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Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 7:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
There is a very long and heated thread on this board that began with the question of what did I spend my DNA testing money on re Ancestry.com DNA. The thread gets into many different perspectives and looks at the question from a variety of different ways, but the very end, one poster said "we all agree that AncestryDNA is a waste of money." (I think that post has now been deleted) I don't want to start another heated debate, but if any newcomer is reading this message board, I don't want them to have that as their takeaway; indeed, if you read many of the posts over the past 7 or 8 months, you will see different views about the value.

I have found it extremely useful and has helped me build out my family tree (particularly those troublesome female lines). I think everyone has a different perspective, based upon what they are hoping to accomplish and where they start. Another very helpful poster noted that in choosing a company to do the DNA test, figure out what your goals are as each company offers something slightly different. I can see where people on either extreme of experience - many years, fully developed trees or a handful of people in a tree that don't match names -- will have very different experiences. Also depending on whether your family lines arise - those with Colonial America lines (a primary customer for Ancestry.com) are going to find far many matches than those with more recent emigration from non-British Isle lines.

It does take lots of work to find "good" matches that can be documented, but when you do, you can narrow your document searches etc. If you have already filled out your tree 500 years, you may find it less useful; if you haven't gone back more than 3 generations, I don't think you are going to initially have much success, but you may over time.

I want to reiterate this is my experience, which has been excellent. I have many matches, many validated matches and have opened up new lines of research where I was blocked before. One cautionary note for everyone however is this is a major time-sucker...when you get into it, it is great fun but fully exploring those matches can take time!! But it is important to remember "user experiences may differ."

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 8:30PM GMT
Classification: Query
My experience has been excellent as well. Despite all my complaints about glitches and lack of tools (my feedback button is worn out :), it has been worth way more than the money I paid for it.

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 6:22AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 21 Jan 2013 6:47AM GMT
I agree: Ancestry.com DNA has not been a wasteful expense for enthusistic genealogists (as most of us are), but limitations face us as we seek to narrow our research ... while the populations from which autosomal DNA is drawn expand greatly as we reach back in time.

My family's roots lie completely in Colonial America (overwhelmingly in the South), for example, and it is becoming more challenging with each match (for a layperson like myself, anyway) to determine the identity of 'true' common ancestors. Several family lines may be shared with those of distant cousins.

So, an abundance of information is coming our way - and it is ringing true, in many cases - but the lens provided by Ancestry needs to be a clearer one. Even a carefully and deeply researched family tree may be but a hall of mirrors (in itself, via DNA, potentially, cool: we are descendants of the same mistaken ... uncertain, unknown ancestor(s)!).

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 22 Jan 2013 11:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
Memory Keeper,

I saw your post somewhere else, too. Wondering what you mean by "true" common ancestors. :) Thinking you might be indicating just how many times over you are related and through how many lines rather than just 'true' ancestors. Another words, you may have MULTIPLE common ancestors while the 'hint' may only lead back to one set of common ancestors.

I too have many colonial lines. I've had a few matches that show up as a match to this line or that line, but in looking more closely, I realize I'm likely related to that tree holder several times over. I remember one fellow family genealogist that said, I'm realizing how many times I'm related to myself.

:) Take me back to the 1600s and 1700s and I've discovered my paternal grandmother's ancestors signed deeds that my maternal grandmother's ancestors witnessed. Same grandmothers, different ancestors worshipped at the same church. Absolutely amazing.

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 22 Jan 2013 4:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
13 weeks of lab processing and 3 calls to unhelpful call takers later I finally hear that the dna was unreadable. Get a free second test, starting on week 3 of the waiting game again. Not impressed at all.

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 22 Jan 2013 4:25PM GMT
Classification: Query
Understand how you feel! I have another company that has taken 3 months to do my test, and has twice postponed the date it was expected to be returned. My fingers crossed that after all this time, they don't tell me it has to be redone.

Hope that when you get your results back, they are helpful!

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 22 Jan 2013 4:46PM GMT
Classification: Query
It looks like you're having a truly craptastic time of it with Ancestry's DNA processing but from what I can tell your experience is far from the norm.

As for the Autosomal DNA test (which I believe is what the OP was referring to) it was definitely NOT a waste of money. The tools available to evaluate the results leave a lot to be desired but the results themselves have been pretty beneficial and the potential is there for a lot more benefit once the Autosomal test is out of beta.

Dennis

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 9:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
Ancestry DNA has far exceeded my expectations. I am thrilled with my results and trying to be patient waiting for the raw data and a search function. I think this is due to several reasons:

About half my ancestors arrived prior to 1750 and those are the vast majority of the matches I have found. I have no matches to my 25% Swedish lines who arrived in the 1850s.

I have a generally well documented tree solid for 5 generations with many lines going back 10 or more generations. This has helped greatly with matches.

I spent literally hours studying genetic genealogy and antosomal DNA testing. I knew what to expect and what not to expect. And I am spending hours sorting out all the results.

If you think these tests will create a family tree without work from you, you will be disappointed. If you mostly copied other people's undocumented trees, you will be probably be disappointed because you are looking at too many of the wrong ancestors.

Ancestry has clearly had a better than expected response. They are scrambling to keep up. Be patient, and I hope your results will be as helpful as mine have been.

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 26 Jan 2013 4:07AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hello, all: I got the Ancestry DNA as a gift and I got my results but I don;t even know what to do with them. I gave me a list of possible fourth cousins. Does this mean these people are related to me FOR SURE or that they just come from the same general area my ancestors came from? None of the ones with public trees have any name matches to mine. Sorry that it's such a dumb question. I'm a newbie. This thing doesn't come with a lot of guidance. Any help is appreciated.

Re: Ancestry.com DNA is NOT a waste for money for many...

Posted: 26 Jan 2013 4:57AM GMT
Classification: Query
It does mean you share some amount of autosomal DNA with them that you both inherited from a common ancestor, but it doesn't tell you whether it is 100 years or 300 years ago. The prediction that it is in the 4th cousin level has not been very reliable, but you are related in some fashion. The best way to use the product is to develop your own family tree out at least four or five generations, then start looking for common surnames, locations etc...almost the way you would if you were doing paper research, but the dna results point you in the right direction to look. It does require that you do some old fashion genealogical research to use the dna results best. However, ancestry.com only shows you ten generations of common surnames..beyond that you have to hunt for yourself in matching trees.
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