Are you looking at a long list of DNA matches on Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, or 23andMe, and wondering if you should contact them? What can be gained? Could you learn something from them? My answer is that yes, generally speaking, you should absolutely consider contacting many of your DNA matches. In this post, I hope to show you several reasons why you should.
Your DNA match list undoubtedly contains valuable information about your family’s origin. In fact, it’s one of the best aspects of the Ancestry DNA tests (and others like it), so don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
Note: If you believe that you are a close relative of your DNA match (a second cousin or closer), you might be interested in reading this post, which discusses close family DNA matches.
Your Family Finder Match/DNA might have a Family Tree that Isn’t Online
One of the biggest complaints that I hear about DNA matches is that they have trees with only a few people in them, or don’t have any family tree posted at all. This is true! Lots of people don’t have a family tree on their profile. So is it worth contacting them?
(Do you have a family tree? Learn how to build one on Ancestry)
What we should remember is that not everyone has taken the time to make a family tree. Even if they don’t have one posted online, they likely know a lot of information about their parents/grandparents/great-grandparents.
Sometimes, you will contact someone who doesn’t have a tree on Ancestry, and they will surprise you. They might e-mail you some PDF files, photographs, or even their GedCom (a special file with their family tree in it).
But, you’ll never know unless you ask! Plus, they might be really nice people, family tree or not 🙂
Your DNA match might be adopted and/or looking for family
How amazing would it be to help your DNA match find biological family? Believe it or not, this has actually happened to me more than once. When I first tested, I had a relatively close match show up.
It turns out that one of my relatives had had a child years ago that they never knew about. I was able to provide my match with a few simple facts that helped connect the dots and bring a family together.
There is a possibility that a match without a tree – or even one with a tree – has never met a biological relative before. Maybe you could be the first, and provide them with the clues that they need to find their parents, siblings, or cousins.
Your DNA Matches might have photographs or documents that interest you
Sometimes, people have extensive family trees online, but they haven’t bothered to upload documents and photographs to go along with it. It could be that they don’t have the right technology to do it, or they just like to keep certain information close to the vest.
Either way, many people will share things with an individual person more often than they will post it on the world wide web.
You might be able to help your DNA matches
As I mentioned before, some of your matches might be looking for their parents or other family, but even if they aren’t, I can almost guarantee that all of your matches have some level of interest in their family tree (otherwise, why do a DNA test?).
And, if you have a great tree and lots of information, you might be just the person to help someone break past a brick wall in their tree, or even just get started on their research.
You might make a friend from your DNA matches
It’s entirely possible that you have DNA matches that live in the same geographic area as you. Even if they don’t, you might find that you really like each other and get along well. You may even end up with new friends! After all, you are family.
Your DNA match might make a great research partner
One of the most probably outcomes of contacting your DNA matches is that you will find many people to partner up with in researching many lines of your family. For example, two 3rd cousin matches will share completely different great-great grandparents with you. These 3rd cousins might be interested in sharing and learning with you. You can bounce ideas off of each other, and get new inspiration in where/how to look for records
What if your DNA match doesn’t want to be contacted?
You might be asking: “But what if my DNA match is bothered by my message”? There is a microscopic possibility (okay, maybe not microscopic – but still small) that even if you send a short, polite message to one of your DNA matches that they will respond to you rudely.
What should you do? Just ignore the message and don’t contact them again. It’s as simple as that.
Most often you will be met with warm replies. Most people love having more family members, and love sharing information, so don’t worry too much about what their response might be.
Do you want more DNA matches?
If you are looking for more DNA matches than what you have access to at your current testing company? I recommend downloading your test results and uploading them to Family Tree DNA. It’s totally free to upload your results there, and only $19 to unlock all of the features (like the chromosome browser).
The company with the second largest database of DNA tests is 23andMe. They don’t accept uploads, so you will need to do a brand-new test to get your matches on the site.
If you use the following links, you can go right to Family Tree DNA to start your upload, or to 23andMe to get your new test. (I will receive a very, very small commission at no extra cost to you, thank you for helping me support this website!):
- Make new family connections and discover your DNA story together. Order your DNA test kit today at 23andme.com.
- Click here to transfer your DNA to Family Tree DNA.
If you want to see additional options for uploading your DNA, read this post about free sites to upload your DNA.
Contacting your family matches can provide you with tons of great information about your family, and your contact might even develop into a lifelong friendship. I cannot express how much I have learned from my own personal DNA match list. What will you learn from yours?
Have you tried contacting anyone from your DNA match list? How did it go? What did you learn? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by!