Ancestry DNA – How to point yourself to a name in another tree

Ancestry DNA allows you to discover others you’re related to genetically. One way to help you understand your results more, plus help others better figure out how you’re connected, is to point your name to yourself in a family tree. This can be your own tree you’ve made, or it can be someone else’s. Want to add your name to someone else’s tree? Here’s how to do it:

Ancestry DNA Tip

Free autosomal DNA mapping tool through

If you’ve uploaded your raw DNA results to, here’s a free mapping tool that can show you how much DNA you share with others from around the world. It’s a minor hassle to get the results, but worth it:

  1. log into your account
  2. on the lower left side of the home page, in the Your DNA Resources box, locate your kit number. Copy it or write it down for step 7.
  3. on that same main page, in the right column this time, under Analyze Your Data, click Admixture (Heritage)
  4. choose the project Eurogenes from the drop-down box
  5. select Admixture Proportions (With link to Oracle)
  6. Continue
  7. On the next screen in the Enter your kit number: box, enter the kit number you wrote down from step 2.
  8. Select the ‘calculator’ model to use: Eurogenes K36
  9. Continue
  10. After a brief time, a pie chart with your ethnicity breakdown will be displayed. But what you’re actually interested in is the numbers in the white boxes (there are 36 boxes, incidentally).
  11. Keep the web page with the numbers open and open another browser window to:
    This website is in French. You can translate it or leave it as is; it won’t affect what you’re doing. The title in English is Similarity rate with different populations
  12. Enter your results from the K36 test into the applicable boxes. If you had zero for any entries,  leave those boxes blank.
  13. Click Validate (your total should be near 100%), and scroll down for your results.

    Higher numbers indicate a closer genetic relationship with a particular population. Color-wise, red is the highest, then orange, yellow, light green, medium green.

These are my results:

Eurogenes K36 - Americas, Africa and Australia

More on Eurogenes K36 test, part of the Eurogenes Genetic Ancestry Project

Digital File Naming Conventions for Genealogy

When img_0293747.jpg just isn’t enough.

Use a simple(ish?) naming convention that allows you, and most people viewing your files, easily figure out when the media was from, who’s in it, and what it’s about.

Let computers do what the do well: sort by numbers and letters. If you add an eight digit code to the start of each image, it will help your images sort better, be it in folders on your hard drive, items you upload to Ancestry, images/media in Family Tree Maker, Family Book Creator, or any other genealogical software.

For the gaps between name parts I use underscores, as opposed to periods or spaces. It’s not possible to predict all situations in which these files may be used, and it’s the least likely naming component to cause issues.

On to the naming.

  1. date of media (always eight digits) – yyyymmdd
    March 7, 1859 = 18590307. December 31, 2017 = 20171231

    If only year and month are known, I put ’01’ for the day.
    If only the year is known, I put ‘0101’ for the month and day.
    If year is approximate, I add abt for about, for example 20120101abt
    If it’s a headstone, I put the exact death date for the media date. If there are multiple people on the headstone, I typically put the death date of the person who died last as the date for consistency and sorting purposes.
  2. birth surname and first given name of main person media is related to.
    Joe Smith = SmithJoseph. Alva P Thompson = ThompsonAlva.
    If I do use a middle initial or name, it goes after the first name, and I use it consistently for all files for that person.
    Census for a family or group photo? Head of family.
    Group of children? Oldest kid, or by possibly the one best known to me.
    Headstone for multiple people? Person that died last.
  3. birth year of person from part 2 = byyyy
    Image of Joe Smith, born in 1985 = b1985. This typically solves most issues of people having the same name, even without using middle initials/names.
  4. if it’s not a regular photo, I add file type.
    Examples: birth, death, marriage, baptism, obit, marriage, news (for newspaper article), naturalization, census (year is already listed from part 1)
    if it is a regular photo, I may add a word describing the image plus two digits.
    Examples: bunch of photos from a picnic? I’d add ‘picnic01′, picnic02’, etc.


  • Photo from a picnic June 3, 1994 of Joe Smith, born 1985:
  • Marriage certificate for Joe Smith and Alva Thompson from July 28, 2015:
  • Photo 12 from Joe and Alva’s wedding July 28, 2015:
    If I expected to have over 100 images, I would use three numbers, like 001, instead of 01.
  • Profile photo of Hattie Bingham (born 1852), taken approximately 1877:
  • Profile photo for Gustav Bell (born 1860), taken January 16, 1887:
  • Headstone image for Aaron Gramling (born 1902) who died February 20, 1970:

How to make FTM image edits show up in Ancestry

This will make any images you’ve edited in Family Tree Maker (FTM) appear with your edits in Edits include anything from cropping or cleaning up an image, changing/adding/etc information in the Caption, Date and Description fields, to file name changes.

Doing this can be helpful for making reports or books in FTM or the Family Book Creator plugin, for just cleaning up images in general, or for better file name organization.

(1) In the Media tab in FTM, mark all photos you’d like to ‘fix’ in FTM to Private. (You can do mark more than one Private at a time if you keep holding CTRL while clicking on each photo, then right-click to bring up the various options, and select ‘Mark Private’.

(2) Sync FTM and Ancestry. This will delete the current image on Ancestry for each item you marked Private in FTM.

(3) Once syncing is done, go back into your FTM Media section, and UN-mark the photos you just marked Private (see notes below first, though).

(4) Sync FTM and Ancestry again.

What this does: Making a photo Private deletes the photo from your Ancestry account. Making the photo then “Un Private” makes the photo re-upload with all changes you’ve made to it. However, if someone else had a copy of the image you just did this to in Ancestry, that version of the image will ‘live on’ in the other person’s (or persons’) account(s).


(a) BACKUPS: Do complete, full, 100% backups of your FTM and Ancestry tree FIRST.

(b) SYNC BEFORE TEST RUN: Before doing any of the Private/Un-Private-ing of images, Sync FTM and Ancestry to get any other updates out of the way.

(c) TEST RUN: Try this suggestion with just a few images the first time, to make sure you get the results you expected. (steps 1-4 above)

(d) DON’T RE-UPLOAD TOO MANY IMAGES AT ONCE (steps 3-4 above): Marking a lot of images Private in FTM and Syncing FTM with Ancestry goes fairly quickly; it’s deleting the images from your Ancestry gallery. However, making a LOT of images un-private and re-syncing is actually re-uploading each image to Ancestry’s server. This takes a lot of bandwidth, and often more time compared to other Syncs. Don’t “un-private” a lot of images at once.

(e) REPEAT STEPS 3 and 4 AS NECESSARY: If you have a lot of images to re-add to Ancestry, re-do steps (3) and (4) above until you’re done re-adding them to Ancestry.

(f) CREDIT!: Doing this re-adds each image as if it’s a brand-new image. If the image was originally from someone else, now it will NOT say “shared by xxx on xxx date”, like it typically says on any media page in Ancestry. If YOU shared it on an earlier date, and others are sharing your photo, you will not see any of that information anymore. That “old” picture (if others saved it) will live on in Ancestry, but it will not be connected to your new, edited photo. Your newly re-added photo in Ancestry will say shared by YOU on TODAY’S date.

So…..before even doing step (1) above, I try to make sure I’ve copied the name and date of the person from whom I originally received the image.

To do this I keep Ancestry and FTM open – I go to the image in Ancestry, and copy / paste the person’s name and original date into that image’s description field in FTM. Before the person’s name and date I add: “Originally shared by member ” then the person’s name/date after that. Is it a pain? Kind of. But I feel a lot better knowing I’m crediting the person whom originally shared the image with me.

I’m sure I’ve missed crediting some people, however. So on my profile page I ask anyone I’ve missed crediting to let me know, so I can properly credit them.

(g) TROUBLESHOOTING: I made too many images “Un Private” at once. When I did that, the Syncing started out fine, but then, after like 30 minutes, I realized it was just hung up in Sync-land and nothing was actually happening. The progress bars were both stuck for a long time before I was sure that was happening. Yikes. I had to force FTM to close, rebooted, and crossed my fingers I didn’t mess anything up. I didn’t. I knew right away by checking my Ancestry ‘Media Gallery’. None of the images I was trying to re-upload made it. So I went back into FTM, RE-Privated a good number of the images (held the CTRL key and mouse-clicked files, then right clicked and clicked “Mark Private” again), and Synced my remaining un-privated images again. It still took a lot longer than my typical sync jobs, but it was fine. Now I don’t attempt more than around 100 at a time.