AncestryDNA Now Extrapolates in the Trees

It was bad enough that AncestryDNA was algorithmically extrapolating ancestors from their seemingly a·mor·phous “Big Tree” in the separate ThruLines section of their DNA analysis site. While Thrulines is decidedly not perfect, if one is aware of its limitations and uses it carefully (with their brain turned on and critical thinking skills engaged), use can be made of it and some matches can be quickly sorted.

But the ThruLines concept is now oozing.

AncestryDNA appears to be taking the extrapolating ancestors concept to the “tree” section of individual match analysis. It’s suggesting ancestors for the DNA match based on what it in the tree attached to the DNA submission of the match. The connection is based on the somewhat mysterious Ancestry “big tree” which is pooling of user-submitted trees. In the illustration, the match does not have John Neill as an ancestor. The tree extends to a James Neill born in 1876. Using other trees in the “big tree” AncestryDNA has determined that he’s a descendant of the John Neill in my tree. They’ve found another James Neill in the “big tree” who has at least one parent listed. They’ve found that parent in a tree in the “big tree” (perhaps the same tree used to find James’ parent) that has a parent listed for that person. The process continued until John Neill was reached–and John Neill is in my tree. This matching process is automated.

Sometimes it works (it did in this case) and sometimes it does not. It’s based upon the super-secret algorithm at AncestryDNA and the accuracy of the data in the “Big Tree.”

Clicking on the “view relationship” takes you to the ThruLines page which will link you to the individuals in the connection. AncestryDNA really wants users to utilize ThruLines.


One thought on “AncestryDNA Now Extrapolates in the Trees

  1. It’s based upon the super-secret algorithm at AncestryDNA and the accuracy of the data in the “Big Tree.”

    Ah, yes. The accuracy of the tree. The tree with children married to their parents. The tree with multiple children born in various countries associated with the same mother. The tree with children born to parents who are not born yet or already dead – by a hundred years. The tree with multiple spouses married to the same person at the same time and living in different states/countries. And my personal favorite The theory that if the surname is the same it must be a child of that family no matter if the birth year and location make sense or not.

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