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Ancestry DNA - Common ancestors and Locked Trees

Discussion in 'Advanced techniques for experienced users' started by John Dancy, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Star

    So, Ancestry have identified that one of your DNA cousins and you have Common Ancestors. When you click on the "View Relationship" link your side of the relationship is fine, but your cousin has a locked tree and somewhere on their side you find that the "Locked" symbols etc are shown.

    This can be overcome.

    Your cousin's tree will take its information from your tree first. If, for example, it shows the cousin's great grandmother, and then a locked symbol for the next generation and so on, do some research and add all the great grandmother's children (dob and death) . Allow time for Ancestry to process and the next time you look the relevant grandparent will be shown, and you can repeat the process for the parents. You should be able to get as far as your DNA cousin, as most are logged already somewhere due to their age.

  2. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Hi John - I've been puzzling over this, as when I click to "View Relationship" for someone whose tree is private, I already get to see the list of people back to our common ancestors for both of us.

    If I click on 'Evaluate' then often the first tree shown on the right will be the match's private tree (depending on how far back their tree goes), and all I can see from that is the name of the person concerned. However, usually there are also other trees in the RH pane which are not private which enable me to see more details of the person concerned, from which I can do my own checks to verify - or disprove - the line suggested.

    Have I misunderstood what you are saying here?
  3. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Star


    The way I understand it, the first view you get, which shows all the links, will be where Ancestry has identified other trees with common family members and used them to fill in the blanks. If no-one else has entered any information the right hand side would have shown locked cells below the ones you have in your tree.

    On clicking the 'Evaluate' Ancestry shows you the information it has used to come to its conclusion, and the private tree is shown as it is, locked. It is up to you to determine whether the link is correct and you can use my process to 'unlock' the private tree.

    I have had examples where errors in other family trees, especially where trees have been copied across, give completely false links - and then have to identify where they have gone wrong.
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    OK, thanks. I wondered if that might be where the difference was between what you were saying and what I was seeing. I didn't check all my common ancestor matches with private trees, but all the ones I did check showed a list of names on both sides back to the common ancestors - except for any living ancestors.
    Yes, I guess we all have some of those, though given the number of dodgy trees at Ancestry, not as many as you might expect.

    I had an interesting case recently where something was definitely amiss with the link back to the common ancestors suggested, yet looking at our shared matches, it seemed we might nevertheless share those ancestors. The line Ancestry was showing back to these ancestors went from the match's paternal grandfather, but after much investigation it seems our actual link is via his maternal grandfather.

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