Ancestry.com took a step in a very positive direction this week by adding two new features to AncestryDNA that will help immensely with your genetic genealogy research.
With the addition of a "Shared Matches" button, you now have the ability to click on the profile for a DNA match and view a list of AncestryDNA users who are also genetic matches between you and the selected profile.
Why is this so cool?
Let's say that you've recently uncovered a non-paternal event (hypothetically) and you want to zero in on only paternal line matches. If you've been fortunate enough to identify a potential biological paternal line cousin, you can now click on said cousin's profile and select the "Shared Matches" option.
A list will generate and you're off to the races. You no longer need to trawl through your own list of matches and then a cousin's list of matches to find the few shared common matches. The comparison is automated. Efficiency is cause to celebrate.
Of course, this isn't a chromosome browser. You can't, in this current format, verify which chromosome blip the matches all share in common. Subsequently, you can't identify - with 100% certainty - the common ancestor. It remains incumbent upon the diligent researcher to scrutinize the shared matches in order to suss out a likely common ancestor.
But let's not nitpick, for now, and celebrate this victory.
Mother and Father Filter
AncestryDNA also unveiled a new filter for users who have had either or both of their parents test. Once your parents' tests are in the system, a Mother and Father button will appear in your match view.
Click on either button to see matches that you share with your mother or your father. Again, another mighty helpful feature if you're looking to focus on a particular line of your ancestry.
To learn more, check out AncestryDNA's Anna Swayne as she walks users through the new features.