Posted by Ancestry Team on August 26, 2015 in AncestryDNA, Website

AncestryDNA just released a new matching tool called Shared Matches. This new tool will help you see your matches in a whole new way, giving you clues about the common ancestor that may have given both you and your match the DNA you share today. And as a bonus, if you have had a parent tested, you now can see which matches you have in common with them using the mother or father filter.

Check out this video explaining more about the newest AncestryDNA features and how they can help you filter your AncestryDNA matches better.

What is this new tool?

The Shared Matches tool will show you which matches you and any given match on your list share in common. You can use this new tool to help narrow down your matches to a particular side of your family. It’s especially helpful if you’ve had a parent tested because once you have a parent tested, you’ll see a new filter at the top of your match list that lets you find the DNA matches that you share with your mom or dad.

How do I get this new tool? 

To access this feature, go to your DNA homepage and click on View all DNA matches.

Shared Matches Tool

When you click “View Match”, the Shared Matches filter appears on the detail page for each of your matches. If you need help, click on the question mark for more information.

view match details

The shared matches list shows DNA matches that you and one of your DNA matches have in common. The list will be of 4th cousin matches or closer. This might help you determine which family line you share or give you more evidence that you’re related to a specific person or match.

For example, I have had a 1st cousin tested, and I can now see all the matches we share. From this list I can possibly narrow down that these matches might stem from a common ancestor on a particular line I share with my cousin. This is helpful for me because I have questions on that particular line (our shared grandparents). Now, instead of going back and forth between our match lists, I can simply click on my 1st cousin’s match details and choose to see all the shared matches we have in common. Then I can use the notes field for those shared matches to detail that I share the match with my cousin, along with anything else I want to note for later as I try to identify the common ancestor we share. This tool is fantastic for helping me find new leads and putting the pieces of my genetic family story together. It is important to note that the list of matches shared is going back as far as 4th cousins. You won’t see any shared matches in common in the distant cousin range.

Mother and Father Filter

If you have had a parent tested, you will automatically see a new filter option at the top of your match list page next to the Hints, New, and Starred filters that you should already be familiar with. You can now filter your matches by Mother or Father. That means, if you have tested your mother you can now see all the matches you share with her, narrowing down which DNA cousin matches might belong to that side of the family. Same goes for the Father filter.

new filter mom and dad red highlight

I have had both of my parents tested and can now filter all my matches by whether they are also a match for my mother or father.  This is a huge advantage when it comes to finding how you and your matches connect. Don’t forget to use the notes field as you examine your matches looking for patterns. Notes are for your personal use and can be seen only by you.

Next Steps

To take full advantage of these new tools, consider having others in your family tested. Review the chart below to help you decide who you could test next to answer specific research or family questions.

who to test

Have fun with these new tools and good luck. You will start to see patterns among the cousin matches you have and may even uncover the very clue you have been waiting for. Good Luck!

Click here to buy additional DNA kits for family.



  1. Andrea

    This is a welcome change and I’m glad that Ancestry DNA has started listening to its customer base that requires evidence to test hypotheses.
    Yet, while this is a welcome change it does not go far enough. We cannot test hypotheses properly at Ancestry DNA without a chromosome browser and a triangulation tool.
    So I really hope this welcome change is the beginning of good things to come.

  2. Jason Lee

    This is good news and a step in the right direction toward the information we really need, namely, matching segment details.

  3. Cathy Fern

    It does not work properly. There are close cousins that should show that don’t show. I can manually search for a surname (without using this new matching) and find matches that are not shown on this new matching. It is not pulling up all the matches. Ancestry really needs to give us the chromosome browser as that’s the only way to prove matches.

  4. Shannon

    While somewhat helpful, the new Shared Matches tool remains insufficient for examining hypotheses and drawing accurate conclusions. Give AncestryDNA customers what they need, what they receive (at lower prices) at every other competing company: access to matching DNA segment data and a chromosome browser that collectively facilitate segment triangulation.

  5. Thank you for adding this feature. It is important to know if these ICW matches are segment matches and if they match each other. This is essential for triangulation to prove that we share a common ancestor.

  6. Peggy

    This is great, but does me no good since they have not worked out a way to take my dad’s Y-DNA and re-work it in order for me to use it.My mom is 86 and will not do her DNA. The 119.00 I spent on my dad’s dna does not help me now just as it didn’t when it was first done due to they stopped working and moved onto the Autosomal they have now…..

  7. Don

    I’m Acadian and just too inter-related to all my matches. I have 1011 shared ancestor hunts, 2172 4th cousins or closer, 180 pages of matches, but only one DNA circle couple. Using the new shared matches cuts down the matches to from 12 to 27 pages of matches, on the few I looked at. DNA will never be useful for people like me.


    But if you actually speak with some Forensic DNA specialists and Genealogists, this has extremely limited usefulness. About the only thing it will ever be good for is disproving a paternal event and not much else.

    I do my research with original sources, wills, deeds, vital records, etc., it’s about the only way you can develop a proof for any connection.

  9. Jason Lee

    I have a match who is among my 10 predicted 3rd cousins. This match has a “shaky leaf” hint for my fifth great grandfather (Shuman, a line from my paternal grandmother). Through this connection we are 5th cousins once removed. The amount of DNA we share (“extremely high” confidence) apparently outweighs our only known genealogical connection. On the other hand, our “shared matches” list leads in other directions including some apparent connections to much closer relationships on at least two of my paternal grandfather’s lines (Youngblood and Sellers). It’s a terribly tangled mess that the shaky leaf system grossly misrepresents and that the new “ICW” system cannot solve. Chromosome browser needed!

  10. Jojo

    Looks interesting. But since AncestryDNA is isolated and doesn’t accept DNA results from other services, the ultimate value of Ancestry tools like this is diminished.

    Expanding the number of DNA samples you can compare against can only help your growth.

  11. Michael

    Thanks, this is great! It would be super if one could adjust what matches to consider. For Ashkenazi matches I’m not very interested in anything that doesn’t have Extremely High confidence level, but for most other populations the current defaults seem to make sense. Give us something cool and useful like this and we will of course want even more!

  12. Christine

    I’ve got to agree with the others about the need for a chromosome browser. It would really make a huge difference for a variety of situations, including adoption, nonpaternal events, African Americans searching before 1870 (a lot of my ancestors had slaves and possibly some fathered children with the slaves–I do have a number of cousin matches of black people who can’t get before 1870 according to their trees so if I could triangulate with their DNA with other known cousins we might be able to pinpoint how we’re related–it’d be nice to see some of those brick walls fall down).

  13. Ruth

    Thank you for this In-Common-With tool. Last night, I was able to verify that two people who had trees to a Common Ancestor (one was two generations short of the MRCA) were not just simply DNA matches to my mother but shared DNA with her, which means that the suspected common ancestor is very likely the right one. Now my job is to find any surviving Irish records to further prove that “cousin’s” shorter tree should go back two more generations–wish me luck.

  14. trethard

    Well, it sounded good, but…

    While this is a form on triangulation, it STILL doesn’t provide for identification of the location, limits and length of SHARED SEGMENTS! Until that changed, ancestry will remain on the bottom of my list recommendation for DNA. (Yes, you can upload to GEDMATCH, but that’s true fir so the major services.) the only advantage to ancestry is the tree matching, but that’s readily available – in better form – with MyHeritage.

    Come on, ancestry! It’s time to join the big leagues and give us decent tools!

  15. john

    This is a great addition to our DNA tool kit. I can’t wait to see what you add next. All ancestry members should take the DNA test. It is so fun to research our family trees using this new technology.

  16. caith

    Instead of complaining what Ancestry does not have, and may never have, there is more than one way to get from here to there if you want a chromo browser.

    Google, GEDmatch, follow instructions and upload your raw data from Ancestry. It is free, and takes less than 15 minutes. They have a chromosome browser, and you will get a matchlist and the emails of your dna cousins from Ancestry, 23andMe, and FTDNA (those who have chosen to upload). At the end of the load process, stay with the screen until you get your kit # which should start with A if you are uploading from Ancestry. There is also a Tier 1 tool if you want more indepth analyses tools and for that they ask for a $10 a month donation. But, you can start with the basic chromo browser which is free.

  17. caith

    “The only way you can develop a proof for any connection” is not with paper, but with DNA.

    Dna does not lie; paper sometimes does.

    There are NPEs (non-paternal events) and paper mistakes. In one of the census records, my grandmother, Jemmie, is listed as a Boy.

    The only way you can prove paper records is with dna and TGs (triangulated groups). Meaning, you need at least 3 people who have a paper match, but also match on the same chromo, and the same numerical segment and match each other with a one-to-one comparison.

  18. Cathy Kesseler

    Thanks ancestry.I am finding the new shared matches tool useful. Using the shared matches I have been able to narrow down the possible connection to some matches with private trees or no trees. I have now contacted them to see if we can figure it out.

  19. Kathi

    Please help me with my confusion. I have 2 test kits, was going to test my brother & myself… Should I test my mom instead of me ??

  20. Laura

    This seems great, except, for me, it’s just more confusing. I’m adopted, although, with your DNA matching a cousin, I was able to get my OBE and match to my birth mother’s family. But that first cousin has a private tree, who comes up as “no shared matches”. Yet on a third and fourth cousin, they both match with DNA…except none of the names on the trees match to each other or to the one maternal tree I DO have some information all. Now what? How is this helpful?

  21. Chris

    Nice additions. With regard to the Mother/Father filter, I only had my mother available to test, so I can only see common matches with her. That’s somewhat useful, but I can always just look at her match list directly. What would be very useful is to see the Father matches (or Not-Mother if you prefer) easily. Yes, it wouldn’t be a perfect substitute for having my father test, but he’s long passed. Seems like you’re already there implementation-wise. Not sure why this wasn’t part of the initial release. With regard to the Shared Matches feature, it appears to work well, but I’d like to see it extended beyond close matches. And, like everyone else, I want access to shared segment information. How about largest segment/total shared amount as a small start in that direction? Otherwise, thanks for the new tools.

  22. Rosemary

    I’m very glad that we finally have a new DNA tool. While not definitive, it will help point us in the right direction. It is already helpful to me because it has allowed me to see who I match in common with people who have no tree or a private tree. I wish that, in connection with this, Ancestry would allow us to color code our stars to indicate maternal/paternal line, or some other system to sort matches into folders once we determine the probable branch of the family.

  23. john

    @Kathi – I say give your mother the other DNA test. It is always preferable to test our oldest generations, Your mother has 50% of each of your maternal grandparents’ DNA. That will be a great help to you, if you are planning on using DNA to further your genealogical research.

  24. Betty

    Am thrilled with new feature..the article did not address what I am to do with my first son’s DNA test when it comes. He just sent it off and wants me to encorporate it into my family trees without him having to duplicate all my material in Ancestry. He has neither the time nor interest (at this time) Can you add his DNA discoveries to his name on my trees? I have two more sons to get into this project of mine.

  25. Jim Barry

    This tool can be very useful to many, but for those of us with relatively recent immigrant ancestors and few 4-6 cousin matches, the restriction to extremely and very high matches is unfortunate. It would be more useful in high matches were included.

  26. Definitely a help. What would be awesome would be another tab with any people common to the trees of those matches. Usually there is no calculated common ancestor for any match in the list due to some missing link. If I knew that most of the people in this list have ancestor X in their list I would know where to focus my search. Especially if the problem is an error in my tree.

  27. anna

    @ Everyone, thank you for your comments-we appreciate all the feedback. Sounds like many are having success-send us your tips or stories on how it’s working for you through Facebook. In the meantime, we will continue to improve and update the overall experience with DNA.

    @ Cathy, if you think the new tool isn’t working on your account, message us separately or contact member services so we can evaluate what is happening. Thanks for letting us know.
    @ Peggy, consider getting other family member’s tested. If your mom has any other siblings you could start there or get a 1st cousin tested. Even having your own siblings take a test will help capture more genetic information for you to do research with.
    @ Ruth, we wish you luck! Thanks for sharing.
    @ John, we think so too. As more people take the test the more connections we can make!

  28. anna

    @ Betty, that’s great you are getting your sons tested. Once you get their results back link each son’s results to himself in your family tree. You can manage all of that on your account and they doesn’t have to worry about doing all of that. If you need help doing that go to the help center and there are several help articles on how to do that. Once his tree is linked to his DNA results you may start seeing shared ancestor hints and DNA Circles pop up for him.

  29. tphelan62

    Thanks – this is helpful.

    Wondering why Cousin A has shared match Cousin B, but Cousin B does not show shared match Cousin A.

  30. This is a useful addition to AncestryDNA. With it I have been able to get a handle on a couple of NADs that show up. Also I have been able to corral off some close matches who have no trees (and won’t respond to messages) to particular grandparents’ pedigrees. I still think there is a greatly untapped reservoir of genealogically important information lying in these huge datasets, if more analysis was done on surname matching trends, and by grouping the geographic information over the entire data set. Regarding the Shared Matches capability, I believe if we had the ability to leave notes on our Circles and NADs and be able to tag said Circles and NADs with all the shared matches we could make better progress in determining how we relate to so many of those puzzling small-pedigree matches.

  31. Jamie Fisk

    This is a great tool! Thanks for adding it. If AncestryDNA would add a chromosome browser, it would be the best DNA site by far. One more step…Please!

  32. Lisa

    This is good news that finally Ancestry is heading in the right direction. To have pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of results with NO tools to help you to sort and compare has been a nightmare!!!! This is a baby step….lets hope there are more tools implemented soon!

  33. Beth

    It definitely needs some work. Who do I match ICW my 5th cousin. No one? Hmmm, not so. My brother is a high confidence match. Who does my brother match ICW her. No one. The limited match then limits the usefulness. Please expand the ICW matching and add a chromosome browser. Also, please find a way to accept uploads from other vendors! For now I’ll keep GedMatch as the best tool in my DNA tool chest.

  34. ANN

    Of greater value, would be an Ancestry DNA test definitively telling one if a one’s DNA match is on a maternal or paternal line by itself, by DNA, like other companies’ test do, rather than having to get a parent or other relative tested as there are many of us w/o a living parent to test anymore, and those who are adopted and don’t have anyone from their non biological families to test. Or if Ancestry would allow, other companies’ test results input into the Ancestry rubric, the way they once was, and many other companies still allow. Or if users, with matching DNA’s usernames were somehow highlighted when one happens to be looking at tress with similar named individuals in random trees, that would be truly dreamy! Additionally, it would be equally lovely if Ancestry identified matched exactly rather than in the wide conservitive groupsing like 4th-6th cousin, instead of saying: ” 4th cousin”. And rather than parent match function, one could run any blood relative’s DNA, to see who you both match with. Or if you both could pug in usernames from each others’s match list to see any overlap. Or if one could allow other users to view one’s DNA match list. Some of my matches have hundreds of pages of matches and I have 22+ pages of them. Doing that task manually takes far too much time. One now has to do that manually either by printing out one’s matches for them to look through, or reading them to a relative and they scan back and forth through their DNA match usernames.

  35. William Berit

    I am having trouble viewing my DNA file. MY friend bought me a Kit and it was processed and I was notified of the results, but every time I go to see those results I get a blank page. I tried to email Ancestry but there is no email address or customer link for help. Suggestions anyone????

  36. Ingridbaade1

    I’d like to see a facility where, if you have found a fifth or more distant cousin via DNA, you can tag them and the MRCA. The 5th cousin would have to confirm before it showed up. I’m predicting in ten years time the majority of people will have their trees available instantly upon DNA testing. It’s fantastic to be part of the revolution!

  37. Jennifer Eckman

    Hi, I do not have these new buttons on my DNA results. Will they be rolling out slowly to various members? Thank you for your help.

  38. “It is important to note that the list of matches shared is going back as far as 4th cousins. You won’t see any shared matches in common in the distant cousin range. ”

    This does not appear to be correct. I have a distant cousin shared match that appears only on the distant cousin’s results. That cousin matches someone who appears in my 4th cousin results. But when I look at the 4th cousin’s results, they do not show a match for the other distant cousin!? Among other things I am confused as to how a match for me A also matches B but B does not match A.

    What would really be handy would be a filter that showed matches that had shared matches. Otherwise I have to plug through 2,000 matches looking for these things.

  39. Bev

    “In order for you to take advantage of this new feature you have to have at least one of your parents tested.”

    This statement is not true. Match lists are generated for 4th cousin and higher matches. However, if you do have one or both parents tested, this will generate the “Mother” and/or “Father” separate tab for shared matches.

    When you check your 6th-8th cousin matches, you may also find a shared match list as long as they match at least one of your 4th-6th cousins or higher. However, the 6th-8th match will not appear in your 4th-6th cousin match or higher’s list. Sixth-8th cousin matches have to be checked individually.

    While I am very grateful for this very very useful new tool, I do wish that, at bare minimum, we at least had Stars of multiple colors to be able to flag and group matches at a glance.

  40. Gerry

    Matches in common for 4th cousins or better is a very small improvement in the Ancestry DNA service. Why is Ancestry so adverse to the instituting a Chromosome Comparison tool. Only a very number of my Ancestry matches have upgraded FTdna or uploaded their data to GEDmatch, but it is those that I have been able to advance my search.

    The family tree files and other data bases are a great resource but the linkage of the trees to the DNA is non existent.

  41. Lisa

    I still need folders to sort all of these matches into. While it helps to be able to sort by Mother and Father, if I want to look at my good matches and filter out the no shared matches and no trees or private trees, I can’t. Also, I have found lots of surname matches that are very helpful, but there is not an indicating marker that this particular person is worth looking at if it is not a shared hint. Please let us have a folder option and more sorting options.

  42. Sally

    I ordered my dna kit but I have not been able to activate it. When I go to the activate page it will not download. I have been trying for a week now. Can some help me please.

  43. kay

    If you have a mom or dad filter, and have tested only one of them can you infer matches to the untested parent from the matches in your match list?.
    ?? is it a fact that the list of cousins 1-4 ( same level confidence) that match the tested parent subtracted from the whole list would give you the match list for non tested parent?

  44. Linda Jonas

    It takes three things to make genealogical matches with DNA: 1. Lots of testees (Ancestry DNA has more than 1 million) 2. Documented family trees (The majority of Ancestry’s customers have family trees, many of them beautifully documented. No other company even comes close here) 3. DNA evidence demonstrating that a particular segment of DNA came from a particular ancestor (This is the final piece to the most amazing experience ever. Ancestry DNA tells us that they have the evidence, but will not show it to us. Without a chromosome browser or similar tool, Ancestry is basically saying, “We have evidence that you are related to another person, but you’ll just have to take our word for it.” When Ancestry DNA adds a chromosome browser, it will be the best DNA test available by far. I very much appreciate every enhancement including the new matching tools, but the chromosome browser is absolutely necessary. Without it, we just have hints with no way to prove them. is the company who has made a serious investment for many years to give us the tools to have documented family trees, and the system is amazing! Please do the same for our DNA. Your customers have been begging for this. With the family trees and the DNA evidence to back them up, we will finally be able to prove our ancestry.

  45. Steve Franklin

    This tool has worked out great for me. Love it. However, I agree with a lot of posters here that having a chromosome bar to see where you both match is important. And what I would like to see is a list of suspected in-common matches associated with that specific segment of the person you are matching with.

  46. Jimboy

    The new compare tool would be great…if it worked. My mother, brother, and I all took DNA tests at AncestryDNA. When I use the matching tool against my mothers results, we match on 25 out of 3750 matches. We took DNA tests at 23andme, and my mother and I match on 458 out of 919 matches. When we uploaded our Ancestry raw DNA data to, my mother and I match on about 45% of the matches. How can you trust the results from Ancestry? Does Ancestry actually use DNA data, or are they just comparing family trees?

  47. freeseek

    @Jimboy the shared matches tool will only show you those matches that are both 4th cousins of yours (or closer) and 4th cousins of your mother (or closer). Only 2-4% of my matches are 4th cousins or closer so your numbers make sense. You can find a good explanation here

  48. Robert

    Shared Matches are nice but the results seem somewhat random. Have two sets of distant cousins who are closely related to each other, e.g. father/son. Each of the shows up on my links, but none of them show up as shared. In other cases, A, B, C, and D each show up as a link to me. B shows up as smatched with A, C shows up as matched with B, and D shows up as matched with C. Yet neither C nor D shows up as matched with A.

  49. Chuck Crannell

    It’s a cute little hidden gem, but when will the chromosome browser be available? I get that many of the people who have tested don’t have a clue about DNA, but don’t assume both ends of match are clueless.

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