The following is a list of suggestions compiled by the genetic genealogy community of features that we would like AncestryDNA to develop in the short and the long term.
- Full matching segment data. Provide information on the size and the location of the matching segments. This data is essential to verify the relationship predictions. This information is also required by advanced genealogists who are interested in mapping their chromosomes.
- Chromosome browser. Provide a chromosome browser where you could compare yourself to your matches or compare your matches to each other much like you can do using 23andMe's Family Inheritance: Advanced feature.
- Ability to download matches. Allow customers to download a full list of their matches into a spreadsheet. This can currently only be done by using Jeff Snavely's AncestryDNA helper tool or the DNAgedcom Client. It would also be helpful if the match list could include the matching ancestral surnames and locations along with details of the cM totals and number of shared segments. If the full matching segment data is provided this should also be included. Both 23andMe and Family Tree DNA already provide this facility.
- X-chromosome matching. Implement an X-chromosome matching feature. The X-chromosome is currently excluded from the match algorithms. The unique inheritance pattern of the X-chromosome means that it is particularly useful for confirming matches with close relations and cousins, particularly in unknown parentage cases.
- Improved search facility for non-US customers. Provide a facility that would allow customers outside the US to locate matches living in Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australia. With an overwhelmingly US customer base, it is very difficult for non-US customers to identify the small number of potentially useful matches amongst the hundreds of matches with predominantly Colonial US ancestry with whom there is no possibility of ever finding a genealogical connection. A search by country of residence might help or possibly a filter that would screen out all matches with four grandparents or eight grandparents born in the US.
- Improve DNA search function. The current DNA search function is unclear as to what you are searching for. Another tester, one of your ancestors, a surname in a tree, etc. Given that it doesn't seem to search correctly, it's difficult to discern even by trying different options. Instructions added to the page can probably take care of this in short order.
- Shared surnames/locations list. Provide lists of shared surnames and/or locations for the people who are in the "Shared Matches" group for any one of our matches. This would allow us to more readily determine where genealogical connections might be. While the Ancestry.com "Shared Matches" feature is good as far as it goes, it would be nice if Ancestry.com could go a step further and deliver to us in a single document or web page the shared surnames (or shared ancestors) and the shared locations among these matches. For instance, if my mom has 5 people who are part of a Shared Matches cluster and if all of them have extensive pedigree charts at Ancestry.com it would be nice to know that 4 of the 5 all have the surname Buchanan in their pedigree charts or that 4 of the 5 all have ancestors from Elbert County, Georgia. This type of information could potentially be delivered in decreasing order of frequency.
- Search by user name. Add a facility to search your matches by user name.
- Name ancestral couple not individuals for New Ancestor Discoveries. The NADs currently display husbands and wives as separate NADs. The husband and wife should be displayed as ancestral couple rather than individually. Alternatively display the child of the ancestral couple from whom the relationship has been inferred.
- Provide accurate description of New Ancestor Discoveries. I would like the New Ancestor Discoveries to be positioned and described more accurately and that it not be stated that you are a descendant of those people. Most of the time, that is incorrect and the current verbiage is misleading at best. Perhaps the text could be reworded to say: "Joe Bloggs "matches the following descendants of John Smith" rather than saying that the person is a descendant of John Smith.
- Reposition New Ancestor Discoveries. If you have any NADs these are currently the first feature you see. It would be best to show the DNA Circles first. The NADs should be less prominent as they are probably the least correct of all the AncestryDNA features.
- Ability to dismiss NADs. It would be helpful to have the ability to dismiss a NAD and not see it any more, like when you reject a hint. You can still click on it later to see it, but it's not "in your face" all the time.
- Ability to sort shaky leaves. When you've clicked on the shaky leaf option (to see only DNA matches with matching trees) it would help if we were able to sort so that you can see the new results (blue dots) without going through all of the results page by page to find the blue dots. You can sort by blue dots, but then you get all of the shaky leaf and other matches too, so that's even worse.
- Improve the Ethnicity Estimates. Continue to improve the Ethnicity Estimates, adding more regions in areas such as North America, South America, Africa and elsewhere as feasible. Incorporate reference datasets from academic datasets such as the People of the British Isles Project, the Irish DNA Atlas Project and the Genomes of the Netherlands Project.
- Chromosome painting view. This feature is already provided by 23andMe, BritainsDNA and GedMatch. For advanced genetic genealogists it would helpful if the data from the chromosome painting could be downloaded so you could see the start and stop points for segments that have been linked to specific populations.
Y-DNA and mtDNA
- Return the AncestryDNA Y-DNA and mtDNA databases to service. If this is not possible then work with another organisation to achieve this goal.
- Restore the SMGF website to service. This website included a lot of useful educational material which can now only be accessed through the Internet Archive. If this is not possible then work with another organisation to achieve this goal.
Genealogy and tree suggestions
- Encourage tree creation. Everything possible should be done to induce AncestryDNA customers to create a family tree or to upload a GEDCOM file of their ancestors. AncestryDNA matches without corresponding pedigree charts are almost worthless.
- Encourage tree connection. Similar to the previous point, many customers already have one or multiple trees on Ancestry, but do not connect DNA tests to individual profiles within those trees. Clarify or simplify the instructions so customers are explicitly showed how it works and how it benefits them and matching customers.
- Improve the messaging system. Many users complain about messages not getting through and about the organizational tools in the Ancestry messaging system. For example, if an outgoing message is moved to a folder, only the sender's user name remains associated with the message, while the user name of the recipient is lost. Given the nested nature of genealogical relationships, a nested folder structure would also be beneficial.