With a new tool from Ancestry, you can quickly and easily link your AncestryDNA Matches to your family tree. By linking your DNA matches to your family tree, you can quickly navigate between the trees and visually see your research. But is this busy work or a revolutionary new too from AncestryDNA?
Click the video to watch my review.
DNA Challenges With Discovering DNA Matches on Ancestry
Over time, genetic genealogy companies allowed us to share our family trees with others to see how we’re related.
Ancestry allows you to add multiple DNA tests to one tree but only one tree can be connected to a DNA kit. That means, your DNA test kit can not be linked to multiple trees.
This has resulted in a number of challenges.
What do you do if you want to link your AncestryDNA matches to your family tree?
How can you add one DNA kit to multiple trees, particularly if you don’t have managerial privileges?
Also, what do we do for our DNA matches who don’t have trees online but we know how they are related?
Ancestry's DNA Match Tool Links DNA Matches to Your Family Tree
In early 2020, Ancestry released a DNA match tool that helps us link DNA kits to multiple trees.
This feature allows you to indicate that a specific person on my DNA match list is this a specific person profile on my family tree.
After you link the DNA match to the tree, you can jump to that person in the pedigree view of your family tree (but it’s a multiple click process).
Linking your DNA matches to your family tree help improves how you navigation around your tree and view your DNA matches.
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Does Linking Your DNA Matches to Your Family Tree Help With Your Research?
With every new tool, there are some who love it and some who think it's less than stellar.
Some benefits of the AncestryDNA Match Linking Tool include:
Visually see that you have identified a DNA someone match on your family tree.
You can add DNA matches, that haven't linked themselves to family trees, to your tree. (You have to figure these relationships out by speaking to your DNA matches or through other genetic genealogy techniques to figure it out.)
Some obstacles detracting from the usefulness of this new feature from AncestryDNA
My colleague Larry Jones of DNA Family Trees, felt the tool was just busywork and doesn’t see any immediate value.
When you manage multiple trees and have the same persons on each tree, the linking doesn't pass through to each tree. This creates a significant time drain, which brings us back to Larry's point of the feature being busywork.
I have intentionally taken my time to evaluate the feature before weighing in. The AncestryDNA Match Linking Tool has not captured my attention. If the only benefit is to visually show I've worked figured out the relationship or to quickly navigate to my matches' location on my family tree, then I don't want to spend the time with this tool.
For one, I can see what research I've completed thanks to how I color code my AncestryDNA matches.
Additionally, I DON’T want to build a massive tree on Ancestry. In fact, I've written previously about how I downsize my unnecessarily large family tree on paid subscription sites.
To make use of this feature, I think I would have to have two separate trees on Ancestry.
TREE ONE: DNA match tree
A public tree without sources
This tree has all of my biological family lines (excludes genealogical relationships).
I’ll ignore all record research hints.
PERHAPS all the DNA matches that I link in the tree will help me isolate my new DNA mystery - who are the relatives of William Anderson of Sweden and my continued quest to find my Geiszler, Hoppe, and Kalsberger ancestors.
TREE TWO: Research tree
A private or private but searchable tree with sources
This tree will reflect only the biological and genealogy trees that I’m actively researching
I will keep this tree VERY narrow for the family lines I’m focused on
To keep track of which surnames are in my Ancestry Research Tree, I will have to consult my Surname Table Chart. (If you haven't built a surname table, check out this blog post.)
AncestryDNA Match List Linking Tool Wish List
Improve ThruLines With Linking
If linking my DNA matches to my family tree will improve ThruLines or Shared Matches, I would be interested in using this tool more.
For instance, if my DNA matches, who don't have linked trees, will become part of the descendancy chart of ThruLines thanks to the linking, that would be valuable.
Linking Updates Managed Trees
I'll admit that I can’t see how the linking could pass through to the trees I manage, but I still wish for this. Let's say I link myself to my brother on my tree. If I manage his tree, I would like that link to be reflected back on his tree without any extra steps. The same would work for my aunts, cousins, and so forth.
Provide a Chromosome Browser
I still wish Ancestry would develop and release a Chromosome Browser, as I mentioned in this Ancestry vs MyHeritage video.
While these DNA Match organization tools are cool, the analytical power of the chromosome power will super cool. It's one reason I like MyHeritage DNA better. So, we'll see.