DNA testing, Centimorgans and SNPs

DNA testing for genealogy research is the way to go these days, but Ancestry has decided that their members don't get the benefit of being able to see DNA matches that fall under their arbitrary "Law." Why? I'd dare to guess that would make more work for them and their system, so they claim any match lower than 8cM isn't reliable.

Since getting into the GEDmatch game last year and joining some of their ancestor projects and Facebook genealogy groups that use GEDmatch kits for comparisons with other members, I have found that system to be a much more productive way of gathering information about my ancestors, ones I don't know about, that are beyond the 5th generation, 3rd and 4th great grandparents and beyond.

Yesterday, May 2, 2021, in a Facebook genealogy group that uses GEDmatch kits to make comparisons, I ran the kit number of a new member who had posted about matches of a shared ancestral surname. While the largest segment was only 4cM and the total was 14cM on 4 segments, one on Chromosome 6 had a huge 3,916 SNPs. We compared surnames and quickly found our common ancestors, which are 3rd great grandparents for me and 4th for her. She now knows more about our common ancestral line. That would not have been possible if we had to strictly obey Ancestry's archaic 8cM law or anyone else's under-7cM "background noise" baloney.

I have been paying Ancestry $300 per year for quite some time now...for what? Sub-par, mediocre results seems to be the answer. I have made more progress in the GEDmatch Facebook groups in one year than I have made in Ancestry in 5 years. Also, Facebook and GEDmatch are FREE.

Before anyone tries to debunk my method of research using GEDmatch kit numbers, consider the following: I use the 3cM setting when running comparisons on gedmatch.com because I'm looking for clues for relatives in the 6th cousin range and beyond. I have connected with distant cousins and confirmed our matches with lineage, which proves that, although not perfect, using that 3cm setting can help and it is NOT, as one non-expert noted, "background noise."

Also consider this: Ancestry says that 37% of my DNA is Scottish. Well, that's cool, but it doesn't get me a free kilt to hang on my wall when those ancestors are from the 1500s and 1600s. Certainly, most of them traveled to other countries, namely Ireland and England, but that's who I'm trying to identify, to discover where they came from, not just where they spent a few generations before immigrating to the Canadian Territory and the British Colonies of Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut, among others.

The bottom line: you research the way you want to and don't worry about how others want to do theirs. Don't tell me that an under-7cM match is unreliable and don't call it "background noise."