What are Unassigned matches in Ancestry SideView?

What are Unassigned matches in Ancestry SideView?

It's been exciting exploring the By Parent feature of Ancestry SideView. But one question I've been thinking about is what do I do with the Unassigned matches?

Ancestry SideView Unassigned Matches

 Remind me what an Unassigned match is...

Ancestry's explanation for Unassigned matches is:

Ancestry SideView Unassigned matches explanation

Leah Larkin has more details on her blog post: AncestryDNA's SideView Assigns Matches to Parent Sides.

I have a total of 20,844 DNA Matches, so these 4,871 Unassigned matches represent 23% of my matches (it will be really interesting to gather some statistics on this).

Because I have my DNA linked to a family tree, 59 of these Unassigned matches share Common Ancestors based on their family tree being compared to my family tree (just over 1.2% for those who like statistics).

Ancestry SideView Unassigned and Common Ancestors Filter.jpg

Now that 1.2% statistic is based on those that have Common Ancestors. That's not to say that other Unassigned matches don't have family trees, it's just that they don't have a Common Ancestor on their tree. And no.. I haven't counted how many have public, private and unlinked trees.

But is that enough to prove they are related on that side of my family... keep reading...

Unassigned and Shared cM

Of the 4871 Unassigned matches, 83 share more than 20cM with me (1.7%). So the majority of these matches share DNA less than 20cM and let's face it I may not have gone down that far to work with smaller matches unless I had a specific project I was working on.

Unassigned for just me?

In my last blog post I noted that these aren't necessarily unassigned for all the related kits I manage. This was the example I used in that blog post.

Ancestry SideView - Assigned Unassigned Comparison

That brings me to my next question - if my match shows as unassigned to me, do I show as unassigned to them? I'm trying to find out by sending messages to some of my Unassigned and Common Ancestor matches. 

Update: For one of my Unassigned Matches I'm also showing as Unassigned for her.

What I'm doing with my Unassigned matches?

When the groups (coloured dots) were introduced I set up one dot for Paternal and one dot for Maternal matches and used these for matches that I couldn't quite work out where they fitted in, but based on a shared match with my maternal aunt they were likely maternal (which left the other matches to be paternal).

Ancestry Groups

With the introduction of Parent 1 and Parent 2 to the mix, I don't need these groups/dot's for the same use. So I'm going to use them to keep track of my Unassigned matches and which possible parent they could match to.

I'm calling them 00 P1 - Unassigned Poss and 00 P2 - Unassigned Poss (you can read about why I use numbers here). P1 and P2 for Parent 1 and Parent 2 and poss and it's just a possiblity they are linked to Parent 1 or Parent 2 (but I don't have the proof yet).

When I'm looking at a shared match and I can see that other matches are one particular parent but some matches are unassigned I can use one of these two new groups on the unassigned match.

Ancestry SideView Clustering Unassigned matches by parent

I can then still add them to the cluster that the rest of the matches are in.

You might be asking why didn't I just make them Parent 2 based on their shared matches. Well I'm not doing any investigation of these matches when I'm clustering, so I don't know enough about them yet. And as previously discussed this is in Beta, so things could change and I don't want to rush in and then find I've made a big mess of my matches.

As an aside, I have to say it would make it a lot easier to do this if the group filter was working on the shared match, but it was showing as greyed out for me today as I was taking these screen shots.

If there is an update, I now have the ability in the future to combine a parent side with the group and see if any of the previously unassigned matches are now linked to a specific parent.

Ancestry SideView review unassigned matches by parent


So what should I do with my unassigned matches?

Well that's a good question. The ability to see our matches by parent is only in Beta testing. Things might change in the next wee while.

There's also the potential for updates that might affect our Unassigned matches. The last update was April 2022 (see the Ancestry article).  By sorting my unassigned matches by date I can see that many are within the last couple of months so would not have been through that April 2022 update. At this stage we have no information about how often updates will be run.

My feeling is to not rush in. Explore the matches that have Parents allocated and maybe use my system above for those Unassigned matches.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.


A big thank you to a friend who shared her DNA matches with me ages ago and (fortunately for this blog post) which we never got around to grouping. This gave me nice clean screen shots for this blog post (of course now we need to go work out those new clusters).


If you need some help with your DNA results?

You can book a one-on-one session Understand Your DNA Results mentoring session with me here 

Understand Your DNA Results Mentoring Session

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What are Unassigned Ancestry SideView DNA Matches?


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