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.
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.
About Anna Swayne
Anna Swayne has 8 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.