Suggested Method and Query for labelling ancestors as confirmed DNA lineage

Helen Dignum

I have been working through my DNA matches to confirm my ancestral lines.  I wanted to be able to view an ancestral chart labelled with who had been confirmed by DNA and those not yet confirmed. This helps to focus my DNA analysis of lines not yet confirmed.

This method works for me: improvements and comments welcomed.

1.Research the DNA match, with due diligence for sources, to see how the match fits into your ancestral tree in FH.
2. Add the line culminating in the DNA match to your FH tree. Label the final person, source of the DNA with the same name as the DNA match eg ABC12, or if their actual name is known, keep the DNA match name as an alias.
3. Create a custom fact attribute “DNA Match” (or you could adapt the extended fact set DNA Markers)
4. Create a specific DNA Match fact for this match on ABC1’s facts.  eg “DNA Match  ggfather A & ggmother B,  ABC12 and me, 34 cM, 2 segments”
5. Create a source eg DNA Match on ancestry with the same details and any additional extra details eg shared matches, date reviewed etc. I like to include the shared ancestors, and the name of the match and myself as an aide memoire.
Copy the DNA match for ABC1 fact to clipboard.
7. Use the tool “how related” to display yourself and the match ABC12 in a diagram.
8. Paste the DNA Match fact on the ascending ancestor in each generation up to the shared ancestors, and down again to yourself.
9.Create a custom query: confirmed DNA lineage.
       Add columns including Individual, record ID and attribute DNA match.

relationship  =Relationship([Starting Person”],,TEXT,1)

Add rows:

Add Relations:  if an ancestor of [“starting person”]. Include original individual

Exclude if %INDI._ATTR-DNA_MATCH% is null

Run this query to show a list of your ancestors confirmed by DNA matches.

10. To display graphically: display your all ancestors chart, starting with yourself.

Edit diagram/Selections and Marks/Set clear marks using query/your custom DNA match query         (last part needs to be edited to match your own DNA match query title

Your ancestry chart now displays with the DNA confirmed individuals highlighted in yellow. I found this very useful to see which ancestral lines I hadn’t checked yet.

Mike Tate


That is excellent.

The last steps of highlighting diagram boxes in yellow can be automated.

In the Diagram > Options > Boxes tab add a Condition > Expression for %INDI._ATTR-DNA_MATCH%

Set the Box Features for that Condition to Box Fill yellow or whatever you prefer.

Save that as a custom diagram type for DNA display.


That avoids going through the Query and Box selection process.


Mike Tate

Peter Henderson

I have used a similar approach. When I have identified a "Furthest Back" Common Ancestor pair, I have created a Group/Caste with their name. All descendants down to the match are then made members of this Group and I highlight their box in diagrams with a condition testing for the presence of a Group. I can't differentiate between different groups, but the effect is that I can see DNA lines in diagrams. I come from a tightly-knit community in Fife and marriage between distant cousins was commonplace, so individuals can be members of many Groups. (I think my record so far is six.)
The pain is in assigning the group to individuals. As Helen describes, this must be pasted to each successive individual in the tree and it takes time, particularly if you have to check for multiple groups. Now, while trying (and failing) to come to terms with the script language, I noticed that there is something like is_ancestor_of. If this is so, could some clever person not write a routine that would automate this process, given, say, the match and the FBCA?