Saturday, October 7, 2017

Organising my DNA data

It's been twelve months since I first received my DNA results from Ancestry. Since then five more members of my immediate family have tested. Many close results have been people I have met or corresponded with over the years. Another has provided me with evidence that we may have found a descendants from a sibling missing in the late 1800s. However, there are some close matches who we can't accurately place in our family.

After a couple of months I decided I needed to work out a system to visualise these results for myself.  (I can't remember if I got this idea from someone or not). I decided to enter details in a spreadsheet with columns headed Match Name, Relationship, MCRA, My ancestor in the next generation, Match's ancestor next generation, Shared CM, Segments and a contact address if I had one. I then had pages for each of my grandparents and their ancestors. As further members of my family tested I also started pages for them. It got very messy! I needed another solution.

I was sent a spreadsheet by a relative and decided to try that.


I made a template and then set up an individual page for each of the six trees I manage. Matches were placed underneath the most distant sibling of one of our ancestors. I add the name of the match (removed here), their ancestor's name, our relationship and the match.


Illustrating some of my Agnew and Mylan matches


I can now see that I have matches with John, Margaret, James and Ellen, all siblings of Bridget Mylan. One day I may get matches with Thomas, Annie, Matilda, Esther and Mary, the other siblings.  The ? indicate matches who we know are related to this family but can't identify the link at this stage.

This method seems to be working much better and I feel as though it is more under control. However, I can see that in the not so distant future I will run out of space on the spreadsheet in some branches. The problem is finding time to go though all matches and then just being able to catch up with new matches.

Even while writing this I've just thought of a further refinement.  I could link each name to their match on Ancestry or GEDmatch. That could be a job for my next holidays!

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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