Posted by Paul Rawlins on December 6, 2017 in AncestryDNA

We took a poll of questions AncestryDNA members had about their test results, and this one topped the list: How can I tell my paternal from my maternal matches? This is one area where testing multiple family members can help—and there’s no better time than the holidays for getting family on board.

Starring: Your Parents
Obviously, the easiest way to separate matches into your mother’s and your father’s sides is to test both parents, if you can. Once you link their results to your tree, you will automatically see a new Mother and/or Father filter option at the top of your match list page next to the Hints, New, and Starred tabs.

That means, if you have tested your mother you click the filter to see all the matches you share with her, narrowing down which DNA cousin matches probably belong to that side of the family. Same goes for the Father filter.  (Learn more about using match filters.)

A tip if you’re able to test only one parent: Sort your matches by that parent with the filter. Then click the star icon on the left side of all the matches that show up. That way you know matches without a star most likely belong on the other side of your family.

Halfway There

Don’t forget your own half-siblings.  Shared matches between you will be from the same side of your family tree as your common parent.

Find a Surrogate

Obviously, nobody can ever take Mom’s place (just ask her). And because genetic inheritance is random, unless your parent has an identical twin, a sibling is not going to be a perfect stand-in, but it’s a good start. Have an aunt or uncle test, then sort your shared matches.

The ones you share will most often come from that side of your family tree. Again, you can use the star or note feature to mark these matches.

The More the Merrier

If you’re trying to create a surrogate DNA profile for a parent, a brother or sister isn’t a perfect one-for-one replacement, but testing multiple siblings can help you build up a better substitute profile for a missing parent. And it’s fun to share and compare differences in results, to boot.

Surrogates Work for Grandparents (and Other Relatives), Too

My paternal grandparents passed away long before autosomal DNA testing was available—or maybe even thought of. But they had four children. Each of them inherited 50% of each parent’s DNA, so by testing all four of them, I should have a pretty good profile of their parents’ DNA. Which means between the four of them, I have a good chance of finding most of the matches in the database that would have matched with my grandparents—and one side of my tree.

Buy a DNA test for yourself or for another family member here.





  1. Ann L

    Please ask Ancestry to give us TWO stars, preferably two different colors, so we can mark our Paternal and Maternal matches. While waiting for another star, I put Paternal and Maternal into my notes which I can search for any word.

    • Judy Johanson

      I actually sent them a message the beginning of November asking for the same thing – and now see that perhaps they are going to do something.

    • Parimal pathak

      I think in India everybody knows their father and mother. Bcos second marriage or divorce is not so easy. So no need. Thanks.

    • Chris

      I was just going to ask the same thing, Ann. I’m glad we are all having the same problem. I hope Ancestry listens and helps us!

      • Barbara L

        There are only three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow; three secondary colors, purple (violet), green, orange; one tercerary, brown. Black is the absence of color; white is the presence of all color. Gray, pink, and others are shades made by combining white and whatever color.

        • Christine

          You are correct, Barbara, and thanks for posting. I’m still wondering where the idea of “12 primary colors” could have come from! 😉

    • Sherri Schulze

      If we are going to ask lets go big why not design emojis with symbols for genealogy and a choice of a multitude of colors of text boxes. If our voices are heard and action is taken we may not get it all, but then again we may and it might not be as difficult as it would be for us. Please Ancestry can you hear us?

    • Chris

      My brother and I both did a DNA test yet he is not showing as a sibling (he is showing as a close relative) His DNA results are slightly different than mine. How can this be?

    • Lori long

      I just bought my daughter a kit. I am 100% polish so her results should come back 50% polish. Her father is not polish at all. He is a mixture of other nationalities. So it should be interesting to see what the results bring.

  2. Jennifer

    I agree with the comment from Ann L. PLEASE give us multiple colors of stars! This would be incredibly helpful in marking not only maternal vs. paternal matches but it would also help us sort out various lines. When adoptees and those with unknown parentage begin to analyze their DNA, they could mark specific lines with specific star colors. This small change would be a huge help to those who start with no information about their parentage and ancestors.

    • Joyce

      AT LEAST 4 stars, as you have 2 sets of grandparents. MORE colors than 4 is actually preferable but eventually you will run out of colors.

      The KEY is to “separate lines” by getting someone ONLY related to the line you are searching BUT that can be really difficult to keep track of with only 1 star for “favorites”.

      Ancestry I have no “favorites”…I have 4 lines of grandparents…and a gazzillion lines of great grandparents.

      1 star just doesn’t cut it. I suggest as many DISTINCT colors as you can possibly give us. I ALSO suggest a filing system, so we can file the matches we have ID’d on our DNA page.

      I don’t know how many times I have looked at a DNA match only to find when I look at notes that i have already looked at that person. I find myself looking at the same matches over and over…give us a filing cabinet please…with LOTS of cabinets…not just 4, so when we ID lines we can file them there, instead of looking at the same things over and over.

      • Nalee

        I totally understand your concept.

        I believe you are trying to categorize everything on a larger scale in terms of when searching hopefully ancestry could break it down by color coding the generations.

        I would very much like this to help simplify and break down generations from paternal and maternal sides when dealing with a large family tree and no matter the size.

        I think if Ancestry can take that into consideration this would save a lot of confusion and time spent researching independently on your own.

        • Charlie Bart Welch

          I am not too sure I have any faith in the analysis I received from my DNA. My paternal grandparents were each 1/2 or more native American, yet my DNA results indicated no native American heritage. I don’t believe that my mother was wayward to any degree. I have only one sister surviving but she has not had her DNA evaluated. I have never contacted Ancestry about this obvious mistake in their DNA protocol because I did not want to get involved in an argument I could never win, and I surely trust my mother more than Ancestry. I think I will see about purchasing a kit and get my sister to provide the sample to see if she also in non-native American.

      • Tina Taylor

        I’m all for being able to file matches according to their family line. And/Or perhaps have “notes” visible on the original list. So you can see at a glance (as you identify and make the note) which family line a person belongs to. Also who has been contacted or researched already.

    • Kathleen Welch

      I currently use stars to indicate that I have compared shared matches and have found the common ancestor(s) and have added that persons line to my tree. I would also like to have more colors to indicate different lines in my tree. I use the notes to indicate who the common ancestor is.

    • Alicia

      My husband & I just submitted our DNA, but we both have a parent that is adopted. It would be wonderful for each of us to have these additional stars/colors and more to help us sort these possible matches. Good luck on your search!

  3. Janice

    The problem I have (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) is that both parents are deceased, as well as all aunts and uncles, and brother. My sister, brother’s son and I have tested – as have some cousins from both my maternal and paternal side. So I have only clues as to what side a person may be related to – nothing definitive. Your feature that used to show places of birth in a search was useful. It now seems to show only ~countries~ – and not towns or counties. I wish that could be fixed. Like others have mentioned, too, I would like multiple star colors – maybe 8 – because I could use them to separate the different lines I’m researching or use to indicate whether or not I’ve contacted someone, whether or not it is a promising match, etc.

    • margaret

      I agree with all your suggestions and requests! There need to be more sophisticated ways use the information.

    • Ang

      I have the same thing. My father and both his parents are gone. I can find nothing, not even a birth date on my paternal grandfather. My mother is here but her parents are gone and her mother was adopted. I don’t know if this will be helpful to me with no other information.

    • Tracy Olszewski

      I agree with the different color stars, it would also be helpful if we could drag and drop the screennames into different columns that we could put our own heading on.


      I would like to add to the idea of more stars. How about multiple symbols with multiple colors for each. There are so many things they can be used for. The more the Merrier and easier to use.

      • Kimberly Artz

        I just started reading this thread. I have my kit but haven’t sent it in yet. I too would like to see many colors and symbols. Let each member choose what the colors and symbols represent. I don’t want to be trapped in someone else’s conventions.

        • Kim Betts

          I recommend you send in the kit. is the cheapest site to get results, and then you can download the raw results and upload to other sites (GEDMatch is one) to use other tools. Ancestry is improving their tools over time, as this is an infant technology. So much more is coming over time, so I recommend not delaying waiting for the next big thing.

  4. Linda

    I agree with others that additional user defined fields/stars would be very helpful. Currently, I use the star to indicate that I have determined our common ancestor. In notes I indicate maternal/paternal.

  5. Keith

    This is a great tip! I knew I could attach DNA results to trees, but I didn’t know I could filter by father or mother. Could you make it easier to star favorites and add a way to mark a surrogate for one parent or the other?

  6. Joan Schacht

    I support the stars. Also in the group where no parents or Aunts and Uncles are living. I do love the Shared Match option. With my notations in the note field I can usually narrow it down.

  7. Leah

    This all sounds terrific, but what can you do if you no longer have parents, siblings, aunts, or uncles? Chromosome-based data might help.

    • Joyce

      Leah ancestry has said over and over they refuse to give us chromosome based data as they are afraid too many people will get it wrong. Suggest you upload to GEDmatch and maybe do a test at 23andme, which is not a great place for research BUT they do have a nice chromosome color coded display.

      Every DNA site seems to have plusses and minuses…23andme has no way to do trees, and although LOTS of people test there, very few post any info about their family is the small space provided, and very few answer emails…BUT I have still made headway there.

      FTDNA is nice, esp their triangulation tool, and they have a free autosomal transfer with just $19 additional to use their tools.

      GEDmatch has a lot of nice features too…BUT if you want triangulation it is $10 a month…more than I want to pay as little as I use it.

      BUT I recommend getting your DNA out there as many places as possible. There are so many people in different sites. The benefit of FTDNA is that it has been around longer than ancestry, and was the only DNA site for folks from overseas for a long time.

      23andme, like ancestry won’t let you upload DNA from another site. I got a test at each, and then uploaded my data to FTDNA & GEDmatch.

      The more DNA you have on various sites, the more it will help you. Of note the only place I have found relatives who were adopted out of the family lines was on 23andme. Some of these folks went on and tested @ at my recommendation.

      I hope that helps you


      • Lynn Molanders

        Ancestry changed their data format and so their data can no longer be loaded up on FTDNA. I just tried that with my sister in law last week. Sent them a message, and they told me this information…

      • Kathy Green

        Is there any way you could provide this info directly to me? I only use cell phone for internet and am limited in cut/paste etc. Both patents deceased as well as aunts, uncles, grandparents. I really really want a way to trace paternal side of family. I have DNA results from but apparently that won’t help? I was told by paternal grandfather years ago that one of his parents was Maumee native American but no native American AT ALL shows on Ancestry test results. I am confused, frustrated and about to toss in the towel. 69 years old and no idea where my Dad’s side came from. I so wanted to know….
        If you can help could you let me know via email?
        Would appreciate it.

        Thank you

        • Alicia G

          Hi Kathy, I noticed you mentioned not having any Native American show up on your DNA results. One thing I’ve read on dna results is that you won’t inherit all possibilities from your parents and grandparents. With it being one of your Great Grandparents that was possibly Maumee there is a good chance you just didn’t inherit that bit of DNA. I read an article where 4 sisters took the test and each one had quite different results. They knew they had Irish in them but one sister didn’t even have it show up, even though the other 3 did. It just depends on what you inherited from your parents. Sorry it’s frustrating, it can be. Hope that helps some and that you come across a breakthrough soon. 🙂

        • Crystal McKinley

          Kathy I had the same shocker as you, also with AncestryDNA. You can see the Native American in my mother and my daughter just to specify two. I have several registered NA friends who are surprised by this as well.

        • Cassandra Wine

          Kathy, I had the same issue with no native American showing up on Ancestry. Yet, when I took the raw date and uploaded it to gedmatch, the Native American shows up on there. Go figure. There is definitely a problem with how Ancestry determines the Native American.

      • Crystal McKinley

        Joyce, did your results match exactly across sites? Did one reveal something different from the other?

      • Allison

        Sounds like all the DNA testing companies could get together and offer us additional, supplemental access to other testing sites to see if we have matches on other sites. =)

    • Joyce

      PS Leah, many of us don’t have parents, aunts, uncles etc…that is when you go searching for living 2nd and 3rd cousins…a good site to find living people is…and of course Facebook another way tot find them also.

  8. home_mom

    If you can’t give us stars, how about the ability to download all our match names in order to an off-line spreadsheet. I have manually copied many of the match names for my husband to one and have made columns for various criteria I want to be able to sort by, such as which grandparent line they belong to.

    • Patricia

      Would be so helpful if we could annotate each match with primary family surname and then download our matches to spreadsheet. Have so many distant cousins and we are constantly trying to see who we have in shared matches in the hopes we can solve some bricks walls.

    • Susan Farmer

      There are 3rd party tools that will let you do just that … go to (yes, there are 2 “com” there you get a spreadsheet (list) of all your matches including centimorgans and hypothetical relationship, another spreadsheet containing ahnetafels of all those that you match that have trees, and another spreadsheet that has lists of folks that are held in common with your mayches.

  9. sokolee

    More star colors would be nice; right now I use the star to mark people who interest me, and I use the note feature to mark maternal, paternal or leave the name of the specific branch of my tree that a match belongs on. I also make a note-ADDED TO TREE- when I have a match added to the tree.

  10. mlsdavis

    I support the request for more star colors; like others, I’m already using the current star for other purposes — specifying how my matches are (or might potentially be) related. We need a separate way to designate maternal and paternal matches.

  11. mpgen21

    I like the idea of being able to download all the matches. And, if we get colors, I agree 4 isn’t enough. I learned through DNA testing that one of my great-grandpa’s isn’t biologically related to us! Yes, we have a hypothesis of who IS, but still assembling the paper trail. Retirement can’t get here soon enough so I have more time for this!!

  12. This is a great feature as far as it goes but it would be really helpful if the filter would sort all the matches by mother or father rather than just the few fourth cousin or closer matches on our match list.

    • Sokolee

      To do that you need to have your mother or father tested. I tested my father and got a “father filter” so I know any that don’t match dad are from my mom’s family.

      • You can’t assume that people who don’t match your dad will automatically match your mum. I’ve tested both my mum and my dad but the filter only works for my 85 fourth cousin matches or closer. The 5th to 8th cousins matches, which constitute the vast majority of my match list, are not sorted and you have to go through them all manually to see if they match your mum or your dad.

  13. Denise Finkenberg

    VERY DISAPPOINTED!!!! After my daughter spent her hard earned money on a DNA test for me as a birthday gift, I received the results in less than 2 weeks (thats the best part)and was told I was 70% Jewish, witch I am Italian. I feel that the result went entirely off my last name—my married last name. So happy I wanted this as a gift, I am adopted and I was REALLY looking foward to finding out some information- any information, but this was so B______T!!!!

    • Ed

      You can do a free transfer from Ancestrydna to gedmatch and/or Ftdna and each will give you different ethnicity reports.

    • Joyce

      Denise many Italians actually have Jewish Ancestry…according to my brother, who researched one of our Italian names, this goes back to the crusades…I have a few Italian cousins who are “all Italian” that show Jewish ancestry. It is not unusual. When you get results that don’t seem to make sense, google about the history of the area and you might find your answers.

      I was perplexed about N African and Middle Eastern until I found out about the history of Sicily…then it all made sense.

    • Tom Boyer

      Denise, I think you should reconsider what you just said. DNA tests your biological parentage and not your name. If you’re adopted as you say, your DNA results may be just as you wanted: your biological ancestors. Take another look at your matches and presume something that isn’t there. BTW, my wife has likely found her biological grandmother through ancestryDNA.

    • Gloria

      Denise Finkenberg, I am another Italian who shows up with a small amount of Jewish ancestry. It’s not at all unusual.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Denise: We’re sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your results. The ethnicity results and DNA matches are not affected in any way by your last name. Our test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which uses a simple saliva sample to survey a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. When we calculate your estimate for each ethnicity region, we run forty separate analyses. Each of the forty analyses gives another estimate of your ethnicity, and each one is done with randomly selected portions of your DNA. We’ve attached a link to an article here that we hope can be helpful, We also have a number of helpful articles available from the DNA results page. These can be accessed by clicking on the question mark icon located in the top right of either of your results pages. We also attached a link to an article here in regards to how you can use your matches and we really hope this can help,

      • duane robbins

        I am sure that name does not figure in to Your results. Our first kit was My Wife’s and I entered in only her married name and her tree was just Her. the results came in with lots of known cousins in Her dna matches. when I filled in Her tree it made it much easier to
        figure out who the common ancestors were.
        My opinion is that Ancestry has the best affordable dna service available.

      • Earl Burdine

        I am wanting to see if you can contact a person(Beth Braunagel..daughter to Judith Shoppe). I was wanting to ask her a question about the family if able. Thank you

    • Jim


      I’ve an Italian, actually Sicilian surname. Dad’s parents solidly Sicilian.

      First trace of Ashenazi Jewish was from mom’s English/German side of things.

      With more DNA cousins discovered with Italian genetics, more Ashkenazi is showing up.

      And N. Africa and Arab.

      Dr. Henry Louis Gates, of PBS “Finding Your Roots” commented recently there’s no such thing as racial purity.

    • Linda

      I was afraid they would use last name too and I am sure they don’t — my maternal side had adoptions and although, I had some info– I was shocked at the accurate results. I have no ancestry from my married ethnic name and I would bet you are 70% jewish as it was a surprise to me to be 5%. This spit is all it takes.

  14. Tim

    You say “Have an aunt or uncle test, then sort your shared matches.” And if that aunt or uncle or mother’s or dad’s first cousin doesn’t have a computer, doesn’t live with anyone that does nor even have internet service to their home but are willing to test as long as they don’t actually have to do anything but spit into that little tube if you will go to their house, miles from where you live, and do what is needed to get the test processed but Ancestry then says once you done all this you still can’t process (“manage”) the test. What then? Give up on the valuable information you will get in getting that old person tested? Or is Ancestry recommending you go to another DNA testing company? These type restrictions may help explain why Ancestry has had to lower its test kit prices so much and also why test processing times have decreased so much.

    • Sokolee

      What you have to do is have aunt Joan’s DNA shared with you, making you the collaborator or manager of her results; then you can link them to her tree and research away. There are articles under the SUPPORT section on your menu bar. Once there choose DNA and look thru the articles….there are more to be loaded from the bottom of the page.

      • Tim

        You say, “What you have to do is have aunt Joan’s DNA shared with you, making you the collaborator or manager of her results; then you can link them to her tree and research away.” Aunt Joan doesn’t have a computer, doesn’t have internet service of any kind, lives 80 miles from you far out in the country, a tree is something that grows out in the yard and she has no interest in any other kind of tree. She will spit in that little tube for you but that is the extent of what she can do towards obtaining her DNA results. If you set up a tree for her, you will have to use the same computer that you use for your own DNA test and pretend that she was the one that set up her account. I would surmise that Ancestry really isn’t advising doing this. So the result of your sage advice is that one must look to another testing company to get Aunt Joan’s DNA tested. The result again is that Ancestry has lost another sale and has chased another good customer off for no good reason.

        • Amy

          There have been several previous discussions about this on Ancestry. Many people are resorting to setting up “fake” Ancestry and email accounts for their elderly relatives DNA test. Yes, that isn’t what Ancestry wants, but Ancestry really has no way to verify that it isn’t being done.

        • Judi

          My mother is in a similar situation. I set up a Gmail account for her, via my own computer. It’s a totally separate email account to mine even though the same computer was used. Her results came through to her gmail account and I was then able to share her results with her. She doesn’t have to have anything to do with the computer (a relief to her!) and she still gets her results via me. My husband likewise has been tested. He had his results sent to his own gmail account on the same computer I use. It’s not a case of using a different computer, just the need for a separate email or gmail account. Hope that’s helpful.

    • Danna

      Since I’m the one interested in genealogy, all my relatives that I’ve had DNA run on have let me register their test & therefore I am managing it & see all their results.

  15. Carol Lynch

    When adding notes why don’t you add different colors of emoticons. Just set up your own color system.

  16. Tom Boyer

    I have two “how do I do that” questions. First, I have my father’s sister’s DNA linked to my family tree. Can I designate her DNA on my match list as my “father”? Second, my wife’s mother was adopted and we think we know the biological mother but nothing on the father. We’ve tested my wife’s four sisters and two half-sisters on her father’s side. Can I designate her half-siblings as my wife’s “father” so I can separate known paternal from unknown maternal?

  17. Claire Fultz

    It’s been an exciting journey when Ancestry confirmed the ol’ family talk that my real father was Jewish. So at 62years old in black & white was the truth. I’ve meet only close “cousins” as everyone is died now that really could answer most of the hard questions. All I have is the 2 or 3-4 cousins. It’s a big puzzle. When I know everything about my mother. But yet 3/4 of my hits are all from Jewish cousins. From my dads side. Only 1/4 from my mother and my 12 “circles” all from my mothers line. Doesn’t add up.
    I think what bothers me the most is contact my top rated cousins and they don’t respond. Why are they there if they don’t want to build tree relationship, and help you build a solid tree. They have all the answers. It’s mean. It see a first cousin and year after year it shows they are on everyday buy don’t want to answer. I give up. I now just wait for people to contact me first. I want to say if you know valuable information please be kind and share you will change someone’s life!

    • Nadine Spear

      Claire….I agree and sympathize with you. I’m so frustrated by the lack of a reply from my DNA matches that I have contacted. I get no replies even though they have logged in at the sight. I agree….why do the DNA test if you don’t want to expand your family tree??? Since I don’t know who is my bio Dad, I’m even more frustrated because my matches have the answers!! I recently took the 23andme spit test to aid me in finding more matches; the result is that I did find more matches even another close relative (who hasn’t replied!!!!!!) Matches won’t even share their family trees! Grrr! I do get replies from 4+ cousins and they are at a loss as to how we match.
      Girl…I feel your pain! Nadine

      • Patrick Whelan

        I agree totally about the frustration of people who will not answer messages;I would say 75% in my case.
        Part of the problem is that people who do not have an active membership are restricted in what they can see or do . I personally think if they do not have an active membership that should be stated.

  18. Gloria

    Denise Finkenberg, I am another Italian who shows up with a small amount of Jewish ancestry. It’s not at all unusual.

  19. Nancy

    I don’t know if this is the correct place to ask this question as I’m new here with no idea what I’m doing. My sister & I are both awaiting our DNA resulypts. We are tribal Cherokee members of probably 1/4 -1/8 native blood all from our paternal side. Question is, could one of us show up as bigger percentage of native blood than the other? We don’t look at all alike. One looks very native, the other not at all. Does that mean anything? Thanks for any info on this.

    • Brenda

      My sister and I both submitted DNA samples. Even though we are fraternal twins, our ethnicity amounts vary by as much as 10%. One of the white papers on ancestry explains this probability since siblings don’t inherit the same 50% of DNA from each parent. Therefore, wide variations should be expected, I think. Hope this helps and enjoy reviewing your results.

  20. Nancy

    I don’t know if this is the correct place to ask this question as I’m new here with no idea what I’m doing. My sister & I are both awaiting our DNA results We are tribal Cherokee members of probably 1/4 -1/8 native blood all from our paternal side. Question is, could one of us show up as bigger percentage of native blood than the other? We don’t look at all alike. One looks very native, the other not at all. Does that mean anything? Thanks for any info on this.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Nancy: The DNA test can show if you inherited the markers for Native American. But you do not inherit every trait or marker from your Ancestors so even if you are a direct descendant it might not show up in your DNA test. The results do not provide a specific tribal affiliation, however. Please see the following articles that explains more about this: and We hope this helps and you are of course always welcome to ask questions here 🙂

  21. Janet

    In 2010, my paternal uncle took a DNA test. His results aren’t even shown on the DNA page anymore! I think that is ridiculous. Is there any way I can use his DNA results in this new format?

    • Kim Betts

      They have tightened up the privacy component, so you will probably need to contact your relative in question to change their privacy settings, or to “invite” you to their DNA test data.

  22. Steve

    Regarding different coloured stars being helpful. Would it not also work if you chose different coloured portraits so you could easily visualize a family line you are trying to solve?

  23. Laura Spicer

    Can you explain how half-uncle or half-aunts would show up on my tree? My kids are trying to find their dad’s siblings but cannot get DNA from him.

  24. Laura Spicer

    Why would one of my kid’ DNA show a 2nd cousin but my other kid shows that same person as a 3rd cousin?

    • K. Tidwell

      It is an estimate. Maybe one child shares more dna with this cousin than the other child? My sister and I took the test and she actuallyshows up as possibly being my aunt.

    • K. Tidwell

      I should clarify my last post a bit. While our dna test results showed we are siblings, when comparing our relationship with a dna ancestor match in Ancestry dna circles, my sister is shown as a granddaughter while I was shown as a great-granddaughter to the dna ancestor, so they estimated that she was my aunt when she is, in fact, my sister. It is obviously not an exact science. 🙂

  25. Ann

    Member Services Social Support Team – Is it true what someone said on here that AncestryDNA has changed their data format so your DNA can no longer be uploaded to FTDNA?

  26. George F.

    I’ve received my results and was very happy that they solidly confirmed what I knew regarding my mother’s ancestry. However, I saw absolutely NOTHING that could relate to my father’s side of the family. My parents and their families were from the “old country” and were separated by status and geography (some 3,000 miles) over several generations. This fact made the apparent absence of any paternal genetic information even more puzzling. Can you please shed light on this issue?

    • Connie

      George, You might consider whether your father is actually your biological father. Or whether his father was actually his biological father. Either scenario would eliminate all matches from your father’s side. Sort your DNA shared matches by “starring” only those you recognize as your mother’s side. Then, beginning with the closest matches, examine the unstarred matches, looking carefully at each family tree, for persons you might know who could possibly be your father or grandfather. (Close family friend, a neighbor –
      someone with close proximity to your mother, or your father’s parents) Good luck.

    • Brenda

      George, Connie is right. For months, I jokenly surmised as to why I couldn’t find any connections on my father’s side. When my sister did her dna and started getting connections, we came to realize I have a different biological father. While a shock initially, I now better comprehend how many family secrets are being unlocked through dna discoveries.

  27. bill

    I have a question. I just received my DNA kit. Instead of testing myself, would it be better to test my mother? My father is deceased.

    • Kim Betts

      Always test as high up on your tree as possible. I would test you AND your mother. As you dive into the DNA world, you will see the importance of having multiple people in your family tested. After you and your mother, try and do some cousins on each side, especially your dad’s side. Don’t forget to download the raw data for your tests and upload to (a free site) for more analysis).

  28. Alan Wolff

    By what methods do you do DNA to test a particular sample, can Ancestry do a test from ‘hair strands? Both my parents are gone, but we have available hair strands from my Mother and her Mother. Could you use these as vectors?

  29. Kelly

    I’m adopted and can’t figure out how to start my family tree. I did find two 1st cousins, but I am unsure exactly how they are related and if its on my moms or fathers side. I think I need more family members to do DNA testing to figure out half siblings. Is this correct? thanks

    • Mitch Schultz

      Kelly, I was in the same boat. You first need to find the 2 sides of your biological family’s then start working with our first cousins. You share grandparents with they. So work back to them and then work forward to your birth parents their age should get you close.

  30. I wish offspring and adopted children were separated on ancestors profile page. I know I can edit an adopted child’s relationship to ancestor– but they still show as a blood relation in the tree view. I didn’t realize until we did DNA the number of children in our tree were adopted or given up for adoption. Need a better way to show these variations.

  31. I have my mother and all four of us kids DNA in the Ancestry database and would like to create a surrogate DNA profile for my father. Is there a way to use all 5 of our DNA profiles at once to create dad’s DNA file?

    • Kim Betts

      GEDMatch is a free website where you can put your results and compare to others results from all the other DNA websites. This is especially useful if you have relatives outside the US. You need to download your raw results from Ancestry, go to and upload to their site. I have many kits on their website and they have a lot of tools.

      • Susan Farmer

        If you are on Facebook, hunt up the group Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques. The lovely people there can help you do what you want to do.

      • Susan Farmer

        If you are on Face book, hunt up the group Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques. The lovely people there can help you do what you want to do.

  32. Ann Turner

    Transfers to Family Tree DNA haven’t been working recently because FTDNA is looking for (overly) specific file contents. There is a work-around that will make your raw data the prior format.

    Denise Finkenberg could get a second opinion about the Ashkenazi component of her ancestry that way. I suspect it will also show up at FTDNA.

  33. BeckyHazelwood

    I like the ideas for color-coding and better filing. I use my “shoebox” too much, and would like to figure out how to organize my possibilities on better. My DNA result haven’t been process yet so I am trying to imagine all of the additional “unknowns” awaiting me! is a wonderful tool, and I’ve never understood my family better since using it. But the truth of the matter is this: It’s a business, and like all businesses, if it’s made too easy for us we won’t continue to purchase more!

  34. Brian

    Poor solution Paul Rawlins and you should be fired.

    Better filters are needed on Ancestry’s part. The “star” is the only way to return to a profile of interest. If a star is placed on all profiles that matches a parent, then how do we quickly reference back to a particular profile. So you highlight the parent buttons and then post a link to buy another test.

    Just say it instead of posting this garbage – Buy more DNA test kits!!!!

  35. Kathleen McKeown

    Along the lines of George F.? All the matches I get are on my mother’s line. I find it hard to believe that no one at all on my father’s side has tested.

    • Laura Maxwell

      How can you tell if you are a dna match or if it’s someone that’s on the list.If you have 1000 people how do you know for sure?

      • Member Services Social Support Team

        @Laura thank you for getting in touch. We are happy to provide you with some tips. All of the DNA Matches are connected to you, but of course the more DNA you share, the closest will be the relationship prediction. The first thing to do is filter by Relationship. Then you can start looking at each one, in particular at the ones with a family tree attached. Learn more tips on the following article:

    • Laura Maxwell

      How can you tell if you are a dna match or if it’s someone that’s on the list.If you have 1000 people how do you know for sure?

  36. Frankie Dea Goree` Sr.

    I think i am the last ,alive to carry out my brothers dads last name. How do i find my dads family if i dont carry his name ?

  37. Cherie Brumfield

    Having no parents, or grandparents, still living, trying to sort out who comes from where is definitely not on the easy side. As for testing siblings, I have ONLY half-siblings, on my paternal side, which provides only a very little bit of help. Also, I must add, I personally am not interested in my “ethnicity”. My years of genealogical research have definitely clarified my ethnic backgrounds and, at this stage, I am more inclined to trust my research over some “Other .??% ethnicity”.

    • Judy Herndon

      Cherie, I am responding primarily because of your last name. I recently learned my grandfather
      was not my father’s bio father. My bio grandfather was a Tom Brumfield. Could we be related?

    • Kim Betts

      Be thankful you have half siblings. I too have half siblings. They REALLY help to narrow down the lines, since they are only related one sided. Do more research into DNA analysis and you will realize your blessing.

  38. Lisa Macdonald

    What about those of us who are adopted and have no idea about their biological parents? I suspect that my biological parents are deceased, as my adopted parents are. There is no one to ask or test. It is depressing to be urged to start a family tree in this situation. On top of all that, Ancesxtry pages don’t load for me any more. I’ve been trying to get back to see my dna matches for many weeks with zero success.

    • Kim Betts

      I work with adopted folks. Put a tree with you at the base, and then for father & mother list “adopted” as the last name. People are more apt to click on matches with a tree and when they see “adopted” they may then contact you.

      • Marge

        Thank you so much! I will edit that once again I too was wondering just how to go about taking the family tree since I too was adopted. taking the family tree since I too was adopted

  39. Sharron Sharif

    My mother is dead. I don’t know who my father was. I have no relatives. How do I find my fathers relative?

  40. Sharron Sharif

    My mother is dead. I don’t know who my father is. No relatives. How can I tell who my fathers relatives are ?

  41. Tracy Zentz

    Both mother and father are deceased. And DNA shows he wasn’t my dad. First cousin doesn’t want to help. So now I’m trying with 3rd and 4th cousins to determine who the bio father is. I don’t want to impose on their lives. I would just like to know who it is. From the trees, the possible dad is still living, but there are 3 brothers. Any suggestions?

  42. Aaron Suever

    My mom tested, and I can filter all the matches we share. But I can’t filter all the people that are NOT a shared match with my mom (in other words, matches from my dad’s side). Why not?! That would be very easy to set up.
    Instead, I have to check each one to see if they match my mom or not. Very irritating, when the fix is so simple.
    Also, as people said, it would be nice to have more than just a favorites star to mark with. But maybe a few specific keywords, instead of a bunch of different stars?


    I see many people who are interested in “sorting out Maternal and paternal lines, I do in my own way in my Ancestry tree, However, I have a not so unique situation, My Father and his Brother married Two Sisters. The really confuses the lines! My solution is to forget the division at that level and Use my Grand Parent lines which is clean, however in my Great grand parents, one is polygamous. Ok, you get it , it is complicated and we need markers both in DNA and Trees to keep track of it. I have worked out a scheme in Ancestry Trees which is complicated and fouls up the search ability. I am now almost 82 years old. Genealogy is in my blood and many other Monks and Simmons’ still alive, so, the tree is large. So far in my Tree I have 22,590 names, most, are blood relatives of Myself, my Brother and our spouses. Some are relatives by marriage. on the DNA side of things, I have a DNA match, so far, to over 12,000 people in Ancestry, with 498 of them as 4th Cousin or closer. It is a hobby of mine to see how many Matches I can connect the Dots on, that is, to find our latest common Ancestor and all the people that make up our connecting loop. So Far I have over 150 loops, some of them overlap as well. What this does, is to establish, via the loops, many more probable DNA Matches to people long dead. This is a lot of work and any help is greatly appreciated

  44. Lois (Wegner) Harvey

    Ruth (Awantang) Olweny is my sister’s daughter
    Mary (Wegner) Awantang
    She is shown as a cousin
    How can this be corrected?

    • Brenda

      You might try looking at the amount of centimorgans match which provides more than one option for the match, for example a niece rather than an aunt, etc.

    • Kim Betts

      It is based on centimorgans. Go to Google and search for “chart of consanguinity”, and chose the chart that has the orange squares that shows centimorgans on it (I can’t put the link here or I get flagged). That really helps figure out where people fall in your tree.

  45. Linda Gotte

    My mom is some percentage.of Indian and she keeps insisting that I get my DNA test done to find out what percentage of Indian I have in me my father passed away in May of 97

  46. Walt

    I would like Ancestry to include a total of at least 3 starts. The current orange one, which I use to mark close relatives, a blue one for Dads relatives and a pink or red one for Moms relatives. That would be great!!

  47. Tom Rivet

    I mean no offense of any kind, but … my sister was given a gift of a DNA test and as near as we can tell, it showed us absolutely nothing useful. Personally, and thanks mostly to, I have data going back as far as 1540 plus some unproven instances of their parents and siblings going back to the mid-1400’s all the way up to today. Since this is my sis ter, it would seem that there should be at least something available to her from DNA tests, but … they are expensive, hard to use, and contain little data. Plus doing DNA on all those ext ra people amounts to a fortune in expenses for that genealogist: Those of us with meager amounts of money are left out; only someone of means could make use of paying for all those DNA tests. Meaning, only the well off compared to the rest of us can ge t any advantage out of this article! Being just before Christ mas, I consider this to be an attemp t to simply get more people to use the DNA purchases, wi thout any instructions of informa ti on on how/what needs to be done to ge t anything out of them. Only current people are going to have DNA entries, and that seems to be the only way it works; if the other people HAVE submit ted their DNA, meaning anyone more than a decade or so ago are going to show up; most of us already have at least that much from our own family records and websites like yours.
    I’m willing to listen to any response to my comments, including negative remarks where I am compltetly wrong, and how I can become as knolwedgeable as I need to about the DNA advantages; right n ow we are finding very little from it.

  48. Clara Joyce Dobbs

    My mother’s half sister, Sarah Ann Vickers, sometimes comes thru as my Aunt and sometimes as my cousin. Why is this?

  49. Jim Forbes

    It sounds like to me that a lot of people are depending on DNA results to establish their descendancy rather than RESEARCH!!

    • Tedra Ulmer

      Actually, I tested after I’d done genealogy for years–to confirm what I’d found. And it has, thank God, because I started while my parents were alive and most of my aunts and uncles were still with us. I began, as many did, before the Internet…traveling to libraries and courthouses across Texas to copy documents. I loved having the Internet to connect to my very large family…so don’t be too hard on people if they have never done this before, please.

    • Patti

      What’s wrong with that? My cousin hired a genealogist to trace my maternal grandfather’s ancestors and I found out that I have some Dutch! I always thought I was 3/4 Irish and 1/4 Swedish. Now I’m only 1/2 Irish, 1/4 Swedish, a little Dutch and possibly something else. I also found out I may be a distant cousin of Bruce Springsteen! I’d love to find out if I am!

      • Patti

        Unfortunately, I can’t afford to have my DNA tested and I can’t just ring up Bruce and ask him if he would do a DNA test to find out if we are related,

    • Kim Betts

      Ancestry research finds the dead. DNA research finds the living. I defend the use of DNA. I found cousins in New Zealand I didn’t know about.

  50. violet williams

    how can you compare,both parents gone.have a sister and cousins that wont do the dna.only one uncle left wont do it

  51. Marilyn Blake

    Is there some way for the program to be able to mark hints that are identical so that they don’t
    Show as entered and then have to go through and delete when I review their listings?

  52. Ralph McWhirter

    I agree with the comments in favor of colored stars. I use the four colors in Family Tree Maker quite a bit and it would be nice to also have four stars of the same colors as FTM.

  53. Brenda Hawkins

    Love the idea of more stars with colors to help categorize, but what I want MOST is the ability to filter matches according to whether or not they have a public online tree and how many people in the tree. It is SO tedious to look at page after page after page of matches to hundreds of folks who have no tree online at all or their tree is private.

    I would also like the ability to mark a match as “seen” while in the main view instead of having to open their profile before I can mark them as seen. This would go hand in hand with the ability to filter as described above.

    Thank you!

  54. Laura Bunyard

    Growing up, I heard English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Eastern Band Cherokee. My grandmother included Italian, but that wasn’t factual. Her cousin married an Italian, which affected their descendents. I have a relative on my mom’s side by the name of Susan Schoenover. Schoenover indicates someone from Schoenover, a town in Western Holland. Susan is a Jewish or Arabic word that indicates Lotus or Lily blossom. So, I knew that Spain had been conquered by the Muslims and Spain had ruled Holland. Obviously, one of my relatives was “Black Dutch” to indicate African blood. I suspected I was either Jewish or Muslim out of that history lesson. I sent in my sample of saliva in January of 2015 and got my results in a few weeks. I am 39% English, 17% Western Europe, 16% Irish/Scottish/Welsh, 16% Scandinavia, 5% Finland/Northwest Russia, 4% Southern Europe, 2% Iberian Peninsula and less than 1% Eastern Europe and the Maghreb. I don’t know where the Eastern Band Cherokee went. My dad has passed and the rest of the family doesn’t want to associate with me. So, this is as far as it goes. I do have lots of cousin matches. Very few of them respond. Less circles, so it tells me I have to change one of my Wells’ line.

  55. Angela McCollum

    Multiple colored stars would be great.
    Mother’s side, father’s side, related to both sides, unknown..
    Also, allowing them to be sorted by those colors and unmarked should be able to be grouped together also to make it easier to sort through matches.

  56. Earl H. Morris

    I’m deeply disappointed about my DNA results. It showed me at 82% from Great Britain despite my grandmother being 100% French, born in Canada and her roots traced all the way back to France by the Giroux name.

    • Tedra Ulmer

      One grandmother? Remember also that there were MANY wars between the British and French through the centuries. Also remember percentages…between four grandparents, and with hundreds of years of people involved, each grandparent’s DNA will show varying influences…which will, of course, be reflected in your genetic makeup.

    • K. Tidwell

      Hi Earl. My mother and I also took the test. She shows as 64% Great Britain despite the fact that she is 100% French Canadian on BOTH sides from Canada and can also trace her maternal and paternal lineage back to France and all have/had French surnames and most are/were French speaking. My sister’s results showed 54% Europe West, which would reflect the French Ancestry, and my results showed my highest percentage as Scandinavian which comes from my dads side. Test results are based on the similarities of your dna with dna from sample groups from specific regions who can trace their history back multiple generations within that region. Also, if I understand the way it works correctly, your results wouldn’t necessarily show much of your French Ancestry as it was your grandmother who was French, which separates you by a couple generations and you have a random 50% of your dna from each parent so the high percentage of Gr. Britain would be the result of that. Tedra’s post further explains the possibilities.

    • Brigitte tesson

      I am definitely French (I even have a French accent). My grandmother lived with us in France and was French. My DNA result with shows that I am 71% from ” Grande- Bretagne”. It may be since I am from Bretagne, in France ( I live now in the USA). I am still searching were this 71% comes from…

  57. Laura

    I would love if you could also see in a persons tree who has DNA attached to them, and if we could mark lines using the color coding system. I think 4 colors would be good. 4 Color stars is an awesome suggestion.

    • Stacey

      8 or another multiple would be better. I would love Four to do my family and four to do my husband’s. And maybe two generics to know which branch but not which grandparent. But more would be great. (Though I would actually like a filing system where I could move them into a ‘folder’ depending on what I have found for them, or folders with subfolders.)

  58. Christine

    I am adopted, is this going to help me at all? Currently waiting on dna results, but i have nothing but myself to go on.

    • K. Tidwell

      Hi Christine. It could very well help you especially if it turns out biological relatives that you are unaware of have taken the test as they will show up on your dna match list. Ancestry has a wealth of resources such as census lists, birth, marriages, etc. to help you further corroborate your findings. My mother and my paternal grandmother were both adopted and while my mother had reunited with her birth mother long before this, the test helped her confirm that who she had been told was her biological father was, in fact, correct and she has since connected with a paternal first cousin who had taken the test and showed as a dna match. I have tried to find information on my paternal grandmothers biological parents but have not had much success. She passed away in 2001 and while she knew their names and where she was born that was about it so I don’t have much to go on. My dad and uncle have also passed and while my female cousin took the test, none of my male cousins or my brother will take it, which might give me more to work with. I’m in the process of getting one of my brothers sons to take it which could give me more possibilities. It may also help you to take the test with some of the others who provide the service if it’s not cost prohibitive to you. I took the Ancestry AND health genetics tests that 23&Me provides and it gave me numerous other dna matches who had taken the test there but not at Ancestry, which gave me a lot more matches to work with. Now I just need more time with which to research those leads, haha! The Ancestry test at 23&Me is $99 and to do both (Ancestry and genetics reports) is $199 and sometimes they offer specials. So I would say that it could be a huge help to you – Good Luck!

  59. Shirley Illa Eller Vaughan

    I sent my DNA back in Sept. I still have not received anything from Ancestry. I bought 4 DNA kits for others and they have had there’s for awhile. Can you please check to see why mine is held up. Thank you.

  60. cleggan

    My ancestry is somewhat unique as my Mother had the same maiden name as my Father so she never had to change her last name. They were deceased long before DNA testing became available. Is there any specific way to tell when a DNA match pertains to the paternal vs the maternal side of the ancestry?

  61. Gloria

    I am very disappointed that Ancestry has not conducted enough tests on native Americans. When you get Native American results, the entire northern, central and southern American countries are shown. This is ridiculous, since European and African countries are more pinpointed. I understand that Ancestry May not get as many native Americans participating on their own, but they should do the research.

  62. Patrick Whelan

    Is it possible to separate your dna into paternal and maternal based on matches you have that you are sure come from one side ,so that ultimately each chromosome could be divided into a maternal and paternal one?
    That way you could assign unknown matches to the paternal or maternal side.

  63. Mark Mankopf

    I tried Nat Geo DNA test and was not happy. Can’t wait to get Ancestry to compare. They said I had 30% SE European. My daughter had an Ancestry test and had minimal SE European. Fishy I think so!!!

  64. Bereccag

    The multiple colored stars would help me so very much. I also would like to filter out a certain person. My father has been tested but I am unable to test my mother and removing my father’s matches would help me research her line.

  65. Cassandra RPH

    I TOTALLY agree that having more options than the 1 yellow star would be extremely helpful when combing through DNA results. I’ve also found it quite frustrating that although I make notations on the various matches (in the space provided on the individual’s DNA match page), there is no quick way to visualize the note without opening that match again. If I was able to see a portion of my notation on the 1st Cousins, 2nd Cousins, etc pages if would save an enormous amount of time.

  66. Lee Lowe

    People are skeptical about what may happen with their DNA results in the future. I have been chastised about having a DNA test done and putting us all at risk. Might be why some don’t get involved.

  67. Ken

    I agree with the other posters that the main thing lacking here is a way to organize our matches. Multiple colored stars would be great, but we would also need a way to filter based on star color. I would also like to be able to search the notes I’ve attached to matches. If I can identify exactly how someone matches me, I add a note with something like “5th cousin on Rigsby side — from Rial”. If I can’t figure it out immediately, I check our common matches, then indicate in the note where the match appears to be, such as “apparently on Burnett side”. It would be helpful to be able to find everybody who matches on a given family.

  68. Vanessa Bruton

    How is names that shows up as a match that are no longer now showing up . I have noticed that some of my DNA matches from a certain region is no longer there .

  69. Phyllis Woljevach

    I purchased a DNA kit for my brother. He sent it back but I have never seen any results. I did my DNA. On my DNA all I see is my mother’s side of the effects. I want to know my dad’s side of the family. Why does the male side not show up?

    • Sharon Pike

      Was the kit activated online before it was sent in? If it was not activated then it will not be processed. Does your brother have the box with the number on it? You can still activate it and have it processed.

  70. Ed

    I called and spoke to the Ancestry folks last year. The were absolutely unwilling to make any changes to their website and functions which would help those of us researching family lines. I requested icons be added which an individual could used to “file” a relative into a category. They only want our information and the work we do, not the other way round.

  71. Bill Anderson

    I would have liked to have some format to not see people with no trees completed. I am lucky enough to have well over 1000 DNA relatives located!

    I would also add that people often make comments about the tests accuracy. I was able much to my surprise to go back to the early middle ages with a number of my lines. A 1% Irish component ended up being attributable to a Norwegian (aka Viking) who married an Irish slave (there was allot written about it as it caused major legal issues for their children), a 1% Caucuses ended up being attributable to a Tartar raid into Slovakia is 1280 [and I actually got to communicate a descendant of the Persia involved] and so on. The test does work, you may never know all of the how or why but you can get an important picture of the world.

  72. Mary J Walker

    Obviously the way to tell which line Shared Matches belong would be to test ones parents. But what would Ancestry suggest if both parents have been dead for over 20 years, as well as all their siblings. Most all my cousins have tested, but I still run into brick wall.

  73. James DeAngelo

    AncestryDNA’s two Achilles’ heel’s have been the lack of a paternal and maternal haplogroup and a chromosome browser. For adoptees, or others with an uncertain lineage, this poses a real problem. For the haplogroup, a simple SNP determination will do. Once someone matches on the SNP they can always send off to Family Tree DNA to get the uber expensive Y-111 and full mitochondrial sequencing done, but this is hardly with it on a hunch. 23 and Me performs a quick and dirty haplogroup determation and has a chromosome bowser. These are great for tracing lineage, but they lack a tree service for following up on leads. You can alway upload from 23 and Me to MyHeritage or Family Tree DNA to create a tree, but few people do. In addition, the DNA database for MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA is so small that all I come up with are 4th cousins. This forced me to go back and forth between the services cross matching and sending out kits from the various services to my DNA cousins. After two years of this nonsense I know have just about every one in my genetic ancestry figured out, with the exception of my biological paternal grandmother. I have good leads on 23 and Me, but they are interested in health and not ancestry and do not have trees. If your listening AncestryDNA, bring back haplogroup determination and add a chromosome browser so we can find X and Y matches!

    • Amelia Perez-Mesa

      That would be GREAT if Ancestry would do that. It also gives them a way to make extra money and allow us users to stay with one site. As it is now, you have to pay different sites to do other testing. Ancestry it would be great to stay with you to get all types of different testing done. Please give us users the different types of testing possible. Thanks!

  74. becky oneil

    Ok, why not put a blue star-P for father and pink Star-M for mother.. Blue star-B for brothers and pink star-S for sisters.. and so on very simple…

  75. Kim Betts

    I have ordered 8 DNA sets so far from I support the multiple symbols concept, such as as silhouettes in different colors, stars in different colors and other symbols to help with the many lines everyone is working with. It would also be nice to sort/filter by these filters. As a programmer for 25 years, I know that this is not a hard task, so kudos to Ancestry for considering this.

  76. sioux morgan

    I feel I have wasted my money on the test! I have found out nothing, except my brother, of which I know anyway!!! I would like to know my background, to see my origin! Says nothing about being native American, & I know that much at least——my grandfather on my dad’s side was full blooded Cherokee! & I would like to know more!!!!!!!! Sioux

  77. Debi

    I’d like to suggest, better than starring DNA matches to indicate their line, just give us a way to attach them to our common ancestor. A DNA match tab, similar to the notes tab, where we can enter the matches user name and hyper link it to their DNA results. Then, when I look at “Jim Smith” I can open a tab that has the names of the 42 people with whom I share DNA that also have him in their ancestral line. Thanks for considering my suggestion.

  78. becky oneil

    I had a DNA match to my family who contacted me saying he was adopted and had almost no information about his family.. I contacted him because my family is important to me.. with a few questions an about a week of looking I was able to put him in contact with his sister an brother who was also adopted.. I’m still not sure of his relation in our family other than it is on my fathers side.. If you do not know anything try to find someone to help.. Good luck.. But do not expect others to do all the work for you, its hard work…

  79. Noelle

    My sister sent in DNA in early Nov and we know there is American Indian on our father’s side and when it was tested by ancestry several nationalities came back but NO American Indian. Makes me wonder how well this can all be trusted now. There is also some Inuit on mothers side and nothing came up. We were a wee bit shocked to say the least. “LUCY, YOU GOT A LOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO”.

  80. peaches

    I don’t want to throw a monkey wrench into this discussion, however, my dttr and I have a unique situation that likely affects a majority of people. We are cousins because her father and I have a common ancestor: our 9th great grandmothers are sisters. My dttr just discovered that she and her husband are cousins because they also share an early ancestor. How do we deal with that situation in a multi-colored star system?

  81. Marilyn Perr

    Becky O’neil, I am also adopted and have made a lot of progress with Ancestry. I’m having a hard time keeping up with these postings. The dates keep switching on the reply’s so I never know who’s replying to whom. I found my half-brother & have spoken with him so this DNA thing does work. His son’s wife has the tree up and was my connection. I still need to find my paternal lineage though, I also have contacted the next closest match but have had no reply. Most other matches are farther down 4th or 5th cousin’s. Anyone have a suggestion or two for me?

  82. Marquita Davis

    What I have learned from taking the DNA, is that it’s not for the weak at heart. It’s not like the TV Shows either. It’s about the DNA we have inherited whether we like the results or not. The proof is in the spit we put in the tube. I was told on both sides of my family we had Cherokee Indian, however didn’t receive any info regarding any Native American ancestry on AncestryDNA. When I uploaded it to GEDmatch a small percentage showed up. I’m African American as well as my parents. I had 18% Irish in my DNA, the remaining was African with other regions such Russia, Finland etc. I wasn’t surprised as I have read about my 5th great grandfather being in Napoleons Army. Looking at the history books during history, there armies and wars sent them to many of the regions and it was written in history books the men had families in other places if they were exiled or captured during wars. So when you see you’re related to someone much different than who you think you are, AncestryDNA has a way of bringing us back to reality. I have an extensive tree on Ancestry, only to find after the DNA I’m not matching one side of my relatives that have taken it. So, now I have to try and figure out who my new found cousins are and which side. The hardest part is not Ancestry, they do a great job with all the tools provided along with the videos and other tools they offer. They also gave Facebook Ancestry which for those stuck it may help with that wall you may get stuck at trying to figure out whose who. No one in my immediate family is interested and think it’s a waste of time. I believe it’s important to know from whence you came because you will come to understand who you are, why you eat what you eat, think the way you think, and all the things that make up your physiological, and Biological makeup. So if you see me as a match…. all I can say is Hi Cuz! Hopefully we can share stories, photos and get to why some of us did the DNA. Finding our Roots. Check the census records, then look at those neighbors on the same census and sometimes you get clues from there because many times they could be related. Check as many years of the census because family members were added, some died which leads to death records, marital records, social security applications, draft registration etc. some may have become widows, had spouses as well as children you weren’t aware of. Many had secrets not knowing the digital world would open up the box they carefully hid away. That is why I say, when you do the DNA you must be strong. Good luck on your continued research. To my cousins I’m just seeing on my new list of matches “hi!

  83. Raymond Mattison

    I guess that I am stupid. When I paid for my DNA test, I thought I would get the results from my Mom and Dad side of the family. It appears that it only shows your father’s side…Am I wrong?

  84. Richard Heyduck

    In filtering our DNA results it’d be nice for the “Notes” field to be searchable or filterable.

  85. Annmarie J. Christian

    I’m 69, been an Ancestry member for almost 18 years and decided to get a DNA test for my 42 year old son. Problem is he doesn’t have a puter or E-mail address and uses my E-mail address for the test. Problem is when he tried to activate the test on my puter with my E-mail address, it just goes around in one vicious circle and…. won’t activate the test. So now, what am I supposed to do for him to get his results???

  86. Cathy Sylvester

    Color coded stars would be nice. In the meantime, when I first look at a match I go to the NOTE section and type in the family side, shared surnames, etc. and save. It then has a note icon which you can see at first glance which tells you that you have already investigated that match, and by clicking on the note icon, you can read the info easily. For shared ancestors, I have a written log that I keep by side of the family.

  87. James Dillane

    If you like solving puzzles or making discoveries by organizing data, the SHARED MATCHES button was made for you, and it works with many of those matches with locked or non-existent family trees.

    I’m new to DNA, but I’ve been building my family tree for a long time. That allowed me to make a few connections with matches that also had public trees. I expected that, but I was astonished to find that the SHARED MATCHES button enabled me to quickly sort out the branches for so many of the treeless as well. Even if you don’t know which side they are related to, you know their shared matches will all be related to you on the same side of your tree. If you can track down one, you can tag the whole group, including those without a family tree.

    The trick is how to keep track of these groups. You can do this with a pencil and paper chart, but the easier way is with a spreadsheet, and there are no formulas involved. You’re making a table, with the top left square empty. In the second column, skip the top cell and list down the column the first ten or so of your closest matches. Be sure to include any that you can already fit to one side or the other of your tree. The first column is where you write in which side, or which branch if you can discover it.

    In the top row, again, skip the first two cells, then list the same matches across the top of your table. Now you are ready to mark shared matches. Click on someone in column 2. You can work in any order, but you might want to do any that you know first. Click their SHARED MATCHES button, then put a mark in their row below anyone they share a match with in your top row. Any matches that are not already in your table can be added on to the end of the top row, and again at the bottom of your second column. The order is not important, and you can skip anyone with no shared matches. After the first 20, I favored those who came up more than once and those with public family trees large enough that I might be able to find a connection myself. I’ve done 50 and now have plenty to keep me busy.

    Now you can match them up. In column 2, folks with marks in the same columns are related to each other as well as to you. Highlight their rows with the same color, and if you know where one of them connects to your tree, you know their shared matches connect to that branch as well, and can list it in column 1. I ended up with five colors for my five groups of varied sizes.

    For those of you who were adopted and can make no initial connections, fill in your table and find your biggest group(s) that are related to each other. If any of them have large public trees, compare them to find the common names among them. Where they are related to each other is generally where they will be related to you, so make another table of those names and use your logic, puzzle solving, and research skills to see where you might fit.

    • Megan Green

      I’ve been doing exactly as you have, and have sorted results into groups and subgroups (broken by a grey line in the spreadsheet). It’s interesting to see the tight groups which sometimes emerge from shared matches. The limitation, as you noted, is that, unless you can attach a person from a group to a family tree, there is no way to figure out which line they are on. I would love to see Ancestry set it up like myheritage does. Then, even if you don’t know where they connect to your tree, you can sort them and figure out that branch, and just wait for that connection to come. Right now, I have several hundred names in my spreadsheet, and lots of clumps, but no way to sort them….

  88. Hector G Melendez

    I still haven’t got any reply from my saliva test. I submitted the test since October and still nothing yet. Can you please check and send me a reply please if it’s any inconvenience. Thank you.

  89. Megan Green

    What I would like to see from DNA matches is: searchable by user name, not only last name (I organize by user name). Being able to sort for maternal and paternal lines (as said above). Being able to “pin” certain matches to the top, if you want to keep track of them. Probably most of all, I’d like to be able to see what relationship the shared match is with a given person. That is, I have a match, A. A is a 4-6 cousin to me. In the list of shared matches is B. But I don’t know if B is As sibling, or an 8th cousin. In trying to create a tree from matches (I’m adopted, so no info to start my tree), that is critical information in sorting the matches.

    Other websites do it, so why can’t Ancestry?

  90. Marjorie Foster

    My DNA matches are disappearing, not only mine but my mother-in-law and second cousin. What is going on? If we don’t have the matches, we really can’t get anywhere. Thanks

  91. Patty

    I just got my results and am at little shocked. I am 99 % from a region which includes Hungary Romania Poland and Western Unkraine. My maternal ancestors match that but not my paternal. I could not have dna from only one parent right??????

  92. Ida Houston

    I am SOOOOO disappointed that Ancestry DNA does not have chromosome matching. If I had known that before I bought this last test kit for my husband, I would not have wasted my money. In fact, I am upset and angry about it. We both have already been tested through another site that DOES provide chromosome matching. My brother-in-law just got a kit for Christmas and I was hoping to compare his chromosomes to my husband’s. Now I cannot do that, because I know this brother-in-law will not go to the trouble to upload his dna to GedMatch. His wife gave him the kit for Christmas so he could know his ethnicity (which he already knows from my husband’s results from another testing company). I guess it’s a way to double-test the results. I also have a cousin that I’d like to compare chromosomes with, but she will not upload to GedMatch either. I’ve read some of the other comments, and, if Ancestry is not going to provide chromosome matching, then I want the different colored stars for comparing DNA data. It is only fair that this be provided.

  93. Allison

    I just ordered tests for my husband and I. I am excited to get started. I have been researching and studying my family tree since age 16; Before internet took off…=) anyone have any helpful knowledge to share. How does this work? My younger sister did a 23 & me test, but I chose to go with Ancestry bc I have all my research on Ancestry. does that matter? Thank you for your time.

  94. Naomi

    Simple search request – I only have my dad tested so I am interested in people who match me but NOT my father – can you please add a button such as ‘Does not match Father’
    The list that such a button would produce would be hugely more useful than those who match my father as I could work on my maternal matches with out having to use my only maker – the star- on who matches my father!!
    On that, I agree with all of the comments above asking for more ways to mark tests. I would love to be able to mark tree matched DNA tests as Paternal or Maternal, or even further such as paternal or maternal grandmother or grandfather.
    Actually, why can’t Ancestry automatically mark all of my matches with my father as ‘Paternal Match’ already?

    • Rod

      I’m late to comment but this is what I was looking for. Ancestry, it should be simple to add the “NOT” matches function for children with one parent tested and the other not, so that they can see the matches who probably came from the untested side.

      I don’t even understand why such a simple database query would be an issue unless FTDNA or 23andMe patented that software functionality first and Ancestry just can’t (or won’t) pay to use it.

  95. Trudy Spike

    I found a shared match (5th to 8th cousin) in Norway. This match did not match any of my other relatives/matches of mine. My ancestry is Norwegian on both sides of my family. What does this mean?

  96. Chris

    My brother and I both did a DNA test yet he is not showing as a sibling (he is showing as a close relative) His DNA results are slightly different than mine. How can this be?

  97. Judy

    I have traced all my DNA matches in Ancestry to my mother’s side of the family. I have no matches on the paternal side at, although a first and a second cousin on my father’s side have done DNA tests through Ancestry. What are the reasons I have no paternal matches?

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Judy: We have attached a link to an article here that we hope can be helpful: We also have a number of helpful articles available from the DNA results page. These can be accessed by clicking on the question mark icon located in the top right of either of your results pages. There are 11 great articles here (on the matches page) which can be very helpful in explaining more about how we calculate relationships and what you can do with the DNA matches. We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck with finding the connections!

  98. Evelyn Palmer

    I have been begging Ancestry for at least two years to provide more ways to sort the match results. They have made other “improvements” that I have not found useful but for some reason they won’t listen to this one. Also they used to specify how many 4th cousins or closer I have in my tree. Now it just says over 1000.

  99. Evelyn Palmer

    Does anyone who works for Ancestry monitor this site and will they please tell us whether the suggestion to add more colors of stars or other ways of sorting will be provided and when?

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Evelyn: There has been some changes made to the DNA page just as you mention and we’re sorry for any frustration caused. As we continue to grow rapidly, the volume of DNA matches is also growing, exponentially. Providing a real-time count and loading the full list of DNA matches on our pages has resulted in slow webpage load times for our customers. The change we introduced is meant to help address this, but we will of course pass on any feedback that we do receive about these features. It would be very helpful to get some additional feedback that we can pass on, so can you please advise how you used the DNA Match numbers to help you with your research? Also, please feel free to add any additional feedback via this link:

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Evelyn: Hi there, we will certainly forward this feedback on to the appropriate team for further consideration. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to advise on whether this feature would be implemented. We appreciate your understanding.

  100. Bruce Davis

    As soon as this article was published, I ordered a DNA test for my mother to add the “Mother” button to my DNA results just like the article described. I got the kit and found I had to create an email address for my mother to activate her test (She has had no need for email before or since). The only email she has received has been from and today she received notification that her test results were complete. I went back to this blog to follow the steps it contained to achieve what the article described could be done. I followed the link in the article, “Linking DNA to a tree” and found that these instructions did accomplish what it describes when I tried to follow them. The illustrations did not match my results. I called Customer Support and asked why Ancestry’s instructions weren’t working for me and why I wasn’t getting any closer to having a “Mother” button on my DNA page. Your rep had me doing all kinds of things that were mentioned in the article or the instruction page. I asked why the Blog instructions were so wrong and was told that she has no need to read the Blog and never has. I would like to know why the steps listed in the article are so deficient. It led to much frustration on my part. Please correct your article to explain what is really involved in accomplishing what it describes and include links to the steps that are really necessary to perform if someone else like me wants to add their parent’s DNA to their DNA results page. I am extremely disappointed in the quality of information you are providing your customers.

  101. Vicky

    We’d need three stars because I’ve found some “cousin” matches are related on both mom and dad’s side.

  102. Brian Martin

    Please reevaluate and improve your ethnicity model for people with Danish ancestry. My mother, myself, and my daughter have all had our DNA on Ancestry, and our ethnicity estimates are not scientifically compatible because you seem to randomly assign our Danish ancestral DNA to some combination of Scandinavia, Europe West, and Great Britain. In my Mom’s case, you have her as 34% Great Britain, when we know her ancestors for many generations lived in Denmark, except for a couple of Germans who moved to Denmark in the 19th century. Her DNA matches confirm that her ancestry is overwhelmingly Danish with a little German, and that your ethnicity estimate is incorrect. My Dad’s ancestry is primarily British, so I should have much more British ethnicity than my Mother, yet my GB percentage is the same as hers. My wife’s ancestry also is overwhelmingly British, so my daughter should have more British ethnicity than me and my mother, but your estimate says she has less GB than either of us. In my daughter’s case, your model overestimates Europe West and underestimated both Great Britain and Scandinavia. Our DNA matches to others on Ancestry confirm our own understanding of our ethnicity, but do not match your ethnicity estimates. I have concluded that you must not have an accurate model of Danish ancestry.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      Hi Brian, thanks so much for your very detailed feedback in regards to our ethnicity results. We will of course pass on your suggestion to our web operations to ensure they’re aware of that, we’re always working to improve the results we provide on the Ancestry site, and we will continue in that effort going forward.

  103. Hi.
    Quick question regarding my Ancestry DNA results.
    My Ethnicity shows 51% Irish/Scots/Wales and 29% Iberian…I always considered myself 100% Irish…are the Iberian estimates common for Irish people?

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