My children know, or at least they should know, that they won’t be getting some large inheritance because I’m spending all my money on DNA testing. Well that might be a slight exaggeration but I’ve spent a lot and I plan to spend more.
Out of all that spending has come a greater visual understanding of how from one generation to the next you lose matches, at least with autosomal testing . What do I mean when I say that? First of all let me tell you who I’ve tested. I’ve tested both my sons, my parents, two uncles on my mom’s side of the family and one of my cousins on my mom side as well as a second cousin on my mom’s side of the family. On my dad’s side of the family I’ve tested two of my dad’s second cousins and a third cousin and a second cousin once removed. So what does that all tell me?
What I’ve found most interesting is the matches that my mom and her brothers get and how some of those are connected to one of my son and not to the other. I do understand that you get half of your chromosomes from each of your parents and that you don’t get the same half as your siblings. But I guess it didn’t really hit home until I saw who matched to who and who didn’t.
My mom was 78 when she passed away this year and my uncles are of a similar ages. When you start looking at who are their matches outside of the known immediate family and to which members of the younger generation they connect to you realize that by not testing the older generation when you are able you may lose valuable information that will help you understand your family connection to your matches.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that with each generation you lose a bit of how you connect to someone elses tree, so you shouldn’t wait … you should test your oldest generation as their DNA has much to tell you.
One of the things that became apparent when I was finally able to do my DNA on Ancestry (Up until Roots Tech 2015 I wasn’t able to get access to a kit because I live in Canada) was that I needed to merge two of my family trees. You see I have always had a tree for my dad’s family and a tree for my mom’s family. Now their trees finally did need to marry. Wow it has only been for real for 60 years.
The process was quite easy and especially when you call the people at Ancestry. They are so helpful and send you documentation or walk you through things. For me it took two calls one to a very nice man (sorry I didn’t catch his name) who sent me the documentation which was very straight forward. Always be sure to back up what you already have just in case something goes wrong.
First of all you need to merge through your Family Tree Maker not on Ancestry. After backing up the two trees you are merging you have to decide which will be the final tree. In my case I choose my dad’s tree, although it says to use the larger tree, my mom’s was only slightly larger. One of my concerns was should my tree have to stay with a name than Thompson/Clark was my preferred choice. But I was able to change the name to Thompson/Middlebrough quite easily later. So you are safe to choose the larger of your trees.
Once you tell the system to merge, if you are like me; you will have several names that overlap. It will also ask you what to do when it finds matching information and how different can it be before it’s not considered a match. If you go to the advanced you will see how it will handle it. I chose the default of 400 and it worked quite well.
When the system stopped buzzing along (it didn’t take long at all) it gave me a list of 4 names that it wanted to confirm what I wanted to do with. They were myself, my husband Kevin, my ex-husband and my son Jason. The reason being, that some had a slightly different selection of a place-name; such as for my husband; Toronto, Ontario on one tree compared to Toronto, York, Ontario only on the other and then in the case of my son I had added more information to one tree in comparison to the other tree. So you review each name and it provides what the system thinks it will do and you just visually confirm if that’s what you want. If you don’t; you can click on the other suggestion and then that’s what will happen. After your done then you click; merge. Then more buzzing.. (this takes a bit longer) and finally voilà it’s done.
So the tree went from 400 names to 1084. The second call to Lee at Ancestry was more for emotional support than anything. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going to do something that I thought was the right thing to do, but that would completely mess me up. Lee was great and walked me through the process of unmerging my old Thompson/Clark file (so far I hadn’t change the name) and then when I was going to upload I then was able to change the name to Thompson/Middlebrough Family Tree. Then it was off to the DNA tab to change the link of my DNA to the new Thompson/Middlebrough Tree.
I’ve added the link provided by Ancestry to merge trees together and if you need help give them a call. So far every time I’ve called its been a 5 star