Topics

Ancestry's Drastic Changes Dash Hopes of Finding Connections #dna


Teewinot
 

Seven days ago, AncestryDNA make a drastic unannounced change to the way
they report shared DNA matches. They stopped showing *any* matches
below 20 cM. This is devastating to many people, because many important
matches occur right below 20 cM.

Also, as of September 1st, they removed *all* matches below 8.0 cM.
This action was announced on the website. They said that if you starred
a match, created groups and put the matches in them or sent them a note,
those matches would be preserved.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who began frantically trying to save
every match they could, because, for the past week, the servers were
sluggish, kept crashing, and often went down for two hours or so at a
time. Ancestry finally had to post an apology and said they were
working on the problem. As of September 1st, when the change went into
effect, the servers were fully back to normal. I managed to save just
under 7,500 matches. I know there were many more I was unable to save
before the deadline, and wonder just what discoveries I've missed out on.

I had called AncestryDNA customer service to complain. The young man I
spoke to was shocked when I told him about the 20 cM limit on shared
matches. He told me that was never announced (no kidding!) and that the
customer service people weren't told about it either. (Unreal!) I also
told him that without the ability to see shared matches below 20 cM and
without the matches below 8.0 cM, I, and others, have very little hope
of being able to find out how more distant cousins are connected.

I told him I think I figured out a bit of a workaround, but it involves
an enormous amount more work, and both parties have to work together,
which means you'd have to contact every single person and gain their
cooperation for hours of work. This is totally insane!

I just discovered two distant cousins with many surnames in common, but
with these changes to AncestryDNA, we may never be able to find the
connection between us, and we really want to find it.

In all my years, I have never seen a business do such a thing. We all
paid for the data they gave us. Then they go and take the data away
from us!! No one asked *me* if I agreed to that! If they wanted to
make a change, they should have done it with new customers, and left us
old customers and our data and matching system alone!!

The young man in customer service filed two complaints for me. He also
gave me an email address to write to find out if the data was dumped or
stored somewhere. If it's stored, I want my data back!!

I wrote to the email address and got a "canned" response this morning.
I wrote them again, telling them I didn't appreciate that, and want my
questions answered.

I've also tried calling the corporate HQ, but no one answers. Probably
due to the pandemic. I will call again today.

I wanted to let you all know about this, because I'm discovering many
people had no idea these changes happened. They're quite upset when
they find out. AncestryDNA is nowhere near as useful as it was.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
--
teewinot13@...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESEARCHING: FRIEDMAN, MILLER, BERKOWITZ (Grodno,
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KRASNOPOLSKY, SILBERMAN/SILVERMAN (Krasnopol, Poland/Russia)
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)

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Ellen Slotoroff Zyroff
 

Has any organized protest happened?  A coalition of groups should be organized
asap, if that has not is not alreading happening.  If not, customer group by
customer group should make a formal open communication to the decision-makers at Ancestry.  
What a short-sighted decision!  Has JewishGen made a formal complaint?  
Short-sighted to discard the fruits of the amazing technological advancement that in some
cases is the only way to have made familial connection. Ancestry's very existence is
based on a faith-based reason, leave-no-stone unturned approach to finding
as many of one's ancestors as possible. It's shocking that a cost/benefit analysis would be holding sway.  
Surely they can find a way to keep finding and retaining that level of matching,retaining, and being creative
 in making that available, even if on a special, selective, on-demand basis. 
 
Ellen Slotoroff Zyroff
 
PISTERMAN (Bessarabia/Northern Moldova), ROTH (Bessarabia/Northern Moldova), ZOLOTOROV/SLOTOROFF (Chernigov / Kiev, Ukraine), LEVINE(Michalovka, Minsk), CHARKOVSKY/SHARKOVSKY (Ukraine), BLAUSTEIN (Ukraine), RIBNICK (Belarus), SHEINISS (Belarus), ROGOWITZ (Belarus), ZYRO (Zabolitiv, Western Ukraine $ Poland), TESLER (Horochiv, Volynia, Westerb Ukraine), LIMON (Bereshtiko,Volynia, Western Ukraine), TAU (Ukraine), KRANTZ (Ukraine).    
 

On Thursday, September 3, 2020, 10:27:05 AM PDT, Teewinot <teewinot13@...> wrote:
 
 
Seven days ago, AncestryDNA make a drastic unannounced change to the way
they report shared DNA matches. They stopped showing *any* matches
below 20 cM. This is devastating to many people, because many important
matches occur right below 20 cM.

Also, as of September 1st, they removed *all* matches below 8.0 cM.
This action was announced on the website. They said that if you starred
a match, created groups and put the matches in them or sent them a note,
those matches would be preserved.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who began frantically trying to save
every match they could, because, for the past week, the servers were
sluggish, kept crashing, and often went down for two hours or so at a
time. Ancestry finally had to post an apology and said they were
working on the problem. As of September 1st, when the change went into
effect, the servers were fully back to normal. I managed to save just
under 7,500 matches. I know there were many more I was unable to save
before the deadline, and wonder just what discoveries I've missed out on.

I had called AncestryDNA customer service to complain. The young man I
spoke to was shocked when I told him about the 20 cM limit on shared
matches. He told me that was never announced (no kidding!) and that the
customer service people weren't told about it either. (Unreal!) I also
told him that without the ability to see shared matches below 20 cM and
without the matches below 8.0 cM, I, and others, have very little hope
of being able to find out how more distant cousins are connected.

I told him I think I figured out a bit of a workaround, but it involves
an enormous amount more work, and both parties have to work together,
which means you'd have to contact every single person and gain their
cooperation for hours of work. This is totally insane!

I just discovered two distant cousins with many surnames in common, but
with these changes to AncestryDNA, we may never be able to find the
connection between us, and we really want to find it.

In all my years, I have never seen a business do such a thing. We all
paid for the data they gave us. Then they go and take the data away
from us!! No one asked *me* if I agreed to that! If they wanted to
make a change, they should have done it with new customers, and left us
old customers and our data and matching system alone!!

The young man in customer service filed two complaints for me. He also
gave me an email address to write to find out if the data was dumped or
stored somewhere. If it's stored, I want my data back!!

I wrote to the email address and got a "canned" response this morning.
I wrote them again, telling them I didn't appreciate that, and want my
questions answered.

I've also tried calling the corporate HQ, but no one answers. Probably
due to the pandemic. I will call again today.

I wanted to let you all know about this, because I'm discovering many
people had no idea these changes happened. They're quite upset when
they find out. AncestryDNA is nowhere near as useful as it was.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
--
teewinot13@...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESEARCHING: FRIEDMAN, MILLER, BERKOWITZ (Grodno,
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KRASNOPOLSKY, SILBERMAN/SILVERMAN (Krasnopol, Poland/Russia)
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)

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--
ZOLOTOROV (Chernigov, Ukraine; Kiev, Ukraine);
SLOTOROFF (Kiev, Ukraine)
CHARKOVSKY or SHARKOVSKY(Ukraine);
LEVINE (Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus);
GLUSKIN (Ukraine)
LIMON (Berestechko, Volynia, Ukraine)
TESLER (Horochiv, Volynia, Ukraine)
ZYRO (Zabolativ, Ukraine) 
TAU (Zalolativ, Ukraine)
PISTERMAN (Ukraine)
ROTH / ROT (Ataki, Bessarabia, Moldova)
BLAUSTEIN (Chernigov, Ukraine or Minsk, Belarus)


Teewinot
 

Update on Ancestry Situation:

I just got off the phone with corporate HQ. The man agreed with me and
is going to look into returning the shared DNA matches to the full 8.0
cM. I told him that to cut them off at 20 cM was ridiculous and
short-sighted. We had a long conversation, and I carefully explained to
him why even the very low cM matches are important. I told him I'm a
retired medical professional, so I understand about DNA and inheritance.
That seemed to carry some weight. So, that may be reversed. It's a
simple matter of re-writing the computer program.

I would suggest that everyone with an Ancestry DNA account call
corporate HQ and ask that they return the shared matches to the full
range down to 8.0 cM. The phone number is: 801-705-7000. It is in Salt
Lake City, Utah, which is in the Mountain Time Zone.

As for matches below 8.0 cM, I'm sorry to have to report that that data
has been dumped. I find that devastating.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida


On 9/3/2020 1:57 PM, Ellen Slotoroff Zyroff via groups.jewishgen.org wrote:

Has any organized protest happened??? A coalition of groups should be
organized
asap, if that has not is not alreading happening.?? If not, customer group by
customer group should make a formal open communication to the
decision-makers at Ancestry.
What a short-sighted decision!?? Has JewishGen made a formal complaint?
Short-sighted to discard the fruits of the amazing technological
advancement that in some
cases is the only way to have made familial connection. Ancestry's very
existence is
based on a faith-based reason, leave-no-stone unturned approach to finding
as many of one's ancestors as possible. It's shocking that a
cost/benefit analysis would be holding sway.
Surely they can find a way to keep finding and retaining that level of
matching,retaining, and being creative
??in making that available, even if on a special, selective, on-demand
basis.
Ellen Slotoroff Zyroff
PISTERMAN (Bessarabia/Northern Moldova), ROTH (Bessarabia/Northern
Moldova), ZOLOTOROV/SLOTOROFF (Chernigov / Kiev, Ukraine),
LEVINE(Michalovka, Minsk), CHARKOVSKY/SHARKOVSKY (Ukraine), BLAUSTEIN
(Ukraine), RIBNICK (Belarus), SHEINISS (Belarus), ROGOWITZ (Belarus),
ZYRO (Zabolitiv, Western Ukraine $ Poland), TESLER (Horochiv, Volynia,
Westerb Ukraine), LIMON (Bereshtiko,Volynia, Western Ukraine), TAU
(Ukraine), KRANTZ (Ukraine).
On Thursday, September 3, 2020, 10:27:05 AM PDT, Teewinot
<teewinot13@...> wrote:
Seven days ago, AncestryDNA make a drastic unannounced change to the way
they report shared DNA matches. They stopped showing *any* matches
below 20 cM This is devastating to many people, because many important
matches occur right below 20 cM.

Also, as of September 1st, they removed *all* matches below 8.0 cM.
This action was announced on the website They said that if you starred
a match, created groups and put the matches in them or sent them a note,
those matches would be preserved.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who began frantically trying to save
every match they could, because, for the past week, the servers were
sluggish, kept crashing, and often went down for two hours or so at a
time. Ancestry finally had to post an apology and said they were
working on the problem. As of September 1st, when the change went into
effect, the servers were fully back to normal. I managed to save just
under 7,500 matches. I know there were many more I was unable to save
before the deadline, and wonder just what discoveries I've missed out on.

I had called AncestryDNA customer service to complain. The young man I
spoke to was shocked when I told him about the 20 cM limit on shared
matches. He told me that was never announced (no kidding!) and that the
customer service people weren't told about it either. (Unreal!) I also
told him that without the ability to see shared matches below 20 cM and
without the matches below 8.0 cM, I, and others, have very little hope
of being able to find out how more distant cousins are connected.

I told him I think I figured out a bit of a workaround, but it involves
an enormous amount more work, and both parties have to work together,
which means you'd have to contact every single person and gain their
cooperation for hours of work. This is totally insane!

I just discovered two distant cousins with many surnames in common, but
with these changes to AncestryDNA, we may never be able to find the
connection between us, and we really want to find it.

In all my years, I have never seen a business do such a thing. We all
paid for the data they gave us. Then they go and take the data away
from us!! No one asked *me* if I agreed to that! If they wanted to
make a change, they should have done it with new customers, and left us
old customers and our data and matching system alone!!

The young man in customer service filed two complaints for me. He also
gave me an email address to write to find out if the data was dumped or
stored somewhere. If it's stored, I want my data back!!

I wrote to the email address and got a "canned" response this morning.
I wrote them again, telling them I didn't appreciate that, and want my
questions answered.

I've also tried calling the corporate HQ, but no one answers. Probably
due to the pandemic. I will call again today.

I wanted to let you all know about this, because I'm discovering many
people had no idea these changes happened. They're quite upset when
they find out. AncestryDNA is nowhere near as useful as it was.

Jeri Friedman
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
--
teewinot13@...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESEARCHING: FRIEDMAN, MILLER, BERKOWITZ (Grodno,
Poland/Russia/Belarus); GEIST (?,Russia); GLICKMAN, KLUGMAN, STURMAN,
KAPLAN, ROTENBERG (Bilgoraj, Lublin, Poland/Russia); LIEB/LEIBOWITZ,
BLAU (Jassy/Iasi, Romania); GALINSKY, GELLIS (Suwalki, Poland/Russia);
KRASNOPOLSKY, SILBERMAN/SILVERMAN (Krasnopol, Poland/Russia)
KOPCIANSKY (?, Poland/Russia); GOLDSTEIN, SCHRAGER (?, Romania);
CYRULNIK (Suwalki, Poland/Russia and Kalvarija, Lithuania)
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Adam Turner
 

Only the 8.0 cM cutoff is a recent change. The bit about the shared matches was never announced because it is how AncestryDNA has always worked, at least since I tested.

Your main match list (the screen you are brought to when you click "DNA matches", which shows all of your matches) showed, and continues to show, all matches: everyone from "close family", "2nd-3rd cousins," "4th-6th cousins" (3500+ cM down to 20.0 cM) to "Distant Cousins" aka "5th-8th cousins" (20.0 cM down to 8.0 cM). The change that AncestryDNA made in August is that the cutoff used to go down to 6 cM, and they took out all matches between 6.0 and 8.0 cM. 

The shared matches tab is what you're brought to when you click on the profile of one of your matches, and are trying to triangulate the results and see other people who match both you and that match. This section has always had a cutoff of 20.0 cM; you cannot drill past 20.0 cM from this tab within a match's profile. But you could, and still can, see matches from 8-20 cM in your main match list. 

There's an interesting debate to be had on whether revising the cutoff from 6 cM to 8 cM was beneficial for users (apparently, until 2016, it used to go down as low as 5 cM), as well as the degree to which some of these changes are really motivated by the desire to improve accuracy, as opposed to AncestryDNA's engineers demanding this from within because their job of running a gigantic match database while minimizing bugs is hard. (Seen the "our backend servers are overtaxed at the moment" message lately? I know I have.) But they didn't take 8-20 cM matches out of Shared Matches; they were never there in the first place.

Adam Turner


Jan Meisels Allen
 

In response to Jerri Friedman's post about no advance notice about Ancestry's eliminating DNA matches below a low threshold, I posted the following to this discussion group and the IAJGS Leadership Forum on July 31. I have no affiliation with Ancestry but was on a call to "select" posters/bloggers when they announced this and asked that it be shared.

I posted to this group on Friday July 31 about the Ancestry changes- when they delayed for one month from their original date giving people adequate time to mark those with less than 8.0 cM with notes or adding notes,  sending messages or adding them to a group. 

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

This was my original posting recouped from JewishGen's archives by looking through #DNA and the date.

ul 31   #647733  

 Jan Meisels Allen
Jul 31   #647733  


Recently Ancestry announced they were going to eliminate those “small” DNA matches, less than 6 cM. This caused quite a stir in the broader genealogical community.  As a result, Ancestry announced that they will delay removing the “small” DNA matches until late August.  If you want to save them, you can by adding notes,  sending messages or adding them to a group. Remember those with such small amounts of cM  may be “noise” or endogamy and not worth the time- the reason Ancestry plans to eliminate those matches.

 

Additional updates from Ancestry DNA include:

  • More accurate number of shared segments- available in early August
  • See the length of your longest shared segment—available mid-August
  • Distant DNA matches must share 8.0 cM or higher- available late August

 

For those researching Asia Polynesia, South Africa and Australia, Ancestry has updated their Ancestry DNA communities.  They now have, 20 Southeast Asian, 9 East Asian, 14 South Asian, 31 Oceanian, 2 African and 1 Central Asian & Russian community.

To read more about their update see:

https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2020/07/31/ancestry-unveils-updated-communities-for-members-with-ties-to-asia-polynesia-south-africa-australia/

 

I normally would not report on the updated communities but since I was reporting on the change of plan for small DNA matches I included this information.

 

I have no affiliation with Ancestry and am reporting this solely for the information of the reader.

 

Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

 

 


 



Teewinot
 

I never said that Ancestry gave no notice that they were removing
matches below 8.0 cM. I said that they gave no notice that they were
changing the cut-off in the shared DNA from 6.0 cM (at the time) to 20 cM.

Jeri Friedman


On 9/3/2020 6:46 PM, Jan Meisels Allen wrote:

In response to Jerri Friedman's post about no advance notice about
Ancestry's eliminating DNA matches below a low threshold, I posted the
following to this discussion group and the IAJGS Leadership Forum on
July 31. I have no affiliation with Ancestry but was on a call to
"select" posters/bloggers when they announced this and asked that it be
shared.

I posted to this group on Friday July 31 about the Ancestry changes-
when they delayed for one month from their original date giving people
adequate time to mark those with less than 8.0 cM with notes or adding
notes,  sending messages or adding them to a group.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
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Teewinot
 

I beg to differ. In all my shared matches until about 7 days ago, I had
matches down to 6.0 cM. So did my cousins I've been working with. If
we didn't, we wouldn't have found some of the links between us. I also
wouldn't have found other critical matches in the shared DNA.

I know what shared matches are. I've been using them for the past two
years, since I tested.

I'm a retired medical professional and know about DNA, genetics and
inheritance. In more distant relationships, DNA is more a guide, not an
absolute. Due to the way DNA is inherited, you can have two siblings
with vastly different DNA inheritance from even great great
grandparents. Also, the estimation of relationship can often be way
off. Someone with 8.0 cM could be as close as a 4th cousin or as
distant as an 8th cousin. It all depends on how the DNA was
inherited/passed down. (Ancestry had two of my 1st cousins once removed
listed as 3rd to 4th cousins.)

I paid for the data I was given (down to 6.0 cM). I did not in the
least appreciate it being taken from me without even asking me. I
worked feverishly for the last week to save as many matches as I could
below 8.0 cM. Obviously, everyone else was, too, because the servers
were sluggish, crashing constantly, and even going down completely for
two hours at a time. They hadn't been prior to that. On Sept. 1st,
they were back to normal. I managed to save just under 7,500 matches.
I dread to think of all the valuable data I lost in the matches I
couldn't save.

I personally believe that Ancestry has done all this because they can't
handle the storage of the massive amount of data that is being generated
as more and more people get tested. I also personally believe that what
Ancestry did was disgraceful and just plain bad business. I have never,
in all my years, seen a business take away something from a customer
that they had paid for. If Ancestry wanted to make changes, they should
have started with the new customers as of Sept. 1st, and left alone all
the data of customers who had paid for the service before that date.
They've just made it far harder now to trace links between families.

I had a long talk with someone in the corporate HQ today. He agreed
with me, and is going to look into returning all matches to the shared
DNA. As for the data below 8.0 cM, it's all been dumped. So now it's
just wait and see.

Jeri Friedman


On 9/3/2020 5:54 PM, Adam Turner wrote:

Only the 8.0 cM cutoff is a recent change. The bit about the shared
matches was never announced because it is how AncestryDNA has /always/
worked, at least since I tested.

Your /main match list/ (the screen you are brought to when you click
"DNA matches", which shows all of your matches) showed, and continues to
show, all matches: everyone from "close family", "2nd-3rd cousins,"
"4th-6th cousins" (3500+ cM down to 20.0 cM) to "Distant Cousins" aka
"5th-8th cousins" (20.0 cM down to 8.0 cM). The change that AncestryDNA
made in August is that the cutoff used to go down to 6 cM, and they took
out all matches between 6.0 and 8.0 cM.

The /shared matches tab/ is what you're brought to when you click on the
profile of one of your matches, and are trying to triangulate the
results and see /other /people who match /both/ you and that match. This
section has /always/ had a cutoff of 20.0 cM; you cannot drill past 20.0
cM from this tab within a match's profile. But you could, and still can,
see matches from 8-20 cM in your main match list.

There's an interesting debate to be had on whether revising the cutoff
from 6 cM to 8 cM was beneficial for users (apparently, until 2016, it
used to go down as low as 5 cM), as well as the degree to which some of
these changes are really motivated by the desire to improve accuracy, as
opposed to AncestryDNA's engineers demanding this from within because
their job of running a gigantic match database while minimizing bugs is
hard. (Seen the "our backend servers are overtaxed at the moment"
message lately? I know I have.) But they didn't take 8-20 cM matches out
of Shared Matches; they were never there in the first place.

Adam Turner
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Harvey Kabaker
 

I don't understand what this is all about. I haven't seen any reduction in DNA matching results below a total of 20 cM. Totals under 6 cM are gone, if they ever were there. And I have hundreds of thousands of matches from 6cM on up, including many thousands between 6 and 20.

We could discuss forever whether it's of any value to see so-called matches of say, 3 segments totalling 10 cM. And I take issue with this: ". . . without the ability to see shared matches below 20 cM and without the matches below 8.0 cM, I, and others, have very little hope of being able to find out how more distant cousins are connected." DNA does not show you how you are connected; genealogy research does.

Seems to me, Jeri, you're getting people stirred up over nothing. 

Harvey Kabaker
Silver Spring, MD


Adam Turner
 

I'm sorry, but that is simply not true.

From this post, dated back in February:

It’s important to know that the list on the Shared tab page is restricted to Ancestry’s chosen CM threshold. The way they put it is that they only show you “fourth-cousins-and-closer”. That translates into above 20 cM.

This post dates back to July, when Ancestry announced the 8.0 cM cutoff:

...However, person A’s sibling, person B, also matches me below 20 cM, but I can’t see that shared match with person A because my shared match with person B is below 20 cM. However, checking my match list for person B’s name shows that they are a match to me. However, there is no way to know that I match person B in common with person A.
 
Then, checking another family member, like an aunt, for example, I see that person A and person B both match her as well, probably also on segments below 20 cM so she can’t see them on her shared match list either, nor can I see either of those matches, person A or person B on my shared match list with my aunt.
 
Reaching out to matches below 20 cM and asking if they have other family members you can check, by name, to see if they are on your match list is important. Many people don’t realize shared matches below 20 cM aren’t shown at Ancestry.
This thread dates to January 2019:
 Looking through my matches, there are no 5th-8th cousins in shared matches i.e. below 20 centimorgans, can't believe I haven't noticed this before! 

Correct - shared matches are only people you share at least 20 cM with and the other person also does.
That thread links to this one from 2018:
I have a third cousin, who I share with 3 others. If I click on the 3rd cousin's shared matches it shows a 4 to 6 cousin - the two 5 to 8 cousins do not show at all. If I look at one of the 5 to 8 cousins it shows the 3rd and 4 to 6 cousins, but not the other 5 to 8 cousin. So, only 4 to 6 cousins, or closer, show in shared matches. This has been the case for me since April when I got my results.
Adam Turner
 


Adam Turner
 

I think I come down somewhere in the middle on the value of these small-segment matches and autosomal DNA research generally. DNA doesn't show how you're connected - but finding patterns among my matches in AncestryDNA has definitely been hugely useful for identifying groups of people who, after these leads are followed up with traditional research, turn out to be in distantly-related branches (those of the siblings of my ggg-grandparents) that can then be joined to my tree.

That said, have the matches below 10 cM or so been vital for accomplishing this? Not especially, in my experience. They're more like gravy: usually, the only way I ever find promising matches in this range in the first place is by using the search bar to mine my match list for a name/surname/ancestral town that I already know is associated with my family. Then, I can compare them to a group I've previously identified - which mostly contains matches above 20 cM. If I turn up a cluster of 9 people among my matches who are all associated with the Greenstein family of Anatevka, and Joe Kloppenberg in that cluster who matches me at 7.2 cM turns out to also have some match to 12 of my known cousins, that is decent supplemental info to have as I investigate the cluster further. But I have yet to come across a case where I would never have been able to identify that cluster of people if it weren't for the people in it who have the most marginal matches to me.

Adam Turner


Dahn Cukier
 

A few words about computers.

All the former "matches" are still on the computers as are all
non matches. Unless a person has demanded their DNA be removed,
Ancestry should not be removing any results.

We, the users, see only the data deemed relevant to us. I do not see
any of my uncle's wife's relatives, but did find an 5-8th cousin in
common, or so say statistics.

Since Ancestry removed the ability to jump from page to page, I
have not seen as many matches. I tried to scroll down when the new
display first came out about a year ago, but after an hour, I was
no where near the 150,000 matches I saw before the display change.

I would appreciate Ancestry supplying a utility to request a spreadsheet of
matches as MyHeritage does/did in batch form. "Batch" means it is produced during
slow hours and a file is prepared for the user by request that can be downloaded.

With so much endogamy, the results on any database are less than perfect.
I have access to 7 direct relatives raw data DNA at Ancestry. When a new
1st-3rd cousin shows up, I always look at he person from my mother's data,
my father's brother's data and my sister's data. If only I am a
relative, it is most likely a false positive. By looking at 2nd cousins data,
I can find if the person is related to my mother's father or mother, or
my father's father or mother.

As I write this, I begin to suspect that Ancestry may not be so much about
genealogy as connecting living people. As families started to move around
more and more beginning in the 1960s many have lost touch with
2nd generation relatives. While I knew my aunts and uncles, I have never met
many of their 1st cousins.

Dani Cukier
Cukier/Zucker/Zukrowicz, Brif/Brieff, Sklawir/etc. Lisoecki/Lisobitki/etc.


When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Friday, September 4, 2020, 05:27:02 AM GMT+3, Teewinot <teewinot13@...> wrote:


I beg to differ. In all my shared matches until about 7 days ago, I had
matches down to 6.0 cM. So did my cousins I've been working with. If
we didn't, we wouldn't have found some of the links between us. I also
wouldn't have found other critical matches in the shared DNA.

I know what shared matches are. I've been using them for the past two
years, since I tested.

I'm a retired medical professional and know about DNA, genetics and
inheritance. In more distant relationships, DNA is more a guide, not an
absolute. Due to the way DNA is inherited, you can have two siblings
with vastly different DNA inheritance from even great great
grandparents. Also, the estimation of relationship can often be way
off. Someone with 8.0 cM could be as close as a 4th cousin or as
distant as an 8th cousin. It all depends on how the DNA was
inherited/passed down. (Ancestry had two of my 1st cousins once removed
listed as 3rd to 4th cousins.)

I paid for the data I was given (down to 6.0 cM). I did not in the
least appreciate it being taken from me without even asking me. I
worked feverishly for the last week to save as many matches as I could
below 8.0 cM. Obviously, everyone else was, too, because the servers
were sluggish, crashing constantly, and even going down completely for
two hours at a time. They hadn't been prior to that. On Sept. 1st,
they were back to normal. I managed to save just under 7,500 matches.
I dread to think of all the valuable data I lost in the matches I
couldn't save.

I personally believe that Ancestry has done all this because they can't
handle the storage of the massive amount of data that is being generated
as more and more people get tested. I also personally believe that what
Ancestry did was disgraceful and just plain bad business. I have never,
in all my years, seen a business take away something from a customer
that they had paid for. If Ancestry wanted to make changes, they should
have started with the new customers as of Sept. 1st, and left alone all
the data of customers who had paid for the service before that date.
They've just made it far harder now to trace links between families.

I had a long talk with someone in the corporate HQ today. He agreed
with me, and is going to look into returning all matches to the shared
DNA. As for the data below 8.0 cM, it's all been dumped. So now it's
just wait and see.

Jeri Friedman

On 9/3/2020 5:54 PM, Adam Turner wrote:

Only the 8.0 cM cutoff is a recent change. The bit about the shared
matches was never announced because it is how AncestryDNA has /always/
worked, at least since I tested.

Your /main match list/ (the screen you are brought to when you click
"DNA matches", which shows all of your matches) showed, and continues to
show, all matches: everyone from "close family", "2nd-3rd cousins,"
"4th-6th cousins" (3500+ cM down to 20.0 cM) to "Distant Cousins" aka
"5th-8th cousins" (20.0 cM down to 8.0 cM). The change that AncestryDNA
made in August is that the cutoff used to go down to 6 cM, and they took
out all matches between 6.0 and 8.0 cM.

The /shared matches tab/ is what you're brought to when you click on the
profile of one of your matches, and are trying to triangulate the
results and see /other /people who match /both/ you and that match. This
section has /always/ had a cutoff of 20.0 cM; you cannot drill past 20.0
cM from this tab within a match's profile. But you could, and still can,
see matches from 8-20 cM in your main match list.

There's an interesting debate to be had on whether revising the cutoff
from 6 cM to 8 cM was beneficial for users (apparently, until 2016, it
used to go down as low as 5 cM), as well as the degree to which some of
these changes are really motivated by the desire to improve accuracy, as
opposed to AncestryDNA's engineers demanding this from within because
their job of running a gigantic match database while minimizing bugs is
hard. (Seen the "our backend servers are overtaxed at the moment"
message lately? I know I have.) But they didn't take 8-20 cM matches out
of Shared Matches; they were never there in the first place.

Adam Turner
--
This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
https://www.avast.com/antivirus


Jill Whitehead
 

Personally I do not find small segments of any use whatsoever, as they go so far back in time that they are unreliable, and give faulty results. It is the 20cm plus which are the key to finding recent ancestors. Unfortunately Ancestry only records total cm length and not individual chromosome cm length so their data has to be uploaded to Gedmatch or another supplier like  FTDNA, 23andme,MyHeritage to get this information. 

However, I agree 20cm could be seen as a high cut off - I would prefer say 15 cm, but this would need to go hand in hand with Ancestry giving its customers individual chromosome lengths like all the other suppliers.  

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


manderlie@...
 

I thought i was the only one fighting for the loss of the 6-7.9 cM. i complained the day the notice came out and shared with some others. Many were thankful and a few tried to tell me it was just noise. I know it is not because i have a line on my non-Jewish side that i can trace back 10 generations. One day I saw a surname in a distant match and she had a larger tree. i could follow her tree to meet exactly where they were supposed to....6th cousins.  I was stunned because originally i understood that these results were unreliable.  

Fast forward. I had made a couple more matches similarly but my Jewish lines were harder to prove due to paper trails before North America being harder to document. But wait there is more. We all know that Jewish Genealogy is a special search requiring a some basic understandings of endogamy, name changes, migration patterns, geographical name changes, generic terms like 'Russia' Or 'Austria' which could mean Belarus or Hungary.  

Because i have both adoption in one generation and an NPE at the next, I do not have the luxury of starting with the myself and going backwards. Most genealogist presume that inductive reasoning is the principal method of searching. This technique worked fine on other lines because i had data to fill in.  On my Jewish line i had nothing.  I could not use inductive reasoning.  I had to find clues and even that was not good enough.  Yes I had experience in breaking down other really tough walls in my other research but still i had the luxury of moving up the tree. 

So for those of us who have missing parents or grandparents identities through the holocaust, NPE's or adoption, this methodology will not work. You may get lucky and have a breakthrough but it will not be because you had information available to you about missing tree members. 

In these cases we have to parachute into the top of the tree and start climbing our way down. if the top of the tree is shaved off, we are stuck in limbo.  But after reading the support of people who wrote in, it is not just people with my issues but there is a broader range of researchers who realize the additional information that is stored in the distant past. 

I know not everyone agrees. I have had people who told me that this was 'just noise'.  Noise may be at the 1 to 2% level and it is a nice buzz word but i once thought that there was little reliability at this level and through evidence I found on my own, I have changed my position. I was wrong. In the last few weeks when my wrists got sore and my eyes blurred while i spent hours per day documenting as many distant matches as i physically could, I learned something I have not been able to find in my closer matches. I was able to separate my great grandparents and figure out that my Great Grandmother was Litvak and my Great Grandfather was Galician. That was a huge breakthrough and i could color code it.

Secondly i was able to find an entire line that could be documented to a closer cousin hence strengthen the jump to my tree.  I am still breaking down the wall and i know if i still had the 6 to 7.9 cM i would have a better chance at resolution. DNA has helped me determine a surname I am seeking. I was looking for the wrong name in the wrong place for years before DNA.  Closer DNA matches allowed this discovery. 

I am in support of all those who want to have the DNA reinstated.  I believe it was the contract we agreed upon for submitting DNA though they say these agreements can be changed on their part at any time. A one way street. It can't hurt those who do not care so it is a non issue. Maybe there could be an opportunity for those who do not care for it to have an off button so their 6-8 cM matches are not downloaded to their account. I would not have an issue with that. 

I hope we can fight to get the information back. You made some difference because they did delay the deletion by at least four weeks at one point. It was not adequate for me to cover all the areas i was trying to save.

No voice is acceptance. One voice is heard, many voices are answered. (one way or another).

Susan Gardner


Sarah L Meyer
 

I got tired of scrolling looking for these - so I went to the shared cM tab and put in 19 cM to 20 cM and they opened right up.  Everything above 8 is still there.  I am personally having problems finding where 99.9% of my larger matches fit in my tree.  


--
Sarah L Meyer
Georgetown TX
ANK(I)ER, BIGOS, KARMELEK, PERLSTADT, STOKFISZ, SZPIL(T)BAUM, Poland
BIRGARDOVSKY, EDELBERG, HITE (CHAIT), PERCHIK Russia (southern Ukraine) and some Latvia or Lithuania
https://www.sarahsgenies.com


JoAnne Goldberg
 

I for one am happy they got rid of all the noise. My 250,000 matches
have now been pared to a much more manageable 180,000. More
significantly, it seems -- perhaps my imagination? -- that the matches
are loading faster because the system isn't plowing through so many of
them. I wish Ancestry offered more options for customizing, but, baby
steps.

I do appreciate that tiny segments can have value, but since you can't
see chromosomes on Ancestry, you can't really triangulate. Though I use
the Shared Matches a lot, it's never clear what I'm looking at since I
can't tell if they share with each other. 23andMe is much better in that
regard.

Because my German side is well documented, Ancestry often points out
fifth and sixth cousins to me, people with whom I share minute amounts
of DNA, way down in the 100,000s on my list.  But do we share that DNA
because we have the same 7xgreat-grandparents? Or because most Jews are
related a few different ways? I tend to think it's the latter, and
without additional info from Ancestry, I have no reason to believe
otherwise. I'd rather focus on my top ten mystery matches, and the more
tools Ancestry can provide in that regard -- largest segment size has
been a huge help -- the better!
--
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD, SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN,  DANIEL  -- Rhineland, Germany

 


karen.silver@juno.com
 

I am afraid that most of us are not very sophisticated when analyzing their DNA matches.  While I can match all my first and second cousins, I can only match 7 out of 56 third cousins.  The matches on my mother's side often share commonality with the matches on my father's side.  So there is no way to discern how these people are related to me.
 
I am very sorry for those who feel they are being hurt by Ancestry's decision.  But I want to remind you that Ancestry is a business and you have other choices for storing and matching your DNA like GEDmatch.
 


Max Heffler
 

I am amazed that any Ashkenazi have success at total less than 200 cM. I have been autosomal testing well over a decade and don’t waste time below totals of 200 cM unless there are strong name/place connections. Under 200 cM I have spent much time and had no success so I stopped trying years ago. I have found the 23andMe, Ancestry and MyHeritage relative mapping tools to  be helpful in a number of cases. I am experimenting with yourfamily.dna but have spent way too much time and had no success.

 

Max Heffler

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of karen.silver@... via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2020 2:47 PM
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Ancestry's Drastic Changes Dash Hopes of Finding Connections #dna

 

I am afraid that most of us are not very sophisticated when analyzing their DNA matches.  While I can match all my first and second cousins, I can only match 7 out of 56 third cousins.  The matches on my mother's side often share commonality with the matches on my father's side.  So there is no way to discern how these people are related to me.

 

I am very sorry for those who feel they are being hurt by Ancestry's decision.  But I want to remind you that Ancestry is a business and you have other choices for storing and matching your DNA like GEDmatch.

 

_._,_._,_


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Ellen Lukas Kahn
 

 

 Hi JoAnne,

I read your post on Jewish Gen and wanted to contact you.  I have done genealogy for over 40 years, searching for both my own and my late husband’s ancestors, all of whom lived for centuries in Germany.  We are first generation Americans.

I have been able to go back on one side to 1685, and found many close connections within our families who lived the same areas of Germany, so I do believe you are correct as to your remark that most Jews in Germany are related a few different ways.

My husband’s paternal side lived in very small villages in Western Germany along the Mosel River just east of Trier, his mother’s family lived just south of there in the Hünsruck mountain range.  My father’s maternal side resided closer to Koblenz in the Rhineland, his paternal ancestors lived further north in small towns near Düsseldorf, and my mother’s family lived in small towns in Wurttemberg such as Schwäbisch Hall and Crailsheim.

I have tried to focus my research going back in time rather than continue to try to contact the hundreds of people who show up on pages and pages of the DNA results. None of the ones I contact were related to us.

 

Of the surnames you posted, there is one name you listed that is familiar to me.  It is HARFF.  My father’s cousin Ella Kahn married Louis Harf who was born on 10 May 1879.  They both perished in the Holocaust.

I look forward to hearing from you and perhaps share information.

 

 

Ellen Lukas Kahn

Homewood, IL

 

 


Peter Straus
 

The GEDmatch website solicits participants from the various DNA search firms.  I have found them quite  useful, both for the tools they offer and as an alternative to subscribing to every DNA search firm.  (My native DNA site is ftDNA.)  I don’t know if GEDmatch offers any solution to the experiences on Ancestry that initiated this thread, but they may if the unprocessed source data can still be accessed.

--peter straus 

   San Francs


Phil Karlin
 

If you want to get nerdy about it, here's a link to an Ancestry support document supposedly explaining it: https://www.ancestrycdn.com/support/us/2020/08/matchingwhitepaper.pd
They call their algorithm "Timber," and they've been using it for years. Essentially, certain segments, usually smaller but sometimes quite substantial, are not included in your match because they believe they are not indicative of a relationship match between the two people, merely of (in our cases) being Jewish. 

I can see pros and cons to its use. My bigger issue is the opacity of the Ancestry user interface. It could use a chromosome browser. More importantly it doesn't tell you the strength of the other person to the common match. For example, if person X and shows as match through my aunt, it tells me 1800 cM with my aunt (duh), but nothing on the match between aunt and person X. If they share 100 cM, that's interesting. If they share 20, that's something else. 

If they gave you as much information as any of the others you could work with it. But they don't, so we're left Kremlin watching. Ancestry has the biggest number of users, so you need to use it. But it is the inferior product. 

Phil Karlin