AncestryDNA Matching Update Impacts Jewish Ancestry

The following is an extract from a new announcement posted on the Blog:

AncestryDNA customers with significant Jewish ancestry have witnessed the challenges that we and other genetic genealogy testing companies have faced when predicting genetic relatives. Most Jewish customers find that we predict them to be related to nearly every other Jewish customer in the database! So while we all know that the cousin matches for Jewish and some Hispanic customers were over-estimates, detecting which cousin matches were real and which ones were bogus has always been a challenge for these populations.

The AncestryDNA science team has been unsatisfied with the cousin matches we have delivered to many of our customers and as part of our continued commitment to bring innovative genomics to you, we are pleased and proud to tell you that we have found the first solution to the “overmatching” experienced by Jewish, Hispanic and other customers.

You can read the rest of the announcement at


In other words, we’re selling you a DNA analysis that’s still in beta testing. We’re just not going to tell you that up front.


@Humphrey, no, actually this is a good thing — check out the Ancestry blog entry. If you have any AJ relatives, especially at the 4th to 6th cousin level, the methodologies people have been using are imperfect. Or, as another person has said, “all AJ’s are fourth cousins to each other,” due to the narrowing of the genetic base a few hundred years ago.

I just wish Ancestry would give us actual chromosomal data (as 23 and FTDNA do) so I could distinguish real relatives from those who are just part of the ethnic clustering on chromosomes 5 and 12. has promised better analysis tools, but so far their tools are very weak.


    “the methodologies people have been using are imperfect” – That’s what a beta test is: an incompletely developed product tried out on users so that the glitches and bugs can be discovered and rectified. Ancestry has been selling people a test that is nothing more than a rough guesstimate based on incomplete data collection and analysis. Based on their collection of data from the unwitting, they’ve now been able to improve the test. Expect more of this in the future. It’s an iterative process.


This announcement made me laugh. The only way to tell if you’re cousins or not is to slog through the records. DNA testing is no substitute for proper research.


    Unfortunately, without chromosome matching tools, and triangulation on a chromosome string, you DO NOT HAVE A MATCH. Until Ancestry provides basic tools, their test results and so-called “matches” are an easy way to jump to some very incorrect conclusions.

    But Eva, I must respectfully disagree. Careful genetic genealogy has helped me focus on a correct family for several of my “lost” ancestors. There is a slim possibility that, with unlimited time, travel and money, I could find the same information elsewhere. I try to use the most efficient tools available and for me genetic genealogy has proven to be that tool.


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