02/07/2018
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MyHeritage DNA announces new results filtering - how does it work?

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MyHeritage has announced the launch of a new results filtering system for DNA matches. Rachel Bellerby put it to the test with her existing DNA matches.

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Having found several DNA cousins overseas thanks to taking a DNA test, I know first-hand how valuable DNA matches can be. However, being faced with a list of thousands of potential DNA matches can be quite daunting. How will you find the time to go through them all? Which matches should you look at first? How can you make best use of your time?

New DNA matches filtering system

Here's what MyHeritage DNA have announced: 'Filtering lets you view a subset of your DNA Matches at a time, focusing on those that match particular criteria, of more interest to you. We’ve added a beautiful user interface to the DNA Overview page that lets you filter your DNA Matches easily by relationship, by country or by ethnicity. And we’ve added a powerful filter toolbar that lets you do all that, and much more. Using the new filter toolbar, you can combine multiple filters, and filter matches by additional criteria such as those that have a family tree, have shared ancestral surnames with you or have Smart Matches™ with you.

'Filtering of DNA Matches can be combined with sorting and searching. For example, you can easily find all your DNA Matches that include “Gordon” in the name of the match or as an ancestral surname, filtering them to view only those who have a particular ethnicity and live in a particular country, while sorting them alphabetically or by the amount of shared DNA.
 
'Anyone who has taken a MyHeritage DNA test or has uploaded DNA data from another service can now take advantage of our new filtering system for DNA Matches, and it’s free! (Some advanced features in the DNA Match review page require a subscription, such as viewing the ethnicity results of a DNA Match).'
 
How does it work in practice?
 
So, I put the filtering system to the test, using the matches I was given when I got my MyHeritage DNA test results early in 2018. As a baseline, I have 6,217 DNA matches, which is impressive but also a bit overwhelming.
 
The new filtering system is laid out clearly just below your DNA matches, and there are four ways to filter:
  • Tree details
  • Relationships
  • Locations
  • Ethnicities

So basically, you can use one or more of these filters to narrow down your matches and help you decide which ones to focus on.

Tree details filter

This allows you to filter down your results based on people who have a family tree, those with a shared surname and those with Smart Matches (a MyHeritage technology that matches people in your family tree with people in other family trees that users all over the world have created on MyHeritage).

Straight away I can see how these filters will help. For me, only those people who have a family tree in place are of interest, since we can quickly find common ground. This filter cuts down my matches from 6,217 to 5,518. And to narrow things down further, I find that 89 of my 6,000+ matches share a surname with me. Again, this helps me who to contact first and who is most likely to share ancestors with me.

Relationships

This filter allows you to select those people who are distant relatives or 'all relationships' and for my matches at the moment, the results were exactly the same.

Locations

This filter is particularly useful if you'd like to focus on a particular country. For example, if you know that your great-grandmother was born in Ireland, you might want to focus on DNA matches from that country. By selecting Ireland I was given 108 matches, whereas I had 617 for England. Family lore tells of French connections that I haven't been able to verify, but interestingly I get six matches when I select France, which I'll definitely follow up.

Ethnicities

Again, this is a good way to focus in on a particular aspect of your tree, or to investigate a hunch.

Remember, you can combine one or more of the filters, to tailor the matches to your current project, or the ancestor that you're tracing. After trying out the filters, I did feel more inclined to investigate the matches, as the list was more manageable and being able to focus on only certain matches felt like a better use of time than randomly selecting matches or working my way down a long list.

Try the new filters on the MyHeritage website.

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