Ancestry announces ThruLines

ThruLinesTM​ shows you the common ancestors who likely connect you to your AncestryDNA® Matches—and gives you a clear and simple view of how you’re all related. When you link your public or private searchable family tree to your AncestryDNA results, new chapters of your family story may be revealed. You could see how your DNA Matches fit into your family tree and learn new details about the common ancestors who likely connect you.

Click here to see a PDF file of the entire announcement.


So far lots of false or unverified “potential ancestors” and no way to delete the bad ones.


    I totally agree. All that Ancestry does is connect a person to other family trees without regard to correct or incorrect information. It appears that this new “tool” has nothing to do with DNA.


Ancestry is still going by other trees for matches, even though there are mistakes in those trees. I have at least 9 people, that are 3rd cousins that I know personally, they come up as 5-8th cousins. We put our trees side by side and they are definitely 3rd cousins. 3 of these people have huge errors in their trees, they happen to be brothers. My granddaughter has a tree that has her grandfather married to me 2x, she comes up as my 1st cousin. Sadly she has lost interest in genealogy so it probably will not be fixed.
When I checked some other supposed matches, they don’t add up either, plus they have no sources or records in their trees.

I also had a match recently to a 2nd cousin, who contacted me, she was looking for her birth parents and lo and behold I found them for her, she is my maternal 2nd cousin for sure. We are both thrilled at this discovery.


    Cassie Blankenhorn March 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Ancestry doesn’t know how you’re related just how many centimorgans (DNA unit of measurement) you have in common. There’s a range that is a guestimate of how close you’re actually related. If you look at your match and then click on the little question mark under their name and next to where it shows:
    Shared DNA: 287 cM across 16 segments ?
    there’s a chart that makes it clearer. The above shared DNA of 287 cm (centimorgans) is my first cousin’s daughter but she shows up as a 2nd or 3rd cousin due to how many centimorgans we have in common. Apparently my cousins daughter and I share less DNA that the average 1st cousin but more in the 2nd-3rd cousin range.
    Some matches will be more or less of a match depending on how much DNA we both received from the common relative.


That’s a hard pass. I dislike the potential ancestor feature and disabled it on my tree. I haven’t had any difficulty finding the common ancestors for matches that matter.


    Mary Poe Twitchell March 7, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    How did you disable it? I’ve been appalled by how bad it is. And apparently it uses trees just the way the search does — no dna connection, just a tree with an ancestor of mine it it, that has a parent of that ancestor. The parent has been incorrect in one of the three hints I got, and in another the parent’s only identifying info was “Mother” and her birthdate. How is that supposed to help?


I take back what I said about ThruLines! This is awesome!!! That pdf does not describe it accurately at all. This is so much better than DNA circles, and is doing what I’ve been doing in spread sheets and manually for some time.


Quit with the smoke and mirrors already. Just give us a Chromosome Browser and let us find our own verifiable matches.


So, the BETA is free-for a while, implying that, above the couple of hundred I pay now for Ancestry, there will be another fee for this product? I think I can probably figure out who those ancestors might be for free all the time by doing my research.


Complete junk as far as I can tell. “Potential” ancestors are not remotely related, although many verifiable cousins showed up in DNA Circles. I agree with Marci, just give us a chromosome browser for Pete’s sake.


    I have to comment as this was a discussion point today at RootsTech:

    —> “Potential” ancestors are not remotely related…

    Absolutely! I suspect the folks at Ancestry and other online sites would agree with you 100%. These suggestions are exactly what the web site claims: POTENTIAL ancestors, not proven.

    No computer that I know of can ever decide with 100% accuracy which relatives are yours. However, computers can save you hours and hours of manual comparisons on spreadsheets and other tools to identify POTENTIAL ancestors. There is no claim that these are your actual ancestors, only that they are your POTENTIAL ancestors. I expect there will always be some mis-identification, maybe even a lot of mis-identification. As with every other claim made online, in books, and verbally, it is always up to you to verify or else disprove the possibility.

    That has been true for decades and remains true today. I suspect it will be true for many more years.

    Always VERIFY every claim before you accept it as a fact.

    I commend Ancestry (and many other web sites) for using the correct term: POTENTIAL ancestors.

    MyHeritage also made the same point in yesterday’s announcement of their new service called The Theory of Family Relativity™ (you can see the announcement at: ). Note the title: The Theory of Family Relativity™.

    It is exactly that: a theory, not a fact. Again, it is up to you to prove or disprove it, as always.

    Most of today’s online DNA services carefully use similar language to describe their findings: POTENTIAL or THEORY or similar words.


    Yes they did use the word ‘potential’. And I guess that’s a positive. However, in their questionnaire they ask “Seeing DNA Matches that have descended from a common ancestor provides good evidence that I am genetically related to that ancestor.” Using other people’s poorly researched trees is NOT evidence. It is this kind of thinking that results in more garbage trees and more wrong DNA proofs. We honestly don’t even know if they are matching overlapping DNA strings on a common chromosome let alone if they triangulate. (If they even know what all that means)

    Just give us the damn Chromosome Browser already.


AncestryDNA badly needs a chromosme browser more than anything else, however, they seem to be more interested in developing tools they can use to cross-sell memberships at full price.


My findings about ThruLines are similar to those discussed in other comments here. For my “Potential Ancestors,” trees that are cited contain undocumented guesswork. Many, if not most, of Ancestry’s trees are the “work” of copyists, not researchers, so errors quickly find their way into lots of trees – and into ThruLines – gaining unwarranted credibility. Without a chromosome browser on Ancestry, there is no capability to determine if there is a triangulation or even if the matches are on the same chromosome. I suspect that they aren’t. Since most of my matches on one line are also on Gedmatch, I know that different descendants have matches on different chromosomes, and actually, constitute more than one triangulation. I hoped to get information from ThruLines that would help with my 18th century brick walls, but there is nothing helpful. I suspect that it will be more successful for people who are new in genealogy and have few generations on their trees. It is as much a waste of time for me as Ancestry’s NADs. Not only does Ancestry not have a chromosome browser, it doesn’t have a means of downloading matches, which is inadequate compared to other testing companies, like MyHeritage.


Many comments from the Ancestry apologists. Fact remains this is garbage that throws up irrelevant results stemming from incompetent research. Worse is you can’t get rid of it.


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