Genealogical research is a hobby that I enjoy immensely. There is so much to do and so many relatives to find. Some of those relatives are out in the open and easy to find. Others are hiding and a bit more difficult to find. But they are all important and are a part of family. There just isn’t enough time to find all of them. Then you throw in another tool, genetic genealogy or genealogical DNA testing, to use with traditional genealogical research with a goal of answering genealogical questions, and the work goes on and on and on.
Genetic genealogy is tool for family historians and is time consuming, continually changing, and is a great tool to use if you have difficult family lines you are researching; and you have hit the ultimate brick wall. The work will never end! With just genetic genealogy one could stay busy for a very long time. However, I keep plugging along one relative at a time using the tools available such as Ancestry DNA Circles and NADs. Ancestry DNA offers subscribers DNA Circles and New Ancestry Discoveries or NADs. Each is laborious, and to add more work to that, the shared matches are added. Each member of the circle shares DNA with at least one other member in the circle, and each member in that circle have the same ancestor in their family tree. Ancestry does provide the centimorgans for DNA matches; however, it would be great if Ancestry provided members with a chromosome browser. I have several members from the Coon and related families who have DNA tested. I would love to look at our DNA segment on a chromosome browser to see if we match on the same chromosome and DNA segment; however, that option isn’t available on Ancestry.
There is the possibility that you have members of a circle with whom you share DNA through another ancestor couple. Shared matches can be used for that, but again that is a laborious job. It takes a bit of reading to understand DNA Circles, NADs, and using the shared matches to triangulate. New Ancestry Discoveries are research tasks that is done one cousin at a time. Research continues until I find a common ancestor couple. Some NADs can be challenging, but is worth the time put into identifying a common ancestor couple.
My sister tested with Ancestry DNA, and I manage her DNA account. She has fifteen NADs. Why she has more NADs than I have is a question I have yet to find an answer. She has thirty Ancestry Circles and I have twenty-eight. She has fifteen NADs and I have six. She has eight hundred and one fourth cousins or closer matches and I have one thousand and seventy-one. I have one hundred shard ancestor hints and she has one hundred forty-one. My sister has matches in her DNA results list that I don't have and she shares DNA with them; and vice versa – I have DNA matches she doesn't have in her test results.
A NAD is created when Ancestry finds that you share significant amounts of DNA with several members of a DNA Circle; and this means that you may be related to the ancestor for which the DNA Circle is created. Remember, a DNA Circle is a member of a group who have well documented family relationships to a common ancestor in their Ancestry family trees; and the members in the group share DNA with at least one (that is the key-at least one) other member in the DNA Circle. I have found with my DNA Circles I usually share DNA with more than one member unless it is a very small circle. I have a DNA Circle that has four members and all four are DNA matches. There is another circle with four members and two out of four are DNA matches.
I can research the NAD and find a new relative and connect that person to a common ancestor couple. I have six New Ancestry Discoveries and looked through each and didn’t recognize any familiar names. The fifteen NADs on my sister’s account are more promising than my six. I found two new relatives, Stephen Alford Edwards and Mary Ann Emma Bates, from her NADs.
As I looked through my sister’s NADs to see if there were familiar names, I recognized Edwards and Bates surnames. I looked through the members who were a DNA match to see if anything was promising. The first DNA match was a descendant of Stephen Alford Edwards. Now I was getting excited because there were two clues here that helped me to know which family line this member belonged and our common ancestor. Those two clues were the given name Alford and surname Edwards. Alford, the name of a third great grandfather, Alfred Edwards, on my paternal line.
This NAD was a keeper and further research to verify him gave me a collateral relative to add to my family tree. For the era that I was researching there were census records for 1880 through 1940; a marriage record; and Findagrave death and burial information.
My plan of action in identifying these ancestors in the NADs was to first look at the names; then look at the members who are DNA matches going through each until a common ancestor was known, and the locations.
Another familiar name that I recognized as I looked through the NADs was Mary Ann Emma Bates (1836-1902). I had seen the surname Bates before when researching. Bates is not a direct line ancestor’s surname, but I had seen the surname come up while researching collaterals. I looked at the location and it was Big Fork, Polk County, Arkansas. My Edwards families lived in that area. Further research revealed that Mary Ann Emma Bates was the mother of Stephen Alford Edwards. So, she was the wife (a FAN) of a second great uncle (a collateral relative).
DNA Circles and New Ancestry Discoveries are hints that are relevant to your research since members are related to you in some way. Since I never know if circles and NADs will be there indefinitely, I do a screen shot of the circles and NADs and save for future research. They will disappear, but they may eventually reappear.
You may be a direct descendant of a NAD, you may be related through a marriage, or through a collateral line. You may be related to the ancestor of the DNA circle through more than one line. They are relatives waiting to be discovered.