Are you thinking about getting in touch with your DNA matches? Is there someone in particular that you would like to reach out to, but you just don’t know what to say? Contacting your DNA matches is a great way to build new family relationships and learn more about your family history, and as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In this post, I will give you a template for contacting your DNA matches for several different situations.
Pro tip: If you notice a brand-new match pop up on your DNA list, give them a few (or several) days to review their results and get familiar with how the site works. It can be overwhelming for someone who just got their DNA results back to receive messages asking for information, and sometimes, it can discourage people from continuing. And who knows, they might reach out to you if you give them a chance.
Template for contacting a DNA match if you are adopted or don’t know one of your biological parents
If you are adopted and searching for your biological parents, or even if you aren’t adopted and are looking for an unknown biological parent, making your first contact with a DNA match is a crucial part of your search. The following is a basic template for making the first contact with a relatively close DNA match. When you are adjusting the template to your particular situation, you will want to take the following things into consideration:
- You might have a good idea about your exact relationship, but it’s best not to mention this during your first contact.
- It’s best to be “vaguely specific”, as I like to call it. Specific enough to offer enough details that you don’t seem secretive, but vague enough to not discourage them from writing you back.
Sometimes when we get really close DNA matches, it is tempting to rush into communicating with them. What we have to remember is that families are complicated, and we don’t know their exact situation. We want to be sensitive to them, too, even if we are really excited to finally learn something we have been wanting to know for a long time.
Below is a basic template for how I would format my first message – short and sweet!
I saw that we show up as a close genetic match on Ancestry DNA. I’m new at family tree research, but I’m interested in learning as much as I can – I’m still trying to figure out how this all works.
We have several shared DNA matches that have the Jones, Ryder, and Hawkins surnames – but I’m not sure which line we connect on. Would you be interested in working together to find our connection?
I’m looking forward to hearing back from you.
Hopefully, Julie responds to you with some more details about her family history. If she knows her family tree, she might tell you that her father was a Jones, or that her grandmother was a Hawkins. If she doesn’t, she might tell you where she is in her research as far as learning about her roots. If she does respond to you, you can tell her more about what you know, using your best judgement. You might end up helping each other in your family tree goals.
Template for contacting a close DNA match if you know your family tree
I always caution people who are interested in taking a DNA test that DNA doesn’t lie, and you might discover something about your family that you didn’t previously know. Sometimes, this discovery comes in the form of a relatively close DNA match. People occasionally discover siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even parents or grandparents that they didn’t know about – it sounds crazy, but it happens.
If you find that you have a relatively close DNA match show up on your list, you might want to reach out to them. You don’t have to, but most people find that they are curious to see who this mystery person is. I had something like this happen when I first tested, and as my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are human, it is not impossible for it to happen again. I know that I would contact a close match if I got one, even if it appeared to not fall into my known tree whatsoever.
Below is a basic template for contacting a match under these circumstances. The idea is to be friendly, but not overly enthusiastic, and let them know that you have family tree and don’t mind sharing your knowledge. Remember, this person is family, too!
Your name is on my DNA match list, and it says that we might be first cousins. I think it might just be an estimated relationship, though.
We share a match on my dad’s side of the family, so I am thinking you are probably from that side. I have Jones, Ryder, Hawkins, and Brown in my lines on those lines. My dad was Joe Ryder, and my paternal grandparents were Sally Hawkins and Samuel Ryder.
I hope to hear back from you.
Have a great day,
The goal is to provide a little bit of information, in good faith, to your DNA match. It shows that you are a friendly and sharing person, and it increases the likelihood that they feel comfortable enough to write you back.
I hope that this post has helped give you some ideas about how to go about making that first contact with your DNA matches. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or would like to share your story about contacting your DNA matches, please feel free to leave me a message below.
Thanks for stopping by!