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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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Sunday 26th of November 2023

Hello I have no one on my father side on my DNA on ancestry. It does show a paternal and maternal but they are my mother's dad (paternal) and my mother's mother (maternal) side. I have just found out that the person I thought was my dad is not. So now I don't know who he is. My half sister's son is showing up as my closest relatives on my maternal and paternal side with over 1000 cm's. Can you help me please? Thanks


Saturday 4th of November 2023

My name is amber moore, it's not my maiden name. Unfortunately, my mom passed when I was super young and I was sixteen at the time. Unfortunately, unfortunately, I never got to ask her before. She passed about who my dad was. All these years later now I start to wonder. What would be your first step?

Nadine Snell

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

I know my Biological Father’s Name and where he lived and when he died and I have the obituary I found it online after he died in 2015 and I know he served in world war 2 and I believe he was in the Air Force and when he was in early teens he was in the “CCCs” I never met him although he knew about me and sent me a Birthday Card for a couple years and then I guess he met his now wife and I never got to meet him And he never legally acknowledged me “ I Was Raised by my Grandparents and I recognized the obituary from a picture from one he sent me when I was about 5or 6 years old but I never had contact with him although he is dead I know he has a living Son and Daughter and grandchildren but I just want any information possible just for questions I myself have although I don’t know if his family want to know about me or not I am Doing this to answer questions about my Heritage I am now 75 years old and I am thinking about going thru Ancestry to see if there is any information available please help Thank You Nadine SNELL …

Kathi Montgomery

Sunday 19th of February 2023


Thank you for this article on finding a biological father. Recently, my two brothers and I learned we have the same mother who is Russian and grew up in Russia, but each of us has a different biological father.

I have identified my biological father (now deceased) but am trying to help my two brothers find their biological father.

My oldest brother was born in Moscow, Russia, 11-22-1944, and his paternal ethnicity is 31% Irish.

My second oldest brother was born in Florence, Italy, 10-4-1947, and his paternal ethnicity is 31% Northern Italy.

On, their Close Family DNA Matches are identified, but in their Distant Family Matches, they have 4th-6th cousins with whom they share 1 % DNA.

I've messaged several of their Distant Family Matches but have received no response.

I've uploaded by oldest brother's DNA results to GEDmatch; FTDNA; and MyHeritage but they show only Distant Family DNA matches.

Can you suggest any other routes I might take to try and identify their biological father?

Thank you.

K. Montgomery


Saturday 21st of January 2023

My son knocked up a girl and left her when she was like 5 months pregnant. Now his ex contacted me and said I have a grandson and he is a year old but my son doesn’t want anything to do with that kid. I have ancestry and would like to know if I could get a DNA kit for that little boy to see if I am his grandmother. Thanks!

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