Wednesday, July 27, 2016

AncestryDNA Shared Ancestor Hints

AncestryDNA provides what they call "Shared Ancestor Hints." That is, if both you and a DNA match have linked to an Ancestry Family Tree, and there is a shared ancestor on those trees, they will provide you with the information. So instead of guessing how closely you are related by the amount of shared DNA, you know exactly how close. (Assuming both sets of research is accurate.)

A recent email exchange with one of these matches sparked my curiosity enough to categorize these matches by shared ancestor. I have 22 Shared Ancestor Hints. Breaking the hints down into the generational categories Ancestry provides as estimates:

2nd Cousin – 3rd Cousin
Shared ancestor
1. Melvin Vanevery (2nd cousin)

4th Cousin – 6th Cousin
Shared ancestor
1. Andrew Vanevery (4th Cousin)
2. William Denyer (4th Cousin)
3. Samuel Vanevery (3rd Cousin)
4. Israel Swayze (Sr) (6th cousin)

Distant Cousin (5th to 8th Cousin)
Shared ancestor
1. George W Hartley (4th cousin)
2. Samuel Swayze (7th cousin)
3. Samuel Vanevery (3rd cousin)
4. Israel Swayze (Jr) (5th cousin)
5. Israel Swayze (jr) (5th cousin)
6. Barbara Oberholzer (7th cousin)
7. Samuel Swayze (7th cousin)
8. Samuel Swayze (7th cousin)
9. Israel Swayze (Sr) (6th Cousin)
10. Samuel Swayze (7th cousin)
11. Adam Johann Schauers (7th cousin)
12. Adam Johann Schauers (7th cousin)
13. Joseph Swayze (8th cousin)
14. Adam Johann Schauers (7th cousin)
15. Israel Swayze (Jr) (5th Cousin)
16. Michael Schauers (6th cousin)
17. Barnabas Horton (8th cousin)

Totals by Surname
• Denyer: 1
• Hartley: 1
• Horton: 1
• Oberholtzer: 1
• Schauers: 4
• Vanevery: 4
• Swayze: 10

What traits do all these ancestors share:

1) They are all relatives through my maternal grandmother. I have many matches that I know are through my paternal grandparents’ and maternal grandfather’s lines. However, these matches haven’t posted their family trees back far enough for the Shared Ancestor Hints. Mostly because it is difficult to trace ancestry in Eastern Europe. Especially if your ancestors are Jewish.

2) My Swayze, Vanevery, and Schauers/Showers ancestors during the Revolutionary War were all Loyalists. It is possible that having ancestors in North America at the time of the revolution increases the likelihood that you will have traced your family tree back that far in order to identify Patriot or Loyalist lineage. (Or it's just a matter of having ancestors that far back in North America, where the research is relatively easy compared to other countries.)

Barbara Oberholtzer was part of a Mennonite family, who were mostly Conscientious Objectors. There were Patriot Hortons, but by the time of the Revolution they weren’t my ancestors.

3) I have a lot of Swayze matches. Does the celebrity nature of the Swayze name also have an influence on the likelihood of research?

Three out of the 21 matches (14%) are actually more closely related than Ancestry's estimate based on shared DNA. An 86% correct rate seems to me to be pretty good.