A Segment-ology TIDBIT
In a previous post, I outlined a Format for AncestryDNA Notes. I have found using the Notes feature at AncestryDNA and some standard format (like the one I outlined) together, provide a very valuable tool. Here are several reasons:
- This summarizes what you know and learn about each Match. I now have over 46,000 Matches at AncestryDNA, so I’ve decided to focus on all the Matches with Hints, all the Matches which are 4C (4th cousin) or closer, any who have uploaded to GEDmatch, and selected other Matches I find doing a specific surname searches. At this writing (9/9/17) I have 713 Shared Ancestry Hints and 1,860 4C or closer Matches. This relatively smaller group helps me focus on the lower hanging fruit, keep track of them, and summarize the info for each Match of interest to me. The Notes field shows up as a small, handy, “page” icon adjacent to the Match’s name in various lists at AncestryDNA.
- When using the AncestryDNA Helper in Chrome, you can get a download of all Matches – 46,000 in my case. This download includes what I’ve entered into the Notes field. I have now modified my Notes format to include the Ahnentafel number and side where known (including all Hints at least). So instead of 6C1R: BUTCHER/BUSH in my blog post example; I now use 176P/6C1R; BUTCHER/BUSH. This tells me the Common Ancestor is on my Paternal side – and the Ahnentafel number often comes in handy. So I can now sort my download by the Notes field, and all the Matches with Ahnentafel 176 are grouped together. In this example, 176 is at the 6C level, and per Figure 3 of this post, they should be grouped in roughly 4 different TGs [see 7th column: avg segs/anc for one side]. This just gives you a rough idea of what to expect in a chromosome map.
- But probably the most exciting aspect of Notes is their availability in Shared Matches. Only 4C or closer will show up as a Shared Match – however, the “4C or closer” designation is applied fairly loosely and may in fact be given to a 5C or 6C or more. Not all of my Hints are in this category, but many are. In any case, whenever I’m looking at a new Match, I check the Shared Match list – and look for those with the “page” icon. Line  of my format includes info on the Shared Matches – so I copy lines  and  from the opened Note of a Shared Match and paste it into Line  of the new Match. It sounds much more complex than it really is. I’m just copying key (top line) info from Shared Match Notes into the Notes for new Matches. When I find two (or more) Shared Matches with the same Common Ancestor, rather than copying that info a second time into the new Note, I just put a 2x (or 3x, etc) in front of the existing version. I’m finding that sometimes I have 4, 5, 6 or more Shared Matches with the same ancestry. This is pretty powerful stuff! This is strong evidence that this new Match has that ancestry, too. Not a guarantee, but certainly the first place to look. More and more, this is becoming helpful, even predictive. And it’s helping me and my Match. A big focus for folks with small, no, or Private Trees. When I can correctly predict that a certain Ancestor is probably in a Private Tree, I have a somewhat higher response rate.
There is some amount of work to filling out the Notes on all these Matches. But if I didn’t type it in the Notes box, I’d be writing it long hand on paper or in a notebook, and probably repeating this effort each time that Match came up. The method I’m describing provides a standardized process that goes pretty fast – particularly with practice;>j
I “Star” each Match with a Common Ancestor (most Hints), AND the Matches I can link to FTDNA or 23andMe or GEDmatch accounts – which include segment info and a TG identification. The Starred Matches (of 4C or closer) are also highlighted in the Shared Match lists, and easy to spot. I just made my 1,000th Starred Match. Oh, happy dance!! I have the Notes filled in for all 713 Match Hints. And the stars are proving to be very helpful beacons as I plow through the rest of my 1,860 4C or closer Matches. The groupings are becoming more obvious – and many of them are now showing up with Shared Matches with the same TG identifications. This is another incentive to offer AncestryDNA Matches to upload to GEDmatch. Of course, I also promise to do the DNA analysis and report back to any Match who uploads to GEDmatch (or FTDNA). This is starting to really pay off.
Bottom line: utilize the Notes boxes at AncestryDNA!
[22P] Segment-ology: Using AncestryDNA Notes TIDBITS by Jim Bartlett 20170909