Home » Ancestry » Ancestry DNA Tips

Ancestry DNA Tips

This morning, I watched one of the Barefoot Genealogist”s new videos: What Are Ancestry ThruLines?

Even though I was already familiar with Ancestry’s ThruLines – and appreciate how they are helping me with my DNA matches, I learned several things about how Ancestry’s ‘Common Ancestors’ and ‘ThruLines’ work from this video.

The major tip is to CREATE a tree and ATTACH it to the DNA test.

  • Make the tree Public OR searchable Private – as long as the tree is searchable, it will help generate ThruLines clues
  • When the tree is ‘searchable private’ the various generations are shown as PRIVATE in a matches’ view of ThruLines
  • If possible, add your parents and grandparents to the tree
  • Use Genealogy Standards when adding information to your tree
    • Names
      • Only use maiden names for women in the tree. Using a married name will make it difficult for the computer to match the woman in a tree to the same woman in someone else’s tree.
      • Don’t use any special characters such as quotation marks, nicknames or symbols in the name fields. Again, this will make it difficult if not impossible for the computer to make the match.
    • Places 
      • City, County, State, Country format
      • No abbreviations (For example, spell out the state Kansas instead of using KS)
    • Dates
      • dd mmm yyyy format. For example: 28 May 2019

I know that place names are a stumbling block for me. In the past, I have abbreviated the state. I’ve also abbreviated the word COUNTY as Co. More recently, I’ve been trying to use the standardized version of a place name. (Thankfully, my genealogy software helps me with this.) However, I still have some of my older, nonstandard, place names in my file. Thus, those place names may be preventing Ancestry’s computers from finding a common ancestor with another match.

As I’m working to meet these standards in my Heartland Genealogy tree, I hope all of my matches that currently don’t have a tree will create and attach a tree to their DNA test.