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 matches but AncestryDNA is doing the work for me to find a connection. (You can read my personal success story of how I found a picture of my great-grandfather through one of my DNA hints).
We recently improved our DNA hints system (a DNA hint shows a possible common ancestor you share with one of your DNA matches). Our DNA team has been working really hard to improve this system, and since January 2014 we have served up more than a million DNA hints, bringing our total to 2.7 million.
How do DNA hints work?
After you take an autosomal DNA test, AncestryDNA compares your DNA to everyone in the AncestryDNA database. Depending on how much DNA you share with another individual, AncestryDNA estimates a relationship and gives you a list of your DNA matches. If you’ve linked your tree to your DNA results, AncestryDNA can also look through both you and your DNA matches’ trees and search for common names. If AncestryDNA finds the same person in your tree and your match’s tree, you’ll both get a DNA hint on your match page. A leaf is displayed to indicate we found a potential cousin. Use the filters on the match page to find all of your DNA hints possible-click hints to search your DNA matches for DNA hints.
What happens if I make changes to my tree that is linked to my DNA results? No problem.
This powerful tool is running faster than ever, giving you updated DNA hints as you make changes to your tree. If you make changes to your tree or decide to link your DNA results to another tree, that same day AncestryDNA will upload those changes and reanalyze how you and your DNA matches may be related.
No other database has these tools or capabilities to work behind the scenes for you and predict who your common ancestor might be.
What if I don’t have any hints yet?
- Don’t get discouraged.
- Continue to build out your tree.
- Link your DNA results to a tree (link the results to the person who took the test-Dad took the test, link the results to him in the tree, NOT YOU).
- Help others by making your tree public or responding to emails from your DNA matches.
- A hint will still show up with someone who has a private tree but you won’t be able to see which common ancestor you may share.
Why should I link my tree to my DNA results?
Linking your AncestryDNA test to a family tree allows AncestryDNA to keep working for you as you build out your tree on Ancestry.com. Here’s an example of what a hint can do for you:
I had a 4th cousin show up in my list of DNA matches—only this one came with a hint. The hint will show me how we are connected, now I know where our possible genetic connection is: it looks like we both inherited DNA from Andrew Cowan and/or Anne Smellie. We need to verify the connection through our trees—after all this is just a “hint”—but since we know we share DNA, this is a great place to start.
The number of hints will continue to grow as more people take the AncestryDNA test and build out their trees. That’s exciting because it means there’s no limit to how many hints you can receive—and every name you add to your tree is one more chance to find more family.
About Anna Swayne
Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.
[…] 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 […]