Ancestry Blog » AncestryDNA The official blog of Ancestry Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:44:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What does our DNA tell us about being Irish? Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:32:14 +0000 Mike Mulligan Read more]]> Saint Patrick’s Day is a time of year when those with Irish heritage around the world celebrate being Irish. With the launch of AncestryDNA in the UK & Ireland we have an opportunity to show a different view of Irishness using genetics.

Using DNA

With AncestryDNA, all customers receive a unique estimate of their ‘genetic ethnicity’ – where in the world their ancestors may have lived hundreds to thousands of years ago, based on their DNA. For example, an AncestryDNA ethnicity estimate can tell someone how much of their DNA likely came from Ireland – anywhere from 0% to 100%.

As the first results of UK & Ireland tests come through we can start to build up a picture of ethnicity estimates not just for individuals but averaged across all those born in the UK or Ireland*. What is particularly fascinating about the map below is that it has been compiled using just AncestryDNA results. It does not use historical data about migration patterns or self-reporting from customers about how Irish they think they are. What we are seeing on the map is just what the DNA tells us.

AncestryDNA Irish Ethnicity

Irish Ethnicity in Ireland

 RegionIrish Ethnicity

Average Irish Ethnicity Estimate across Ireland

Not surprisingly, the highest average Irish ethnicity estimates are found in Ireland. However, within Ireland we are seeing some provincial differences. Historically inward migration to Ireland has come from the south and east through Leinster and Munster. The genetics appears to agree with the history here. The highest estimates found anywhere in the UK & Ireland are found in Connaught with 76.7%, with Munster and Leinster on 71.4% and 71.8%

The ethnicity estimate for Ulster is lower than the other provinces around 51.9%. This also is what you might expect but attributing the different estimate in Ulster to the 17th century plantation is perhaps too simplistic. The connections between Ulster and Scotland are deep going back many centuries and continuing to the present day. As a child growing up in Donegal, one of the best parts of the summer was the influx of Scottish cousins home for the holidays (it made for some epic football matches).

Irish Ethnicity in Scotland & Wales

RegionIrish Ethnicity
Southern Scotland


Northern Scotland




Isle Of Man


Average Irish Ethnicity Estimate for Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man

Moving across the Irish Sea we see those areas with close historical ties show higher Irish ancestry. Echoing the results in Ulster, Southern Scotland shows the highest Irish ancestry across Great Britain with an average of 46.6%. The short distance from Ireland to Scotland, 13 miles at one point, makes it a natural destination for many Irish emigrants. Glasgow, Paisley, Dumfries, are all places well known to Irish emigrants over the centuries and into modern times.

Travelling down from Scotland we see Wales has the next highest Irish ancestry. Showing once again the close ties of the Celtic nations, the average Irish ancestry across Wales is around 31.3%. Let us not forget the most famous Irish immigrant from Wales was Maewyn Succat, who is perhaps better known to us today as Saint Patrick.

Irish Ethnicity in England

RegionIrish Ethnicity


South Border


North West Midlands






South East


South West Midlands




Home North


South East Midlands




South Central


North East Midlands


South West




West Anglia


East Anglia


 Average Irish Ethnicity Estimate across England

Finally looking at England we see generally the lowest Irish ancestry across the UK and Ireland. Across England the average Irish ancestry ranges from 26.7% in Lancashire down to 15.4% in East Anglia. Once again perhaps we are seeing the echoes of history. The cities of Liverpool and Manchester have long been a destination for those leaving Ireland. Just as Scotland was natural destination for emigrants from Ulster, so too the ‘boat to Liverpool’ was a common refrain for many Dubliners seeking new opportunities.

As I mentioned before, it is early days for these results. As more people take the AncestryDNA test in the UK & Ireland we will gain a much better understanding of the genetic makeup of these islands. It is certainly an exciting time with much to learn.


If you would like to learn more about AncestryDNA, or to order your kit, click here.

Have you taken the AncestryDNA test? Please share your stories with us on Facebook and  Twitter or email



*All AncestryDNA users in this study consented to participate in research.

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Behind the scenes! Find out what’s in our DNA here in the Ancestry office Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:29 +0000 Mike Mulligan Read more]]> As we prepared for the launch of AncestryDNA in the UK and Ireland we offered the people working in the Ancestry offices in Dublin and London a chance to take the DNA test. As people took the test and got their results we were on hand, observing and learning more about how the experience for those over here might match or differ from our cousins in the US.

Without exception the first thing everyone did when they got their results was check their Ethnicity Estimate. This is not surprising, it is something we saw often in the US.  We were especially interested in what our group would find in their Ethnicity Estimate and how they would react.


The team in the Ancestry offices here in Dublin and London is very international.  We have people from right across Europe.  What we found was, as you might expect, that the Irish, Swedes, Spanish, and East Europeans showed higher Ethnicity Estimates for those regions. We also found that our people from Germany or Italy have more mixed results than those from countries around the edge like Spain or Ireland. Regions with historic ties also showed up around our office.  So you see Italy showing up among the Spanish or Great Britain showing up among the Irish.


Because of the number of UK & Irish people in our offices we were able to look a little closer there. It was interesting to see here that our estimates echoed what we knew in terms of our family histories. Those whose background was in the bigger cities like London or Dublin had much more mixed ethnicity than those from rural backgrounds.

Among our Irish team we saw larger presence of Great British ethnicity along the East and South East.  In general Irish ethnicity increased as we moved North and West reflecting the fact that migrations into Ireland tended to come from the South and East.

In the UK we saw more complex results. A few of our London team are second or third generation Irish or Asian and this showed up in their results. As we moved out from the capital we saw that those in the North East showed higher Scandinavian while those from more southern backgrounds showed higher Western Europe. In terms of Great British ethnicity it did seem to rise the more north the family background (the highest was 89% in Lancashire).

Finally we were interested in what the AncestryDNA Ethnicity Estimate might mean to people here. In the US people taking the test have generally come from a blended background.  When we look to the UK & Ireland, people have more specific ideas about their ethnicity.  How would they respond to the test results?  As it turns out most people got quite excited with what they found.  A common reaction was people were hoping to see mixed results. It pointed to a richer family heritage, it gave them a story to tell.

Our trial has been an interesting way for us to see up close what an AncestryDNA test might mean to people in the UK & Ireland. The results we’ve found among our employees are just a small selection of what you might find. I would certainly encourage you to understand how we arrive at the estimates using our reference panel. And one final request.  After you have taken in your Ethnicity Estimates, get stuck in on your DNA Matches. Anyone who has taken an AncestryDNA test and shares any DNA with you will show as a cousin match. Build out your family tree. Contact your matches. View their family tree. Respond to matches if they contact you. That moment when you connect to a DNA cousin you never even knew is a fantastic feeling that will stay with you.


If you would like to learn more about AncestryDNA, or to order your kit, click here.

Have you taken the AncestryDNA test? Please share your stories with us on Facebook and  Twitter or email

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Origin of “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” Saying Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:24:00 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> To get you ready for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, we wanted to share the story behind that famous phrase and discuss how the luck of the Irish might be in your DNA. And, this St. Patrick’s day might just be the right time for you to try AncestryDNA, if you haven’t already.

Kissing someone who is Irish is pretty much the next best thing to kissing the stone in Blarney Castle, which is likely where this famous saying comes from. According to legend, kissing the stone will give you the power of eloquent and persuasive speech. Two different stories relate kissing the stone with luck.

One dates back to 1440s when the builder of the castle, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, was in a lawsuit and needed some extra luck. He sought out Clíodhna (goddess of love and beauty) and she told him to kiss a stone on his way to court. He did, and he won his case. Later he took that same stone and installed it into the castle.

Another legend suggests that Queen Elizabeth I wanted the land rights from Cormac Teige McCarthy. Cormac set off to try and convince the queen to change her mind, but was worried since he wasn’t a strong speaker. While traveling he ran into an older woman who suggested that if he kissed a particular stone in Blarney Castle it would give him the gift of eloquent speech. Cormac did just that and went on to persuade the queen to allow him to keep his land.

Nowadays, the stone gets millions of visitors at Blarney Castle, outside Cork, Ireland, with the hope the stone has the same impact on their own lives.


Does the Irish luck run deep within you? Find out how Irish you are — or somebody else is — with an AncestryDNA test. So far two out of three test takers have come back with at least five percent Irish in their ethnicity results.

How’s that for lucky?

Buy AncestryDNA for you or your lucky family member and find out how Irish you are. And make sure you share your Irish results by downloading our “Kiss Me” badges below to use on your social media profiles. Enjoy!

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How AncestryDNA has added new life to my family history research Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:42:28 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Intl_UK_DNA_250x250_Badge

I am privileged to work for a company that genuinely makes a difference to the lives of many thousands of people around the world. I have seen first-hand the breakthroughs, connections and family reunions that have been made possible by the records and trees available on Ancestry. Obviously, like many of you, I have used Ancestry to research my own family tree. I am Irish and my family has not left our home place for as far back as I can research, given the limitations of Irish records. Many of my grandparents’ siblings did leave. They traveled, as many Irish emigrants did, across the globe to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. As a consequence I am more familiar with being found, than I am with finding others. Year after year throughout my childhood and in recent years too, family after family would arrive in Ireland to see the house where their ancestors were born and from which they had to leave in order to find a future in a foreign land. Thanks to resources like Ancestry these families were able to trace their family history right to my doorstep.

Being unable to go further back than I have with records, I have been anticipating the launch of AncestryDNA to see if it can give me that sense of discovery that I had seen so many times on the faces of my relatives as they returned to the birthplace of their ancestors. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from my AncestryDNA results. My parents are both Irish, as are their parents and their parents before them. Would it tell me anything?

After carefully reading the instructions, providing my saliva sample and activating my kit on the Ancestry website; I waited. When I got the notification email to advise the results were back I was a little nervous. What would they say? Am I 99% Irish as I suspected? Will I have any cousin matches? I rushed to open my Ancestry account and see my results.

To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement! It was difficult to take it all in at first glance. Not only did I have a cousin match, I had many cousin matches! I had expected to see matches at 4th cousin or more distant but I had a possible 3rd cousin match! Wow! I have since contacted this person and she is my mother’s second cousin. When I told my mother of this discovery, she was astounded. She was aware of her cousin’s name, but the families had lost touch many years ago and my mother had never met any member of that family. That changed yesterday when they spoke on the phone for over an hour. AncestryDNA made this reunion possible. What was previously just a name on a family tree is now a relationship in the real world.

I also had matches on my father’s side of the tree too, at 4th 5th and 6th cousin. I have not had the chance to go through all my cousin matches yet, I have over 50, but so far on my father’s side we have managed to finally find the answer to an old question. My father and a neighbour had always believed that our families were related, but neither of them knew how. Thanks to AncestryDNA I was able view the family tree of one of my matches in the United States and we have finally found out where the link is! My father could not believe that a simple saliva sample could hold the answer to a question he had been unable to find for decades.

Cousin matches are only half of the results process. AncestryDNA also gives you your ethnicity estimate. I was expecting to find out that I am somewhere around 95% Irish based on what I already know from my family tree. I was in for a surprise. I discovered that I am 85% Irish, 7% British, 4% Eastern European and some trace results from Scandinavia, Northwest Russia and Asia making up the remainder. Not what you might describe as a typical Irishman!


While AncestryDNA has answered many questions and solved some mysteries it has also raised new questions for my family history research. Not since I started my family tree have I been this excited about all the discoveries that lie ahead. I would recommend AncestryDNA to everyone who wants to learn more about their family history, not because I work for Ancestry, but because it is truly a revolutionary product that can take your research to the next level.

If you would like to learn more about AncestryDNA, or to order your kit, click here.

Have you taken the AncestryDNA test? Please share your stories with us on Facebook and  Twitter.


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Get Ready To Meet Your European Cousins with AncestryDNA Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:28:21 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> across the pondWe’ve been counting down the days until AncestryDNA would be available outside the United States and it has finally arrived!

The AncestryDNA database has grown to more than 700,000 people, and now that the test is available in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, it will grow even faster with new possibilities for discovery on both sides of the pond.

Here are four more reasons to be excited for the new launch of AncestryDNA tests in the UK and Ireland—even if you don’t live there.

  1. Meet your European cousins. Imagine getting a new DNA cousin match who is able to tell you more about the little village your 5th great-grandmother was born in because they live near or in that same village today. Now that AncestryDNA is available in the UK and Ireland, you could start seeing matches in your ancestral homelands.
  2. Build a bridge across the pond. Sometimes the paper trail gets lost on the shores of the Atlantic. Maybe you haven’t been able to find the records that get you back to the old country, maybe they were destroyed, or maybe they never existed. But the genetic record that has continued in your family both here and there might allow you to pick up that trail again, give you new places to look, or connect you with someone who knows the story of the family that stayed behind.
  3. Tap into peak migration years. Irish immigration peaked in the mid- and late 1800s, and it’s estimated that more than 4 million Irish immigrated to America in the hundred years between 1830 and 1930. For most of us, those years fall within the 7-generation range of the recently launched DNA Circles, which means there’s a good chance of finding family members who didn’t emigrate, now that those families could appear in the AncestryDNA database.
  4. Already have family in the UK or Ireland? Now they can take advantage of all the insights that come from AncestryDNA. If you haven’t tested other family members yet because they live in the UK or Ireland, now is the time to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even first cousins get their DNA tested to preserve that family information. Every family member is unique and carries different DNA, so testing as many family members as possible will help you capture those unique segments of your genetic heritage and make more connections.

If any of you are like me, I have a few lines that “appear” in the U.S. with few or no leads as to where they came from. In fact, I have three different lines going back to the 5th generation who were born in 1832, 1837, and 1844 in Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana respectively, and that’s where I’m stuck.  Census records tell me one of these lines came from England, which means I’m extremely excited for AncestryDNA to be available there now. I’m hoping to match with cousins there who can connect me to my past on these lines.

Even if I don’t get a close match right away I can look for leads to take me down a new path of research. This opens a whole new pool of opportunity. I’ll share any new discoveries I have here, and if you find a cousin who helps you make a new discovery, share with us on Facebook or below in the comments.


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AncestryDNA Now Available in the United Kingdom and Ireland Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:08:02 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Intl_UK_DNA_250x250_Badge


We are excited to announce that AncestryDNA is now available to purchase in the United Kingdom and Ireland!

We sold our first DNA kit in the U.S. in 2012, and since then, more than 700,000 people have used AncestryDNA to discover more about their family history. Now you can too.

Why choose AncestryDNA?

AncestryDNA is for everyone! For many people, DNA testing is a starting point that opens the doors to your family story. If you have already researched your family tree, it can provide evidence that supports your research and helps you break down brick walls in your family tree. Learn where your ancestors may have come from, with a detailed estimate of your ethnicity. Our scientific breakthroughs allow us to map your ethnicity across 26 separate worldwide populations including Ireland, England, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and South and North Africa.

Discover relatives that you never knew existed with our DNA matching. If someone who shares your DNA has taken the test you could find yourself connecting with a 3rd or 4th cousin and learning about a new branch on your tree. All this combined with the billions of records and family trees available to search on Ancestry make AncestryDNA the ultimate family history tool on the market.

How does it work?

We have taken a very technical and scientific process and created a simple and easy to use test. First you order your kit and follow the instructions within. Then you send in your kit with a small saliva sample for our experts to analyse it for you. Once the analysis has been completed you can log into your secure online Ancestry account to view the results and discover your family story!

For more detailed information on AncestryDNA or to order your kit now, click here.


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New AncestryDNA Technology Powers New Kinds of Discoveries Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:26:44 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> Matching_option2

Finding evidence that you’re a descendant of a particular ancestor is one of the powerful applications of DNA testing. AncestryDNA has created a groundbreaking new way to make those kinds of powerful discoveries. We call it DNA Circles and it’s currently available in BETA for AncestryDNA customers.

DNA Circles re-imagines what matching can do. It goes beyond finding a common ancestor with your DNA matches and can link you to additional AncestryDNA members with the same common ancestor thus creating a Circle of people who are all related.

Once a DNA Circle is created, a new kind of discovery will appear on your DNA results page. Here is an example.

DNA homepage

Each circle is based on a common ancestor. As you click through to the Circle for an ancestor, if you have an Ancestry membership, you can see all the members in the Circle, how they are related to your ancestor, and who else they have in their family tree. This is where DNA Circles really shine. Being able to see a collection of your DNA matches centered around a common ancestor all at once gives you a new tool to do more with your new-found cousins. It makes it easier to exchange photos, stories, and other new information to add to what you all know about your ancestor. In short, it makes collaborating with your new extended family easier than ever.

DNA circles group peeps

Here is an example of a DNA Circle with William Grey as the common ancestor. It includes nine members who all have William Grey in their family tree and have also taken a DNA test.

DNA Circles can potentially uncover new relatives that DNA matching alone would not have found. Because you inherit only fractions of DNA from your distant ancestors (read more about genetic inheritance), you may have inherited different parts of your ancestors’ DNA than many of your cousins. By finding the interconnected people, it’s very possible that there will be people in your DNA Circle with whom you are not a direct genetic match with, but who do match others in the group and share the same ancestor in their family tree. It’s like meeting a friend of a friend—or in this case a cousin of a cousin. The more people who take the test, the bigger your group can get.

Exploring the links to each of the other members in the Circle will provide you with a side-by-side comparison of the connection you have and give you another look into the research.

match comparison dna

Take some time to dive into this new feature and explore all the new things you can learn. Revisit your DNA Circles often because as the database grows you can get a DNA Circle at any time.

So, How Does it Work?

DNA Circles starts with well-proven DNA matching technology to find your distant cousins among other AncestryDNA members. Then we look at all of the matches together to find people that are interconnected.

This is where the power of having an Ancestry tree connected to DNA comes into play. Using family trees, we look for an ancestor shared across this group of DNA-related people. When AncestryDNA finds one, a DNA Circle is created.

connection with dna

The good news is that we’ve trained the computer to do the hard stuff like DNA matching, tree comparisons, and triangulation for you. You then get to focus on taking this discovery and building on it to make a few more of your own. You can learn more about DNA circles and read the white paper by clicking on the help link on your DNA homepage. To access the help link, select one of your DNA Circles and click the question mark in the top right hand side.

What If You Don’t Have a DNA Circle, Yet?

Not every AncestryDNA member will have a DNA Circle. Here are some important details about how DNA Circles are created that can help explain why you might not have one.

  1. Have a “public” family tree linked to your DNA results. If you don’t have a family tree, it’s free to start one. If you have a tree, make sure it’s linked to your DNA results, set to be shared publicly, and goes back to the most distant ancestor you know. You can use research tools on Ancestry to help. I would strongly encourage linking your DNA results to a tree, even if that tree has limited information. DNA can be the tool to unlock your family discoveries and having even a small tree will help get you on the path without delay. (Standard privacy rules still apply for DNA Circles.)
  2. A DNA Circle requires three or more people. To form a DNA Circle we need at least three separate family units. (Units consist of first cousin and closer.) Three or more people  who are second cousins or more distantly related need to be tested and have the same common ancestor in their public tree to make a Circle. Mom, Uncle Joe, and you will not make up a DNA Circle, but having additional extended family members can increase your DNA Circle connection strength or potentially extend your reach, since they might have inherited the DNA to link you to another Circle.
  3. Reach out to second cousins or more distant family members. Having more people in your family tested will increase the likelihood that you will be in or create a Circle, and will make the Circle more powerful in terms of its potential reach.
  4. DNA Circles go back seven generations (six generations back, plus you). If you have matches that could be in a Circle but share a common ancestor past seven generations, they will not show up in a Circle. They will still show up as matches to you in your regular list, but the cut off for Circles is seven generations. Early analysis showed that more distant relationships were less reliable and may form DNA Circles around inaccurate data. Since DNA Circles is in beta, we are being a little more conservative to have more confidence in the results. This is something we will continue to analyze and may change over time.
  5. You must be an active subscriber (any level) to view DNA Circles.  Having a membership is not a guarantee that you will have DNA Circles, but if you do have DNA Circles, an Ancestry membership will allow you to view them.

DNA Circles Will Continue to Grow

DNA Circles is in beta, so please give us feedback on your experience. And don’t worry if you don’t have a circle yet; not everyone will have one immediately. But as the database grows and as you expand your tree, you will have more chances to get a DNA Circles.

Watch the following video on AncestryDNA Circles and Matching with expert genealogist, Crista Cowan.



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DNA Matching Just Got Better Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:44:33 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> Matching_option1

We’re excited to tell you about some major improvements we’ve made to help you find your possible relatives with AncestryDNA.

AncestryDNA scientists have innovated new and better ways to identify family relationships by comparing DNA between AncestryDNA members. Now, AncestryDNA is almost 70x more likely to find distant relatives, and all existing AncestryDNA members will see improved results.

What this means for you:

  • More accurate — Each of your DNA matches will be more accurate and is more likely to be related to you. You can feel confident that you share a recent ancestor (up to 5–10 generations).
  • Less is more — Because DNA matching is more accurate, some people who you matched before will no longer be on your list. So you’ll see fewer matches, but each of the ones you have will be more likely to result in a new family discovery.
  • This innovative way of DNA matching lays a foundation for new DNA features.
  • Best part — you don’t need to provide a new sample. We simply compare your DNA results again to everyone in the database using our new matching algorithms and give you an improved, higher-confidence list of DNA matches.
  • Check out your matches and see more detail around the confidence levels for each match.

Here are a few of the ways we were able to improve DNA matching:

Separating What Makes Us Human from What Makes Us Related

Now that AncestryDNA has more than 500,000 DNA samples, the science team has been able to identify patterns in DNA matches that only become apparent with a unique data set like this. One of those patterns is something people call “pile-ups” for lack of a better term. The basic description of a “pile-up” is an area in DNA where there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of people sharing the same genetic code. Ken Chahine describes this in a recent blog post where he says, “When you take a step back, matching isn’t as simple as it might first appear.  After all, we are all 99% identical. In other words, determining which parts of our genome make us ‘human’ and which make us ‘recent cousins’ is tricky…”

This tends to happen when people share an ethnicity or traits, but not a recent common ancestor. These kind of matches won’t appear in your results anymore because they aren’t relevant to family history research.


AncestryDNA not only uses sophisticated mathematical models to identify DNA matches, we are also one of the few autosomal DNA tests to apply a technology called “phasing” in order to better identify the strands of DNA you inherited from each of your parents. While this can’t necessarily separate your matches by which side of the family they come from, it does improve the ability to find possible relatives who share DNA by keeping the strands of DNA you inherited from each of your parents intact.


The AncestryDNA science team continues to validate the new matching algorithms and techniques and evolve the technology to help AncestryDNA customers make new and exciting  discoveries.

We’ve shared lots more details on how DNA matching at AncestryDNA works. Check out our white paper for the full details. To view the white paper, go to your DNA homepage, click View all DNA matches, and then click the help question mark in the upper-right corner. That will give you access to all the help content for matching and the white paper.


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Coming Soon: Improved DNA Matching Mon, 03 Nov 2014 23:08:05 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> dna connectOver the past year or so, we’ve been in the AncestryDNA lab working to create new and improved ways to find distant family members with DNA. In the process, we’ve rewritten the book on AncestryDNA matching and made some significant breakthroughs we’re looking forward to sharing soon.

These advancements will make AncestryDNA matching far more accurate, and each new match will be more likely to lead to a new discovery. Best of all, we’re going to roll this out to all AncestryDNA members for free, and you don’t have to take a new test to get the benefits.

So how are we doing it?

AncestryDNA has quickly grown to over half a million people in its database. Pairing this data with well-documented family trees and the expertise of Ancestry has allowed the AncestryDNA science team to develop groundbreaking new algorithms for finding and predicting relationships through DNA. These new algorithms will lead to better matches for anyone who tests with AncestryDNA.

Of course, we can’t make your list of matches more accurate without removing the less accurate ones. So, your DNA match list may get a little smaller—in some cases, quite a bit smaller. For example, some of the more distant cousin matches will no longer be considered a DNA match and will drop off your list. You can learn more about the science behind these improvements in this blog post from AncestryDNA General Manager Ken Chahine. The post refers to DNA matching challenges found in specific populations, but these same kind of improvements can be made across all AncestryDNA tests.

What do you need to do in the meantime? Not a thing. We’re providing this update for free to all AncestryDNA members, and we’ll send out an email when your new DNA matching results are ready. Also, when our improved matching launches, we’ll be providing a way for you to download your pre-upgrade list of matches in case you have saved notes about a DNA match and want to preserve them for the future.

Be confident that your matches are in good hands with our team of experts. DNA testing is a huge, real-time science project we’re watching unfold, and we get to be a part of it. As the database grows you will get new matches, and now better matches, and even more opportunities to discover something new about you.


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4 Tips for Adoptees Using AncestryDNA to Find Their Family Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:53:15 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> Hear it from an adoptee, a story of she not only found out she is Irish, Scandinavian and European Jewish, but how she connected to a few family members as well. Read or listen to Nancy’s story hereBackground image of DNA molecule. Science concept

Taking a DNA test can open up possibilities that haven’t been available before, but will they happen to you? There is only one way to find out. Take a DNA test for yourself.

Once you have those results back, you can review them. DNA can unlock the mystery of where your genetic roots came from 500+ years ago. Your unique DNA reveals what you have inherited from those who came before you. Are you Irish? Native American? Italian? When you take an AncestryDNA test, we compare your DNA to the known regions around the world and give you an estimate of how your DNA matches those regions. I have talked to many people who are adopted and the ethnicity is one of their top reasons for taking the test.

Now that you know where in the world your story started, you can dive into the matching. We compare your DNA to everyone else who has taken an AncestryDNA test to see if you can find family members to connect you with. Can you image finding a 1st cousin, aunt or even a sibling? It has happened. I have heard of some life-changing stories. If you didn’t read the story at the beginning of this article make sure you go back and read it. I would be confident to say that it has changed her life.

Are you an adoptee who is hoping to find family members through an AncestryDNA test? Here are four tips for success.

1. Look at the Closest Matches First

This seems simply enough, but if you don’t have anything closer than a 4th cousin-matching can get discouraging. It may take some time before a closer connection takes the test and we can compare them to you.

2. Contact All of Your 2nd Cousin Matches and Closer

Asking never hurts. Based on the predicted relationship, contact your 1st cousin and 2nd cousin matches to see what the possible connection could be. For example, a 1st cousin relationship would mean you probably share grandparents and 2nd cousins would share great-grandparents. A half-aunt or uncle could also show up as a 1st cousin and that is because you share only enough DNA as a 1st cousin. The further you go back the harder it will be to decide where the connection is.

3. Link Your AncestryDNA Results to a Tree

I know, you’re adopted and don’t know your tree. But put in your tree “adopted” and include anything you may know: a location, a surname… something. Not linking a tree is discouraging to your matches; they want to see something. It may seem like a crazy idea, but it may also help.

4. Be Patient

Depending on how much tree data you have online you may never figure out how you are related to some of your matches. Don’t get discouraged. Check back often and revisit your matches.

Read adoption success stories.

Begin with an AncestryDNA test and start making discoveries of your own.

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