Posted by Jessica Latinović on January 29, 2016 in Website

Many of us ask the question, “What next?” after seeing your ethnicity breakdown and the hundreds of cousin matches that came with your DNA results. Diahan Southard, molecular genealogist and founder of Your DNA Guide, emphasizes the importance of DNA research in combination with traditional records research to compile the most complete picture of your family history.

Tune in below:

Connect with Diahan at Your DNA Guide and Twitter, @DNAdiahan.

Jessica Latinović

Jessica serves as U.S. Social Media Manager for Ancestry.


  1. Gram Doyle

    I am considering DNA testing, but there are no more direct male/female members of my maternal line & also paternal members gone. As a female, what would I accomplish of value?

  2. Betty Clifton

    Great will help me convince my relatives to join me in having the DNA done. I have 15 family members who have done it thru my persuasion, but this 5 minute message will be encouraging to those who have resisted. thank you so much for having it presented.
    Betty Clifton

  3. Albert Bianchini

    I am extremely disappointed in my ancestry DNA results which shows my Italian ethinicity at only 33% from Italy and greece and 37% from eastern Europe no country noted. My father was 100% Italian, his parents were 100% Italian, his grandparents were 100% Italian their ancestors go on and on from Italy. My mother was 100% Polish, her parents were 100% Polish, her grandparents were100% Polish, and their ancestors go on and on from Poland. I always assumed I was 50% Italian and 50% Polish. Albert Bianchini 253 Lelia St. Pittsburgh, PA 15211

  4. Gary Beals

    Does Ancestry plan to add chromosome browsing capabilities in the future? Current tools allow us to see matches, but not to identify specific shared segments. That seems to be a significant hole in the current feature set and is my answer to “What genetic genealogy tool would you like to have?”

  5. Chuck Crannell

    When will Ancestry add a chromosome browser? I get that you think most of us find it too complicated. But guess what, we’re not that stupid. FTDNA and 23andMe (even in it’s current “improved” situation) allow it. I’ve determined MRCAs solely due being able to triangulate segments (especially on the X). Seeing a DNA match is two-dimensional (and an incomplete verification), allowing access to overlapping segments can prove that connection.

    Sure some folks find the technology daunting – which is exactly why to allow the chromosome browsing. I can’t convince a technologicially disinclined person to copy their raw DNA file to to do an overlapping segment analysis. I could just do it on Ancestry and perhaps provide this person with valuable data.

  6. john

    Since you asked Diahan what DNA tools she would like to see, I would like to weigh in on that question. I would like to see ancestry DNA fully integrated into the ancestry website in 2016. It is time for ancestry members to start seeing DNA related information in their ancestor searches. Currently DNA Circles are not searchable even by ancestry DNA members, so I don’t know if my ancestor has a DNA Circle or if he does and I am just not in it. I hope that ancestry DNA will be put back on high priority since the new website design improvements seem to be at a stand still.

  7. Chuck Crannell

    I need to clarify my comment above. When I mention seeing a DNA match, I mean as shows it (with the merged path of ancestors that show the proposed connection). Allowing access to the overlapping segments allows us to find somebody else who may not have a fully developed tree with a similar over-lapping segments. We can then collaborate to triangulate and confirm the connection.

    I noticed Diahan was careful to avoid mentioning a chromosome browser directly. Was she coached to avoid mentioning that?

    DNA circles are fine, when you can have a public tree. Not all trees are public (or searchable) for very good reasons. Making a primary tool that depends on public trees to be useful really limits its usefulness for adoptees and others who have specific and legitimate privacy concerns.

  8. caith

    You cannot make a triangulated segment match anywhere except Gedmatch because only there do you find a one-to-one tool for comparison to ascertain that in your overlapping segment grouping, A=B=C=A which is essential to prove a match. I.e., each person has to match each other person in the overlapping segment grouping. Most likely, if A and B, overlap you and they each match each other and as an example, they are doing so on your father’s side (and you have tree matches to show it; and then C overlaps you, but C does not match A and B, it is because you are dna related to C on your mother’s side on that same segment. The chromosomes are presented to us with a combination of both of our parents’ DNA.

    And, yes, DNA does not lie, but there is a randomness to DNA.

    These tools are free at Gedmatch; although there are the Tier 1 tools for which they ask a donation. Uploading takes about 15 min.

  9. Chuck Crannell

    You can triangulate on FTDNA, 23andME and Not here (unless you move your genome file to And good luck convincing folks to do that.

  10. caith

    Yes, I have tested at all 3 companies, including mtDna, but my point was that triangulation is not the last step in proving a TG. A one-to-one has to be done. Only at Gedmatch can that be done. I never use the tools at FTDNA or 23 – too burdensome. FTDNA can only accommodate 5 at a time on the chromo browser; and at 23 you have to first get people to agree to work with you to see where you match. The response rate in this “business” is very low. 23 is the least desirable of the testing companies unless you need the health reports.

    The bottom line is that you no matter where you test, you STILL have to go to Gedmatch to get the job done. And, it helps to subscribe to their Tier 1 tools.

    AncestryDNA is the best company to do dna testing because you have the trees of your dna match without having to email someone to beg to see their tree.

    Testing at AncestryDNA is a no-brainer.

    This is my very humble opinion.

    And the cut-off is 1500 matches. Mine are all over 10 cMs, so I am good to go.

    Google GEDmatch.
    Google ISOGG.

  11. Carmen

    Yes, we definitely need a chromosome browser! But I sincerely doubt we’ll get one since they won’t even give us a way to search our matches by username. I would also like to see a way to search our matches by a particular ethnicity.

  12. Judith Ruffino

    I use the Tier One Utility Tools. After I am sure it is a TG and have done the One-to-One, what do most people do after that?
    I want to do as much as possible without e-mailing anyone. If I do, I tell them what I found and how to reach me if they are
    interested. I don’t like to ask to see their trees.

  13. Chuck Crannell

    Gedmatch has great tools, no doubt. But FTDNA’s ICW tool helps greatly with verifying triangulated groups (as does gedmatch’s one-one tool). And true, when somebody is sharing their tree, it is useful. I’ve found the majority of my matches do not share their trees (even it the trees are complete enough to create that leaf icon).
    And yes, response rates to various sharing/access requests are pretty low for any vendor.
    But the Caith’s original statement that you can’t verify a triangulated group other than on gedmatch is simply not true (but ver much easier if the matches are already at gedmatch).

  14. caith

    I stand by EXACTLY what I said. And FTDNA’s In Common With tool does not verify a TG. You do not understand ICW. Go to the FTDNA Forum and pose your question; or ask Roberta Estes.

    We can agree to disagree and in a civil manner.

  15. Chuck Crannell

    Caith, we can certainly disagree in a civil manner (and I did), but I didn’t claim unequivocally that FTDNA’s ICW couldn’t help verify a TG.

    I learned how to triangulate and utilize the FTDNA ICW too from Roberta Estes’ article, “One Chromosome, Two Sides, No Zipper – ICW and the Matrix”. But certainly it is not the SINGULAR tool that triangulates in all cases (and I never hinted otherwise).

    The sad part is, none of us can verify a TG with any certainty on And collaboration with others is nearly always required (but that’s part of the fun!).

    I understand ICW quite well thank you, that’s why I collaborate to determine that the folks who match in the ICW match themselves in the same place I match them.

    But, I can understand the appeal of a “does it all” tool where you don’t need to collaborate with anyone.

  16. Judith Ruffino

    When someone will not answer your request about the DNA, I think the way you present yourself makes the difference. If you give your real name, how long you have done researching, tell them what you have found, and how you found it. Perhaps they don’t know about Gedmatch. You can say if they want to see how you got your information you would be happy to show them. Tell them how to see your tree, and to let you know if they see any common ancestor in the same generation as you. Tell them how to reach you. Do we really have to see their tree or share their matches?
    How could anyone not respond to a happy letter full of what they are looking for .

  17. Marietta

    Chuck, it appears your continued rhetoric without reason responses are gender biased. Did you not get the memo? Women are just as welcomed to post here as men.

    I stand by everything I said. I will take the high road and will have no further discourse with you. It would be appreciated if you would do the same.

    Again, let us agree to disagree and let it go.

  18. Chuck Crannell

    Judith – I think you’ve nailed it.

    For some, you can guide them (links to resources, blogs, etc.) and they will try. For others, they are willing to share, but (as I mentioned earlier) some find technology daunting and find moving files to gedmatch, etc., overwhelming.

    So, dealing with the tools of the native platform is what you’ve got to work with. As cumbersome as 23andMe and FTDNA are, you can make it work with some effort and social engineering. You really can’t, here (as much as we’d all like).

    Gedmatch is indeed powerful. But not everyone can be enticed even with common surnames, offers of viewing trees or help, etc. , even if you are willing to do the heavy lifting. Nor is everyone looking for the same thing.

    My successful triangulations have been primarily due to successful collaboration (or at least cooperation). Try it as an adoptee and see how much more challenging it becomes when you don’t have anything to offer other than your over-lapping segments! 🙂

  19. Chuck Crannell

    Marietta, I will let it go. My apologies if that is how it appeared. That was not my intention.

  20. MattL

    If Ancestry DNA offered a chromosome browser and in particular triangulation tools it would be my only stop for getting autosomal DNA tests… Please do this.

  21. A_E_Colangeli

    My descendants will look back and remember me as the one who lived to be a hundred and fifty and finally died at his desk, waiting for Ancestry to release a chromosome browser.

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