Those Ancestral Compilations in the AncestryDNA Circles

The theory behind the DNA Circles at  AncestryDNA is fine: you essentially get in a circle if you and someone are genetically related and have the same person in their tree. We’ve discussed the circles before.

The DNA says you match. The shared names in the tree suggest that is the way. The information in the trees may be correct or it may not be correct. The circles are helpful in sorting out DNA matches–and if a DNA match shares a name in your tree, there’s a good chance that is where the connection is.

Good chance: not a guarantee.

It is the compilations or “biographies” of the circle ancestor that bother me. They are apparently automatically compiled from the information in the shared trees. It would be preferable if  AncestryDNA just left the biographical details out.

The compilation for Melinda Sledd is an excellent of what can happen. It gives her parents’ ages at her birth: the dates of birth are not known for her parents. It then says that she married Augusta Newman and then she married Belinda Sledd. I’m not exactly certain just how that happened. I’m not sure that it really matters. The compilations are “condensed” versions of what is the the trees of submitters.

Part of why I wish the compilations were not there is that when they are really off–as this one is–they are in stark contrast to the DNA matches. DNA, as they say, doesn’t lie.

But these compilations, they are something else.


28 thoughts on “Those Ancestral Compilations in the AncestryDNA Circles

  1. Amen! One of my grandmothers had 23 children with three fathers and lived in 3 countries. At least one of the children was born after she died. Her whole story is fiction! And I wonder how many people will believe it.

    • I found the same issue when researching my gggranddad,his wife had a child every yr in 2 different states and 2 husband’s.Also, one family tree had my grandfather born after his mother had been dead for several yes.

  2. I agree completely. Creating a story by condensing several trees together causes more confusion, it isn’t really helpful. I rarely bother to read the story at all.

    • If you find that then it mean ….you need to match up everyone if their are extras thats not your family…i have found the same you have to realize we are dealing. With common names back in the day people often changed identities as well as DOB you will find 5 people same name same DOB what is the month wrong state wrong town … they may have kids with the same name but one is after or extra….No Your Family…i been doing my FT and you really have to pay attention and go to the next census to see if your right…think about what period of time your in and keep looking and have fun js

  3. Patricia Craffey says:

    Never look at it. Really don’t know why it’s even there if they can’t get the facts straight or peoples trees don’t quite match up.

  4. James Utley says:

    In one of my circles, it says my connection to my GGGGRANDFATHER is not strong. How could that be? I am a Direct Descendant with the same last name!

    • Well, you essentially get roughly 50% of your DNA from each parent (they now know you can actually get more from one parent and leass from the other in the genetic shuffle.). But while each parent gets 50% of their DNA from each of their parents,remember, the splits are random….you do NOT get 25% from each grandparent….in and unlikely but not impossible case, the 50% you get from one parent could all be from just one of their parents! But even if it turned out to be 20/30% for gps, that means 20% one grandparent, next generation you are down to 10% for ggp, 5% gggp, and 2.5% for ggggp…..and that % is not very strong!

  5. People can be unbelievably careless when they “find” something, especially something they are excited about. Wrong century, birthdate, marriage date, etc. Then others copy that into their own tree without noticing…and on it goes.

    • Yes, I have found a lot of that, and it’s very frustrating. On one hand I want to set the record (and these people’s trees) straight. On the other hand I don’t have that much time to correct every error I come across and wonder if they would appreciate it or get offended. I really wish everyone would at least make an effort to be as accurate as possible. Oh, and the typos on name spellings that get copied by others is another thing I see a lot!

      • I found a huge error that I tracked down to originating in the LDS archives decades ago (and it’s still there). They stated a woman connected to many historical figures was married to my GG grandfather, which I’ve since proven isn’t true. But the error was made and now it’s spread all over Ancestry, who told me they can’t or won’t do anything to correct it. I contacted another user who I’d become friendly with, since we share a number of ancestors (including the error I mentioned). I told her it wasn’t correct and shared my findings to prove it and she told me she doesn’t care. So she (and countless others) continue to spread inaccurate information when they know it isn’t true. I have since refused to put anything on my tree that isn’t confirmed via official documentation. So much of Ancestry is incorrect now, it’s barely usable. Some day everyone will discover just how bad it is and I doubt it will continue to exist. I want to know who I am and where my family came from. I don’t appreciate having some fairy tale become part of my story, only to have it implode with a little investigation.

  6. I have noticed similiar situations, so I use it sparingly! I always check the info from the circles and use what I find to be accurate! I have found alot of useful info in the circles as well! And have actually met family members I had no idea I had! To me, they are useful as a tool…people do make errors!

  7. Am I the only one that didn’t know there would Not be DNA information on my father’s line because I’m a female?? Geez I missed this entirely. I have cousins on my Father’s side that don’t appear as family. So disappointed.

    • You should have DNA cousins from you father’s side. Most tests will not spoon-feed you that info though. You need to figure out how you are related to your cousins.

      • BobbiS is right. The autosomal test at AncestryDNA–which is the one that they do–should have maternal and paternal relatives. It takes some time to figure them out as others have indicated and how many you have on each side depends on how many of your relatives have tested.

    • What test did you use? Was it one that only traced the maternal X chromosome? Are you sure your father is your biological father? Did your cousins share their results or keep them private? I did mine on ancestry and I have kin from my dad’s side as suggested relatives. The ethnicity results also reflect his roots.

    • It depends on what kind of DNA test…. there are tests which only show the femaleline if you are female, from the mitochondrial dna, and male line if you are mal, frommthe y chromosome. But Ancestry standard DNA kits actually give you a “mixed” result…o, for example,somemof my DNA is Eastern European, which I know has to be from my father whose ancestors miigrated from the east to his Serbian village in what is now Croatia. Some British and Northern European is definitely from my mother, whose family can bebtraced back to 1090. But the Italian could mean someone in mom’s family had a fling with some Romans 2000 years ago, or that some Venetian sailors made whoopee with one of the women in dad’s family….the only sure way you can figure out uour rootsis through meticulous research of census, parish records, etc… IF you are lucky enough to find them, since many have been lost or destroyed over the years.

  8. I thought the circles would be a good way of finding source data on my ancestor. When I checked the various family trees not one had good sources. As with the hints you get, people aren’t doing the research.

  9. Cindy Lagasse says:

    Just like today repeat in name can mess anyone up.. or miss spell names, can put you in a dead end.. place is a easy fix, people moved around for work.. but using someone else tree can only be use as a guide line. Follow the paper like death, birth, census, phone, news papers, marriage and bible records… if was not wrote on for records it may missing the import information…

  10. I am a very, very distant relative of the UK Royal family, Sir William Johnson 1st Baronet of New York, 42nd POTUS George Bush Jr., Major John Pitcairn, and Major General Charles Lee. Even though we don’t share the same DNA, I am proud to share a common ancestor with them. I think having the same ancestors are more important than having the same DNA. Just because they don’t share the same DNA doesn’t mean they aren’t family. Right?

  11. If you’ve been researching your family for any length of time, then you probably already know that you have to do all of your own research. The worst thing about that, is that it is so incredibly time-consuming, especially with non-paternal events, and name changes. I have found that I disagree with some of what Virgil Huntley has researched, and he was pretty darn good!

  12. Christine Harkness says:

    I have a different issue with my DNA circles. I have 9-11 circles and have been unable to open them for over a year. They did open in the beginning. I have contacted everyone Anncestry has suggested, chat,phone calls several times. I have been told the problem is on my end with my computer. It is not! I have followed all their directions and when it doesn’t help they have nothing more to offer. I have accessed them from different computers with no luck. Has anyone had this problem? I’m very frustrated.

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