MyHeritage Now Has Colored Dots!

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.


MyHeritage has written an excellent introduction to how the system works, so rather than reinvent that wheel, I’ll refer you to their blog post.


Pro Tips

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.


Wish List

All in all, this is a great enhancement to the features at MyHeritage.  There are a few tweaks that would make it even better.  Hopefully, our good friends at MyHeritage will consider them.

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.

16 thoughts on “MyHeritage Now Has Colored Dots!”

  1. Just as I do at Ancestry, I create groups for the MRCAs my parents share with matches I’ve positively identified. I like the fact we have 30 groups at MyHeritage; Ancestry only provides 24. Even with 30, though, I will run out of groups, especially for my mothers’ matches! Her parents were from Scotland and Ulster and for some reason her matches in the Scottish and Irish diaspora have better trees than my father’s French and German cousins do.

    1. I think you will find that France and Germany have restrictive laws regulating DNA use so not so many people in those countries research their ancestry. I may be wrong (happens all too frequently) but I think I have seen various comments about this.

  2. 1. My dream function on MyHeritage would be some automatic label that is generated from the autoclustering function. It is a bit long-winded but I do like to assign (in match Notes) which cluster group a match may belong to. Unfortunately, as the cluster numbering can change if you run the function too frequently to include new matches, you spend a lot of time amending notes after each run. Seeing a match and being told is a part of Cluster 8, for example, in the review list would be more enlightening than working through all the clues in trees and shared segments. Monthly updates.
    2. It would speed the process of DNA mapping if the shared segments can be displayed as a small table below the chromosome browser that can be cut and pasted to avoid having to download the file with the segment matches first. It will cut out a step.
    3. Like the function added to Ancestry messaging, it would be great to know if sent messages on MyHeritage are read. As with most testing companies and even GEDmatch, sadly 99.9% of users never feel the need to respond so you never know where you stand.

  3. It would be good if you could hover over the Notes field on the match list screen like it does when on the Review match screen.
    As it is at present you have to click it to read your notes and remember to close it again before assigning labels.

    1. Yes! I’ve suggested a “hover” feature for comments a while ago.
      MH has said the “Shared Match” color blocking is in the works, which is great, because right now, the current set up is not worth much time. Ancestry has their color coding down to a very efficient process.
      I do want to add that I also agree with tying color coding to the autocluster program.
      I would totally go with that feature.
      1. Run Autocluster
      2. Click “assign color blocks to match groups” and colors used would categorize Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and so on
      3. See which matches fall into which color blocks
      4. Identify color blocks, then go to the “edit” feature and change “Group 1” to the family line name or ancestor group you want to identify it with.

  4. love the colored dot feature. i sort my matches by my great grandparents using a rainbow colored system. i have a lot of family members on both sides tested so I don’t need to label them maternal or paternal. it would be nice to be able to see the notes on the matches like ancestry.

  5. “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.”

    YES!!! I mean, all of the suggested features are also things I’d like to see (also filtering by matching cM ranges), but this is the one I wish for literally every time I see a new match. I really want to see their closest matches, in case one of them is a cousin I recognize that will help place them in the family tree. 23AndMe is even more frustrating this way – they show the level of match both with me and the target, but the list is mostly ordered by how close the shared matches are to me, when what I really want to see is who are the closest matches to the target.

  6. I understand that MyHeritage is working on adding the colored dots to other places, like the list of shared matches, making them much easier to use. I’d cal the present version the “0.0 release,” just initial minimal function.

    Beyond adding “dot editing” to other places, which I expect them to be working on now, and tying dots to clusters, which would be wonderful but which I think will be more difficult and take longer, what I’d like to see would be:

    1) The ability to filter with an AND function for dots & labels, not an OR function as they have at present. I want a filter with two dots to only show me the matches who have BOTH dots, reducing the number who appear, not EITHER dot, increasing the number.

    2) The ability to filter matches to a list that do not have any dots assigned. If I go through an exercise of “Dana Leeds’ method with dots,” I’d like to be able to find the matches I still need to tag. That also would be useful when I return later to assign dots to new matches.

    1. Those are great ideas! I’d especially like to see #2 at Ancestry, too. For now, I’m using the AncestryDNA Match Filter extension as a workaround.

  7. Sorry to ask a question about Ancestry’s coloured dots here but I can’t see where else to post!

    Does anyone understand how Ancestry’s coloured dots are prioritise when a match has more than one? I have colour-coded many of my matches and noticed that, if two matches have the same two colours, one can have colour A shown before colour B while the other can have colour B before colour A. More annoyingly, I have recently received the DNA test results for my mum and have then used a pink dot to indicate maternal matches on my match page – only to find that this pink dot sometimes appears in front of any existing dots and sometimes at the end.

    Something must determine the sequence but, after various checks, it doesn’t seem to be a function of the colours themselves or of the group sequence you have created. Surely someone has cracked the code and can tell me how to control this sequence?

    PS: I wonder if MyH dots have the same issue?

  8. MyHeritage has added “colored dots” to other places, like the list of shared matches. This makes the dots MUCH easier to use.

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