Ancestry Genetic Communities

Yesterday Ancestry rolled out a new feature called "Genetic Communities." I spied on a lot of discussion on Facebook and was immediately wary because there were siblings who were put in different genetic communities and there were people who never came to the US who were put in US communities.  It is still in Beta, however. I like what they are attempting to do and am anxious to see where it goes from here.

I understood that Genetic Communities are supposed to help connect me with others, but at first glance I do not see how they help connect me with other lines.

What I do see is that this helps to understand why my ancestors may have traveled from one location to another because it inserts some historical accounting with certain people.  I also see these certain earlier ancestors immediately on a map which really allows me to see things I may not have seen before.

I set out to explore my own genetic communities and as I did, I took some screen shots.
 It shows me in two Genetic Circles, but the second does not have a label.  I will show you the second below.  The first is "Early Settlers of the Lower Midwest & Virginia" and I think "duhhh" because that tells me nothing new.
 On the left are time periods to click on and read. When I do so, the map on the right changes.  I can read the blurb and click on the markers on the map to read which ancestor this tidbit of information would relate to. I understand that the people on the markers are only those in my tree that are confirmed by other people who match DNA with me.
 I can zoom in closer to various parts of the map to get very specific as to the location in which an ancestor resides.  If I click on the marker, their name pops up.  What I wonder about is the orange circle and if these are genetic links to locations that I do not have in my tree as of yet.  Is this how I try to break down brick walls?  I already know I have ancestors in these locations, but I also already know I have a brick wall getting there.  For instance, my maiden name is commonly known to trace to the borders of Scotland and England where the orange dot is in this screen shot, but I cannot seem to find my ancestor in North Carolina in 1790 to go back any further.
 This is the next time period down.  It looks like a cluster of orange with some confusing information thrown in.
 This is the above map zoomed in a little further.  I do like seeing the map of where my ancestors lived.  The dotted lines seem to indicate the general route of people living in that area, but it is so spread out, does it really help me?
 This is the next time period down.
 There are three more time periods to explore in this Genetic Community.  I wanted to show a quick overview for those who may be reading this.
I can change from "story" to "connections" and this is the bottom half of this page which is useless.  It gives me a link to the previous matches page and it gives me links to surnames which were previously available as well. Only one of these names do I recognize on my tree.
This is the second Genetic Community which is not labeled (probably just a hiccup) and each timeline has something to do with France.  I have recently discovered my France ancestry, so it is interesting to me.  I am aware that there is history of the French traveling to Canada and then to the U.S., which seems to be what is shown in these history notes.
 This is the second time period in the French Genetic Community.
However, when I click on "connections" and scroll down, there is zero information.  I was thrown off at first thinking all my information has disappeared, but then I realized if I went back to the first Genetic Community of Early Settlers, the information was still there.  I shall explore further this "view all matches" link to see if they are specific to the Genetic Community and not all of my DNA matches.

There were a few more French timelines to explore.

This is just my first impression of this new feature and I wanted to share.  First impressions can be changed as I learn more about the features.


anitab said…
Thank you for sharing about this!

My communities feature didn't seem to work well at home (we have a super-slow internet situation, unable to find a solution because of where we live), but I'm at my Dad's for a few days, and was excited to begin exploring!

My father's paternal lines are all from the same areas, so no help differentiating between the various lines there.

However, his mother's is half German, half Irish (both families came over in the 1860's), so I am super-excited about what this has done!

It appears that all my Irish matches (even ones without trees) are all gathered together into a Genetic Community, and they've even given it a name of a province that includes the county I know my family came from (Galway)! None of my Irish matches have many 'shared matches' (some have none, or just Daddy & I), so having all of these together in one group is very helpful as I try to compare what little is on the trees - so I can 'triangulate' and try to figure out my connections...

I will say that I was surprised to see several people included who I know are connected to my German line; however - both families were living in Pittsburgh (how my gr-grandparents met & married), so perhaps I'm connected to those people by my Irish line, as well...
I haven't had time to really study this yet. Every time I look at it, it only helps me bring to mind the certain generation lines that are in my tree.

It makes me think it would be cool to have a tool to see the generations together to help find ancestors during a certain period.

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