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DNA Hints – Providing More Clarity To My DNA Results

Posted by Anna Swayne on April 16, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Last week we announced that the AncestryDNA team collectively has found 2.7 million DNA hints. 10 days later, we are nearing 3 million DNA hints – and the number is increasing as more and more people get tested and build out their family tree. Remember: a hint is more than a DNA match. You get a DNA hint when AncestryDNA has found a common ancestor you and a DNA match share.

Mapping My Matches

I took a deeper dive into my own DNA hints and plotted them out on a fan chart to see which lines I had hints on and which lines I didn’t. Then, I took it one step further and plotted the hints that each of my parents have. Instead of including all of their hints, I plotted out only the hints they have that I don’t have. In the chart below you will see DNA hints represented by different colored leaves:

Green- hints I received from my DNA test

Purple- hints my mom received that I didn’t

Blue- hints my dad received that I didn’t

Each leaf represents a shared ancestor connection that either I or my parents have with a living relative who also took the AncestryDNA test.

fan chart with DNA hints

Remember, I only get 50% of each of my parent’s DNA so the hints they received that I didn’t are because that portion of their DNA wasn’t passed down to me. My Dad has 7 more hints than I do and my Mom has 4.

Filling in the Empty Lines

You may have also noticed that there are several lines that I don’t have any hints on. There are a couple of possible reasons for this:

One, there may not be anyone who has been tested on these lines whom I share DNA with. After doing this exercise I saw more of a need to test additional people in my family. I have already reached out to a few first cousins on my mother’s line to see if I can get them tested to trace my maternal great-grandparents. Getting m­­ore people tested in my family will give me more DNA information to use in understanding our story.

Two, perhaps I do have a cousin match on those lines, but because we don’t have the same person in our trees, we don’t get a hint. I will continue to build out my tree to see if I can connect to more of my matches.

Understanding DNA Hints

Keep in mind that DNA hints are just hints. Use them to help understand where the possible connection is and then verify that connection. (This earlier article talks about the different types of hints and how they work.) Once you have verified your hint, you know exactly how you and your match are related. That is powerful.

Want to get more of your story? Click here to get a test for a family member.





Past Articles

Paying Taxes… Or Not

Posted by Amy Johnson Crow on April 15, 2014 in Site, Collections

They say that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Genealogists are used to dealing with records surrounding an ancestor’s death, but what about taxes? Tax Basics Tax records in many locations date back earlier than vital records. They’re great for our research because they tend to be kept on a regular… Read more

What You Might Have Missed: April 14th Edition

Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on April 14, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne

Blog Posts Online Trees. Root of All Evil? by Anne Gillespie Mitchell Research in the Old Line State: Maryland State Guide by Amy Johnson Crow Use England Parish Registers to Research Ancestors Pre-1837 by Abbie Lee Black Some Blended Families Are Larger Than Others. Can You Beat More Than 20 Children? by Anne Gillespie… Read more

“Italian Stallion” Becomes “Irish-Italian Stallion” with AncestryDNA Test

Posted by Kristie Wells on April 12, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Chris DeRose is an on-air contributor and content producer for You and Me This Morning on WCIU TV in Chicago who recently took the AncestryDNA test. Growing up in a very Italian home, he was surprised to find a wee bit of Irish runs through his veins. Ancestry family historian, Michelle Ercanbrack, reviews his ethnic background noting… Read more

Online Trees. Root of All Evil?

Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on April 11, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne

What a provocative title: Online Trees: The Root of All Evil? And it was an interesting panel discussion that I participated in at RootsTech 2014. So are trees the root of all evil? In a word, no. And in fact, not only are they not evil, if you are doing genealogy correctly, they must be… Read more

Research in the Old Line State: Maryland State Guide

Posted by Amy Johnson Crow on April 11, 2014 in Site

Many of us (myself included) can trace our roots back to Maryland. The history we can find there is fascinating, both in terms of our families’ and the state’s. Maryland can be described as a land of contradictions. It was founded in part to be a safe haven for Catholics from England who wanted to… Read more

Use England Parish Registers To Research Ancestors Pre-1837

Posted by Abbie Lee Black on April 11, 2014 in Site, Research

Continuing on with my previous post, civil registration and census records are usually the place I turn first when starting my research in the UK. These records can be used together to create an accurate snapshot of a family group in the mid-19th century to late 20th century. Before 1837, parish registers are most commonly… Read more

Some Blended Families Are Larger Than Others. Can You Beat More Than 20 Children?

Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on April 10, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne

You are probably familiar with one of TV’s most famous blended families, The Brady Bunch.  I bet many of you can sing the theme song. (And sorry if I put it in your head…I didn’t want to be alone!) And I bet if you’ve been working on your family history for even just a little… Read more

Family History Toolkit: Creating Timelines

Posted by Pam Velazquez on April 10, 2014 in Site

Timelines are great tools for deciphering all of your family history discoveries. They can help place your ancestor at a given time and help you understand your ancestor’s life and what records, events, etc. you might be missing. Use timelines to analyze the different records you have found and understand where you should be setting… Read more

Connecting to Your DNA Matches — 2.7 Million AncestryDNA Hints Available to Discover

Posted by Anna Swayne on April 9, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Are you using one of our most powerful DNA matching tools? More and more people are taking the AncestryDNA test which means we are finding more and more matches and are able to identify even more shared ancestors through DNA hints. This is exciting for me as a user—not only am I getting more DNA… Read more

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Here you will find informational, and sometimes fun, posts from the folks behind the scenes here at We hope you’ll notice just how passionate we are about family history and about the products we’re building to help connect families over distance and time.


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