Ancestry’s ThruLines – Part 2

General Genealogy
DNA, Brown Line
By Don Taylor

I was recently asked what I thought about Ancestry’s new ThruLinestm feature, how much did I use it and what do I accept from it. In using autosomal DNA results, it is always good to have a very wide tree. The wider your tree is, the more cousins you have identified, the more likely you will be able to determine the relationship between you and a DNA match.

So, I decided to look at the matches that reach my great-grandparents, Arthur and Mary (Manning) Brown. They had 12 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood, so I figured there would be many cousins there.

ThruLines for Arthur Durwood Brown (Partial)

I tend to analyze each person left to right, so I started with a 2nd cousin, descended from Victoria Brown.

ThruLines – Victoria Brown Segment
  1. Look at the centimorgan (cM) match amount. In this first case, the individual and I share 134 cM across nine segments. Our trees suggest we are 2nd The Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4 at DNAPainter.com https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 indicates that 2nd cousins should share between 46 and 515 cm of genetic material. So, our match is within the expected range.
  2. Does the other person’s tree match yours? In this case, we have all of the same data for her grandmother. In order to accept a ThruLinestm display, both 1 and 2 must pass.
  3. Do the other descendant entries make sense? In this case, the cousin’s father is still living (and thus redacted). I had the same person with no discrepancies in data. Therefore, I am sure of the match. I did contact the individual to learn of her first name and then entered her into my tree in the right place.
ThruLines – Edward Brown Segment

The next cousin to analyze is a descendant of Edward Lewis Brown. This cousin and I share 144 cM over seven segments, well within the expected range for 2nd cousins, once removed.

According to ThruLines, this match a great-granddaughter of Edward through her mother and her grandmother both of which have private entries.  My records indicate that Edward had ten children, seven of whom were girls. I also don’t have information on any of the granddaughters of Edward. As such, I can’t place this individual on the tree at all. I then contacted the cousin and asked her about her connection to Edward Brown. Her mother and her grandmother’s name if possible.  Once I receive that information, if her grandmother matches one of my known children of Edward Brown, I will accept her and her mother’s names from her tree.

ThruLines Arthur Brown Segment

Cousin number 3 was somewhat expected. The amount of DNA, 98 cM, fit expectations for 2nd cousins once removed. I had identical information for her grandfather and her great grandfather. Looking at my data, I had four potential women (all living) who could be the mother of this cousin. I contacted her and asked which of the sisters was her mother. She replied, and I placed her onto my tree.

I followed a similar process for all of the other cousins that ThruLinestm provided connections to.

As you can see, my process it to:

  1. Confirm the shared DNA amount matches expectations for the relationship.
  2. Confirm the cousin’s descendants from the common ancestor and a known child of the common ancestor.
  3. Analyze the remaining path to the cousin, assuring things make sense.

Then, I accept the individual’s tree as “tentative” from the grandchild of the common ancestor to the cousin.

I like ThruLinestm, but only for widening my tree to include individuals that are descendants of a known family unit.


Note: I do not even consider anything in the individual’s tree before our common ancestor.

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