I was giggling when I heard Ancestry.com would readjust its criteria for determining DNA matches. The announcement came that some people would lose a lot of their matches.
Ancestry.com must have been talking about me. I had close to 5,000 matches yesterday. Today, (let’s all giggle together) I have 387 matches. Do the math and you’ll see I have lost 92 percent of my “matches”.
I am not surprised. After all, Ancestry.com’s database only includes Americans. It doesn’t sell DNA tests abroad. I am pretty unique as an American.
My parents were born in Russia and Ukraine and all of my great-grandparents were born in Russia. One great-grandmother was born in Russia, where it is now eastern Poland, but her roots were German from current day Poland.
I hardly fit the profile of a typical Ancestry DNA customer. I can easily guess that most customers have ancestry from western Europe and British Isles.
So surprise, surprise I don’t have any matches closer than 5th to 8th cousins. I have 7 matches with high confidence, 93 matches with good confidence and 287 matches with moderate confidence to people predicted as my 5th to 8th cousins.
Before Ancestry DNA’s readjustments in making matches more accurate, I had mostly 5th to 8th cousin matches with low and very low confidence levels. I also had so many more “matches” to people with Russian and Ukrainian ancestry.
My 100 matches to people with Russian and Ukrainian ancestry has been knocked down to 29 matches to those with Russian ancestors and 12 matches to people with Ukrainian ancestors.
I should be happy to have almost 400 matches but then I took a closer look at my matches’ trees- 66 matches have locked their trees, 94 matches haven’t linked their accounts to trees and 49 matches have trees with less than 50 people.
Ancestry.com knows many of its customers are annoyed with a noticeable number of DNA members not posting trees or having locked trees. It has introduced a new tool.
Straight from Ancestry.com’s website: “DNA Circles are the latest way to discover who you’re related to—even if you aren’t DNA matches. Each DNA Circle you’re part of is based on one of your direct-line ancestors. It will include everyone who has that ancestor in their family tree and has DNA evidence that links them to you or someone else in the circle. In other words, a circle includes all the identified genetic descendants of a particular person. It’s a great way to discover cousins you never knew you had.”
We’ll see if this will have an impact on making closed off customers to share their trees.
After these changes to Ancestry DNA, I am happy I got the Ancestry DNA test for free three years ago as part of the beta group. I have gained nothing from the Ancestry DNA test.
I still believe it is worthwhile to get the test if you are looking for American cousins or your Russian or Ukrainian relatives came to the USA no later than the early 1900s. I don’t have much hope in this test for people such as me who are descendants of people who came to America during World War II and the 1950s and have family mostly abroad.
Anyone looking for Russian and Ukrainian cousins whose family never left their homeland or immigrated to other European countries, Australia, Canada and USA should try the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA. If only Ancestry.com sold its DNA test abroad, the potential for people such as me would grow daily like a weed in a rain forest.