The new AncestryDNA™ service is continually being updated and improved upon—it’s just a part of the overall experience. One exciting new feature of the DNA test is the addition of the shaky leaf hint on your DNA results page. This new kind of hint will help you easily spot a DNA match who shares an ancestor with you—we call it the “Shared Ancestor Hint”. Those who are familiar with the shaky leaf on Ancestry.com know that it’s an exciting hint that could lead you to a new family discovery. So look for it in your AncestryDNA results, right next to your DNA matches as shown in this image:
When you investigate your Shared Ancestor Hint, a simple chart lets you quickly confirm this connection in your family tree and see exactly how you are related. Could finding a long-lost cousin be any easier?
And now you also have the option to filter your DNA matches by hints, so you can quickly locate and review all of the shaky leaf icons in your long list of matches. Just set your filter from the dropdown to ‘Has a Hint’, as shown below.
So, how does the Shared Ancestor Hint work? Let’s take a closer look at this new hinting feature so you can get a better understanding of all that it has to offer and, ultimately, how it can help you in your next big discovery.
- Keeping it in the family. The Shared Ancestry Hint looks at people that you are directly descended from in your family tree. In other words, ancestors that you share DNA with. So when you see a shaky leaf in your DNA results, it means that we’ve spotted an ancestor that both you and your DNA match have in common, and share DNA with. It wouldn’t make sense to consider others in your tree (such as spouses) that could lead to false shared ancestors.
- It’s dynamic. As you or your DNA matches add to or change the family tree linked to the DNA test, the hinting system is automatically triggered to re-evaluate the possibility for hints on all DNA matches. This exciting feature works around the clock, which for lack of a better name we call “tree edit awareness.” So you can be sure that as new discoveries are happening throughout your tree or your DNA match’s tree, your DNA results will continue to pay off with new information for you.
- Old or new, we’re searching for hints. All DNA matches that you receive, old and new, are assessed for a Shared Ancestor Hint. Even if your match occurred months ago, a hint could appear.
- If it’s private, it’s still useful. While you can’t actually see a private tree or any details about a hint on a private tree, the shaky leaf can still appear to let you know a hint has been found for a DNA match that has a private tree. This allows you to reach out and send a message to that DNA match and share information on your own terms.
- Ten generations covered. The Shared Ancestor Hint looks back up to 10 generations in both your and your DNA match’s family tree. We chose 10 generations for a few reasons. The likelihood of finding matches beyond this point is low, as many well-documented trees, on average, aren’t built out that far back and due to the nature of DNA inheritance, autosomal DNA matching gets less reliable beyond 10 generations. Also, it takes massive amounts of processing power to include more generations (there are over 2,000 possible ancestors in each tree going back 10 generations). If we went back further, it would not be as fast or available in real-time.
- Our standards are high. If the shared ancestor does not pass our specifications for determining this hint, we won’t include it. Our quality assessment runs through a whole list of comparisons to make sure it checks off every one.
- Finding shared ancestors even without a hint. We expect customers to discover shared ancestors that are not revealed by our hinting tools. Look for new features in the future that will enable you to identify “customer-found” shared ancestors, for example, to help you track these discoveries even better.
You’ll soon see that the Shared Ancestor Hint is one of the fastest ways to find new relatives and grow your family tree. AncestryDNA is continually keeping an eye out for common ancestors among your list of DNA matches—all you have to do is keep an eye out for the shaky leaf.
If you’re interested in learning more about the new AncestryDNA, or would like to order a DNA test, you can click here.