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Ancestry ThruLines - something odd happening

Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by Pauline, Feb 2, 2024.

  1. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    When looking at a new common ancestor match in my DNA list this morning, I noticed that ThruLines has replaced my great grandfather in that line with my half blood 2nd cousin. So she is now showing as my supposed great grandmother, which clearly she isn't.

    I've checked my tree, which is fine, and I can't see that anything has changed in hers, so I have no idea why this might have happened. In any case, I thought ThruLines was not supposed to override your own tree, and she's not even in the tree attached to my DNA results.

    Has anyone else had something like this happen?
  2. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    Something like this did happen, but I see that it has been fixed. I had a new common ancestor (both sides) appear a month or so ago; the granddaughter of my sister. However, ThruLines attached her to the wrong sister, even though she was listed correctly in my tree. I knew as soon as I saw the relationship that it was incorrect but was not sure how to go about fixing it. Neither of my sisters would have noticed; I can only think that perhaps the young lady did and had it changed. It is correct now.
  3. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Hopefully mine will be sorted soon too, as although I know what's going on, it's likely to be confusing for others.

    I did notice when I just looked in the pedigree view of my tree that my great grandfather had a DNA symbol in the corner of his name box, and when I hovered over it, a message came up asking me if he was the same person as the person who is my half 2nd cousin. They are very clearly not the same person, since they not only have very different names, but one is male and the other female. I remember Ancestry asked me this some time back and I said 'No' then, so why they are asking me again, I don't know. Anyway, I've said 'No' again so maybe that will sort it, though it hasn't yet.
  4. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar


    I was advised recently about a Common Ancestor for a DNA match, which ThruLines showed as my 4G GF Thomas, with next generation on the cousin's branch as Henry. However, the dates for Henry did not look quite possible as the next generation forward would have been born when Henry was 8 years old, unless I had made a horrible gaff.

    With further investigation, I decided that the wrong Henry had been identified by my cousin. Henry was also the name of Thomas's brother and gave a much better fit for dates. That meant that the new contact and I would have been 6th cousins rather than 4th cousins. Thomas's father was yet another Thomas so easy to get things muddled.

    I tried to point out the probable mistake to the DNA contact (politely) and asked to discuss but never received a reply so do not know if my analysis is correct. I do not think that this is a ThruLines error but rather from my cousin's tree but I do not know for definite without further consultation.
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    I wondered if that might be behind my issue, since my great grandfather has the same name as his father except for the addition of a 2nd middle name.

    It's odd, because if I look separately at my ThruLines list of ancestors everyone is showing from my tree as they should be. And when I look at the DNA matches where my great grandfather is our common ancestor, and open up the match details page, it shows him as our common ancestor, but then when I click to 'view relationship' it has replaced my great grandfather with my half 2nd cousin. I notice, however, that she is not shown in a box like all the others, which may be the way Ancestry indicates they have substituted someone else for the ancestor in my tree, presumably because they think I've made a mistake.

    Now I'm thinking my 2nd cousin must have linked her results to the wrong person in her tree, and that is what's causing the issue, with the similarity in the names of my great grandfather and his father compounding the problem. Unfortunately I can't ask her as she died last year, and I don't think anyone is actively managing her results and tree at present.

    However, as I said earlier, nothing has changed recently, and if my cousin is attached to the wrong person in her tree it's been like that for some years, so it must be some recent change in the way Ancestry is doing things. But it would explain why my cousin is now showing in the 'view relationship' page for her son as both his mother and great great grandmother, and on her brother's page as his great grandmother. (Echoes of 'I am my own Grandpa'!)

    Question now is what can I do to correct this, particularly if I can't get in touch with anyone managing my cousin's account, and why the recent change? I don't know if, in the circumstances, Ancestry will be able to intervene to correct this or if I'm stuck with this muddle.
  6. John Dancy

    John Dancy LostCousins Superstar


    Difficult, but try to look at Thrulines as a guide rather than an authority, it is what you have in your own tree that matters. I have a fair number of Common ancestors where the initial link on the match is shown as 'half-brother' or 'half-sister' even when they are on my tree as full. I have also a number where Ancestry has given guesses (mostly incorrect) even though the cousin's branch is fully in my tree, with the 'Link to Tree symbol.
    This week I was contacted by a sixth cousin, and new 'Common Ancestor" - Ancestry had linked him (and still does) through a second wife, when the link was actually through his first.
    The contact was not because of the Common Ancestors but because I had a photo of his related cousin, my grandfather's first wife, in my tree when she died during the birth of her first child (who died the same day) and he couldn't work out how she, and he were related to me.
    I was able to tell him where she was buried and he visited her grave yesterday.
  7. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    I know that, you know that, but my concern is for other users who don't know that and will see it as gospel truth. That said, you might expect that even the most rookie researcher might wonder why my male ancestor is being equated with a female relative born after he died - if they look that closely. And they might not actually look at my tree.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    We had an interesting discussion with Dave Annal yesterday in which these issues (and many others) were discussed. I shall include a brief report in my next newsletter.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  9. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I am the same and get annoyed when there is no real reason for the 'half-' according to my tree. I think that Ancestry take this action when there is a second spouse identified in one or both trees as there may be no knowledge of whether both lines descend from the same spouse. Ancestry may be sure that one of the couple is a common ancestor according to available trees but is not sure about the other so 'plays safe'.
  10. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    I also have quite a few relationships identified as 'half-', but where there is no second spouse involved. I assume it is because trees have variation in the name of the spouse. For example, I have a 2nd cousin labelled in Common Ancestors as 'Half 2nd Cousin' and I notice that in her tree she has a different spelling of our common great-grandmother's surname. Even more bizarre, if I go to ThruLines, the same 2nd cousin is shown as a 3rd cousin (despite shared cM well above the range for 3rd cousin), apparently descended from a common pair of 2xgreat grandparents via descent on her side that makes no sense.
  11. MazH

    MazH LostCousins Member

    Something has definitely changed with the way ThruLines works. In recent months only one new Thruline has been correct. Ancestry has actually removed one of my gg grandfathers and "married" his wife to his brother, who is also my gg grandfather as the result of a cousin marriage between a child of each brother. In fact, Ancestry has changed several of my relationships to DNA matches based on errors in other people's trees. Their technology seems to be matching names, but not birthplaces or even accurately matching birth years. I cannot find any way of correcting these errors to avoid my matches being misled by them.

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