Ancestry.com please do NOT Delete Small DNA Matches!
This petition is to urge Ancestry to not delete matches who share fewer than 8 cMs from users’ DNA lists, and to continue to display them for all users. Instead, it requests Ancestry explore alternative means to relieve strain on its infrastructure. Please be sure to confirm your signature by responding to the confirmation email after you sign. The petition will be submitted to Ancestry on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Ancestry’s planned deletion (August 2020) of DNA matches who share fewer than 8 cMs total with us will disproportionately impact African American researchers. Other minority groups as well as those with European ancestry will also be impacted.
Though Ancestry has expressed support for the Black community, its plans to delete matches sharing just these small segments will impede African American researchers' efforts to find their ancestors. Perhaps Ancestry is unaware of this unintended consequence of its upcoming match deletion.
African Americans have commented on Ancestry’s FB page, lamenting how this planned purge may cripple their research, because these segments can be key to identifying their ancestors.
Roberta Estes illustrates why this is important in her recent blog post.
Roberta Estes's Plea to Ancestry to Rethink its Match Purge
She describes how relationships before the end of slavery likely start at the fourth cousin level and go back from there. This means the 6-8 cMs segments can play a large role in identifying pre-slavery ancestors.
Estes emphasized that African Americans have NO SURNAMES to work from. Thus clusters of small matches with the same surname can be an indispensable jumping off point for further research.
Yes, small segments can be false matches to ancestors who are so distant we can’t identify them. If used improperly, they can lead to false conclusions. However, a significant percentage of them are also valid matches that could prove invaluable for Black researchers, as well as others. We can’t change the past, but Ancestry.com has the opportunity to preserve these matches — offering threads to the past that African American researchers work so hard to reconstruct.
Please sign this petition today to urge Ancestry to rethink its upcoming match purge!
Melanie Rice Contact the author of the petition
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