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Thread: Who has the most matches in AncestryDNA?

  1. #1
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    Who has the most matches in AncestryDNA?

    I have my test results in and I was surprised indeed horrified to find I had 352 pages of 50 matches on each!
    The same kit when using GEDmatch gives 11,000 matches>7cM using diagnostics and 27,000 <7cM.

    Of these 40 pages of matches have England as place of birth, and about half on a small browse have no tree attached.

    From this site and others I thought that Ancestry's Timber algorithm pruned shorter matches.

    Am the only one who does not find 15,000 matches useful?
    Are people doing the test hoping to get a ready made tree?
    Out of 64 pre 1800 births 44% Cheshire, 1% Worcestershire, 1% Scottish (or Irish), 25% south Derbyshire, 13% Burton on Trent area (where 4 counties within 10 miles), 7% Shropshire, 1% Staffs, 8% Lancs

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  3. #2
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    I'm sure there are folks who have lots more matches than I do, but I have 362 pages. There are 27 matches on the 362nd page, so if each of the previous pages has 50 matches, that makes a total of 18,077 matches.

    Of course, this is actually too many matches by at least one. I've taken both versions of the test, and my first match is just myself, under the other version of the test. In addition, I'd say that many of the matches beyond "4th cousins" are not very meaningful, although I have a number of "Shared Ancestor Hints" with cousins at this distance. But I pretty much ignore any cousin who has no shared matches with me. This tends to be true of cousins in the higher-numbered pages.

    Of much greater value are those cousins who are identified as 4th cousins or closer. I have four 1st cousins once removed, who are all great grandsons of my father's parents. I also have a 2nd cousin on my maternal grandfather's side, and some half 2nd cousins on my maternal grandmother's mother's side. All of these have been very useful in trying to determine what side some of my most distant cousins are on.

    A big hindrance, of course, is Ancestry's lack of any sort of chromosome browser. I've been able to map out much of my genome, thanks to 23andMe, FTDNA, and GEDmatch, so I could identify the side many of my Ancestry cousins are on just by seeing where our matching segment or segments is/are located.

    I understand the concern about privacy, but it would be helpful even just to say what chromosome the segment is on -- or preferably, what arm of the segment. If I can determine that two people are on the same side of my family, and both share a segment with me on the same chromosome -- especially if it's the same arm of the chromosome -- that at least would give me an idea of how likely it is that all three of us share common ancestry.

    Knowing whether someone matches me on the X chromosome would be particularly useful. I know not only that my X chromosome is from my mother -- since I'm male -- but that it's primarily from her father. (All but 20 cM surrounding the centromere.) Therefore, almost anyone who matches me on the X chromosome would be related to me through a specific maternal grandmother.

    I'm lucky enough that even though I can't compare segments with my 2nd cousin at Ancestry, he uploaded his Ancestry data to GEDmatch, and we do have a couple of shared segments on the X chromosome. That's because my maternal grandfather and his maternal grandfather were likely full brothers. So each of them passed on a copy of their only X chromosome (which was from their mother) to their daughters. Those X chromosomes probably weren't identical to each other, but there was enough overlap that my 2nd cousin and I share two segments on the X chromosome. One of these is in the short arm and is 15.1 cM in length; the other is in the long arm and is 26.3 cM in length.

    I'd say that I've been able to determine which side most of my 557 predicted 1st-4th cousins are on, though there is a group who have so far defied making that determination. I *suspect* that these are primarily related through my mother's father, but they don't have my 2nd cousin as a shared relative; or even someone who is a shared relative of my 2nd cousin.

    Incidentally, Timber doesn't just prune "short" matches. It also prunes some close matches for appearing "too matchy". It's especially bad with parent-child matches. Parents and children should always share just 22 or 23 segments (depending on whether the X or Y chromosome is included), because each "segment" is simply a whole chromosome.

    Instead, Ancestry says I have "3,453 centimorgans shared across 54 DNA segments" with my daughter in the v1 version of their test. The v2 version is quite a bit better, probably because that's also the version my daughter was tested on. It's "3,489 centimorgans shared across 25 DNA segments". However, my daughter's mother also tested on v2, and Ancestry says that she and our daughter have "3,455 centimorgans shared across 60 DNA segments". This is absurd, and is not due to any genetic anomaly, but to Timber tossing out a great deal of legitimate matching.

    23andMe, by contrast, says that my sharing with my daughter is 3718 cM in 26 segments (it still is seeing "breaks" that don't actually exist), and my wife's sharing with our daughter is 3718 cM in 25 segments.

    In any case, to address your last couple of questions, you can't expect to find all of the matches useful. What will be much more useful with be your closer matches, which you can compare to other relatives. However, it may be a disadvantage for you if your immediate ancestry on both sides is from roughly the same location. The reason is that you're bound to find a number of folks who may be related to you on both sides.

    In my case, my father's ancestry for the past two-and-a-half centuries or more is limited to Pennsylvania. Before that, he had ancestors from both the Germanies and the British Isles. My mother's ancestry was somewhat more varied. On her father's side, it includes mainly folks whose ancestry was from the British Isles, and who passed through Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. My grandfather also had some Native American ancestry, which appears in both biogeographic testing and the paper trail. My mother's mother's ancestry consists of both "recent" immigrants from Europe (by which I mean, after 1800) and ancestors who were in the same area since the beginning of the 1700s. The former includes both of her grandfathers, who each immigrated (separately) with his parents and siblings from the island of Minorca, and one of her grandmothers, who immigrated with her family from Alsace-Lorraine. The latter group consists of early French/French Canadian colonists who settled in New France. (Primarily near what is now Biloxi, Mississippi.) This group also includes documented Native American ancestry.

    For the last question -- I'd have to say that a lot of people among my DNA cousins do not have any tree -- or at least, not attached to their DNA results. Still, I do have close to 140 "Shared Ancestor Hints" and I'm also in 20 DNA Circles. These include ancestors linked to my father's side, to my mother's father's side, and to my mother's mother's side.
    The short explanation of my ancestry is British-German-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

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  5. #3
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    I've seen folks with many more, but I have 633 pages of matches on Ancestry; 21,720>7cM, and 51,448<7cM on GEDmatch. My wife has 808 pages, 21,210>7cM, and 48348<7cM, respectively.

    Of the kits I work with here in the US, the least is 347 pages, 13401>7cM, 42193<7cM. This one is an adoptee whose birth father was reportedly Italian and returned to Italy with very little family here in the US.

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  7. #4
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    I would add that the matches below 4th cousins are of little help UNLESS they are identified by a "Shared Ancestor Hint" with their public tree, or have a shared match with a familiar 4th cousin or closer. Mostly, they bring more questions than answers.

  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torc Seanathair View Post
    I would add that the matches below 4th cousins are of little help UNLESS they are identified by a "Shared Ancestor Hint" with their public tree, or have a shared match with a familiar 4th cousin or closer. Mostly, they bring more questions than answers.
    On top of that the vast majority are American and I don't have a single American in my family tree. Obviously if it extended outwards there will be some Americans sooner or later but its hard to motivate myself to investigate them.
    YSEQ:#37; YFull: YF01405 (Y Elite 2013)
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    Ancestry GCs: Scots in central Scotland & Ulster, Ireland; English in Yorkshire & Pennines
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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judith View Post
    I have my test results in and I was surprised indeed horrified to find I had 352 pages of 50 matches on each!
    The same kit when using GEDmatch gives 11,000 matches>7cM using diagnostics and 27,000 <7cM.

    Of these 40 pages of matches have England as place of birth, and about half on a small browse have no tree attached.

    From this site and others I thought that Ancestry's Timber algorithm pruned shorter matches.

    Am the only one who does not find 15,000 matches useful?
    Are people doing the test hoping to get a ready made tree?
    I have 292 pages, how do you divide the people's results into groups of countries?

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nqp15hhu View Post
    I have 292 pages, how do you divide the people's results into groups of countries?
    There are a couple of things that can allow you to do this. One is through the "Maps and Locations" tab that appears when you click on "View Match" when looking at one of any of your pages of matches. But it will only be useful to you if your match has listed any locations.

    Another possibility is if you and a match have both been assigned to the same Genetic Community. You can search according to your genetic communities, if you have any. For example, I can search on "Settlers of Colonial Pennsylvania" to see those of my matches who have also been assigned to this community -- but if they don't have a tree, they won't be assigned to any genetic communities. (And they might not be assigned to a community even if they do have a tree.)
    The short explanation of my ancestry is British-German-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torc Seanathair View Post
    I would add that the matches below 4th cousins are of little help UNLESS they are identified by a "Shared Ancestor Hint" with their public tree, or have a shared match with a familiar 4th cousin or closer. Mostly, they bring more questions than answers.
    I'd agree with these points, but I'd suggest that DNA Circles can also be helpful. Often these will include some people with "Shared Ancestor Hints", but not always. There is, of course, no guarantee that you'll actually be related through the person at the top of the DNA Circle, but it at least gives a direction in which to focus your searches.

    Of course, this may be more useful for folks like me whose ancestry is fairly diverse -- either ethnically or geographically. I know that people with relatives mainly from the American South are more likely to be related to me through my mother than through my father, for example; and those from Pennsylvania are more likely to be related through my father. However, the more distant a relative is, the more likely it is that there are multiple ways by which they might be related.
    The short explanation of my ancestry is British-German-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

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  14. #9
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    +20, 40k matches!? that's amazing -- I feel so lonely:

    • 5 matches on ancestry; one Ugandan and the rest seem to be AAs
    • 2 GEDmatches >7cM (Northern Ugandan, and S.Sudanese), ~40 <7cM
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  16. #10
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    I have 22,492 matches of those matches, 2 are paternal aunts, a paternal great aunt, 4 second cousins, 5 3rd cousins and 385 fourth cousins.

    My husband has 2,306 matches of those 2 second cousins, 12 3rd cousins and 27 4th cousins. He only has one maternal match that I have found. His mom is from South Korea and his dads family came to the US from The Netherlands in the early 1800s.

    My dads side is Colonial American, both sides seem to have crossed paths a few times, lol. My moms dads family came to the US in the early 1800s from Wales and her mom immigrated to the US during WWII (her family immigrated to Australia from Ireland).

    The majority of my matches aren't useful to finding our shared ancestor, it's the closer matches with tress that help. The shared matches from closer relatives is helpful too, especially when some of those matches have trees.

    The DNA circles have been tremendously helpful. I am in 2 that have at least 12 people. Of those 12, I only "share DNA" with 3 people but am able to see the ancestry regions and the shared matches of all members of the circle.

    Also wish ancestry had a chromosome browser, as some other posters have mentioned.

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