How to Delete and Merge Duplicates in Ancestry Family Tree

Does your online family tree suffer from duplicate leaves? If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of people seem to have this problem, based on the popularity of a YouTube video tutorial by The Barefoot Genealogist. This tutorial teaches you how to trim extra foliage from your online family tree or in Family Tree Maker.

First, presenter Christa Cowan describes how we often end up with duplicates on the family tree. Sometimes people attach records buy anti worm medication for humans incorrectly to individual profiles in—she shows how to do it correctly, without accidentally creating someone new. And, bonus: she shows how to attach records to more than one person at a time (you want everyone in the household to have that 1920 census record attached to their profiles)!

Watch this video to learn how to look for unwanted duplicates and then use the “merge duplicates” feature to clean up any mess or confusion.

AncestryDNA’s Breakthrough for West African Ancestry

AncestryDNA announced last week that it has been able to identify six unique historic populations in West Africa. It’s a breakthrough they call a “finer-resolution genetic ethnicity estimate for individuals with West African ancestry.” They have even used this technology to start connecting the dots between those groups and millions of African-Americans whose ancestral paper trail was annihilated during the era of slavery.

AncestryDNA West Africa

For this latter development, the AncestryDNA team uses the “cluster genealogy” approach: the concept that people from the same location often migrated to the same areas. Of course, slavery forced apart families and other natural migration groups, both in Africa before the crossing and in the U.S. or other destinations. And the few records that remain of many of these folks and their enslaved descendants don’t include full names, place of origin or other data we rely on to make family connections. (Learn more about how to research African-American roots in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 159 with Dr. Deborah Abbott.)

It’s encouraging to read that AncestryDNA has had some success hooking up regional groups of African-Americans with specific areas of Africa. “Though this project is still in its infancy, the science team has made some progress,” AncestryDNA reports. “First, we looked at the birth locations of individuals in the trees of all African Americans. Then, we looked for locations where, relative to all African Americans, there appeared to be an over-representation of birth locations in trees of individuals with a particular West African ancestry.  For individuals with Senegalese genetic ethnicity, we found what seems to be an over-representation of birth locations in South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700’s and 1800’s.”

There’s more: check out AncestryDNA’s full blog post.

AncestryDNA Results Improving for Jewish and Hispanic Ancestry has improved the ability of AncestryDNA to find good matches for Jewish, Hispanic and other ancestries that maybe weren’t so precise before. Here’s the lowdown, quoted liberally from’s press release:

The problem: Predicting genetic relatives among customers of Jewish and Hispanic descent and some other groups. “In DNA matching, we are looking for pieces of DNA that appear identical between individuals,” says the release. “For genealogy research we’re interested in DNA that’s identical because we’re both descended from a recent common ancestor. We call this identical by descent (IBD). This is what helps us to make new discoveries in finding new relatives, new ancestors, and collaborating on our research.”

“However, we also find pieces of DNA that are identical for another reason. At one extreme we find pieces of DNA that are identical because it is essential for human survival. At the other, we find pieces of DNA that are identical because two people are of the same ethnicity. We call these segments identical by state (IBS) because the piece of DNA is identical for a reason other than a recent common ancestor. This, we have found, often happens in individuals of Jewish descent.”

“The challenge in DNA matching is to tease apart which segments are IBD, and which ones are IBS….Most Jewish customers find that we predict them to be related to nearly every other Jewish customer in the database….Detecting which cousin matches were real and which ones were bogus has always been a challenge for these populations.”

First step toward a solution: “By studying patterns of matches across our more than half a million AncestryDNA customers, we found that in certain places of the genome, thousands of people were being estimated to share DNA with one another–likely a hallmark of a common ethnicity. Our scientific advancements… have allowed us to effectively “pan for gold” in our matches–by throwing out matches that appear to only be IBS, and keeping those that are IBD.”

“While the problem was more pronounced in customers of Jewish and some Hispanic descents, we observed this problem across all ethnic groups.  So, all customers will see increased accuracy of their DNA matches, and significantly fewer ‘false’ matches.”

AncestryDNA results with better matches found by this method “will be available in the coming months,” says the release. They plan to email existing customers when results are ready.

Explore Deep Ancestry–or Just Learn Some History

AncientWebcomHere’s a cool website about ancient civilizations. It’s, and it looks like a fun and easy way to get up to speed on history.

As the title hints, this site is all about deep roots. It covers ancient societies in all parts of the world: North and South America, Europe, the Near East, Africa, Asia and Oceania. You’ll find history and images of artifacts on peoples ranging from Arabians to Vikings!

This is a great interactive tool for brushing up on ancient history. Check it out with your kids or grandkids who are exploring these topics in school or because they’re reading books like the Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series
(based on Greek and Roman mythology).

But this is also a helpful resource if you’re looking to learn more about your “deep ancestry” as identified by DNA tests. You may never know if you descend from a famous (or infamous) warlord, ruler or explorer. But genetic tests are becoming more specific about deep geographic roots. So maybe it’s worth checking out a little Viking warrior fashion or learn about the ancient empire of the Mandingo on this site!

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