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Build Quick Tree to Identify Shared Ancestor

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  • Build Quick Tree to Identify Shared Ancestor

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmOZXCxsqNU

    A research method by Blaine Bettinger to help find a Common Ancestor when your DNA match has only one person in the tree.
    Last edited by Biblioteque; 30th October 2018, 08:20 AM.

  • #2
    A lot of us do this over at Ancestry, but rather than building a completely separate tree from our DNA linked tree, we use floating branches. A floating branch is easier to connect to my complete tree, if I find that the information on it indicates where the connection should be made.

    If the connection can't be found, but I know we share DNA then I will continue to develop floating branches for the DNA match based on whatever they can give me about their tree. I don't delete the information that I've collected as someone else in the future may discover the link.

    Ancestry trees are very easy to work with if you are working on one tree, but to have several separate but unconnected trees are a bit of a pain to finally to having to add all the information collected onto the main tree. Floating branches don't get in the way in the actual tree, but since they are on the same tree program, they can be connected without having to drag and reproduce all of the names and records.

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    • #3
      keigh, what a great idea! Thank you for sharing with ALL of us. BTW, you always seem to have more matches at Ancestry than others. How many now? I think last time you posted it was ~79,000 matches.

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      • #4
        First, I want to know what a "quick tree" is. Is it like "just a quick question"?

        I also want to know who or what corporate entity benefits from the all the information being gathered from those who willingly provided their data, Information is power. and data is salable. I want to know more about those who are capturing and recording that data, and what they do with it. Information is a valuable asset, even if it is an intangible one.

        These are questions that cross my mind. Let's see if or how these questions are answered.

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        • #5
          I'm currently showing 86,479 matches as of this morning. I don't really bother trying to actually connect with my really distant matches unless they are showing shared matches with some of my closer in connections. I have managed to connect with quite a few of my matches who don't show an actual ancestor in common with me by building doing research on some of the names they have on their tree that I also share on my tree.

          I'm currently working on a match who has only 4 different surnames on their tree. Berry, Bennett, Smith, and Gwinn. I have all four of those names on my extended tree so I have good hopes of finding out how the match connects to me, by working up her lines and down my lines.

          Sometimes the only thing that I can share with a match is that he or she is obviously on either my mother's side or my father's side. If I have a match who also shares DNA with all of my first cousins then I have a mother's line match. I have no first cousins on my dad's side, but I have a large number of matches I've connected with on my dad's side and if certain groups of those matches show up as shared matches, I can say that the person is most likely on my dad's dad's side or my dad's mother's side.

          A quick tree is simply a tree that uses the information a match shares with you by way of their tree. I do my tree over at Ancestry and have a large base of matches to work with. By placing a name and date of birth on my tree I can research the Ancestry data base fairly quickly for additional information and go back to parents, grandparents through public records. If I find our common ancestor then I can connect the floating branch to that common ancestor and the match's branch becomes part of my full tree.

          During my research I'll send messages to my match to confirm records, names, dates as I go and when I'm finished I may have a good deal of information I can share with a match that doesn't necessarily connect with my family descent at all or I may have found that my match is connecting with me by way of several different lines. I traced one wife of a 2nd cousin something X's removed back to her great grandparents and they were all on the branch, I decided to take the wife's line back even farther as her family name was familiar. It ended up that the next generation went from being great grandparents of the wife of the 2nd coz to her being a cousin. Her great great grandfather was a distant uncle of mine. I knew that name was familiar.

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          • #6
            A quick tree is one you make using other people's trees on Ancestry, etc. without verifying the info, which could take days or weeks. You should always verify every piece of info in your own tree, of course. But what you are doing with quick trees to find the common ancestor from whom a group of shared matches all received their shared DNA. Genealogists do it to try to break down their "brick walls" and find missing ancestors. Adoptees do it to try to ind their parents. And, if you've been keeping up with the news, police are now doing it to try to solve cases. They are even hiring top genetic genealogists in the country to do it for them.

            As a genealogist, if I ever manage to break down the brick walls I'm working on, the quick trees will be just useless junk to delete, once I have verified everything and cited everything I want to cite. I don't know of anything I could possibly do with it. It's not even worth it to try to tell anyone at Ancestry that you found some interesting ancestors for them. No one checks their messages or replies. Most people sign in once, look at their ethnicity results, then they're gone.

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            • #7
              It has never worked or me anyway, other giving me a good idea which grandson of a 1683 immigrant I am descended from. I still have a gap of a hundred years between the birth of that grandson and the birth of my known ancestor.

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              • #8
                keigh, Thank you for sharing your positive and helpful experiences.

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                • #9
                  MoberlyDrake: My experience at Ancestry has been pretty good when it comes to connecting to matches that have done some work on their tree and have at least 4 or 5 people going up. Several of these individuals have responded to my messages about the information I can give them as to names. Sometimes I simply drop them the information such as your great great grandmother's maiden name was Hutchinson, she was my 2nd great grandaunt. Now I'm looking into whether the mother in law of my 2nd great grandaunt is also related to me. She has a family name as her maiden name. I've met and corresponded with any number of my distant cousins through Ancestry's message system. But there are those who just don't respond to my first contact with them. Which usually runs along the lines of "I don't know our common ancestor, but you look to be sharing DNA with me along my father's father's side of my tree". The next contact will frequently be, "Hi Again, I know how were connecting. Your mother is my 3rd cousin 2X's removed (or something similar)" That frequently brings about a response. LOL

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for your responses. I've been doing the same activity that you describe, but I don't call it a "quick tree". Basically I review trees that are public trees from my matches on Ancestry and FTDNA to look for any entries that might be in common in the extensive research I've done based upon documented records. Unfortunately most of what is posted on public trees is often erroneous. I'd be more inclined to call the erroneous or conjectural ones "bogus trees". Or maybe "quick & dirty trees"?

                    Personally I don't have any brick walls in my own genealogy, except the ultimate brick wall of there being no records before the late 1700's. Brick walls in my wife's family genealogies were broken down with help from volunteers in Europe who had access to local records not found elsewhere. Genetic genealogy has done nothing to solve anything for me, although it does provide lots of distant DNA relatives. Almost half of them provide no surnames or ancestral locations, let alone posting a tree that contains any useful information

                    Originally posted by keigh View Post
                    MoberlyDrake: I've met and corresponded with any number of my distant cousins through Ancestry's message system. But there are those who just don't respond to my first contact with them. Which usually runs along the lines of "I don't know our common ancestor, but you look to be sharing DNA with me along my father's father's side of my tree". The next contact will frequently be, "Hi Again, I know how were connecting. Your mother is my 3rd cousin 2X's removed (or something similar)" That frequently brings about a response. LOL
                    I also do that which you describe, but sometimes no matter how polite and welcoming you are with people they just don't respond. That includes those who find it hard to accept that anyone might know more than they do about their personal ancestors. If they don't respond to the initial message sent, it's a waste of time and effort to coax them.


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                    • #11
                      Carpathian, Yes, it does sometimes seem it's a waste of time and effort to make contact more than once. But I have had experiences where the 3rd time was the charm. I met an delightfully charming lady who only knew her parents and grandparents names, and not much about the grandparents. She knew the grandfathers' last names, but didn't know her grandmothers' maiden names.

                      I'd started researching prior to my third contact with her, and had a number of questions based on records I'd found from her parents and the grandfathers. It also helped that they were from Raleigh, West Virginia. When I wrote her the third time and asked if certain information seemed to fit her grandparents, she was very enthusiastic.

                      She was new to Ancestry and being a newbie, she simply didn't know how to search. Since I seemed to be interested in her family, she finally started asking me questions about how to get around on Ancestry and what to look for. We had a very long and cordial series of messages and finally came across a great great grandmother on her mother's side that I could locate on my tree. I took all the info that I'd gathered in my floating branch and merged the duplicate great great grandmothers profile with the profile of one of my 2nd great grand aunts.

                      So I do tend to reach out a few times to see if I can connect with someone interesting and maybe a bit shy.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by keigh View Post
                        Carpathian, Yes, it does sometimes seem it's a waste of time and effort to make contact more than once. But I have had experiences where the 3rd time was the charm. I met an delightfully charming lady who only knew her parents and grandparents names, and not much about the grandparents. She knew the grandfathers' last names, but didn't know her grandmothers' maiden names.

                        I'd started researching prior to my third contact with her, and had a number of questions based on records I'd found from her parents and the grandfathers. It also helped that they were from Raleigh, West Virginia. When I wrote her the third time and asked if certain information seemed to fit her grandparents, she was very enthusiastic.

                        She was new to Ancestry and being a newbie, she simply didn't know how to search. Since I seemed to be interested in her family, she finally started asking me questions about how to get around on Ancestry and what to look for. We had a very long and cordial series of messages and finally came across a great great grandmother on her mother's side that I could locate on my tree. I took all the info that I'd gathered in my floating branch and merged the duplicate great great grandmothers profile with the profile of one of my 2nd great grand aunts.

                        So I do tend to reach out a few times to see if I can connect with someone interesting and maybe a bit shy.
                        Good for you, Keigh for "reaching out". That's nice. If you want to help and charm people in that way, that is commendable. But I didn't go to charm school. When it comes to abilities in doing research, we are all on different levels of academic ability and research. We all try to help others as best we can, or at least I do, and I try to. But often our levels of offered help or willingness are different. That's life. Recognizing and understanding those differences are important in how we relate to others. "Different strokes for different folks". There is no "one size fits all' template in how we relate to others.

                        I'm assuming from your words of expression that you are female. I am a man. No 'charm school' for me. I can be polite and helpful to anyone who is willing to receive what I decide to offer, depending on their attitude. My abilities in trying to help others are offered in a different way than currently expected, and in ways other than my being less than charming. How or whether anyone responds to me is entirely their choice, entirely up to them.

                        I don't know how old you are, nor how old or anyone else in this forum is. Nor do I care about such things. To me, genealogy is that of being a good detective of facts and finding them. And yes, I always DO try to help anyone who is a DNA relative to me, no matter how distant it shows that they are related to me. I am old, but I remember an old TV show that featured detectives. The message or quip of that show, or the 'bottom line' was this: "Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carpathian View Post


                          I don't know how old you are, nor how old or anyone else in this forum is. Nor do I care about such things. To me, genealogy is that of being a good detective of facts and finding them. And yes, I always DO try to help anyone who is a DNA relative to me, no matter how distant it shows that they are related to me. I am old, but I remember an old TV show that featured detectives. The message or quip of that show, or the 'bottom line' was this: "Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts."
                          I do enjoy a good puzzle and I adored Joe Friday and Dragnet. It was a good show.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by keigh View Post

                            I do enjoy a good puzzle and I adored Joe Friday and Dragnet. It was a good show.
                            Traditional genealogy will forever be a puzzle for us to solve. And detective work still pertains. ;-)

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                            • #15
                              Carpathian,

                              How do you find volunteers in Europe?

                              I recently got my first Di Giampaolo match - a young man living in Italy near where my great-grandfather was born. I didn't even ask him to do anything. He volunteered to ask his aunt if she knew anything. I didn't hear back, so after a couple of weeks I wrote backing asking if he had ever had a chance to ask his aunt if his great-grandfather had a sister named Leontina. No further response from him.

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