The Zoo Problem
Imagine a 5-year-old telling you about their trip to the zoo. They might, in breathless excitement, report that the camels are across from the lions and the tortoises are across from the bug house and the lemurs are across from the otters! But that wouldn’t tell you which animals are on the same side of the path. If we know which are adjacent on one side we can figure out the other side, but the tyke hasn’t given us enough information. Is it camel–tortoise–lemur? Or camel–bug–lemur? Or camel–tortoise–otter? Or camel–bug–otter?
The zoo problem illustrates the challenge of analyzing our autosomal DNA results, only the DNA testing companies have it about 700,000 times worse. That’s roughly how many bits of DNA, called SNPs, they test.
Recall that we have two copies of each autosomal chromosome, one inherited from mom and one from dad. Thus, for each spot in our DNA, we have either one or two different versions of the DNA bases A, C, G, and T. The technology used to analyze our samples might report that you have A & G at Position 1, C & T at Position 2, A & T at Position 3, and two Gs at Position 4. Alas, as with our animal-loving kindergartener, they can’t tell whether you inherited A-C-A-G, A-C-T-G, A-T-A-G, or A-T-T-G from the same parent.
Partitioning the sides of our DNA results is called phasing. For those of us fortunate enough to test a parent, phasing is relatively easy. The genealogy companies can tell which chunks of DNA came from the tested parent and, by elimination, which came from the untested one. Some companies even use this information to “side” our DNA matches automatically.
For the rest of us, it’s not so simple. We can phase individual segments that we share with our DNA relatives, but there are two problems.
- We won’t necessarily have segment matches at every position in our genomes. For example, here are my father’s DNA matches on chromosome 1 from one of the smaller databases. There are large regions that can’t be phased at all because no one matches there.
- We have 22 autosomal chromosomes. Even if we can fully phase each one, how can we determine which phased copy of each chromosome came from the same parent?
Phasing with SideView™
In April 2022, AncestryDNA unveiled a new technology called SideView™, which phases our genomes piece-by-piece, rather than all at once, as when a parent has tested. They can do this because their database is so large—more than 22 million people—that most of us will have enough matches to cover most of our genomes. By comparison, the next largest database is at 23andMe, with around 13 million tested.
AncestryDNA’s support article for SideView uses a cartoon image to show how it works. In the cartoon, the segments are only a few SNP bases long. In reality, of course, they will be hundreds or thousands of SNPs long. The principle is the same, though.
This solves Problem 1 above: with a large enough database, most of the genome can be phased. But we still need a way to associate phased chromosome 1 with phased chromosome 2 and so on. That’s where closer matches come in.
A first cousin will share segments on most of the chromosomes. For example, in this screenshot from MyHeritage, we can see that these two cousins share at least one segment on 20 of the 22 autosomes. Only chromosomes 14 and 21 are left out. That means we can theoretically label 20 of the phased chromosomes by parent.
Other matches might share DNA on an unlabeled chromosome as well as on already-labeled ones, allowing SideView to phase all 22 chromosomes by parent. Of course, SideView is simultaneously doing the same thing for the other parent, giving an even more robust evaluation.
An algorithm like SideView still can’t tell which chromosome copies are paternal or maternal, but it should know which ones all came from the same parent. Initially, it assigns them to “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”. We can then specify which is maternal and which paternal based on our own family knowledge.
Not Just for Ethnicity Estimates Anymore
Thus far, AncestryDNA has used SideView to sort our ethnicity estimates by parent. This can be quite handy in determining whether your parents both had similar genetic backgrounds or not. In my case, it accurately determines that my mother is primarily French and my father is German and Irish.
Now, AncestryDNA is extending that technology to our matches. I was fortunate to chat recently with one of their scientists, who explained how it works. (Any errors in the description below are entirely mine. It was a lot of information to take in at once, and my note-taking skills are rusty.)
- SideView will assign a DNA match to a parent side when ≥90% of the shared segments are labeled as coming from that parent.
- A match will be assigned to both sides if any individual shared segments are labeled “both” (as with fully-identical regions or runs of homozygosity).
- A match will be assigned to both sides if two or more segments are labeled from one parent and two or more segments are labeled from the other parent. This will happen with your direct descendants and descendants of your full siblings.
- A match will not be assigned to a side at all if 70–90% of the shared segments are labeled from one parent and one shared segment is labeled both. In those cases, there isn’t enough evidence to assign the match to either one parent or both.
- A match will be unassigned if none of the previous criteria are met.
- Finally, new matches will remain unassigned until the next SideView update, which will happen periodically.
Here’s what it will look like in your match list.
The Million Dollar Question
What we really want to know is: How well does SideView work? For that, we need to look at some real examples. Bear in mind that SideView is still in the beta phase, meaning it’s still being tested and improved. My evaluation may well be outdated in a few months.
As an initial assessment, I looked at 25 DNA testers from a variety of backgrounds, with and without endogamy. None of these individuals had a parent who has tested, so the phasing was based entirely on SideView. For each person, I tallied the number of matches assigned to Parent 1, Parent 2, Both Sides, and Unassigned. When I knew the tree sufficiently well, I also tallied the number of assignments that were wrong.
Here’s what I found:
The main impression right off the bat is how few assignments were obviously wrong. Of the 13 individuals for whom I felt comfortable making that call, only three had a match assigned incorrectly; a fourth probably does. Put another way, for those 13 people, there were 4–5 incorrect calls out of 1,782 matches, or 0.3%. That’s remarkably accurate! AncestryDNA claims that SideView can offer “95 percent precision for 90 percent of customers”, and they are meeting that expectation.
Another observation is that for people without endogamy, roughly 80–90% of their matches were assigned to a parent. This held true even for people who don’t have as many matches as a typical European–American, like African–Americans and Brits. Honestly, I didn’t expect this. Fewer matches means less data with which to perform phasing, so I’d expect those people to have more unassigned matches. SideView is doing a great job here as well.
Finally, there’s endogamy, the practice of marrying within the same community over many generations. People from endogamous populations genuinely are related to their DNA matches in multiple ways. We wouldn’t expect SideView to work very well for those people, and it doesn’t. SideView was able to make a parental call less than 50% of the time. The majority of matches were either unassigned or linked to both sides.
Unassigned matches aren’t bad, they’re just not particularly informative on the surface. And with endogamy, matches may well be related through both parents. This isn’t necessarily a flaw with SideView, just an unfortunate reality of endogamy.
Perhaps, in the future, SideView will include segment size in its calculations. For example, my mother has a paternal first cousin who is unassigned. He probably falls into the category described above in which most of his shared segments are labeled paternal while one is labeled maternal. It is entirely possible that he shares a segment through my grandmother. That segment is probably from a much more distant connection, though, and almost certainly small.
Interestingly, when only one parent was from an endogamous population, SideView performed quite well.
Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
When our parents make the chromosomes that they will pass on to us via eggs and sperm, their cells literally mix and match from the chromosomes they themselves inherited from their parents, our grandparents. Where our chromosome copy “swaps” from grandma to grandpa is called a crossover point.
In theory, SideView should be able to detect crossover points, because the phased matches on a given side will never span one. Our matches should look like this, but on a much larger scale. The vertical lines represent crossover points, in this case, two on the paternal side and one on the maternal.
Of course, this is probably a long way off. SideView is new technology, and the database may not be large enough yet to accurately call crossover points. But Boy Howdy, wouldn’t that be cool?!?
74 thoughts on “AncestryDNA’s SideView Assigns Matches to Parent Sides”
Excellent piece. Thank you for doing it.
With regard to Ancestry SideView. I have what I hope is a well researched family tree. My father had two longterm relationships,wife A and wife B. Along with my brother, we are descended from wife A. We have both tested with Ancestry, we share 2558cM and he shows as “Both Sides” on SideView.
Wife B produced my half brother, B1, who married wife C. They had a child N1, that is my 1/2 niece. She also tested with Ancestry. We share 1,179cM. What perplexes me is that she shows as “Both Sides”.
Wife A and Wife B are geographically seperated in the UK and are not part of an endogamous group. As far as I can tell there is no link between the two families.
How can my brother and niece both show as “Both Sides”, am I missing something obvious, or disquieting?
I doubt it’s anything to worry about. The feature is still in beta phase, so glitches are to be expected. I’ve seen a few (not many) obvious errors myself.
I don’t see the SideView notations on my match list. Is there a way to enable the beta?
Another question – is there a way to get help by the knowledgable Ancestry DNA folks, the Customer Support people are useless except for the most basic stuff.
They’re rolling it out now. It might take a few days for all of their 22 million customers to see it. What sort of help do you need?
I was wondering if there is still a way to sort matches by Genetic Community. That option seems to have disappeared from the Match filter options. My DNA story only show 3 matches for each Genetic Community.
Mine seems like it was 100% correct! My parents are both Norwegian from different areas of Norway and it’s successfully matched both to their perspective area.
Yes it would! Great article. And I will need to refer to it again to really get it in my head (I’m getting older). Is there feedback we can provide to help Ancestry tweek this tool?
What I would like to find (or have you write) is an article about how to identify a distant ancestor that a husband and I share. I discovered this when my son tested and came up with a match using “Are your parents related?” tool.
In your match list, click “By parent BETA” at the top, and the first panel will be a request for feedback. How much DNA do you and your husband share?
8.4cM on Ch2
I do have a few questions:
I already have both parents tested, but “sides” only show down to 20cM. Will SideView (SV) go under 20cM?
Will SV override the phasing provided by my parents tests, or just skip me altogether?
Will Ethnicity SV and Matches SV be linked? ie if you can work out which matches are maternal and paternal, will SV use that info to determine your Ethnicity sides? Could be useful for those who have parents of similar/same ethnicity. I could have mine back to front.
Certainly exciting times ahead though.
Yes, SideView goes all the way down to your lowest matches. It should agree with your parental phasing. Good question about Ethnicity SV versus Matches SV … I didn’t know, so I tried it out on a kit with two distinct ethnicities. It worked instantly! So the answer is yes!
Looking forward to this arriving for me. My SideView ethnicities were not that good, so my expectations are low. Will see what comes.
Most helpful. Thank you for taking the time to analyze this new technology and going the extra mile in interviewing the makers of the software to aid in our understanding. I use your articles to explain how these things work.
This is a great explanation of the process Ancestry.com has used with SideView. Now, if Ancestry will only allow customers to download their shared DNA segments!
Thank you for providing these details and providing the researched examples. I am also finding this very accurate but am very perplexed by the differences in the tools application to full siblings. One has dozens of accurately assigned matches and the other hardly any despite most being matches in common between them. Perhaps this is from a partial roll- out. Also a general comment on endogamy, I would consider the assignment of “both” as probably accurate and would reflect that as included in the percentages assigned.
How odd that the siblings are getting different assignments. Are matches to the second sib mostly unassigned?
I agree that “both” is probably accurate for endogamous matches. The challenge was evaluating each one to a reasonable standard, so I opted to not consider them as part of the accuracy stat.
Thanks for a great article.
The tool would be great if it weren’t messed up! I have access to quite a few DNA kits, so have spent the last hour or so going through them.
One one cousin, it set all of his maternal matches to paternal and his paternal matches to maternal.
On my mother-in-law’s kit, they set her known 1st cousins to “Both” and offer no way to edit it back to how I had it set in the first place, which was maternal first cousins. She grew up with these folks and knows very well which side they are on. When I clicked to edit, the only button there is Both, which they have checked. There’s no way to change it to maternal or paternal or anything else. In the relationship dropdown, first cousin wasn’t even an option. It only showed 4 choices, and none of them were cousin.
On my father’s match list, it insists that my son is on my father’s paternal side, but my daughters are on “Both”. All three of them should be “Both” as they all descend from both of his parents.
I was hoping that this feature would help me to sort out an adopted cousin who has not information on her birth parents beyond the birth mother’s alleged name and the location of my cousin’s birth. It says that I am on her Parent 1’s side. But how on earth can I trust that when they can’t even get the known relationships – that I had already set – straight?
How odd! I’m not seeing those kinds of errors on any of the kits I have access to. You should definitely report this to Ancestry. If you click on the “beta” label at the top, you should see a link to provide feedback to them.
Thank you, Leah. I will most definitely send them feedback!
Have a blessed evening. 🙂
I also have exactly the same problem as Suzanne (and my name is also Suzanne!). A known paternal 1st cousin x 1 removed is marked as ‘both sides’, which he obviously isn’t, and there is no way to correct this, nor to restore the correct relationship, as all it offers you is an assortment of great/grandparent, niece or nephew relationships..
I also have a whole bunch of known maternal cousins who Ancestry informs me it considers them to be on my paternal side, but strangely it has left them marked as ‘maternal side’ as I had them, but has turned this notation red with a ‘i’ next to it..
I think maybe Ancestry’s algorithm still needs a bit of tweaking, and I have given them feedback about it.
Thanks for giving them feedback!
Howdy, name-twin Suzanne! 🙂 Do (or did?) you happen to have auburn/red hair, too?
I hope they do their tweaking soon. These issues are very frustrating, especially since they won’t let us restore the proper relationship.
Have a blessed day!
I’ve just checked all the DNA results I manage and it is amazingly accurate. I manage one tree with clear endogamy (Maori) on just the paternal line. There were a lot less unassigned matches than I was expecting. Just 4 between 114-166cM. Everything above that amount was correctly assigned. Everything above 90cM (except for those 4) was showing correctly for both the endogamous as well as the non-endogamous side. And all the other results I manage are showing accurately. Now just to get Ancestry to start sharing how much each match shares with other matches and give us the chromosome details so they can be used on DNA Painter and I will be a content woman!
Thank you, Leah. This is very helpful. I’ve looked at my results, and if you are interested in another endogamy set to examine, let me know. Of the few maternal matches I know are maternal, Ancestry identified them correctly, though one they classified as maternal I believe is paternal based on the paper trail. There were over 21,000 maternal matches. Similarly, on the paternal list (over 15,000) Ancestry found many of those who I know are paternal, but not all of them. They only classified six matches as being from both sides, which I find surprising. Most disappointing but not surprising is that they classified over 150,000 (!) matches as unassigned, including numerous matches I have already identified as either maternal or paternal. That is the agony of endogamy, I suppose. Any thoughts?
For a match to be considered “both sides”, it must have at least two segments labeled to each side. Sounds like the majority of your matches have one segment labeled to the minority parent, not enough to qualify for the “both” assignment but too much to qualify for one side or the other.
I’m still thinking about ways we might use this for endogamy. For example, my mom has a paternal 1C (883 cM, 35 segments) who is unassigned. Based on the SideView criteria, I interpret that to mean 34 of the shared segments are labeled paternal and one is labeled maternal. I’m not sure how we use that information yet!
Well, at least it’s a start even for endogamy. I was happy to see the number they could identify correctly as paternal or maternal. And that’s without having either of my parents’ DNA on Ancestry. Now if they would only allow me to transfer my mother’s DNA from FTDNA to Ancestry, I bet that might make the sorting more complete.
I sent a reply, but perhaps it didn’t go through since I got a duplicate comment message. Anyway—I do hope this helps lots of people—endogamous or not!
Thank you so much this is great. I like sideview. Ancestry please keep updating.
Thank you so much this is great. I like sideview. Ancestry please keep updating. Thank you for explaining.
Is it true that siblings with the same parents can have different percentages of genes from both parents? I believe I have a higher percentage of Norwegian ancestry than my sister as I look like my dad who is half Irish and half Norwegian.
Yes, it’s entirely possible that you got more Norwegian than you sister. You each got exactly half of your DNA from your dad, but not necessarily 25% from each of his parents. That’s because your dad’s body randomly mixed & matched the DNA he inherited before he passed it on to you in a process called crossing over.
I manage about thirty kits. I have observed that at least in two of these AncestryDNA has made wrong side calculations and has taken away my capability to correct things. I think the options of mother’s side, father’s side or both should remain until the bugs are worked out. I’ve gone through customer service, error reports have been filed and three months later the problem has still not been fixed.
Sounds like you’re dealing with a different problem. SideView was released yesterday, so it’s not the cause of what you reported 3 months ago.
Update: the sibling anomalies do look like just a partial rollout had occurred. Today the lists are filling in similar for both. Also the ranges are extending down thru smaller cM matches. Looks Fabulous.
Thanks for the update!
Thank you for this review. I just noticed the Ancestry Sideview evaluations, so your post is timely. Even with my fully endogamous uncle, this might just help me assign triangulated groups to the correct chromosome copy, at least where Ancestry matches have uploaded to other providers…just might…So for me, this is quite exciting. And considering I am looking for my uncle’s g-grandmother, my hopes have shot way up!
Interestingly, however, a 1C2R (A) was “unassigned,” while his cousin (B), also 1C2R, was assigned to Parent2. So can we say that A had =19 of 21 segments from Parent2? Assuming the segments are the reported numbers–presumably post-TIMBER…
I wonder if DNAGedcom will be able to harness this info for their CLMs…
I think this means A had 20 segments labeled Parent 2 and one labeled Parent 1. We should find out more about how they’re assigned when the White Paper comes out. I hope DNAGedcom will make use of this!
DNA test August 4,2022 but not the result what’s the problem?
You tested with Ancestry in August but don’t have DNA matches yet?
So far the side view is most interesting. I was able to easily ID each parent. what I do find a bit puzzling is that Norway , Sweden and Denmark are now ID’d as a small part of my makeup on my maternal side. Mother was 1/2 French Canadian (with a very extensive presence in Ancestry, Family search and genealogy Quebec) and 1/4 from New Brunswick and 1/4 a “dead end” from Vermont with an English sounding name of Burton. Where would this odd bits of ethnicity come from. Why isn’t France mentioned in it? ( called England and NW Europe). I can track back to some ‘fille du mariners’ and ‘fille du roi’ in my tree on the maternal side.
On another frustrating note so many of my matches either do not have trees attached, have tiny trees, or private trees.
I wouldn’t worry too much about small percentages from Scandinavia. They might reflect historical events from long before your documented tree, or they could be statistical anomalies. Ancestry now reports French, so I’m not sure why you’re not seeing it.
Another interesting event just happened: The Nobel prize in Medicine was awarded to the person who “decoded” Neanderthal DNA: https://today.umd.edu/umd-biologist-contributes-to-2022-nobel-prize-in-medicine-research.
I wonder where this will lead?
Distracted all day; my results look good/predictable ..
But my wife’s are a puzzle Parent 1 has 13 Pat + 21 Mat matches in it & Parent 2 has 44 Mat and 8 Pat matches. Some I may account for – possibly common English results but the (maternal) Germanic Australian results are also spread around both parts .. Out of 39 known paternal results and 93 maternal ones; I am analysing these but it seems more than one set of matches involved
All the closest relatives are put in Both .. So something very complicated – I had noticed in the earlier ethnic changes many Aus matches were changed massively (up to about 25% even).
So can I trust my own simple looking results I wonder. Cheers
You should be able to use trees and shared matches to corroborate the SideView assignments. If things don’t line up, you can provide feedback to Ancestry by clicking at the top of the match list where it says “By parent BETA.”
Thanks for this! Looking forward to this feature rolling out to my account and the kits I manage. I expect it should be fairly accurate for my matches, as both my parents have tested at Ancestry. I’m more curious about my parent’s matches — will my painstaking work of assigning their matches to their parental sides be overwritten by this new feature?
It won’t overwrite your assignments. Instead, there will be a little “i” (for information) that tells you this was a manual side assignment.
I am discovering major mistakes in this feature for my Ancestry account. They have my parents incorrectly assigned. My father’s mother is Irish/Scottish and Ancestry assigned my father as a parent with no Irish /Scottish. My Mother’s side has no Irish/Scottish but they assigned her to the side that has Irish/Scottish. Also, the most popular surnames Ancestry has assigned to each side, 90% of the names I do not recognize. The unassigned names for a few of my relatives are very clear in my tree. I gave feedback to Ancestry and hope they correct it.
Unless one or both of your parents has tested, the system should only be labeling your matches as “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”. It’s up to you to determine which is which. Thanks for giving them feedback!
I really do not understand much if this. Like most technology, it is over my head in understanding. Both my parents were deceased before Ancestry offered the DNA testing. I did discover after their deaths that my parents were possibly 3rd cousins because both my parental and maternal great grandmother’s were 1st cousins. My paternal ancestor that came to NY in 1664 from The Netherlands but my DNA didn’t show that I had Dutch genes. Recently the update on the countries where I had ancestors showed for the first time I had Sweden and Denmark and Belgium ancestry but that was a surprise to me as I have never known about anyone related to me from these countries. I started doing research on my families at age 17 and now am 83. I have some “brick walls” that I just can’t find the information for. I have one nephew that is interested in all my work but no one else. Hopefully he will find what I couldn’t. Thank you for all the information. Sincerely yours
AncestryDNA doesn’t have a category specifically for the Netherlands, so that part of your DNA will probably get labeled as a nearby region, like Germanic, France, or Sweden/Denmark. Nothing to worry about! It doesn’t mean you research is wrong. You’re fortunate to have a nephew who is interested.
It overwrote them in the case of my mother-in-law’s relationship designations. It removed paternal/maternal classifications and set 84 of them to “Both” and will not let me correct it. For my adopted cousins, it reclassified his maternal people to paternal and his paternal people to maternal. Maybe it won’t overwrite the hard work of all of their customers, but it has overwritten enough to be very frustrating for me, my MIL, and my cousins.
I clicked the feedback button near the top of the page, but it was more like a survey. Maybe I clicked the wrong thing. I don’t know. Anyway, it gave me enough space to voice my complaint. We’ll see what happens.
It’s a beta tool, so I’m certain they’re listening to feedback. Thank you for letting them know about the frustrations.
You’re welcome. Thank you, too. Maybe if enough of us let them know about the problems we’re having with it, they will have a better idea of how to correct it.
Thanks, I did edit my parents since my original post.
Thanks for the great explanation! I have been tirelessly researching my grandmothers DNA results the last 4 months. We share 1100cm and very few matches. I also share very little DNA with my 1Cs and 1C1Rs and ZERO DNA to one particular 1C1R. She shares the appropriate amount to each of them. I have been under the impression that perhaps she adopted my father from someone in the family. My fathers results coincidentally came in today. He is 100% a parental match to both her and me. Oddly, he has matches in 300cm plus range that I DO NOT have, including my 1C1R. No clue how this is even possible. But I now see that 95% of my grandmothers matches say Both Sides. Now I have to figure out why, and how its throwing off all the other matches/ non-matches.
Sounds like you and your grandmother are on the tail end of the range of shared DNA for that relationship. Obviously, someone has to be at the extreme, although I’m sure it’s disconcerting when that someone happens to be you! I’m glad you were able to test your father to put any doubts to rest.
Just saw this on my Ancestry account this morning and came here for some explanation of how it works, for which thank you. For me it is spookily accurate, I have two tests one of which is in full agreement with my assigns, the other has two disagreements (out of about 200 assigns).
It seems to me that this method could be used recursively on the results of each pass to phase grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Obviously less accurate at each pass, since less input data, but still immensely helpful. Am I correct that this is feasible ?
It’s certainly feasible to assign my grandparent if the database is large enough.
I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’ve spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours trying to identify a great-grandfather using DNA. Luckily I did test my mother before she passed away, so I have her kit results and can use the algorithm to identify all matches on her maternal side. So, now I need to split those matches one more time in order to isolate and hopefully identify mom’s grandfather.
Looking at other comments, I agree that Ancestry should not be conflating our own assignments of Maternal/Paternal with theirs, these are two diffent things, even when 100% accurate DNA can’t distinguish between both or single sided since the dna from one side or the other may have been dropped over the generations. Our assignments are based on paper trails (guided by dna, but confirmed by paper) and so may follow an entirely different route to a different (but still correct) common ancestor. We are saying we each have a common ancestor, by paper trail, to this person on this side, they are saying you each have a bit of dna from a person on this side, but they are not necessarily the same person and certainly not mutually exclusive. ie two different things.
It is the same glitch which causes Oliver, the son of my paternal 1st cousin, to show as ‘both sides’. Yet for Oliver (whose kit I manage) his match with myself is correctly shown as ‘paternal side’. I hope Ancestry gets it sorted soon.
Unfortunately no lovely auburn hair here Suzanne. More like pale mouse! I guess it is our passion for DNA and our frustration with Ancestry that we have in common, apart from our name, of course. Like yourself, I hope they will fix the glitch before too long.
My auburn hair has long gone and left behind a mixture of gray, silver, and white. If you had auburn hair, too, I figured we could blame the Ancestry glitches on the Faeries. haha
Have a blessed evening. 🙂
it looks like as part of the change to the website, there is a change in how to access and send an invite to a match to share match lists.
Interesting. Thanks for the heads up!
I just learned this yesterday. I could not find this option and I later found it but it took some time to figure it out. My understanding is that this change will be rolled out to others over the next 6 months. I liked the old way better.
Excellent post, Leah. I am intrigued by this new development. I did something similar to you by comparing the percentages of categories for some of the different kits I admin. The one Ashkenazi Jewish kit had an amazing 76% of matches marked as “unassigned”. My other kits were mostly at the 5 to 10% level. Another observation I had was the power of the “both kits” category. So far in two specific cases I have been able to find a genetic network of matches labeled “both” when I did not expect it. To me, this implies there’s another line in there that I don’t know about where the kit taker inherited DNA from the other parent. I believe this can be very powerful for finding unknown lines of ancestry. Lastly, a question: when one manually sorts one of the unassigned matches to one parental side I wonder what the effect would be on the Ancestry side—in other words, does that somehow cause the algorithm to then also sort some of the other related matches to the same parent? Or, is it just a single designation that does not have any effect on any of the other matches?
Cool stuff! In answer to your question, as far as I know, Ancestry is only using the sides at the segment level, so if you forced an unassigned match into the maternal category, I don’t think that would affect the algorithm. I could be wrong, though!
No, you are quite right. Whichever way you manually assign a match, even a known cousin with whom Ancestry itself has actually identified the common ancestor, makes no difference if Ancestry is of the opinion that this match is on the other side of your family.
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