Using MyHertiage Labels for Triangulation

My Heritage just released an improvement to their “labels for DNA Matches”. See their blogpost at:

These are intended to help you organize your DNA Matches into groups. And, AND, AND … you can “Export entire DNA Match list” (click on the 3 vertical dots to the right of Filters and Sort by), and this spreadsheet will include a list of any labels associated with each Match.

This is a huge time saver for Triangulation. To the extent that we can identify our Matches as Paternal and Maternal, the Triangulation process becomes very simplified. Paternal side Matches will only Triangulate with other Paternal side Matches. NB: watch out for any Matches that may relate to you on both sides. For the vast bulk of our Matches, however, all we have to do is sort by side + Chr + Start and form groups.

If you’ve already done a lot of Triangulation, this will provide a good Quality Control check.

There are a few pesky details: you have to assign the dot labels*…; you have to merge the Match list with the segment list…; you have to analyze the start/stop locations and make a judgment call as to where the Triangulated Group starts and ends.  But aside from these chores, the main headache of checking for Triangulation is gone. Having the effect of “phased data” means the shared segments on one side have to Triangulate only with other segments on that same side.  *Clustering and Shared Matches will often indicate that we can assign “side” labels on a group basis. Triangulated Icons should always indicate the same “side”.  

[10D] Segment-ology: Using My Heritage Labels by Jim Bartlett 20211215

17 thoughts on “Using MyHertiage Labels for Triangulation

  1. Would you label all matches you share with a known relative or just the ones who triangulate? And would you go all the way down to the most distant matches or quit at a higher level? I am currently labelling my shared matches with one of my dad’s first cousins, we have more than 1000 shared matches and it takes hours to select them one by one, page after page… I made a comment on MyHeritage’s blog post about this new update, suggesting that they make it possible to “select all shared matches” or “select all shared matches who triangulate”. That would save so much time!


    • I would only do those with the TG symbol – shared matches are a problem on MH (imo) as the go down to 6cMs and you can be in murky territory down that far. Shared segments eg with the TG symbol are safer. Sometimes there will be a known match with no TG symbol but they will be caught up via labels with other TG matches. I always say they are ‘clues’.


      • Thanks for the input, I haven’t decided exactly how to work with the labels yet. Maybe I should have done that before I started labelling… 🙂 Oh well. I can always delete labels if I change my mind. I also have some pedigree collapse so I should probably limit the labels to triangulated matches as you suggest.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you. MH forms Matches with one algorithm that uses imputed data, but does Triangulation with an algorithm without the imputed data – so a few true Triangulations are not reported.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’d do all over 15cM first; then repeat with a 10cM threshold, and see how it goes. I have compared Clustering to Triangulating (down to 7cM with ALL of my FTDNA Matches) – there is a very high concordance rate – I’d say over 95%, and almost all of the issue involve multiple segments – the Clustering program has to pick only one Cluster for each Match. I’ve been coding my AncestryDNA Matches (from a run two years ago) with the same code for each Cluster – it’s working pretty good – not perfect, but better than anything else. I’ll add new Matches if I see high concordance in a Shared Match list. It’s a judgment (not an all-or-nothing) call for me. I have almost all of my over 15cM Matches Triangulated at MyHeritage, so I might try the labels soon to see the concordance. Actually, I’d try to label them first and then check against by TGs…. Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the new feature Jim and have been trying it out. One thing I would like is to be able to see the TG symbols when adding to groups. The are obscured when the side panel opens. Would make multiple dotting easier.


  3. Jim, how can one do triangulation at MyHeritage when they don’t reveal the B vs C matches?

    I can only do one of my kits vs any of the matches but not a match of mine (B) vs another match of mine (C).

    Unless I overlooked something this is the same restricted functionality like at FTDNA.

    Or am I wrong?


    • a4xrbj1, When you look at a MyHeritage Match and scroll down the Shared Matches, you sometimes see a Triangulation Icon to the right side of a Match. This Icon means that MyHeritage has already checked and found you, the Match and the Shared Match all Triangulate (match each other) on the same DNA segment. You can click on the Icon to see which segment(s) match in a chromosome browser. It’s this extra step – the Triangulation Icon – that set’s MyHeritage apart from FTDNA. BTW – at FTDNA you can Triangulate by looking also at the ICW lists for Matches with overlapping segment. If at least two Matches are on each other’s ICW list, then it is Triangulation virtually every time (every segment over 15cM has to group with other segments – on one side or the other). Jim


      • I am trying to Walk the Ancestor Back in each TG – so I agree with you. If I’m confident the TG goes back to a 2GGP, that’s how I record it in my Notes. And then I’m always on the lookout for a more distant Match-cousin in that TG. I’ve basically got all the Matches in TGs. What’s left is finding Common Ancestors among that group..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you have to be careful. That’s one research to usually insure at least two, better is three, Matches are included. The over 15cM Matches have to Triangulate one side or the other. As you list of Matches in a TG increases, it becomes apparent quickly when there is an error. Jim

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jay,
      Step 1 is read and study the MyHeritage blogpost
      Step 2 determine your label strategy – if nothing else: Star all Matches for whom you know the Common Ancestor; and pick a blue dot for your paternal Matches, and a red dot for your maternal Matches
      Step 3 assign as many labels as you can to your MyHeritage Matches.
      Step 4 assign labels per your Theory of Family Relativity that you agree with.
      Step 5 run the AutoCluster program and assign maternal and paternal labels to all Matches in a Cluster that appears to be maternal or paternal based on other clusters.
      Step 6 follow the process in my blog post of 29 Dec 2020: Triangulating Your Genenome (expect you don’t need to check the Triangulation of the Matches with same label.
      In my opinion, segment Triangulation is very worth while Jim


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