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DNA Relatives: List, Map, and Surname Views

DNA Relatives is one of the most interactive features of 23andMe, allowing you to find and connect with genetic relatives and learn more about your family. Genetic relatives are identified by comparing your DNA with other 23andMe members who are participating in DNA Relatives. When an identical stretch of DNA is found, the individual is listed as a match in your DNA Relatives list along with the predicted relationship, his or her haplogroup information, and any profile information your match has made available to his or her matches.

DNA Relatives offers three ways for you to view your genetic relative matches:

List View

The main view of DNA Relatives offers several options to search and sort through your matches. 

  • Search Matches
  • Maternal and Paternal Labels
  • Sort Menu

The first row in the list is always you! This lets you see what your matches see.

Search Matches

You can search for any keyword using the search field including family locations, family surnames, haplogroups, and the names of your matches.

Maternal and Paternal Labels

If you have one or both of your biological parents genotyped with 23andMe, DNA Relatives can determine whether a match shares DNA in common with both you and one of your parents, and therefore is likely to be on either your mother’s side or your father’s side.

Using the Show menu, you can filter your matches by which side of the family they are on. 

  • M labelled relatives match both you and your mother
  • P labelled relatives match both you and your father
  • M/P labelled relatives match both you and your mother as well as you and your father
  • Some more distant matches may not receive labels if they do not appear on either parent's DNA Relatives list 

If you only have one parent in the system, you will be able to use the filters to show only people who match that parent, or only people who do not match that parent. In many cases, a genetic relative who does not match your father matches your mother, so you can find relatives from both sides even if only one parent has been genotyped.

Learn more about Maternal and Paternal labels

Sort

By default, your matches are sorted by their relationship with you. The relationship is determined by looking at both the percent DNA shared and the number of segments in common. In some cases, you may prefer to view matches with certain characteristics first. Using the sort menu, you are able to sort your matches by the following criteria:

  • Relationship
  • Percent shared
  • Number of segments shared
  • Contact status
  • Name
  • Age
  • Haplogroup
  • Recent relatives first  

Map View

The Map View offers you the chance to display your matches on a world map. This can be incredibly helpful for anyone on a genealogical hunt who must triangulate between multiple different sources of information about their ancestry. In this case we show how your matches cluster on a world map, which in turn can help you target your search.

Map View references the information your matches have listed in the Family Locations section of their profile information. 

 

Surname View

The Surname View within DNA Relatives shows the self-reported surnames that your matches have listed in the Family Surnames section of their profile. Using this view, you are able to see which surnames are most commonly listed by your relatives as well as how unique the surname is compared to the 23andMe database. You are also able to see the closest genetic relative match who has listed each surname. If you listed the surname in your profile, the closest genetic relative will be you. 

While Surname View surfaces the self-reported information of your matches, it is important to note that DNA Relatives does not use surnames or other self-reported information to identify matches. The matches listed in DNA Relatives were identified using your genetic data. 

Surname

Click on a surname to see your DNA Relatives filtered by that name.

Closest relative

This column indicates the distance of your closest DNA Relative with a particular surname in their profile.

Count

This column indicates how many of your genetic relative matches have a particular surname in their profile. Only surnames that occur five or more times in your matches are shown.

Enrichment

The Enrichment column shows you how common a particular surname is among your matches compared to the entire 23andMe database.

We include this Enrichment value because without taking the baseline frequency of a name into account, most lists are dominated by common surnames. You can think of this list as ranked by "uniqueness" among your matches.

Enrichment is computed via a one-tailed binomial test as follows. The reference frequency of the test is the frequency of the given surname in the 23andMe database. The counts in the binomial test are the number of occurrences of the surname among your matches and the total number of surnames among your matches. The test results in a p-value; we then report -1.0 * log10(p), so the bigger the number is, the more unusual it is that a surname was at such high frequency among your matches.

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