Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Feature on AncestryDNA ????

Has anyone else noticed something new with their AncestryDNA?

I did not notice this before today but two things are different.

The first change is just plain annoying -- shame on you! An advertisement now appears below your first DNA match encouraging you to buy an ... AncestryDNA test. Hey Ancestry, if I have an AncestryDNA test I already know how/where to buy one. I'm a customer already -- I don't need another ad. (What I need is a chromosome browser.)

Luckily, it seems that once you close the ad it will no longer appear even if you sign out and sign back into your account. I don't know if it will reappear tomorrow or at a later date as that is yet to be seen. 

The second change is that there is now a "Shared Matches" tab between the "Pedigree and Surnames" tab and the "Map and Locations" tab which are located just under the Individual Match Overview.
New Feature on AncestryDNA  Shared Matches ^^^

I haven't found any explanation of the feature yet.

Is it a feature that will show you:

  • what DNA matches you and that DNA match have in common?
  • or which of your DNA tests that you manage also have a match to that DNA match?

If it is the first then that is great. If it is the second then this seems to be Ancestry's answer to the AncestryDNA Helper extension's "Compare two tests for common matches" AncestryDNA Helper feature. AncestryDNA Helper extension is an extension for Google's Chrome browser that was developed by an AncestryDNA user. It adds features that sadly failed to provide its customers.

AncestryDNA Helper's features added to an AncestryDNA page.
Looking at my first test that I manage and skipping it's DNA matches that I manage, I tested the feature on a 2nd cousin match. Clicking the tab, it showed shared matches -- all the tests I manage. I'm not sure if any of my other matches also match that 2nd cousin.

Going a little further down the test's match list I tested another match that I know shares a match to another of the test's DNA matches -- meaning we have a match in common. (I know because I have communicated with that cousin and we've compared results when searching certain surnames.) But nothing appears -- not even the other tests I manage where I know the match also appears in those tests' match lists.

I also tested this feature for the last/newest AncestryDNA test of a sister that I manage. Selecting the DNA match of another sister (not the first test in my list) and clicking the Shared Matches tab resulted in ... nothing -- no matches in common. And yet I know that all the other tests I manage should appear on that list. A little while ago I finally got a few matches in common to appear.

I suspect that the feature rolls itself out slowly similar to how when you first get your AncestryDNA test results and it takes Ancestry a few days or more to "index" the trees of your matches so that when you search by surname or birth location you get a complete results list.

It will be interesting to see what this new feature will actually entail. Perhaps it will be a usable tool. But we still need a chromosome browser. Relying on online family trees where data is more often wrong than right is just not sound science.

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