Do you remember candy dots, those little dollops of sugary goodness on paper strips? They were always so much yummier than they looked. Ah, nostalgia!
Well, MyHeritage just announced something similar! We can now color-code our DNA matches — with dots! That might not seem like a big deal, trust me, but it is.
Why are colored dots so amazing?
Because our DNA match lists are sorted by how much DNA we share, not by how we’re related. That means your list might have a maternal uncle followed by a paternal cousin then a half cousin thorough your mom’s dad then some 2nd cousins through your dad’s mom and so on. It can be hard to keep it all straight, especially if you manage DNA tests for multiple family members.
Now, you can manually assign your matches to colored labels that you designate, based on any system you like: lineage, contact status, ancestral location, or some other factor.
Personally, I like to assign my matches first to my maternal and paternal sides, then to my four grandparents’ branches, then my great grandparents’. Then, I add other categories, like “collaborator”, “messaged”, “Baden–Würtenberg” or “mysteries”. There are 30 colors to choose from, so use your imagination! Each match can have multiple labels. For example, my maternal 1C1R who’s an active collaborator has dots for “maternal”, “Hébert”, and “collaborator”.
There’s also a separate star to flag your favorite matches.
The best part is that you can filter your match list using the labels. Want to focus on Grandma Muriel’s side today? Filter to her branch. Time to follow up on messages you sent last month? Select “messaged”. Again, your imagination is the limit.
I do want to let you in on a couple of pro tips, though.
First, the label names are sorted alphabetically. If you prefer to control how they are listed, you can preface some names with an exclamation point to sort them at the top and others with a ‘z’ so they’ll sort at the bottom. I also use M# and P# to align them to the branches of my tree.
You can add multiple matches to a group at once, but only as many as you can see on the page. For efficiency, you want as many matches on one page as possible. MyHeritage defaults to ten per page, but you can see more at a time by scrolling to the bottom of your match list, and changing the “Results per page” to 50.
Most helpful would be the ability to label matches and shared matches from the Review DNA Match page. As is, if I want to assign all of my shared matches with Cousin Steve to the Weicks label, I have to assign Steve from the main match list, open his match page in a separate tab, then scan back and forth between Steve’s shared match list and my main list to label people. It would be lovely if I could assign Steve and his shared matches all from his Review page.
(UPDATE: This has been added!)
Labeling shared matches is made more challenging by the fact that the shared match list is not sorted by how much those people share with me, rather by how much they share with me and Steve combined. Another enhancement I’d love to see is a sortable shared match list, so I could easily see them sorted by how much they share with me or by how much they share with Steve.
It would be even more amazing if we could somehow tie the color labels in with the AutoCluster feature, both so that the AutoClusters used our coloring systems and so that the AutoCluster groups could be converted to a labeled group with one click.
Finally, a “not” filter would be amazing. That is, if I’ve initially assigned a bunch of matches to my maternal side, being able to filter on “not maternal” would make it so easy to find and label my paternal matches. Better yet, a combination of include/exclude, so I could filter to maternal matches who aren’t on my Hébert branch, would put MyHeritage at the front of the pack on filtering capabilities.
How do you plan to use the color labels? What tweaks would you like to see?
Updates to This Post
17 December 2021 — Noted that MyHeritage has added the ability to label matches from the Shared Matches display.