AncestryDNA’s ThruLines

ThruLines are automatically added to DNA tests that meet the criteria described at the end of this post.

AncestryDNA’s ThruLinesTM are the third of three great additions to the genealogy arsenal to be announced at RootsTech 2019; the others are MyTreeTags and improved DNA Matches.  ThruLines take the best aspects of DNA Circles and combine them into a tidy descendant structure that suggests the paths, or ThruLines, between you and your DNA matches.  Unlike DNA Circles, it even works if you have a private tree, as long as it’s searchable.

Your main ThruLines page will show each of your ancestors in order:  father, mother, father’s father, father’s mother, etc.  If the system is able to find a potential ancestor who is not already in your tree, they’ll have a dashed box around them and a “Potential Ancestor” tag:

 

Here’s a set of ThruLines to my great grandfather, Sidney Hébert Sr.  This was a big family (14 kids), and I can scroll to the left to see more descendant lines that have tested.

My path to Sidney Sr. is shown through my mom and grandfather.  My second cousin on the far right has a path through his father then to Jimmy Hébert, my grandfather’s brother.  Three descendants of Nelson have also tested; I could expand Nelson’s line with a click to see them as well.

As before, the boxes with dashed lines around them indicate people who are not yet in the tree and whom I might want to add.  As with any automated hint system, there will be cases where the suggestion is wrong, so you should always check the records before adding people to your tree based on ThruLines.

Also unlike DNA Circles, you and your match needn’t have both trees built back to the common ancestor.  AncestryDNA’s computers can reconstruct a hypothetical path by stitching together information from different trees.  Consider this ThruLine:

 

The lineage from me back to Donasien Domingues is taken from my tree.  The one from cousin SS, however, is pieced together from a couple of different trees, first Sarah’s, then Alanna’s.  Of course every such hint needs to be independently validated, but these computer generated hints can save hours of time tracing potential connections.

 

Shared DNA and Probabilities

Each ThruLines match is labeled with their user name, their tree-based relationship to you, and the amount of DNA they share.  If you click on the DNA amount, you’ll get a treat.

A pop-up shows you how likely each possible relationship is given how much DNA is shared.  These types of statistics underlie the What Are the Odds tool (WATO) and a great way to assess whether the relationships in the ThruLines are reasonable.

What’s especially interesting is that the probabilities in ThruLines are not exactly the same as the ones used by WATO.  Until AncestryDNA publishes a White Paper explaining their numbers, I’ll be collecting crowd-sourced data to better understand their numbers.  You can contribute percentages from your own ThruLines here:  https://goo.gl/forms/VliO4OHWDdwKBP3p1

Wish List

On the main ThruLines page showing all of the ancestors, it would be very helpful if the number of matches in each ThruLine was indicated.  As is, you can click on a ThruLine only to find that there’s nothing new there.

Also, I’d like to be able to zoom out of a ThruLines page to see all of the connections at once, ideally in a print-friendly format.

 

How to Get ThruLines

ThruLines will be made available on 27 February, 2019, to any Ancestry member who (1) has AncestryDNA results linked to a public tree or a private searchable one, (2) has DNA matches also linked to a tree, and (3) has a tree that extends back at least 3–4 generations.  While the tool is in the beta testing phase, ThruLines are free, although I anticipate they’ll only be available to subscribers in the long term.

142 thoughts on “AncestryDNA’s ThruLines”

    1. 1. What do you click on to get “Thrulines”? I see the usual shaky leaf and a path to a common ancestor.
      2. Regarding the above text and images, specifically:
      “The lineage from me back to Donasien Domingues is taken from my tree. The one from cousin SS, however, is pieced together from a couple of different trees, first Sarah’s, then Alanna’s. Of course every such hint needs to be independently validated, but these computer generated hints can save hours of time tracing potential connections.”

      Where are Sarah and Alanna in that image? Can you see where there tree’s are connected?

      1. If you meet the criteria, ThruLines will replace DNA Circles on your DNA home page. It might take a while for them to roll it out to all 10+ million DNA users. Sarah is “SS” in that image. Alanna doesn’t seem to have tested; she’s just an Ancestry user who happens to have people in her tree that can connect SS/Sarah to Donasien. I can click on Honora Domingues in the ThruLines screen to get to Alanna’s tree.

    2. I see “Sarah’s tree” and Alanna’s tree” in faint grey at the bottom of the two “Paul Darby’s” now. Old eyes…sorry.

      I am now seeing this functionality on my trees. However, the tag “Thrulines” does not appear anywhere on my screens.

      I can click on the dashed boxes and see the person profile on the tree to investigate the hypothesis that the dashed box is correct.

    3. I can’t get ThruLines to work at all. I have a massive family tree, that I have done a lot of work on, linked to my Ancestry DNA test. Circles never ever worked for me either, even when I had an Ancestry membership and a huge public tree. All I get on my Ancestry DNA page is a box about ThruLines, where the box about Circles used to be, and if I click on the question mark in the box, the only part of the box that is clickable, then just a lot of information about what ThruLines is, but no access to actually use it. DNA Circles never did a thing for me either, and I have three close family members who had their DNA tested by Ancestry and have family trees, and also others who I share a lot of DNA with, and also some known family tree connections from my DNA matches. So disappointed.

      1. Is your tree public or, if private, is it searchable? Are you and your living immediate ancestors (parents, grandparents) entered using your correct names, birth dates, and birth locations?

        1. My tree, connected to my Ancestry DNA test, is public and searchable. My parents and grandparents are marked “private”, ie I removed their death dates so they are marked as living. All the very close ancestors are pretty well correct, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, gg grand parents and ggg grandparents. My tree is far more extensive than that and many branches go back to the 1600’s and beyond….no aristocrats found yet. And I have filled in all the siblings too. There is enough information that when I had my paid subscription, Ancestry could spell out four of my connections to other Ancestry members. But I never got included in any DNA Circles, and ThruLines is doing nothing too.

        2. The ThruLines problem may because you removed the death dates from your parents and grandparents. Have you contacted Ancestry customer support?

      2. I could try changing my public tree to private but searchable, and entering the death dates of my grandparents. So that they are still private. But I don’t think that will help, I don’t think that is the issue, the Ancestry software can still tell who these people are from their birth dates and names. It could still make connections through the hints when I had my paid subscription. In all the time I had a paid subscription, I was never included in any DNA Circles either. I kept getting the same message I get with Thru Lines that I need to add more people, even with a tree of over a thousand people. Yes I have contacted Ancestry and they have passed my case to somebody else and I am waiting to hear from them.

        1. I am still waiting for them to get back to me. An Ancestry match said he has always been included in DNA Circles, and ThruLines is working for him, and his tree is the same size as mine, and probably one of their bigger trees. Most people’s trees aren’t much, and I have done a huge amount of work on mine and researched outside of Ancestry for information, and given them a lot of information they can share with their other customers. I am losing faith in Ancestry. I am not holding my breath they will get back to me. It feels as if they are giving DNA Circles and ThruLines to everyone else but I have been excluded.

        2. Have you confirmed that you meet the criteria: Is your tree public or private searchable? Is your DNA linked properly to yourself in your tree? Do you have the correct birth dates (and death dates where appropriate) for yourself, parents, and grandparents?

        3. Does anyone know if any of the other genealogy companies are doing anything similar to ThruLines? I feel so upset, I have paid Ancestry for my DNA test, and was a paid subscriber, and have done a huge amount of work and research on my family tree, and they haven’t even got back to me about why I can’t get ThruLines, or why I never got DNA Circles. They have our DNA and huge trees, and something like ThruLines should be standard, not something they can exclude people from. I don’t expect they will contact me at all, they say within 24 hours, but it has been days and nothing.

    1. If you meet the criteria, it will show up on its own where DNA Circles used to be on your DNA home page. The rollout is still happening, so if you don’t have it now, keep checking.

  1. Digression here, but when Ancestry has an estimate of relationships, I wish they would let us choose and assign the correct one when it’s known to us… so that my half-nephew isn’t labeled a first cousin, for example …so I don’t have to make a note or something less readily viewed.

  2. Very impressed by this tool! Such a huge improvement to your Ancestry DNA results. Hopefully this encourages more people to build out their trees too.

  3. I tried this feature this afternoon when it appeared. It seems to hold a bit of promise. One thing was mildly vexing, though. I treat my Ancestry (=“public”) tree as certain, i.e., the data I would write in ink, so to speak. My private tree is where I keep the “pencil” version, ancestors not yet proven to my satisfaction. I do so, of course, to prevent people from copying anything I might want to change later. Not foolproof, but I try.
    Thrulines, however, shows suggested ancestors that I know cannot be correct. Someone else made what I would call a bad assumption. So, I would like a magic button that says to the computers “No, that’s not right. Take it away and give me your next suggestion.”

    1. The magic button is a great idea. I suggest you pitch it to Ancestry via their Facebook page or customer support. Hopefully they’re listening.

      1. I keep seeing little side notes within these new beta features asking for feedback, so some direct suggestions could go through that avenue.

        1. The feedback pop-ups are intermittent. It’s a great opportunity to submit comments when you see them!

      2. I agree with this. It’s the old—Garbage in, garbage out. When others have somehow included my ancestors on a tree in error, I am also getting a Thruline hint to that person. There should be a way to say—This one is wrong!

        1. Yea that would be great… turns out that my adoptive father is actually related to me, through 8th+ cousins. Now Thrulines is trying to pin him as an actual birth father b/c of the tenuous connection and what I assume is the birth certificate… would be nice to say “no, you’re wrong. Try again”.

    2. Yes, I’ve noticed a few that are wrong as well–that’s where we need to fill in the “provide feedback” on the bottom right of the screen– ancestry folks always pay attention to that–I’m sure they suspect an “ignore or incorrect” button is needed–just testing the process for a while first.

    3. My first three potentials turned out to be COMPLETELY erroneous, and two of them were from trees of someone who doesn’t match my dna. (I realize these are two separate ways to connect.) One potential ancestor listed was named “Mother” and had only a date of birth. So I’m looking at a tree that has a shared ancestor listed but has no additional information whatsoever about the ancestor’s ancestor. I won’t be using Thur lines unless it’s significantly more useful, but what worries me greatly is that tons of folks may add such uninformed info to their trees since it’s made so easy. So the percent of trees in Ancestry’s database that are reliable will disappear quickly.

      My practical suggestion is that Ancestry adds a SYMBOL to any ancestor in a tree added by Thru Lines, to warn those of us who are trying to build reliable trees that these names have come through Thru Lines.

      1. Yes, people will add erroneous ancestors because of ThruLines, just like they add erroneous ancestors by copying other trees or even by not properly vetting BMD and census records. Fortunately, as good genealogists, we know to vet each and every source of information we come across.

        1. Please remember that ThruLines are a beta product, which means that the company is actively testing it with the goal of improving it. They’ve already rolled out at least two upgrades to the algorithm, and more are certainly on the way.

    4. Thrulines is creating havoc and fake information

      People are contacting me saying ‘your ancestor x is my ggggrandfather’ etc.
      I am having to spend hours proving to complete strangers why it is not true and why they should not take the photos of my ggrandparents and paste them into their tree

      The sooner Thrulines is removed the better.

      Otherwise I will start taking my tree off Ancestry – a tree that I started 20 years before Ancestry existed and has had thousands of hours of meticulous paper research, family wills and letters inform it

  4. Thanks for taking the time to explain this. My shared ancestors hints and Thru Lines aren’t showing uo yet for me to play around with and your blog posts about the new changes has helped me understand what I will be able to do with these new tools. I love that they are including a shared DNA and Probablilities chart!

  5. My ThruLines are basically correct, BUT somehow my full brother’s is assigning the incorrect mother to him and therefore has completely thrown it into disarray. It is also showing me as a half-sister.

    Somehow, the DNA he shares with me is not being used to create his ThruLines.

    He always shows as my full brother in amount of DNA and he truly is.

    I know that other trees may suggest his mother as the woman who was listed on the 1940 census, but he shares NO DNA with her.

    Hoping there is a soon remedy!

    1. I assume you and he show as Full Siblings in the new match list. Is his DNA attached to himself (with the correct mother) in a public or searchable tree? If so, I recommend reporting the problem to Ancestry. This is a beta test, so they’re looking for feedback on how to improve it.

  6. Why does it pick up a father that is not listed as a person’s father in the tree? Yes momma was married 3 times had ten children in total: one from hubby #1, zero from hubby #2, five from hubby #3 AND four with four other men. Thrulines shows the married spouse as daddy even though they are NOT linked to them in the tree. Screwy

    1. Is the correct father in the tree? And is the DNA test linked to the correct person in the tree? If so, I would report the problem to Ancestry so their engineers can find a fix.

  7. Thanks Leah. Great time looking through potential ancestors, although I’m finding several instances where a prediction of a 5ggpt is being suggested when all the DNA matches are at 3ggpt level. It’s more like the ‘potential ancestor tree hints’ than an ancestor predicted from the DNA. I have found one good one though! Great potential!

    1. In the ThruLines panel, they’re creating a tile for every ancestor in your tree, even if there aren’t any “new” matches at that level who weren’t already at a lower level. My “Wish list” suggests they tell us how many matches are part of that ThruLine so we can ignore the ones that have the same number as the generation below.

    1. It may be that the system hasn’t quite caught up with your tree yet. Remember that they’re rolling this feature out to nearly 15 million testers all at the same time.

  8. Thanks for explaining this. In just a few hours I have found other relatives on Ancestry whose names were on my tree already.

    But here are a few things I am not clear on or maybe that need to be added. When you find a match with a Shared Ancestor on Thrulines, there should be a way that on that page you can add that match to the appropriate group. Instead it takes several clicks to get back to your match page and search for that match.

    As I commented above, there should also be a way to correct the system so that trees that have connected to your Ancestor in error can be notified that there may be a problem in their tree. I’ve already found a few examples where people added a child to one of my ancestors who was not their child. But Ancestry doesn’t make it easy to notify of these kinds of errors, and notifying the tree owner usually ends up with no change. Sigh.

    1. These are excellent ideas. You should see a feedback pop-up when you’re using the features at Ancestry (it comes and goes) that you can use to pitch them directly to their development team. Remember that these are beta features, meaning they’re still in testing and that the developers *want* to know what’s wrong with them and how to improve them.

  9. I meet all of 3 of the criteria. I have a public tree that goes back many generations with hundreds of people; my DNA results are linked to this tree; and I personally know some of my matches, who also have public trees that go back many generations. But when I click on my parents in ThruLines, it says I have no relationships to show. Why is this?

    1. I would give it a week or two to populate. Remember that they’re rolling out three new beta tools to nearly 15 million DNA testers and to something like 100 million trees. It’ll take a while to include everyone.

  10. I got an email that told me I could sign up to get ThruLines (I am not paying). It did not show up on my page, so I called them. They said it would take a couple of days to work

  11. I manage my husband’s tree. He is the home person. His DNA, our son’s DNA and my father-in-law’s DNA are linked to this tree. My father-in-law chose to go by the surname of a stepfather, but we do know his biological father’s surname and that his father was one of a family of brothers who lived on a farm by his mother. This has been confirmed to a very reasonable degree of certainty using autosomal and Y-DNA from descendants of the father of these sons, although we have not yet zeroed in on which brother was his father. Of course, we also know exactly who my father-in-law’s mother was and we have a clearly documented line for her. Additionally, my husband, son, and father-in-law have copious DNA matches that trace through both of these families (including DNA Circles).

    Here is our problem: Ancestry’s algorithm has decided to suggest different parents for my father-in-law. All of his paternal Thruline suggestions are built on that…and there are a boatload of them. I understand that these are only suggestions, but in this case it is baffling. The parents that they suggest have no children with similar names, DOB, DOD, or even geographical region. (Kentucky vs Nebraska) Digging deeper, I realize it is suggesting these parents because my son has ONE match to someone using that tree. That match is a shared match with me, not my husband or my father-in-law, and of course I am not even linked to their tree. The only other connection that I can find is that the potential parents had a daughter whose name matches the married name of my father-in-law’s mother. Huh?

    Naturally, given this scenario, one has to go back several generations into the potential ancestor list before finding any shared DNA match that Is a match to one of these suggestions who is outside of my husband’s immediate family group. Given that my husband’s paternal roots extend back in the South for a very long time, we know that there are going to be a lot of matches that do not reliably predict a common ancestor at that point. In the meantime, there are no Thruline suggestions that use the parents we have already placed in the tree.

    So far, I am not a fan.

    1. It’s critical to remember that ThruLines are a beta product, meaning that the software engineers know there are glitches and that the very reason they released the current format is to ferret out those glitches. I strongly encourage you to use the feedback survey on Ancestry’s site (it comes and goes, so use it when you see it) to let them know what needs to be fixed.

      1. Yes, ThruLines are a beta product…but it is advertised as using the linked tree ancestors of the DNA tester, as well as providing other potential ancestors. Therefore, for direct ancestors, what is in the tree should match “exactly” the direct ancestors in the ThruLine – especially the parents listed of the DNA tester we have linked. You will notice in an earlier post from me today that I have a very similar problem. This problem tells me they are not using the linked tree ancestors of the DNA tester. If they were, these direct line ancestors would match the tree, not be someone else. The someone else’s would at best be potential ancestors. It is impossible that they are using the linked tree to the DNA tester if the direct ancestors listed are not the exact same as in the linked tree.

        For beta, we should not need to wait for a feedback survey….especially those of us with large trees and longevity on ancestry. We should be asked to give feedback anytime and get response anytime. Anyway, not your issue – but venting. lol

        1. ThruLines are not based exclusively on your tree. They are combining information from your tree with that from other trees, so they may not match exactly what’s in your tree.
          From the ThruLines FAQ:
          How does ThruLines find the common ancestors that connect me to my DNA matches?
          We use the public or private searchable family tree linked to your AncestryDNA test to search for people who appear in both your tree or other Ancestry member trees that are marked as public or private searchable. ThruLines then uses this information to illustrate how you and your DNA matches might be related through common ancestors.

          You are better of venting to Ancestry. I can’t change their algorithm.

  12. I’m completely missing a branch of my tree, my grandfather’s father. His mother is there. I think perhaps because there are other trees with an incorrect father listed, which Ancestry wants me to accept and offers as a potential ancestor. (DNA disproves that man, who never even existed). It’s very frustrating, especially because it’s my main line of research and where I need the most help. The same thing is happening to another line – Ancestry is convinced another man is Dad, a man who is clearly stepdad. Both DNA and paper trail confirm step dad not dad. But all other tree hints are not there except those for step dad. >:(

    1. First, please remember that this is a beta test, meaning that there will be glitches. The whole point of the beta test is for the programmers to find the glitches and look for ways to fix them. The best way to further that goal is to leave feedback for them using the survey that pops up intermittently.
      Second, these are just hints. If you disagree with them, ignore them.

  13. I have a known line, but ancestryDNA’s Thruline has a DNA match to a 3rd great grandfather, but the name in the other person’s tree doesn’t match my tree. I know mine is correct through my research and from talking to my grandfather before he passed away. But there is more that one tree that shows the incorrect information. How do you go about correcting this information? Just wondering?

    1. For now, the best approach seems to be to contact the owners of the incorrect trees to give them the correct information. I hope that Ancestry will eventually provide us with a way to rate the accuracy of individual ThruLines so that they improve over time.

  14. I accidentally linked Thru Lines to a small tree I did for a co-worker. I would like it to be linked to my main tree but I can’t figure out how to change it. Any ideas?

  15. Two questions:

    Firstly, I’m noticing that some of my ‘circles’ of DNA matches for a given proven ancestor are not showing at all in the ThruLines Feature. I don’t want to lose these Circles, which pull together some of their descendants, add evidence, and have the potential for further research! Is ThruLines a feature that is going to cause the Circles to disappear? Do I need to somehow copy or preserve the important (to me) data provided in the Circles which I’m not finding for some ancestors in ThruLines?

    Secondly, the other thing I’d found very useful about the Circles is that they include people who don’t exactly match me, but do match other descendants of the common ancestor in the group. I find this very important, because it greatly expands the number of descendants with whom to ‘collaborate’, or at least to try to find a well-sourced tree going further back. I.e., not being limited to only the descendants who have DNA which overlaps with me, but nevertheless may well share the same ancestor further back in time. Again, I don’t want to lose these Circles with lists of descendants who don’t necessarily match me precisely but are likely my cousins with perhaps research to share!
    Hope this makes sense. Unless I am missing something, I don’t see that ThruLines includes ALL of the features of the Circles…?

    Are they going to take away our Circles? Maybe I need to copy everything before they disappear?
    And am I missing where these features (i.e., showing non-matches to me but who are a match to others in circle) might exist in the new ThruLines?
    I haven’t found these answers in my searching. Please advise!
    Thanks so much!

    1. Absolutely agree with you that it’s valuable to have non-matches in the Circles. I would hate to lose that feature.

      I’m not sure why some people are missing Circle ancestors in their ThruLines. I can only assume that it’s a glitch that will be fixed once Ancestry’s programmers know about it. That is, after all, why they do beta testing! Your best bet is to provide feedback using the survey that pops up occasionally. If that fails, you can call them or use their Facebook page to message them with your observations.

      I suspect (don’t know for sure) that Circles will eventually be phased out but either (1) we’ll be given plenty of warning that they’re going away or (2) people who already have them will get to keep them. For example, they stopped generating New Ancestor Discoveries ages ago, but my mom still has hers.

      1. Thank you for understanding and restating the importance of finding true cousins who don’t show as DNA matches to us. As you know, when working a bit further back in our pedigrees, the probability of a true cousin actually sharing enough of the same DNA with us falls off dramatically. When trying to find relatives with whom to collaborate, that concept, along with the fact that not many have fairly full trees with documentation, increases the importance of knowing who are ‘non-matching’ descendants of an ancestor line — further back we have very significantly more cousins who don’t match us than those who do.

        Please, if anyone has ‘clout’ or influence — or not — please let AncestryDNA know that we don’t want to lose that feature which the DNA Circles provides! I have far more non-matching people in my many DNA Circles, as part of family groupings or individually, who descend from the common ancestor… and some of them have the better family research! Sometimes they are the ‘needle in the haystack’.
        Thanks!

  16. Thrulines is ridiculous – it isn’t based upon science it’s only source seems to be horribly flawed Ancestry trees. It is showing ancestors who are in no way biologically related to me! So where does science and DNA kick in on this new feature. Ancestry is notorious for spreading misinformation with little green leaves etc but this is the ultimate in bad genealogy.

    1. There’s a common misconception that ThruLines are (or should be) doing all of the work for us. That’s not true. ThruLines simply automate what we normally do on our own when trying to figure out how our matches are related to us: look at trees to try to fill in the path. Sometimes the trees stand up to scrutiny, sometimes they don’t, but it’s always our responsibility to vet them carefully. (It’s the same with the leaf hints: it’s our job to determine whether the record really applies to the person in question.)

      My favorite feature of ThruLines is that all of the DNA matches have links to the probabilities for each possible relationship. The information I need to critically (and scientifically) evaluate a possible connection is only a click away.

      I also love that they are able to find possible paths to matches I hadn’t been able to place before. For one brick wall ancestor, I was able to find 98 (yes, ninety-eight!) distant matches to my mom, uncle, and 1C1R that all point to a possible answer. I have a lot of work to do before I’m sure, but at least now I have a path forward.

      1. Your answer would be mildly plausible if Ancestry Thrulines used words like ‘this could be your possible ggrandfather’
        And noted things like ‘Ancestry has not validated this family tree – it could be complete garbage as it doesn’t even have any records attached’.

        I completely agree with Beverly Watson’s comments above.

        Ancestry will quickly lose credibility once word gets out that Thrulines is just cobbling together false trees.

        How did Ancestry move so quickly from a position of saying it wasn’t registering people in the Index if they didn’t have records attached to validate them to sucking random people from random trees with no records attached, and using it tell people ‘this is your ancestor’

        Total rubbish

        1. The splash page for the DNA Results Summary explicitly says “ThruLines uses Ancestry trees to suggest how you may be related to your DNA matches through common ancestors.”

          If you click on the question mark (top left) to get more information, it explicitly says:
          Are ThruLines accurate?
          ThruLines does not validate your relationships with DNA matches. However, it does make it easier to see relevant source information, such as public or private searchable family trees, historical records and shared DNA, to help you reach your own conclusions about how you might be connected to your DNA matches.”

          As with any source of information in genealogy, it’s up to us to validate it.

  17. This feature shows promise. It has helped me identify a few ancestors I wasn’t sure about, but I think it has a way to go before I would feel comfortable putting any of this in my tree. There were a couple of epic fails. Namely, it decided that a third great grandmother and her parents, all verified by me through records research and Ancestry’s own DNA matches/DNA Circles (strong confidence circles in the case of both 4th great grandparents) as my biological ancestors are not actually my third/fourth great grandparents. Instead it offers up a potential third great grandmother and her ancestors based on the fact that one tree shows this potential third great grandmother had a daughter by the same name as my 2nd great grandmother (and even the tree owner isn’t sure if she is the same person as the one in my tree) . Neither my DNA nor my sister’s matches that of the descendants of this potential 3rd great grandmother’s other known children nor descendants of her known siblings. The only other DNA match it offers, beyond those directly descended from my 2nd great grandmother, is a very distant DNA match (6th cousin once removed) that links to a tree suggesting this woman may have had an illegitimate child to whom I am somehow related. I have not completely ruled out that this woman’s husband may be my third great grandfather, his identity is still something of a mystery, but I have too much DNA evidence linking me to another third great grandmother and her parents/siblings to place much value on any of this.

  18. What does it mean when a box says “private” ?
    I was looking at my granddaughters tree, it shows myself, her father (my son) , then where it should say her grandfather’s name (my ex) it says private then above that more relatives.

      1. One more question please.
        If a person doesn’t want their matches shown will a relative show up as not a dna match?

        1. I’m not sure I fully understand your question. If someone opts their DNA kit out of matching, they won’t show as DNA matches to anyone (not even their closest relatives).

        2. I was looking at my granddaughter’s paternal family tree. A person we thought was her aunt says she has no DNA matches with my granddaughter. We are wondering if they aren’t related that would mean her grandfather isn’t dna related or if her aunt made her dna matches private. Clicking on other relatives in the – – – boxes it also says they dont share dna. We are novices with ancestry but this might prove she really isn’t related to that family. If that’s the case I have a lot of explaining to do. I hope this makes sense to you.

        3. Do you know for sure that the aunt has tested? Do you know that other people in that family have tested?

        4. I’m not sure if you received my follow up reply. I’m a novice and not sure of the proper terminology. My granddaughters aunt (my ex’s sister) is showing they do not share dna. When checking potential relatives it says my granddaughter doesn’t share dna with them. If that is the case I have some explaining to my son but my question is can the aunt choose not to show matches. I don’t know anyone else in their family to know if that is what they see. My son is 40 years old and I’m just learning his father might not be his bio dad.

        5. If the aunt has tested, yes, she can adjust her setting so that she won’t show to her matches. She can’t exclude a single person, though. If she changed her settings, she wouldn’t show to anyone.

          Are you sure she tested? Are you sure she has matches?

        6. yes, I’m sure the aunt was tested but her tree only shows one box that says private and the rest of her tree are all deceased relatives. I don’t know her personally so I can’t ask her. The box that says private is my sons father and would be the grandfather to my granddaughter. The aunts family is not extensive, I think my son is the end of that line. When i look at my granddaughters list of family matches it’s all my side of the family with 2 close matches on her mother’s side until we get to 4th cousins, who, when contacted have no idea how they are related.
          I’m not sure if having my son take the ancestry test would help if the aunt wants her matches private or if that will open up a bee’s nest if she us questioned

        7. No, asking her is out of the question, my divorce with her brother was nasty and my relationship with their mom not good. If she has a public family tree, wouldn’t that mean she’s had her dna tested? Sorry for sounding so naive. Thanks for your replies.

        8. No, having a tree doesn’t mean she’s tested. She can build a tree without testing, and she can test without building a tree. They’re separate features.

  19. Any thoughts as to why one of eight of my great-grandparents are not showing up in my ThruLines. I have complete information for this ancestor in my tree as well as all other great grandparents. Instead, Ancestry is suggesting this person to me as a “Potential Ancestor” from another user’s tree.

    1. The algorithm still needs refining. If you haven’t already, I suggest you use the pop-up survey to let Ancestry know what’s going on. The more feedback they get, the faster they can fix the issues. (Remember: This is a beta feature, so we expect glitches.)

  20. I can’t get ThruLines to work at all. I have a massive family tree, that I have done a lot of work on, linked to my Ancestry DNA test. Circles never ever worked for me either, even when I had an Ancestry membership and a huge public tree. All I get on my Ancestry DNA page is a box about ThruLines, where the box about Circles used to be, and if I click on the question mark in the box, the only part of the box that is clickable, then just a lot of information about what ThruLines is, but no access to actually use it. DNA Circles never did a thing for me either, and I have three close family members who had their DNA tested by Ancestry and have family trees, and also others who I share a lot of DNA with, and also some known family tree connections from my DNA matches. So disappointed.

    1. Is your tree public or, if private, is it searchable? Are you and your living immediate ancestors (parents, grandparents) entered using your correct names, birth dates, and birth locations?

  21. I also can’t get it to work. I had no luck with DNA circles and now no luck with this. I have a public tree with DNA linked to it, and I have 42000 people on my tree. So, I don’t know why nothing works.

  22. O, I had no idea, I thought having a tree meant you had your dna tested. You are such a help, thank you for having patience with this old gal.

  23. Have you heard whether or not anybody else “lost” their Thru Lines? I’ve been working with it since last week, and now it has been replaced with the old Family Circles. That question, “Would you rather use Family Circles?” that appeared on Thru Lines, was not answered “Yes” by me. I am bereft, frustrated, and don’t know what to do to get it back.

    1. Yes, others are reporting that they’ve lost ThruLines. I suspect it’s temporary (remember, this is a beta feature, so their engineers are still working on it), but if it doesn’t come back, I recommend that you contact Ancestry customer support at 1 (800) 615-6560.

    2. I lost ThruLines for all the of trees I manage as well. I wonder if it ended up providing too much information. It seemed it could open an even bigger can of worms than the usual Ancestry features.

      1. Many people (myself included) still have them, so I suspect that them appearing and disappearing has more to do with them working on things behind the scenes than anything else.

  24. My mother’s ThruLines (and therefore mine, my children), are showing her non-biological father and step mother as her ancestors even though they are not linked to her in my tree – at all. It is possibly because her non-biological brother with same last name has them as parents, but this shouldn’t matter – no tree linkage. This is absolutely not how this should work….the ThruLines are supposed to only show tree ancestors and potential ancestors of each individual DNA test. Day 1: Showed her mother, non-biological father, but not step mother. Day 2: Was going to call Ancestry…but then, when I logged in – Most correct. Showed her mother, not her biological father, not her step mother, but also not who I have her linked to as biological father. Anyway, better. Day 3: Now has her linked to non-biological father and step-mother…and get this – her real mother and her lines are not even there! This tells me that ancestry is definitely not pulling from the linked tree. It is impossible to have this result, and therefore not as advertised. Need to fix this and quickly.

    In addition, even though I have had her linked to biological father for 5 months, the tree hints still do not come up for that side of the tree.

    Why does Ancestry have a site with trial beta and not have a direct contact to report errors like this versus phone call? I live in Japan, so not easy to just pick up the phone and call. I remember years ago, they had a “feedback” button, but it no longer exists.

    1. Day 2 should read:

      Day 2: Was going to call Ancestry…but then, when I logged in – Most correct. Showed her mother, did not show her NON-biological father, not her step mother, but also not who I have her linked to as biological father. Anyway, better.

    2. When you click on a ThruLine, you will usually get a pop-up at the bottom right of the screen (on a computer) with a link to give feedback.

    1. ThruLines were never in the Extras. They should appear where DNA Circles used to be on the Your DNA Results Summary page. The Extras > Ancestry Lab only contains the MyTreeTags and New & Improved DNA Matches betas.

  25. Wishlist:
    I sure hope thrulines gets to a point to help adoptees and non-paternals. I have my mother linked to suspected biological father. There are countless DNA matches on this line and zero to the father’s line thrulines is showing. However none of the biological line DNA matched ancestors are showing up. Not even as potential ancestors. It’s showing her non-biological father even I don’t have him linked to her or even her mother in the tree (it’s not showing any of the non-biological father ancestors). Ancestry solved the other issues I had (thanks for pointing out the feedback link). But it still shows him as father instead of the biological line.

    In another case example, my mother has a 1st cousin who was conceived as non paternal. For her, it would be helpful to show that based on 3 1st cousins, you likely share these shared grandparents of those cousins….even not in her tree. She knows but just an example that would help suspected non-paternal and adoptees. In other words, adoptees and non-paternal need help. So, thrulines could point to potential ancestors not in their tree based on other people’s trees they share DNA with. But first would at least be nice to use the line we have built.

    1. You can turn off the New & Improved DNA Matches beta (under Extras : Ancestry Lab) and get Shared Ancestor Hints back. Those are helpful for unknown parentage cases once you’ve identified potential ancestors.

  26. I’ve posted several negative comments and suggestions for thrulines. However, I have to say it is also very good where trees are solid. By showing the DNA matches to an individual through various children, it greatly helps confirm the ancestor is correct. It also helps show potential errors in trees. Ex: a distant ancestor, but all descendents are through 1 child. This to me indicates pure speculation of an ancestor that’s not confirmed and copying of wrong trees.

  27. Thrulines appeared, then a week later, disappeared. DNA Circles are back now. Is the beta test over?

  28. I like the new ThruLines but do also have a problem with them. I have done a Y-DNA series as have the 3 other lines decendant lines of my 3rd great grandfather. The other three brothers lines match within 1 gene at 1 allee. My y-DNA is different by 18 genes and 24 allee. I have clearly noted on my tree that there is a genetic break and I am not a decendant of my 3dr ggf yet They have feed me with 4 different choices all being my surname. With over 200 lines in my surname project I do not match any and every choice they are already members of the surname project. My closes surname matches are in two other surname lines. It would be helpful if they would read and head the notes and comments placed on the trees. It would also be helpful if there was a way for them to access the y-DNA data when available. Years ago they took down loads of both myDNA and y-DNA which I never removed and can still access at Ancestry.com.

    1. I agree that it would be great for us hardcore genealogists if they could include yDNA and mtDNA evidence and also point out MPEs. I imagine they’re still working out both the artificial intelligence as well as the ethics of it all. For example, my 1C1R has a DNA match who is clearly her half brother, and he just as clearly has no idea that his father wasn’t his father. I’ve reached out to him with a vague introduction, but I don’t want to tell him if he doesn’t want to know. It would be even more jarring if an AI algorithm broke that news to someone.

      1. I did jar a person when I contacted them. They are my largest DNA match, top of the list. A first cousin who denies they could be adopted. I recognize the mother as the first wife of my uncle. They also have niece who tested. Her father is a half brother to the subject.
        Also with my NPE 2nd great father I contacted Ancestry with a suggestion about including other dna data when known. We shall see if it happens.

  29. ThruLines is a mess, at least for me. For one thing, Ancestry seems to be paying no real attention to my linked tree.

    More upsetting, though, that the people who shouldn’t appear in ThruLines but do are the people who should appear but don’t.

    This includes my maternal grandfather and all of his ancestors. Previously I had been in DNA Circles for *ten* of these, including one with over 400 members. Now, when I click “Sill want to use DNA Circles?”, I see a page which claims I have 25 of them but only shows me four of them — three on one page and one on the second.

      1. I have indeed. I think they’ve *tried* to help, but it appears they can’t figure out the problem either.

        Another stupid problem is that when you’ve taken the test twice, the second result has to be assigned to a “copy” of myself with me as “manager”. But even after deleting the 1st test result to try to avoid confusion, there’s apparently no way for the v2 results to be attached to me.

        As a result, if I click on my 1st cousin’s name, I initially see “This person is either not a DNA match or has not yet taken a DNA test.” Then I have to remember to go to my “shadow self’s” results, and voìla.

        Anyway, now my DNA Circles are gone (all but 6 or 25), my ThruLines have disappeared, and none of my “Shared Ancestor Hints” shows up. (Instead, if I click on it I get “No matches match the selected filter.”)

        And for what it’s worth — which is apparently not much — I’ve been an “All Access” member for years.

        1. I’m afraid I don’t understand what’s going on with your duplicate tests. I’ve never had trouble working with managed test. Definitely something you need to bring to Ancestry’s attention.

          It may take a few weeks for ThruLines, DNA Circles, and Shared/Common ancestors to work themselves out. Unfortunately, imperfect beta tests are the down side of progress. Hopefully your issues sort out soon.

    1. Hello,
      I am also having similar problems and despite several calls to ancestry and an “error report” that has not been responded to, I am not receiving any help.
      My DNA results are just in as if April 3, and my sister is listed as a full sibling on the DNA matches and a half sibling on Thru lines. That is alarming and upsetting.
      Also, Thru lines only shows my maternal lineage. There is nothing connecting my or my sister to my father’s side or anything on my linked tree from my father’s side. I know my tree is correct in the way that i have linked my siblings to my parents.
      Also, when I select common ancestors, it is only my mother’s side that shows up any common ancestors.
      Just feeling very disappointed in Ancestry, and very puzzled.

      1. If the DNA match says she’s a full sibling, there’s nothing to worry about: she’s your full sister. AncestryDNA is actively working to improve ThruLines during this beta testing phase. They issued an update a couple of days ago. In the meantime, you can make a lot of progress on your genealogy research by reviewing your matches and fitting them into your known tree.

  30. Thrulines isn’t correct for me. I have identified my father’s paternal grandfather and he is identifed on my family tree. Thrulines is showing me a “potential” paternal grandfather but when I click on the box it says this information is hidden because the person is still living. My father’s paternal grandfather was born in 1851 and died in 1927 so he’s definitely not living. He birth/death dates are on my tree and he is identifed as “deceased”. Seems like thrulines isn’t quite ready for priime time.

  31. I am totally disappointed in ThruLines. Too much inaccurate information from inaccurate trees. ThruLines seems to place too much emphasis on other peoples trees rather than to my own tree, which I know is accurate & well documented. For example others are saying my step father is my father because others have said so in their trees with no liable sources or documentation and I have documented proof they are all wrong. Ancestry has even gone to the point of “renaming” my father and combining my step father and biological father in their hints as 1 person when they are two separate people.

    All this is a waste of valuable research time and money. I’ve already talked to Ancestry Support about this – didn’t help, nothing has changed and only getting worse. I’m staying completely away from this feature for a year or 2, then see if Ancestry is taking Genealogy seriously again.

    1. ThruLines are in beta testing, so imperfections are to be expected as they work out the kinks. That’s the price of progress. They issued an update in the past few days, so you might want to check to see if the problems have been fixed.

    2. Hi LGB

      Totally agree.

      If it continues like this I will be removing my tree from Ancestry and giving up my $500 per annum subscription that I’ve had for 10 years.

      At least the first 6 generations of my tree are thoroughly researched and in some cases I paid serious money to genealogists overseas to obtain records or travelled overseas myself.

      20 years worth of work only to be told by a stranger that it’s incorrect because of something Ancestry tells them based on another person’s false tree they have made up by cutting and pasting trees off Ancestry.

      I would rather preserve my research than speculate on finding out more information through Ancestry DNA. Anyhow theres plenty of competing dna sites like ftDNA and MyHeritage, which we are already on too.

      1. MyHeritage has a new feature called Theories of Family Relativity that does the same thing as ThruLines (find connections based on member trees). FTDNA has no tree-documentation features at all.

  32. Hello, I am really, really hoping that someone can answer my question.
    After a lengthy wait and much anticipation, I got my ancestry DNA results on April 2 20019.
    My sister also got her test results on the same day.
    My sister is listed on the DNA match page as a full sibling, sharing with me 2,250 cm.
    On the Ancestry Tru Lines page she is listed as a half sibling and is connected to me through the common ancestor of our mother.
    My tree is 100% correct in the way that i have linked my siblings to my mother and father, so no error there.
    Also, on the Thru lines page there is no listing of my father or any member from the male side of my family tree. All the people on the Thru Line page are from my mother’s side of the family tree. I know my father is my father because there are DNA matches that have come up that link to my father’s family. So the DNA matches are there, but are not coming up on the Thru line page.
    Also, when I select DNA common ancestors, not one ancestor that comes up is from my father’s side of the family tree.
    I am very confused!
    thanks for any light you may be able to shed on my problems.

    1. I would contact Ancestry’s customer support to report the glitch. Remember that ThruLines are still in beta testing, so we should expect things to go wrong occasionally (although that doesn’t make it any less frustrating).

      You won’t get Common Ancestors through your father until the ThruLines for him are working properly.

      1. Thank you for your response and yes, it is frustrating to be told your sister is a “full sibling” and then a “half sibling” and to finally get your DNA results only to discover your paternal line is non existent. For several days my poor sister and I were confused and wondering if were full siblings or half siblings. Then we both wondered if our dad was our “real” dad. That is more than a glitch. Only after researching our DNA matches and discovering some family trees with paternal ancestors were we sure that we both had the same dad. Very upsetting!

        As I mentioned in my comment, I have contacted Ancestry 4x by phone. They assured me that an error report was put forth and I would be contacted in 24-48 hours. That did not happen. Today I called again and was asked to read the customer support paper on “Unexpected Results”. I emailed Ancestry today and will have to see if they do respond.
        Your comment that “we should expect things to go wrong” puts the Thru LIne problems back in the lap of the consumer who has paid good money for the DNA test as well as money for the monthly service of using Ancestry. I think that Ancestry needs to listen to customers and respond to their problems. From the reviews that i have read, this does not appear to be happening. No one from Ancestry has emailed me or expressed any concern or willingness to fix my problem.

        1. Consumers can reasonably expect ethnicity estimates and DNA matches from autosomal DNA tests. After all, that’s all that 23andMe and FTDNA offer for prices similar to AncestryDNA. Only AncestryDNA and MyHeritage are offering tools that automatically scan member trees to make connections, and both programs are in beta testing right now. AncestryDNA has already tweaked their algorithm more than once to address problems, and they continue to make improvements. That’s what beta testing is for.

          If you’re not comfortable with beta testing, you can switch back to DNA Circles.

          You shouldn’t conflate the subscription service that gives you access to records with DNA testing. They are separate products.

  33. I’m also getting the run around from ancestry. Been a customer for 20 years. I sent them an entire presentation to use for thrulines improvements. But that was just to give a visual of issues for feedback and hopefully help us all. It likely became trash but I tried.

    My main issue though is NOT related to thrulines. The issue is simply that tree matches are not getting reflected on my maternal grandfathers line. I changed it to my mom’s biological father over 6 months ago. I have hundreds of DNA matches that perfectly line up as tree matches….just not getting reflected. We are DNA cousins. Both our trees match. But ancestry shoes no tree match. It’s only on this line. No other line has this issue.

    I keep emailing ancestry (I live in Japan) and nothing. The amazing thing is…I only contacted them after they reached out to me from this blog!! That adds to my frustration with them.

    1. They issued an update to ThruLines a couple of days ago that corrected problems for a lot of people. I fully expect to see more refinements over time, although I doubt that they’ll be able to address individual complaints on a one-on-one basis.

      I’m not sure what you mean about tree matches. Are you referring to Shared Ancestor Hints? Those haven’t been working properly for a while.

  34. thank you so much for responding.
    I hear your “pain” and sympathize. I am sure that like me you have put a lot of effect into creating your family tree. And we pay for the Ancestry product and are not getting the results that we have been promised.
    For me, my paternal line is not reflected on Thru lines or when selecting Common Ancestors. It is as though, my paternal line does not exist on my family tree.
    I too have sent an email to Ancestry and have called at least 5x with no success at a resolution.
    The other problem that I have with Thru lines is that so many of the Public Family trees have errors, or are private, or have just a few people on them. So much time is spent chasing the DNA matches with small results.

    1. ThruLines are a beta product, which means that it’s a work in progress that is still being refined. AncestryDNA has never misrepresented that fact.

  35. My issues finally got solved. I had sent a presentation deck with all my issues several weeks ago after Ancestry Customer Support reached out to me via this blog (which I appreciated at first). They thanked me and said sent presentation to technical team. Well, I never heard back. I contacted again this week. After about 5 very frustrating e-mails back and forth, one rep finally told me that because I wasn’t using the e-mail associated with my account that they couldn’t help me. Huh? I was furious. They could have easily told me from the beginning. So, I changed the e-mail in my account last night and told customer support no more excuses now – solve the issue by when I wake up here in Japan (which is why I cannot call them). I was shocked to find that everything was solved! Thank you – finally! Persistence pays it seems. I guess you need to drive them nuts until they want to get rid of you.

    Ancestry is a great product and why I’ve been with them 20 years. It has issues, but overall great product if people would use it right. However, Customer Support needs to be more open and direct and honest. They need to stop sending generic replies of apology, and stupid things like clearing cache or using trying another browser. They need to pay more attention to discussion history and status when different people take over. Ex: My problem was solved today. Again I had sent an entire presentation to give a visual of the various issues. After this, I get a reply from ancestry suggesting to clear cache, use another browser and if that doesn’t solve it, need more information. (LOL) Need more information when problem was solved and a 10 page presentation deck was already given. Shows me they are not paying attention and just sending generics. So the message is to be persistent, use your e-mail associated with your account…they may not even tell you why you’re not getting helped. Don’t assume that your last discussion is still known with the next person replying to you. Pay attention to who is replying from ancestry. Give visual information. As an engineer, I can tell you that once it gets to the technical team, the visual is much better, especially if you have multiple issues. Seeing is easier than words. Show them where it is broken versus just telling them. Good luck!

    1. In their defense, clearing the cache solves most problems for most users. It should always be the first thing you try. In your case, it didn’t help, so I’m glad you were able to escalate the issue and get your problems resolved.

  36. Hi, im just getting to grips with ThruLines on ancestry, but ive noticed that when i click on any of the ancestors on my list it says something on the lines of ‘ThruLines suggests that you may not be related to any DNA matches through M**** Smith’ for example. Its actually saying this for both my parents, so how am i related to anyone on my tree or DNA matches if its not through my mum or dad? if i click on my grandad it says im not related to anyone on my tree through him, because im not related or matched to any of them through my mother! i really dont understand how that works. am i just being stupid and still need to learn how it works or does it mean im not releated to my parents?!? i just dont get it.

    1. ThruLines for any given ancestor will only show people who both (a) have taken a DNA test and (b) are descended from that ancestor. If you are an only child, or the only person in your immediate family to have tested, then you won’t have any ThruLine connections for your parents. Try looking at the ThruLines for a great grandparent or 2-great grandparent.

  37. Good news for sure! My main issue got resolved too. My Thur Lines are now working. As I said, I had called Ancestry quite a few time. Perhaps my final email made more sense. Not sure but now it is fixed. The one thing that is not fixed, or is not working is the Common Ancestor selection: it seems odd that around 20 common ancestor matches come up on my maternal side and not one on the paternal side. Could that be right? Also, there are so many errors on several of the public family trees that my DNA matches are linked to that the relationships are coming up wrong. And of course there is no way to change the tree, other than letting the person know (which I have done). It’s affecting several of my best DNA matches. That is a major problem with Thru Lines. Not sure how Ancestry will address that issue in the future.
    Good luck with your searching

    1. I’ve suggested to Ancestry (in the feedback survey) that they give us a thumbs up/down feature on other people’s trees. They could use the crowdsourced rankings to prioritize which paths are shown in ThruLines. Maybe in the next update!

  38. The man I thought was my grandfather is not my grandfather.
    I have deleted him from my tree, and added a “guess” for another man that I think could *possibly* be my mother’s father.
    My HOPE is that Tru-Lines will pick up the new name and either show me some matches, or show none, which will confirm or negate my choice.
    Has anyone else tried just putting in a “guess”?
    If it’s wrong, I could always delete that, right?

  39. Thank you so much for the reply.
    I did go ahead and “plug-in” the mystery ancestor, and it looks like I scored! It came back with a whole slew of relations that are DNA Matches, and research showed the mystery man was between marriages and living only three blocks from my grandmother when she conceived.
    Bit I will definitely plug in all of the data to “What Are The Odds”. That sounds like a fascinating program, and it may help to refine the direction I am leaning.
    Thank you again, so much!

  40. 2 questions:
    1) I have DNA on 3/4 of my grandparents but only 1 of them is showing DNA icons on the family tree view (where the leaf is) – how do I get the icons on the through lines on the other 2?
    2) what does it mean when there is a line under an ancestor on the through line but no other links – is a a private tree or someone with not enough info to link to? It looks like there is a connection but none show

    1. I don’t have the DNA icons yet myself. I suspect they’re still working out the details and yours will show up eventually.
      Please report the ThruLines issue to Ancestry. It’s not something I’ve seen.

  41. I like ThruLines. It’s certainly not perfect, but for me, it’s 80% accurate through the 4th generation, and gets dicey after that. But at least I have suggestions to follow, and new ideas to pursue. I literally made a piece of paper (I’m old fashioned that way), for every suggested yet unproven ancestor on ThruLines, and am going through them one by one, either proving or disproving.
    Agree it’s silly to see a ancestor suggestion from only weak tree, with no documentation.
    And I wish I could delete someone once I have disproven them.
    But I’ve also had some luck.
    Overall, I like it.

    1. Thanks for sharing your insight. You’re right that some way to delete or “thumbs down” a faulty ThruLine would be helpful. Glad that they’re working out for you!

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