I decided to utilise the surname filter tool on my Ancestry DNA matches to try and determine which ancestral lines some of the 2500 matches might be on. It should be noted that the filters will only identify other DNA test subjects, where the person tested has also created a family tree on Ancestry - if a person has not created an ancestral family tree on Ancestry, then they will not show up when you filter by surname. When you enter a surname into the filter field, the quantity of matches will be limited to show only the DNA test subjects who have that surname in their ancestral family tree.
My Great Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Hemblen was transported to Tasmania in the 1850s for stealing a frying pan, and although we have strong circumstantial evidence that "our" Elizabeth was the daughter of a Stonemason in Bath, Somerset, named Isaac Hemblen, we don't have any firm evidence, so a DNA match with other descendants of Isaac Hemblen, would add more credibility to the paper research to date.
When I filtered my 2500 Ancestry DNA matches with the surname Hemblen, I had only one match - Diane R. So far so good!
Hemblen Filtered Matches
Investigating further, I found that Diane and I are predicted to be 5th - 8th cousins, and that we share 6.4 cM (centiMorgans) of DNA on a single segment of one chromosome.
Shared DNA Details
This is the point, when looking at DNA matches on other DNA testing websites, that I would look at the details of how many cM we shared, on which chromosomes, and compare the matching segments to other known matches, to try and isolate which ancestral line the match is likely on. Unfortunately, with Ancestry, this is as good as it gets.
But, again using the Ancestry surname filter, I tried various surnames, to see which other surnames also appear in Diane's ancestry. The first surname that I tried was Meale, the surname of Elizabeth Hemblen's husband (my great great grandfather) - Diane R. was not in the list of matches. Next I tried surnames associated with spouses of Elizabeth Hemblen's siblings and half siblings. Diane R. appeared as a match when I filtered with the surname Stainer, suggesting that Diane is a descendant of Elizabeth's half-sister, Jane Hemblen, who married William Stainer. By filtering with the surname Enefer, I was able to narrow down the potential match to Thomas Coffin Stainer, son of Jane Hemblen, who married Mary Ann Enefer, suggesting that Diane is a descendant of Thomas Stainer and Mary Ann Enefer.
I contacted Diane, and outlined how I believed we are connected, and within 24 hours she confirmed that Thomas Stainer and Mary Ann Enefer were her great grandparents. Diane and I are actually 4th cousins, a little closer than Ancestry suggested.
So despite the limited information provided by Ancestry on which segments of which chromosomes I share with Diane, the Ancestry surname filtering tool provided a high level of confidence in identifying how we connected, and I now have much greater confidence that Elizabeth Hemblen, daughter of Isaac Hemblen is my great great grandmother.