At last week’s RootsTech conference MyHeritage announced a new dna tool called the Theory of Family Relativity. According to their announcement “Through this new feature, we provide you with leads explaining the relationship between your matches based on our entire collection of family trees and historical records, removing the guesswork, and saving you hours of research time." I thought I’d take a moment to put the new feature to the test with my dna results.
I found the Theory of Family Relativity Tool by clicking on the DNA link at MyHeritage and then selecting DNA Matches. Next click on the pink View theories button.
I have five dna matches that have a Theory of Relativity. My first three matches are distant cousins that I have previously messaged and we have been able to determine how we are connected. The MyHeritage Theory of Relativity matches up exactly for those matches.
The third, though known to me already, is of great interest because we are both from a brick wall line. MyHeritage shows us preview information about the theory (see image below). Interestingly enough the shared surnames shown, Johnson and Shaw are not how we are connected. In fact, his descent from our common ancestral couple is not included on his tree at all. That branch of the family is left off. And yet MyHeritage was able to piece our relationship together anyway. The image below shows that the Theory of Relativity predicts that we are 3rd cousins once removed, which is accurate.
In order to view the actual Theory I needed to click the View Theory link which is pink and admittedly very small. I would like it they could make that just a little bit bigger.
So how did MyHeritage figure out our connection?
It compared my tree to a tree found on FamilySearch. I believe what the algorithym did in this case was to combine information from a FamilySearch tree, the tree of someone who also shared ancestors with my dna match and finally with the very limited tree of my dna match. I can only imagine how that gets processed behind the scenes. Given that there was no direct online link between us other than our shared dna I'm impressed that the Theory of Relativity figured it out.
I have two more Theory of Relativity matches to check out. I don't know yet how we are connected so I'll likely start with the suggestions from MyHeritage and see if I can prove or disprove the connections. So far, with three Theories proven as correct and two left to be determined I'm off to a pretty good start.
Check our your Theory of Family Relativeity results at MyHeritage by checking the DNA matches section of your account.
Marian Pierre-Louis is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. She is also the host of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Her areas of expertise include house history research and southern New England research. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.