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Working with DNA Using MyHeritage and Legacy

Working with DNA Using MyHeritage and Legacy

MyHeritage and Legacy will help you with two parts of your DNA puzzle. MyHeritage is the testing company and Legacy is your master genealogy database where you keep track of all of your information. Legacy 10 will have a direct sync to MyHeritage which will make working with DNA matches even easier. 

Our FREE Hands-On with MyHeritage DNA webinar will walk you through using the DNA tools on the MyHeritage website. I highly recommend that you watch this video so that you don't miss any of the features that are available to you. I learned several things even though I have had my DNA on MyHeritage for quite some time.

You can DNA test directly with MyHeritage or you can upload your raw DNA file from another company. You can upload your raw DNA for FREE and their matching service is also FREE. MyHeritage will analyze your DNA and give you a match list of everyone who shares DNA with you. To take advantage of all of MyHeritage's matching tools you need to upload what you know about your family tree and attach your DNA to it. You can have a FREE Basic site that allows you to have up to 250 people in your tree and up to 500 MB of storage space.

For DNA matching you need to have, at the very least, your absolute direct line (pedigree minus siblings). Again, there are some people that don't have this information and that is okay. MyHeritage's DNA matching will help you fill in the blanks when you start communicating with your matches. My absolute direct line is only 173 people so you can see that this is doable with the free account. After you work with your matches and start growing your tree, you can easily move up to a paid subscription. MyHeritage offers tiered pricing so that you only pay for what you need.

Legacy will help you record all of the information you glean from MyHeritage so that you can work with your matches. You can use the FREE Standard version of Legacy which is fully functional. We are confident that once you use Legacy for a bit you will want to upgrade to the full Deluxe version which has all of the nifty bells and whistles. Working with Legacy in conjunction with MyHeritage it is a two way street. You can upload your family tree to MyHeritage via a gedcom export and you will also be taking information from MyHeritage and inputting it into Legacy.  Again, once we have the direct sync up and running this process will become easier and faster.

There are two important things you can do in Legacy to help keep track of your matches. You can add your DNA matches along with all of their contact information to Legacy and you can record how those people connect to you, if known. It is very important to me to be able to record as much as I can in a single program. This saves me time and it keeps me from missing important clues because my information is scattered between software programs. Here are two articles that will show you how to do both of these tasks.

Keeping Track of DNA Contacts in Legacy

Recording DNA Matches

You can also use Legacy's To-Do List to keep track of your efforts. It functions as a research log to keep track of what you need to do, what you are in the process of doing, and what you have done. It will keep you from duplicating your efforts. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast let alone all of the things I have done while working on a brick wall. Be on the lookout for a future article on this topic. 

I hope you noticed all of the FREEs in the above article. I don't think you will find any genealogy company that offers so many things for free as a service to the genealogical community. 

On a personal note,  I have my mother's autosomal DNA everywhere. I have it on every testing site and every 3rd party site.  Since my maternal side is 100% German (all lines have been in Central Europe since the 1600s) she has very few matches. For example, her highest match on GEDmatch is 30.4 cM. She only has 18 matches that are over 20 cM. On 23andMe her top match is 28 cM. On FTDNA her highest match is 47 cM which is a bit better. MyHeritage has more international testers so she has more useful matches there. Her top matches are 124.6 cM, 71. 1 cM, 54 cM, and 51.8 cM and all of these testers are in Germany and The Netherlands. My mother has 73 matches on MyHeritage that are greater than 20 cM. My Heritage's DNA has been very helpful to me with my mother's lines.


Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.



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I have two family tree files in MyHeritage. I am also a Legacy 10 user. Of the two MyHeritage files, one started as an export from my master Legacy file to a GEDCOM file. This was exported to MyHeritage. The second MyHeritage file was constructed from scratch from initial work on MyHeritage. I would like to merge all three files (2 MyHeritage and 1 Legacy) into a single family tree.

How do I do that?

Please implement an "Autosomal DNA" type choice in the "Available Tests" list-box in the "DNA Records" window of a persons details.
I realise that the information of autosomal DNA will be different to Y and mt DNA records but it could be displayed as appropriate. It would allow a more organised and common place for All DNA information to be recorded and stored. Initially the data could be entered manually but could be automated by Legacy with the DNA matches section of MyHeritage web site. It should be formatted to include an entry for each DNA match for matches between 1st to 4/5th cousins and show the same relevant info. as the web page but in a more compact form. It should also include fields where the user can enter notes and whether the match has been found, verified and who the common ancestor is (with hyperlink to ancestor), etc and also include a link to the address database.
Hoping the above is implemented.

Follow these instructions...

The only difference is, you will import your Legacy file into the new file you created and then you will import two gedcoms from MyHeritage into that new file. You will be spending quite some time doing cleanup with the duplicates. Once you have that file cleaned up, this will become your new working file. This is where you will make all edits. You can then delete your MyHeritage trees and upload this new one. Periodically you will upload a new gedcom from your new working file (deleting the current tree on MyHeritage first).

We are working on a direct sync to MyHeritage which will make all of this unnecessary :)

MyHeritage is autosomal DNA and autosomal DNA is not reported in the same way as yDNA or mtDNA (mitochondrial) are. yDNA and mtDNA results are easy to enter because they have values attached to specific fields so Legacy provides a place to enter this information. Autosomal is different. If you download your raw data you will see a text file approx 8MB in size with thousands of values.

Most people create DNA events to record their DNA info. You can add the testing company, the date tested, the kit number (if applicable) the GEDmatch number (if applicable), the tester's contact information, any correspondence you have had with the tester and any other notes. You can screenshot your/their ethnicity percentages and attach that to the event media gallery. Be aware though that your ethnicity percentages will change from time to time as the companies run their algorithms against additional reference samples. You can also use tagging and/or Hashtags to keep track of your DNA (I use Hashtags).

How to work with DNA in Legacy is a frequent topic on our Legacy Users Group Facebook page. There are over 15,000 members and it is monitored by some of the staff and some of the beta testers. If you are on Facebook you can join here

If you are not on Facebook we also have a Legacy Users Group mailing list with about 2000 members which you can join here

Legacy's main purpose is not DNA tracking. For that you need to use the Chromosome browsers that are built into MyHeritage, 23andMe, and FTDNA. and LivingDNA do not have chromosome browsers so it is a bit harder there. You can also use the free program Genome Mate Pro which is an advanced chromosome browser and you can also upload your raw data to the GEDmatch website

Having said all of that, we are working on a direct sync to MyHeritage which will make everything a lot easier :)

Michelle, you mention the number of your direct ancestors - is there an easy way of finding that, other than a manual count?

The easiest way is to tag them on an unused tag (use the advanced tagging screen) and then you will see the number next to the tag label.

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