I love the DNA circles on Ancestry, but I think I’ve mentioned before that I wish we could choose to add a person to a circle. There are times when I can see a common ancestor in a tree, but Ancestry hasn’t included that person in the circle. Sometimes, it just needs more time as I feel like the Circles are the slowest feature on the DNA page to fill. Other times, it’s because someone has used a slightly different version of a name. For example, I have Jehu Rumbo, but often, the name was transcribed as John Rumbo and several people have his name that way in their tree. Sometimes, it an ancestor from another country and one user has the “American name” and the other has the “Foreign name”.
But even seeing the list of names in the circles was at times irritating to me. How exactly are we related? By the time I click on each name to see the connection, I’ve forgotten the first person’s “path”. I can include information in the notes, but again, that’s a click for each person and I wanted to be able to see all of the paths for all of the people in one place. So I created an Excel sheet to help me keep track of my Circles. (All names in this sheet are fictional.)
This is a full sheet instead of a half sheet and I find that I am using the full sheets much more often than the half sheets. I tend to use the half sheets when I haven’t determined a connection yet or if I have a list of people with a common segment on GEDmatch, but still no common ancestor determined.
I put the common ancestor couple in the long box at the top. On the left side, I add my “path”. As I put each person’s path into the sheet, I try to group them by children. Notice that in the example above, the two individuals who’s paths came through the same son – Bill Smith – are next to each other. It’s not uncommon for me to cut a path and paste it to a new location on the sheet.
There is a top section and a bottom section on this sheet. If I have enough people in the circle, then the top and the bottom will have the same common couple in the long lines. But occasionally, I’ll have several people who have a common ancestor who is related to the family in another way, and I want to keep them together, but separate. Perhaps we know the 2 long boxes are siblings, but no one has yet figured out their parents.
I also like to include GEDmatch numbers, if I know them. If I am collecting the information from Ancestry and their tree is public, or has been shared with me, then I can make the cell with the Ancestry name into a link to the tree. In the example above, the cell that says “Ancestry: Tconn” could become a clickable link to go directly to the tree.
Recently, I created a “theory tree” on Ancestry to help me find some clues for my brick wall ancestor. (I would like to note that this theory tree is private because the information in it is not proven. Your tree must be public if you want to be included in any DNA circles created by Ancestry.) I attached my mother’s dna to THAT tree and have been very happy with the number of ancestor hints I have gotten based on that. I now have 14 people with a dna connection who also have the same people in their tree as in my theory tree. Those trees go back to my mom’s potential 6th great grandfather and some of the matches are 6th cousins twice removed. Because of this, I also needed a template with more generations that in the example above.
My issue with this sheet will be that I do not yet have the proven link from my known ancestor to the common ancestor, so I am planning to use fill colors in the boxes that are “theory” steps in my path. I’m hoping that by collecting the information of all my matches into one sheet, I will see patterns and probably some collateral lines that I am missing in my tree.
This long template is also included in the download.
If you are looking for my other DNA templates sheets, you can find them in the “Downloads” tab at the top of the blog.