Step by Step Approach Researching Ancestry DNA matches

I’m not an experienced DNA researcher, even though I had my first DNA test done five years ago. It is only recently that I fine-tuned my approach to matches. When I first started I only worked with those matches with trees. It was a good way to get your feet wet and practice researching how the matches and the PAPER trail to our common ancestor work.

I read [and still do] anything I can get my hands on about DNA. I’ve joined Facebook pages offering tips and a DNA Special Interest Group at the local library. [You will fine links to these under sources]

I start my DNA research by looking for any new matches. Usually the closet matches are at the top of the page.

  1. View all DNA matches
  2. Click on New matches 3. Choose the newest match. Enter into the Excel Worksheet [You can use a notebook, instead. The important thing is to track your research.]4. Enter the Predicated Relationship, centimorgans and DNA Segments. If it list the Common Ancestor/s enter them and the relationship to you. If not listed leave that blank until known.

5. Don’t worry if there is no tree Click on the matches’ names, then click shared matches. 

 

6. Hopefully other people will show up. I then check my Excel spreadsheet to see if they match someone I already entered; See who the Common ancestor was. This gives me an idea of what line of my Ancestor Member Tree to look at.

7. If you are not ready to work without a tree, go to the next person with a tree. You should see a list of common names and a pedigree chart. REMEMBER THESE ARE HINTS, you still need to view the paper trail for both your cousin match and your line.8. If you are lucky sometimes Ancestry already gives you a hint to the Common Shared Ancestor. 9. Remember these are hints, you must make sure the paper trail matches both sides. I look for birth, death, and marriage records. If those are not enough to prove hints to the relationships I look at Find A Grave [Caution Find A Grave is a hint,] for each generation. Using Find A grave sometimes gives you another person to look at that has the record hint you need. I do use census records to get additional clues, especially for locations, time frames and family groupings to rule out/in that they are the same person as in my line. [There were 4 Jacob Chases in the Newbury/Warner/Hopkinton area with the same Christian names in each family unit. Look for the one that matches your unit that is unique.]

10. I click on each shared name until I get a match or close time frame match.11. I compared it with my surnames in my tree It looks like I have a generation or two separation here. I clicked on John and found the father’s name George Lane About 1612-4 June 1689. My Ancestry tree list shows a George 1613-1689. A possible match and my place to start my

12. I click on view full tree [the green square upper right] go to George Lane. I also open in a separate window my AMT for George Lane. Lots of great HINTS. Time to verify the paper trail for each generation. 

13. I keep my DNA match hint open in a separate window to refer back to when needed for each generation.

14. When I have verified or disproven the relationship I post it in my Excel Worksheet (#3). I use the spreadsheet shown in #10 to confirm the relationship. Yes, Ancestry gives my relationship to the common ancestor. I still like to check out my work. This makes me list each generation again on both sides.

Happy DNA match climbing.

Resources to seek out: Here is just a few free options. There are many other options both Free and for a Fee. I did add the “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” workbook. If you are going to spend money it is worth the price, in my opinion.

  1. Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group on Facebook
  2. Check your area for DNA Special Interest Groups.
  3. Check out You Tube for DNA
  4. Dear Myrtle’s Wacky Wednesday with Blaine Bettinger
  5. “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” by Blaine T. Bettinger & Debbie Parker Wayne $

I hope this post helps with your DNA match research.

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