DNA and Genetic Communities let us identify the connections that link AncestryDNA members into communities. But DNA alone doesn’t tell us the story of why those connections came about or what their historical significance might be.
For that we add ethnicity estimates based on our reference panel, historical information from family trees linked to AncestryDNA tests, and historical research into the mix. Since communities reflect fairly recent common ancestry, we look for patterns in ethnicity and tree data to help identify times, locations, or groups members of communities might have in common in their past.
We also use birth dates and places to identify common migration routes by looking at the differences between the birth locations of parents and children.
Once we know where these people lived, where they moved to, and when, we pass what we’ve learned on to historical researchers. Their job is to match the data with the history that explains it—to find the story that binds the members of communities together.