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Knowing that family values and its legacy are important to this community, is this a product you would purchase for your loved one? YES or No... 
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Looking for your feedback as I am considering investing in this start-up business.  I welcome all feedback, positive and 
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James Ellison

Discussion  - 
In nearly every case, your family history is likely not “done.” There are many things left to do, even when you think your family history is “done.”
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My mother keeps asking if I'm "done" yet.  She can't understand that it never ends...
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Devon Noel Lee

Discussion  - 
How would you share portions of a research project you've completed, prior to publishing, to receive feedback if your ancestor is from Germany and then settled in Columbus, Ohio?
26 votes  -  votes visible to Public
I wouldn't share anything.
I would share with close family
Share on blog and hope someone responds
Share in Google+ Genealogy Communities
Share in Facebook Communities
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For those of you who would share in Google+ communities or on Facebook... which communities would you use?

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The things you learn from reading a will and inventory! I time traveled back to the 18th century while reading the will of my husband's 4x great-grandfather, a German immigrant in Pennsylvania. Had to untangle a lot of unfamiliar terms about flax.
Reading the will of Rudolph Manbeck is like time travel to the 18th century, including a vocabulary lesson about raising flax and making cloth.
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Att känna till sina rötter är viktigt för att veta vem man är !
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Most of us use Google search to look for our ancestors on a regular basis. After all, once we’re done searching our favorite family history sites directly, Google is our best bet for locating new records online.

But finding valuable data via Google search can be hard since there are so many sites, and so many pages of data. After typing in an ancestor’s name and a few details we often find that we’ve turned up hundreds or thousands of results, and most of them are irrelevant.

While this is true for all inquires via search, it is especially true for family history searches because many sites have published long lists of names and dates, including family trees, transcribed book pages and records. This is great news for research, but turning up relevant pages is tricky. Even if you’re careful to enter specific details into your searches you may not successfully limit results to the ones you want.

Luckily, Google is a pretty smart search engine and can help you reveal just what you’re looking for — if you know the ‘secrets.’

Below we have walked you through 6 of these hidden search tips that will help you locate your ancestors much more quickly. We are using an example ancestor — James Wilcox, married to Mahala and born in 1837 — to illustrate each trick.

For those who may not have spent a great deal of time searching Google for family history, we’ve included 3 vital and somewhat common tricks, as well as the more advanced tricks, in our list. 

6 Google Search Tricks

1. Apply Quotation Marks

Also known as a string search this is one of the best, and most obvious ways, to limit search results in Google. When you type in a name like James Wilcox, Google will search the entire title and text of pages for those terms. They do not need to be related to each other – so you may turn up a page with James and Wilcox, but not necessarily a page where these terms appear together.

Use “James Wilcox” or “Wilcox, James” to limit results (remember that many genealogy related sites place the last name first). Also apply quotations around terms like “obituary” to make them exact — otherwise Google will substitute other words like ‘death’ or ‘died.’ This can be helpful in some situations, but for others is can be a big hassle and turn up many unwanted results.

For instance,  "Wilcox,James" 1837 mahala

2. Use the Minus Sign

Oftentimes when we are searching for ancestors, especially those with common names, we may find that a certain person or location we’re NOT looking for turns up again and again, clouding our results. For instance, a James Wilcox who lived in Somerset keeps coming up for us. He’s definitely not our guy, so we’ll exclude the term Somerset.

Place a minus sign before a term to exclude these unwanted results (Example: “wilcox, james” 1837 mahala somerset). The minus sign can be placed in front of many terms to further refine results ( -dunbar -somerset -1907) or term strings (“Wilcox, James Robinson”). Just make sure that the minus sign is placed directly before the term with no space in between. This works to exclude specific sites as well (-rootsweb).

For instance:  "Wilcox,James" 1837 mahala -dunbar -somerset -rootsweb

3. Get Site Specific Results

Would you like to get search results only for a specific website, such as FamilySearch?

Use ‘site:SITEURL’ before a term or terms to do this. Example: “wilcox, james” –note that we didn’t place a space between ‘site:’ and the url and that we didn’t include the ‘http://www’ part either.

For instance: "Wilcox, James"

4. Search Only Page Titles

When looking for a specific ancestor is can be very helpful to have the pages you turn up only be ones that focus on that individual alone. Or, when searching for a surname, to find articles centered around that specific last name. Making sure a search term appears in the title of the page is a good way to do this. This isn’t always true of course, and you’ll miss a lot of results this way, but when looking for discussions about a person, biographies or in-depth data it can be a very helpful trick.

To search only web page titles use ‘allintitle:’ Example: allintitle: “Wilcox, James.” You can also search only the text, and exclude the titles, by using ‘allintext:’

For instance:  allintitle: "Wilcox, James"

5. Search a Date Range

This is one of the best and most underused Google search tips for genealogists. This super cool trick lets you search multiple dates at one time without having to enter them individually. This is hugely helpful if you are looking for birth, marriage or death records (or any date based source) but don’t know the exact date of an event.

Just add DATE..DATE to your search box to accomplish this (two periods in between the dates like this 1900..1910).  For instance, we know that James Wilcox was most likely born between 1835 and 1839 based on the information we have, so we could search for “Wilcox, James” 1835..1839. This will bring up only pages that include one or all of the dates 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838 and 1839. It will not exclude pages that include other dates (which we usually would not want to do.) But if we did want to do that we could exclude any date by typing -DATE, such as -1840 after our other terms.

For instance:  "Wilcox, James" 1835...1839

6. Search for Terms Near Each Other

One of the most frustrating things about searching for ancestors in Google is that, while the engine will search an entire page for your terms, your terms may not have any association to each other. As mentioned early on in this article, that can cause major problems for genealogists since many pages include long lists of dates and names. It is entirely possible, for example, to find the exact names, dates and other details you’re looking for — but not in relation to each other in any way. For instance, our searches for James Wilcox and 1837 turned up pages that include James Wilcox and the date 1837, but that date was often applied to other people on the page.

However, there is a way to ask Google to find terms near each other! Enter AROUND(1) between terms to do this. An example would be: “James Wilcox” AROUND(10) 1837. That means we want Google to look for pages where the exact name James Wilcox appears within 10 words of the date 1837. You can change the modifying number to anything you want (“James Wilcox” AROUND(3) 1837 or “James Wilcox AROUND(1) Mahala) a lower number means a closer association and thus, usually, fewer results. We can also apply this to multiple terms (Example: “Wilcox, James” AROUND(10) Mahala AROUND(5) 1837). You will be blown away by how much this helps you find more relevant results.

For instance:  "Wilcox, James" AROUND(5) 1837

We hope these ‘secret’ tips help you in your Google genealogy searches! Don’t forget to combine them to maximize your results. And, when you’re done trying these out, check out our Google Image Search for Genealogy help article for more tips. 

Note: Sometimes when you apply these operators, especially if you do so several times in a row, Google may check to make sure you’re a real person and not a computer by transferring you to a captcha verification page. Don’t worry, just type in the characters and proceed  — and try not to get too excited that you’re geeky enough to be considered a computer by Google.

#genealogy   #googlesearchtricks  
Most of us use Google search to look for our ancestors on a regular basis. After all, once we're done searching our favorite family history sites directly,
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I cried when I read this...
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This will made me dig futher into the life of a 3rd great aunt of my husband to find out why she wrote a will (not common for women in her time and place) and why she chose the recipients that she did.  It unraveled a sad story--several in fact.
Ken's 3rd great-aunt, Eve Manbeck Gutshall did an unusual thing. She left a will. 52 Ancestors, #45.
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Devon Noel Lee

Brick Walls  - 
Need some help, if you can. This is a Naturalization document. My 3rd great grandfather Joseph Keizler is the first entry on this image. He's listed as from Baden. I'm having two problems: 

1) Reading his witness name. It looks like Adam Notlick, but I'm open to other interpretations. 
2) How would you research more about Adam Nortlick as a witness. 

This is from the Franklin County Courthouse records house in Columbus, Ohio. The dates are 1858. If witnesses could be realtions/friends/countrymen, I'd like to track now more about Adam but there's not much to go on.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.
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+Rob Boudreau Wow! You have been very informative! I'm greatly indebted to your time and effort.
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Devon Noel Lee

Favorite resources  - 
I attended my first state genealogy society conference and am excited to attend more! Check out the fun at the Texas State Genealogy Conference in Austin, Texas. 2016 will be in Dallas. Can't wait. #TSGS2015   
In the vendor hall at the Texas State Genealogy Conference. Found a fellow Halloween celebratee! On a rainy Friday, I left Houston and drove three hours to Austin, Texas. No, this Aggie wasn't going apostate in Longhorn count...
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Thanks +Rex Messick for the support
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About this community

A place where professional and amateur genealogist come to share advice, help with brick walls and talk genealogy.

Devon Noel Lee

Discussion  - 
If you hear yourself or a relative say, "I Don't Have Great Stories" ... you're wrong! #familyhistory  
Do you see great stories on the news or even on America's Footprints and feel, "I Don't Have Great Stories?" Fear no more, Devon Noel Lee has a great piece of advice, and it came from her mother.
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Irish Roots

European Ancestry  - 
Special Offer 50% Discount off Irish Roots Magazine Autumn Digital Offer For A Limited Period Only
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Yes, Virginia, there is genealogy humor.
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James Ellison

Discussion  - 
Oh, the stories we hear when doing family history! Have you attempted to prove your family’s #scandalous stories? If you have, we would love to hear about it! #RootsBid #familyhistory #genealogy #proof
Have you attempted to prove your family’s scandalous stories? Whatever the truth is, genealogists have fun trying to figure it out!
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Too bad!
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Kathie “Kat” Gifford

Favorite resources  - 
50 Free Genealogy Sites

1. FamilySearch: largest collection of free genealogical records in the world

2. WikiTree: enormous collaborative family tree

3. Fulton History: historical newspapers from the US and Canada

4. Find a Grave: locate your ancestors in cemeteries across the globe

5. Google News Archive: millions of archived newspaper pages

6. US National Archives: official US National Archives site, many free genealogy databases and resources

7. Automated Genealogy: indexes of the Canadian census

8. FreeBMD: civil registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales

9. USGenWeb Project: massive free genealogy resource directory by US state and county

10. WorldGenWeb Project: genealogy resources by country and region, not to miss

11. Cyndi’s List: highly respected directory of free genealogy resources and databases online

12. Library and Archives Canada: official archives of Canada, census records and more

13. Ellis Island: immigration records, free indexes and original records, fee to download copies

14. FreeReg: baptism, marriage, and burial records from parish registers of the UK

15. Crestleaf: various genealogy records

16. RootsWeb: world’s largest genealogy community, huge amount of free information

17. Castle Garden: immigration records, pre Ellis Island

18. Chronicling America: giant database of archived US newspapers from the Library of Congress

19. Dead Fred: genealogy photo archive

20. African Heritage Project: records on former slaves, freedpersons and their descendants

21. Family Tree Now: various genealogy records

22. Daughters of the American Revolution: military service records and more

23. JewishGen: Jewish ancestry research

24. FreeCEN: transcribed census records from the UK

25. Access Genealogy: vast family history directories and more, good Native American resources

26. British Library, India Office: records on British and European people in India pre 1950

27. Guild of One-Name Studies: extensive surname research site

28. Geneabloggers: massive directory of genealogy related blogs with a huge amount of free information

29. NativeWeb Genealogy: list of Native American genealogy resources and searchable databases

30. Viximus: member submitted biographical information

31. WieWasWie: for researching ancestors from the Netherlands (in Dutch)

32. UK National Archives: official National Archives of the UK

33. The National Archives of Ireland: official National Archives of Ireland

34. GENUKI: reference library of genealogical resources for the UK and Ireland

35. German Genealogy Server: German ancestry research (many sections in German)

36. Preserve the Pensions: War of 1812 pension records access

37. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: Civil War records from the National Park Service

38. LitvakSIG: Lithuanian-Jewish genealogy databases and resources

39. Italian Genealogical Group: Italian American genealogy resources and databases

40. Internet Archive: a large amount of information useful to genealogists, but you’ll need to do some digging

41. Billion Graves: headstone records

42. Open Library: good place to find family history books, search for surnames or locations

43. GenDisasters: for researching disasters and other events your ancestors might have been involved in

44. RomanyGenes: Romanichal ancestry research

45. Patriot and Grave Index: revolutionary war graves registry and patriot index from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

46. Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection: vast number of archived US newspapers

47. Seventh-day Adventist Obituary Database: hundreds of thousands of obituary entries

48. Släktdata: genealogy records for Sweden (in Swedish)

49. Hispanic Genealogy: wonderful list of resources for researching Hispanic ancestry

50: Free Genealogy Search Engine: search hundreds of free genealogy resources at one time on Family History Daily

There are many more free genealogy sites online. Since we can’t possibly list them all in one article, please share your favorite in the comments if you don’t see it here.

Keep your eye on Family History Daily for more articles about free genealogy resources, including our upcoming state by state guides. You might also like to read about how to access paid genealogy sites through your library’s website for free or check out our other articles here.
Looking for a list of free genealogy sites to search? Here are 50 no-cost family history resources where you will find birth, marriage and death records, o
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Devon Noel Lee

Brick Walls  - 
I have been hesitant to test out as I felt they didn't offer anything new. Today I was proven wrong and I have a question for anyone familiar with Canadian WWI records / indexes

I just discovered a new to me record on Here's an entry from the "Ontario, Canada- University of Toronto Roll of Service, 1914-1918"

ZUMSTEIN, ROBERT VICTOR; B.A. University Coll. 1917 (reg. PH.D. 1919-20); C.O.T.C. 1st Depot Bn., 1st c.o.R., Pte., May 1918; A/Cpl.; France, Nov. 1918, 19th Bn., Pte.; 2nd Can. Div. Hdqrs., Jan. 1919; Khaki Univ., A/Sergt., Feb. 1919

This entry is full of abbreviations. Anyone familiar with WWI ancestors who might be able to decipher this? 

I know for certain that Robert Victor Zumstein obtained a PhD in the United States and served in the WWI as a German interpreter. I'd fill in the gaps of these abbreviations. THanks in advance!
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Kathie “Kat” Gifford

European Ancestry  - 
Archion in a nutshell – German protestant parish records online, 19. MÄRZ 2015 / AHNENFUNDE --  In 2015 you will be able to research your German roots using Archion, a platform which offers access to digitized protestant German parish records.

My blog post on the beta test of Archion was well received among German readers. I also noted a significant number of visitors from abroad, especially the U.S. and Denmark, and decided to give an overview in English for people not familiar with German.

Church records are the pillars of German genealogy research, at least until the 19th century. While some books date back until the 16th century, most of them start in the second half of the 17th century. During the Thirty Years’ War, which ended in 1648, a huge number of older sources were destroyed. Records from later centuries were partly destroyed during World War II, especially in eastern Germany, and in former east German districts now belonging to Poland or Russia. The total number of German protestant church books is assumed to be 200.000 (Internet Archive link).

Today, church registers are usually kept in the parish, or in church archives, where they often can be accessed from microfilm. So-called Kirchenbuchduplikate (church book duplicates), created during the 19th century for administrative purposes, are available in state archives. You might know these duplicates from FamilySearch, where they are partly available on microfilm. With a few limited exceptions, online research is not possible.

Archion is about to change that. The company behind Archion is named Kirchenbuchportal GmbH and was founded by member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany in 2013. This federation consists of twenty churches, but not all take part in Archion. This is important to know, as church records will only be available from churches that choose to participate. A map by Archion lists participating churches in blue (Internet Archive link).

Every church has its own church archive, and every archive has its own digitizing strategy. Some churches are digitizing church records from microfilm; others are working from the original documents. Some already have digitized their resources on a large scale, others have not. Some plan to digitize, while others don’t talk about their digitizing efforts. At least one church has to ask every single parish for permission to digitize as the church book belongs to the parish. Some parishes are not interested in digitizing church records at all. We also can safely assume that every single archive is on a limited budget.

To make a long story short: Don’t expect all the records from every church marked blue on the map to be available when Archion starts. Locate your ancestors’ hometown and use the search or browse feature (free of charge) to identify the parish records you are interested in. If these records are highlighted in green, the records are available online. As a rough estimate, 30% of the records from the participating churches will be available, with different levels of completeness from church to church (ranging from 0 to 100 percent).

The records are displayed in a simple viewer. You navigate by either choosing a thumbnail in a side menu or choosing a page number. You can magnify records in three to five steps (depending on the archive). You can bookmark pages and download the current view as a pdf document.

You may be used to searching for names on FamilySearch, Ancestry and other record websites in order to access records. This won’t be possible on Archion as there are no indexed and/or transcribed records. Optical character recognition (OCR) is not an option for Kurrent writing. Archion plans to implement a basic indexing feature sometime in the future.

Viewing documents can be cumbersome. The quality ranges from perfect to unreadable. There are only limited zoom options available. The size of the viewing area and fullscreen possibilities are limited. Even after reworking the viewer (Internet Archive link) to make the viewing area a little broader, a lot of documents still can’t be displayed completely and be readable at the same time. This makes it impossible to scan pages quickly for entries as you have to scroll several times. Two archives added prominent watermarks in the center of the documents. Documents can’t be saved the usual way; they can only be downloaded in a limited number through site functionality.

Archion’s interface will eventually be available in English as well (right now it is only partly translated).

The following membership options will be available:

For private use: either 19.90€ monthly (approx. 21 USD or 14 GBP, includes 50 downloads), 178.80 EUR yearly (approx. 187 USD/127 GBP, includes 600 downloads) or 20 days’ access (to be used within a year) for 59.90 EUR (62 USD/43 GBP, includes 50 downloads). For business use, monthly access costs 199 EUR (208 USD/141 GBP, includes 500 downloads) and yearly access 1788 EUR (1875 USD/1271 GBP, includes 6000 downloads). You can pay by credit card or PayPal.

Archion is set to start on March 20th 2015. If relevant documents exist for your ancestry, this might be the best opportunity to research them for years. Save the date, but know the obstacles.

The information above comes from the blog at

Archion Facebook page:

#Germanprotestantparishonlinerecords   #Achion  
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James Ellison

Discussion  - 
Veterans in your family history? 
Military records for any war time are a crucial part of genealogical research. A War of 1812 pension file or bounty land application could be your treasure!
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Kathie “Kat” Gifford

European Ancestry  - 
Are you looking for your ancestors, who emigrated from Baden, Württemberg or Hohenzollern Germany in the last few centuries?
Do you want to consult emigration records? Are you interested in reading travel tales or emigrants' letters? Do you want to know more about famous emigrants in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship between Baden, Württemberg, Hohenzollern and foreign countries?

Are you interested in the history of the project? Hans Glatzle and Wolfgang Müller, who have collected and processed most of the data, give an overview of their decades of research and introduce the database.

If you would like to intensify your genealogical research have a look at our Further Research section: We have listed additional sources in the Landesarchiv, we inform about other institutions in Baden-Württemberg that might keep relevant sources, we introduce genealogical societies and other emigration databases.

We recommend to use the advanced search if you look for special criteria in the database. The richness of the content is documented in the data interpretations for emigrant's destination and period of emigration. For users interested in technical details we offer some background information on the database technology.

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Cheri Vail

Discussion  - there was a brick and mortar store that had some of the following items would you visit?  Computers to use, software to purchase, someone to assist you when you have questions, scheduled appointments for a one on one assistance.
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Definitely software and individual assistance c
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From Roberta Estes November 6, 2015:  Yesterday, quietly introduced a new feature of their AncestryDNA autosomal product called “Amount of Shared DNA.”

This can be seen when you view your match, beside the confidence bar, as shown below.  Fly over the little “i.”

It’s nice to know how much DNA we share and across how many DNA segments – but what does this really mean, how is it calculated, and how do these calculations stack up against the same information from other vendors?

Why would it be any different, you ask?

Because Ancestry runs their academic phasing program, Timber, and removes segments identified as matching to many people, constituting pileup areas.  Remember when Timber was introduced and people lost more than half of their matches?  I went from 13,500 to 3,350.  Today, 50 weeks later, I have about 6,700.

Real phasing is when you utilize your parents DNA to divide your own DNA into half.  Half your matches match you and your mother, and half your matches match you and your father.  If not, then they are not IBD matches.

Timber attempts to remove segments that are too matchy – areas where Ancestry feels you have too many matches so they might be “population” based match segments instead of real genealogical segments.

This new “Amount of Shared DNA” feature gives us the opportunity to test their matching against other vendors.

Thankfully, my cousin Harold has tested at all the vendors and uploaded to GedMatch, as have I.

Therefore, we can compare our results on all platforms.

The Acid Test

I’ve believed since the introduction of Timber that it removed too many segments – segments that are valid and useful – thereby removing valid matches.

However, the acid test is a parent/child match.  Each child should match their parents on exactly 23 segments (or 22 if Ancestry is not counting the X chromosome), one complete match for each chromosome.  Once in a while you’ll have a read error that may divide a chromosome into two match segments, so an occasional 24 or 25 wouldn’t be surprising.

What are we seeing?  A quick read of forums and looking at the results I have access to shows me that parent match segments are ranging from about 85 to about 110, which, in case you are counting, is from 64 to 87 more than the 22 (or 23 counting the X) chromosomes that we have.

What this tells us is twofold:

Timber is removing 64 to 87 VALID segments in parent/child matching, believing that pileups are invalid. Rule #1 of DNA – you must match your parents. If you double this number, because you have two parents, each person has in the ballpark of from 130 to about 200 areas where their DNA is “too matchy” and segments/matches are removed. This illustrates the magnitude of the Timber problem.

You cannot draw or correlate any relationship inferences from either the total amount of shared DNA nor the number of segments by utilizing the typical tools utilized by genetic genealogists because Ancestry’s totals will be lower and their segments will be broken into more pieces due to the removal of segments identified by Timber as invalid matches.  Blaine Bettinger is beginning to collect information at this link on Ancestry’s shared cM data for known relatives.  This information will be made public for all to utilize, as has his earlier shared cM work.  Please contribute if you can.

Hopefully Ancestry will take this opportunity to address the Timber issue, and hopefully they will eventually provide a chromosome browser type tool.  Now all we need is the chromosome number and start/end addresses for those chopped up segments.  These tidbits and pieces of solutions are not appeasing the genetic genealogy community and this new “amount of shared DNA” feature will not “do” in place of a chromosome browser.  I know this sounds like a broken record…and it is.  While Ancestry seems to be inching in the chromosome browser direction by providing additional information….I wouldn’t hold my breath.  I don’t think it will ever happen – but I would really, REALLY like for Ancestry to prove me wrong!

Fortunately, Ancestry’s tree matches and Circles are useful and thankfully, we can download our autosomal DNA results to both Family Tree DNA and to GedMatch and utilize their chromosome browsers and other tools.  Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to download, so we do really need that chromosome browser.

#genealogy   #ancestrydnaautosomal   #amountofshareddna  
Yesterday, Ancestry quietly introduced a new feature of their AncestryDNA autosomal product called “Amount of Shared DNA.” This can be seen when you view your match, beside the confidence bar, as s...
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