One of the best things about AncestryDNA is the ability to color-code your DNA match list.
There are 24 colors, plenty to code matches on multiple branches of your tree and still have some left over for other purposes, like geographic location, cultural characteristics, or anything you like. I previously described my own pedigree system, which you are welcome to use or modify.
The custom color-codes are even filterable! For example, you can assign your maternal and paternal relatives to respective groups, then apply a filter to view only the matches that are relevant when you’re working on one side of your tree.
The easiest way to color-code your matches into groups is to view a known relative in your match list (click beside their name), then look at their shared matches with you. These are the people who share DNA with both you and the known relative.
You can then add each of those shared matches to the appropriate group. For example, you would add everyone who matches you and your paternal first cousin to your “paternal” group, and matches shared with a maternal 2nd cousin can be added to your grandparent’s group.
AncestryDNA recently introduced a major upgrade that lets you add multiple matches to a group at once rather than one-by-one. It’s easy. First, click the plus or pencil icon by their name and select “Add to group”.
That will cause two things to happen. A control panel will slide in from the side listing the custom groups, and check boxes will appear beside the matches on the screen. Simply select the group (or groups) you want to add and the matches you want them added to, and seal the deal by clicking the “Add to groups” button.
In the example above, the tester matches their mother’s mother, so all of the shared matches are added to both the “Maternal” and the “Maternal grandmother” groups.
It almost seems petty to begrudge this new feature for stopping short of perfect, but here we are: it still requires a lot of clicking. Fortunately, there’s an app for that! Or at least an extension for the Chrome internet browser.
With the Click All Checkboxes extension installed, you can scroll down to load the entire shared match list, click “Add to group” for a match of interest, then click on the extension in your browser’s toolbar. That will bring up a very plain-but-useful button:
When you click that button, the “checked” status of all check boxes on the screen will switch. That is, if the box was previously unticked, it will be checked, and if it was ticked, it will be unchecked. You will have to re-check the box for the match of interest, because the extension will untick it. You must also tweak the groups you want to assign to these matches, because the extension will swap their status.
Once you’ve selected the correct color groups and scrolled through the shared match list to make sure everything’s correct, click the Add to groups button in Ancestry’s slide-in panel and you’re all set.
It’s a huge timesaver!
There are other extensions that will check/uncheck boxes on a web page. This one worked best for me. If you have had luck with others—for Chrome or any other browser—please let us know in the comments.