Friday, February 13, 2015

Ancestry Will Expand DNA Circles in 2015

Blog editors note: See my comments at the end of this post.


According to a press release from Ancestry and information on Blaine Bettinger's Genetic Genealogist blog, Ancestry will expand it's use of DNA circles later this year to include DNA circles connections to matches with no family tree connections.

From the Ancestry press releases this week at Rootstech:

"Building on DNA Circles, in 2015 we will launch a new experience that will use the latest genetic technology to discover new ancestors without the customer having to search records or build a family tree. This new feature will transform how family history research is done by providing valuable hints to help experienced genealogist looking to break through brick walls, as well as open family history to a whole new segment of the population. Through this new experience, AncestryDNA customers will be able to discover new ancestors as far back as the 1700’s by connecting into existing DNA Circles."

Blaine Bettinger wrote on his blog:

DNA Circles Without Family Trees
" the coming weeks AncestryDNA will launch an extension of the DNA Circles tool in which they assign you to a DNA Circle without having a family tree connection.

"Currently, you must have a decent public tree in order to be put into a DNA Circle based on genealogical relationships. Using this new tool, however, you will (potentially) be put into circles without a tree showing that you belong to the circle (in other words, based only on genetic relationships regardless of the trees).

"But note! Just because a person is identified does NOT mean they are a direct-line ancestor! Some of these individuals will be collateral matches (a sibling or cousin of a direct ancestor for example), and others will be due to population effects (such as endogamy). Only a certain percentage will actually be direct-line ancestors. It will be impossible to determine – based on the DNA Circle alone – whether an identified person is direct-line, collateral, or population-based. To the point below, additional research will always, always, be necessary.

Using New DNA Circles
"It is vitally important to recognize that these new DNA Circles can ONLY be used as hints for further research, NEVER as proof. They are not definitive proof of a relationship. Instead, placement within a circle means that you have some genetic relationship with one or more other people in the circle, all of whom happen to be descended from the identified individual, and that there is some genetic network.
It will be up to each of us to explore that connection in detail – and independently of the DNA – to determine whether there might be a genealogical relationship with the new individual."

The old Chief's thoughts: This is interesting in several respects. It is sorta like what I have been teaching in my classes regarding researched matches, where maybe your tree is more built out than others and you are able to complete the matches ancestral line thanks to your research. It also works the other way as well. This will expand that just a little bit by adding in genetic relationships only as well. That will probably save me some additional research time on some of the matches and bring to the forefront some potential matches that I may have previously overlooked. All in all, I am anxious to use this new tool and see how it meshes up with what I have been doing in my recent DNA research. More to follow hopefully very, very soon.