Ancestry MyTreeTags: Put Sticky Notes on Your Ancestors

By Sunny Jane Morton

So many times over the years, I’ve wished I could post little notes on my family tree, warnings and reminders and identifiers. Things like “unconfirmed maiden name,” “don’t quote me on this,” and “adoptive line.” Now Ancestry has added the ability for you to tag your relatives with notes like these, either for your own benefit or for others who look at your tree. You just need to opt into this feature.

We were able to sit down with Crista Cowan (aka The Barefoot Genealogist) at RootsTech 2019 to learn a little bit more about My TreeTags.

Here’s what Ancestry’s MyTreeTags workspace looks like in your online tree experience. The following screenshot is for a biological ancestor of my husband:

I wanted to identify Van Buren as both a biological relative and a confirmed DNA connection. Ancestry has created 20 universal tags (so far), and one of those is DNA Connections, so I chose that under the DNA Tags option. I then created a custom tag, Biological Line, to remind myself and others of the nature of our connection to Van Buren. You can create all kinds of tags: “never married,” “actively researching,” “immigrant,” “military service,” or any other descriptor you want to highlight or by which you’d like the ability to sort (even occupations or cause of death—whatever themes seem to run in your family).

Once you’ve created a custom tag, you can then select it again under the Custom Tags dropdown in the MyTreeTags workspace. The universal tag options currently available under the other dropdown categories are:

  • DNA Tags: Common DNA Ancestor, DNA Match, and DNA Connection;
  • Reference Tags: Immigrant, Military Service, Royalty/Nobility;
  • Research Tags: Actively Researching, Brick Wall, Complete, Hypothesis, Unverified, Verified;
  • Relationship Tags: Adopted Into this Family; Adopted Out of This Family; Died Young; Direct Ancestor; Multiple Spouses; Never Married; No Children; Orphan.

Here are the official bullet points (from the Ancestry.com press release) for the different ways MyTreeTags can help you:

  • “Efficiently notate research: Notate [your] research status at the level of a person within their tree. It will include tags applicable to most family trees within Ancestry plus the creation of custom tags to match their personal family history process. Customers can apply tags as filters in Tree Search to drill down in searches of people in their tree.
  • Easier organization: Highlight important details about the people in your family tree, [so] you [can] easily organize and categorize them for your research.
  • Customizable: Create custom tags to personalize your family history experience.
    Research continuity: Easily indicate and identify the research status of each person in your tree so you know exactly where you left off. And you can filter by tags to get started more quickly.”

Add MyTreeTags to Your Ancestry Account

MyTreeTags is now available in its initial beta version to anyone with an account (no subscription necessary). Opt-in at www.ancestry.com/BETA. After you’ve opted in, wait for an email to confirm your status. Then log in to Ancestry.com and find MyTreeTags on your Tree View page or within an ancestor’s individual page view. The “beta” status means this tool may have the occasional bug, and it will likely keep actively evolving. As Ancestry says, “We are still adding functionality and the features may change day-to-day as we work to provide the best version of this tool. Please come back frequently to use the tool and leave feedback for us.”