Citing Ancestry DNA tests

DNA logo on top of school photo circa 1964
DNA logo on top of school photo circa 1964

Introduction

At the last VicGUM meeting a few of us had a chat about citing our Ancestry DNA test results. I came away feeling that we hadn’t quite nailed it. There wasn’t that elegance of simplicity that happens when a solution to an issue really hits the mark. I didn’t want to make a bad decision. This is sources we were talking about and I don’t want to revisit my decision any time soon. I’ve been doing some more thinking because the voices in my head keep saying What you are thinking is not good. It’s going to be a lot of work.
This discussion about citing DNA tests came at a time when my planets are aligning. A cousin had written to say she is updating her branch of the family. She asked what current Information I have. I’m not sure. Another writes as he unravels his part of the family – or has it become more tangled than ever? Another wrote of his continuing interest in family history. I suppose it is no surprise that the grandchildren of the men who kept shearing tally books still have an interest in local and family stories more than a century later.
All this has come at a time when I too am reviewing the information I have and how it fits together. Have I got it arranged to take the best advantage of the DNA tests we have? Do I have a timeline organised as a starting point for weaving tales. It’s only seven years since I last reviewed a lot of my data but a lot has happened since. More people are researching family and local history and there’s still more information becoming available.
And there is DNA. It’s now the time of year to start thinking about which DNA tests, if any, I should purchase in November.

DNA Citations

I like to begin adding material to my Legacy Family Tree family file by adding the basic source information first. Then it is ready for linking to the rest of the data as I go along. Our VicGUM discussion about citing Ancestry DNA tests was very timely.
Let me start with the conclusions of my deliberations. (My post decision justification will come in a later post.)

Citing an Ancestry DNA test

This is a way to cite my brother’s AncestryDNA test:

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch
https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/insights/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E 

Don’t be frightened by these long web addresses. Pick them up from the url toolbar at the top of the relevant page and just paste them into the citation. And I can pick them up and paste back into the url toolbar when I want to return to the source. No searching through pages and pages of DNA results required!

There are three web pages I can navigate to from John’s DNA test page

•    his ethnicity estimate
•    his DNA matches (including his shared matches)
•    his DNA Circles.

Citing an Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Estimate

A citation for an ethnicity estimate or DNA story can be created the same way. I’ve just added a little more information. Importantly, notice that the web address or url changed:

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), ethnicity estimate,
https://www.ancestry.com/dna/origins/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E?o_iid=90600&o_lid=90600&o_sch=Web%20Property

Because DNA is such an evolving field it is probably critical to include the access date. These changes are most notable with Ancestry’s ethnicity estimate and I think John’s ethnicity estimate sits in limbo like Kitty Cooper’s did at the time of writing her last blog. 
 
Citing an Ancestry DNA match

This is an example for an Ancestry DNA match:

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), match with Henry Davenport,
https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/tests/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E/match/5164B8C8-CBC9-48A3-8F0B-8A9DC8E23F0D?filterBy=ALL&sortBy=RELATIONSHIP&page=1

It is also the same web address for shared matches so a citation to bring attention to shared matches might look like this:

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), match and shared matches with Henry Davenport, https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/tests/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E/match/5164B8C8-CBC9-48A3-8F0B-8A9DC8E23F0D?filterBy=ALL&sortBy=RELATIONSHIP&page=1

Citing Ancestry DNA Circles

This is an example for an Ancestry DNA Circle:

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), DNA Circle for John’s second great grandfather Francis Baulch
https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/tests/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E/evidence/HZ5F6NXG?returnPage=circles

It’s not so long ago that we struggled to get DNA circles going. Now there are 38 members in the Francis Baulch DNA Circle. I wonder how many there will be by Christmas this year? 100? I really do need take time out review the information in my Ancestry Family Tree.

Report Bibliography

The first part of creating a citation is to describe WHAT the source is:

•    a book
•    a newspaper
•    a parish register
•    a personal communication
•    a website (including a web page for an Ancestry DNA test)

Here are some examples:

Bishop, Les; The Thunder of the Guns!: A History of 2/3 Australian Field Regiment (Sydney: 2/3 Australian Field Regiment Association, 1998)

(Melbourne) The Herald

St Peter and St Paul’s Church of England (Muchelney, Somerset, England), Parish Registers 1702-1997

Personal Knowledge of Alexander Learmonth (1809-1874)

Stephen Luscombe, The British Empire: Where the Sun Never Sets (https://www.britishempire.co.uk/)

The National Archives of the UK. “TNA WO 392 Prisoners of War Lists, Second World War.”

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/insights/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E

Report Citations

A full citation generally requires more information than just WHAT the source is. I need to know WHERE precisely in the source is the location of the evidence I am relying upon to tell my family story or to construct my family tree:

• the page in a book
• the page and column in a newspaper
• the page and/or date in a set of parish registers
• the date and correspondents on a letter
• the web address, or url, for a website
• a match url for an Ancestry DNA match

Here are some examples:

Bishop, Les, The Thunder of the Guns! A History of 2/3 Australian Field Regiment (Sydney: 2/3 Australian Field Regiment Association, 1998), p266

Poets and War, (Melbourne) The Herald, 1 Feb 1947, p 12, col 7; accessed in The National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245867791

St Peter and St Paul’s Church of England (Muchelney, Somerset, England), Parish Registers 1702-1997, accessed in South West Heritage Trust: Somerset Archives & Local Studies; Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-1812 at www.ancestry.com.au; baptism of Hannah Baulch, Nov 1761

Personal Knowledge of Alexander Learmonth (1809-1874), letter to his brother William dated 28 Nov 1856, J W Baulch Personal Collection

4th Dragoon Guards (http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/britishcavalry/4dg.htm)

The National Archives of the UK. “TNA WO 392 Prisoners of War Lists, Second World War” accessed in UK, Prisoners of War 1939-1945 index at ancestry.com.au and images at fold3.com, entry for VX114, Lieutenant John Noel Learmonth

The Archives of the UK. “TNA WO 392 Prisoners of War Lists, Second World War.” accessed in UK, Prisoners of War 1939-1945
index at ancestry.com.au and images at fold3.com, entry for WX3326, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Le Souef

(Yes, I am cheating here. The important part is that I start in Ancestry and finish in Fold3 with an image. It just looked too frightening here to put both web addresses in the one citation.)

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), ethnicity estimate, https://www.ancestry.com/dna/origins/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E?o_iid=90600&o_lid=90600&o_sch=Web%20Property

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), match and shared matches with Henry Davenport, https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/tests/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E/match/5164B8C8-CBC9-48A3-8F0B-8A9DC8E23F0D?filterBy=ALL&sortBy=RELATIONSHIP&page=1

Ancestry, DNA test for John Baulch, (accessed 7 Sep 2018), DNA Circle for John’s second great grandfather Francis Baulch https://www.ancestry.com.au/dna/tests/D8A89B39-CC28-45CD-AAB4-2B46C4D0341E/evidence/HZ5F6NXG?returnPage=circles

It has taken a little while to place information in the appropriate fields in my Legacy Family Tree Master Source List and the associated Source Detail item but I do like the result.

For myself.

Ancestry and Fold3 are subscription based so access is through a subscription to access the Prisoners of War information.
Only John and I (as his manager) have access to his DNA test so others should not be able to use these links to access information. I hope! Let me know if you are able to.
My post decision justification – or how I arrived at these examples – will appear in a blog in a little while. It will include my thoughts on the principles of creating a family tree and my reasons for not using Dates or Events with DNA information.

I hope these examples are of some help.


Bottom line, whether you use these examples or not, do save information about sources so you know what you used and where it is so you can return to it when required.