Adding Floating Branches to your Research Tree

To create a new Floating Branch:

  • Pick a random person on your tree – it can be absolutely anyone. Go to their profile page. I’m going to use Mary Ann Smith as an example:
  • The DNA Match that will be the start of the Floating Branch needs to be added as their child:
  • Add a child, then type in the personal details of the DNA Match
  • Normally you would add someone to your tree with all their details in the relevant fields:
  • It can be hard to remember everything about each match – their username, their real name, which company they tested with, how much DNA you share.
  • Consider adding the match’s information to reflect the way their details are displayed in your match list:
  • This makes it simpler to locate matches and their DNA information within your Research Tree (see below). It also means you don’t have to remember who used which username – in a month’s time would you remember that Claire Williams chose to be known as FluffyBunny47?
  • The DNA match is now part of your tree but in totally the wrong place. By using the Edit Relationship tools (see the section on Detaching Wrong Relationships) you can separate the match from their incorrect parents:
  •  Go to the profile page of the newly added DNA Match.
  • In the top right corner of their profile page, click on Edit, then Edit Relationships
  • You will see that they have an incorrect Father and/or Mother listed – to remove the incorrect relationship links, click on the X at the end of the row for each named parent.
  • Click on Remove on the warning message that appears.
  • Click the X in the top corner of the Relationships window to return to the profile of the person you added.
  • The person is now an orphan – they are “floating” unattached to any part of your existing tree: 
  • You can now add their parents/grandparents etc to extend their branch of the tree – hopefully you will recognise surnames or locations that you have come across elsewhere in your research.

Merging Duplicates

  • At some point you should discover that the ancestors of one match are also the ancestors of another match.  Gradually you should be able to connect the Floating Branches. 
  • To join the branches, you will need to merge together the people who appear twice within your tree. Ancestry’s guide to merging can be found here:         Merging Duplicate People

Finding DNA Matches within your Tree

  • Earlier I suggested adding DNA Matches to your Research Tree in this format:
  • By adding the test company details in the suffix box , you can locate matches in your tree by searching for people with “DNA” in their name.
  • To find a DNA Match within your tree:
  • View your Tree
    • Click on Tree Search (top right corner of the screen)
    • Type DNA in the search box. 
    • A list of DNA Matches will appear – click on one to view their tree:
  • Ancestry has recently introduced MyTreeTags which is also designed to let you to label and search for DNA Matches within your tree.

Updating DNA Match notes

  • It can be all too easy to repeat the same research more than once, especially on a complicated search that lasts for many months. 
  • Update the notes on each match that you add to your Research Tree to remind yourself of the work you have already done.
  • To keep the notes brief, consider using symbols – eg, a 🌳 to indicate that the match has been added and then a ✔ if their Floating Branch has been connected to the main part of the tree.


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