Evaluating Ancestry.com’s ThruLines

I want to pass on this tip if you find yourself stuck with a brick wall ancestor. While I was writing my John-Thomas Duer relationship analysis I used Ancestry’s ThruLines and created a chart to place in the paper as additional proof.

If you have DNA tested with Ancestry.com then ThruLines is available to you. To access, sign on and then click DNA on the ribbon. Click ThruLines.

Here’s where it’s advantageous to have a tree on Ancestry – for all the individuals that you’ve included in your tree for several generations, their information will appear on ThruLines in a white box by their relationship to you.

I know that I’m genetically related to both of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents from my DNA Matches on Ancestry and other sites so I scroll down the page and begin to investigate people I have placed in my tree but need further proof of lineage. Perhaps records are just not available or sketchy. Perhaps they are a brick wall.

For my example, I’m using a line I haven’t thoroughly researched. I have a hypothesis that Mary Whitlock and John Cole were my 5th great-grandparents. The ThruLine boxes for them appear at the bottom of the page:

Ancestry.com ThruLines Option to Investigate

Interestingly, I have NO DNA Matches for John Cole but 3 for who I thought his wife was, Mary Whitlock.

This means I need to check out Mary Whitlock further. Click on the name box and you will see a descending tree chart. I have a pic of my connection to one of the three DNA matches:

ThruLines Page 2

The above chart has been clipped – I’m not showing you the entire chart that Ancestry presents because I’m only going to look at one match at a time and start with the one that is closest to me. My  Mary “Polly” Dennis married 5 times and had children with 3 of her husbands. I recognized in the chart above that Sarah Elder is my half 2nd great-grandaunt because Sarah’s dad was Owen Elder; my line descends from Edward Adams. Two other DNA Matches I didn’t clip Show descent from husband John Hodge. My relationship shows as half because both Catharine Adams and Sarah E Elder got half their DNA from Polly and the other half from their dads, who were not the same individual.

I’m not sure why Ancestry needs me to EVALUATE the information as I had that in my tree already and I thought they would recognize it. If you come across that, here’s how to get the chart looking complete:

Step 1. Click on the individual to EVALUATE. You must start at the top, with the oldest generation first. Once you click EVALUATE this page will appear:

Evaluate Page 2

As you can see in the picture, My Main Tree is an option and that’s my personal family tree. Why Ancestry didn’t automatically connect to it I don’t understand. You don’t need to make any decision on this page, just click Next at the bottom.

The next page looks like this:

Evaluate Page 2

Obviously, I’m going to click the button in front of Sarah A Elizabeth Elder in My Main Tree as that’s my tree. Once the button is clicked, on the bottom “Add” to the tree is shown. Click that.

You now need to make a decision as to who the spouse will be. This is important for the DNA process. Here are my options and it automatically defaults to the first marriage. I will be clicking the button in front of Mary Polly Dennis and Owen Elder:

Evaluate Page 3

You’ll get a message from Ancestry that looks like this if it worked correctly:

For a brief second a message displays stating “We’re adding (individual) to your (tree name).” When it’s processed it will display this message:

Evaluate Page 4

When you click “View Profile,”  the individual will pop up as a page in your tree. But this is a problem as I already had the woman in my tree!

Next, you are going to have to merge the new information with your old information.

Top of Newly Added Page

Click “Merge with duplicate” which is displayed right under 2nd great-grandaunt.

This page will display:

Merge Page 1

Ancestry recognizes I already had the same person in the tree so I just need to click ”Select.” If Ancestry doesn’t recognize the individual, type the individual exactly as you named them in your tree. For example, perhaps you entered Sarah as Sarah E. Elder instead of Sarah A. Elizabeth Elder. Type what you originally had and it will display the name, birth and death information for the person you typed. Compare and if you are sure you have selected the correct individual, click “Merge” as seen below:

Merge Page 2

Now, the new info is connected to the old and the person is one on your tree.

Within 24 hours, when you back to ThruLines, the individuals will be displayed just like your own data was so you can clip and use the chart as you like. Here’s what it will look like but you’ll have to go through and evaluate all of the individuals in descending order to get the chart complete.