AncestryDNA | Mirror Trees | Ancestry

AncestryDNA | Mirror Trees | Ancestry

Mirror trees are a tool discussed in many online genetic genealogy groups as a methodology for figuring out how you are related to your AncestryDNA Matches. Join Crista Cowan and Angie Bush (one of the lead Genetic Genealogist at Ancestry ProGenealogists) for a look this and other methodologies for making these discoveries faster and easier.

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AncestryDNA | Mirror Trees | Ancestry



  1. What a timely video, today I clicked on a random match. She matches both my grandfather and I at the 5-8th cousin match. But whether I look at her through my test or my grandfather's no shared matches come up. And she was adopted and only knows her biological mother. She also lives across the pond and that side of the family I have not been able to follow back to my immigrant ancestor. I can only get back to my grandfather's great-great grandparents. Any suggestions on what I can do to figure out how we are related. (We share 9.3 and 9.2 centimorgans over 1 segment respectively with her.)

  2. Thanks for the video. I have watched it several times and I cant figure out how to do the Quick and Dirty trees. Maybe I'm missing something. I agree that it would be nice to see a step by step video. Thanks.

  3. thank you for this presentation. I love the add new person feature and I'm wondering if you still need to have your tree private.

  4. Timely video as on am on a mission to find my biological father and cement the fact that I have determined who my birthmother was. Need a little more help on the mirror project as it would pertain to those matches I have discovered on the paternal side.

  5. This was a really neat topic! I had never heard of "mirror trees" so I'm glad you talked about it. However, you covered a whole lot of information in a short video. It would be neat to watch it being done using an example. I love the Shared Matches tab because when I get a match who does not have a family tree and is rather new to Ancestry, I just go thru that Shared Matches and I can find where we match at; recognizing the other shared matches we share. I use that Note box copiously but I just put in the shared surname.

  6. Very helpful video! You briefly mentioned shared matches. Do you have a video that discusses that topic in more detail? I am mostly interested in the accuracy. Also, is there a way to make program suggestions to Ancestry? I think it would be really helpful when looking at “Ancestry Member Trees” under “Hints” if there was some indication if the owner of that tree is a DNA match.

  7. Terrible audio. Could not make out what program the guest mentioned. It sounded like "Lucifer".

  8. 40.00 per month is way too much for me.. family search is mostly free and you can access info there too.. I’m not saying they are wrong for charging that.. it’s just more than I can afford…

  9. I wish Ancestry had a feature allowing matches I've grouped to be dragged and dropped into a specific folder for that bunch. Or maybe more symbols/icons (like the star) which can be placed alongside a match to immediately identify which group the match belongs to.

  10. Of course, 90% of the world measure space in centimetres & metres ? – I shall certainly look into the shared centimorgan site.

  11. Now I've found my biological father…I'd like to help my dad find his…his first cousin has yet to repond… I'd like to find his biological family.

  12. I've recently found a half brother and biological family I never knew I had…it was so amazing.

  13. When you're building these "quick and dirty" trees, how many generations do you go back?

  14. Please give a link to the app Angie uses for lists. Starts with L but she speaks too quickly to catch it

  15. Confused, if a female has a son does he get the X and Y chromosomes from his maternal grandparents?

  16. Thanks for doing this video. As someone who blogged about "mirror trees", which happened to be the most popular thing I've written, I agree that it is an idea that is now past its time.

    I've tried (in vain) to get people to use the term "proxy pedigree" instead of "mirror tree" because it is more descriptive.

    Yet today I find by far the most useful tool to be the Shared Matches capability on an AncestryDNA match page. This has helped me to solve several mysteries.

    Even for matches with no tree attached to their kit, using Shared Matches I can still form networks and this can quickly tell me if I am looking at a close-ish cousin, or a very distant one.

    However, I'm now convinced that one of the big stumbling blocks for newbies is that many people just aren't comfortable with working the tree editing software. Many people I come across seem surprised that one can connect and disconnect relationships as desired for anyone in their tree. So I believe that emphasizing people to practice with a learning tree as much as possible is very important.

  17. What about those "shared matches" that are under known Maternal and Paternal lines? How do you figure them out?

  18. One of the great things about shared matches with a person is that if you are adopted, you can pick the first one and then click on the shared matches and click the stars. Then go back to your regular list of matches and you will see that some are starred and some aren't. Great way to sort paternal from maternal when you have no clue who is whm.

  19. You said that second cousins can help you find your parent. My brother has a different father than I, that we are trying to find. He has 2 second cousins that match along with him 4 other people. I have built trees for all these people, but cannot find the answer. BTW my brother and one of these 2nd cousins do not know their father either. This cousin was born in the Philippines so we know her father is American. My brother and the 2nd cousin "A" share 320/19 and with 2nd cousin "B" 254/12. 2nd cousins "A" and "B" share 258/16. Now there are 5 other cousins with varying degrees of DNA between 179-93. Even though I have these trees that I had to make, I can't find the two men who are clearly 1st cousins that fathered my brother and 2nd cousin "B". I have spent over two years on this. I am ready to just quit. Any advice or direction to try? Please….

  20. That’s how I found my friend’s biological father. I felt it was just awful that she had no idea who he was. I talked into doing the test. When a half niece showed up as a match it took me about an hour to identify him. He was born in 1922. Still living. She gained 4 half siblings and is slowly making progress in connecting.

  21. Is Ancestry looking at adding any new ways to manage DNA matches? I have tested three of my four living grandparents and I would love to be able to move my matches into folders based on which branch of my family they are in. So that way I am not wading through 50+ pages of matches but 11 or 12 pages. Because when I am looking at all my matches it becomes overwhelming. And things like notes and shared matches help. Or do you have any tips or hints for just dealing with going through all the pages that we can end up having?

  22. I agree with Catherine Kesseler. A step by step dummy tree building process for the DNA matches video would be fantastic. I get some of what you are saying but not all.

  23. Really great, I just wish this had been a two part series or something. You had so much information to pack in and I will have to rewatch several times to catch it all. Is one of the DNA centric videos helpful for telling how to correctly manage a DNA account for a family member? I don’t want to mess his up because he will be key to many of my brick walls.

  24. Great presentation Crista and Angie.. love your comments about the note field and emoji's– I raised the issue of increasing the note field at RootsTech 2018…still waiting…but I hear from folks behind the scenes, that some cool alternatives are in the works… I hope, I hope, I hope… As for the the Q&D issue, it is far too much work to do them on separate trees, so i use my "Master" tree, and simply add posible parents, etc…and put a ? or NOT PROVED in the JR/Sr field..and leaving them "living"… BUT, leaving them living seems to prevent the Ancestry system from searching for all the best records for this "proposed or suggested" parent, relative, etc. Yikes, floating people…I've lost a few, and…aargh! I do like simply using the edit relationship field and add 5 or six possible parents, simply alternating them as the biological parent until I hit gold. Then delete all the wrong parents. What REALLY needs to happen here is for Ancestry to allow an individual profile to be PRIVATE WITHOUT MAKING THEM ALIVE… WHY? Alive hinders the search features in Ancestry…or at least IMHO. And, in the long and short of connecting to the 2nd-4th cousins, I have found great success in simply using descendancy research building out and down to these RELATIVELY close matches (even those with no trees) and using Google research to find them, and ultimately many of my 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins who have no trees, have made me the manager of their DNA, allowed me to add them onto my tree…making them part of "our big family"- a huge win-win. Thanks so much for this great video… loved it! Three cheers!

  25. Pro Geni is high. I wish y'all had a deal for low in com people.

  26. I will have to watch this several more times to try to understand it. But, big question: An unknown great grandfather hunt. In 1904 Clara had a child, my grandfather Edward and a name appears on a birth record in NYC. Edward is born in the NYC Foundling Home system, St Vincents and is later adopted.

    Fortunately Clara goes on to have 11 children and I have a number of descendant DNA matches. A few of the matches go to Edward who has an unknown father and the rest are clearly from Frank who marries Clara and fathers those 11 kids.

    Is this relationship too far from me to use this DNA mirror tree system you are describing here? The great grandfather is level we are seeking. Thanks

  27. Going forward, can you please do something about audio quality? Every time I try to watch one of these videos, I'm so distracted by the poor-quality, muffled/garbled/tunnel sound that I have trouble focusing on and understanding what is being said. I'm sure Ancestry can afford to do a more professional job of producing these videos.

  28. OMG this is so far beyond my understanding…I just don’t understand the DNA stuff…I’m so confused ?

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