New tools for DNA cousin matching

or how to deal with all those cousin matches

Do I really have 400/800 4th or closer cousins?

Chart from the Ancestry ? on the DNA home page

Simplified version of the relationship chart from Chart from the ISOGG wiki (courtesy Dimario, Wikimedia Commons)

The "G" trick

The cousin level = the number of "G"s , else the greats plus one

If you are in different generations take the shorter path and the other is removed by the generation difference

You will not match all your 3rd cousins


but you will match all your 2nd cousins

and closer relatives

What percentage of your cousins will match your DNA?

The matches called 2nd cousin at Ancestry share 200-600? cM but can easily be other relations, most of mine are 1st once and twice removed

I indicate the actual relationship first thing in my notes

Enter the cMs and get probable relationships

Clicking on a match name or tree on the match list takes you to the match page for that person

Clicking on the notepad makes a box slide in from the right where you can type notes like the actual relationship

(don't forget to click save!)

My real 2nd cousins are at the bottom of the 2nd cousin list and also at the top of the 3rd cousin "bin"

Notice that most have either a green or blue dot, the first one has both because he is a 1st cousin once removed

At Ancestry click on the + next to a match to assign it to groups with the color you choose

Start by creating a group for each great grandparent's line. I like to use warm colors for the maternal side and bluish colors for the paternal

Each color stands for a great grandparent line except on the Bavarian side where there are no testers

You need a good family tree for this!

Ancestry has done a lot of the work for you by searching trees for common ancestors

Clicking Common ancestors will display only those matches with shared ancestors found via any tree on Ancestry

Click a match name or tree and see how you are related

Clicking on a "Common Ancestor" brings up a display like this showing the relationship pathways

Next go back to the match page and click shared matches, give them all a dot for this family line (Munsons are green)!

Shared matches only go out to 4th cousins

One problem with that is that a second cousin shares BOTH great grandparents so more distant shared matches might be HALLING not MUNSON

Another approach is to look for the descendants of a specific ancestor via ThruLines on your DNA home page

Unlike the Shared Matches feature, ThruLines finds even distant cousins

So to check for Halling side matches look at Josephine's parents on the ThruLines page ... more matches than to her! So 6 Halling matches

Click on Peder

The ThruLines display for Peder Halling

click on any down arrow to see more

(note that my brother has more Halling matches than I do!)

Click on EVALUATE to see where the information is from the right column will slide in to show tree information

Ancestry explains why it thinks Anders is the son of Johanne and lists the family trees it used to determine that

But how do I copy this information to my tree?

Click on EVALUATE then click the tree name in one of the lists, more records is better!

When you click on the family tree name in the EVALUATE panel

up comes the information about this person in the same box -

every name in blue is clickable

click on the person to copy 

Click on Tools then the + Save to Tree

(actually it's better to go to the parent who is already in your tree to Save

Save to tree brings up a box, start typing, it looks in your tree for that person

Click the name it finds and the box gets a Save button

Scroll down the page and see all the family members. Just like when you click a green leaf.

Any facts can be clicked over to your tree

Add a tree tag showing this is a DNA Connection

To add more information about Inga, go back to the tree we copied from

To add a tag to a person click on the plus and tag

Click on her name to go to her profile in the other tree

then you can use Save to Tree as before

MyHeritage also finds the relationships using many trees

called the Theory of Family Relativity

You can select just the matches with "theories"

click on Filters then All tree details then click Has Theory ...

MyHeritage matches are presented on card like boxes with much information

Melissa is a cousin I found at MyHeritage

Here is the MyHeritage theory, it only uses our two trees but many theories use multiple trees

An example of using multiple trees

As on Ancestry, start with the person who is in your tree

Look at the profile in your tree first

If the match looks good then use Smart Matches to find the other tree

When you find the smart match click Review Match

Look carefully and if it is a match click Confirm Match

Click the < to copy a new fact over

A large selection of her relatives can be copied over as well

Not just new facts but different ones or "improved" ones can be copied

Don't forget to click save when you are done!

23andme does not have trees but it connects to FamilySearch, a Beta feature, one you have to set up

23andme has an exciting new feature, it predicts a tree from your matches

A "Beta" feature it is accurate for close family

You can add names in here also

Looking more closely, it predicts people who are descended from his grandparents and also from a set of great grandparents

Clicking an individual brings up a box where you can go to their proflle or message them

This is really just an advanced form of clustering, the latest exciting tool for DNA

Clustering can be a quick shortcut to finding the common ancestors with a cousin. The idea is to display your matches who match each other in an easy to understand visual format

You can sign up to cluster at or you can use the clustering tools from or GEDmatch or MyHeritage or DNA2tree

The result might look like this, each colored box is expected to consist of matches descended from one set of your great grandparents

On some versions of clustering, all the names are clickable to the match (others have a list below)

Recently, Genetic Affairs has added a tree building feature. These are the trees it made for the top 2 boxes


Jack shows the matches that triangulate when you use their Tier 1 cluster tool also which ones have trees


To create that clustering graph I used select all on the first page of my match list and then clicked on Visualization Options

Within the Visualization Options, I clicked on clustering and selected the parameters shown below

Then I waited ....

MyHeritage includes a cluster tool from Genetic Affairs

Remember Melissa? Her cluster must also be Munsons

In the lists of people for each cluster your notes are included and everything is clickable


New tools for DNA cousin matching

By Kitty Cooper

New tools for DNA cousin matching

Expore clustering and other new tools for analyzing cousin matches

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