A DNA Circle will form around an ancestor in your family tree if your tree is public and linked to your DNA test, and if two or more of your DNA matches…
–are DNA matches to you and to each other at a 2nd cousin level or further out
–have public family trees attached to their DNA tests; and
–share a common ancestor (according to their trees).
I have six DNA circles–all from my maternal grandmother’s family. I need to study my circles a little more. All the “common ancestors” are in my family tree and I want to look more closely at the other people in the circles and see if I can add to my family tree or at least get some clues.
I need to remember that even though the DNA matches in these circles are related to me, but that doesn’t mean that their family trees are correct especially if they have no source records. I need to research to see if I can add new people.
My brother doesn’t have a family tree on Ancestry so he doesn’t have any DNA Circles. That’s also an important thing to remember–without a family tree and without a common ancestor in the family tree you won’t have a DNA Circle.
Ancestry has various levels of confidence for me in my DNA Circles–from Good confidence to Emerging confidence. I can also see the confidence level Ancestry has for the other people in my circles. I’m not sure why some of the people show higher levels of confidence according to Ancestry.
My takeaway and what I need to do
Look at each of my circles and see if I can figure out more ancestors to add to my family tree.
Try to contact each of these people and see what more they can tell me about their genealogy.
Remember that just because we’re DNA matches their trees might not be correct. (And maybe my tree has some mistakes so admit that if necessary!)
Do you have DNA Circles on your AncestryDNA? Have they helped your genealogy? Have you discovered new ancestors for your family tree from the DNA Circles? Have you found new cousins?
My kids bought me a DNA test from Ancestry for my birthday this year. I’ve gotten the results back and it’s all so interesting–though I am still trying to understand it all! I got my brother to do his DNA, too, so I thought I would write a series of articles about what I think I’ve learned. This will help me figure things out in my own mind and I hope if I get things wrong maybe someone will comment and help me.
My ethnicity estimates are:
15% Great Britain
11 % Europe West
With the following low confidence areas:
≤ 1% Europe East
≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula
What I know about my ethnicity from my genealogy:
My VALLEY and JOHNSON families came from Norway and Sweden.
The WINTERS and HARMS families came from Germany.
My great-grandmother Lillie CHAMBERS thought her family came from Ireland.
The story I’ve read is that my MILLER family came from Germany before the Revolutionary War.
We think the McCULLOUGH family came from Scotland.
There are several family lines which were in the United States in the 1700’s and we don’t know for sure where they came from and in some cases I’m not confident putting them into my family tree since I don’t have evidence they belong there. The PICKERING family probably came from Great Britain.
As anyone can see from the above information I haven’t really taken my genealogy across the pond. Based on what I am quite sure about I’m surprised I didn’t show up with more Irish and Western Europe (German) ethnicity. And I was surprised I show up with 11% Great Britain.
From what I have read these ethnicity estimates are just that: estimates. Also right above the Ethnicity Estimate on Ancestry it says “Thousands of years ago” so that seems to indicate this is not necessarily something that shows up in my genealogy.
My brother’s ethnicity results:
23 % Europe West
10 % Ireland
With the following low confidence areas:
2% Europe East
≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula
0% Great Britain
Since my paternal grandparents were 100% Scandinavian and their families were probably in Norway and Sweden for a long time the fact that both my brother and I are so high with our Scandinavian ethnicity makes sense to me. He shows a bit more Europe West than I do (23% as opposed to my 11%) and quite a bit more Ireland than me (10% versus 4%). I’m surprised he shows 0% Great Britain and I show 15% Great Britain.
I do need to remember these are “estimates from thousands of years ago!” And I have read that the Vikings traveled into Germany and, of course, Great Britain and Ireland–and I’m sure they left some DNA behind! They were even into Russia and Eastern Europe. The ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula both my brother and I show is surprising though I don’t think it’s very significant.
Well, I hope I haven’t made a bunch of incorrect assumptions based on my ethnicity estimates. I think the biggest takeaway for me is that the ethnicity estimates might offer a hint, but I shouldn’t use these estimates to say “I have Irish ethnicity” unless I have genealogy to back it up.
To anyone who has more experience with DNA can you tell me if I’m on the right path with this?
I’ve found a baptism record from the First Lutheran Church in Stoughton, Dane County, Wisconsin. The baby’s name is Ole Sevill and his parent’s are Fred and Katinka VALLEY. His birth date is 17 October 1886. The baptism date is 7 November 1886. I believe the baby was later called William and that he was my grandfather Peter VALLEY’s younger brother.
Even more exciting is to see the sponsors’ names–Sophie Kleve, Olive Wallesverdh, Hans Kleve and Konrad Wallesverdh. Katinka’s maiden name is Wallisverg so I think at least two of these sponsors are her relatives.
Having the sponsors’ names gives me new names to search for. I found the record on Ancestry. However, if I had just viewed what Ancestry had recorded–the parents’ names, baby’s name, date of birth, date of baptism–and not looked at the original document carefully I wouldn’t have seen the sponsors’ names.
Baptism Record, Ole Sevill Valley, born 17 Oct 1886, First Lutheran Church, Stoughton, Wisconsin, U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940.
I’m starting a blog to talk about my family genealogy plus stories I discover or receive from other family members or remember my parents or other family members telling. I’m not going to write much about my living family. The purpose is to add the stories, genealogy and the history from the places my ancestors lived. I named the blog “Remember the Families” for several reasons.
I want to have a place to write the stories and genealogy so my children and cousins can find them. It’s always hard to decide it’s time to write that family history book telling “everything” we’ve learned, but this way I can write short posts and perhaps later put it all together in one place.
I also want to remember to focus on the whole family not just my direct ancestors. By doing that I’ve already discovered stories and information about my direct ancestors. Plus this makes for a richer genealogy and will perhaps help me discover living cousins who can help fill in the blanks.
I hope others might find some ideas to research their families, but I also hope to invite my family to visit and perhaps they will add to my posts in the comments or decide to write a short memory they have about our family. Please comment whether part of the family or not and let me know how I’m doing here!