A little background, my genealogical ancestry is Australian and then British Isles with possibly an emigration from Europe (in the region of France and Switzerland) in the mid to late 18th century or thereabouts. Everything else is solidly East Anglia or the Greater London area with the addition of a couple of convicts from the Scottish Highlands, another from Gloucestershire, and a catholic girl from the workhouses in Ireland who was sent out to the colonies.
When I took the Ancestry DNA test (it's the autosomal DNA they test for) I was hoping to find some connections from Norfolk and possibly something that led back to France. So far I've got thousands of potential 5th-8th "cousins" and I haven't really figured out how to handle all these tree matches. The name matches are only for the direct line for the person the DNA results are attached to. Here are some things I've found:
- Private Trees - you can't see what name or place in your direct line is matching one of yours, if any. You have to contact the private tree holder. It's not worth the effort for me, I'm sending them all to the garbage bin.
- People with no trees or trees with no data - straight off to the garbage again. And how people expect to find matches with nothing in their tree beats me!
- Trees that don't go back to Europe at all in their direct line. This is very common. Ancestry, after all, is a US site and the people taking the test are resident in the US. Even those with large and seemingly well documented trees don't go back to Europe very often. These I'm ignoring but not sending to the garbage can.
- Sheer volume - I've got 3-4000 trees to match.
- Trees with junky data; no birth place (or even country), no last names, no first names ... You get the idea.
- Very common surnames (Taylor, Baker, Thompson, Wright ...). These are the ones getting the most hits. I'll have to view the results from every tree to find the few I'm really interested in (Tissott, Brothers, Reeder, Barnard). I've found a few Reeder and Barnard but so far neither of the others.
- When a name is mis-spelled there won't be a match on the name. This is obvious of course but it has only just occurred to me.
- Place name matches: I've been looking for some specific counties in England but I know I haven't caught them all because it took me a while to realise that I would have to make a note of them.