Monday, February 3, 2014

Some random snowy Monday night AncestryDNA thoughts...

On a personal level, I have been very happy with AncestryDNA and especially since the results were revamped, updated, and made more specific...I mean, it's been thrilling. I can't wait till I get a job and can buy DNA kits for all my siblings and my father to see the slight variations and hopefully see something pop up in theirs that didn't pop up in never know. That's the fun thing about DNA.

On a connecting level, however... ::sigh:: It's been a total bust. I have tons and tons of matches. I have 30 4th cousin matches (4th-6th cousin range, usually) and I would say more than 100 distant matches, many of whom are "moderate" probability, not "low" or "very low." And yet, I have no shared ancestor hints. Not a single one. Nada. Zilch. I am super super jealous of Cousin April over at Digging up the dirt on my dead people, who has made several genetic matches on the family line that we share - but I don't connect genetically to her or any of her matches. Of course, until the database is overflowing with people, most people are going to be in my boat - the great and terrible thing about DNA connections is it will connect you to people you might never be able to prove a connection to with any records. I have several very well documented lines - my Raynor line, which is my shared line with Cousin April and dates back to colonial America, and several of my German lines, which immigrated more recently (the 1800s). I think a lot of my DNA connections are on my Irish lines, which I will never be able to prove with records - so that's a genetic dead end. And unfortunately, AncestryDNA is not yet available to many foreign countries, so I won't be able to connect to any of my well documented German lines unless their descendants came to America and also took the DNA test. Which basically leaves me with my Raynor line, which has proved useless so far.

Part of the problem is two of my pet peeves with AncestryDNA - the people who took tests who A), have a private family tree and B) the people who took tests who have NO family tree. At the very least, you can input you, your parents, and your grandparents. That would be enough for me to see whether or not there was a possible Raynor connection. And I understand people who want to keep their family tree private from the general public but it would be nice if Ancestry came up with a way to allow users to make their trees public to other AncestryDNA users, to see if there's a connection there.

So, I'm taking matters into my own hands, as much as I can anyway. I have largely, on my public tree anyway, only gone backwards, never sideways. Well, my new goal is to add as many branches and cousins as possible, to widen that net and hopefully catch a few AncestryDNA cousin connections or even just normal genealogy researching cousins - if they won't or can't connect to me, I'm going to do my damnest to connect to them.

Now I also uploaded my DNA results to after hearing that Cousin April was able to connect to a non-U.S. cousin through that website - no matter which DNA website you use, you can upload your results and connect to genetic matches - I got a ton of results (including one person with the last name Carman, who is, of course, somewhere on the Raynor line I'm sure - another old Long Island name) but I don't really understand how it works yet or how to contact these people or how accurate it is. What was kind of cool is there's a beta database that gives you a picture of what it believes your eye color looks like, based on your DNA results, and mine was DEAD ON. It was insane. I have a fairly unique eye color so the fact that it accurately picked out what my eye looks like makes me think the website is pretty legit.

Anyway, I have a lot of work to do - tons to keep me busy on these snowy days. Happy hunting, everyone!

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