Ancestry DNA — More Frustrating Than Useful?

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I actually got some interesting results through the test, however the whole structure of the website and how others use it is very frustrating.  How do I dislike Ancestry DNA let me count the ways.

  1. Private Players. These are the people who take the test and then put a lock on their family tree. This means they get the full view of my public tree, reap all the benefit of my research and my membership in Ancestry, but I can’t see how we are related through tree. Yes, I know I can message them and get access to their tree—do you know how few respond?!
  2. Stragglers (Just Along For the Ride). These are the people who are testing but post no tree at all. I first suspected that people were taking the test to prove paternity (al la Maury Povich Show!)—that was until I learned a paternity test kit was cheaper. Maybe these folks are helping out a relative to see if they match. Could be they got a Groupon and took the test for a hoot. More likely they are working on a family tree at home and just gleaning information from my test results and my PAID subscription to Ancestry.
  3. Extensive Review Time.  Ancestry dumps all the Private Players and Stragglers into my search results. I can’t just delete them—I have to open up each one. This took a couple weeks to get through all of the results.
  4.  Stupid Search. How stupid is the Ancestry DNA search function? So stupid… there is NONE! This means that you can’t type in a surname and bring up all the match results for that surname. Ancestry allows you to mark interesting results with a gold star or a note, but to find those interesting results again you have to scroll through pages of marked results and open the notes. Yes, it’s dumb.
  5. Hidden Markers. Ancestry doesn’t actually show you your DNA results or markers. It doesn’t even tell you for sure which ancestor is your match. On some of the matches I’ve seen there were 11 (ELEVEN!) surnames that matched and it’s anyone’s best guess which one is the DNA match or if it’s someone in my tree or the match’s tree we haven’t ID’d yet. Totally a pain in the sit-down region!

The best results have been through tenacious research. I’ve been getting feedback on the Pryor surname from others who have taken the Ancestry DNA test—one researcher who is definitely from the line of the Marion County Pryors  (Matthew Pryor back to Robert Pryor and Virginia Betty Green) has completely different than the test subject I submitted. So that line is not connected to the line of Nicholas Pryor of Henrico County. The jury is still out on Richard Pryor (and Mourning Thompson) line because of some of the issues noted above.

Has anyone else tested with Ancestry and would like to share with me which Pryors they matched to? Rather than leaving a comment on this post, contact me through the TN Pryor website


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