This wasn’t exactly how I had in mind to convey these news items, but you know that saying, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans,”? Well, let’s just say it’s one of those weeks/months and years.
So, this article is going to be short and sweet, and I promise a more detailed article in a few days.
However, you need at least some of this info ASAP, so here it is in its rather unrefined raw state.
- Ancestry Tagging Script
- Ancestry Acquisition Update
- Summer Sales
- MyHeritage Sale
- FamilyTreeDNA Sale
- DNAPainter Free Newsletter
- New Ancient Ancestor
Ancestry Tagging Script (to Save Your Sanity)
You might need to be at least somewhat comfortable with computers for this to work and it doesn’t work on a tablet or iPad, but does work on a Mac.
I have the latest version of both Chrome and Edge browsers installed on a relatively new computer with lots of memory. For me, the script works best on Edge and in the middle of the night when Ancestry’s servers are less busy. Still, I can’t seem to get below my 6.2 cM matches without the script or Ancestry bombing. It doesn’t help any that my internet service has been flaky this week too.
The author recommends Firefox. (Update. I’ve installed Firefox and it’s running like a champ.)
Here are the instructions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/100BqYdjeVdwmHaT9gTL3miknxm7bKik4KwcHaoUX72I/edit?fbclid=IwAR04u0VQaaVeG-6pkif-ILYmLPQgHTtCf13A0lW4EMPTm0QwOb1hDb9o7L4
Print these out, read them thoroughly, and follow them step by step.
Here’s a link to the script on GitHub: https://github.com/lrf1/ancestry_scripts/blob/master/ancestry_dnsmatches_grouptagger_v2.js
Here’s a YouTube video about how to use the script: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnqGChJL0kw&fbclid=IwAR04iTVzcaKF8YJx2ewX_2rMEXQFaFaNIW5YfPQMlJYG6yfd1U6NvCN47Vc
Individual tweaking is required.
In my case, I have named the group where I want my 6-8 cM matches saved “1saved.” I selected that name because the 1 locates it near the top and I’ll know what’s there.
Following Roger’s instructions, 1saved should be row 3, but I had to enter row “2” in the script to get the matches to save to the group 1saved.
// MODIFY THE FOLLOWING LINES AS NEEDED
var groupTitle = “1saved“;
var groupRow = 2;
Regardless, the script works, and truthfully, all I really care about is that these matches are preserved.
My biggest problem occurs after the script bombs the first few times, and it will – you’ll need to restart it. Until the script manages to work its way to the location in the file, which is increasing further down in the scrolling, where it discovers matches to be tagged, I must re-enter and re-enter the script to reinitiate the searching.
This is by NO MEANS a complaint because I’m very grateful for this free tool. It’s just an observation that I hope will help you too. Having said that, I can’t tell you how many surnames like Bolton, my grandmother’s birth surname, Estes and Vannoy by various spellings, my great-grandmother’s surname I’ve seen scroll past as they are being tagged. There’s gold in those matches.
Furthermore, many people are reporting successes now that they’re actually looking at these smaller matches. If half of these are identical by chance, or false positives, that means half are NOT false and you need to use your analytical skills to figure out which is which.
Someone asked me earlier if I know anyone who will run the script or tag on behalf of someone else. I don’t, but you could ask on any number of Facebook groups, specifically the AncestryDNA Matching group or the ISOGG group.
If you’re NOT going to use the script, I recommend the following methodology to save at least some of your highest quality matches that are most likely to be relevant.
Select both “Common Ancestors” and “Shared DNA.” Enter the levels of shared DNA you want to view, meaning 6-6 or 6-7 or 7-7, which will display all of your matches where a potentially shared ancestor has been identified (ThruLine.)
This won’t save anyplace near all of your 6-8 cM matches, but it will save the potentially most beneficial.
I wrote the article, Ancestry to Remove DNA Matches Soon – Preservation Strategies with Detailed Instructions, here, and Ancestry Match Purge Update here.
Note that Ancestry has stated they are delaying the purge until “late August,” but I’m seeing multiple people report that their 6-8 cM matches are already gone, so if you want to save them, one way or another, don’t delay.
Ancestry Acquisition Update
Ancestry’s announced acquisition by Blackstone Group, which I wrote about here, has raised questions about privacy. An article this week in Vice quotes both an Ancestry and Blackstone spokesperson on the topic who say that Blackstone will not have access to user data nor will it be shared with Blackstone’s portfolio companies.
Summer Sales Have Arrived
Late summer always ushers in summer DNA sales.
Right now, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, and Ancestry are having sales.
AncestryDNA is on sale for $59, here.
MyHeritage is on sale for $49, here and has a significant customer base in Europe where most of my ancestors originated.
Of course, FamilyTreeDNA has Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA in addition to autosomal plus 20 years’ worth of testers in their database.
Regardless of where you’ve tested, having family members in the same database makes your own test so much more valuable because many of your matches will match family members too. I’m in all of the databases, and several of my family members are as well.
Remember, you can transfer tests for free to both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA from other vendors. Instructions for each company can be found here.
The MyHeritage DNA kit is on sale right now for $49 and free shipping with 2 or more.
Don’t forget that if you’ve tested elsewhere, you can transfer to MyHeritage for free and pay just $29 to unlock the advanced tools, such as Theories of Family Relativity, or subscribe to the full records package and the unlock is free.
- Click here to order a DNA test.
- Click here to upload your DNA data file from another vendor, or click here for step-by-step transfer instructions.
- Click here for a free trial subscription to the MyHeritage genealogical records package.
Family Tree DNA Sale
Family Tree DNA offers their Family Finder autosomal test, but additionally, they offer Y and mitochondrial DNA testing and matching which provide insights you can’t obtain with autosomal DNA testing alone.
- Y DNA is for males only and tests the direct paternal (surname) line.
- Mitochondrial DNA is for both men and women and tests your direct matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, her mother, etc.
If you’ve already tested at a lower level, you can upgrade.
If you know what you want, go right ahead and order.
This is a wonderful time to order tests for family members who represent Y DNA and mitochondrial lines that you can’t test for yourself.
Early in the week, I’ll publish an article that shows how to locate people at each testing company who are appropriately descended from your ancestor whose Y DNA or mitochondrial DNA results you’d like to have.
This sale runs through the end of August, so you have time to search out and find people to ask if they’d be willing to test. Of course, if you already know people appropriately descended, by all means, ask them and get a kit on order. I generally offer a DNA testing scholarship so that the $$ factor is removed from my request. It makes it easier for them to say yes. If they agree, I add a Family Finder test too. I believe in striking while the iron is hot.
If you’d like to read about the different kinds of DNA testing, the article 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy is great to share with others as well.
- Click here if you’d like to order or upgrade.
Free DNAPainter Newsletter
I received an email this week from Jonny Perl at DNAPainter, one of my favorite tools, and he’s now offering a free monthly newsletter with tips on how to use DNAPainter. You can sign up here. I certainly did.
I’ve written extensively about DNAPainter, here.
New Ancient Mystery Ancestor
Guess what, you may have a new mystery ancestor. How cool is this??!!
LiveScience reported this week that scientists have detected traces of an earlier human ancestor in Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA. That ancient ancestor existed 200,000-300,000 years ago, in Africa, leaving and intermixing with the Neanderthals then living in the Middle East or elsewhere outside of Africa, but before the move to Europe.
You can read the PLOS article, here.
I don’t know about you, but I find this absolutely fascinating.
Enough news for now, although I’ve probably forgotten something.
Order a DNA test, find an ancestor, subscribe to the DNAPainter newsletter, and enjoy summer, safely.
I’ll see you later this week with an article about how to search for family members, in particular Y and mitochondrial DNA carriers that represent your ancestral lines. You never know what critical information is waiting just to be discovered.
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – ancestry autosomal DNA only, not health
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – transfer your results from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – autosomal DNA only
- 23andMe Ancestry – autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – genealogy software for your computer
- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – professional genealogy research
Does the Ancestry Tagging Script work on Macs or just PCs? I had hoped someone would come up with a solution. I manage multiple first and second generation American kits and I have had much help from other people with shared foreign names, especially on my grandma’s Lithuanian side. Thanks for sharing!
I’m not sure about a Mac but I know I saw it in the instructions.
I’m using it on a Mac right now. It wouldn’t work on Firefox, but is working like a dream on Chrome.
Thank you, both Roberta and Denise!
The filter by place didn’t work for me despite using the Ancestry description. At least I now have them all saved and can hopefully filter later
I don’t understand the DNA painter newsletter sign up. I’d get $5 off of my next payment? Payment for what? This is where the link in your blog takes me:
If you’d like to receive the email, click the button below and fill in the form. You will then receive a confirmation email. Once you click the link in this email, your signup will be confirmed and you will received a discount of $5 off your next payment.
If you subscribe for advanced features. Basic DNAPainter is free. It’s for DNAPainter users.
The script is very slick. Thank you.
First, i’ve found that scrolling slowly and stopping every so often helps. (but this might just be my very slow internet connection). Also, i have found that using the IPhone AP is faster when on 5G – but i have low data plan.
Due to past bad experiences with computers – I am hesitant to use the script.
So I’ve come up with a way to group my low DNA matches that is time consuming but helps prevent Ancestry’s backend from timing out. I do a combination search of 6-6cM and a double letter (like AA, AB, AC …) in the user name field. This pulls up a smaller number of low dna matches and so along with slow scolling, i am able to get to the 6.0 matches. Yes time consuming but with each letter combination i feel like i’ve accomplished something instead of hitting the backend brick wall.
Here are 2 suggestions for Ancestry:
1) it would be extremely helpful (and probably help Ancestry’s backend resources) if Ancestry would change (even if temporarily) the search parameters to allow decimal points – like only searching 6.7-6.7.
2) Also, if I could have an option to select only matches that were NOT in a group, then i would only see the 6-7cMs that were remaining to work on instead of having to scroll through all the ones I’ve already done.
I read about this a few days ago in a Facebook group and have been giving a try.
Thanks, Roberta for posting about it here to get the word out.
I have found the script is a memory hog, and everything else slows way down. But fortunately I have a second computer I can run it on so I can actually get some other work done on my main computer.
If you just have the one computer, I would agree your best bet is to start it going at night before going to bed.
On advice, I turned off image loading in the browser, which does speed up the process. And hopefully not be as prone to just stop running. Edge browser, which is fairly fast for this, does not have an option to turn off images (that I could find) but it can be done in Chrome and Firefox. The process is running right now on my laptop in Chrome, and is chugging right along.
I have also found that if the process does hang up, if you reload the page and can take the time to scroll to the last match flagged and then start the script again, it will pick up where it left off, so it doesn’t have to start at the beginning checking each match to see if already flagged.
I am managing 6 DNA kits, so hoping I can get through them all. Concentrating on 7 cM first, then will run the script against 6 cM matches.
Thanks again Roberta for getting the word out, and a big thank you to Roger for coming up with the script and selflessly sharing it.
You know, it didn’t have to be this tough. Ancestry could just have let us check a “retain” box.
I can’t find the setting to turn off images in Firefox. Where is it and what is it called?
My son turned off images for me in Firefox. He said that in the address bar on Firefox you type in “about:config”. Then hit enter. It will give a “proceed with caution” warning. Accept to enter the site. In the new search bar type “permissions.default.image”. (It will suggest this to you as you type.) The default value will be 1 which means allow all images to load. Change this to 2 (use the pencil icon to edit) to block all images from loading. Hit enter to save. On a side note, thank you so much for blogging about Roger’s script! I have been able to save matches that I wouldn’t have taken the time to do by hand. I manage so many DNA tests that is would not have been possible without this auto tagging script.
Thank you so much for this useful information!
I learned (by trying and failing) that Ancestry does not let you use the script on two kits at the same time in separate tabs.
I close everything and restart my computer before using the script.
blocking images from loading helps also
but you can use a different kit on a different browser, you have 3 to choose from chrome, edge chromium, and firefox.
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the author posted another script for just paging. When you get toward your end of matches I use it. I start from the beginning with a new browser instance or reboot computer. go to match list enter filter for 6cm. the I run the paging script. it is set to run 100 times with is 5000 matches. You change the 100 to another number that will get you to the end of your matches. Then you run the regular tagging script and it will work to the end. I also like the formula that was posted. you put it in the filter “eye” and it shows what number your match page is. So it will tell you where you are in your match list.
I may have to do that.
I don’t see that on Github. Where did you find it?
I found the discussion about the script, plus the second paging script, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/407494112747727/permalink/1738979356265856/
for those with less RAM, then doing about 5000 matches at a time seems to be better, I tried to use the paging script to the bottom when I first started. that did not work so well because the clicking on the group seems to use memory. So after i have got at least half way or more then the paging script might be used to get to the end of matching, then run the tagging script and it will go to the end. however if you have a lot of RAM you can do most anything you want.It is interesting because I have some computers that consistently get ancestry server errors, the computers with more RAM seem to start and just keep on going with no problem.
Roberta (or anyone who knows!),
Oh, my, …. I need that paging script!
I’ve tried ‘countless’ times to get down closer to the bottoms of the low cM lists…
but each time, after long periods of scrolling fairly slowly and then maybe getting a little ‘tagging’ done, the dreaded ‘overtaxed backend’ appears. I’ve tried increasing the milliseconds amounts in the adjustable settings at the top of the script, but still couldn’t get all the way down.
Question: Where can non-Facebook members get the paging script or any other ones he may have added to help us.
Thank you Roberta for helping us and
Thank you Roger!
I am confused. I admit that without a Chromosome browser, I quit using Ancestry for anything below a high 4th cousin a couple years ago. I made too many mistakes and wasted too much time. I mostly use it to find trees on matches from GEDMatch.
I have an older match list from DNAGedcom. Any reason to get a newer list?
If you want to see those matches on Ancestry. If they have trees or are in ThruLines. Also any newer matches. Bottom line if you’re happy.
i do not think dnagedcom was working with ancestry. ancestry sent out cease and desist letters to third party tools
I have an old download too, but it’s from months ago.
Thank you for this information, Roberta! The YouTube video was very helpful too!
I had already hand added over 2,000 entries just for my mom’s dna matches and was not looking forward to doing all the rest of hers and my dad’s.
Just set up a new group after finishing all my mother’s 6-8cM matches. I made it a dual filter of 6-8cM matches with a common ancestor. Today I have 6 new matches in that category that weren’t in the 6-8cM matches finished yesterday. That means they are adding people in that range who have a common ancestor daily. I will be missing all these people in the future when they no longer list those matches.
This is very cool! I was trying to do this with Selenium but failed quite miserably. It has crashed a few times, but so far I have about 6K matches saved off. Not sure I will ever use them, but I recently had a distant match that was in this range, and so why not set them aside for research.
Thanks for sharing.
I only use Firefox. I broke down my groups by cM’s and Trees and did them individually (ex: 6-6, private tree; then 6-6 public tree, 6-6 unlinked tree, 6-6 ALL). I did the same for 7 and 8 cM’s. It is cumbersome, but I did not have any crashes and only got 2 “backend issues” from Ancestry. After each group was done, I closed the script and web site, and opened a new browser to begin again on the next group. I also finished 3 other people whose matches I manage. I don’t need my computer for work, so I didn’t have any other web sites open or my email open while I ran the script. I started early morning and it took a good 12 hours for each of 3 days. The couple of glitches I had were my fault.
“My biggest problem occurs after the script bombs the first few times, and it will – you’ll need to restart it. Until the script manages to work its way to the location in the file, which is increasing further down in the scrolling, where it discovers matches to be tagged, I must re-enter and re-enter the script to reinitiate the searching.”
This might be helped by scrolling down continuously all the way to 6.0 (essentially “pre-loading” all of the matches) and THEN run the script.
yes, i used to scroll to the bottom and run the tagging script, but now I find that running the paging script to get to the bottom is better, then I run the tagging script
Yes, I can’t scroll that far.
Thank you for sharing this awesome script and to Roger Frøysaa for creating it. Finding common ancestors and current research lines in these 6-8th cousin matches Ancestry will delete soon. Running it on Windows Edge at night – runs all night and sometimes into AM.No hangups so far. Nice to see all those matches tagged and in a group folder. Many are unviewed but so are a lot that had good shared matches, were already saved, and had notes. Would never have had time/maybe patience to do this manually so thanks again for sharing.
Thank you so much for sharing. Hopefully I will get a chance to try this weekend before all my matches disappear. Already identified 3rd cousins that fall in to the group that was going to be deleted!
With the Family Tree DNA sale, what is MtDNA to FMS and MtPlus to FMS? Is there another upgrade? Also, do you have an article that explains how you do the scholarship? I am thinking it could be useful to help pay for someone else’s test without them having to give me their personal info (like their address for the kit to be posted to)
FMS is full mitochondrial sequence. That’s the highest level if you tested at a lower level previously.
Thanks for the info. I will have to check which test I did.
Generally, they give me the address or they can order and you can reimburse them. Or you can call support for assistance.
Thanks so much for posting info about the Ancestry Tagging Script by Roger Froysaa. I’ve noticed that the script pauses if it runs into two names that are identical and adjacent in the Shared Matches list. Why duplicate names can appear there is beyond me, but I’ve seen three instances so far. The first name is entered into the save group, and then the script pauses at the second identical name. Fortunately, I tried just manually clicking on “Add to group” for the NEXT name after the two duplicates. That gets the script running normally again.
I noticed the same thing.
I get a lot of stops and starts because of Ancestry’s “backend services overtaxed”. I just start over again. Also, I disabled Adblock on my computer and it helped a lot in letting the script work faster.
I put my teacher hat on to tackle this. The only thing all of these 6 and 7 matches has in common is a username. So I selected, say, 6cM matches, then put an x in the username search box, which brought up a manageable group of all matches with x in their name. The script whizzed through them in minutes, right down to 6.0.
Then I tried z, which also worked. Getting on to the other consonants, it started crashing again. So I started thinking in common digraphs and trigraphs in people’s names, for example, ai, ei, ie, ey, ph, igh. All clusters I used to teach children in school as they are the most common in the English language.
ai brought up another 982 in the 6s
ey – 539
ie – 526
all – 366
ell – 289
..and so on.
If you only have one or two lists to tackle, this is do-able, and you can go off and do other things while it’s running, confident it won’t crash. Then, after a few days, it’s feasible that you will have few enough matches left to tag that you can just scroll down the once to mop them up.
I’ve found that if you put in something that’s going to crash, the banner comes up saying the website is using substantial memory, and if that happens I stop the run and try something else.
Some people have numbers in their usernames. I haven’t tried that to see if it works.
Hope this helps somebody!
A brilliant idea. I have one tree left that I manage and I will definitely try this.
Splitting the 6s and 7s into smaller groups according to types of trees, as suggested further up this thread, also worked on the Private Linked Trees, which is a smaller group, but crashed for me on Unlinked Trees, although it picked up another 1700 in the 6s alone before it did so.
Also, ordering the matches by Most Recent instead of Relationship, brings some of those lower matches further up the line, so the autotagging can pick them off before it inevitably crashes.
And yes, sincere thanks to Roger for the opportunity to play around with this and make the best of a bad situation!
Have belatedly found that, with the 7s at least, it’s possible to enter one letter in the username search box and autotag all of the matches containing that letter, usually without it crashing.
It sometimes stops, but usually on the lower values, around 7.3, so it’s easy then to scroll down manually and tag what’s left, often only around ten or so matches.
So it doesn’t take that long to work through all the consonants in the alphabet, then consider the 7s finished.
Will try it on the 6s next. Later in the day, when people have signed off for their evening meal, seems to work best!
I should add that I have total matches of only 35.5K, being English/North European with minimal Irish. Paper trail bears that out, with no direct ancestors found outside of England in 40 years’ plus researching.
Also, my sister’s saved 6s and 7s so far amount to 62.4 per cent of her total matches. A shocking loss of data if it hadn’t been tagged.
Using the script by Earl Haiks, I have now tagged the 6cM and 7cM matches on 16 kits. The average percentage being 63.5%.
Have you heard if AncestryDNA is deleting messages? I am missing years worth and the ones that are still in the system aren’t complete, often missing replies and critical information. Is there anyway to download our Ancestry messages or is it a completely manual cut and paste operation?
The first article in the series mentioned that. I believe it was only folders, but I’m not sure and it may be too late now. I don’t know.
I missed that article. I just had default folder for inbox, sent, and deleted–I hadn’t created any. But now I can’t go back further than 1/11/2015 on messages and I’ve been on Ancestry since 2007.
What I’ve lost, if they have really deleted it is incalculable–I had so much information there. I was foolish to trust Ancestry.com.
I’ll have to hope it is an artifact of the their lack of investment in infrastructure and it will be accessible eventually–but I’m not hopeful.
When I clicked the Messages icon in the upper right corner of my Ancestry window today, snippets of my most recent messages appeared in a drop-down box with a link offering “See all messages” at the bottom. Clicking that link brought up a new window with the following note in the lower left corner:
“Download Message Folders
“Your messages are now located in our new message center and can be viewed by recipient.
“Your 1 folder and messages from our previous system will be available to download and save until August 31, 2020.
“Download Folders” [clickable words]
I was able to download the one folder I had made since March 2009 to keep a few items of special interest. I could also scroll through the left column of the window to see dozens of messages and replies back to May 2009. After holding down the left mouse button in that column and scrolling through the whole list, I could use Ctrl-C to copy all those messages and replies in one operation and paste with Ctrl-V into a Word document. That got all the text of the messages, not just first few words visible in the left column.
Your all messages view sounds different than what I see.
When I click the envelope icon, and then click See all messages at the bottom, it takes me to a layout with a column on the left with my most recent messages–a combination of ones I’ve sent or ones I’ve received.
At the top of the left hand column it says Messages, has a search box and a green button that says “+ New” (which allows me to create a new message to the left). Below are names and message snippets.
The person’s name and circle with either initials or picture, plus the date and the start of the message.I can pull the list up and it adds more names, similar to how they handle matches. It seems to end at the oldest message that will show up in the list, from from 1/11/2015. I’ve had ancestry since 2007 and I know that isn’t the oldest.
To the right of that column of messages is a wider column, if I click a message in the left hand column, it opens the message in the wider right hand column and may have an ongoing back and forth conversation. The recipient or sender’s name is is at that top and ad the bottom is a space for me to type a message and a send button.
I don’t have any messages about downloading folders or any clickable links to download them. Your screen sounds very different from mine! Can we trade? 🙂
If you know how I get that screen I’d appreciate hearing how. I really would like to download all my messages, but haven’t seen that option.
Hi again Elle,
Actually, your description sounds to me exactly like what I see, except for the absence of the “Download Message Folders” box that I described at the bottom of the left narrow column. Did you ever make a folder for saving certain messages? I made one called “Saves” and that is what is available to me for download in a ZIP file. If you never made a custom folder, maybe that’s why you don’t see an offer to download before August 31.
But I would expect that you could still highlight the message snippets back to 1/11/2015 in the left column that you do see and save them with copy and paste as I described.
As to why the messages you expect to see from before 2015 don’t appear, I have no idea. 🙁
Thanks Vince, I will try a different browser, I’m currently using Safari, but maybe Firefox will work better. I’ll also see what Ancestry says, although I don’t expect much help.
Is there any way to still create a folder or did it have to be created and messages saved to it in the old system? Can you still save messages to the download folder?
I think I am out of luck. I found this online–I didn’t get a warning about the impending message change and so I didn’t know to create a folder and save messages. The new messaging just showed up with no warning.
It doesn’t say anything about messages being deleted, so hopefully it just is having problems loading them and they are still there. But who knows with Ancestry.com, maybe they dumped them to save on computer infrastructure costs.
I’m definitely looking at moving my trees to MyHeritage and going to a minimal subscription at Ancestry. It’s obvious genealogy is not the primary importance at Ancestry.com.
I have all my relatives tested directly at Family Tree DNA and I’ve been very pleased with their support and focus on genealogy. I’ve done YDNA and mitochondrial DNA in addition to autosomal.
Here’s what I found on messaging and folders:
It’s not currently possible to create folders in the new messaging center, but you can download folders you already created to your computer. You can download folders until August 31st, 2020.
In the messaging center, click Download Folders at the bottom of the panel on the left side. You’ll only see this option if you created folders in the previous messaging center.
A .zip file will be downloaded to your computer. If you see it at the bottom of your page, click on it there. Otherwise, check your Downloads folder.
They didn’t send out any warning.
Thank you Roberta, at least I know there wasn’t something I could have done.
I did ask ancestry about deleted messages. They say there were no deletions, so I have to hope the messages are still there and will eventually be retrievable. I’m also hoping someone comes up with a tool to download–I’d feel much safer with an archive I could back up and access.
Ancestry reply is below.
I understand, please don’t worry. All your messages are safe and due to the current transition of all members to the new system, some glitches and bugs are to be expected. You didn’t need to create folders in order to save your messages.
The “download folders” button only appeared for those members that used that feature.
Ancestry is aware of the issues and they are working on fixing it. I don’t have a date at the moment when you will be able to see all your messages but hopefully, it will be soon.
Let me know if you have further questions. Stay safe and well
I am not very knowledgeable, technically speaking, but I got the script to work last night, with a little help from my techie husband. Thank you Mr. Frøysaa and everyone here who posted helpful comments. For those of you who have Apple computers and are technically challenged like me, here is some information which may help you:
1. I copied the script into TextEdit, an application on Mac computers. When I edited the script to enter the name of the Group I wanted to use, TextEdit automatically changed the format of the quotation marks, which I had read would be deadly for successful running of the script. To fix this for your current session, while in TextEdit, click on “Edit” at top of page, then point to “Substitutions”, and uncheck “Smart Quotes”. To fix this for future sessions too, click on “TextEdit” in upper left corner, click on “Preferences” and uncheck “Smart Quotes”. Now, if you use your keyboard to retype the quotation marks, they will be in the wanted format.
2. I used Firefox to bring up my DNA matches on Ancestry. After entering my search filter choices, I scrolled to the bottom of the file. The scrolling took forever, but I felt it was necessary to make sure the entire file of matches was loaded. Then I scrolled back up to the top of the file. (I read here that there is a script someone created to automate scrolling to the bottom of the file, and I am checking this out.)
3. To open the Developer Console, hold down the key “fn” and hit F12. To copy the script from TextEdit into the Developer Console, do the following: 1) Hold down the key “Command” while hitting “A”; this will select the entire script. 2) Hold down the key “Command” while hitting “C” will make a copy of the script. 3) Go into the Developed Console, and use Command and the key “V” to paste the script into the Console.
4. Initially, Firefox would not allow me to paste anything into the console. I typed the words, allow pasting, into the console as mentioned in the official instructions. Don’t paste the script right after these two words (I discovered the script won’t run this way); instead paste the script in a new Firefox tab or window.
5. Before you run the script (by just hitting , make sure your computer won’t go into Sleep Mode. Click on the apple in upper left corner, choose System Preferences, click on Energy Saver, and move the slider to “Never”.
6. Make sure your screen saver is turned off, too. I went off to bed, thinking the program would run while I was sleeping. Unable to sleep, I got up to check on it, only to find the screen saver had come on. The screen saver didn’t kill the program but it had paused it. To turn off the screen saver, click on the apple in upper left corner, click on System Preferences, clock on Desktop & Screen Saver, and make sure the little box in bottom left corner is set to “Never”.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
The script is running extremely slow. I turned off images, but not before I started the script, (duh!), so I’ll have to wait until I set up the next run of script.
The instructions said to ignore the cookie messages.
Thank you. Tired eyes from all of this.
When I first ran the script it worked great. Then it crashed like it said it would. I followed instructions to restart but it has never worked again. I get the cookies message and a message about unexpected values. So I’m having to mark by hand. Is there any way to talk to the developer?
You can join the Ancestry DNA marching Facebook group and try there. I would try a different browser. He’s probably inundated.
Vicki, my son worked on this script until it was running perfectly for me (he is about to graduate with a computer science degree). I’m sure he would be happy to answer your questions. Are you on Facebook? If so, I’ll try to find you there and send you a private message so that I can connect you to him. I don’t want to post his phone number here. hahaha.
I am getting an error when I run the script in Firefox on a Mac. It says there is an illegal character. I’ve only changed the group name and am working in a plain text file.
Has anyone else seen that error?
The script by Roger Frøysaa for preserving low matches worked well on some kits, but frequently crashed on other kits, especially when if gets to the 6.2s and below.
There is a completely different script by Earl Haiks on the “Ancestry.com Users Group” (a private group on Facebook) which is far far better. Much faster and no crashes!
I’ve been experiencing the script problems you describe over and over for weeks, consuming MUCH time. For persons not on Facebook, is there anywhere else this other much-needed script be found? Please advise.
Thank you so very much for any help.
The script by Earl Haiks and the instructions to go with it, and many positive comments, are only on that Facebook group as far as I am aware. To request to join the group visit
The majority of family history and DNA discussions take place in hundreds of Facebook groups these days. Facebook groups are the serious side of Facebook. Highly recommended.
I did reply in here yesterday, but my reply included a URL so probably got rejected for that reason.
Email me – trevor at trevorrix dot co dot uk – so I can give you more detail.
I approved it so I don’t know why it’s not showing up if it isn’t.
I learned of this new script and have been using it today. It can still bomb out. although many times when this happens it will wait and try again. A few times I needed to paste the script in again and have it run again. The script is programmed to do your 6 and 7cm matches. You can make a change to it to do 678 or 6789 matches. or just your 6cm if you wish. You can also change it so it puts your 10-20cm matches in a group.
I have all my 6-7 cM matches grouped using Earl Haiks script. I have now started downloading my all my matches to use in the Excel spreadsheet. I scrolled all the matches then Right clicked and saved as a HTML file, then I upload the file to a Google Chrome extension tool “Converto” to convert the file to an Excel. My problem is loading the 7cM matches as I keep getting this error: Our backend services are overtaxed at the moment and we are unable to retrieve all your matches. We apologize for the inconvenience, please try again later . I have deleted cookies and cache, but it doesn’t not seem to help. Do you have any idea how to stop this error? Do you know if Earl Haiks would have a script to help download my matches?
No, it’s a problem even without the script. Just scrolling.