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).
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.
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.
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..
What are you discovering?
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DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
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Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
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- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research