Updated June 15, 2017
About five years ago, Ancestry.com sent me an offer to be part of the beta group for the new autosomal DNA test, which searches for matches from my mother and father’s families. So far, I have about 3,000 matches and have yet to confirm a connection with any of my matches with our family trees.
Both my parents’ families came to the USA in 1950-1951 so maybe the lack of strong matches could be explained by the short time my family has lived here. Ancestry.com only sends its DNA test to 35 countries but that does not include Russia nor Ukraine.
I hope the question and answer format will be useful in explaining how AncestryDNA has worked for me and what those with Russian and Ukrainian roots could expect from AncestryDNA.
Do you need an Ancestry.com subscription to buy the DNA test?
No. Anyone from the 35 approved countries can order the test. However if you do not have an ancestry.com subscription, you will not be able to view family trees of matches. Customers of the DNA test without an ancestry.com subscription still can contact their matches on ancestry.com
What type of information is provided on matches?
Customers see the following information on each match: the Ancestry.com username or username administering the DNA test results, user’s location (sometimes), time length of being an Ancestry.com customer, date of last login, predicted relationship and the confidence of accuracy, ethnicity regions and trace regions, list with up to 10 generations of ancestors’ surnames and their information from a public family tree, mapped locations of your ancestors’ birthplaces and the match’s ancestors’ birthplaces, leaves on a map for common ancestors’ birthplaces and a link to a public family tree.
The newest addition of information on matches is the amount of DNA in common on a certain number of segments.
This is how a list of matches will appear:
How often do you get matches?
I get matches at least once a week. It will vary for everyone.
How many of your matches have ancestors from Russia or Ukraine?
I have 150 matches with ancestors from Russia and 29 matches with ancestors from Ukraine. Several of them do not have birth towns or regions for their ancestors.
How close are your matches?
I have 11 4th-6th cousin matches. The rest are listed as 5th to 8th. Results will vary for everyone.
Do you have matches with people from Russia and Ukraine?
I have noticed a few matches from Russia but I am not sure about Ukrainian matches. Ancestry DNA doesn’t send its kits to Russia and Ukraine but people there are finding ways to obtain the kits and send them back to the USA. Some Russians and Ukrainians could have friends who can order the tests and then the Russians and Ukrainians take the tests during visits.
How friendly are matches in giving information?
I estimate half of my matches have not posted family trees, locked their family trees or have family trees with less than 50 people. Most of the matches to whom I have sent messages through the Ancestry.com site have answered my messages. Some people with locked trees will send me invitations to privately view their trees.
What tools does Ancestry.com offer in searching, sorting, filtering and noting matches?
All your matches can be searched by ancestor surnames and/or locations. Also, you can add stars next to matches in your list and later search for starred matches. Notes can be added to any match’s page. Matches can be sorted by closeness in relationship or date matches arrived. Matches are automatically listed by date- last 7 days, one week ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, two months ago, three months ago and more than three months ago.
The site has four filters- new matches, those with hints from family trees, those you have starred and those who share your genetic communities. I am grouped into the eastern European and Lithuanians communities. I have 15 matches in the eastern European community and 5 matches in the Lithuanian community.
What does Ancestry.com offer for ethnicity breakdown?
It gives a map with percentage breakdowns. I am 81 percent eastern European, 16 percent Finish/Northwestern Russian and 2 percent east Asian. Seven of my great-grandparents were born in current-day Russia and one was born in current-day Poland. Based on movement of people back in the day, I would say this breakdown is accurate.
Does Ancestry.com have forums to help figure out the DNA test and its results?