What are Ancestry MyTreeTags?

Updated 2 March 2021

What are My Ancestry MyTreeTags

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a way to label our ancestors to find people in our tree who have things in common or jump to your current research tasks on Ancestry? MyTree Tags offers subscribers a way to do just that.


What are Ancestry MyTreeTags?


MyTreeTags™ are identifying labels that you can attach to people in your family tree to indicate your genealogy and DNA research status and their life experiences and relationship.


Everyone with an Ancestry member tree can apply up to 20 TreeTags per individual. The website starts your labeling efforts off with the following categories.

  • DNA Tags - Common DNA Ancestor, DNA Connection, DNA Match

  • Life Experience Tags - Immigrant, Military Service, Royalty/Nobility

  • Relationship Tags - Adopted Into This Family, Adopted Out of This Family, Died Young, Direct Ancestor, Multiple Spouses, Never Married, No Children, Orphan

  • Research Status Tags - Actively Researching, Brick Wall, Complete, Hypothesis, Unverified, Verified

  • Custom Tags - Ones that you create. You could include things like Jewish, Civil War Veteran, and more.

If you're unsure which ones to use or would like to read a list of potential custom tags, read the post Which Ancestry MyTreeTags Should You Use?


Adding MyTreeTags is one of the ways I talk about in 5 Easy Tips For Getting The Most Out of Your Ancestry Subscription by customizing your ancestor's profile.


After applying a tree to your relative, you can filter people in your tree to that shared tag which helps you rapidly see shared traits with your ancestors.


How to Add MyTreeTags

Adding Ancestry tags to your tree is easy. Watch the video listed below, or follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to a relative in your family tree.

  2. Click on the blue +tag icon beside your auto-generate relationship.

  3. In the sidebar, select a relevant tag by clicking on any term. Expand the tag categories by clicking on the dropdown arrows.

If you want to create a custom tag, click the words "Create a custom tag" and follow the onscreen prompts. When finished, these tags will appear in your Custom Tags dropdown menu.


To remove a tree tag, open up the MyTreeTag side menu and click again on the labels that no longer apply. The tag will be removed from your Ancestor's Profile



VIDEO: How can Ancestry MyTreeTags could help improve genealogy research

Watch this video on YouTube.



Who can view your TreeTags?

Do you worry about who can see your MyTreeTags? If you do, these are the restrictions currently in place for who can view the tags:

  1. For public trees -- other Ancestry members can see the tags.

  2. For private trees -- only you and people you’ve invited to your tree as editors, contributors, or guests can see your tags.

  3. For living persons in a tree -- they are treated as private regardless of public access to a member tree.


Why Ancestry Needs These Labels


Ancestry MyTreeTags is the solution to a problem that many people have developed created hacks to solve. In a previous blog post entitled, Stop Adding These Images to Ancestry, I discussed how people use flags, flowers, ships, and other icons to visually tag their ancestors.


The number of graphic markers on Member trees is exploding. It’s a huge hot-button issue for folks who use these graphics to decorate their trees. It’s ‘THEIR TREE’ after all.


Please do not clutter up this paid genealogy platform with such images.


Additionally, some users are adding markers to their family name fields. Instead of keeping the given name and surname fields the actual names of the ancestors, they will use things such as:


These folks don’t realize that using these creative workarounds negatively impacts the experience of themselves and others of the website.

  • Such terms to the name fields make record and family tree searches nearly impossible.

  • Decorative graphics waste website resources and negatively impact the platform's experience for other users bombarded with such "photo hints."


What you do on ‘your tree’ impacts the greater genealogy community on the website. However, Ancestry MyTreeTags can help resolve this problem.


Notice how the following tags can do what the images and monikers can do.

  • Died Young

  • Twin

  • Immigrant

  • Direct Ancestor

  • Royal Ancestor

  • German

  • Welsh

  • DNA Verified

In the post, How to Record Stillbirths On Your Family Tree, I mentioned how MyTreeTags can help you label the death of these infants.


Meanwhile, the Custom Fact field would be the better place for the occupation. And the automatic relationship identifier will resolve the question of "how am I related to this ancestor?"


How MyTreeTags Improves Your Access to Your Ancestors


By using MyTreeTags, you’ll add the magic of FILTERING your ancestors to those labels.


How to Filter Your Tree By Tag:

  • Navigate to your family tree pedigree view.

  • Click on "Tree Search" in the upper right corner.

  • Within the popup menu, click on the "Filters" button.

  • Expand the MyTreeTag categories to click on the filters you wish to apply.

  • Click on the "Done" button at the bottom of the popup menu.


You can now create lists of ancestors that fit that criterion. The list will be as complete as you implement the MyTreeTag feature as part of your family history research. You'll be able to see:

  • the ancestors you are actively researching

  • the names of DNA matches

  • the names of Ancestors who were immigrants.

  • You can also view Catholics who served in the Civil War after participating in the Gold Rush.


Unfortunately, you currently can’t print out a list of names that appear on the filtered list. That could be a cool feature if enough subscribers comment about it or request it.



↪️ Are you looking for more genealogy resources?

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Limitations of Ancestry MyTreeTags


Several things make embracing MyTreeTags with full gusto rather challenging.

  1. You can’t sync tags with genealogy software: If you use RootsMagic or FamilyTreeMaker, you can not sync your MyTreeTags with these platforms.

  2. You can’t tag in batches: If you have a family with two parents and four children who were immigrants, you can’t tag them in bulk. Currently, you have to tag each person individually.

  3. The MyTreeTags could disappear: If users do not adopt the tags, you can not back up your tagging effort to a genealogy program. Ancestry may remove the tagging system and waste all of our efforts.

I’m not sure if Ancestry and genealogy software developers can resolve these limitations this year to overcome these limitations.


The Usefulness of Ancestry MyTreeTags Depends on You


The usefulness of this feature will depend on users adopting the practice of adding tags to their trees. If users follow the same standards with the tags they use, which is the subject of a future post and video. Stay tuned.


For more tips and tricks on using the Ancestry Platform, check out these blog posts:


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