After reading lots of complaints about AncestryDNA, lack of color stars (that was me), no chromosome browser, blah blah blah.
Anyway, my motto this year is to look on the good side and stop being so negative. It’s still a work in progress for me.
However, I have been using two Chrome Extensions with my AncestryDNA matches.
The first one is AncestryDNA Helper. This extension will read all your matches and do several things. You can read all about AncestryDNAhelper at http://www.itstime.com/download/AncestryDNAHelper_HowToUse.pdf
Warning: if you run the SCAN function of this Extension, it seems to have the habit of changing all your viewed matches to “new” and thus matches you already viewed will appear “new” to you. This can be a little annoying, so I thought I would put my disclaimer here.
However it also allows you to quickly search through all the notes of your matches and thus if you use keywords or phrases, you can quickly bring up your matches that have those keywords or phrases and find those matches easily. More about this a little later
Next I have started using MedBetter DNA Chrome extension and it has some other ways to filters your matches. Such has you can just show your starred matches or unstarred matches, only show locked trees (these are people with private trees) or not show those matches (if you uncheck this option). It also has the use of hashtags and you can set up to four hashtag filters to quickly concentrate on certain matches. Please note, you can use more than four hashtags, you just have to change the default filters because it only allows you to define four at a time. Check out Kitty Cooper's Blog post about MedBetterDNA.
I used my cell phone to access my AncestryDNA results. I went to my first match, my sister and in the notes field, I added 6 different color heart emoji’s and one broken heart emoji. Then I went back to my computer and created a little legend on how I wanted to use the hearts as follows:
Each color and corresponding hashtag and surname represents a grandparent’s line. A is my paternal grandfather’s surname, B is my paternal grandmother’s surname, C is my maternal grandfather’s surname and D is my maternal grandmother’s surname. Then I decided to use a Broken heart and hashtag X for unknown matches and Orange and hashtag Y for those I want to follow-up on. Such as those that perhaps I could build out their tree and figure out our match, or those I have figured out our relationship and now I want to add their direct line in my genealogy software program.
I have half-siblings that I am also researching and I created a similar legend for their matches as follows:
I did change the color of their A and B hearts, only because this seems to make sense to me. I left the remaining four hearts the same as mine, since we have these two branches in common.
Now when I look at their DNA results and their matches, I can quickly pick out myside of the family versus their father’s side of the family.
I also started to use the Ahnetafel Numbering system if I found a common ancestor with my shared matches. This system is simple to use, you are number one and your father is twice your number and your mother is twice plus one. Thus your father is 2 and your mother is 3. You keep doing this for every generation on your pedigree chart. Keep in mind, males will always be even numbers and females will always be odd numbers. ( I still have to update all my notes to reflect this change).
Now back to the Chrome extensions, using the AncestryDNA Helper Chrome Extension Search box, I can copy and paste those wonderful color hearts and get all kinds of matches list and manage my matches so much easier. I can even type those Ahnetafel Numbers into my search
In the above example I wanted to see all the unknown branches, if I could determine which grandparent it went through I added that color heart to the note too, if I could not even determine if this was a paternal or maternal match, then I just left the lone broken heart. If you click on the Matches username, you will go directly to that match. So if I want to find all my matches through my 2nd great grandfather I would type 16 James Crinion and I would see I had one match however if I type his father-in-law 34 Edward McMahon I find two matches. The numbers are another visual for me to help me remember where the match fits on my tree. Very helpful if you have serval generations of repeat names, such as James had a son James who had a son James. The bigger the number, before their name, represents that they are farther away from you on your tree.
The MedBetterDNA Chrome Extension allows me to display all my notes for all my matches on the screen and this saves me time from clicking each note icon and viewing the note and trying to remember what the note just showed me and then moving to the next note.
As you look over my list of matches and notes, you can see how viewing the notes can be really handy. Especially when looking at shared matches notes as follows:
My new match has no tree, however when I look at their shared matches I first know this is on my mother’s side of the family. Even matches with locked trees are easier to figure out with the color hearts visual.
Give these two Chrome Extensions a spin, if you haven’t yet. Think of your own ways you might add color or other organizational aids to your Ancestry Notes. And just because a vendor is not giving you all you desire with your application such as AncestryDNA, this doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel. Find and Make workarounds that you can use make your DNA discoveries easier.