Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Exploring New Territory


While testing DNA at Ancestry.com opens up a world of family tree-building possibilities—considering there are now more than twenty two million others who have tested there as well—we've already discovered that Ancestry is not the only DNA testing option available. Realizing that I'll never find that key match who will help me build out my family tree if that match tests at another company, long ago I began the process of testing at all other companies used for genetic genealogy.

The company of most interest to me right now, after Ancestry.com, is MyHeritage. While MyHeritage is well known by genealogists in the United States, what many may not be aware of is their international reach. After all, their world headquarters is located in Or Yehuda, Israel. Even more encouraging is the fact that the company supports their services in forty two different languages from around the world.

Taking a look at my DNA test at MyHeritage, I see right away that there are multiple ways to sort my matches—which is a good thing, since I have well over twelve thousand of them to consider. First, I tried clicking the search icon on the far right of the screen to enter an "ancestral surname," but in my hunt to locate others matching my paternal grandmother's Laskowski family, the only result I found was for a man   with a very French sounding given name. The match was too distant to provide me a promising start.

There are several other ways to search through the DNA matches at MyHeritage, thankfully. Rather than search for my grandmother's maiden name—my research goal for this month—I tried the option to search for locations. Entering "Poland" as my search choice, I gained a far more promising seventy nine options.

Don't get too excited just yet, though. Of those seventy nine, the closest cousin shares only forty three centiMorgans with me. This is hardly a close relationship. Nor does the surname sound familiar. However, I can easily click on "Review DNA Match" to be brought to another page on the website which compares my data with that of this match, and then lists all the matches I have in common with this first candidate.

Right away, I can see the mutual matches shared by this first candidate and myself belong to another branch of my Polish ancestry: that of my father's paternal line, whereas Laskowski is my paternal grandmother's family. In fact, the only reason I know this is thanks to another tool offered to customers of MyHeritage—called AutoClusters—which led to the discovery of where that line originated in Poland.

For this month's research goal, though, I'll set aside that mental note. It's important to stick with our plan. For now, I'll continue working my way through those DNA entries from the Poland location search. Granted, seventy nine iterations of this process can become tedious, so I'll continue my work behind the scenes. 

In the meantime, though, I remembered one other recent addition to the MyHeritage toolkit which we can examine tomorrow: a color-coding method for sorting these candidates. Why pass through this way once without leaving notes for future goals? It's important to record observations as we work our way through this list. We'll examine how MyHeritage uses those color codes tomorrow. 

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