Posted by Kenny Freestone on April 9, 2015 in AncestryDNA

Last week we announced an exciting new AncestryDNA feature called “New Ancestor Discoveries.” The response to this feature launch has been very interesting to watch—we’ve received lots of feedback breathless with praise because we “proved” a relationship, and some feedback that dismisses the feature because it does not “prove” relationships. As we consider feedback from both of these extreme positions, it seems appropriate to explain more clearly what this feature is and is not.

What is a New Ancestor Discovery?

  • What it is: A New Ancestor Discovery is a suggestion that points you to a potential new ancestor or relative—someone that may not be in your family tree previously. This beta launch is our first step toward an entirely new way to make discoveries, and a way to expand how we do family history.
  • What it isn’t: This is not proof, or a guarantee, of a new ancestor. They’re called New Ancestor Discoveries, and many may be your actual ancestors. Some will be other relatives that fit somewhere on your family tree, and some will be people that you may not be directly related to.
  • It’s a starting point to further research. We’ll show you a New Ancestor Discovery if you share significant amounts of DNA with multiple members of a DNA Circle—which means you might also be related to the ancestor that the DNA Circle is built around. These hints can be a great starting point for your research and help you connect to other family members you didn’t know you had.

Why do we think you are related to this person?

  • The short answer is that we don’t know for sure. What we do know is that you share significant amounts of DNA with others who are likely descendants of the ancestor, which leads us to believe that there is a good chance this person could also be either your ancestor or a relative.
  • When considering if you might be related to a potential ancestor or relative, we combined several pieces of information to make that determination: the number of people in the DNA Circle with whom you share DNA, the amount of DNA shared with each DNA Circle member, the number of generations back to the ancestor for each individual in the Circle, and our confidence that you and each member of the Circle share only one common ancestor.
  • The number of members of a DNA circle that you match directly influences how strongly you appear to be a descendant of an ancestor. Also the size of the DNA Circle (in terms of the number of members) can also influence how you interpret your confidence in the potential relationship. A small group of say 3 – 5 members might potentially grow in size as more people participate in the DNA test, but should be considered as an emerging evidence of a genetic relationship until it grows further.
  • A New Ancestor Discovery is created as we detect that you share significant amounts of DNA with several members of a DNA Circle—which means you might also be related to the ancestor that the DNA Circle is built around.

What is the confidence you are really related to this person?

In general, the confidence that a New Ancestor Discovery really fits in your family tree is pretty good—about 70%. However this can vary in each individual case. Also it is important to understand that while some New Ancestor Discoveries lead to a direct ancestor, some suggested ancestors end up belonging in your family tree as a collateral line relative, and some won’t be closely related to you at all—but they likely lived at the same time and place as your actual ancestors so they could be a helpful clue to point you in the right direction.

In addition, the ratio of new ancestor vs. collateral line relatives can vary based on how many DNA Circles you are already connected to through your family tree. We find that people who have stronger family tree connections (and so generally have more connections to DNA Circles) will see a much larger proportion of collateral line relatives or suggested ancestors that don’t clearly fit in your tree, but lived at the same time and place as your actual ancestors. The reason for this is that when you have an extensive family tree, we typically have already identified your direct ancestors in a DNA Circle.

Because of all this, it is important to apply traditional family history research methods to each potential ancestor suggested by a New Ancestor Discovery in order to determine more specifically how you might be related.

Expected frequency of different types of new ancestor discoveries. A: Hint for direct-line ancestor about 50 percent of the time (for a user with no tree). B: Hint to a circle where you share multiple common ancestors with other members about 30 percent of the time. C: Hint for collateral-line relative about 20 percent of the time. Note that for users with large trees and many direct-line DNA Circles, B and C may be more frequent.
Expected frequency of different types of new ancestor discoveries. A: Hint for direct-line ancestor about 50 percent of the time (for a user with no tree). B: Hint to a circle where you share multiple common ancestors with other members about 30 percent of the time. C: Hint for collateral-line relative about 20 percent of the time. Note that for users with large trees and many direct-line DNA Circles, B and C may be more frequent.

How is the confidence determined?

To determine this confidence percentage we performed tests of our algorithm on a massive set of DNA tests where a nearly-complete and deep pedigree is known. We remove each individual’s pedigree data in our analysis and find New Ancestor Discoveries for each DNA test. Then we look again at the pedigree information we previously ignored and compare what New Ancestor Discoveries we found versus what actual ancestors exist in the pedigree, and what collateral-line relatives are observed. This analysis gives us confidence that, in general, if you have an empty family tree, the ancestors and relatives we suggest in this process are likely to belong in your family tree as a direct ancestor or as a collateral-line relative about 70% of the time.

An exciting journey of discovery

We are very excited about the many family history discoveries that are being made now and will be made in the future as the New Ancestor Discoveries feature continues to grow and improve. Please keep sharing your feedback with us — we are definitely listening. And if you haven’t taken the AncestryDNA test yet, now is a great time to begin.

 

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48 Comments

  1. Gina Gualco

    Thank you for this post. I was (and am) very excited about “New Ancestor Discoveries,” but I was confused because both of my “beta” discoveries appear to be collateral relatives. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. Shirley

    But why present them as something they are not? Surely a less deceptive, but equally marketable name could have coined to describe them. That you have to take the time “to explain more clearly what this feature is and is not” proves the disconnect between what this feature is called and what this feature actually is.

  3. Kelly Wheaton

    “Ancestor” (definition): a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended. PLEASE change the name to Relative Hints. This is being over-hyped and over sold. In the many threads and blogs I monitor with hundreds of people weighing in there have been but 3 reports of REAL ANCESTORS found. The 50% estimate is WRONG!!! The vast majority are collateral relatives or ancestors that are much further back than the ancestor proposed. Please give us an opt out or a way to delete these FAKE ancestors. And Reconsider and Rename this whole endeavor (fiasco). This is a beta that should be ditched and re-worked with triangulation within existing circles. Make it possible for those with no trees to enter a circle.Stop trying to sell genetic genealogy as easy—and ready made—it isn’t!

  4. This is your copy from the email announcing this new feature: “Our latest scientific innovations allow us to view your DNA through a brilliant new light, making it possible to discover new ancestors—just through your DNA.”
    And this is your copy from the actual feature: “We found you new ancestors – just by looking at your DNA.”
    And you’re puzzled by the extreme reactions? Your copy is misleading, if not flat out false advertising. It’s definitive, basically telling everyone, “There are your ancestors.” If you have to write this lengthy an explanation your roll out failed.

  5. R Rohan

    “Because of all this, it is important to apply traditional family history research methods to each potential ancestor suggested by a New Ancestor Discovery in order to determine more specifically how you might be related.” From what I have read, triangulation is the gold standard for verifying ancestral matches from DNA. When might we expect the tools (ie. a chromosome browser) to more fully investigate these New Ancestor Discoveries?

  6. Deeanna

    I am horribly disappointed in what you are calling “New Ancestor Discoveries”. Someone needs to learn the meaning of the word “ancestor” – see Kelly Wheaton’s comment above. I agree with all who have stated (here and in many other places) that you are guilty of false advertising. You are trying to dumb down genealogy research, and genetic genealogy in particular. It is unfair to new people who are trying to research their families, and to adoptees in particular, to advertise using the words and phrases you are using. I have nine DNA tests at Ancestry, and this new feature has not helped me in any way – I can’t believe, given the size of the database of tests, that you can’t do better than this. Your refusal to use tried and true methods of genetic genealogy has made me lose all confidence in what you are doing. Please give me the tools I need, and let me make my own “circles” and “new discoveries”.

  7. True

    I need a “Chromosome Browser” so I can recheck and observe and see what your seeing? I need it to check against what you say is a match. I want to see it for myself. Your Paying Member since 2000. #U5b1c2 #ChromsomeBrowser That’s my feedback.

  8. Shannon

    I want to echo Deeanna’s comments, especially “I can’t believe, given the size of the database of tests, that you can’t do better than this. Your refusal to use tried and true methods of genetic genealogy has made me lose all confidence in what you are doing. Please give me the tools I need, and let me make my own “circles” and “new discoveries.”” The New Ancestor Discoveries feature, much like the DNA Circles feature, demonstrates how the AncestryDNA team has done all types of rhetorical gymnastics to denounce segment triangulation only to wincingly misapply genetic network theory to generate gimmicks of limited utility. The hyperbolic marketing and failed attempts at much more academic mythmaking about these consistently less than reliable features reek of desperation and ignorance. The time has come for AncestryDNA’s team to regroup, abandon the nonsensical gimmickry, and deliver the analytic tools genetic genealogy requires – tools that AncestryDNA’s competitors delivered from the very beginning at no additional cost to the consumer.

  9. Anastasia

    I am a bit appalled at how much work goes into Ancestry tools to keep the customers ignorant, especially when the effort can be placed in the opposite direction. As you may have guessed, I am not impressed with this so-called “new ancestors discoveries” and echo the sentiments of others who are screaming for a chromosome browser.

  10. Bev

    @Kenny Freestone…In your first paragraph of this blog post you start out blaming the customer: “feedback breathless with praise…feedback that dismisses the feature…” I find this very offensive, just as I find the words “New Ancestor Discoveries” very offensive.
    A “New Ancestor Discovery” who is NOT my ancestor is just that…NOT my ancestor.

  11. Jason Lee

    Dial back the misleading marketing rhetoric to match the reality of this product. Give customers a way to assess the validity of these “New Ancestry Discovery” clues with tools for segment comparison.

  12. Jason Lee

    “What is a New Ancestor Discovery? … It’s a starting point to further research.”

    Ancestry stymies “further research” by withholding matching segment information.

  13. Denese

    Totally not surprised at this post. Ancestry has no credibility left. If they aren’t ancestors, don’t market them as such.

  14. Jason Lee

    “How is the confidence determined? To determine this confidence percentage we performed tests of our algorithm on a massive set of DNA tests where a nearly-complete and deep pedigree is known. We remove each individual’s pedigree data in our analysis and find New Ancestor Discoveries for each DNA test. Then we look again at the pedigree information we previously ignored and compare what New Ancestor Discoveries we found versus what actual ancestors exist in the pedigree, and what collateral-line relatives are observed.”

    This means that there undoubtedly will be a much lower “confidence percentage” for the few “New Ancestry Discoveries” that are generated for people who already have a deep pedigree.

  15. Janet

    I am also breathless with disappointment. You have insulted the intelligence of your customers. You lead us around in “circles” with fake ancestors, instead of in a direct line. A direct line requires a Chromosome Browser, the tool your customers have been asking for.

  16. Terry

    We need a Chromosome browser. Stop the nonsense. This new Ancestry discovery does not work. I have links to people that I have no idea of who they are. Yet where I had true vertical pedigrees in the low and very low were taken away. I lost over 100 connections that were accurate.

  17. Shari

    I have to echo the comment that if you need to do this much explaining, then you’re not properly presenting the feature. The marketing angle should be that this is a new kind of hint, not the discovery of a new ancestors (with all caveats buried three screens deep or in a separate blog post that will be buried by new posts a month from now).

    Ancestry is spending so much energy trying to justify its attempt to be different that this effort has now escalated into the outright dismissing of segment triangulation.

    Stop, Ancestry. Just stop. You’re making it harder and harder for your marketing team to find a way to save face.

    We get it: you want us to shut up about triangulating segments. But, look, obviously that isn’t happening. In fact, we’re getting more vocal. Look how many people use GEDmatch numbers as their profile picture and/or for ancestor pictures in their tree. Look at the comments on those images – people want to know. They took your test, saw what they expected to see (or didn’t), and then they’re left wondering what to do with their results other than keep at the same old traditional research. They’re hearing stories from speakers and articles that don’t match their experience. They’re getting smarter. They’re learning to get frustrated.

    Ancestry, you are pandering to a vanishing ignorance. You’re playing a short game designed to sell tests and brief subscriptions.

    Do you not realize how much money some of us would pay you to give us just a flat file of segment information? Not even a chromosome browser or an In Common With filter – just a spreadsheet-ready file?

    Let us make the suits very happy. Let us put a bonus in your pocket. Let us give you our money, our fandom, our wide endorsements. Let us give you some peace and quiet. All you have to do is give us the non-medical, non-identifying location information for the DNA segments that we share with our matches. All you have to do is let us use our DNA for 21st-century genealogical research.

  18. After reading the article and the comments, I have to wonder if I’m the only customer who was pleased with this feature…and if that means I’m foolish or uninformed. My great grandfather, Richard Osmer Luke, was born in 1870 in Heber, Utah. His biological father is unknown. Enter New Ancestor Discoveries, which suggests that I might be related to an Elisha Jones. Elisha lived in the right area at the right time to be a potential father for Richard… I contacted his descendants in the DNA circle and thought I might be on the verge of solving a mystery 150 years in the making.
    This article casts some doubt on that hope. “some [New Ancestor Discoveries] won’t be closely related to you at all—but they likely lived at the same time and place as your actual ancestors”. How is that helpful, and how does that happen? I understand how DNA could be similar but not actually inherited from the same person. I don’t understand why we’re assuming the similar DNA could only come from someone who lived at the same time and place as one’s actual ancestors.
    I was so excited about this feature; now I’m feeling deflated.

  19. Finally figured out my connection to two of my “New Ancestor Discoveries” … paternal grandmother and grandfather of husband of 5th cousin 3x removed. I added the connection to my tree. This morning I see they have disappeared from “New Ancestor Discoveries”. I actually know how I am related to those DNA relatives, and most have the surname in their tree…they just haven’t gone back far enough to the common ancestor.

  20. Shari

    Jessica, you should feel cautiously optimistic because Ancestry has detected a pattern worth examining, irritated that they’ve oversold it as an actual ancestor when it may be a cousin/etc., and furious because if Ancestry would only provide the segment info and comparison tools that their competitors offer, you might start smashing down your brick walls today using credible and transparent scientific methods. We all might.

    I don’t like to be hyperbolic, but Ancestry’s decisions regarding segment information verge on crimes against genealogy.

  21. TAG

    Ancestry, we need a chromosome browser. I am unimpressed with these DNA circles and “ancestor” discoveries.

  22. sally

    Let’s put it in SAT terms:

    Other major testing companies : chromosome browser

    as Ancestry : Rube Goldberg Device

    Please show me my data! I love your records but I’m NOT a fan of your tools.

  23. Samantha

    I have been personally responsible for 20 people taking the ancestryDNA test. (myself included). I have several more who are in line to take the test, they are either waiting for an extra 100 that month or waiting for other family members to donate enough money for them to take the test.

    So far of the 19 others who I’ve gotten to take the test (minus myself). We have my mother, 1 cousin from my father’s mother’s branch. 13 cousins from my father’s father’s branch. And 4 others who are related to my cousins (on my father’s father’s branch) in some way other than how I relate to them.

    In essence, aside from my mother and the 1 cousin on my father’s mother’s branch, I have only really tested one of my branches.

    I still have my father’s mother’s branch to more fully test (of which I already have several cousins who have said yes and I’m following up with); as well as my mother’s branches, of which I’ve already approached family members on doing the test and plan to approach more.

    As pretty much the only cousin who understands the ancestryDNA I am responsible for explaining the product time and time again to my cousins who don’t really care about it and would never read it or pursue it on their own. I am one of the ‘sellers’ of your product. Please remember that. There is a huge segment of the population who may watch one or two segments of ‘Who do you think you are’ and say, ‘oh, how neat. but too much work’. And who may watch your commercials about the shaky leaf and still consider it too much work. And even cousins who think they are interested in the dna test. Have taken the test, and logged on quite a bit initially and haven’t logged back on in over a year.

    And then there are your tried and true genealogists who are also becoming genetic genealogists. And we are the ones who are championing your products en masse to our cousins, whose dna we constantly solicit for this process and we are the ones who choose which company to submit the dna test to.

    Can you please listen to your customer, to those who champion and understand your product and who work with your product to find the answers we seek.

    Please provide a chromosome browser before we are forced to go with a different company for our genetic work. This is coming from someone with at the very least, another 20-40 cousins to submit for testing. Your lack of chromosome browser may very well seal the fate of if I choose to have them test with ancestry.com or with one of the other companies.

  24. Sue

    I have been doing genealogy for almost 40 years. I had most of my ancestors into the Colonial Period before Ancestry was conceived, or wearing diapers. I did not purchase a DNA test to find ancestors, especially fake ancestors. I purchased the DNA test for 2 reasons.
    #1 to prove my paper trail with DNA
    #2 to paint my Chromosome Map and assign each segment of my DNA to the ancestor who produced it.

    Needless to say, my DNA test at ancestry was a waste of time and money, until they decide to give their customers a Chromosome browser. I had postponed testing at ancestry, because I knew there was no browser. I called ancestry and told them the reason I had prolonged testing there, the customer rep told me ” we’re working on one” so I purchased. Now, I am learning of ancestry’s stubbornness concerning the browser, and feel I was strung along with false misrepresentation.

    Those of us trying to assign a segment to the correct ancestor can NOT do that with the name John and Jane Doe thrown into a circle, or new discovery. We already knew about John and Jane Doe for 20 to 40 years. We are looking for the segments start and end points on the Chromosome that John and Jane Doe produced. Ancestry, you hold the key! Your marketing department would be wise to give us the browser, then show a happy customer coloring in an ancestor on their Chromosome Map and the thrill that brings.

  25. Marie F

    You’ve completely undermined your credibility in the serious genealogy community for years by pushing the “shaking green leaf” to those new to genealogy. Now you’re undermining the confidence of the community more seriously, by tainting the possibilities of genetic genealogy with this snake oil. I am already seeing negativity among genealogists regarding the Health product, based on this now accelerating trend of untrustworthiness. So not only does this affect your current genealogy market, it may tank a new and lucrative product before it’s even ON the market.

  26. Former Customer

    I used to be an Ancestry customer, but after losing most of a paid subscription because of issues on Ancestry’s side and getting no refund or credit for lost service, I have not subscribed in several years and have no plan to. The $49 tree only option for DNA testers is a lame attempt to lure us back. The only message Ancestry is going to hear is when enough people stop DNA testing AND stop subscribing. Ancestry needs to realize there is a cost to treating customers so shabby and until enough customers send the message with their wallets, Ancestry isn’t going to change their way of doing business. Kenny, it’s worth noting many companies followed your practices and most of them are no longer with us – Montgomery Wards comes to mind. Sears is barely hanging on and won’t be around much longer if they keep following your business practices. Ancestry is not to big to fail and it’s only a matter of time if you decide to continue following these bad business practices. You might want to look at Microsoft. They held the lead in browser usage for a long time and they assumed they would never lose it. Like you, they ignored the customer and treated them badly. In most markets, Internet Explorer is in 2nd or 3rd place now with a much smaller user base. As a result, Microsoft started listening to their customers, but has permanently lost many of them from using Internet Explorer.

  27. TLiving245

    I’ve been an Ancestry.com member for several years and I am excited about this new feature. I am included in a DNA that at first I was thrilled but not expecting to see. With being a Black American, sometimes one will not have those paper trails to find one’s ancestors, especially if the ancestor is white. Just being able to be pointed in a probable direction is great to me! I am really glad Ancestry.com did this.

  28. Jean

    The only extreme position I see is that taken by AncestryDNA when refusing to provide the scientific tools needed to interpret our DNA cousin matches. “New Ancestry Discoveries” does not in any way compensate for the lack of a chromosome browser. To the contrary, it increases the need for one.

  29. Mary

    Whew, these comments are heated! Ok, we all agree that Newly Discovered Ancestors are not all ancestors or even related. Even ancestry acknowledges that in the blog above! Fine, ancestry please change the name to “possible relatives.” I think of what ancestry could do if they had a chromosome browser and used it for the circles! Wow, would that save me lots of effort! What I do see in the circles NOW as a benefit is the possibility of identifying the 10% of 3rd cousins, the 50% of 4th cousins, etc. that I lose because we don’t share DNA. I have some examples of that already, and, yes, most of them I have identified in my tree anyway; but it is nice to have additional proof. So, far, all six of my circles are variations of one line. This is caused by several 2nd great granduncles (or that awful name of 3rd great uncles) who were Mormon polygamists! So, we have a lot of fish in the pond!. Let’s look at this as a beta test with plenty of improvement which could be made. We have to start somewhere. Oh, yeah, please restrain overzealous marketing folks, too! They are causing much of the trouble!

  30. Lou

    I appreciate the clarification and it now makes more sense that my “new ancestors” make *no* sense (I have 57 circles).

    I have to agree with Kelly, Dorothy, and others though that the label you’ve given these strong hints as “ancestors” borders on/may be false advertising. *Please* change the label and do it soon. I do think this tool could be helpful to people who know little about their ancestors but please don’t tell them you’ve found “ancestors”.

    For my own purposes, I *must* have a chromosome browser. I already knew everything you “told” me with my 57 circles. Now I need to verify!

  31. Lou

    @ Kenny: re: “we’ve received lots of feedback breathless with praise because we “proved” a relationship,”
    You know you didn’t “prove” any relationship and that’s why you put it in quotes. Those are the people you’ve misled and you know that too.

    @Kenny, re:” .. and some feedback that dismisses the feature because it does not “prove” relationships.”
    NOPE. We are not asking *you* to prove a damn thing. We want the ability to pursue proof ourselves, by using a chromosome browser.

    @Kenny, re: “As we consider feedback from both of these extreme positions …”
    The extremes are those who know little about genetic genealogy and trust you to tell them the truth vs. those who want to be able to verify their genetic relationships with a chromosome browser. These are not symmetrical “extremes”.

  32. Judy

    Well, for me, it’s all another “hope” of finding that needle in the haystack that ‘might’ point to my mysteriously missing family line on my dad’s side. Right now, I don’t care if they are 5th cousins! I’d be really excited to find that much! If Ancestry’s latest proposal, however lame some might wish to tout it, finds my missing links — no matter how distant they may be – I’ll be grateful!

    On the other hand — Family Tree software is my beef and it and the syncing method has caused me much grief.

  33. Gena

    This could be very interesting in my case. My father’s mother was abandoned as a baby, and his father abandoned him and his mother when he was a baby, so I have basically no one on my paternal side of my tree. I just got two possible matches in a DNA circle that can only be on that side. I also seem to have a 1st cousin/close relative identified by DNA, but they haven’t logg on for a year, so may never know. It will be fun to see what else turns up.

  34. Dna user

    I allowed one family member to be tested at Ancestry to fish another pool. However, the other $1,000+ we’ve spent on tests goes to FTDNA which provides the tools we need to analyze our results. Based on our circles, they are a complete folly and certainly not something to trust since the company can not even clearly explain how they arrive at their conclusions. Ancestry’s major focus is sales, not service, So I make my point by spending my money elsewhere.

  35. Trying to confirm who was my bio-grandfather! Does my DNA trace back to who my grandmother was living with/maybe married to, or the biol. grandfather?

  36. Gina Jones Mancari

    I’m thankful for Ancestry.com.
    What the heck is a “chromosome browser”? If it shows where you are related to someone, then that’s good. However, Ancestry.com will still be the go-to place when researching for documents and such.
    I use the New Ancestry Discovery to see what info the other users have and to see our connection. If you compare several relatives who have the same shared ancestor, shouldn’t THAT tell you how and when the relation started…the same as a Chromosome browser, but with WORK involved?
    I started my research on Ancestry.com with only knowing the names of my grandparents…I’ve come a long way with my family tree. Thank you Ancestry.com

  37. I’m always interested in new features, but in this one you folks are actually ANALYZING THE DNA MATCH DATA TO SEE WHICH CANDIDATES MATCH WHERE. Why don’t you just give us the DNA match data and let us help with this process? All the shilly-shallying around produces nothing; it does not protect you from privacy lawsuits, and it just angers the paying customers.

  38. Philip Weiss

    I’m skeptical about your confidence levels given my experience with your existing confidence levels. Of the 55 4th cousin or closer matches that are rated as having “very high” confidence, only 9 are ones that even look promising. I certainly could be missing some connections, but that is still going to be a rate far lower than your confidence levels suggest. So what you call 70% for this seems like it’s going to result in an even lower rate of helpful results, and not worth my time.

  39. Gary Miller

    2 of those that I tested have ‘New Ancestry Discoveries’.

    My father has 4 total but all 4 are the same family (husband, wife, child, child’s spouse). All 4 are clearly not cousins or ancestors of my father (at least not for many generations.) Interestingly, the 4 matches are part of a DNA circle with 32 members. My father only has DNA match with 2 of the 32 members. I suspect that the DNA that matches with each of those members is IBS as my father’s tree is well documented with paper and DNA 7+ generations back. There was no names or places in common between him and his matches.

    The other family member with a match is my 6th cousin. This ancestor was already known, her great grandparent. She matched with her known 1st cousin and her Aunt. BUT her Aunt, thanks to testing at another company, it turns out was not biologically related to her father. Since this ‘discovered ancestor’ was on her father’s side it was using the erroneous tree I put up to show her as part of a DNA circle to which she shared no DNA. I fixed her family tree to reflect what we now know and she was automatically removed from the tree. But, this shows how dependent the circles and ancestor predictions are on family trees.

    That said, I’m happy to see more tools being added. I’ve sponsored over 50 DNA tests since 2002 and contacted hundreds of people, providing them information on their DNA matches. Ancestry’s trees are built off of the relatively few who researched and sourced their own trees.

    For every one dedicated genealogist who shares their research, hundreds may benefit. In the same way, by providing meaningful tools to DNA genealogists, hundreds of others benefit.

  40. Cynthia

    Wow. I can’t believe the nastiness of some of you commenting here. I can recall a time in my research where every day involved a physical trip somewhere…to a library, or a church, or a cemetery. And when my long distance telephone bills were through the roof every single month due to calls to such places out of state. Now here we are in 2015 and you whiners are ready to light torches and burn villages because Ancestry isn’t doing 100% of your research for you. You need to understand something here…Ancestry.com in it’s entirety is nothing more than one big hint or clue. None of the info anywhere on this website is ever guaranteed and you should be following up on everything you find here with your own research. That being said, I am extremely grateful for the “New Ancestor Discoveries” feature and find it quite helpful. A suggestion may not be a direct ancestor, but where do distant cousin discoveries lead? They lead to shared DIRECT ANCESTORS. For those willing to work a bit that is. Thank you Ancestry.com.

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