Don’t you just hate it when you get a Match sharing 30 or 40 or 50cM, only to find they only have 7 people in their Tree? I know many Matches have no Tree, but I’m focused on the positive here. I’m focused on what may be possible with Matches with small Trees. How can I tease out more from the information I’m given?
Think about all those probable 4C Matches – they share a Common Ancestor only 5 generations back. If they list their grandparents in a Tree, we have 2 of the generations already – only 3 more to determine.
This process works with Matches at any of the companies (FTDNA and MyHeritage primarily, but also GEDcoms at GEDmatch). And any Match you can communicate with who can tell you their parents or grandparents. Of course, it also works well with AncestryDNA Matches (but you won’t have segment data in that case). You may need to extend all 4 grandparents out to the 3xGreat grandparents (4C level). However, a quick look at them might reveal a surname or location to start with.
Steps to Extend a Match’s Ancestry:
1. Select an Ancestor of a Match. It’s best if the Ancestor has birth and death dates and places. The key is enough information to find this Ancestor in the Ancestry database.
2. Find this Ancestor – at the Ancestry toolbar use Search > Public Member Trees, and type in the known info – then click the orange Search:
Note 1: Usually not much info is needed; just be sure the results posted by Ancestry are the Ancestor you want – sometimes Ancestry proposes a wild tangent…
Note 2: if Ancestry offers a standard for the location, accept it. I had just typed “virginia” in the above, and accepted their standard of “Virginia, USA”
3. The resulting list often has many links. Usually the one you want is at the top. Click on “See more like this” and then Click “View all”
4. Usually just click on the Tree hyperlink at the top of the list – that Tree usually has the most records and sources, but feel free to scroll down the list to see what other Trees are available.
5. This brings up a profile page for this Ancestor. You probably already knew the basics for this Ancestor, but this may present a lot more. But this Ancestor is NOT the one you are looking for – you started with this Ancestor because you wanted to extend the Ancestry for your Match. So, focus on the parents of this Match. Actually, just click on Tools > View in Tree (see red arrow below):
6. This brings up the pedigree view of the Ancestor’s ancestors (see below). If your Common Ancestor is listed here – you’re done – you’ve found the CA of your DNA Match. If not, the CA may be on the maternal side below which is not in this Tree – delete this page and try another public tree.
7. You can also click on any Ancestor in this pedigree – to get their profile page – and then click on Search (on top right of the profile page). This takes you back to Steps 2 and 3 above with a new Ancestor. In this manner, you can “chain” together these pedigree searches in your quest to find a Common Ancestor. And you can always start the process anew, with a different Ancestor of your original DNA Match. Remember – the truth is out there.
BOTTOM LINE: This process allows you to extend the Ancestry of a DNA Match, and, hopefully, find your Common Ancestor. This is an important method of finding Common Ancestors with Matches at companies which don’t have many good Trees.
[22AY] Extending a Match’s Ancestry TIDBIT by Jim Bartlett 20210613