Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bedazzled With Color

I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for color. Still use a paper calendar? If I did, I'd color code my appointments with highlighters. When I read a book, I color code those sticky tabs to mark sections I want to take note of. So it's a slam dunk I snatched up's offer of color coding my DNA matches when it was offered last year. In fact, it didn't take me long at all to max out their system.

Of course, I needed to add far more than just these fun colors to my DNA match list—I discovered that just creating a color-coded key did nothing to remind me what each of those colors actually mean—so I had to coordinate this tool with the notes tool on Ancestry, as well.

For any of my McClellan matches, for instance, I not only added the green color dot to the DNA match, but I also entered a note next to each match on the list, such as this:

Tools such as these were added to the Ancestry DNA arsenal the last time the company offered the chance to opt in to their beta testing. I said yes. And had a grand time exploring the options and providing the feedback Ancestry was always so open about receiving in response.

Which is why I was pretty miffed the other day, when reader Kat mentioned a new Ancestry beta test for their DNA product. What?!?! I didn't get a chance to opt in? Green with jealousy that someone else was having all the genetic genealogy fun, I raced to Google to see what I was missing.

And found nothing.

Since then, Kat responded that she got her first clue that something was afoot from a post by genetic genealogy blogger Kitty Cooper. Sure enough, back in March—and almost as an aside—Kitty mentioned "there is a wonderful new feature to play with where you can link your DNA relatives to your own tree."

I double checked: no, it wasn't an April Fool's joke; her post was dated March 24. And yet, when I went to the Ancestry Lab tag to check it out, all I got was this disappointment: "There are no betas available at this time."

If something is coming down the 'pike at Ancestry, I guess the lesson is to check back at the Ancestry Lab tab often. If you are like me, you'll want to be among the first to try out those new DNA toys.


  1. You are an energetic researcher and contributor! I really admire that, and am glad Ancestry took your (and others') advice about the colored dots. That feature has been hugely helpful for me. It's one of my favorite things about Ancestry. (Though of course with all the intermarriage, even my distant matches often have a bouquet of colored dots by their names.)

    I wish 23andMe and MyHeritage had colored dots!

    1. Lisa, somehow I figured you also would be a fan of color coding!

  2. Jacqi, I noticed yesterday I can noe link my DNA matches to my tree and have been happily linking them ever since! Has this been rolled out to you yet? You are the only one who has mentioned the functionality recently. Hoping the usual DNA Rock Stars will discuss it on their blogs soon.


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