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The Interesting Case of the ThruLines

Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by jorghes, Jun 23, 2021.

  1. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    I have just been completing my semi regular check for "Common Ancestors" a feature of Ancestry's which I usually find quite useful.

    Today it has showed itself to be reaching a touch!

    My great-grandfather is one of my biggest brick walls, as he was illegitimate and we haven't yet found a legitimate candidate for his father. However, today Ancestry seemingly thought that it had solved the problem...

    When my great-grandfather was 2, his mother married her first and only husband, a gentleman called Enoch Rudge. Together they produced 10 children, half siblings to my great-grandfather and his older half brother.

    And while my great-grandfather considered Enoch his father - at one point briefly taking his surname and adding him as his father on his marriage register, there was no blood link between them. Other than a brief glimpse on the 1891 census, my great-grandfather used his mother's maiden name for his entire life, as did his older half brother.

    Ancestry, in its infinite wisdom, has found not one, but two Rudge DNA matches for me. But they have then created a possible tree for these matches, back to Enoch's own great-grandfather - a line of Rudges.

    In all honesty, if Enoch had been my great-grandfather's biological father, I think that my mother's maiden name would have been Rudge rather than my great-great-great grandmother's name.

    I presume that the DNA links that Ancestry is extrapolating is most likely that shared between my great-grandfather and his half siblings through his mother's line. But I just wanted to clarify that this would likely to be the case.
    (otherwise this is even stranger!)
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    ThruLines are not based on DNA, they're primarily drawn from Ancestry trees.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Good point. Then I will write them off as completely spurious.
  4. Katie Bee

    Katie Bee LostCousins Member

    Ancestry did the same with my Thrulines when it first started.
    It said that my great grandfather's father was the man his mother married 12 years after his birth.
    I assumed that some Ancestry trees thought the same.
    It annoyed me for a while and then Ancestry ThruLines removed the link.
    Hopefully this will happen to your ThruLines
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    My ThruLines was showing some spurious potential ancestors based on the assumption that one of my ancestors was descended from her stepmother, an error which has arisen from confusion about her father's wives in quite a number of Ancestry trees, and because her actual mother is one of my brick walls (even though I know her surname and approximate dob).

    Recently I decided to give both parents of the actual mother the name 'Unknown' in my own tree, and soon afterwards the spurious potential ancestors disappeared from ThruLines.

    It's not something I would necessarily recommend doing very often, but this was one of those occasions when the benefits of removing a line of spurious potential ancestors seemed to make it a good idea. I am still getting genuine Common Ancestor matches in this line via the father.
  6. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    The problem with using "Unknown" is the millions of hints you get :oops: I now have a 4gt-grandmother "Definitely Not Mary-Ford" which has dealt with all but 3 trees that still have the wrong mother for "my" Eliza Doel! Whilst I am unable to find the parents of my direct ancestor, both Eliza Doel's are in my tree as their husbands were second cousins.
  7. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Checking my tree, I see what I actually entered was ‘Not Known’, with ‘Not’ as the forename and ‘Known’ as the surname.

    No hints so far!
  8. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I have "unknown" listed as my paternal grandfather and have had no hints.
  9. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Oh I know some people's trees do have Enoch Rudge as my great-grandfather's father, which always annoys me a little. For all intents and purposes, he was his father. (His older half brother had their mutual grandfather)

    I don't have Enoch in the father position, but he is in the tree.
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I have used 'Unknown' since I don't know when (at one time I thought I was the originator of same, but later discovered 2 before me;)) and found it the obvious way to override -as seemingly the practice of others who did not have a maiden or previous married name for a wife- to record her with her husband's surname.

    More often than not one has a first name so I just use 'Unknown' as a surname, but where I do not have a first name, then as Unknown - Unknown. I should mention I also add the married name in brackets after Unknown, as in Unknown (Smith) in both Ancestry and Tribal Pages, which is helpful when carrying out a search. In most cases the practice is provisional as I seek out maiden or other married names and then return and correct.

    I cannot own to having any great comeback in Ancestry Hints for using 'Unknown' but, whether it does or not, it remains my standard practice.
  11. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Although this may avoid unwanted hints, I suspect it will also prevent you being given hints that you do want, including ThruLines. So best to use sparingly.
  12. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    Yes, I did say in #5 that I didn’t recommend doing it very often.
  13. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    A bit sloppy of me, but I did say "hints" and not "Hints" - though "suggestions" would have been better, as I consider Thrulines and "Possible...." banners are just "hints". Creating one "not known" generated over 200,000 "possibles" and that was with Wiltshire, England as the place of birth (which was totally ignored).

    Where I have partial names, I use my "individual/marriage" reference numbers (GEDCOM REFN) - eg SI1793 Smith or Mary SF2719.
  14. Sue700

    Sue700 LostCousins Star

    I unwarily entered a female ancestor with her husband's surname of Davies instead of leaving her surname blank or making it "unknown". I corrected this, but it was too late. I have 14 Thrulines giving me relations through a Benjamin Davies who is not my ancestor. Apart from anything else, he is on the wrong continent. Out of interest I looked at all these 14 "cousins" and found out how most of them are related to each other. I was hoping that they would eventually go away - but no luck. They are still shown in my Thrulines and there seems no way to get rid of them. I do like the idea of calling my ancestor "Definitely Not Davies" or using a reference number as suggested by PhilGee.
    On the other hand, Thrulines has sometimes given me cousins who, on investigation, did prove to be genuine cousins.
  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    How long have you left it? It usually takes about a week for ThruLines to update but it would almost certainly have taken longer during the recent changes as ThruLines depends on the servers being under-utilised.
    Except you don't know that, do you?
  16. Sue700

    Sue700 LostCousins Star

    How long have I left it? Months. Possibly a year or more? I don't remember.
    True. Davies is a common name and Davies could have been her maiden name. The lady appears in 1851 in Carmarthen as Elizabeth Davies, mother-in-law, born about 1778 in Carmarthen. She is with her daughter, also Elizabeth, and son-in law Thomas Richards in 1841. As far as I recall, my Dad got that far 30 years ago. I have made good progress with other lines, but not this one. The lady currently rejoices in the temporary surname of Unlikelylink in my public linked tree while I decide what to do about her. In my private and offline trees she has no surname. The public tree is just an outline, mostly lacking in sources. Maybe thrulines will eventually stop suggesting that her father was in America.
    DNA can be a bit complicated for me as my English ancestors had a habit of marrying first or second cousins, and my Welsh ancestors came mainly from rather inbred communities. People who appear on Ancestry as third or fourth cousins can be much more remote. It gives me a lot of fun though.
  17. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Megastar

    I have given the name "Not Known" to two or three unidentified ancestors in order to rid my ThruLines of some annoying and definitely incorrect potential ancestors, though it's not something I would recommend doing more than necessary. On each occasion I've done it, and within a very short space of time, a message has appeared at the top of the ThruLines page noting that recent changes in my tree would change the page, and within a few days that has happened.

    However, if you change your tree to leave the surname field blank then I suspect that won't automatically affect your ThruLines as Ancestry will likely continue to make the same assumptions about your ancestors from other trees as before. To force ThruLines into removing the incorrect potential ancestors try entering something into the surname box.

    EDIT: see also comments above about what to add in the surname box so as to avoid loads of useless hints.
  18. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I have two "unknowns" in my direct paternal line and ThruLines has not tried attaching them to anyone. One is my grandfather, and the other my 4th great-grandfather, which is why the Joyce name carried down to my father (who called himself by another name here in Canada).

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