Confusing Shared Ancestor Hints

Shared Ancestor Hints

Shared Ancestor Hints

Recently, I linked my mom’s DNA profile to someone in a mirror tree and I got more shared ancestor hints than what I was expecting.  I had already confirmed this person’s maternal family is related to my mom but I was trying to see if her dad’s side was also related.

Shared Ancestor HintsI was expecting at least 19 shared ancestor hints since that’s how many I already had from her mom’s side.  When I checked the AncestryDNA page, I saw there were 24 shared ancestor hints.  That’s not a huge increase but it’s an increase.

I went through and found the new shared ancestor hints and marked off the ancestors… And I found a pattern.  Not the pattern I was looking for. But a pattern nonetheless.

John Austin and Hannah Love

Every single new shared ancestor hint had John Austin or John Austin and Hannah Love.  I believe John Austin had another wife so that’s why I believe some of them only had John Austin.

This confused me at first.  Why would I have shared ancestor hints ONLY on this line for the father’s side but none of the other lines? Because my mom was only related to that line – through her confirmed maternal family.  As I was checking the matches, I came across one I had studied before and previously found a MRCA.

Archibald Lamb and Elizabeth Austin

Our MRCA was Archibald Lamb and Elizabeth Austin.  I haven’t been able to confirm the lineage from John Austin and Hannah Love to Elizabeth Austin but with 5 shared ancestor hints, I think it’s probably a safe assumption.  Also, 2 of those shared ancestor hints have connections to Archibald Lamb & Elizabeth Austin – although not confirmed with records.

Why do I even mention this?

You need to be aware that families can cross paths and your 5th cousin on your maternal side could also be a 3rd cousin on your paternal side.

I’m using the mirror tree method to try and find my mom’s biological father.  Finding shared ancestor hints plays a crucial role in this method.  So, what would I have done if I didn’t know this was actually a maternal shared ancestor hint?

Since the hints only showed for one line, I would have probably worked out the other lines a bit further back just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything.  But, ultimately, I would move one.  You HAVE to have shared ancestor hints on all family lines to confirm a biological connection.

If you want to understand the mirror tree method I mentioned earlier, check out these articles and videos.

Finding Shared Ancestors – A Walk Through

Five Mirror Tree Questions Answered

Video Tutorial – Mirror Tree Walk Through

A Quicker Video Tutorial – Mirror Trees

Page with Comments

  1. I’m working on a foundling case, no info on either parent. I have a question about your statement “You HAVE to have shared ancestor hints on all family lines to confirm a biological connection.” Do you mean that you are looking for a match whose mirror tree has SAH’s on both sides of the match’s tree?

  2. Hi! I did a mirror tree & found a distant cousin’s adopted mom’s birth parents. We have confirmed the maternal side through a 1/2 aunt (birth mom’s daughter).
    Since I’m not sure how I connect to the cousin, I attached my DNA to the cousin’s name on the mirror tree. ( I added her mom’s name to birth mother, then added the cousin’s name as her daughter). Well, I have 22 shared ancestors on this mirror tree on the cousins maternal grandmother’s side & 2 on her paternal grandfather’s side! ( I recently figured out her adopted mom’s birth dad’s side & attached it to the mirror tree). So does this mean I may have DNA matches to both sides of her tree? Or could it just be saying I match my cousin & maybe some of her closer kin & since she has DNA from both her birth grandparents, I have a shared ancestor with the paternal father also? Does this make sense? Should I take off her birth grandfather?

    Thanks for listening!

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