Getting Through the ThruLines(tm) at AncestryDNA: Part I

The Siefert-Bieger “Tree”

Any information in the “ThruLines(tm)” at AncestryDNA that appears in gray is information that has been imported from someone else’s tree. The tree from which it has been imported to create the larger displayed tree is indicated in the displayed tree. Those tree names have been removed from the images included in this post for privacy reasons.


Anything in a gray box is something AncestryDNA added to your tree to create the display tree. The “Siefert-Bieger” tree indicates that there are three DNA tests that mach each other that “Thrulines” noticed all descended from Francis Bieger (and her mother Barbara Siefert)–that’s why the box for “Barbara Siefert” indicated there were 2 DNA matches.

I am one of the descendants of Franciska Bieger. Another descendant who has tested is a descendant of Cecil Trautvetter, my grandmother’s brother. I knew of this descendant well before I ever did my DNA test. The other test (shown on the far right in the illustration) is from a descendant of Ida Etta Trautvetter Henerhoff, a sister of my great-grandfather. The fact that her box is white indicates that she is in my tree. The boxes for her descendants are gray. This means those individuals are not in my tree. I’m inferring that this other person’s test has Ida Etta Trautvetter Henerhoff in their tree–or a variant that is exceedingly close to it. While the gray box names were not in my tree, I was aware of this family. I just never had taken the time to document it in my tree.

The gray boxes in the “Thrulines(tm) tree” may come from several different trees. The boxes for the descendants of Ida Etta came from the tree of the descendant who tested (name removed). The box at the top of the tree–for Johann Siefert–came from a separate tree.

There’s a distinction that needs to be made here. The boxes for Ida’s descendants were added to the online display tree because that descendant and I had shared DNA (consistent with a 3rd cousin relationship) and a shared name in our tree.

The earlier ancestor, the purported Johann Siefert? His name came from a tree at that contained Barbara Siefert (same dates of birth and death) and listed a Johann as her father. That name had nothing to do with DNA at all.

George C Dunaway

The “ThruLines”(tm) chart for George C. Dunaway states that “you may be related to 14 DNA matches through George C. Dunaway.”


That may be what the headline says, but that not what the chart indicated. Those 14 DNA matches to me? The ones that show that I “may be related to…through George C. Dunaway?

Those 14 DNA matches are all via descendants of  19 century Shelby/Rush County, Indiana, resident Nancy (Dunaway) Tinsley–wife of Enoch Tinsley. Those DNA matches are all descendants of Nancy.

None of those DNA matches are through any other children of George C. Dunaway. Not one.

Those 14 matches that I have to other descendants of Nancy (Dunaway) Tinsley provide additional evidence of a sibling relationship among individuals believed to be Nancy’s children.  Without matching descendants of George’s other known children, the 13 matches I share with other descendants of Nancy prove nothing about her father. Nancy could be the daughter of Dungone Dunaway, Neverhere Dunaway or anyone besides George C.  If we matched descendants of other children of George C–then it would be an entirely different story.

There’s nothing here to provide any solid evidence DNAwise of the connection to George C.

Ding, Ding, Ding…We Have a Match!


This was one suggestion that turned out to confirm what I had already partially worked on. I knew that I was a DNA match to one descendant of Charlotte (Dingman) Swift. Paper records suggested the two women were sisters, but the connection between the two Ontario natives was somewhat weak. Notice that the descendants of Charlotte were not in my tree as they boxes are gray. The information came from three different trees–because I matched three DNA kits.

One point of clarification about the chart–I match 5 other DNA kits who have trees that claim they descend from Mary Dingman. I match three DNA kits that have trees that claim to be descendants of Charlotte Dingman.

What I do not know is how many of those 5 DNA matches who are Mary Dingman descendants are also DNA matches to those 3 DNA matches who are descendants of Charlotte Dingman. I will have to look at the shared matches to see. But this strongly suggests that Mary and Charlotte are sisters–if our trees are correct.


To get in one of these online display trees, you must be a DNA match for that person and they must have their tree tied to their results.



8 thoughts on “Getting Through the ThruLines(tm) at AncestryDNA: Part I

  1. Dingman family! I apparently have a Dingman ancestor that is related by marriage into the Minard family. The ancestor is Elizabeth Dingman from New York who married George Minard from Vermont. They moved to Canada and had my gg grandfather John Minard born 1825. Wouldn’t that be something if we are somehow related?

    • There is probably a connection. Mary’s father is John Dingman who was born in New York in the 1780s and moved to Ontario. He married Hannah Powley. I’ll have to do some additional looking.

  2. Considering what an awful mess so many trees are already, I can’t wait until everyone puts everyone they “match” into their tree.

    • I know. Helping me group my matches by shared ancestors in trees is one thing. Extrapolating ancestors from it is another. And they will say “DNA doesn’t lie.” That may be true, but the online trees are another story entirely.

  3. Like so many of Ancestry’s idea this is chock full of great possibilities but out of the shut half baked once again… do you suppose they are going break with another tradition and actually listen to read and act on the feedback that they are no doubt already being given? Somehow I think not as I still see their “Life Story” still ramming the dame data base down of historical generalizations for everyone regardless of where their ancestors came from. Having no way to filter the Thrulines means having to plow through every last ancestor looking to see if they are also the potential ancestor of one of your matches a gross waste of time. It should and could easily be either having only the relevant ones showing or having all showing but those without a match being also a common descendant that that ancestor’s avatar is grayed out.

  4. Mary Kay Mullen says:

    I agree that the ThruLines are not as they should be. They have my grandfather, a person, who is my step grandfather. My grandfather is on my tree but Ancestry has ignored it. Makes me wonder what more is not right. Ans also confusing for someone researching my tree.

  5. Janet Tideman says:

    Can you please reword the piece that says “something Ancestry DNA added to your tree”. Ancestry doesn’t add anything to YOUR tree. This is really getting people worked up and I don’t think it is true…

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