Gender Breakdown of my Ancestry Matches

Up to now, I hadn’t paid much attention to Ancestry match gender. This post is a deep dive into how it breaks down.

When I first took a snapshot of my Ancestry match data, I didn’t bother taking every piece of information available. For example, I didn’t think that the kit administrator info was useful (the “managed by XXX”), but I’ve changed my mind. So before I did a re-run to capture the extra detail I had a look to see what else I’d skipped over.

Measuring the Ancestor Match Gender Distribution

Pink and Blue headshots to denote Ancestry match gender

One piece of information available is the gender of our matches.  Visually, the match list pages usually make it very clear by the Pink and Blue headshot graphics.

But it’s not so easy to tell, when the match has uploaded a photo of what looks like a tasty cocktail.

A user-uploaded avatar

Thankfully, the gender is readily available “behind” the graphics. Every match has a gender tag of “male” or “female” within the web HTML.  [Update 24 Feb 2020: A comment brought to my attention that the gender tag is no longer easily available in the HTML. I provide an alternative suggestion for getting at it in my reply to Sally on 22 Feb 2020].

It occurred to me that if this setting is user-selected, then it might not always be accurate. I was trying to remember if I ticked a gender box on sign-up, but then I realized that DNA testing companies have the definitive answer – that whole Y chromosome stuff.

So I revisited my August 2018 snapshot of matches and assigned the gender information to each of my matches. I did the same for the kit of a friend of mine. She has twice my matches – as shown in these numbers:

More Women than Men test with Ancestry

But the gender breakdown is remarkably similar, in that we both have the same proportion of male and female matches.

Pie charts of Ancestry Match Gender for two testers

Unless we’re both outliers, more women than men are testing with Ancestry.

What about Trees?

Once I had these numbers, I wondered if there was a difference in gender in the proportion of testers interested in genealogy versus interested solely in ethnic heritage. I have no way of knowing why people test, but I do have metrics on which of my matches have trees. There turned out to be very little gender difference, 28% of men have no tree versus 26% of women.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

2 thoughts on “Gender Breakdown of my Ancestry Matches”

  1. Margaret, can you tell me how to find the gender of an AncestryDNA match that has a photo? You state the gender is available “behind” the graphic. I don’t know how to access that information. Please clarify this.


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