Ancestry Updates Ethnicity, Introduces New Features & Pushes Some Behind Paywall

I knew something had changed at Ancestry when I signed in a few days ago and saw the following message:

Ancestry assured me that I’m fine, but people who don’t have a subscription can no longer see some DNA features.

Ancestry has placed some previously free features behind a paywall – meaning a subscription called AncestryDNA Plus.

If you have a full subscription to Ancestry, you’re covered. You’re not if you don’t have a full subscription and only ordered a DNA test.

I was waiting for clarification from Ancestry, which arrived in an email yesterday.

Ancestry’s Clarification

In the email from Ancestry, they listed the new AncestryDNA premium features, some of which were previously purchased separately, like Traits, some of which were included with the AncestryDNA test, and some of which are or will be new.

There are several features and changes, so let’s take a look.

AncestryDNA Plus Subscription

The biggest change is that Ancestry will now be requiring some type of membership, either a full Ancestry membership or an AncestryDNA Plus membership, in order to access several DNA features.

Ancestry has placed these features behind a paywall for customers without a full Ancestry subscription.

The subscription price is $29.99 for six months, not a year, and the subscription automatically renews. This means that unless you have a full Ancestry subscription, access to several DNA features now costs you $59.98 per year in addition to the price of your original DNA test. Ouch.

Whooboy. I can hear the screaming from here.

Yes, I know this is NOT what we were expecting when we purchased DNA tests, and I realize it’s quite pricey – especially given that it’s not a one-time purchase but an ongoing subscription.

I will review each of these features – but let me say that if you’ve been doing fine without them so far for your genealogy, there’s probably not anything you really need here.

The most important feature that genealogists need that is NOT available without a full Ancestry subscription is full access to the trees of our matches – and, to be clear, that is NOT available through the AncestryDNA Plus subscription.

Let’s look at each feature separately.

Traits and Traits by Parent

You know all those questions Ancestry has been asking you? Well, this is why.

Ancestry is comparing the DNA of individuals with specific answers to identify genetic commonalities.

Traits was a separate uplift fee in the past, but now it’s included in the AncestryDNA Plus subscription.

You may not have Traits on your account yet. My second test, which is a newer test, does NOT have traits available, but I’m sure it will soon.

If you have Traits, you will have a banner above your DNA Story, Matches and ThruLines on your DNA Results Summary page.

Ancestry includes 42 traits today.

Ancestry shows you which traits are most influenced by which parent, or both parents.

Where you fall within that range is provided as well.

Clicking on each trait provides additional information.

Don’t get too excited about this feature because some of these traits are apparently a lot more environmental than genetic. For example, according to Ancestry, male hair loss is “at least 4% genetic.” Each trait has similar information provided, and some have a surprisingly small percentage of genetic affinity. Others have a surprisingly large number of influencing genes.

Here’s a chart of my traits and the parent that Ancestry has assigned as most likely to have influenced this trait. Please note that for Ancestry to split your Traits by parent, you MUST be able to identify which side of your family your ethnicity categories descend from using SideView, which I wrote about, here. If your parents aren’t identified correctly, the source of your traits certainly won’t be either.

Trait & % Genetic My Result Influenced by Trait Accuracy
Alcohol Flush – 4% Face does not flush Maternal Wrong
Asparagus odor – 4% Able to smell asparagus metabolites (in urine) Paternal Accurate
Birth weight – 5% Above average Both Unknown
Bitter sensitivity – 20% Unable to taste a certain bitter flavor (PTC in brussel sprouts) Both Accurate – I taste brussel sprouts, but they don’t taste bitter
Caffeine intake – 4% Likely to drink a lot less caffeine than average Paternal Wrong – I can’t drink caffeinated beverages anymore, but when I could, I consumed coffee by the pot
Cilantro aversion – 5% Unlikely to enjoy cilantro Maternal Accurate
Cleft Chin – 8% No cleft chin Paternal Accurate
Dancing – 7% Least likely to enjoy dancing Maternal This is hilarious – my mother was a professional dancer, and I love dancing
Earlobes – 9% Unattached earlobes Maternal Accurate
Earwax type – 2% Wet earwax Both Accurate
Eye color – 7% Brown Maternal Accurate – although both parents had brown eyes
Facial hair fullness – 7% Patchier facial hair Maternal No idea
Finger length – 5% Ring finger longer than index finger Maternal Wrong
Freckles – 9% Unlikely Maternal Accurate
Hair color – 25% Dark hair Paternal Accurate, although both parents had dark hair
Hair strand thickness – 1% Thin hair Maternal Wrong – hair very thick
Hair type – 1% Wavy Maternal Accurate
Heart rate recovery – 12% Quicker recovery rate after exercise Both No idea
Introvert or extrovert – 1% Introvert Maternal Also hilarious – my mother was very much the extrovert
Iris patterns – 35% Furrows, crypts, and rings Both Can’t tell
Male hair loss – 4% Lower chance Paternal Probably accurate – my father was not balding in his 60s
Morning or night person – 17% Morning Paternal Wrong, wrong, 1000 times wrong
Omega 3 – 4% Average levels Both No idea
Oxygen use – 38% Average ability to raise maximum oxygen use Paternal No idea
Picky eater – 8% Picky Maternal Wrong
Remembering dreams – 1% Unlikely Paternal I remember some, sometimes, but they tend to fade
Risk Taking – 9% More likely than 60% of the population Both Probably accurate
Skin pigmentation – 13% Light to medium Both Accurate
Sun sneezing – 8% Non sneezer Paternal Accurate
Sweet sensitivity – 4% Extra sensitive Both Accurate
Taking naps – 6% Not a nap taker Maternal Accurate
Tolerating dairy – 1% Likely to tolerate Paternal Accurate
Umami sensitivity – 1% Less sensitive than others Both Uncertain – I can taste Umami but since this is comparative, I don’t really know
Unibrow – 1% No unibrow Paternal Accurate
Vitamin A – 7% Average level Maternal No idea
Vitamin B12 – 5% Average level Maternal No idea
Vitamin C – 4% Average level Paternal No idea
Vitamin D – 10% Average level Both No idea
Vitamin E – 14% Average level Maternal No idea
Wisdom Teeth – 8% Likely to develop all four teeth Maternal Accurate

If you’re thinking to yourself – how can some of these traits be anything BUT genetic, such as unibrow, you’re not alone. How can unibrow and some other traits be anything BUT genetic?

Initially, I thought maybe this would help me learn about my father, who died when I was young, but based on the low percentage of genetic influence, combined with answers that I know are inaccurate – I can’t really rely on any of this genealogically either. All I can say is that I’m really glad I didn’t pay for this feature.

Ancestry writes about their trait predictions in a white paper, here.

At the bottom of the Traits page is a “Compare Traits” tab where you can invite your matches to share traits with you.

My own second kit is not on the list of people to invite, so maybe immediate family is not available to invite? Or maybe it’s because that kit doesn’t have traits yet.

Ethnicity Inheritance

Ethnicity Inheritance shows which of your ethnicities were inherited from each parent. This was previously included in the price of your DNA test, but now it’s available through either the full Ancestry subscription or through the AncestryDNA Plus subscription.

I wrote about ethnicity inheritance when SideView was introduced, here.

Matches are now split by parent.

These matches and totals have recently been updated, at the same time as ThruLines.

Significant issues have been reported with both features, with matches incorrectly assigned that were previously assigned correctly. ThruLines has improved somewhat, but still has not been corrected entirely. Many known cousins who were previously linked to our common ancestor in ThruLines are no longer linked. I wrote about the ThruLines issue, here.

Chromosome Painter

Ancestry’s chromosome painter is NOT a chromosome browser. Yes, it looks similar, but it definitely IS NOT the same thing.

What’s the difference between a chromosome browser and chromosome painting?

Chromosome browsing with matches and chromosome painting look similar, but they aren’t the same and have different functions.

A chromosome browser allows you to compare your matching DNA segments with others and view them in a browser to see which shared DNA segments overlap, indicating a common ancestor. A chromosome browser is required to perform triangulation, which confirms common ancestors and facilitates identifying which segments descend from specific ancestors. I provided a list of triangulation resources, here.

For example, three maternal cousins above are compared on my chromosomes (in grey) using the chromosome browser at FamilyTreeDNA. The three bars under chromosome 1 represent my matches with three selected cousins who descend from Hiram Ferverda and Eva Miller.

  • The first blue cousin matches me in two locations on chromosome 1.
  • The second red cousin matches me in two locations on chromosome 1, one of which is the same location as the first blue cousin.
  • The third turquoise cousin does not match me on chromosome 1 but does on chromosomes 3 and 4.
  • None of those three cousins match me on chromosome 2.
  • On chromosome 3, you can see that all three cousins match me on a portion of the same segment which in this case indicates that we all inherited that segment from our common ancestral couple. I know these cousins, so I already know this is a maternal match, but I can easily confirm by checking my mother’s results or using the matrix tool to be sure we all match each other. Any unknown match who matches us on this same segment also descends from this same ancestral line – meaning either Bauke and Eva, or one of their ancestral lines.

All major vendors except Ancestry provide a chromosome browser.

Chromosome painting is different.

While a chromosome browser displays your matching segments with selected matches, ethnicity chromosome painting automatically paints your ethnicity on your maternal and paternal chromosomes at each location.

Ancestry paints your ethnicity on your chromosomes by parent, by assigned world region, based on YOUR designation of maternal and paternal “sides.” My maternal chromosome is displayed on the top, and my paternal chromosome is displayed on the bottom.

With chromosome painting, there’s no way to see which matches match you on specific chromosomes. Nor does Ancestry provide you with segment information. In other words, you can’t compare a specific segment to see which of your matches match you on that segment.

However, that’s one of the great features at DNAPainter, and they’ve found a way to utilize Ancestry’s painting for that purpose.

DNAPainter estimates the segment information from Ancestry’s chromosome painting, which means you can utilize the segment information from Ancestry at DNAPainter. Having said that, I’m very skeptical of Ancestry’s painting accuracy.

Note that almost all of Ancestry’s chromosome painting covers the entire maternal or paternal chromosome with one ethnicity. In my case, three maternal chromosomes have two ethnicities, and the balance of 39 chromosomes show only one ethnicity for the entire chromosome.

That’s very suspicious, given my mixed heritage, and does not align with ethnicities at the other vendors.

Furthermore, if you look at chromosome 10 as an example, my maternal chromosome shows Scotland, and my paternal chromosome shows Ireland. My mother, who is primarily (87.5%) German, Dutch, and French, and whose ancestors I’ve confirmed through 5 generations have zero, as in no Scottish or Irish. So, in this case, the ethnicity is misattributed, which means the painting of that entire maternal chromosome is incorrect as well.

That’s not the only one. Ancestry has also attributed all of maternal chromosome 18 and half of chromosome 2 as Scottish too.

Ancestry updates their ethnicity estimates periodically, generally every year or so.

If yours hasn’t been updated recently, updates are supposed to be complete by the end of September 2023.

Ethnicity estimates are just that, and each update varies slightly, but that’s about it. The only ethnicity update that would help me is IF Ancestry “rediscovered” my Native American segments that come and go at Ancestry, AND they would include matching segment information with cousins so I can determine which of my ancestors contributed that Native segment. Then I’d know which cousins share that Native segment and could utilize their trees to isolate the common ancestor. Yes, I know, I’m hallucinating, because that’s never going to happen.

However, maybe an ethnicity update will encourage people to sign in and create trees. That would be useful.

Compare My DNA Ethnicity and Communities

Another feature that seems to be new and does NOT say “Member Access,” so should be available to everyone, is the ability to compare DNA ethnicities and communities with others.

By selecting the Compare My DNA tab, then DNA Communities, you can see which of your matches share communities with you.

Note that I don’t match my own second test exactly.

By selecting Ethnicity estimates, you can see which regions you and your matches have in common.

Please understand that this does NOT necessarily mean you share those regions due to the same ancestors!

For example, my Ferverda cousin and I may or may not share some or all of our Germanic Europe or England and Northwestern Europe ethnicity from our common ancestors – and there’s no way to know or tell without segment information and a chromosome browser.

Future Features

Ancestry’s email referenced a future feature – Communities Inheritance by parental connection.

I only have three communities at Ancestry, and I know which ones result from which ancestors.

I’m presuming that if Ancestry is referencing this new feature, it’s not too far in the future.

Parental Sides Based on Ancestry Ethnicity

In the article about SideView, I discussed how customers indicate which parent is which based on ethnicity. If you can’t do it using ethnicity results alone, you can view your closest matches, which presumes you know how you’re related to them, and select ethnicity regions based on shared regions.

These additional features are built upon the base of SideView, which is built upon a base of Ancestry’s ethnicity estimate.

Many of these features rest on your ability to accurately determine your maternal and paternal sides – either using your ethnicity results or your shared ethnicity of your known closest matches. My Mom is 50% German and 24% Dutch, with the remainder being equally divided between French/Native (Acadian) and English. My father has no German and no known French. The high percentage of German made my parents easy to separate. Had I made a mistake though, or if Ancestry makes a mistake in ethnicity attribution, such as the Scottish example I provided, all of these features that depend on an accurate parental division will also be inaccurate.


This new feature rollout was confusing to sort out since:

  • Some features require a full subscription
  • Some require the new AncestryDNA Plus subscription (or a full subscription)
  • Traits was previously an extra purchase but is now included with either subscription
  • Some features remain available with the AncestryDNA test with no subscription

I made a chart.

Feature With DNA Test Subscription Needed Comment
Traits Yes Was an uplift, now included with either subscription
Traits by Parent Yes Now included
Ethnicity Estimate Yes No
Ethnicity by parent Yes Was included, now behind paywall
Ethnicity Chromosome Painter Yes Was included, now behind paywall
Matches by parent Yes Was included, now behind paywall
Compare Communities with Matches Yes No Today, there is no “Member Access” label
Compare Ethnicity Estimates with Matches Yes No Today, there is no “Member Access” label
Communities by Parent Yes Future Feature
Full Access to Matches’ Trees Partial Full subscription needed, not AncestryDNA Plus Future features in email from Ancestry

Features not mentioned above remain included in the AncestryDNA test, meaning without any additional subscription:

  • Matching
  • Grouping Matches
  • Shared Matches
  • Communities
  • ThruLines


I have two issues with this new rollout. Ancestry is now charging for previously included features. Secondly, many of those up-charge features are predicated upon ethnicity estimates that the customer has to divide maternally and paternally. In other words, there’s a significant possibility that you’re paying for and depending upon something inaccurate.

What bothers me the most is the fact that Ancestry giveth, and Ancestry taketh away. The SideView features were included with the original DNA test purchase price initially, but now Ancestry has pushed some of those features behind a paywall. I feel that’s disingenuous.

In the bigger picture, I’ve wondered how long companies can continue to fund new features with new test sales. The companies have to provide the results to their millions of legacy clients that now reaches back years. As the database continues to grow, the processing and storage requirements do, too – and that isn’t free.

The companies BEST able to continue to fund that development are the companies that utilize DNA tests to leverage larger and repeated sales – like Ancestry and MyHeritage records subscriptions.

Furthermore,  Ancestry and 23andMe both collaborated with pharmaceutical companies, although both initial contracts have expired. Ancestry’s current collaborations are listed here.

Companies that do not utilize DNA to leverage other sales would have more motivation to place at least some of their advanced tools behind a subscription paywall. 23andMe has been doing that progressively since 2020 and now offers a “membership” for $69 per year – assuming you have a recent test. Otherwise, you have to retest for the additional cost of $229 before you can purchase the membership.

MyHeritage also limits access to full trees for DNA testers without a Premium subscription, but by comparison, they have not put any features behind a paywall that were previously included in the DNA test, nor do they have a separate DNA subscription.

Both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage require a one-time unlock, $19 and $29, respectively, for advanced features if you upload a test from another testing company, meaning you didn’t test with them – but that’s entirely different from a secondary yearly subscription to access DNA features for paying customers.

FamilyTreeDNA, whose only business is DNA testing, includes all features with a DNA test. No subscription is available or required.

I’ve included this to say that I understand the need to generate revenue. My issue is that I feel like Ancestry, the largest DNA testing company, who could best afford research and development investment, essentially did a bait-and-switch with their customers by taking something away.

When ThruLines went sideways a month or so ago, I knew something was up. I suspected that Ancestry was recalculating relationships in the background for some reason. Now we know that the reason was these new features.

However, the problem with ThruLines isn’t fixed. I don’t believe many previous connections were wrong and are correct now. Cousins who match me and had common ancestors in their tree still have common ancestors in their tree and still match me – but aren’t currently connected through ThruLines. And I’m not referring to just a few.

Then, there are the issues with maternal and paternal match assignments.

Neither of these issues inspire much confidence, especially as a company begins charging for previously included features. Issues happen in IT, but the issues need to be resolved as soon as possible. The fact that these issues aren’t resolved, in addition to the required subscriptions being rolled out before the issues are resolved, makes me angry with a company many within the industry recommend in good faith.

I feel like all customers, full subscribers who want and need to utilize advanced tools to solve genealogical puzzles, along with customers who “only” tested their DNA, are being penalized.

The very least Ancestry could have done was delay the subscription rollout until they fixed the mess they made. The honorable thing would have been to only place new features behind the paywall, not taking existing features away from customers already enjoying them.

I have a full yearly subscription, so I’m covered, but if I were not, there’s nothing in the new features that I think will benefit my genealogy.

  • Traits doesn’t benefit genealogy
  • Traits by parent doesn’t benefit genealogy
  • Ethnicity by parent doesn’t – even if it was accurate.
  • Chromosome painting doesn’t – in part because the ethnicity and division is inaccurate and in part because no segment information is provided.
  • Matches by parent could be useful, but since it’s currently malfunctioning and is based on SideView ethnicity divisions, I don’t have much confidence in the results.
  • Communities by parent, a future feature, might be useful for some people, assuming parents are assigned correctly.

Since we are discussing Ancestry’s new features, I know that someone will ask if I’ve noticed the new Ancestry Dog DNA test that rolled out simultaneously.

Yes, I noticed. I suggest you read this article before purchasing any dog DNA test from any source.

There’s so much that Ancestry could do for their paying customers, whether we’ve paid for a DNA test, a subscription, or both, but instead, they’ve focused their efforts on another revenue-producing product that has nothing to do with human genealogy.

I feel like Ancestry is offering a lot of window dressing eye-candy, while what we really need are genealogical answers that are within their power to provide.

The four DNA-related features that Ancestry could provide that would be the most beneficial for genealogy would be:

  • DNA match search by ancestor. Not surname-only like is provided today. Not just Estes, but Moses Estes, or better yet –  the Moses Estes born in 1711 who died in 1787. I have 106,000 matches, and I’m not going to scroll through what are probably thousands of never-ending unrolling matches, each of which I have to click on their tree to see if my ancestor is there. This is entirely unnecessary.
  • Matching segment information for matches, including triangulation. I want to confirm which ancestor I share with my matches – and prove it.
  • Chromosome browser – seeing is believing.
  • ThruLines extended back at least another two generations, from 7 to 9.

Working without these features is akin to riding a unicycle with one hand tied behind your back. I swear, sometimes I feel like Ancestry doesn’t want us to FIND our ancestors; they just want us to keep looking!

But that really doesn’t help them in the long run, either.

Helping genealogists actually identify ancestors means we have an entirely new generation to search for in those subscription records, and then another, and another. Yep, we’d have more reason than ever to subscribe!

I want more than a carrot dangling at the end of a stick. I want tools that facilitate answers. Now, for that, I’d gladly pay a subscription.


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27 thoughts on “Ancestry Updates Ethnicity, Introduces New Features & Pushes Some Behind Paywall

  1. Great post, Roberta. My lip curls at the things 23andme has done. I hoped Ancestry would not pull the same stunt. Also in the necessary list would be doing shared matches less than 20cm. Limiting it to 20cm is just plain dumb.

    • When Ancestry API was accessible to third party apps, I found it useful to work Shared Matches down to about 15cM for Clustering, but no further. And I have fewer matches than most people. With lots of matches the number of calculations becomes enormous. So I said I would be willing to pay a small premium for the ability to do that. Others might find that they can’t practically work that low and need to stop a bit higher.

  2. Deal breaker for me. My subscription expired a couple of weeks ago. With the higher price of everything everywhere, I decided not to renew. People will have to contact me rather than me them. Ancestry has all the work I’ve done for 15 years or more and not even a thank you from them. Nope. I’m otta there.

  3. Great article and I am with you on the features Ancestry needs to give us especially since they are now the only company that does not have a chromosome browser. Like you said, it’s like they don’t want us to find our ancestors.

  4. One other thing that would help genealogists with their DNA work is having X-DNA. At first I thought I’d found a paternal grandmother UNTIL I looked at the X-DNA at 23andMe and FTDNA. There was NO X-DNA from that grandmother at all. Several other professionals have looked at my matches and arrived at the same initial conclusion and only seeing the X-DNA results were their opinions reversed. Ancestry has the X-DNA – it would be wonderful to be able to see it myself.

  5. “Helping genealogists actually identify ancestors means we have an entirely new generation to search for in those subscription records, and then another, and another. Yep, we’d have more reason than ever to subscribe!”

    I’d say that pretty much sims up my thoughts on the matter. I have so many DNA matches on Ancestry that I have traced MRCA with in our trees, but I have no tools provided by Ancestry to copy shared DNA segments in order to triangulate and advance the research! If Ancestry would provide me with a shared segment list that could be downloaded, or at the very least copied and pasted, I would immediately purchase another subscription! By NOT providing us with a chromosome browser, they are actually hindering customers from fully utilizing their research tools. The irony is killing me! Their refusal to provide us with a chromosome browser is not only absurd, it is downright suspicious and will hurt them financially.

    On a somewhat related note, I’ve noticed that MyHeritage no longer provides some tools for free that were once made available to those that uploaded from other vendors. There was a period of time in which people that transferred to MyHeritage were told that they would ALWAYS have free access to said tools. Since MyHeritage recently performed their long promised ethnicity update, those tools have not been available. I do hope that they have not done an about-face and gone back on their word to us…

  6. I have mixed feelings about the subscription stuff. I’ve had an “All Access Membership” for years, but at times it felt like I wasn’t getting that much “extra” for my money. In fact, it often felt like I was subsidizing those with no subscriptions.

    However, I also don’t want to discourage current or future matches, which is a real risk Ancestry is taking. This doesn’t only affect them, but also people like me who would really rather people continue to participate.

    Now that the September update is out, the best I can say for it is that I’ve gotten one of my six Indigenous Americas segments back. This is not because they ever considered that segment not to be Indigenous, but because they are overconfident about the different subregions.

    Through a series of updates I’ve consistently shown Indigenous Americas ancestry at 23andMe, FTDNA, and Ancestry, but at Ancestry it’s sometimes been labeled as “Indigenous Americas – North”, sometimes as “Indigenous Americas – Mexico”, and sometimes as some of both.

    But a big problem has been that Ancestry considers each category as entirely separate and distinct. So if a match has a *different* IA category and has elected to only show “in common” ancestries, it won’t be shown.

    One of my nieces made this election, and so I could not see that although she didn’t have any “Indigenous Americas – North”, she did have 1% “Indigenous Americas – Ecuador”. I only knew about it because for a while, the phone app showed all ancestries no matter what the customer’s election. Apparently, Ancestry eventually caught up with that fact.

    My niece’s mother is my full sister, and although my sister and I don’t have 100% the same DNA — obviously — we do have 100% the same ancestors.

    Another niece made a different election, and I could see that she didn’t have “Indigenous Americas – North” either, but she had 1% “Indigenous Americas – Mexico”! Her mother, too, is a full sister to me.

    This niece also tested at 23andMe, so I know some of her segments are in the same locations as some of mine. And that brings me to an issue I had. In the June 2022 update, Ancestry decided that *one* of my six IA segments was “Indigenous Americas – Mexico”. The other five were all identified as “Indigenous Americas – North”.

    The only problem was, this single IA-Mexico segment didn’t amount to at least 0.5% of my ancestry. So, notwithstanding the other five segments were all IA, Ancestry (1) did not report any Indigenous Americas – Mexico for me, and (2) in the place where the segment was located — and shown as Indigenous Americas – North in the previous update — they instead showed dark gray, indicated “Unassigned”.

    How did I know what the assignment would have been? Because I saw an unauthorized “sneak preview” prior to the update’s official release. In addition to this, however, my daughter inherited this same segment. How did Ancestry label it for her? As “Indigenous Americas – North”!

    But they arrogantly believe their categories are not only completely accurate, but that they don’t have tremendous overlap. They also apparently can’t imagine that between my ancestors’ time and today, many of my ancestors’ indigenous relatives might have had some reason to move from where they had been located. So that just possibly, DNA that had been more associated with what is now the US could have ended up in Mexico.

    They’re still labeling the 2nd niece’s Indigenous ancestry as “Indigenous Americas – Mexico”, by the way. But I haven’t yet checked on how it is with my dozens and dozens of other relatives with a similar small amount of indigenous ancestry.

    Ancestry could resolve this particular problem easily. They could simply say that for comparison purposes, all “Indigenous Americas” ancestry will be treated as “in common”.

    My closest relative on my mother’s side — not including my nieces, of course — is a 1st cousin once removed. He’d be my mother’s 1st cousin, so he’s one generation closer to the most recent Indigenous Americas ancestor as my mother’s father’s side. He still shows 3% Indigenous Americas – North, so I can see it; but in any case, he made the election to show all ancestries.

    Ancestry is still performing magic with my daughter and me, though. I passed on a copy of my mother’s maternal chromosome 22, with no recombination with my paternal copy (or my mother’s paternal copy).

    For me Ancestry shows this an entirely “France”, which possibly makes sense — I believe it came from one of my Menorcan 2nd great grandfathers, and Menorca is in the “France” region on Ancestry’s map. (Even though it’s in Spain.)

    However, for my daughter this same chromosome is now shown as “Northern Italy”. This is a change for her, from “Portugal”; but mine was “France” in the previous update, too.

  7. Thanks for the great explanation!

    I continue to be amazed at the utility we get for the price we pay (or don’t pay). While I will not be celebrating price increases or new pricing tiers, I certainly will not be complaining. And yes I am a subscriber 🙂

  8. At myheritage if you upload raw dna then you pay a one time fee to unlock the dna tools. Myheritage has offered for a specific period of time uploads with tools unlocked. If you purchase a dna test from myheritage you need a subscription to access the dna tools.

    • That is generally true, but there were a number of times over the years that MyHeritage offered access to said tools for free for the life of the account of those that uploaded their DNA to MyHeritage during these special offers. Some of those tools are no longer available when they said they would be. That’s not cool. For example, I can no longer view the ethnicities of any of my matches on the kits that were uploaded during the weeks of these special offers. Before the recent ethnicity “update”, I always could…and no fee to unlock.

      • I don’t have any inside information, but I know they are in the process of an update. Maybe after that is complete.

        • I hope that is the case. I just got off the phone with MyHeritage, and apparently, even if you have a full subscription with them now, you will no longer be able to view the ethnicity estimates of your shared matches. At least they still have a chromosome browser to triangulate and download/copy shared match segments!

  9. at ancestry if you have a subscription you will have access to the dna features if you manage the kit or if someone is sharing match lists. I wonder if a group of people could create an account and then manage a bunch of dna tests. The participants could all contribute towards the subscription instead of paying for the sub individually.

  10. Roberta,
    I have also encountered the loss of access to a few people who are relatives of mine. Seems that if a person does the DNA test; however, does not purchase some level of membership, then after 3 years those of us that match them can no longer access their DNA.
    On clicking on one of these “Blocked” matches the message returned is:

    “The match you are trying to view is unavailable.
    Return to match list.”

    Roger Phillip Hendrix
    An Ancestry member for over 20 years.

  11. I agree that Ancestry needs a better search function in our DNA matches – or maybe an advanced search option. In addition to being able to search for full names (not just surnames), I would like to be able to search for locations that are not just birth related (such as locations of death, marriage, census, etc). Also, I would love to be able to search for trees that contain 2 surnames. Such as Jones and Smith. Searching for each name separately creates too many results. But by searching for trees that contain both names, it could reduce the results to a manageable level.

  12. Thanks for a really helpful update, Roberta. Many great points, but I especially appreciate your clarification of the difference between ancestry’s chromosome painter and a true chromosome browser – I really thought it was a chromosome browser, but with the segment info withheld. I always wonder, “Why??!” All I can think of is that they are holding this back so that in the future, they can charge extra for it as a new feature.

    Also, as you said, some great ideas in the comments.

    All I can say about ancestry is, “oh well”.

  13. It’s not unheard of for someone of German background coming up with Ireland or Scotland especially if they’re from Bavaria. That area was originally Celtic, then settled by Middle Eastern farmers, Eastern Europeans. Germanic DNA doesn’t have quite the footprint there. Most of my Bavarian and Czech matches have a little throwback Irish or Scottish.

  14. I would be happy if Ancestry just told me how much DNA two ICW’s share with each other.

    OK, I would be a lot happier if Ancestry provided access to the segment data with a Chromosome Browser and a Triangulation tool.

  15. Two absolutely trivial but very helpful changes that Ancestry could implement immediately:
    1. Allow a search on death locations, not just birth locations, in the DNA match list.
    2. Lower the threshold for shared matches with another individual from 20 cM to 8 cM.

  16. Forgot another suggestion for an advance search on Ancestry. Currently, when you get a result for a birth location and you go into their tree, there is only one way to search their tree for that location – by clicking on “list of all people” and scrolling through the list. This is manageable when the tree only has a few people. But impossible when the tree has thousands of people. So, it would be wonderful if you could search someone’s tree by location in addition to name. Seriously – why give us a search option for a birth location if it doesn’t actually let you find the person showing that birthplace.

  17. The split thing is a little crazy one full aunt a match will be on one side and the other full aunt the match is on the other side…is that at all possible???

    • Are the aunts siblings of different parents? If yes, then they should be connected to different sides.

      • I’m sorry I typed that so fast these are my fathers sisters they have the same parents. I’m referring to the common matches they have and how the ancestry maternal and paternal matches show for each of them.  On is on one side for one and another side the other one. 

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