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  • Family Tree Matching

    New to this, so please forgive my ignorance. I have searched the forums for similar topics but haven't found completely acceptable answers.

    For those experienced using FTDNA's matching system within myFamilyTree, I'm a bit frustrated with the functionality.

    For example, I'm managing my father's account while I wait for my results. I've uploaded his pedigree chart and he has 6,000+ matches. However, if an individual doesn't have their own family tree, it seems I have very few hints as to how we are related to that match.

    What's more frustrating is when a match DOES have a family tree and there is still no guidance (e.g. why not identify the individual on two match's family trees with the same/similar name to make the matching process easier)?

    Frustrations aside, and my main question: has anyone figured out an efficient system for quickly finding a common ancestor and adding a match in? Or is it all a very manual process?

    I suppose another side question would be, aside from organizing your matches page, is there any value to doing this within the FTDNA system?

    Appreciate your feedback!
    Drew

  • #2
    Originally posted by dnwalkup View Post
    Frustrations aside, and my main question: has anyone figured out an efficient system for quickly finding a common ancestor and adding a match in? Or is it all a very manual process?
    Bottom line for your main question: No, but the FTDNA matching system is not meant to find a common ancestor. Yes, it is a manual process, but the Family Matching Feature's purpose is to sort your match list. See my reply below your second quote.

    FTDNA provides the following tools to help with finding a common ancestor:
    • "In Common With" tool, to see if a match also matches other people in your match list for whom you know their relationship
    • "Not In Common With" tool, to eliminate the possibilities of how a match is related to you. Both "Not In Common With" and "In Common With" tools are described very briefly on the "Family Finder - Matches" page, under the "Filter Section" heading.
    • Chromosome Browser to see on which segments and chromosomes a match shares DNA with you. If you keep track of these matching segments for known relatives, it will help identify how other unidentified matches may be related (such as by using DNA Painter; see three articles on this tool, written by Roberta Estes. Link is to the third part, which has links to the other two parts)
    The above and six other tools are described in the blog post "Nine Autosomal Tools at Family Tree DNA" by Roberta Estes. (Yes, she has articles for a plethora of topics on DNA).

    Other than clues from FTDNA's tools, it comes down to the fact that it's up to you to contact a match based upon factors such as: closeness of relationship/amount of DNA shared; shared surnames or locations; or a recognized line in the family tree of a match. As you have found, many matches do not have family trees at FTDNA (as is true at all the DNA testing companies' sites), so the onus is on us to contact matches who otherwise seem to be likely candidates. The Family Matching Feature is one way to at least determine if a match who is otherwise a mystery is on your maternal or paternal side.

    For those experienced using FTDNA's matching system within myFamilyTree, I'm a bit frustrated with the functionality.
    The Family Matching Feature, as it is now called, does not work like ThruLines or Hints at Ancestry. It does not use your matches' trees to find someone on your tree. It is not meant to serve that purpose. Rather, you must have some one for whom you know their relationship to you as a match (someone who has also done a Family Finder test at FTDNA), which you then link to his or her place on your tree at FTDNA.

    The purpose of this feature is to sort your Family Finder match list into maternal and paternal lists, sometimes called "buckets." Since your known matches (say your father, who has done a FF test) share DNA with you for a known ancestral line, and share common ancestors with you (your paternal grandparents), this is helpful because linking your father to your tree will then sort the matches in your match list who share DNA with him into a list of paternal matches for you. Similarly, if you have a known maternal relative in your FF match list, it will yield a list of maternal matches. The more known relatives who have tested and who you link to your tree, the more your paternal and maternal match lists will be refined, and include more of your matches for whom you do not know how they are related. This will work for your father's tree, if there are any known maternal or paternal relatives in his match list. You may want to enlist such relatives to do a Family Finder test in order to help with this sorting and matching, as they will also have relevant matches that you and your father do not.

    Part of the confusion about the Family Matching Feature has to do with the lack of information currently provided by FTDNA for it. Have you read the page in the FTDNA Learning Center for the "Family Matching Feature?" [link 1]. There used to be two pages for it; one titled "Family Finder – Family Matching System," [link 2] and another titled "Family Finder - Family Matching Tool" [link 3]. Currently there is only one page (link 1 in this paragraph), which seems to be a slightly updated version only of the second linked page (link 2), which is archived at the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine. But importantly, the Internet Archive also has an archived version of the now missing "Family Matching Tool" page (link 3). I don't know why FTDNA removed the "Family Matching Tool" page, as it gave important instructions for how to link relatives, whereas the current "Family Matching Feature" page does not. I have not found a current page in the FTDNA Learning Center which gives instructions for how to use the Family Matching Feature.

    You can also read two blog posts by Roberta Estes about the FTDNA Family Matching tool and system, and which relatives can be used with it:
    KATM
    mtDNA: K1a3 / YDNA: R-FGC46379
    Last edited by KATM; 24 October 2020, 01:15 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Dear KATM,

      Thank you so much for this detailed response and your activity in general on this forum. Not sure what we'd all do without your experience!

      Re purpose of the matching tool -- Understood. As the only purpose is bucketing matches, I'll divert my attention to other areas for the time being. Hopefully, FTDNA will make this a more intuitive tool requiring less work in the future.

      Re other tools (chromosome browser, etc.) -- Aside from privacy, these genetic-specific tools are the reason why I chose FTDNA over the other services. I've already found them useful in trying to compare relatives from different surnames.

      Re Ancestry vs FTDNA tools -- I avoid Ancestry unless I'm looking up documentation. Their products obscure data and are therefore more confusing to me than FTDNA's research tools, such as they are.

      Re Roberta Estes -- Absolutely love her work, she's how I found FTDNA in the first place!


      Again, thank you for your response to this. As I mentioned, I'm new to all this and am quickly finding what tools to use to accomplish the tasks at hand. Your response is a great explanation and resource for navigating the family tree / matching system.

      Warm regards,
      Drew





      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your kind words. I hope you'll find some good matches at FTDNA.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KATM View Post
          Bottom line for your main question: No, but the FTDNA matching system is not meant to find a common ancestor. Yes, it is a manual process, but the Family Matching Feature's purpose is to sort your match list. See my reply below your second quote.

          FTDNA provides the following tools to help with finding a common ancestor:
          • "In Common With" tool, to see if a match also matches other people in your match list for whom you know their relationship
          • "Not In Common With" tool, to eliminate the possibilities of how a match is related to you. Both "Not In Common With" and "In Common With" tools are described very briefly on the "Family Finder - Matches" page, under the "Filter Section" heading.
          • Chromosome Browser to see on which segments and chromosomes a match shares DNA with you. If you keep track of these matching segments for known relatives, it will help identify how other unidentified matches may be related (such as by using DNA Painter; see three articles on this tool, written by Roberta Estes. Link is to the third part, which has links to the other two parts)
          The above and six other tools are described in the blog post "Nine Autosomal Tools at Family Tree DNA" by Roberta Estes. (Yes, she has articles for a plethora of topics on DNA).

          Other than clues from FTDNA's tools, it comes down to the fact that it's up to you to contact a match based upon factors such as: closeness of relationship/amount of DNA shared; shared surnames or locations; or a recognized line in the family tree of a match. As you have found, many matches do not have family trees at FTDNA (as is true at all the DNA testing companies' sites), so the onus is on us to contact matches who otherwise seem to be likely candidates. The Family Matching Feature is one way to at least determine if a match who is otherwise a mystery is on your maternal or paternal side.


          The Family Matching Feature, as it is now called, does not work like ThruLines or Hints at Ancestry. It does not use your matches' trees to find someone on your tree. It is not meant to serve that purpose. Rather, you must have some one for whom you know their relationship to you as a match (someone who has also done a Family Finder test at FTDNA), which you then link to his or her place on your tree at FTDNA.

          The purpose of this feature is to sort your Family Finder match list into maternal and paternal lists, sometimes called "buckets." Since your known matches (say your father, who has done a FF test) share DNA with you for a known ancestral line, and share common ancestors with you (your paternal grandparents), this is helpful because linking your father to your tree will then sort the matches in your match list who share DNA with him into a list of paternal matches for you. Similarly, if you have a known maternal relative in your FF match list, it will yield a list of maternal matches. The more known relatives who have tested and who you link to your tree, the more your paternal and maternal match lists will be refined, and include more of your matches for whom you do not know how they are related. This will work for your father's tree, if there are any known maternal or paternal relatives in his match list. You may want to enlist such relatives to do a Family Finder test in order to help with this sorting and matching, as they will also have relevant matches that you and your father do not.

          Part of the confusion about the Family Matching Feature has to do with the lack of information currently provided by FTDNA for it. Have you read the page in the FTDNA Learning Center for the "Family Matching Feature?" [link 1]. There used to be two pages for it; one titled "Family Finder – Family Matching System," [link 2] and another titled "Family Finder - Family Matching Tool" [link 3]. Currently there is only one page (link 1 in this paragraph), which seems to be a slightly updated version only of the second linked page (link 2), which is archived at the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine. But importantly, the Internet Archive also has an archived version of the now missing "Family Matching Tool" page (link 3). I don't know why FTDNA removed the "Family Matching Tool" page, as it gave important instructions for how to link relatives, whereas the current "Family Matching Feature" page does not. I have not found a current page in the FTDNA Learning Center which gives instructions for how to use the Family Matching Feature.

          You can also read two blog posts by Roberta Estes about the FTDNA Family Matching tool and system, and which relatives can be used with it:
          Nice! Very comprehensive explanation. Thank you for sharing.

          Comment

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