I’d like to say that yesterday’s article titled “Using Ancestry’s Tree Tags” was a little test to see if you were paying attention, but it wasn’t.
I conflated two different new features, and today, I’d like to straighten that out.
First, a shout out to Paula Williams for catching this. Thank you.
Flat out – I messed up. Mea culpa.
Ancestry introduced several new beta features at the same time. Cumulatively, it’s a big change. The functionality is interconnected AND they don’t all work reliably or consistently, so it’s more than a little confusing, or at least it obviously was for me. There is also no “i” information button describing the new features or providing instructions. However, I did find information on MyTreeTags in Ancestry Support here and grouping of matches using colored dots here.
Grouping matches using colored dots also doesn’t have a “name” like MyTreeTags, so it was easy to conflate with the tags. I wish they had named the grouping dots something like “MyMatchDots” to clearly differentiate the function from MyTreeTags, especially since they were released at the same time. Therefore, I’m referring to them at “MyMatchDots” because that’s a lot easier than “grouping matches using colored dots.”
I wasn’t just flying blind. I did watch the training video and thought I understood, but clearly I didn’t have all the moving pieces and parts straight. Maybe you don’t either, and this will help.
There is no graceful recovery here, except to apologize and fix the issue by publishing the correct information.
The good news is that I described the functionality of the colored dots for grouping matches (MyMatchDots) accurately.
The bad news is that I called it by the wrong name in the title and I referred to the colored grouping dots as “tags.” Seemed like a perfectly fitting name to me. Somehow, now I need to bleach that out of my mind. MyMatchDots, MyMatchDots, MyMatchDots…
The error, or course, HAD to be obvious AND in the title – a publishing sin that’s simply non-recoverable. Just like the tool you drop will roll to dead center under the table, bed or the vehicle where you can’t possible reach it. In case anyone had any doubt, Murphy lives!
So, from time to time, those of us who publish just get to suck it up and issue a correction. Today it’s my turn. Thank you for your tolerance and understanding.
One positive aspect – I’ve included additional information about MyMatchDots as well, based on questions and comments from the earlier article.
Groups (MyMatchDots) and MyTreeTags – the Difference
There are now two methods of grouping at Ancestry.
Groups (MyMatchDots) – Colored grouping dots that I described in the original article and am republishing below. I have deleted the earlier article with the incorrect title. The instructions for how to use match grouping dots in that article were and are accurate, but I’ve updated here.
MyMatchDots and MyTreeTags are different in that grouping dots (MyMatchDots) allow you to select up to 24 colored dots to append to and tag YOUR DNA MATCHES on your match list.
MyTreeTags – Tree tags allow you to tag people IN YOUR TREE, living or deceased, with predefined or custom tags.
Here’s a quick screenshot of examples of MyTreeTags as part of a new beta Workspace. In the next few days, I’ll publish an article with examples of how to activate and use MyTreeTags and more about the beta Workspace.
What follows is the re-publication of yesterday’s instructions for defining and using the colored grouping dots, plus, how to sort and filter using the colored groupings (MyMatchDots.)
Using Ancestry’s New Color Grouping Dots (MyMatchDots)
One of Ancestry’s new beta features is their grouping feature using colored dots that’s I’m referring to as MyMatchDots – my name, not theirs. To enable, you need to click on “Extras” on the top black menu bar, then “Ancestry Lab” on the dropdown, then enable both MyTreeTags and New and Improved DNA Matches.
No, I don’t know what happens if you only enable one of the features, or turn them off and on. These features seem to be pretty tightly coupled. Feel free to experiment, but I haven’t.
Your DNA Matches
Everyone utilizes matching differently, for different purposes. Your goal should be to devise a grouping methodology that will support the way you are using DNA matching.
I’m showing you how I’m utilizing the colored dots for grouping my matches, and why, but your preferred method and mine may not be at all the same.
Next, click on DNA Matches.
This shows my closest 2nd cousin matches. You’ll notice that many don’t have trees, or have unlinked trees, but since these are second cousin matches, it was relatively easy for me to figure out quickly which lines they descend from based on who I match in common with them. You can see my comments just below “Add/edit groups” and the little colored dots.
The little colored dots (MyMatchDots) are the group identifiers that I’ve added to each match.
By clicking on the “Add/edit groups” to the right of the colored dots, you can view the legend, meaning the groups you’ve defined. This is what you’ll see every time you want to group someone.
Notice that the first person, which is my own V2 (version 2) kit, is showing with a green dot, meaning I’ve identified the common ancestor. I could select any number of dots that I’ve defined, or I could define more dots by creating a custom group.
You have 24 colors to select from. I know that sounds like a lot, but you’ll need to do some planning.
MyMatchDots Grouping Strategy
I thought about creating a maternal and paternal match group, but that seemed like a waste of colored dots, so for now, I haven’t. The only way I have to identify maternal and paternal at Ancestry, because neither parent is available to test there, is via known ancestors – and that information is immediately evident to me by the comment indicating the common ancestor.
I tried to think about how I would use the colored dots for sorting.
I decided on the stop light analogy. A green dot for “identified ancestor,” yellow for either “probably identified” or darker yellow for “speculative,” and red for “I’m working on this but it’s tough.” In other words, red means not yet identified. No colored dot means I haven’t worked on that match.
I made both “messaged” and “private” both darker red dots, because often those are used together when I have a show stopper. I want to revisit matches in both of those categories, so I’ll want to be able to sort for them to see if:
- trees have become public
- more helpful shared matches exist
- messages have been answered and I didn’t notice
Did you notice what’s missing? That little green leaf on your match list indicating that this person is a DNA match AND has a shared ancestor.
While Ancestry just recently re-indexed the trees, the Shared Ancestor Hint “Common Ancestors” leaf is still missing on the matches page where it used to be displayed. I’m hopeful that it will be back as an icon on the match list.
Worse yet, when you click on the “Common Ancestors” filter to display only common ancestors, this error message appears.
I do have common ancestor matches – 704 of them to be exact.
Let’s hope that this is a temporary glitch that will be fixed soon.
For me, being able to see the green leaf on my full match list is extremely important because I want to be able to quickly discern which of those matches have shared ancestors.
Fortunately, I made a note for each shared ancestor previously identified, so I sorted for “Notes” in order to group appropriately.
However, if you haven’t already made those notes, then sorting for notes isn’t useful.
If your account displays Common Ancestors when you select that option, skip to the “Ideas for Using MyMatchDot Groups” section of this article.
If your account does NOT display Common Ancestors, read the Work-Around section, next.
Utilizing my “regular” kit, which does NOT have ThruLines because I have two kits attached to “me” on the same tree, I can group by color (as you’ve seen), but Common Ancestors green leaf function is broken.
Utilizing my second kit V2 kit, which DOES have ThruLines, I can click on “704 Shared Ancestor Hints” from my main DNA Summary page or select the “Common Ancestors” dropdown.
I understand that you can “force” common ancestors sorting to work on kits without ThruLines by toggling the Beta option for Advanced Matching to off, but after all the work I just did grouping all 704 of my shared matches, I’m not willing to risk losing all of those dots to test this workaround. The Beta “off” or “on” is for the entire account, not for each individual kit on the account.
What I will do, shortly, is to create a “twin” in my tree and connect my kit that doesn’t have ThruLines to that twin so both kits aren’t attached to “me.” That may or may not solve the problem.
If you do NOT have ThruLines yet, and you want to retain any existing New Ancestor Discoveries (NADs), you must do so before you make a change that enables ThruLines, because NADs are gone on my account that HAS ThruLines, but they exist on the account without ThruLines. NADs have not been updated in many months, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to retain the existing information. I wrote about how to archive both your Circles and NAD information in this article. My account with ThruLines did retain the Circles. You can toggle back and forth from having ThruLines to not having Thrulines to view your NADs, but eventually, I’m sure they will disappear.
Now that you have matches grouped by color, how do you sort for those clusters? On your matches page, the dropdown for “All matches” shows the groups as well as reports how many people are in each group.
Ideas for MyMatchDot Groups
I’ve shared my MyMatchDot grouping strategy, but I’ve kind of stumbled around playing with what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure I haven’t thought of everything.
One person mentioned to me that they are using dots to identify Leeds clusters. I wrote about the Leeds Method in this article which includes links to several articles by Dana Leeds who developed the methodology. She has also written this update. I may group based on Leeds clusters as well as the group dots I’ve already defined.
The great news is that you can assign any number of colored dots, through 24, for groups associated with any individual match.
Someone else mentioned that they were initially grouping based on Genetic Affairs clusters, but matches can change clusters, especially if the thresholds change, so that might not be such a good idea.
In the next article, we’ll talk about how to activate and use MyTreeTags.
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