Tuesday, August 09, 2016

AncestryDNA Circles Spreadsheet strategy

This post is about how I am using the info in my AncestryDNA circle to choose which members in the circle would be most beneficial to ask to upload to GEDmatch.com.  If you are not aware of how DNA circles are formed please see the recommended reading links listed at the end of the article. They do have limitations.  You will need segment matches, chromosome browser, triangulation, documented research working together to prove descent.

I have been using the info from my autosomal DNA test which was done at AncestryDNA to map my DNA segments to my Ancestors.  I downloaded my raw DNA and uploaded to GEDmatch where I can compare to others who have tested at any of the other major sites and uploaded their results to the GEDmatch.com website.   I did also do the transfer to FTDNA of my results and other kits I admin because everyone will not upload to GEDmatch....It would be great...but it's just not going to happen. Much like a chromosome browser at Ancestry.  I can deal with that though.

I've tried setting some goals for my larger DNA circles.  My goal is to get as many of my DNA circle matches to upload as possible.  That said, there are other things I'd like to know in deciding which of those circle members would be the most helpful to my research.  

  • Which of the members have matching DNA segments with me?
  • How many centiMorgans does Ancestry guesstimate we share?
  • Along which path do they descend?
  • Are they uploaded to GEDmatch?
I chose one of my larger DNA circles---Jabel Putman 54 Members of which 24 match my kit.

After navigating to my DNA circles and selecting the Jabel Putman Circle this is what it looks like

From the Circle page I click on LIST to show the matches.  This particular circle has 3 pages of matches.  I opened my notepad and copy and pasted the listing of matches to my kit.  I then edited the info and inserted tabs so I could paste it into a spreadsheet.  I did a FIND & REPLACE ALL with DNA MATCH TO CIRCLE and replace with OOO,  Then I did a FIND & REPLACE ALL with DNA MATCH and replaced that text with XXX.(be careful not to reverse those two if you try this)
Once I had my layout like I wanted it, I pasted the info into a spreadsheet and adjusted the columns and added a column for GEDmatch # LINE(of descent). To really get an idea of what can be gained by seeing the kit at GEDmatch, I also added a SEGMENT MATCH column.  There are several other columns in the circle listing(Admin, Group and Connection Strength) and I chose to keep them with the exception of the image files.  I added formatting to make the spreadsheet more visually informative.  In the rows where the circle member was a DNA match to me (XXX) I shaded those rows a pale green. I began populating the GEDmatch # Column by adding the #s of the matches which I knew had uploaded to GEDmatch. While viewing the matches in List Mode, click on Relationship to determine that members line of descent and note it in the LINE column.  I chose to include the child and the grandchild in that column.  For the Segment Match column I viewed the profile for the matches(those with XXX), clicked on the i while viewing to find the guesstimated amount of shared DNA  After I had gotten the spreadsheet populated and formatted to my liking, I sorted by those who had XXX in the match column adding the word ASK in the GEDmatch # column for those who matched me but who had not yet uploaded to that site.

Below is a screenshot of a copy of my spreadsheet(I edited out/modified usernames)
It's a pretty good representation of the randomness of DNA inheritance even though we really have no way of knowing 100% for sure if this ancestor is responsible for the segment match

Looking at the spreadsheet now lets me know the answers to my earlier questions and will let me make the most of my time when contacting my matches and recommending that they upload to GEDmatch..

Recommended reading to learn about AncestryDNA's Circles
Genealogy Junkie's AncestryDNA starter page

Also Roberta Estes' DNA Explained has many articles about AncestryDNA circles.

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