This weekend I was perusing my DNA kits to check for new matches, and I noticed a new feature on AncestryDNA. On the DNA match list page, in the filters section there is a new button for some profiles. If a parent was also tested by AncestryDNA, you can filter matches based on that person. For example, in this case, the person’s mother has also taken an AncestryDNA test, so there is an extra filter for “MOTHER”:
When I click the Mother button, I see only the matches that the person shares with the mother, from close through “4TH COUSIN”-level matches. (These are people who share 20 cM or more with the individual.) Before, this list was only available to me if I clicked the individual who is a parent and looked at the shared matches list, but now staying at the match list level and sorting saves some clicks and looks better.
Should AncestryDNA have gone further, and marked all the individuals who share the parent match, not just matches that share at least 20 cM? I would think yes. These weaker matches are harder to place in the family anyway, so it helps to know which side of the family to look on. And knowing that they a weaker match also matches a parent gives a higher probability that they are real matches instead of randomly identical, though they are still not certainty real matches (relatives, who share DNA by inheritance vs. chance).
Being able to filter on parents is a feature that FamilyTreeDNA adopted some time ago. Their feature is better because you don’t need a parent to be tested. In many cases there is no parent alive to test. In one case my grandmother’s half-nephew and half-niece on her maternal side of the family were tested. The FamilyTreeDNA software allows me to set their exact relationship using a tree. Using common matches, FamilyTreeDNA marks some individuals as Maternal. They don’t stop at any threshold, like the 20cM AncestryDNA threshold. They also add a symbol to matches in the match list that they are Maternal matches so I can easily see this information at a glance. I much prefer that feature as well.
FamilyTreeDNA also allows me to sort through the match list using “in common with” and “not in common with” any match. Hopefully AncestryDNA will get there one day. Plus showing X-matches and that all-important Chromosome browser.
So again, AncestryDNA has this new feature to filter matches based on a parent tester. In a way it starts catching up to the much fuller website features of other DNA testing companies like FamilyTreeDNA. AncestryDNA still has a ways to go, but at least this is a step in the right direction.