Sunday, 26 January 2020

My DNA Ancestor Score ~ a new way to track my progress

Happy New Year!

Ok, maybe the year is not that new anymore, but this is my first post in a while. I’m still actively researching our genealogy, just not uncovering quite as many exciting new ancestor stories as before.

Bear in mind, I’ve probably already gathered all the low hanging fruit and there may only be one or two more direct ancestors left to be harvested on our family tree. They appear out of reach at the moment, at the very top, with no discernible way of getting to them. Someday, maybe they’ll fall.

Do you remember my Ancestor Scorecard? Here's the position at the end of 2016, when only 50% of my ancestors to fourth great-grandparent level had been identified. Well, in the past three years, not one single person has been added to the score. And, it’s not for lack of trying.

Ancestor Scorecard *

Today, often my genealogy research revolves around identifying DNA matches, i.e. those cousins we share DNA with, and then documenting their branch in my tree. I meet some amazing ‘living’ cousins along the way, and even got to help one fourth cousin, adopted at birth, nail her biological father down to one of three brothers. These genetic cousins all have fascinating stories to tell, but this blog is about my long-deceased relatives.

Now, I've come up with a new way of measuring my genealogy progress - by keeping track a DNA Ancestor score. This calculates how many ancestors, to fourth great-grandparent level, have been ‘proven’ by DNA. Three years ago the score would have been close to zero. Here's that score now.

DNA Ancestor Scorecard **

Currently, the score shows 30% of my ancestors are 'proven' by DNA, not too bad considering I've only identified 50% of them. This is a score that will undoubtedly rise over time, especially now the DNA companies are beginning to deliver some ‘close-cousin' DNA matches. Plus, the results of the Christmas sales of DNA tests are due in shortly.

Hopefully, soon, my genetic cousins will help increase the Identified Ancestor score as well.

* Ancestor Scorecard, idea courtesy of 'Family History All Done? What’s Your Number?', Ancestry blog, 16 August 2012.

** A DNA Ancestor is deemed to be the common ancestor (or ancestral couple), shared with at least one DNA match, if we both descend from different children of that common ancestor (or ancestral couple). My direct ancestors on the path to the common ancestor (or ancestral couple) also qualify as DNA Ancestors. And, all common ancestors are documented by conventional genealogy methods.