the Lab.
    Also, I personally did click through and enabled the Tags but NOT the improved DNA features (I didn’t want to lose anything from the Chrome extensions and I know with anything BETA, things can change and get lost). My test doesn’t have ThruLines but the results for my dead relatives, who never had an Ancestry account, do have them. I know they didn’t click anything in the Labs.
    For now, if you don’t want to enable anything in Labs, I don’t think it makes a difference with ThruLines, that of course could change.

  6. Roberta Estes comes through again!! When I first opened Thrulines I was extremely pleased – started working through each ancestor to view dna matches. But about 2 nights ago, I opened Thrulines and found – not that my ancestors were simply gone — but that I had acquired a whole new family! Really, a new mother and father and 164 (and then I stopped counting) potential ancestors going back to 1700’s in America. All of my ancestors were emigrants to the US in the mid 1800’s and there was not 1 recognizable name among the 166 potentials which could have somehow triggered this amazing substitution! Foolishly, I went onto the Amazon Facebook page seeking help and all I got was criticism for reporting this “glitch” and told that it happened because I had most likely misspelled someone’s name! My bad, should have come to DNA Explained in the first place. Now I’m off to try your very helpful suggestions to see if I can get my own family back!

  7. Thrulines has confused the parents, grandparents, great grandparents etc. of my two nieces. That is, one niece has no connections and the other niece’s connections actually belong to her cousin. Information on the Family Tree is correct! How do I fix this?

    • Unfortunately, you can’t. All you can do is wait and hope that ThruLines fixes itself. I would detach the tree from the DNA test and reattach it, but not until after get harvest any information about that or any Circles or NADs you might have, in case none of them come back.

  8. So I just went into ThruLines and of the 21 previous DNA connections through my 3 x Great Grandfather’s children . . . I now have none. Previously, I had connections from 4 of my great-grandfather’s siblings (known and proven) and from 3 of his half-siblings (again, known and proven). Suddenly, some mysterious half-sibling has popped up who is definitely not a sibling based on census records (and has never cropped up in any research on my part), but all the other ones are gone. Have you run into this issue? It just seems odd that every previous DNA match has suddenly disappeared. Thanks.

      • Well, lucky for me, I screen printed everything for that Ancestor. I did find one of the matches on a different ThruLine going back to my 5 x Great Grandfather Mitchell. Go figure.

  9. Hello; I just found your article and site in searching for a solution to my problems with Thank you so much and your site looks fantastic – I’m sure I will learn alot and look forward to trying the cookie solution for thru-lines issues. I have had continuous problems with all Ancestry “beta” features for the past couple weeks and it has been tremendously frustrating. Even worse, Ancestry themselves have not really been responsive in helping me solve these issues. This has to do with beta DNA matches disappearing or not displaying correctly, Thru-lines and user profiles not working. Starting one day, a couple of weeks ago, ~145 DNA matches with “Shared Ancestor” leafs disappeared from the DNA matches beta, thru-lines beta started linking previously identified ancestors with random people on my tree that were clearly wrong, and I could not access any profiles, including my own (!), in the profile beta. Worse yet, I can not even turn off any of the betas – when I go to Ancestry lab through the extras menu, the page will not load! I will try the cookie solution and then perhaps “turn off” the beta to see if things reset (my only concern with this is that I won’t get the beta back; I am currently a registered guest without a subscription; I also don’t want to lose the groups that I created in the DNA matches beta. Does anyone know if I will lose these groups if I toggle off/on the beta feature?) Thank you!

  10. First I had ancestry circles (12 of them!) but no Thrulines. I contacted tech support and they rectified that within 24 hours. So for awhile there I had both 12 circles AND functioning Thrulines. But then a couple weeks ago, the site did something with revising profiles, and I lost all 12 of my circles at once. In addition, certain censuses and other “Hints” started showing as “unavailable.” Thirdly I started noticing that sometimes I am represented by my initials of my first and last name but at other times I am represented by the first two letters of my user ID. I don’t know whether that is connected with the other problems.

  11. Hi Roberta Estes, I had my husband family under my ThurLines. But that has all disappeared. On the ThurLines their were pictures of his Grandmother & Father that
    he had never seen before. How can I get them back on ThurLines. It is really important
    to him and our family. My family ThurLines are under my son’s Thurlines. Please don’t
    change anything. The reason why I say that I was talking to rep. down in Florida and
    right under the ThurLines on The Morgan’s disappeared. Your help would greatly be
    appreciated. Thank You Christie Hawkins-Morgan

    • You need to call Ancestry. The information us still out there, just not already assembled for you. It can also be incorrect. Be careful.

  12. Okay, I’ve lost my husband’s mother’s entire line on thrulines. It shows up everywhere else. I’ve deleted the cookies but to no avail. Now what?

    Thanks for your help!

  13. Thrulines is a JOKE! They have double listing for my GGF and NO ONE will help me fix it!! After this month, I am DONE WITH ANCESTRY AND THEIR LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!

  14. What on earth is ancestry playing at by making its site so unusable to trace ones geneology back?

  15. I am really disappointed in Ancestry. I have talked to them 3 times about my ThruLines disappearing and they offer no solution. They say they don’t know what is going on. Not once did they say there are others having the same problem or we are working on getting it fixed. All they do is send you links to help you find solutions which are the same solutions they give you for everything. This is wrong on their parts and I am about ready to leave them and go some where else. Tomorrow I am going to make my 4th phone call to them about this problem and if I am not satisfied I am going to ask for my DNA money back or for them to send me another kit free of charge and they can do it again. Just once I wish they would let their users know there is a problem and what they are doing about it. If it weren’t for your site I find by accident, searching for solutions, I would have never known others were having problems.

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