Ancestry DNA HIts 1 Million People in Their DNA Autosomal Database

Big News Day! AncestryDNA just hit 1 million people in their DNA Autosomal Database!


See the blog post below from my friend, Anna Swayne.

The following is a teaser from the blog post:

We just hit a huge milestone, and we are excited to celebrate! In just three short years AncestryDNA has genetically tested one million people to help them discover more about themselves and their family story. Thanks a million to all of you who have been tested and for everyone who will be taking the test soon. The AncestryDNA database has more than doubled in the last year, and so far we’ve delivered 99 million connections of 4th cousins or closer. That means that on average, 1 in 5,000 people who have taken the test are related within about 5 generations.

Understanding AncestryDNA

Why is DNA research so difficult to understand? Simple, it is a very complex topic.

You first learned about DNA in high school biology. You probably then did your best to forget about DNA until about a decade ago when DNA testing became a reality as an affordable, relatively speaking, individual identifier and tool for tracking one’s family history. Now every genealogist is a DNA expert. Right? Of course not. The language and process of DNA testing is still a science with words that belong to scientists. In addition, there have been so many recent books and articles on the subject it can be easy to get confused over all the types of tests, let alone just trying to get a general understanding of the whole practice.

Understanding AncestryDNAHowever, there is a much simpler way to grow your understanding of this complex topic. Diahan Southard has produced a series of six, colorful, laminated guides that outline all the basics one needs to understand DNA for genealogists. Her guides include:

Each guide follows the popular standard as four laminated pages in a single center folded guide measuring 8.5 x 11 inches.

Understanding AncestryDNA specifically explains Ancestry’s DNA testing and its major components. The guide will help you understand the test itself and what you can expect to gain from your test.

Here is a contents list based on specific headers in the guide:

  • Best Matches
  • First- Link Your Pedigree
    • Simple Pedigree
  • Why DNA Circles?
    • So Who is Invited?
  • Deciphering DNA Circles
  • Using the Main Match Page
  • One to One Matching
  • Genetic Tools
  • Try This!
  • What Next?

Diahan Southard holds a degree in Microbiology and has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.


Order copies of Understanding AncestryDNA from Family Roots Publishing.

Ancestry DNA Kits on Sale for 10% Off Through Father’s Day, June 21, 2015


As I’ve written before, AncestryDNA has been in the news a lot this last year, with their new DNA Circles, shared ancestor hints, and New Ancestor Discoveries. Patty and I both got new AncestryDNA tests done a few months ago, and now have more ancestors, cousins and connections than we can keep up with. If you’ve been putting off getting a test done, wait no more!

AncestryDNA is on sale for 10% off – making it just $89 – through Father’s Day, June 21, 2015.

Click here or on the illustration to order:

AncestryDNA Offers Their Test for 20% Off through Monday, August 17! Just $79

AncestryDNA is once again running a supersale on their DNA test. It’s again 20% off – but only through Monday, August 17. The test is normally $99 – so you can save about $20 by buying now.

The promotion is running from April 23 through April 27, and again, is at a full 20% off! I believe that’s the best price they have ever offered. They did it last year, and I believe they ran a very limited-time Christmas 2014 promo at the same price. But this is a deal you can’t get everyday.

AncestryDNA has been in the news a lot this last year, with their new DNA Circles, shared ancestor hints, and New Ancestor Discoveries. Patty and I both got new AncestryDNA tests done a few months ago, and now have more ancestors, cousins and connections than we can keep up with. If you’ve been putting off getting a test done, wait no more!

Click on the illustration below to order:

AncestryDNA Launches New Technology Called New Ancestor Discoveries

A few days ago, AncestryDNA launched a new program called New Ancestor Discoveries. I’ve been swamped with the editing of several new books and Insta-Guides that are about to launch at FRPC and have just now gotten time to check it out.

I got an email from Ancestry saying that I had matches in the new program. It seems that there’s a good chance (70% or better) I’m descended from or related to two folks I’d never heard of.


Based on DNA tests that I’ve had done with Ancestry, there are connections and online trees for 157 folks with whom I have a 4th cousin or better relationship. I recognize a lot of these folks, so the technology does work. We’ve come a long way in the 35 years since I started to actively research!

According to a note from my friend, Anna Swayne, with Ancestry DNA, the following points are what make this latest New Ancestor Discoveries technology exciting:

DNA Circles will now include anyone in your tree not only direct ancestral lines. For example, if you are genetically related to members of your 3rd great-granduncle’s DNA Circle and you have him in your tree we will now include you into that DNA Circle.

  • DNA Circle graph is now included in all DNA Circles and New Ancestor Discoveries
  • The orange lines represent DNA and the common ancestor connection between each individual in the DNA Circle
    • The thickness of the lines are determined by the strength of the connection

We changed the way family groups are displayed in the DNA connection page

  • If you belong to a family unit (family unit consists of 1st cousin relationships or closer) we will roll you up under the name of the most common ancestor.
    • For example, you, and your three 1st cousins were tested we would wrap your “family unit” up under your grandparent in common and the display the name of that common ancestor.

The Ancestor Page is new to all DNA Circle members

  • It is only accessible from the DNA Circle or New Ancestor Discovery experience
  • Have an all access pass with a subscription to see photos, records, and facts about this particular ancestor
    • Information from this page is compiled from public member trees

The following is the press release from Ancestry:

Latest Breakthrough in Consumer Genetics Connects People to Ancestors Dating Back to the 1700s Using Just Their DNA

PROVO, UT–(Marketwired – April 02, 2015) – AncestryDNA, the leader in DNA testing for family history, today launched a significant technological advancement that makes discovering one’s family history faster and easier than ever. Now with the easy-to-use AncestryDNA test, customers will have the unique ability to find their ancestors, who lived hundreds of years ago, using just their DNA. Only possible through the groundbreaking work of the AncestryDNA science team, New Ancestor Discoveries is a technical innovation that combines the latest in genetic science, new patent-pending algorithms, and access to AncestryDNA’s extensive database to push the boundaries of human genetics, and help people find ancestors from their past using just a DNA test, no genealogy research required.

“This is the biggest advancement in family history since we introduced our Hint feature, the Ancestry shaky leaf, which scours billions of historical records to automatically find new information about your family,” said Tim Sullivan CEO of Ancestry. “Now, through a simple DNA test, AncestryDNA is fundamentally revolutionizing the way to discover your family history, transforming the experience by making it faster and easier to go further into your family’s past, and instantly discover new ancestors you never knew you had.”


New Ancestor Discoveries are revealed through a unique combination of AncestryDNA results and the millions of family trees shared by Ancestry members. First, living cousins of each AncestryDNA member are found and organized into family networks, called DNA Circles, which bring together groups of people who are genetically related to the same ancestor. When a new AncestryDNA customer is connected into that DNA Circle, it’s likely they also share that same ancestor. As a result, it is now possible to simply take the AncestryDNA test and see the name of an ancestor from your family’s past appear in your DNA results.

“It is effectively a shortcut through time — you take the test today and we tell you who your ancestors were, for example, in the 1700s. You don’t need to research records or build a family tree — AncestryDNA now transports you to the past,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, SVP and GM of AncestryDNA. “It’s a combination of three things that allowed us to achieve this breakthrough innovation: 1) millions of family trees created by Ancestry members, 2) the fastest growing genetic database in the world, currently with more than 800,000 genotyped members and 3) a dedicated team of scientists who are pushing the boundaries of genetics and statistics to help people make family history discoveries in ways never before possible.”

Discovering new ancestors is made simple. Customers just provide a small saliva sample for the AncestryDNA test, which reads a person’s genetic code at more than 700,000 DNA markers. Mail it back where it will be analyzed and compared alongside 65 million family trees and more than 800,000 genotyped AncestryDNA members. Results are available within six to eight weeks, including new possible ancestors, accompanied by historical narratives of their lives that can include photos, locations, and life events available to Ancestry members.

With this latest innovation, AncestryDNA will open the door to a whole new segment of consumers that may be interested in family history but don’t know how or don’t have the time to search records or build a family tree. It will also meet the needs of experienced genealogists, who may need new genetic connections to their ancestors to help break through dead-ends in their research that historical records alone cannot.

AncestryDNA is now connecting people to ancestors from significant periods of time and from all around the world, including Colonial America, the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Poland, France, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy and more. Extending beyond the initial discovery of these ancestors, with a subscription to Ancestry, members can dig into the rich story of those ancestors’ lives through historical documents, photos, and insights from the events that shaped the times in which they lived.

To learn more about the new AncestryDNA experience, visit

About DNA, LLC
About DNA, LLC. AncestryDNA is owned and operated by DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of LLC. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual’s DNA. AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people’s ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries in their family history. For more information visit

Ancestry Launches Enhanced DNA Matching & the beta for DNA Circles


This morning, Ancestry launched their new, enhanced DNA matching and the beta for DNA Circles, the new name for what was DNA match groups.

I went on Ancestry and checked out my matches. My DNA matches are few because all Ancestry has in their database from me is data from collection that was done by Sorenson Molecular at a genealogy conference many years ago. However, there are still 60 matches, for 3rd cousins and higher. In scrolling down through the matches, scanning surnames, as well as pedigree charts, I’ve spotted some exciting matches that will dramatically expand my research, as well as for those folks I will be corresponding with. I’m going to need 36 hour days from now on.

According to Ancestry, “All AncestryDNA customers who had their results prior to today will have their updated DNA matches available on the site… What really makes our new matching algorithms powerful is how we have improved the process of phasing with having the database size to cross compare and take a deeper dive into the new discoveries we are making.”

Diving deeper? Yes, I have to agree…

AncestryDNA Upgrades the Methods Used for Cousin Matches

The following teaser was posted on the blog on August 1. Very interesting… I’ve always felt that DNA matches were often VERY overmatched… Now I know why. Overmatching is evident throughout all populations, but is most pronounced for those with Jewish and hispanic ancestry it seems.

AncestryDNA customers with significant Jewish ancestry have witnessed the challenges that we and other genetic genealogy testing companies have faced when predicting genetic relatives. Most Jewish customers find that we predict them to be related to nearly every other Jewish customer in the database! So while we all know that the cousin matches for Jewish and some Hispanic customers were over-estimates, detecting which cousin matches were real and which ones were bogus has always been a challenge for these populations.

The AncestryDNA science team has been unsatisfied with the cousin matches we have delivered to many of our customers and as part of our continued commitment to bring innovative genomics to you, we are pleased and proud to tell you that we have found the first solution to the “overmatching” experienced by Jewish, Hispanic and other customers.

Read the full blog post.

AncestryDNA Advances Exploration of African American Ethnic Origins by Coupling Genetic Science With Historical Records

The following news release was written by staff and distributed via Marketwired News Releases:

PROVO, UT — (Marketwired) — 02/26/14 — Thanks to cutting-edge genetic science from AncestryDNA, African Americans are now able to make new discoveries about their ethnic origins, learning about the people and cultures that have been a part of their ancestral heritage for centuries. With test takers on average having at least three and a half regions in Africa as part of their genetic ethnicity estimate, African Americans are learning more about their own ancestral “melting pot.”

Using state-of-the-art technology developed by the dynamic team of genetic scientists at AncestryDNA, people of African descent are able to identify their ethnicity beyond just a continent. Instead, the AncestryDNA test provides a detailed and personalized estimate of genetic ethnicity for 26 regions across the globe. These 26 regions include a total of 9 African regions, of which 6 different countries/regions are within Western Africa: Benin/Togo, Cameroon/Congo, Ivory/Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

“Through the expanded capabilities of AncestryDNA, African Americans can learn more about the many regions that are part of their ancestral lineage. No longer do they have to be content with the blanket ethnicity of African,” said Dr. Ken Chahine, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA. “AncestryDNA is connecting customers of African descent to the people and cultures that are part of their heritage, and that can be a really exciting discovery for those whose family history journeys have been cut short or unrevealing through records alone.”

Additionally, has collected, preserved, digitized and indexed one of the most comprehensive collections of historical records online relating to the African American community. The records, which include Freedman Bank Records, US Federal Censuses, The California African-American “Who’s Who” and others are extensive, historically-rich and encapsulate the history of African Americans in the country.

Now through the end of February, is offering a comprehensive package for African American discovery that includes the AncestryDNA test and one-month free access to all U.S. record collections on, including the African American records. Available at a price of $99, this great offer provides personalized DNA results as well as access to more than 10 billion records, photos and images.

For more information about the resources available on, or to start uncovering your own African roots, please visit

AncestryDNA’s Autosomal DNA Test – Don’t by Scared Off From It.


Writing at The Genetic Genealogist, Blayne Bettinger, tells us why we shouldn’t let anyone talk us out of using AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test…

The following teaser is from Bettinger’s blog:

Many genetic genealogists, myself included, have had incredible success using AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test. Personally, several of my own major DNA discoveries have occurred though the service. Unfortunately, it has become popular among some genetic genealogists to deride AncestryDNA’s autosomal DNA test, and some recommend avoiding the service altogether.

Read the full article.