Right now, ThruLines at Ancestry is one hot mess.
Aside from the inherent frustration, especially over a holiday weekend when many people had planned to work on their genealogy, I’d like to say, “don’t panic.”
I don’t have any inside information about what’s going on at Ancestry, and I’ve attempted to make contact through their support page with no luck. They make talking to a person exceedingly difficult; plus, it’s a holiday weekend, and they are probably inundated.
Regardless, I have an idea of what is happening. Ancestry has been in the midst of recalculating “things,” perhaps in relation to their other changes, which I’ll write about separately in a few days.
In any event, Ancestry SURELY MUST KNOW there’s a significant problem because I imagine thousands of their customers are screaming right about now. Adding another voice won’t be helpful.
- You may not have ThruLines at all.
- If you do have ThruLines, don’t trust the information, or more to the point, don’t trust that it’s in any way complete.
I have two tests at Ancestry, both connected to different trees so that my matches and Thrulines are calculated separately for each test.
My first Ancestry test is connected to my primary tree. I’ve been amassing Thrulines cousins ever since the feature was released. I have hundreds of cousin matches descended from some of my more prolific ancestors.
Additionally, my sister’s grandchildren have tested, as have other close relatives who have connected their tests to their trees.
Today, those people are still showing on my match list, but are NOT showing as matches in ThruLines. None of them. Most of my ThruLines ancestors are showing zero matches, and the rest are only showing very few. Ancestors who had hundreds before now have 2, for example.
Here’s an example with my cousin, Erik.
My grandfather, William George Estes, shown in Erik’s tree, above, is his great-grandfather. Erik is my half first cousin, once removed, and we share 417 cM over 16 segments.
Yet, looking at my ThruLine for William George Estes, neither he nor my other cousins are shown as matches. Same for William George’s parents, and so forth.
ThruLines is VERY ill right now.
My second DNA test at Ancestry is even worse. There are no ThruLines calculated, even though my DNA is tree-attached, and I had ThruLines previously.
I see this message now, and I can’t even begin to tell you how irritating this is – in part because it suggests the problem is my fault. It’s clearly not. My tree hasn’t changed one bit. I’m not alone, either. I’ve seen other people posting this same message.
And yes, if you’re thinking that there is absolutely no excuse for this – you’re right.
However, outrage isn’t good for us and won’t help – so let’s all do something else fun and productive instead.
Productive Genealogy Plans
Here are some productive suggestions.
- Be sure your autosomal DNA file is uploaded to both MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA. You’ll receive new matches at each vendor that aren’t elsewhere. Here are step-by-step instructions if you need them. Here’s the link to upload to MyHeritage.
- Check for new DNA matches and triangulation.
- Work on your Theories of Family Relativity.
- Check for new record matches.
- Select an ancestor in your tree at MyHeritage, then click on “research this person.” If you don’t have a tree at MyHeritage, you can download a copy of your tree from Ancestry or elsewhere and upload it to MyHeritage.
- If you don’t have a records subscription at MyHeritage, now might be a good time to sign up for their subscription with a free trial, here,
- Check for new Family Finder autosomal matches and see if they are assigned either maternally or paternally using Family Matching.
- If you have not tested your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which descends from your mother’s mother’s mother’s matrilineal line, order that test for yourself.
- If you’re a male, order or upgrade your test to the Big Y-700 to learn about your direct patrilineal (surname) line, including the Discover tool and Globetrekker.
- Build your haplogroup pedigree chart by locating people through different companies descended from each ancestor in your tree through the appropriate line of descent, and see if they have or will take a Y-DNA or mtDNA test.
- Tests are on sale right now, and there’s no subscription required at FamilyTreeDNA for anything.
- Check Y-DNA and mtDNA tests to see if there are new matches and if you share a common ancestor.
- Check for new matches and triangulation.
- Check to see if 23andMe has added any of your new matches to your genetic tree.
Remember, the parental sides are typically accurate, but the exact placement may not be, and 23andMe deals poorly with half-relationships. It’s certainly still worth checking though, because 23andMe does a lot of heavy lifting for you.
For me, the most productive thing to do this weekend would be to copy the segment information from new matches with whom I can identify common ancestors at FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe – the vendors who provide segment data – and paint those segments to DNAPainter.
Not only does DNAPainter allow me to consolidate my match data in one place, DNAPainter provides the ability for me to confirm ancestors through triangulation, and to assign unknown matches to ancestors as well.
As you can see, I’ve successfully assigned about 90% of my segments to an ancestor, meaning I’ve confirmed descent from that ancestor based on my autosomal matches’ descent from that same ancestor – preferably through another child. Will new matches propel me to 91%? I hope so.
What percentage can you or have you been able to assign?
If you need help getting started, or ideas, I’ve written about DNAPainter several times and provided a compiled resource library of those articles, here.
Follow DNAexplain on Facebook, here.
Share the Love!
You’re always welcome to forward articles or links to friends and share on social media.
If you haven’t already subscribed (it’s free,) you can receive an email whenever I publish by clicking the “follow” button on the main blog page, here.
You Can Help Keep This Blog Free
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 Uploads
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA – Autosomal DNA test
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Upload your DNA file from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
- AncestryDNA Plus Traits
- 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
- Newspapers.com – Search newspapers for your ancestors
- NewspaperArchive – Search different newspapers for your ancestors
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – by Roberta Estes, for those ordering the e-book from anyplace, or paperback within the United States
- DNA for Native American Genealogy – for those ordering the paperback outside the US
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books
- American Ancestors – Wonderful selection of genealogy books
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research