If one navigates the circles at AncestryDNA, one can view the shared DNA matches one has not only with your own DNA matches, but also for those people who are in your DNA circle as well–but are not a DNA match to you. For reasons that elude me, I never noticed this until today. This functionality allows me to see DNA matches of people to whom I am related, but with whom I am not a DNA match. That’s good because not every genealogical cousin will share significant DNA with me. Seeing matches that I share with a known cousin who is not a DNA match themselves can help me to sort and sift my matches.
James (we will just refer to him by his first name) is descendant of Augusta Newman (who died in 1864 in White County, Indiana) as am I. We have corresponded off and on for probably fifteen or twenty years.
James has done a DNA test at AncestryDNA. We are not a DNA match. That’s not surprising as Augusta is fairly back for both of us–he’s my 4th great-grandfather.
However, James and I are both in the AncestryDNA circle for Augusta Newman. We got in the circle for Augusta because:
- we have our trees tied to our AncestryDNA results
- we both show Augusta Newman as an ancestor in our tree
- we both match other people who have this same Augusta in their tree.
James is not one of my matches, so I can’t browse his common matches with me by viewing him on my list of matches. He is one of several others in the AncestryDNA circle for Augusta Newman who are not a DNA match to me.
If I click on James’ name in the circle, I see a little bit more about him to the right hand of the circle. I can then click on his name and pull up his AncestryDNA information (or at least what I’m allowed to see from other users):
I can’t view the “shared DNA” information (in the oval area on the illustration), but I can see those matches that James and I have in common.
I cannot automatically assume that these DNA matches I share with James automatically descend from Augusta Newman. Their genealogical pedigree connection with me may be further back in Augusta’s pedigree. Or it may not. If we all descend from people who lived in the same area for generations, it may be that one of these shared matches I have with James doesn’t even connect with me through Augusta Newman in any way at all. The DNA match and I may descend from one of Augusta’s neighbors who is not James’ ancestor.