AncestryDNA just keeps getting better—see what’s new

Posted by Stephen Baloglu on November 15, 2012 in Site, AncestryDNA, Site Features

The day you get your AncestryDNA™ results is certainly an exciting one. But your experience doesn’t end there. We’re continually making updates to the AncestryDNA BETA site, including new features and tools designed to enhance your discoveries. So if you’ve taken the new DNA test, here’s an exciting peek into what’s new to the site. If you have yet to experience AncestryDNA, this should give you an idea of what to look forward to. Get AncestryDNA today.

Don’t miss a new DNA match—Get the latest with emails updates.

AncestryDNA is always on the look out for new matches. Our database is growing rapidly with new members everyday, which means more DNA matches for you. And our new email notifications will let you know when new matches are added to your list, so you’ll never miss a connection. You choose if and how often you want to receive these emails.


See HOW you’re related to your DNA matches

This groundbreaking feature, only available with AncestryDNA, provides a relationship chart that lets you quickly confirm how a DNA match fits into your family tree. When you and your DNA match have a common ancestor in your family trees, you’ll see exactly how you are related. Also coming soon…just look for the familiar shaky leaf on your DNA results page to lead the way, no more digging into every match to see if there is a hint.


Get updates to your ethnicity results

Our science team is hard at work. A continually growing database and new scientific discoveries mean new findings. Your ethnicity results can update over time, so that you’ll have the latest information available. Always having access to the most up-to-date results, without taking another DNA test, is a big benefit to AncestryDNA. No action required on your part, we’ll do all the work for you.


New research tools to make your search easier

We’re constantly adding more ways for you to quickly and easily navigate your DNA results such as:

  • Sort and filter your matches by date received, favorites, relationship, and more.
  • Keep notes about your matches.
  • “Favorite” the matches you want to go back to.
  • Remove matches you don’t want to research.

And more…

To see all of the latest features and to learn even more about how they can benefit your AncestryDNA experience, just click here.



1 Jo SchererNovember 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

I have left requests twice for that “deal” that was offered on the DNA. Last time I was basically told I would be put on yet another waiting list. What is going on. Could someone please let me know about this and when I can expect to accepted?

2 PaulNovember 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

For those disappointed, it is not the test, it is a matter of finding your match within the results. Most of the time it is a surname you do not have on your tree that is in their tree that is the link to your DNA. For instance, I had a 5th-7th cousin match with an extensive tree. We did not match any surnames. Upon digging deeper I found they had a surname that was a middle name of one of my GGG Grandmothers. I did not have a maiden name or parents for her. Sure enough they listed her as a sister to their GGG Grandfather with the exact birth date and no death date or marriage. I had the Marriage and death date and this match had the parents and siblings. The test works, but it would be great to have a list of surnames with how many of each you match. If I match 20 “Insert Surname Here” people, then most likely that surname is a missing link in my tree. I have done it in Excel, but very time consuming. Plus, you already have the data, just need to make matches searchable by surname.

3 Teri WheelerNovember 15, 2012 at 10:35 am

I have separate trees for my paternal lines and maternal lines. When I had to select a tree for Ancestry DNA, I went with my father’s side. After I get the matches from his tree, will I be able to switch to my mother’s tree and see those matches? It would be nice to be able to see matches from all my trees at the same time without having to create a “mega” tree.

4 Barbara ProffittNovember 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Please, please let everyone know: For all of us to get the benefit of the DNA tests, DO NOT keep your tree PRIVATE. If Paul in comment #2 had matched a private tree and was not able to access the tree himself, he would not have been able to find the info needed. Ninety percent of the people I contacted did not respond or would only “check” their trees for surname matches. I have had 14 DNA and TREE matches and can’t wait for more possibilities to show up.

5 Margie WilliamsNovember 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

#2 Paul: I am confused by what you are saying about needing to making the matches searchable by surname. I have lots of AncestryDNA stated matches but I have no idea how we may match. No common surname. Is this what you are talking about?
#3 Barbara: I agree with you about ‘Private’ marked trees. I guess they only want to see who they match and will take info from you without sharing any. Many of them will share a picture but not a tree.

6 StacyNovember 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

It is discouraging to have your DNA matches refuse to let you access their “private trees”. I have emailed many and either they do not respond or say “they will get around to it”. No one yet has opened their private tree upon my request. Ancestry needs to make some new rules- like mutual sharing is REQUIRED.

7 Trevor ThackerNovember 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Jo (#1) Contact us toll free at 1-800-262-3787 and we’ll be happy to look into this for you!

8 BEENovember 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I have always kept my trees “private”, and that is my personal preference.
When I went through the list of very distant “cousins” on my DNA matches – 5th to 8th?, I didn’t find any names that came anywhere close to my own, and in many cases, weren’t even of the same ethnicity, since the 75% “Eastern European” covers a lot of territory.
I still question the 25% Scandinavian, but I do understand migration and invasions.I don’t think it makes any sense for me to contact anyone in that list, since I would have no way of making any connection.
However, in my 75% Eastern European list, there was someone who had a grandmother born in the same village as my paternal grandfather. I contacted him through ancestry, and after his response, we exchanged email addresses to continue comparing “family history”. With so little information available about our ancestors “from the old country” we may never know any direct connection, but it’s possible we have a common ancestor. Since I have so little information to share beyond my grandparents, I see no reason to change the settings of my tree, but when contacted, I always respond, although there are many times people I have written to don’t bother to respond, or once I furnish information – and even do research, they don’t always respond in kind.

9 Andy HatchettNovember 16, 2012 at 3:47 am

@Stacy #6

The day Ancestry starts requiring mutual sharing is the day Ancestry dies. They would loose so much business and so many subscribers they wouldn’t be able to remain in business.

I do my genealogy for my own reasons- and sharing it with the general public isn’t one of them.

10 Connie BunteNovember 16, 2012 at 8:01 am

I agree with Andy. I gladly share information to anyone who asks, and I will share my tree with family; but I’m not making my tree public.

11 Pat SecordNovember 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I also agree with the comments regarding keeping your trees private. I just switched mine to private, because, once again, someone took one of my pictures, and copied and pasted it to their tree. So, it looks as though it’s their picture and I get no credit for it. I’m talking about pictures I have found in my grandmother’s bible. I have absoutely no problem sharing these, but it want it shown they were from me originally. I may make my tree public again sometime in the future, but for now, I am a little annoyed.

12 D.ClarkNovember 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

I too have been burned by distant “cousins” asking me to share research I’ve worked so hard on, not to mention spending quite a bit of money on, only to insert it into their websites or their trees and not give me one iota of credit. A few have been very good about acknowledging my research, and I really appreciate that, but a couple in particular have used it as their own. One can’t help but resent that if one is a serious genealogist. It also infuriates me when someone enters my information incorrectly (ie: dates wrong, spouses listed in improper order). In that case, she can LEAVE my name off of it! But it confuses things for others who run across that particular tree and don’t know any better. That said, when I run across a private tree, I contact that person and politely ask and so far I have never been rejected.

13 ValerieNovember 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Public vs Private is a tricky subject. Personally, I wish that there was a feature that allowed users to make their trees private unless the other user has a public tree. If they don’t want to share with me, why should I share with them? It’s a somewhat retaliatory reaction, but it’s equal.

I also get that this isn’t very practical. I would otherwise like a feature that would allow me to “hide” matches with private trees. Since the family tree feature is just about the only feature, matches with private trees (or none at all) are pretty much worthless. If I can’t see your tree, you are wasting space in my list.

14 BEENovember 18, 2012 at 7:10 am

Actually, there is a feature to remove “matches” from your DNA Match list. To the left of the person’s name {box showing a head either pink or blue} are three symbols – a star to set as “favorite”, a dot to mark “unread”, and a trash can to “remove from list”.
What I’m finding are “matches” – my 75% Eastern European to anywhere from 9% to 100% that don’t give anything beyond the name of a country with their ancestor, so if they don’t know where in that country their ancestor came from, I see no way to make any connection, especially at the 5th to 8th “cousin” level. The 100% Eastern European is interesting,since that person has four people listed on their tree, the first two “private” because their are “living”, the other two born in PA. A search on the surname doesn’t bring up much to pinpoint a country where they might be from.
So as you say, Valerie, if none of these people know where their ancestors were born, “matches with my tree are pretty much worthless” – whether they could see my tree or not.

15 WrenNovember 19, 2012 at 2:52 am

The day this site requires tress to be public, that’s the day I delete mine and cancel my membership. People can have many reasons for keeping their trees private that have nothing to do with a lack of reciprocity.

16 ThynderNovember 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

Two features from Ancestry that have helped me decide (for now) to make my tree public:

1. Ancestry released the living/deceased flag on Member Trees this last year. Now that I can mark individuals deceased and they show as private, I am less concerned with data on living people being available to the public.

2. Per the FTM blog post ( and other reviews, Ancestry has improved FTM 2012 TreeSync to allow users to exclude media from the sync so it won’t upload to Ancestry. This lessens my concern about media on living people being available to the public.

In the end, I often find it hard to understand the mentality of some who do not wish to share research online. This would be a costly and slow hobby if everyone kept their research and documents to themselves and couldn’t benefit from the time and money savings of not having to redo research that has already been done by others. How many of those who adamantly keep their trees private find benefit from those who keep their trees public? Why not reciprocate the value you obtain from those who open their research by opening yours and using the tools provided to hide what you want to remain private?

How many whose trees are public could be helped through a brick wall or difficult research if some of the research locked behind a privacy wall were made public? There can be a tremendous burden in trying to communicate with some individuals with private trees, wait and hope for a response, and negotiate access to unknown material. Some members simply do not take the time to jump through these hoops just in case there is a photo or certificate on a private tree that would help them. I’ve personally had a mix of success and failure in trying to work with individuals with private trees, sometimes I’ve not bothered and moved on.

17 Fernando StorkNovember 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Wow, how accurate is this btw? Because I’m really interested. And this is limited to USA only?

18 MonikaNovember 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

#9 – Bravo, for saying it so clearly and distinctly! Hold the junkologists responsible for those of us who have turned our public trees private! After having someone take a picture from my tree that belonged to MY family, only for that person to put it on HER tree and then to copyright that picture!!…..After having people who use Family Tree Maker take pictures and stories from my tree, and–the first time that they sync their tree– all these pictures and stories show them as the original contributor on THEIR public trees, because the FTM software people did not allow for FTM to give credit to the original contributors of this data (I have numerous e-mails from to confirm that), I have learned to keep my trees private. If I am the one who traveled thousands of miles to visit historical museums,libraries and cemeteries and I am sharing the data I collected on these trips with others, should not brainlessly create a program that does not permit members to give credit to those they took the data from! Having said that–I have answered every request from any DNA participant that contacted me and have shared my data with them! As you can see, Andy, I have not yet learned to say it as short and sweet as you do! :-)

19 Pat SecordNovember 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Not only have I made my tree private for the reason I stated in comment #11, but I have also stripped all info, sorces, citations, dates, etc. off living people. Even though I’ve made the tree private, has become such a “social” website I have no idea if people can see my stuff. At the bottom of the home page it now says “Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr.” Scares the heck out of me. I wish they would just keep this a Genealogy website.

20 H L PorterNovember 22, 2012 at 6:33 am

I decided to create a “mega tree” to coordinate with the DNA matches. Without family tree maker this would not have been possible. So far it is working, but is more cumbersome than the previously effective mini trees that I was finding so helpful. It appears there are new ideas in the works to help with sorting through all of this.

21 Susan RussellNovember 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I think people should be allowed to keep their trees private, but for DNA, I agree with Valerie that those of us who leave our trees public should be able to set it so it doesn’t share with people who have private trees. I have written friendly notes to all my “moderate” or closer matches. A few have very nicely invited me. A few have sent rather snippy replies that they don’t see any match. Most have never responded.

I have put many dollars and many hours into researching and sourcing my tree. I think it’s great when we can all share what we’ve found so that not every single person with a particular ancestor has to send in $15 for a birth/marriage/death certificate. I’m not quite sure what the “no credit” complaint is about since I thought ancestry did make it clear where a photo originated. (If not, then they should). Even if this is a problem, I personally would much rather share and risk having my stuff “uncredited” rather than have everyone’s tree private and we all work from scratch.

This could become a big issue if more people start doing private DNA trees.

22 Carol GreenDecember 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Just ordered my DNA kit. These posts are surprising to me as I had not thought of the sharing pictures and info parts. Will have to think about making my trees private or public. Thank you.

23 Sally ViadaDecember 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I did the ethnic DNA test several months ago and was surprised at what came up. Is there a way to find out what side, maternal or paternal, contributed the percentages? I also took the mtDNA in 2008 and it wasn’t very informative. Just said I came out of Africa some 150,000 years or so ago. Didn’t we all?
Hope these tests become more specific.

24 BCarrollDecember 6, 2012 at 6:49 am

Wonderful news. I received an alert that my DNA matched another person’s at the 2nd to 3rd cousin level.

I emailed the person and she emailed me back. She is my second cousin and her grandmother and my gr. grandmother were sisters. My documentation and her documentation from primary sources sealed the deal.

She is the first Kennedy relative that I have found and she has photos and baptismal certificates etc. I only have one picture, which I am scanning as I write this, of my gr. grandmother to send to her.

Thank you Ancestry! I was skeptical at first because my results did not match previous results of an autosomal DNA test I had done and so I didn’t have much faith that I would find anyone. Well, I was wrong – and how happy I am that I WAS wrong.

25 AlexandersmaDecember 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi all,

I ordered and took my test back when it was still BETA. I’ve had some great results and have been able to add details to my tree and provide others with information as well. I do not at all mind sharing any information that I spent LOADS of dollars on, literally traveling the globe (and world memberships here for years researching) to trace my family. The moment a cousin of mine (a first cousin on my father’s side) didn’t respond to my message after she started ripping off information from my tree and adding it to hers, I made my tree private. Some of the information that I found on my father’s side, was only by actually going to foreign soil, hiring a translator and a researcher to obtain the records. I was actually in England visiting my Mom’s side of the family when I got my results and THAT was great that I could show them matches from that side while being there. They were able to figure some relations within my matches.

There are several people that I match with who also have private trees. I’ve messaged them and haven’t received a response. More often than not, I get no response, even from those with public trees. I offer to share my tree and research, but still don’t get anything back. Are they not getting my messages when I send it to them through the DNA page? I’ve not received a single message from anyone asking me how we match. Is there a bug/glitch there that needs to be worked out?

Also, I’ve noticed that there are people with matching surnames in my tree with others once I’ve gone through their surname list, but, it doesn’t show up on top that we share matching surnames. Why is this?


26 PaulDecember 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

@#5 Margie, I apologize, I just saw your post. What I was referring to is in my top matches, 3rd-6th cousin matches, I have so many surnames that while I do not have them in my tree, they show up repeatedly on my matches trees. Some of these are not common surnames like Smith or Jones. These are unique surnames that are the reason we match so highly with our DNA, but are a missing link in my tree. We may share a common GGG Grandmother, that I have yet to find and that was her maiden name. If we could have a list of all published surnames for our matches, you would be able to see that you match 12 Smiths, 13 Jones, etc. and see patterns that make finding your connection easier.

Another comment I would like to make is for those that do not wish to share photos or information. Stealing and claiming it as your own is one thing, but as far as allowing a distant family member to have access to a common ancestors photo or war record, etc. I think is priceless to me. If I have a photo of someones GG Grandfather and they have none, by all means, take it. I am not giving them the original, but a scanned copy that will mean the world to some people to put a face with a name. What exactly do you lose by allowing them access to that photo or record? You still have the original. Maybe I am just more unselfish, but anyone is more than welcome to my photos, research, documents and more. If not for the huge amount of work done by so many before me, I would not have what I have compiled, so why should I try to keep it private and discourage a new generation from researching their family. I already did the work because I wanted to share my ancestry with future generations and preserve it, not to hoard it and say “It’s mine.”

27 Anne ReevesDecember 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

Private vs. Public. Originally my tree was public, but once I had put some images on it that I had obtained from some archival websites and other members uploaded those images to their trees (some acknowledged the sources, others not), I ‘privatised’ the tree. Copyright was my major concern and still is.

Every request to see my tree has been and will be answered and where there is a family connection, however remote, I send an invitation.

One of the problems with public trees, or rather some of the information on them, is that inaccuracies spread like wildfire. An underlying problem is the very cost of genealogical research – buying copies of absolutely necessary civil registration certificates alone adds up to a small fortune. So it is understandable when members use the information available on public trees. But that information need not be reliably sourced – in fact if there is no source citation, the data needs confirming with documentation.

Several writers have complained about getting no responses from private or public tree holders. While there are those who never reply, it could be that the email address that ancestry has is no longer extant. Also – some people who subscribe or are registered with ancestry do not have trees on the site.

As for DNA matches and surnames – so far I’ve not seen one that convinces me.

28 NormanDecember 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

DNA Matches

How likely is it that a second cousin DNA match would actually be a third cousin once removed instead of second cousin. Some of the matches the trees line up and indicate the same as the DNA results but this second cousin match puzzles me.

Would the fact that in earlier generation there are instances of second couisn marriages have any impact on the predicted DNA results?

29 BEEDecember 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I recently had a second DNA match. Both are “5th to 8th cousin”, but while the only connection was the little village his grandmother and my grandfather came from, this second match and I share three surnames, again from that same village. For some reason, this second one was designated a “low” confidence, while the other with no shared family name says “moderate”.
I just learned that the granddaughter of someone who might have been a first cousin to my grandfather had her DNA done but I haven’t seen anything connecting us so far. I hope I can get some answers “next year”. Have a Very Happy and Healthy New Year to all.

30 BEEDecember 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

That should have read my only connection to the first match was the little village his grandmother and my grandfather came from, as we shared no known family names.

31 LizDecember 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Is the “See HOW you’re related to your DNA matches” currently available? It’s neat to see people I’m related to, but I can’t seem to find clear connections even when I view their trees or contact my matches. There are so many matches that it’s hard to keep track of all the people.

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