What is a Mirror Tree?

What is a mirror tree

I’m getting a lot of feedback and I keep seeing the same thing.  The same question keeps coming up.  What is a mirror tree?  I’ve answered some questions about mirror trees in the Five Questions Answered post and went over how to find shared ancestors using mirror trees but it seems I may have jumped the gun here.

What Is A Mirror Tree?

To put it simply, it’s an exact copy of a DNA match’s tree.

A mirror tree is a mirror image of their tree.  You don’t add any generations and you don’t put you in there anywhere.  You start with your DNA match and fill in their ancestors.  The mirror tree method for finding shared ancestors only works on Ancestry.com

Why Should I Use a Mirror Tree?

If you are adopted and have no idea who your biological family is, this is step one in finding biological ancestors.

Let me break it down like this… If you had DNA match that suggested you were full siblings, your assumption would be you share the same parents.

If you had a 2nd cousin match, you might assume you share the same great grandparents but your DNA match has 8 sets of great grandparents and you potentially only share 1 set of them.  How do we narrow it down to which set you both are related to?

Mirror Trees. 

Once you create an exact replica of your cousin’s tree, you link your AncestryDNA profile to their name in the tree you created.  You will get shared ancestor hints. Most of the shared ancestor hints should only show up on branch of the tree… If you aren’t sure HOW to do this – please read my walk through.

Now, you should know WHAT a mirror tree is and how to use it.  Reference the other articles I mentioned above.  For convenience, here they are again.

Let me know if you have any more questions! Comment below or send me a message via my contact page.

Page with Comments

  1. I am trying to help a friend find his birth father. When I build a mirror tree and connect his DNA results to his match who appears in the tree, does the match have to have a public tree on ancestry.com?

  2. Thank you, this is a useful article. When you are starting out on genetic genealogy you know next to nothing and I guess as people become more experienced, they forget how much they have learnt. For newbies like me, information like this is treasure.

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