The AncestryDNA dots help you organize your DNA matches. What if you want to remove those dots and reorganize your match list? Here’s how to remove AncestryDNA dots, and why you might want to.
Here at Your DNA Guide, we recognize there is no single “right way” to use AncestryDNA’s colored dots in your genetic genealogy research. (For an introduction to the AncestryDNA dot system, visit this blog with an embedded video tutorial.) Each colored dot represents a group that has meaning to you. For example, you can use the groups and dots to organize your matches according to your four great-grandparent couples, or groups created to address a specific mystery in your family tree.
What if, along your research journey, you discover you need to remove a group? What if you want to start over, removing all the dots so you can use them in a totally different way? Here’s how to accomplish either of these goals:
In your DNA match list, click on “All matches”
Open any match page and click on “Add/Edit Groups”
This will open a drop-down box with your existing groups and dots. From the dropdown, click on the tiny grey pencil next to the name of a group to edit it.
This will bring up a dialog box for that group, with a delete option at the very bottom:
When you click on delete, another dialog box will open, making sure you want to delete the group, reminding you that this does not delete the matches, just the dots!
Choose “Yes, delete group”, and that group will be immediately deleted from your groups and that colored dot will be available to use again.
Repeat this for any other groups you want to remove, confident that you have managed your DNA matches in a way that works for your goals!
You can also edit and remove dots from your match list. If you click on a match that doesn’t have any dots you will see all the groups you have created. If you are removing only one group and don’t want to bother with finding a match without dots, make sure you choose someone who doesn’t have the dot you want to remove and choose “Add to group” or choose someone who is in the group you want to remove and choose “Remove from group.”
Click on the “+” symbol as if you were going to add the match to a group:
This will open the list of all of the groups with their designated colors just like you saw from a match’s page. Click on the pencil to the right of the dot you want to remove.
The colored dots on AncestryDNA are an essential research tool we talk about in our DNA Skills Workshop, a hands-on, six-week long masterclass experience. Learn how students in the DNA Skills Workshop have used the dots in this story about researching a foundling ancestor or this one about researching brick wall ancestors. If you want to try learning these strategies on your own, pick up a copy of Your DNA Guide–the Book, the textbook that comes with the Workshop. It is sold separately.