New Genetic Groups Filter at MyHeritage

Recently MyHeritage released a new DNA match filter option for Genetic Groups.

Genetic Groups are different from ethnicity. Ethnicity looks at world founder populations and determines which populations you might be connected to genetically.

Genetic Groups, which I introduced here, is also connected to geography, but in a much more genealogically relevant way. Genetic Groups combines two things:

  • People you match and
  • Who are found in common geographics or genetic groups according to their genealogy

A genetic group might be people from Pennsylvania, where an ethnicity might be Germanic, which falls under North and West European. These two things could be derived from the same ancestor(s).

click any image to enlarge

How does that work? Well, the Pennsylvania Dutch were Germans. The Scotch-Irish, (or Scots-Irish if you prefer) were from Scotland and immigrated to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. These Pennsylvania groups could be either or both. You get the idea.

This is exactly why you need to be able to filter your matches by Genetic Groups.

If you shift the genetic group confidence slider level to low, you’ll see all of your genetic groups. In my case, the two genetic groups in the Netherlands are of particular interest.

My mother’s grandfather immigrated from Friesland in the 1860s as a child, so I should have Dutch cousins at roughly the fourth cousin level.


MyHeritage already includes several filters which can be used in combination with each other.

They recently added Genetic Groups.

If you click the dropdown for “All Genetic Groups,” you’ll see the group you’re looking for. Click on the group.

I selected Friesland which is the area where my Ferverda family originated.

My 1,375 pages of matches is now reduced to 26 pages, and my top three matches, other than my mother, are three Ferverda cousins. Viewing shared matches will be illuminating.

I can focus that list of matches even further by adding other filters.

In this case, let’s try the location filter and select “Netherlands” which is the location where the tester currently lives.

Because I didn’t clear the original Friesland filter and added the Netherlands location, I have two filters applied to my DNA match list.

These two filters reduce my matches to 16 pages of people who very likely match me because of our shared Dutch ancestry. I can hardly wait to sort through these.

I could hone this list even further by filtering by, maybe, a shared location or a shared surname, or maybe only people with trees. Let’s see what that does.

Selecting the following filters, in addition to the two already in place above, reduced the pages of matches accordingly:

  • Has Theory of Family Relativity – 1 match
  • Has Smart Matches – 0 matches
  • Has shared surname – 5 pages of matches (some of these are VERY interesting!)
  • Has shared place – 13 pages
  • Has tree – 15 pages

Clearly, I’m going to check the Theory of Family Relativity first, because MyHeritage has already done the heavy lifting for me by identifying candidate common ancestors.

Next, I’ll work on shared surnames and then shared places.

It helps a great deal that I have my mother’s DNA at MyHeritage too, because I can immediately see if the match is valid or by chance. A valid match on this line will match me and Mom, both. Many will also triangulate with other testers which will help me further identify people who match me on my Dutch side.

Clearing Filters

Don’t forget to clear your filters when you’re done.

Any enabled filter will be shown in darker black, but it’s still awfully easy to forget you have filters enabled. Be sure to clear them before doing something else. The Clear Filters button is at far right.


I’m fortunate enough that my mother tested before she passed away. I can verify that my Dutch matches match her as well, confirming that they are identical by descent, not just by chance. If you can, test your parents or upload their results if they have tested elsewhere.

But what if your parent or parents aren’t available to test?

Testing or uploading tests of siblings or known close relatives like aunts, uncles or cousins are extremely useful too. You can see if the people you discover through filtering match the family members you would expect.

You can order a MyHeritage DNA test here or upload a DNA file from another vendor, for free, here. To use the advanced tools, there’s a $29 unlock fee, but that’s less than a DNA test. Need download/upload instructions – look here..

Have fun!

What are you discovering?



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services


Genealogy Research

6 thoughts on “New Genetic Groups Filter at MyHeritage

  1. Regarding having a parent test to verify a match. My daughter keeps coming up with matches that I don’t have on some of the testing services (where my Ancestry test is uploaded). But she successfully locates the individuals in our tree. We are wondering if the age of my DNA test is a factor compared to hers. Would there be slight differences in segments tested that would make some miss me and hit her? If she wasn’t finding them in our tree we’d think they were false matches. We are just learning about using DNA and are finding this confusing. Thank you!

    • Do you and your child’s father share any ancestry or common locations? If so, that might be it. She needs to use triangulation.

  2. I wonder if My Heritage has assignrd another persons test sample to me as they say I have absolutely no Scottsh Irish or Welsh genes. But instead say I am nearly half Scandinavian, with Italian and Iberian too. I have never ever heard of anyone in my family ever who was any of those ethnicities. Viking back in the 800s perhaps in Scotland and Ireland. but that was 1300 years ago.

    • A lot of people from the British Isles are also descended from Viking invaders as well as other Northwestern Europeans. In Outlander, Jamie Frasier’s dad had a sword with a Viking hilt and I’m sure this was written into the story for that reason. A lot of groups occupied those lands, not just the Celtic peoples or the Romans, who were also not the first.

  3. Roberta. Thank you for this excellent explanation on using the filters. I was also able to test my mother before she passed and uploaded to My Heritage. This will be fun to work out.

  4. At present, my genetic groups at MyHeritage are so nebulous as to be unusable for anything, certainly not filtering. I am glad that someone is finding them of use.
    At Ancestry, meanwhile, I have an absolutely brilliant community that would be ideal for filtering, if only they did it there.
    All too typical of DNA life, unfortunately. It has done wonders for my genealogy but could easily do so much more.

Leave a Reply to Martha SchrefflerCancel reply