Monday, July 20, 2020

Ancestry decision to remove matches below 8 cM will harm African American and Native American descendants

Sometime in August, Ancestry intends to remove matches in the 6 to 7.9 cM range from DNA match lists. This will cause problems for African American genealogists since using those matches, even if 50% are false matches, is often the only way for African American genealogists to find possible connections that predate the end of slavery and the 1870 census.  You can preserve these matches by saving a note or adding them to a dot group or by messaging them. Doing so will take time but it is possible. One way is to search by custom centimorgan size and then to search for common ancestors and add a dot group for each. I have been doing this as group CA67.

The same argument can be made for people with documented genealogical ancestry from Native Americans which predates 1870. This range of matches needs to be preserved and continue to be available to anyone who wants to see them.

See this blog post from Roberta Estes, for a more in-depth analysis of this proposed change: Plea to Ancestry – Rethink Match Purge Due to Deleterious Effect on African American Genealogists