Course #4: Lost and Overwhelmed by AncestryDNA – Sorting, Organizing and Using Results to Grow Your Family Tree

Instructor: Mary Roddy
Dates offered: Tuesdays – October 18 & 25, and November 1 & 8
Time: 3:00 pm PT to 6:00 pm PT
Cost: $300
Registration: 8 August-14 August

Course Description

You have taken a DNA test on Ancestry, but the results are overwhelming. How do you begin to make sense of all that data? In “Lost and Overwhelmed” you will see how to organize your matches to get the most out of your results. We will spend significant time working with trees, both your own and those of your matches, including unlinked and sparse trees. And for matches with no trees, there will be strategies for you to create their absent tree.

Course Objectives

My goals for every student are to:

  • Learn how to sort their DNA match list
  • Develop skills to build out trees for your matches, including those with sparse or non-existent trees
  • Use the tools available on Ancestry, including color-coding and ThruLines
  • Develop research questions answerable by DNA

Recommended Skill-based Pre-requisites

  • Have taken an AncestryDNA test
  • Have built your own tree out on Ancestry back to your great-great-grandparents, if possible

Course Outline

Please note: Order of course items subject to change

Class 1 – Getting the Lay of the Land

  • Introduction and housekeeping items
  • Basics of DNA
  • Color-coding your tree
  • Categorizing your “easy” matches
  • Homework Assignment #1

Class 2 – Entering the Forest: It’s All About Trees

  • Matches’ Trees – Assessing Completeness and Documentation
  • Matches’ Tiny Trees – Building On Their Root Stock
  • Matches’ Non-existent Trees – Creating Trees from Clues
  • Floating Trees – Adding Unidentified Matches to Your Tree
  • No Homework – In lieu of homework, students will have a one-on-one Zoom consultation with instructor

Class 3 – Choosing and Using Tools

  • ThruLines
  • How to use your ethnicity results
  • Organizing your matches using spreadsheets
  • Shared Centimorgan Project and DNA Painter
  • Homework Assignment #2

Class 4 – The Path Forward

  • Homework review
  • Working with a research question
  • Identifying people to target test
  • Wrap up