Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The AncestryDNA Shoe has dropped

Just in case you haven’t checked your AncestryDNA results lately, just 13 days after my class ended, yep they have made the big change I told you they would be making.

I have written several pieces on this blog ( regarding this and those of you in my DNA class got a full briefing on the last night.

So how did it impact my all the DNA test I manage?

 Using their new testing levels, kicking out the IBS and leaving the IBD (see you should have taken my class and you would know what that is), I have the seen the following reductions:

My AncestryDNA test
Before 182 pages of matches (9100 matches)  
After      30 pages of matches (1950 matches)   
78.6% of matches deleted

My father AncestryDNA test
Before 173 pages of matches (8650 matches)
After      57 pages of matches (2850 matches)
67.1% of matches deleted

My mother AncestryDNA test
Before 210 pages of matches (10500 matches)
After       37 pages of matches (2850 matches)
82.4% of matches deleted

My spouse AncestryDNA test
Before 320 pages of matches (16450 matches)
After      83 pages of matches  (4150 matches)
74.8% of matches deleted

My cousin paternal AncestryDNA test
Before 299 pages of matches (14950 matches)
After       74 pages of matches (3700 matches)
75.3% of matches deleted

My spouse’s cousin paternal AncestryDNA test
Before 329 pages of matches (16450 matches)
After       83 pages of matches (4150 matches)
74.8% of matches deleted

So now I get to scrap 2 1/2 years worth of careful work, research and study and start from scratch again.

That gnashing of teeth you hear are mine. I will have more to say on this here my blog as soon as the gnashing stops.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Finding Genetic Cousins – Separating Fact from Fiction

Blog Editor's Note: We discussed this at length last night in my last genetic genealogy class of the semester. Here is a detailed discussion of what Ancestry told some bloggers recently about the pending changes courtesy of The Genetic Genealogy blog.

Short Summary: Before the end of the year, AncestryDNA plans to update our match lists using a new algorithm that reduces the number of false positive matches. For the first time, matching DNA segments will be characterized as IBS (i.e., a false positive) based on something other than simply segment length.

Click on the link below for Blaine Bettinger's account of the meeting.

I'm still highly skeptical of this whole change over. There are a number of comments made in this post on the Ancestry blog that gives me pause. I just wish they would get on with it so the partial load errors, slow loads and other issues will finally go away.

Get this over with Ancestry, my patience is wearing very thin and my time to renew with you is right around the corner.

The Chief

I'm doing the "told you so" dance tonight

Here we go. Ancestry is starting their run of changes that I predicted in class that they would be making after our classes were over.

As I said last night in our last class of the semester and in previous post,


I tired of spending all my research time keeping up with your changes. Nuff is enough.

So here is the latest from the Blog.

"Over the next few weeks, Ancestry will be rolling out an updated search form. Some of you may already have seen it and used it. Let’s take a look at what’s new.
First, you might notice that the search form doesn’t have a link for “Advanced Search.” Instead, there is a link to “Show more options.”

Just click “Show more options” to add more items to your search.

For a long time, we’ve suggested changing the “exactness” of some of your search terms to get better results. That ability hasn’t gone away. Simply start typing in a name and you’ll see a link appear where you can change how exact or broad you’d like it to be. The setting that appears will be the last one you used. If you want to change it, simply click and choose a different setting.

Another change is at the bottom of the search form in the Collection section. In the previous version of the search form, you could set a priority for collections from a specific country; results from that country would come to the top, but you might also see records from other countries unless you also checked “show only from these collections.

With the updated search form, when you set the country you will get records only from that country.

Use the drop-down menu under “Collection Focus” to select a country whose collections you’d like to get results from. You can set a country or leave it as “All Collections.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Announcing the Spring 2015 TCCC Genealogy Classes!

OK here is the line up for genealogy classes I will be teaching this Spring at Tri-County Community College. If you know of "anyone" who is interested in genealogy and wants to take my Beginner/Intermediate Class, we will offer for the first time in a long time as day class on the Main Campus in Peachtree.

Here is the list of scheduled classes that will start in the second week of January.

NEW Genealogy – A Crash Course in Family History: This unique and innovative genealogy course blends traditional genealogy research with resources that can be found on the Internet to let you discover your family tree and stories. In this class you will learn about free websites, free genealogy tutorials and lessons, free online eNewsletters, free genealogy charts and forms, networking with others and millions of online genealogy records. Bring your ancestors to life and discover your ancestral village by accessing these millions of free records, and sharing your heritage and family stories with others. This new TCCC genealogy course will teach you how to plant your family tree online, using it to make new discoveries, and connect with family. The beginner/intermediate course is a prerequisite to take this advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC. 32.5 hrs. (Class will not meet March 5.)
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
January 15 – April 16 TH
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $75

Genealogy – Introduction to Family History: This course introduces the student to the basics of genealogy by exploring the heart of family history research - basic records and sources used in the pursuit of ancestor hunting. Some of the records and sources that the student will be taught include home and compiled records, vital records, census, church records, court, military, land and property, probate, and tax records. The course will also touch on the latest technology including Internet record resources and DNA testing. If you want to learn how to do genealogy research the right way or need a refresher on the latest techniques and sources then this course is for you. This beginner/intermediate course is a prerequisite for advanced genealogy courses offered at TCCC.32.5 hrs.
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
January 13 – April 7 T
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. $75

NEW Genealogy – Managing a Genealogy Project:  How to organize your family history filesAre you faced with "piles" of genealogy paper records, correspondence, charts, and genealogy forms in your family history work-space or electronic files scattered all over the computer hard drive? Most successful genealogist will usually end up with an embarrassment of riches - too much information in too many places. Whether you work on paper, electronically scan your genealogy records/files or do everything online, getting organized is essential to keeping track of ancestors and the records you have found about them. This course will rescue you from unhelpful habits and get your workspace—virtual or physical—tidy again. 7.5 hrs.
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
January 13 – January 27 T
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $19

NEW Genealogy – Using Evernote for Genealogy Research:  Evernote is a genealogy researcher's best friend and one of the best tools you can use to capture almost anything. This means not just items found online, but also images, documents and more. This course will help you use Evernote to organize your genealogy material and notes, help you keep track of books you want to research, and a whole lot more. Evernote and your stored genealogy material is always at the ready whether you're using it on your computer, a tablet or on a smartphone, Evernote can be your 24/7 virtual genealogy assistant and the best part is the app is free. 5 hrs.
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
February 3 – February 10 T
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $15

NEW Genealogy – Digital Imaging for Genealogists and Technologists:  This course will cover the ever expanding world of scanning, organizing, editing, and sharing your digital images. It will cover how to Handle and organize your family photos, learn about various photo software packages to spruce up your pictures and organize your digital files. It will even cover using you digital camera or smartphone and related type devices to copy records. 10 hrs.
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
February 17 – March 10 T
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $25

NEW Genealogy – Family Tree Brick Walls and Problem Solving:  Complications in genealogy research arising from incomplete or missing records, census irregularities, individuals of the same name, and burned courthouses can stop even the most experienced genealogist dead in their tracks. At some point, every family historian encounters these types of barriers in their genealogy research. In genealogy, these barriers are known as brick walls and they can often appear impossible to work around. When you have exhausted all the obvious possibilities, sometimes you need to consider the less obvious. This class is all about the less obvious. Advance students only - must have completed TCCC Beginner/Intermediate Genealogy Course. 10 hrs.
Instructor: Van Horn Min: 10
March 17 – April 7 T
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. $25

For more information or to get your name on the interest list contact Lisa Long at (828 837-6810.

Ancestry Result Page Changes

OK Happy Campers. Remember what we discussed in DNA class last week? Well they aren't even waiting for class to end to start the changes. Here we go with a new look to their search results pages.

First her is the way the old search result page looks.

Click to enlarge image

And now the same results in the new look pages.

Click to enlarge image

Here is the explanation page from

Click to enlarge image

As you can see down page the next shoe is almost ready to drop on the DNA stuff. So as Grace did on the old program "Will and Grace" I'm doing the "told you so dance" right now.

Oh by the way I was invited to fill out another Ancestry survey this morning. 15 minutes later I hit the send button. Gave them an ear full for sure. Even invited them to read some of my rants on this blog. Right!

CU all in class.

Ancestry Annouces "Improved DNA Matching"

Well there is a bit of good news in this Ancestry blog post. Here it is without comment.

Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Site, AncestryDNAdna connect
Over the past year or so, we’ve been in the AncestryDNA lab working to create new and improved ways to find distant family members with DNA. In the process, we’ve rewritten the book on AncestryDNA matching and made some significant breakthroughs we’re looking forward to sharing soon.

These advancements will make AncestryDNA matching far more accurate, and each new match will be more likely to lead to a new discovery. Best of all, we’re going to roll this out to all AncestryDNA members for free, and you don’t have to take a new test to get the benefits.

So how are we doing it?

AncestryDNA has quickly grown to over half a million people in its database. Pairing this data with well-documented family trees and the expertise of Ancestry has allowed the AncestryDNA science team to develop groundbreaking new algorithms for finding and predicting relationships through DNA. These new algorithms will lead to better matches for anyone who tests with AncestryDNA.

Of course, we can’t make your list of matches more accurate without removing the less accurate ones. So, your DNA match list may get a little smaller—in some cases, quite a bit smaller. For example, some of the more distant cousin matches will no longer be considered a DNA match and will drop off your list. You can learn more about the science behind these improvements in this blog post from AncestryDNA General Manager Ken Chahine. The post refers to DNA matching challenges found in specific populations, but these same kind of improvements can be made across all AncestryDNA tests.

What do you need to do in the meantime? Not a thing. We’re providing this update for free to all AncestryDNA members, and we’ll send out an email when your new DNA matching results are ready. Also, when our improved matching launches, we’ll be providing a way for you to download your pre-upgrade list of matches in case you have saved notes about a DNA match and want to preserve them for the future.
Be confident that your matches are in good hands with our team of experts. DNA testing is a huge, real-time science project we’re watching unfold, and we get to be a part of it. As the database grows you will get new matches, and now better matches, and even more opportunities to discover something new about you.


About Anna Swayne

Anna Swayne has 8 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us.When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.

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