Monday, August 25, 2014

My AncestryDNA Test, part 1

AncestryDNA Test Kit
I finally ordered my AncestryDNA kit when it was on sale last month because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Actually, what really happened was that I was helping a couple of people out with their AncestryDNA results and I was really impressed by how well they were finding matches and making connections.

I usually recommended Family Tree DNA as a testing company because they are the most transparent and because they offer testees the most tools with which to analyze their data. But frankly, I had burned myself out a year ago trying to do all that chromosome mapping and analyzing of the numbers.

So late last year I switched tactics. I've been downloading and building out the trees of my matches and looking for intersections between their trees and my own. This is also a very tedious process, but I found that I preferred doing this kind of "research" over just trying to crunch numbers that changed all the time. This process started working better for me. The number of connections I found doubled.

Since this new process of working the trees was working so well for me this past year, I decided I would try my hand at the AncestryDNA test which is based on finding matches within your trees.

Boy was I in for a big surprise!

I was on the site for 10 minutes and in that time I found connections to 3 cousins!

I don't have all the numbers to share with you, like the total number of matches - I actually can't find that. So if anyone knows how to determine what my total number of matches are, please let me know. I can tell you that I have 2 3rd cousin matches! I've already determined the connection to one of them (see below). I have about 3 pages of 4th cousins and the rest (about 253 pages) are distant cousins. 

Let's take a look at one of my 3rd cousin matches:

I clicked on his name. He only has 9 people in his tree, but it was enough to see that yes, we are, in fact, cousins. We descend from a common King line in Howell and Oregon Counties, Missouri. His great-grandfather, WilliamFletcher King, was the brother of my 2nd great-grandmother, Dora King.

So if you've used to build your family tree, you are all too aware of their little shaky leaves that offer you "hints" of records that might pertain to your ancestors. Well evidently they've applied these hints to your matches as well. Unfortunately,  I did not get a shaky leaf with this match. But I could tell by looking at his little tree where the connection was - Along the King line.

Family Tree of my AncestryDNA Match
Family Tree of my AncestryDNA Match

Then I clicked on “King” inside the yellow box and it brought up a list of King ancestors for each of us. This is very helpful, especially if I have forgotten who my King ancestors were! His King ancestors are on the left and mine are on the right. I am not sure why it did not pull up a relationship chart.

Our King Ancestors
Our King Ancestors

I entered my match into my Family Maker Software, synced with my online tree, and then asked my online tree to calculate my relationship to Mr. King. Here’s what it produced:

Relationship Report between my Match and I
Relationship Report between my Match and I

It says we are 3rd cousins once removed. This lines up with what AncestryDNA predicted which was 3rd cousins. I'm not sure why it chose to display Tabitha House as the common ancestor between us. She was married to Robert King. He is also one of our common ancestors. We share both common ancestors - not just one. 


I always try to remind the people I work with and the people who attend my presentations that they shouldn't stop with just identifying the connection with their matches.

These are some of the Next Steps I take:

1.       Add my match to my tree. If they have additional family members tested, I add them as well
2.       Send him information about who his grandfather’s Virgil’s parents & grandparents were
3.       Ask him to upload to Gedmatch so I can compare our results to another known King cousin  match from ftDNA
4.       Foster the relationship – Exchange photos, stories, and information about your families


In my next post I will discuss those shaky leafs.

If you have King ancestors from Oregon or Howell Counties in Missouri, I would love to hear from you.

Email me.

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