Ancestry DNA Alert – Changes coming soon! has announced they are making some major changes to how they process the matches in their AncestryDNA system. Although most of our Morrison-Q members have DNA tested at Family Tree DNA, there are several who have also tested at AncestryDNA. So I would like to pass along the recommendations of several well respected bloggers in the genetic genealogical community. There changes at AncestryDNA will be sooner rather than later, so action is recommended as soon as possible. I am going to list the recommendations of Roberta Estes, writer of DNA Explained: Genetic Genealogy with links to a few other bloggers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Rene Williams Bryson

Below is Ms. Estes’ article:

Upcoming Ancestry DNA Update – Urgent!

This article is very quick and dirty because it’s all that I can do at the moment and you need to have this information NOW! Please read the entire article because you’ll find instructions at the end. Yes, I know this is very short warning, but please do not shoot the messenger. I started typing the minute tonight’s conference call was over, literally.

Ancestry was kind enough to hold a second conference call about their upcoming changes this evening with the bloggers group. The first call during Rootstech let us know changes were coming. Tonight we received more details.

This is not the end of the world and not a repeat of Autosomalgeddon that occurred when people lost 80-90% of their matches when Timber was introduced.

Let’s get the bad news over with so we can move on.

The Bad News

  • You will lose some matches.
  • Ancestry indicated that no one lost anyone 2nd cousin or closer.
  • The change is imminent – meaning if you’re not doing something tonight and tomorrow, get busy on the “To Do” list at the end of this article.
  • You may lose Circles or NADs (NEW ANCESTRY DISCOVERIES) due to disappearing matches. The average loss was 1 circle and NADs were similar, although they did not provide a number.
  • Today you can see matches to matches up through the 4th cousin level. At the thcousin level, you cannot see matches to matches. The category most dramatically affected was the 4th cousins shifting to the 5th category, WHICH MEANS YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR COMMON MATCHES WITH THOSE PEOPLE.

The Good News

  • You will have new matches.
  • Most people will have a net gain in matches and the example we saw was significant.
  • Ancestry will allow you to download previous match information on matches that have disappeared but ONLY IF YOU STAR THEM OR MAKE A NOTE ON THE MATCH. This was not originally in the plans and we want to thank Ancestry for adding this after the Rootstech call.
  • There will be two new papers, one white paper on Ancestry’s new methodology and technology, and one on matching.
  • Ancestry will review feedback after the rollout so if you have something to say, it won’t be effective on Facebook or to your friends. The only place it stands any chance of being effective is if you submit your feedback to Ancestry directly. And I’m betting civil feedback carries more weight than nasty feedback – no matter how you feel. That old sugar catches more flies than vinegar thing.

The Interesting News

  • Most of the changes people will see are in the relationship estimates of more distant cousins, meaning 4th cousins or more distant.
  • Most of the lost matches will be in the most distant, 5th
  • Most of the gained matches will also be in the 5th

Your Immediate To Do List

  1. Star or note every DNA/Tree match, meaning those with leaf hints.
  2. Screen shot every Circle and NAD if you care about NADs, and record who is in the Circle or NAD.
  3. Record all of your matches with matches information for 4th cousins or closer. I would begin with 4th cousins because those are the most likely to disappear. Those with tree hints are the most valuable to you, so I would start with
  4. DO THIS NOW!! We can’t provide you with any release dates because Ancestry will launch when they are ready, and they don’t exactly know what day that will be. So, if you do this today, the worst thing that will happen is that you’ll have all your data. If you wait, the worst thing that will happen is that you’ll lose valuable information.

Oh, and did I mention time is of the essence????

Get busy everyone. If you wait, you’ll be sorry.

For more information, see Blaine Bettinger’s post, AncestryDNA Plans Update to Matching Algorithm, Judy Russell’s post at The Legal Genealogist, or Tim Janzen’s comments at Rootsweb.

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