Saturday, August 10, 2019

Using New AncestryDNA Color Dot Tags

In February, AncestryDNA announced some new features and I have been remiss in not blogging about them so I am remedying that now.

If you tested your DNA with Ancestry more than 6-12 months ago, you might want to login and check out these new features. The one that I have been using the most is the colored dot tags.

Colored dot tags from AncestryDNA

There are plenty of ways to use these, but I've been using them to group together known genetic matches by adding a particular color when I know that a DNA match descends from a particular ancestral couple

Soon after I started doing my genealogy (almost 30 years ago), I had a general color-coding system for my ancestral lines, by grandparent:
Blue: Paternal grandfather's ancestors (Pyle-McAlpin)
Red: Paternal grandmother's ancestors (Adsit-Ashby)
Green: Maternal grandfather's ancestors (Copeland-Greeley)
Yellow: Maternal grandmother's ancestors (Hunter-Lysle)

Because of this, I use AncestryDNA's colored dots to identify DNA matches in a similar way. Following is a screenshot of my top DNA matches in the second and third cousin range. I have placed a colored box around the colored dots which I assigned to my matches.

You'll see that there are many blue boxes (identifying cousins on my Pyle-McAlpin lines), two orange boxes (identifying a second cousin and a second cousin of my mother's on the Hunter-Lysle lines), and one green box, identifying a second cousin on my Copeland-Greeley line. This list continues with the majority of colored dots being a shade of blue.

There are several dots associated with these DNA matches because I have different colors associated with different ancestral couples in different generations. For example, second cousins who share James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin are given a light blue color and they also have the dark blue color indicating they descend from the parents of Frances Adelaide McAlpin, David Hunter McAlpin and Frances Adelaide Rose. (My current project of identifying all my third cousins indicates that there are a lot of descendants of David Hunter McAlpin and Frances Adelaide Rose.)

Note that there are no red boxes. This is because I have no known first, second or third cousins on my Adsit-Ashby lines.

Other features to note in this screenshot:
Suggested relationship: This is based on the shared amount of DNA, which is listed in pale gray below the suggested relationship. Note that is is only suggested; you need to do additional research to confirm the relationship. DNA is only one piece of evidence.
Family Tree in green (or No Trees in gray): an indication that the Ancestry user has set up a family tree. I can see how many people are in a tree that is linked to the test-taker and I can also see if there is an unlinked tree for me to explore to figure out how we might be related. When you click on this tree, you are brought to a screen showing a portion of your match's family tree.
Green leaf: The green leaf below the tree lets me know that Ancestry has identified a possible common ancestor for us.
Mother's Side: I had my mother test at AncestryDNA which helps because any matches that indicate this helps me at least cut in half the ancestors I need to explore to confirm a common ancestor between me and my DNA match.
Star: I added the star to several of my matches early on in my research; these are matches with whom I have been in contact or who I identified early on how they are related to me.
Last, but certainly not least:
Notes: Below each of the colored dots is a note icon. This is where I state the known relationship between me and the DNA match and note the MRCA (most recent common ancestor or ancestral couple). For more distant matches, I have also noted when I have sent them messages.

Click on the name of your DNA match to get to another screen where you see more information about you and that genetic match.

It does take time to explore your matches at Ancestry, but new features have made it easier (and more fun). I hope this inspires those of you who haven't recently looked at your matches to login and take a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment