Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sneak Peek of AncestryDNA's New Search Filter

The long-awaited search filter at AncestryDNA has been teasing customers for the last couple of days, with fleeting appearances reported Sunday through Tuesday. It appears that the lucky ones who were granted this exciting sneak preview were primarily those who were using Internet Explorer. A few people also reported brief sightings in Chrome. These customers were fervently testing out the new feature's capabilities, never sure when it might disappear and then reappear again unexpectedly. This left a lot of people scratching their heads and trying to figure out what was going on.

AncestryDNA's new search filter, click to enlarge

The new search boxes appear just below the "filter by" drop down menu and the relationship range bar (as seen above). The filter enables searching for a specific surname or birth location. Further, a surname search can be narrowed down by additionally entering a location. There is also an option to "include similar surnames" which is helpful for those of us who have ancestral surnames with variant spellings.

The DNA matches that contain your search term(s) in their family trees are returned. However, the feature does not go so far as to identify specifically where these targeted terms appear, so is still necessary to open each match to review the family trees and locate the desired information. Reportedly, searches include collateral lines, private trees(!) and family trees in accounts that do not have a tree linked to their DNA results. I hope this continues to be the case in the final version, but I would be a bit surprised if these capabilities are preserved in entirety. By the way, apparently it does not currently search matches that were moved to the trash, so you better pull those back out!

I asked Stephen Baloglu,'s Director of Product Marketing, for clarification in regard to exactly what has been going on with this feature the last couple of days, as well as the time frame for a full roll-out. He explained, "We had been doing some isolated early release testing of the new ability to search matches by surname and birth location. It's very exciting, but the development is not complete. We put it in the wild for a small, random portion of AncestryDNA customers to get a sense of how it is working. We expect to roll out the feature in late June/early July to all DNA customers along with a few modifications to what has already been seen."

So, there you have it. The mystery is solved. The rest of us will just have to try to be patient!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Last Chance for Early Bird Pricing for June 6th "Family History and DNA:Genetic Genealogy in 2013" Conference

Tomorrow, May 7th, is the last day for early bird pricing for the genetic genealogy conference to be held on June 6th in Burbank, CA. We have a truly outstanding program planned for this first-ever independently produced genetic genealogy conference (co-sponsored by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy and the Southern California Genealogical Society). I hope you will decide to join us if you haven't already signed up. Attendance is limited to 350 and we are more than 75% sold-out, so don't wait too long!

The details:
Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2013
June 6, 2013 – 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport
2500 Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91505
Speakers and Topics:
We will have Dr. Spencer Wells as our keynote speaker and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as our luncheon speaker. The rest of the day will feature three concurrent tracks, aimed at the beginner through advanced genetic genealogist. All presenters and topics are found on the Jamboree website on the DNA Day page.
Through Tuesday, May 7, 2013 (Extended Early Bird Deadline)
SCGS Members: $175
Non-Members $195
May 8 through Friday, May 24
SCGS Members: $200
Non-Members $220
Henry Louis Gates Luncheon (extra payment required)
Attendee: $20
Guest accompanying attendee: $60
Reservations can be made online at here. Payments may also be made by phone at 818.843.7247 (closed Mondays) with Visa or MasterCard.
The 44th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree will follow Friday through Sunday, June 7-9. DNA sessions will be held during Jamboree as well, including an expert’s panel on Friday afternoon. I will be participating in that panel as well as the Blogger's Summit panel on Saturday before lunch and speaking about Adoption and DNA on Saturday afternoon. I hope to see you there!