Posted by Ancestry Team on May 8, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Did you know that 20 percent more women have taken the AncestryDNA test than men? Find out how AncestryDNA lets women look at both sides of their family tree—and the middle, too.

Connecting the Lines

More women are taking the DNA tests than ever before and are having their own powerful experiences. My Mom and I included. In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share some of my mom’s DNA discoveries. I gave her a kit last year, and since then we have been able to find ancestors on her direct maternal line, her direct paternal line, and a few lines in between.

One test, many lines

The AncestryDNA test is an autosomal DNA test, meaning it looks at DNA you received from both of your parents. We’re no longer limited to just testing a portion of DNA that only men have. So, good news for us ladies! And, here’s a quick biology refresher. You received about 50 percent of your DNA from each of your parents. Your parents received their DNA from their parents (your grandparents), who got theirs from their parents (your great-grandparents), and so on. So, that big mix of DNA is what enables AncestryDNA to help you make discoveries across your entire family tree.

After we test your DNA we compare your results to everyone else’s in our database (over 400,000 as of earlier this month) to see who you share DNA with. Then we estimate a relationship based on how much DNA the two of you have in common.

The exmaples below show relatives on my mom’s tree that DNA found first, and then traditional genealogy revealed the most likely common ancestor.

With one test she has been able to trace and confirm many of her lines.

Connecting to the direct maternal line

After confirming this 3rd cousin match on my mom’s maternal line, we shared family stories and reconnected our families after many generations.

cowan hint mom2

Connecting to the direct paternal line

While we have been able to connect with people on her paternal line, we haven’t been able to find where my mom’s Hill line came from before the U.S. Though, we still haven’t been able to cross the ocean, with DNA testing we have been able to expand our network of relatives who are searching for the same answers.

hill hint mom female

Connecting to “in between” lines

This match helped us trace a branch on my mother’s grandmother’s paternal line. After making this connection and exchanging pictures, we realized we live only 45 minutes away from each other.

winter hint mom

This match is on a branch of my mother’s paternal line.

hill maternal hint momThat’s the power of AncestryDNA: it can lead to connections along any branch of your tree.

Did you notice a common theme among my mother’s DNA matches in these examples? Three out of the four people she matched with were women. Women she shares a common ancestor with, women she met because they took a DNA test. This wasn’t possible until recently, and as more people get tested and the database grows, it’s going to be more and more common to find matches on multiple lines.

To me, DNA testing, and the way it’s connecting us to our past through the present, is one of the most exciting things happening in family history today—we all have a chance to be a part of it. And men, in case you didn’t notice, the women are leading the way. But there is still time to catch up; take your test today and see what you will discover.


  1. Michelle

    Hi Anna I seem to be having trouble with one of my DNA matches. It says (twice confirm 99% by 2 different people’s DNA in my family) a woman who would be my second cousin are related. Our grandfathers had the same last names but I cant find her grandfathers name in my family search. She named same cities and states they both lived in yet i cannot find any names or records of her grandparents in my family search. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you. Michelle

  2. Hi Anna

    I have a 3rd cousin that I’m not able to connect with her father’s name is John William Miller.

    Here is a copy of a email she sent me:

    loridurst72 Hi Carol, I think I just changed it to public but let me know if you can’t get into it. I think I may have found the connection. My Grandmother’s name was Agnes Jean Zites born in Cleveland in 1915. She was later adopted last name Wright. She then changed it back to Zites and married Chester August Miller from Cleveland. I found the name Maurer in your tree that I think may be the connection. There was a Mike Maurer born in 1894 that married a Josephine Godec.

  3. Sandy Bandt

    Hello, I have not yet taken the dna test, and plan to, but I’m just curious as to how far back it would be able to detect someone. A person above said that she was unable to find anyone across the ocean yet. I have most of my lines going directly to Britain and Germany. Will taking the test help me? Thanks!

  4. Donna Dyhrkopp Clarke

    Hi, Is there any DNA test that will help me confirm if 2 known brothers were half-brothers of my paternal great-grandfather (my father’s father’s father)?

    I know that he had such half-brothers, and I am pretty sure I have the right persons. There are living relatives. These men had the same mother (my great-great-grandmother) but different fathers.


  5. Linda Cason

    Hi. I was wondering if the DNA test would tell me who my paternal grandfather really is. We know that Dad was born two years before my grandmother and her husband were together but I believe they may have known each other even then. She did admit that dad was not Fred’s son but would not give us any details although there is a person my sister believe Grandma alluded to that probably is Dad’s father. I have researched that line a little and some of that family members bear a very strong resemblance to dad. I would love to know what my name really should have been. Linda

  6. First, I don’t know what to put for my website

    Second: My father left home at 13 – William Francis Burke, Dallas, TX
    His mother died when he was three – about 1888. He did not know her maiden. Her grandmother or great grandmother was full blooded Osage. His father’s name was Robert Fletcher Burke born in Ireland. He had oil wells and/or an oil company in Texas. I have not been able to find him and I don’t know how to find his mother’s family name. I am planning on a DNA test which will confirm my my mother’s German ancestry, my father’s Irish ancestry, and hopefully something of the Indian. Is it possible to have unknown relatives found through the DNA? My father and mother are deceased. I have much information on my mother’s family. Would it be possible to use some article of my father’s to get more information on his family? I know this is long, but necessary. Thank you for your help.

  7. Janet Anderson


    I live in New Zealand and would love to take the test, but am outside the USA. Do you think it would be possible to start testing in NZ? I would love to be tested. If it involved setting up a business to do the testing I would be interested to do this also and help other people to get testing for their DNA.

    I look forward to hearing from you so much.

    Kind regards

    Janet Anderson

  8. Tina Etherington


    I was wondering if taking this DNA testing would help me find the Cherokee Indian side of my family….My father we know was half Cherokee he has passed away…..I am doing a family tree so my children know at least some family history…..Please let me know if it will and how I can go about getting the DNA test done….

    Thank you,
    Tina Etherington

  9. madaline H. Preston

    My grandmother married in March, had a baby in June in 1913. I want to know if my “grandfather” Charles was the father who caved and married her finally due to social pressure and perhaps guilt…OR if he was someone who came along and married her… save her from disgrace. How could DNA testing solve this problem?

  10. Cherie Donovana

    Patricia Burke Moore asked the question I have been wanting to ask.
    Is it possible to have unknown relatives found?

    One of my great grandmothers had 3 or 4 children out of wedlock – and no one living knows who the father of those children would have been. My grandmother – who died of T.B. when her son/my dad, was less than a week old – was one of those children.

    What “all” can one learn by being tested?

    Thank you!

  11. Anna Swayne

    Michelle, does your match have any sources for their research? I would look at what your match has and see if you can make a connection to your family. Look one generation back, you could be 2nd cousin once removed by paper but 2nd cousin by DNA. You can be very confident that you and this match share a common ancestor because you share so much DNA. Remember the DNA is passed randomly, it depends on how much DNA you get from which ancestor.

  12. Anna Swayne

    Carol, sounds like she recently made her tree public-this will be helpful in understanding where the connection is. If the estimate relationship is 3rd cousin that means that you share great-great grandparent. When reviewing that 3rd cousin match make sure you check all surnames in the column on the right hand side, not just the surnames in common-since spellings change. Also, look into the common birth places locations. (It’s a tab on the match page, under the name of the DNA match). Those two techniques can provide insight into understanding your matches.

  13. Anna Swayne

    Sandy, the DNA matching can go back 8-10 generations. Meaning you could potentially find a common ancestor in those generations. Ethnicity can go back 500-1000 years. Meaning what regions of the world your ancestors came from. This is just an estimate, as we do more research and get more data-those results will get updated and change.

  14. Anna Swayne

    Linda, yes this test could help you. I encourage you to take the test and have another family member take the test as well. When you have a specific question in mind it is always best to get at least one other family member tested (preferable the oldest member in your family first).
    Shirley, start with yourself and get tested. Because you inherited 50% of your DNA from each of your parents you can find something about each of their lines by testing yourself.
    Patricia, yes, it is possible to find more information about your family. When you have DNA matches you can contact them and figure out where the common ancestor is. Then, you can share stories, pictures etc…be patience the database grows every week as more and more people take the test.

  15. Anna Swayne

    Tina, one of the 26 ethnic regions is Native American. We compare you to all of them and then give you an estimate. That estimate is unique to you and will be different if a sibling took the test as well. Go to you can buy online and it will ship right to your house.
    Madaline, interesting question. DNA can help answer the question if the right people are tested. Without getting too detailed I will reach out to you privately so we can identify the right people.
    Cherie, yes, it is very possible to find close relatives. I have found a 2nd cousin on my father’s side and a 3rd cousin on my mother’s side. Had never meet or talked to them before-thanks to DNA we have reconnected and shared stories and pictures of the family.

  16. Evelyn Pruitt Christiansen

    we may be related. I have a Castillo Hill Dawson in my family. His mother’s name is Mary Hill & her father is William Hill & His father as William Hill & Mother as Anne Bradshaw.

  17. Jenn

    Good article, I agree that so much more can be learned. The challenges I have encountered is the average person who takes the test doesn’t understand all of the opportunities. Many, of my connections have locked their information and do not respond to messages of “sharing” their tree or making it public or they don’t have a tree at all to share. I understand why they do, but it can be a tad frustrating. I appreciate those who do open it up for view. For those who did, I did exactly what you mentioned and was able to confirm I was on the right track with the “right” family, as family names can become vast.

    If I was to make a request, I would like to be able to link my DNA to more than one tree at the same time. I am listed in different tree’s. Or if that’s not possible when I change my DNA link to a different tree, I would like to be able to see or filter a bit more than what is there. For example, I have 400 connections, of those connections I can’t easily filter those connections on different variables such as number of surnames in common. As well, I am not certain when I change my link to another tree it actually links to the other tree? Mostly because under the “hints” section I still see only links to the previous tree I linked to. Is the change instantaneous?

    Thank you, Jenn

  18. Peggy Wille

    Did you say each family members DNA will be different?
    My sister had hers tested so we thought it would be the same.
    Also, her answer said there wad no English in our line while
    we know there is some. Our father was mostly Irish but his Maternal
    Grandfather was definitely english.
    Our mother parents were both italian. Her report did say we have
    10% middle eastern and 5% western Asian.
    Would I get a different report if I got tested?

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