Are you curious about the ethnicity of your My Heritage DNA match? In this post, I’ll explain how your DNA match’s ethnicity can help you figure out how you might be related, how to access this information on My Heritage, and how to sort your matches by ethnicity.
I’ve really enjoyed my My Heritage DNA results, and I think it’s because their website has so many features and it’s really easy to use. If you didn’t do your DNA test with My Heritage, you might be interested to know that you can actually upload your raw DNA file from Ancestry DNA, Family Tree DNA, and 23 and Me. If you think you might want to give it a try to see what you can learn, you can read my post, “How to Upload to My Heritage DNA“.
How knowing the ethnicity of your My Heritage DNA match can help you
Being interested in our DNA match’s ethnicity can sound kind of strange – they are family, so why is it important? It’s not important when it comes to our personal relationship, of course, but when it comes to genealogy, it can be very useful information. Our shared ethnicity regions, or the regions that we don’t share, can help us figure out how we might be related. And at the very least, it can sometimes tell us definitively how we are not related.
Depending on our and our matches unique ethnicity estimate, using this strategy to help research our connection can be very helpful or only marginally helpful. If you are from a place where everyone tends to have a very admixed background (i.e. ancestry from many parts of the world), then finding out your match’s ethnicity might not be very helpful. You might find that you share more than one ethnicity region, which implies that your connection could be through any ethnicity region that you share in common.
If you have recent ancestors that are from a completely different part of the world than the one where you live right now, you might find that this strategy is useful. For example, my mother has recent Polish and Slovak ancestry. When I look through her DNA matches researching her Eastern European lines (most of her ancestry), I look for matches who are only Eastern European. Since her Polish/Slovak ancestry is recent, she has many relatively close DNA cousins who either live in the region or have recent ancestry from there, too.
How to see your DNA match’s ethnicity on My Heritage DNA
The first step to see your match’s ethnicity on My Heritage is to click on the purplish “Review DNA Match” pertaining to the DNA match that you’d like to learn more about. There is so much that you can learn from doing this – so I highly recommend reviewing as many matches as you have time to examine:
When you review a DNA match on My Heritage, the information they show you is always in the same order:
- Basic information about your match (name, etc)
- Information about your DNA relationship (DNA shared, largest segment, estimated relationship)
- Ancestral surnames, including whether or not you share one (this only shows up if either of you has a family tree on the site – shared surname requires both of you to have a tree)
- Family tree going back up to five generations, if available
- Ethnicity information, including a comparison
- Chromosome browser
As you can see, the shared ethnicity information is one of the last elements on the page where you review your DNA match. How far you have to scroll down depends on how much information there is to display in the ancestral surname and family tree section. Typically, you just have to scroll down about 3/4 of the way down the page. The ethnicity information for your match will look like this:
In the image above, you can see that the test taker and the DNA match share three DNA ethnicity regions (highlighted in purple). You can also see ethnicities that you don’t share (shown in gray), with the exact percentages that each person has of each one.
Filter your DNA matches by ethnicity on My Heritage DNA
One of the coolest features of My Heritage DNA results is that you can sort and filter your DNA matches in really helpful ways. Since this post has been about our DNA match’s ethnicity regions, then you might want to explore the ability to filter your DNA matches by ethnicity.
What do I mean by this? Let’s take my husband’s DNA results as an example. His primary ethnicity region is Native American, which shows up on My Heritage DNA under the general “America” heading. He has a small percentage of Irish that has displayed on Ancestry DNA, and is interested in learning more.
Even though his Irish ancestry doesn’t show up on his My Heritage DNA results, I can still filter his DNA matches to only display people who match the “Irish, Scottish, and Welsh” DNA region. When I do this, I find that he has 24 matches that show this ancestry. Some of them also have Native American ancestry, but some of them don’t – it’s about 50/50. The idea is that among those 12 DNA matches with Irish ancestry, I might be able to find the Irish ancestor(s) that my husband shares in common with them.
To access this feature yourself. you’ll need to click where it says “Filters” on your DNA match list:
The next step is to choose the ethnicity that you would like to filter in the drop down menu:
You’ll still have to use other information, such as family tree data and amount of shared DNA in order to determine how you might be – and whether or not you really are – related to each match that pops up on your filtered list, but this is a cool way to quickly sort through and see matches that you might not notice on your really long list of matches.
I hope that this post helped you understand how to access your DNA match’s ethnicity, how to filter your DNA match to look for ethnicities that you are interested in, and how information you discover in this way might be able to help you learn about your ancestry in that region.
If you have any questions about something that you read here, or if you would like to share your experience with your My Heritage results – specifically relating to the ethnicity of your matches – I would love to hear from you in the discussion below.
Thanks for stopping by!