Sunday, May 26, 2013

Organizing AncestryDNA Matches with My Sixteen

If you're working with AncestryDNA results, you have what is called a heap in computer terms. It's a pile of data that can't be easily searched.

So I've decided to do some of my own organization, using my sixteen great-great-grandparents as a starting point. I'm using Excel to list the matches, but other spreadsheet programs could be used as well. In fact, any method that works for you is better than no method.

I sorted my matches in relationship order and then filtered to see only those with common ancestor hints. For each match, I capture enough information to be able to know how the person relates to me and I color-code it to match the colors I assigned to my sixteen.

I include the great-great-grandparent number (1-16) where the common ancestor can be found. For very close matches, there are multiple choices -- I just chose one. I also note that there is a match and the degree of the match (2nd cousin, 4th, 6th, etc). The Ancestry user name and the administered by name, the tree name, and the surnames that match also go into the spreadsheet. I also add any notes from reviewing their tree. In the future I will add a column for chromosome matches once I start working with that data from

After including all the matches with hints, I changed the filter to show all matches and began working down the list in relationship order. I assign possible numbers and colors where I think there is a possible match. I  finished all estimated 4th-6th cousins with available trees and had about 70 matches in the list. I have now started into the 5th-8th moderate confidence matches.

Notice the little down arrows in each column. I've added Excel filters so that I can select and review a set of data by family branch, surname, or even words in my notes.

As an example, using the filter on surname, I can see just my matches with the surname Alexander in their ancestor list.

I hope this gives you some ideas about managing your own AncestryDNA match list.

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