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Can Ancestry DNA Tell Me Who My Father Is?

Can Ancestry DNA tell me who my father is, you wonder?  When someone is looking for their biological father, many people just suggest “take a DNA test”, like the one from Ancestry DNA. 

But does this work? 

Can Ancestry DNA Tell Me Who My Father Is_

The answer to this question isn’t always straightforward, but by the end of this post, you will understand:

  • Whether, how, and when Ancestry DNA can tell you exactly who your father is
  • Why you should do a DNA test if you are looking for a biological father, or any other relative
  • How you can use Ancestry DNA as a tool to find your biological father

I have helped multiple relatives learn the identify of their biological fathers using DNA results and family tree information. DNA tests can be a powerful tool for discovering one’s biological origins.

Will Ancestry DNA be able to tell me who my father is?

If your father has also done a DNA test with Ancestry DNA, then yes.  Your DNA results will include a list of DNA matches, and he should be at the very top under the “Parent/Child” category. 

There is no way to mistake it.

Is it possible that it will be this easy to find a biological father on AncestryDNA?  There are many people who have gotten their DNA results and have been fortunate, but this is not what happens most of the time.

Even though more than 18 million people have tested their DNA with Ancestry, there is a chance that your biological father chose a different company to do a DNA test, or has not tested his DNA anywhere.

However, just because your biological father has not directly tested his DNA, you might still use your AncestryDNA results to locate him, or even identify his immediate family members.

Ancestry DNA results can help indirectly reveal your paternal line

If your father has not done a DNA test with Ancestry DNA, then the website will not be able to tell you directly who your father is. Even so, you may be able to determine who your biological father is based on your closest DNA matches.

Your list of DNA matches will include people from both sides of your family, and so you might have relatively close matches from your father’s side of the family. Unfortunately, there will no label by their name telling you exactly where they are in your family tree.

You can use the amount of shared DNA combined with information from the family trees of these close AncestryDNA matches in order to determine how they are likely related to you. Once you have done this, you may be able to identify the immediate family of your biological father.

If you are able to determine who your father’s immediate family members are, then you could potentially use other details that you might already know in order to come to further conclusions. At the very least, you will be able to use your DNA results to trace your ancestry back on your father’s side and learn more about his ancestral origins.

To summarize:

  • Most of the time, DNA testing will be a tool that you can use, along with many others, to build your family tree, as well as figure out exactly who your biological father is. I have written a book for beginners building a tree, which is available on Amazon, or via immediate PDF download.
  • It’s not a foolproof method and can require a lot of work in many cases

It should be noted that once you do a DNA test with Ancestry DNA, your results will stay in their database. People continue to take DNA tests, and as more people get their results, you will continually see new DNA matches on your own list.

It’s important to check your match list occasionally, just in case you do get a really close new match (or a parent match!). This happens regularly, and it only takes one good, close match to solve even the toughest mysteries.

Click here to buy the Understand Your DNA Results Ebook

Should I take a DNA test if I am looking for my father?

Yes!  Taking a DNA test is the absolute best way to learn about your father’s family. 

While it isn’t easy, and there will be work involved, it is the best way to learn if you are on the right path with your research.  By taking a DNA test, you will learn your ethnicity and have access to an extensive list of DNA matches.

If you think that your father is not from the United States, it is possible that a DNA test might be less useful as a tool.  With that said, you will still learn about ethnicity that you inherited from him, as well as about what part of the world most of your DNA matches live in.

Why Ancestry DNA vs. other DNA testing companies

It’s true that there are many companies offering DNA testing, and some of them are very reputable.  Why do I recommend Ancestry DNA versus a company like 23 and Me, for example? 

Ancestry DNA has the largest database in the United States, with more than 18 million DNA users. This is an incredible source of potential relatives that can provide clues about your biological origins.  

Once you test with Ancestry DNA, you can then download your DNA file and upload it to several other websites to get even more DNA matches.  This is the path that I recommend to get the maximum effect for the smallest effort – and investment.

How you can use Ancestry DNA as a tool to find your biological father

Since this post is primarily about whether Ancestry DNA can tell you who your father is, I will assume that you haven’t yet done your DNA test. 

Your DNA matches and their family trees can help you learn what you need to know in order to identify the immediate family of your biological father (or parents).

I don’t want to get too technical into the details about exactly how to use Ancestry DNA for finding unknown family, but I have written a few posts that you might find helpful if you are trying to decide whether to do a test:

I know that you will find DNA testing to be a fun and interesting way to learn more about your roots.  With patience, diligence, and maybe a little bit of luck, you will learn a lot about both sides of your family.

Can Ancestry DNA Tell Me Who My Father Is


I hope this post helped you get an idea of how Ancestry DNA can help you find out who your biological father is.  I truly want to help you find what you are looking for. 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about anything, or just want to share your story, please feel free to leave a message in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Share the knowledge!

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Anita Adams

Sunday 10th of October 2021

I have my DNA through Findmypast UK. I believe it came via Ancestry. I am searching for my father , of which I have no information, only he was Irish , during world war 2. 1940, must have been in South East of England. I have tried several matches, but with no name, I am not getting any replies. Can you give me any tips how to search further. Thank you.


Sunday 26th of September 2021

When I took my DNA I put the persons name that I thought was my father,for 65 years! He is not. Ancestry keeps giving me matches related only to my mothers side. How can I further my search. I know the first name of my biological father and where he lived, but not much else. Where do I go from here. Thank you

Jamie Smith

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

yes I am looking for my biological parents as rescently it was shown that the parents named on my birth certificate are not my real parents and the same with other members of my family my two brothers and sister is all different today except my sister has the same mother the fathers are new and the mothers are new and it is that I would like to find my Mum and Dad

Gregory Pattakos

Monday 30th of August 2021

I was raised by my fathers side of family. He got custody of me and lived with my grandparents till he remarried. I knew of my mother but never met her. After my father passed away I had my DNA tested and found out that he and I were not related, it was a shock, After finding out that she had passed away in 1970. The closest people in my DNA, one family name keeps showing up in the closest DNA people. I don’t know what to do next.

Cary Narveson

Saturday 14th of August 2021

How do I figure out my closest cousins on my birth father's side of family? I have taken dna test and it showed some 1st to third cousins but I'm not well versed in how it works.

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