MyHeritage just introduced Labels, a new, free, organizational tool for DNA matches.
Labels provide customers with the ability to organize their matches in various ways. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Labels for a few days now, and I’ve developed an organizational strategy that just might work for you.
First, let’s take a look at Labels and the new match look and feel as well.
When you sign on and click on DNA Matches, you’ll see a new pop-up box that points to the little box to the left and says, “Label your DNA Matches.”
Yes, that little toolbar at the left is new too. I like that the most used functions are now the most evident and quite handy.
Let’s see how this works.
I clicked on the little square box and voila, a popup appeared that says “Manage Labels.”
Since I don’t have any labels available yet, I need to define one. Click on “Create new label.”
30 Available Labels
You can see that you have a choice of 30 selections for Label colors. I decided to experiment by creating a Label called Maternal Match. Hint – Don’t do this just yet, read through the rest of this article first because this is NOT the best strategy – even though Maternal Match seems like an intuitive Label name.
After I created the Label, I want to Label my mother as a maternal match. I select the Label I want and then click on “Apply.”
You’ll be able to see up to 7 Labels for any one person, with a little + sign for additional Labels not shown.
Your first instinct is to create a maternal and a paternal side Label – but hold on. Don’t do anything just yet. We’ll talk strategy in just a minute. You “only” have 30 labels to work with, and I think I’ve devised a way to make the best use of all 30 labels.
Favorites and Notes
MyHeritage has also implemented the star that indicates a favorite of some sort. It’s your choice what “favorite” means to you.
The note icon has been moved to the left too where you see it first thing. If you’ve recorded a note, the conversation balloon will be purple. Otherwise, it’s empty. I record notes for each match as I work on them so I know which ones still haven’t been reviewed.
Now, let’s talk about a strategy for how to use Labels effectively.
My first thought was that I’d immediately create a maternal and a paternal Label. That’s the first thing a genealogist wants to know about each match, right? However, if I were to take that approach, I would effectively waste two of my 30 labels, so let’s look at a different strategy that achieves the same goal – and more.
Let’s compare “sides” versus “couples.”
A “side” would be maternal or paternal. Each “side” actually points to a pair of grandparents, so my maternal side actually means that I’ve identified descent of our matching DNA through my maternal grandparents. My paternal side means that I’ve identified descent through my paternal grandparents.
I’ve yet to determine our common ancestor.
Without additional information, I don’t know which of the two grandparents on that particular side I match someone through. I could also carry segments of DNA from both of those grandparents’ sides. What I do know is that my side of the match descends from that grandparent couple.
Every person has 32 ancestor pairs up to and including the great-great-great-grandparent level, if you count each parent as one. That’s two more than the 30 Labels available. Hmmm…
However, if you don’t include each parent individually, and just include the couples, beginning with grandparents, you have exactly 30.
It just so happens that you also have 30 Labels to work with.
Now you see why using one Label each for the maternal side and the paternal side is a waste of a perfectly good Label. If you assign all maternal side matches to your maternal grandparents, and your paternal side matches to your paternal grandparents, you have exactly enough Labels to Label each of the 30 couples through your fifth generation.
If an ancestor was married more than once and you share DNA with someone who descends from that ancestor and a different spouse, that match is automatically pushed back to the earlier generation.
For example, I know that my great-grandfather, Curtis Lore, #6 above, had children with a wife before being married to my great-mother, Nora Kirsch. If I match one of the descendants of the children of his first marriage, I know immediately that match gets labeled with couple #13, the parents of Curtis Lore. How do I know this? Because the person I match is not related to Nora Kirsch, so our match MUST BE through Curt’s side of the tree.
Half relationships are wonderful because they serve to push the genetic match back one more generation.
Of course, if I match someone descended through Curt Lore AND Nora Kirsch, then I need to look at Shared DNA Matches and/or triangulate each segment with other people to determine which matching segments descend from Curt’s parents and which segments descend from Nora’s parents.
Needless to say, a person I match may well need multiple Labels, because it’s certainly quite possible for me to match someone on multiple segments, some of which descend through Curt and some of which descend through Nora.
In fact, my second cousin Patty and I match through Curt and Nora on 9 individual segments. Three of those segments descend from the Lore side and the rest either descend from Nora’s side or are indeterminate at this point.
Every individual segment has its own genetic history.
Of course, if you only match someone on one segment, then you’ll (likely) only assign that match to the female or the male of the couple, assuming there is no crossover in the segment where the DNA of both couples combined to make a longer segment.
I wrote the article, Triangulation in Action at MyHeritage, here.
Editing a Label
You saw that I created the Label titled Maternal Match. However, based on my Label strategy – a maternal match shifts back one generation to my maternal grandparents, so need to change Label #1 to read, “Maternal Match – John Ferverda & Edith Lore.”
In order to edit a Label title, click on the box of anyone.
You’ll see the “Manage labels” box pop up.
If you mouse over the Label you wish to edit, you’ll see the pencil and trash can appear.
Note that if you delete a Label, THE LABEL IS ALSO DELETED FROM EVERY PERSON WHO HAS BEEN ASSIGNED THAT LABEL.
To edit the Label, click on the pencil.
You can change the text or the Label colors. You are only shown colors that are available, meaning not yet assigned to other Labels.
You have up to 100 text characters available, so you can do things like add middle names or even birth and death years when you have multiple ancestors with the same names. Not that that ever happens, of course!😊
Be sure to “Save” when finished.
Using the Labels
Referring to that second cousin match with Patty as an example – let’s take a quick look at how I can use those 9 different segment matches.
I know for sure that 2 matches are Acadian, so from Curtis Lore’s father’s side.
I know that one match is from Joseph Hill and Nabby Hall, Curt’s mother Rachel Hill’s parents.
Cousin Patty could receive several Labels.
At this point, I need to go back to the main DNA match page and view Patty’s profile to be able to add Labels. I have it on good authority that MyHeritage plans to add the Label function from multiple locations, such as Shared DNA Matches. I hope this new functionality appears soon, because I’d like to Label all of my matches to my mother in one fell swoop. (We genealogists are passionate, always wanting “just one more thing,” aren’t we!)
I selected Patty and added these Labels for her, reflecting the genesis and source of each of the segments I can identify based on Shared DNA Matches, Theories of Family Relativity, triangulation, and segment painting.
The Label Filter
Now that I’ve added Labels to matches, I can use the new Label Filter.
By clicking on the Filter button, the Filter options appear, including “Labels.” I simply select which Label or Labels I want to use.
Please note that selecting multiple filters uses the “or” functionality. This means that if I select Antoine Lore and Rachel Hill, the yellow Label, and Joseph Hill and Nabby Hall, the pink Label, the filter will return any match who has a Label for EITHER Antoine/Rachel OR Joseph/Nabby. Either Label qualifies.
This filter is not the intersection, meaning the AND functionality. The filtered match does NOT have to have both Antoine/Rachel (yellow) AND Joseph/Nabby (pink).
I can also include the star for “favorites” in my label filter selection.
Looking at my match list, I’ve worked on all of my close matches, so I know immediately which set of grandparents each match can be assigned to.
On my match list, I match three of these four people on my father’s side, so they will be Labeled with my paternal grandparents, William George Estes and Ollie Bolton.
Our common ancestors are Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy, so I’ve selected to Label these three matches with Lazarus/Elizabeth as well. However, if Robert did not descend from Lazarus, but from his brother, for example, then Robert would not have been Labeled with Lazarus/Elizabeth, but with Lazarus’s parents whose Label I have not yet created.
By selecting multiple people and one or more Labels, I can Label multiple matches with multiple Labels at the same time. I can also remove multiple Labels from multiple people too.
Try Labels Out!
Think about your label strategy. What works for you?
If you haven’t yet tested your DNA at MyHeritage, you can order a DNA test, here.
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Need instructions for how to download your DNA file from other companies, and upload to MyHeritage? I’ve written step-by-step instructions for each company, here.
Have fun and let me know what kind of label strategy works for you!
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