Thursday, May 11, 2017

Game Your Tree with Facebook and Ancestry

The term game means to do something fun and challenging.

I've really been thinking about how the DNA testing companies will soon find ways to more accurately link genetic cousins within well researched trees.

A major stumbling block is the sincerely believed, but wrongly sourced data. Next, are the challenges with adoption, not parent expected, foundlings and donors. How does a company solve these problems to reach that goal?

Ancestry, in a brilliant marketing move, is already doing just that.

The We're Related application released a few months ago, can be played on cell phones and tablets. The game checks to see if and how your are related to movie, music, sport, and political celebrities. And, Ancestry has linked with Facebook to make it an even more dynamic game.

Some people worried that the game would perpetuate the copying of bad trees. Indeed, there were some discouraging reviews. Unless Ancestry isn't as smart as I think it is, We're Related is designed to do exactly the opposite.

I theorize, the game is designed to help Ancestry target incorrect data within their database with the help of the genealogical community.

I have no doubt once a line is thumbed down a few times, Ancestry will no longer use that particular line to make game connections. The information gathered will help refine their atDNA match algorithms at the same time. The more refined both the Ancestry and AncestryDNA's database, the better connections for everyone.

Test my theory by playing along and checking back at a later date to see if your "bad" link to a certain person has changed.

The game will actually assist you in finding more cousins. You use it to your benefit.

How-to Play

Download the application (HERE)
  1. Enter two to three generations of your direct line. (You can keep it private, but others don't benefit from studying your linage.)
  2. Play the game
  • If the line they provide is one of those "bad ones," Give it a Thumbs Down 
  • If your line is personally well sourced, and the line they provide matches with yours, Give it a thumbs up.
  • Link to your celebrity match. I can assure you, if Ancestry is using celebrities, they have made sure of their evidence. If you feel you must, the sourcing of celebrities. If you agree the line is valid, add the celebrity to your tree. (What fun when others want to look at your tree!)
  • To Benefit YOU: Your are often provided clues that will take your tree lines back further than you currently have them built. 
  • Don't give a thumbs up or thumbs down. Study the clues Ancestry has provided, and see if you can find verified sources to validate. 
  • Only give it a thumbs-up once you have sourced and validated the information they offer.
  • Add these new ancestors to your tree.

Because Ancestry has linked with Facebook, you can also find out if you are related to people in your Facebook friends list. Many of my "friends" are already listed as relatives.

Again, follow the same steps and add your Facebook friends to your tree once you verify they are related to you.
Today the game offered me a cousin match to someone I very recently met. We have several things in common, among them, wanting to learn more about the tools available to find ancestors using atDNA. 
I envision a time in the not too distant future when Facebook expands your relationship choices beyond only family, to a finer subset, be it grandparent, parent, child, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, half-sib, or box in which you can enter: 7c1x.

Perhaps once we recognize .....

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