Saturday, August 2, 2014

Update: AncestryDNA What is Coming Next? Not! It's a Google Chrome Add-On.

Thanks to Adriana Gerard on Ancestry's Facebook page, the mystery of Crista's extra Ancestry DNA tools has been solved. Turns out it wasn't from Ancestry but the extra tools actually part of a Google Chrome Add-On for AncestryDNA that you can see and download at Oh, did I mention that the Add-On is "Free?"

Thanks Adriana for the heads up.


After I posted last night to this blog about the updated matching coming to AncestryDNA I remembered a video I viewed back on June 19, 2014, presented by Crista Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist. She does the learning videos for Ancestry online.

In this particular video, "AncestryDNA: The Search for Biological Family" Crista in the first part of the video was teaching us how to link your online Ancestry tree to your DNA results if you hadn't already.

What grabbed my attention at the time, but I put on the shelve was what her DNA page screens looked like compared to mine. They are definitely different and I wonder if this is what is coming to the rest of us common folk in the near future.

For instance, here is my current screen (click on any of the images below to enlarge):

And now here is that same screen in Crista's DNA account.

OK Ancestry and Crista, what is "Scan," "Download Matches" and "Download Ancestors of Matches" functions?  I don't have these features on my DNA match pages. How about an explanation for the rest of us and when do we get to see these neat tools?

Then there is even a more mystic and cryptic second screen. Here is Crista's page with her matches:

And here is what my screen looks like:

What is missing on mine that she has is that little brownish looking icon on the right.

What that appears to be is two people connected together type of icon? Is this the long promised new collaboration tool that will be better than the chromosome browser mentioned at the last RootsTech?

So what do we really have here and when will the rest of us see this on our DNA match pages?

I think I will post a link of this post here on the blog to the Ancestry Facebook page. Maybe I will get an answer, or be totally ignored which is usually the case with me an Ancestry. ;-)

I will post more when I hear something. Good genealogy hunting today to all.

Friday, August 1, 2014

AncestryDNA to Improve Cousin Matching

While this may or may not be the DNA research tools mentioned at the RootsTech conference earlier this year, Ancestry has just made a major announcement regarding an upgrade to how the system displays match results of their autosomal DNA test to the end users (that is us).

All AncestryDNA customers to some extent, but especially Jewish and Hispanic customers, have been getting false cousin matches (nice of them to let us know about this now).

If you were of Jewish or Hispanic ancestry, most AncestryDNA autosomal testers received matches which seemingly would indicate they're cousins with everyone else of the same ethnicity.'s DNA team explains in an August 1, 2014,  announcement why these false matches can happen.

All humans are genetically 99 percent identical, so there are two reasons that two people might have identical DNA. As I explained last Spring in our TCCC DNA class, your DNA chromosome matches can be the result of either an IDB or IDS chromosome match.

     IDB: The autosomal DNA is "Identical By Descent," meaning the two people it belongs to are related

     IDS: The autosomal DNA is "Identical By State," meaning that the two people it belongs to are simply of the same ethnicity or are at a minimum both human (duh!).

It can be difficult to ferret out the DNA segments that are IDB from those that are IDS, but according to this announcement by the AncestryDNA team they have developed a new way to analyze results that can tell the difference.

According to this informational release, in the coming months, "all customers will see increased accuracy of their DNA matches, and significantly fewer 'false' matches." Existing customers will receive an email when their new matches which are more accurate are ready for review.

You can read more about this coming feature on the blog at
AncestryDNA to Improve Cousin Matching

I hope to have more information on this very soon, and will probably be discussing this in more detail in my class starting on August 21 on the TCCC Main campus in Peachtree, North Carolina. If you are interested signing up for for that class, seats are filling fast, so contact the director of community enrichment class, Lisa Long at (828) 835-4241 to reserve your seat.

Fall TCCC Genealogy Classes on the Horizon

Well we are less than a month away from starting our fall genealogy classes at Tri-County Community College. Boy is this summer flying by fast.

So in case you didn't get a catalog from TCCC, here is the class list and descriptions of the three classes I will be teaching this fall. I strongly encourage you to get a hold of Lisa Long (828) 835-4241 and sign up as soon as possible so we can be assured that these classes will make.

If you are aware of anyone that is getting started or new to genealogy be sure to point out our beginner/intermediate class. If you haven't been in the classroom in some time, this class may also be for you. It is a good opportunity to get some good refresher genealogy training and learn some new techniques/record sources that we teach in that class.

Genealogy – Introduction to Family History

This course introduces the student to the basics of genealogy by exploring the heart of family history research - basic records and sources used in the pursuit of ancestor hunting. Some of the records and sources that the student will be taught include home and compiled records, vital records, census, church records, court, military, land and property, probate, and tax records. The course will also touch on the latest technology including Internet record resources and DNA testing. If you want to learn how to do genealogy research the right way or need a refresher on the latest techniques and sources then this course is for you. This course is a prerequisite for advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC. 30 hrs.

August 19 – November 4 Tuesday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $65

Genealogy – Introduction to
This course will cover in-depth one of the world’s most popular genealogy websites – With more than six billion historical records, in excess of 20 million family trees available, and over 400,000 people that have DNA tested, is the world’s largest genealogical database and research website. Have you explored what has to offer? Or are you needing guidance in navigating the website? If you want to get more out of your experience, then this course is for you. Topics that will be explored include the website layout, family trees: construction and use in research, the “new” Ancestry search engine, the AncestryDNA autosomal test and the site’s DNA research tools, and how to make effective use of their community collaboration tools. A paid subscription to the site is not necessary, but a good basic knowledge of genealogy research principles is a must. 17.5 hrs.

August 21 – October 2 Thursday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $39

Genealogy: DNA – Using Genetic Genealogy in Family History Research
Science can help you with your genealogy research, but you will have to take a test first. This course will cover the new and expanding field of genetic genealogy basics and is designed for DNA Newbies. Some of the topics to be covered include an introduction to DNA testing and technical terms, the different types of DNA tests available and their applications, how DNA testing will help your genealogy research, and what are your ethnic origins and how to interpret your results. Special emphasis will be given to autosomal DNA testing. If you want to demystify genetic genealogy and use this new and exciting research tool in your family history study, then this course is for you. 12.5 hrs.

October 9 – November 6 Thursday Evening 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Cost $29

As always I look forward to seeing each of you in class, sharing your genealogy adventures and helping you to Find Your Family Roots.

More Ancestry Tree Insanity

There are times I wish I could scope up all the genealogist of the world and make it mandatory that they go to my classes before they ever post or click on an Ancestry tree. While working some DNA results this afternoon and cleaning out some links, I found this little bit of genealogical insanity below.

That is a pretty good trick for Daniel Jennings b. 1816 to have a daughter Elizabeth Jennings born in 1676. Come on folks, this isn't a clicking contest here. We are suppose to be doing genealogy research not having a contest to see who can "run up the most number of people in my family tree." 
Bad part about above, more than a dozen "researchers" (sic) clicked and picked up the same data in their trees. Nuff said, I'm off my gen soapbox (for now).