AncestryDNA is changing the way they match users, and which matches will be shown to you. Matches that share 6 to 7.9 cM will be eliminated. In addition, since AncestryDNA rounds up segments from 7.5 to 7.9999 to 8, as I understand it, some matches that appear to be 8 cm will also be eliminated. This self-answered question is intended to collect links to articles and blog posts explaining what's happening.

Roberta Estes says in her 18 July update:

ONLY segments to be salvaged will be ones in groups, with notes or matches whom you have messaged. Ancestry has confirmed that matches without these things, meaning matches in ThruLines or that you have placed in your tree will NOT BE PRESERVED unless they are grouped, have notes or you’ve messaged.

The determining factor is total cM, not smallest cM. So total cM between 6 and 7.9999, which rounds up to 8 will be removed. Multiple 6 cM segments where the total is 12 will be fine, for example. Again, it’s the total cMs, so no math needed.

The users who will be hit hardest by the change are people using small-segment matches to tease out data about distant cousins.

If you want to preserve your data, please read the blogosphere and learn how to add your matches to groups or make notes against them before the changeover ("before the beginning of August", according to Chris Paton).

My opinion: It might be a good idea to add the people you've messaged with to a group, as a safeguard, due to the fragility of the Ancestry messaging system.

Resources from AncestryDNA:

Posts from bloggers will appear in my answer in reverse chronological order. I invite community members who are using AncestryDNA to post their own answers about saving data as well. If you want to add to the list of blog posts, please put the link in the appropriate place in the calendar, so the newest posts appear at the top.

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    I would remove the paragraph about the user's being hardest hit are those doing African-American research. That is a conclusion that Roberta posted based on her own personal experience, but is one that is very controversial and disagreed on by many knowledgable genetic genealogists.
    – lkessler
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 12:59
  • @lkessler I'd be open to an edit that makes it more clear that this is Roberta's opinion. I understand both sides here. Ancestry is too cheap to devote the server space and processing cycles to serve what they see as a small subset of users who want this data, yet they are obstructive of efforts by third parties to let users capture that data. Some genealogists have said "well you should have had notes on the matches you want to keep already" which ignores any future customers who want to see this data.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 17:23
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    Jan, each company provides a set of tools and capabilities that they feel they can offer. Ancestry provides many features that others don't. Just because you expect certain functionality in no way means Ancestry is obligated to provide it.
    – lkessler
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 18:48
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    @Jan. Ancestry has determined themselves that the tool at 6 and 7 cM is inaccurate. They are constantly improving their tools and adding new ones. They are under no obligation to keep tools they find to be inaccurate, but moreso would be expected to remove said tools. Net result is improvement for the user.
    – lkessler
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 13:30
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    @Jan - I'll bring something up in the meta about this question when I get some time.
    – lkessler
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


This answer collects articles and posts from the community about the changes at AncestryDNA, with articles in reverse chronological order.

Peter says:

The aim is to remove false matches – matches that occur by chance, or because of statistical anomalies. But whilst improving the quality of matches is important, it's inevitable that many valid matches will be discarded. Indeed matches could disappear even if Common Ancestors have been identified.

However, if you’re quick there's a possible solution - I've been advised that matches of under 8cM won't disappear should any one of the following apply:

  1. You've added them to a group (using one the 32 user-definable coloured circles)
  2. You've entered something in the Notes field
  3. You've sent a message to the other member

I suggest you give priority to those where common ancestors have been identified.

Further Reading:

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    When I search for a Ancestry member (member search) the display (currently) will tell me my DNA match level with that person. After Ancestry makes their changes, will that information still appear if the match level is 6 thru 7.9?
    – BobE
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 4:33
  • @BobE Presumably that information would disappear. Ancestry has said they'll save the match information if you've made notes, messaged the person, or added the match to a group, but it's possible that the match level information may only be available through the match list.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 16:28
  • If fear that you may be correct, however just talked to a telephone rep who said that a 6-7.9 match would still be displayed on the person's profile, regardless! What doesn't make sense is that if I message someone with a 6.5 cM, then later go to their userprofile it would/would not display their match level. Having sent a message is a condition that would have to be met before a 6-7.9 level is allowed to be displayed on their user profile???
    – BobE
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 17:29

As a supplement to Jan's very comprehensive answer, I would add information as to the timing of the announced purge. From Ancestry's FAQs on the issue: Ancestry.com on 7-30-2020

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