How to Change DNA Test Settings on Ancestry DNA

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If you’ve done your Ancestry DNA test, you might be interested in learning about the different options available to you on your test settings page.  Believe it or not, you have many options available to you, ranging from the display name that shows to your DNA matches, to whether or not you want to participate in Ancestry’s research projects.

In this post, I will show you show to access the different settings, and discuss the settings options available to you.

How to Access the DNA Settings page on Ancestry

Many people never even notice the little “tool” icon on their DNA Insights page.  On the desktop version of the website, it’s right in the upper right hand side of the page, and has “Settings” right next to it.  On the mobile version of the site, it doesn’t say anything – it just has the little gear icon on the upper right side of the page.

Where is the DNA Settings Page on Ancestry

E-mail Settings for your Ancestry DNA Results

This is the first option on your settings page.  This is where you can specify whether you would like weekly updates about your DNA results.  This is different than the other types of e-mails that Ancestry sends (promotional e-mails, and e-mails about family tree hints, for example).   If you want to be notified about your new DNA matches, you should choose the weekly option.  If you log into your account frequently, then you could theoretically keep this setting off.

(I like to keep mine on, I don’t want to miss anything!!)

Solve your DNA Mystery Ebook

Privacy Settings for your DNA Results

You have two privacy options for your Ancestry DNA results.

First, you can choose the display name that is shown to your DNA matches.  You can display your real name, your maiden name, or a nickname, etc.  The only people who can see your DNA test name are your actual DNA relatives, so I don’t worry too much and use my real name.  That said, if you are especially concerned about your privacy, you can definitely use a nickname for this.  If you choose a nickname, your matches will not be able to know your real name, which can be negative if you don’t usually answer your Ancestry e-mails.  If they know your real name, they can look you up other ways.

Second, under the “Ethnicity Profile Display” option, you can choose which parts of your ethnicity estimate are available to show to your DNA matches.  If you don’t select the “Show complete ethnicity” option, then your matches will only see the ethnicities and genetic communities that you both have in common.  If you DO select the option to show your entire estimate, then they will be able to see all of your ethnicities, including any trace ethnicity.

I can’t think of a really good reason NOT to display my ethnicities to all of my DNA matches – after all, we’re family!  So I have this option checked.  If anyone has comments about this, I’d be interested to hear them.   I’m the kind of person who likes to hear contingency stories and plans, so if there is something I haven’t thought of, please point it out!

Linking Family Tree to Ancestry DNA Results

There is a way to link your Ancestry DNA results to your family tree, and this is highly recommended.  It’s the way to get the most complete results from your test, and you can learn about exactly how to do it here.  It’s fairly simple; you can do it right from the settings page.

Did you know that you get the most from your DNA results if you have a tree linked to your results and you have an ancestry subscription?  An Ancestry subscription allows you to access the family trees of your DNA matches, as well as millions of documents and public member trees. 

If you use the following link, you will be able to have a two-week free trial on Ancestry, which is great for adding records to your family tree (you don’t need a subscription to build your tree) and really getting access to all of the benefits of Ancestry DNA.  I will get a small commission if you use this link, at no extra cost to you whatsoever – it helps me support this website, and thanks 🙂 Ancestry Free Trial

Your Personal Information for your DNA Test

You can change this information at any time, and your matches cannot access this information (other than seeing whether or not you are male or female).

Ancestry’s DNA Research Projects

Ancestry has a DNA research project, and this is where you can specify whether or not you give consent for your DNA results to be used to participate in it.  You can read about the project here.  When you bought your kit, you chose whether or not to participate, but you can always change your consent by changing the option on this part of your test settings page.

Sharing Your DNA Results with Friends and Family

You can share your complete DNA results (ethnicity, DNA matches, everything!) with your friends and family members.  You can even share it with people who have not done an Ancestry DNA test.  In the “DNA Result Access” section of your test settings page, you can “add” a person, and choose their permissions level for your results.  You can delete or modify their access at any time.

A person is notified when you give them access, but they are not notified if you take access away (it just won’t be visible to them anymore).

What if you Only Want to Share Ethnicity Results?

This is great, because if you just want your friends and family to see your ethnicity, and not your DNA matches, you can just add their e-mail address here.  They’ll get an invitation, and they can see the results until you delete or modify their access on this page.  This is a really common option to choose, since many siblings and family members are really curious about ethnicity.

On the right hand side of the page, you’ll see a couple other options as far as things you can do on your settings page:

  • Download your Raw DNA Data (you’ll need to do this if you want to do some of the suggested things on this page)
  • Delete your test results (don’t click this unless you are sure… it’s permanent and if you will have to do a brand-new test if you want results again).


Wow!  There are tons of options for your DNA test results, and you should be able to make the settings work for you, as far as your privacy and sharing is concerned.  If you have any questions, or if I missed something, please let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by,


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How to Change DNA Test Settings on Ancestry DNA
Article Name
How to Change DNA Test Settings on Ancestry DNA
If you've done your Ancestry DNA test, you might be interested in learning about the different options available to you on your test settings page. In this post, learn how to attach your results to your tree, as well as adjust privacy settings.
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Who Are You Made Of
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