Saturday, September 21, 2013

DNA Fan Chart

One of the challenges with our DNA match tracking is how to visualize the results. At FGS 2013, a speaker representing AncestryDNA demonstrated an interesting way to see those matches on a fan chart.

I've adopted his approach and placed a dot at the common ancestor(s) for each confirmed match. There aren't enough generations on this lovely fan chart from ClubScrap's Generations digital kit, so the furthest matches show the line associated to the match.

Why are there clusters of distant matches? In each and every case, tenacious researchers have written and published a book about a family group in America in the 1700s. Those books then have been used by genealogists like myself to connect with earlier generations. DNA matching now lets us connect to those distant cousins.

With the move to online trees, I fear this type of book will no longer be written, leaving us to search through dozens of unsourced trees to find the occasional nugget. We won't see the interrelationship with other families in the community cluster -- the relationships that often lead to solutions for tough genealogy problems. DNA may become ever more important to our search.

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