Be Prepared To Stay Up Tonight – Ancestry Has New Tools

Today’s the day I’ve been waiting for. I get to tell you about some new tools at Ancestry that I was able to try out over the last couple of weeks.

The first tool I’m going to tell you about is Thrulines.

What Thruline does is use the two things you’ve already used; your DNA and genealogy but then with the help of algorithms and programming and all the interconnecting matches Thruline provides relationships or possible relationships. So if you have a cousin with a tree like this (seebelow), you may still be able to figure it out how you connect.

Initially, you are welcomed to Thrulines and the next step is they tell you how it works. So Thrulines is looking at your DNA connections and using public and private trees that are searchable and then telling you how you might connect. In some cases, Thrulines will give you potential ancestors. Those potential ancestors will be given in the tree with a dotted line around ancestors name.

The matches that appear in Thrulines will be given possible relationships to you with the centimorgans (cM) of DNA you share and it gives you all the relationships between you.

So let me share one of the first people I checked out using this new tool.

I had 152 Thrulines matches . I’m sure you’ll have much more if you have colonial ancestry but I’m impressed that I have so many as my family history is Canada, England, Germany and I don’t have tons of DNA matches. One of the things you can do is filter your matches by “potential ancestors” and “ancestors from your linked tree”.

For this example, I choose; “potential ancestors”. That was 48 matches. The first two I was pretty sure I knew what line this was through so I thought I’d try my third one; Ann Farrell. Ancestry was estimating she was my 4th great grandmother and there were 8 DNA matches that gave them that conclusion.

The 8 DNA matches happen to consist of 5 of my immediate family where I’d put the tree information in. Well, all but Anne. But 3 of the other matches were not my direct family. One was a 4th cousin and I was familiar with him and I knew how he fit into my Shannon family but the other two were 5-8th cousin that I didn’t know about. One sharing 16cM the other 12 cM.

My tree stops at my 3rd great grandmother; Jane Elizabeth Henry, because no one really knows for sure who her mother is and I’ve been unable to figure it out. I’ll be honest I haven’t given it a lot of time. Now before I go putting Ann Farrell in the tree I need to investigate more. But I guess there is someone using Ancestry that feels that Ann Farrell fit in the tree.

So above is one of those 3 cousins that Ancestry has in Thrulines.. As you can see they have one of my favorite type trees.

What gets me more interested in this connection is no finding out my 4th great grandmother but it’s finding potentially 3 new cousins. Let face it; if the connection is more immediate it’s easier to check out the relationships. I trust the info I have so I go down their tree and mine and see if the lines coincide, and they do. It’s only when we get to the more recent generations that I don’t have information.

In this case I can search and find the marriage that ties into the generation just before my connection. So do I assume that the person who’s done their DNA knows his parents names? I think so. So then I can add the surname for his father and then I add him. I always add my DNA connections as their First name.. (then DNA) Surname and then in suffix I add the # of cM and Segments we share.

Now I look at him in my tree and sure enough he shows as a 4th cousin and that’s what Ancestry had proposed.

Now let’s go back and look at the new potential ancestor; Anne
Farrell. It says that this potential ancestor is in a member’s tree. When I go to the tree it shows that they have a place of birth but only that so clearly more research is required.

That’s just one of the matches and perhaps it doesn’t prove the potential ancestor but it did give me a connection to my DNA cousin even if he only has a 3 person private tree.

This will be a public Beta program so anyone with an AncestryDNA test will be able to opt in. Also; Crista Cowan is streaming an overview of these products on Thursday 1:30PM MST, (What you don’t know about Ancestry).  Just go to

Be sure to check out Part 2 called; Be Prepared To Stay Up Tonight – Ancestry Has New Tools Part 2

Update; I had the chance to interview Crista Cowan when I was at RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City. You can watch the video HERE.

If you’d like to purchase an Ancestry DNA kit here are the links AncestryDNA – US AncestryDNA – Canada AncestryDNA – Australia AncestryDNA – UK


  • Mary Thiele Fobian says:

    Does anyone know how to opt back out of Ancestry Lab? Ever since opting in, I’ve had trouble accessing DNA matches on several kits I administer.

    When I click on EXTRAS in the ancestry tool bar, then click on ANCESTRY LAB, the resulting prompt says:
    “400 Bad Request
    Request Header Or Cookie Too Large

  • Nancy Evans says:

    Thanks for the write up, much appreciated.

    This tool looks to be a mashup of two of Ancestry’s previous tools – potential ancestors & DNA circles. It’s very similar to DNA circles, with the difference being that not everyone in the group has a common ancestor in their family tree. Ancestry’s algorithm thinks there is a common ancestor based on information in the family trees and DNA

    • One of my problems is that I’ve tested several people in my family so some of the tiles I’m getting for Thrulines are from my own tree. I’ve given Ancestry my feedback.