The Best DNA Test for Finding Living Relatives

If you are thinking about doing a DNA test for ethnicity or ancestry, you might be wondering which one is the right one for you.  If you are interested in taking a DNA test for finding living relatives, especially people who are living in the United States, this post will explain why Ancestry DNA is the best choice.

When trying to find living family with a DNA test, you should choose a company that:

  • is reliable and trustworthy
  • has a large database of customers who have already tested
  • will continue to grow its database
Best DNA test for finding living family

When I first got interested in doing a DNA test, I was only interested in learning about my family’s ethnicity.  I was curious about the Native American heritage that some people in our family said we might have, along with some other reasons.  My husband, who was also curious about his family history, decided to do the test as well.  We had no idea that we would also have access to thousands upon thousands of DNA matches.

One of the first things that I noticed when I logged in to check my DNA results was a close family match.  She turned out to be a family member that we never knew about, and we now have a great relationship.  I got my results almost four years ago now, and I still find new family matches every week.  Of course, most matches are more distant cousins, but I feel good knowing that my DNA is out there and might help a close family member find their family someday.

Why is Ancestry DNA the best choice for finding family?

When I was trying to decide which company to use for DNA testing, I just picked the one that I had heard the most about.  It turns out that I made a great choice.  Ancestry has tested well over 15 million people, and all of those people have their DNA samples in the database to be compared to yours. 

Personally, I have over 16,000 people on my DNA match list.  They range from my close relatives (my daughter, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles) to close cousins (first, second, and third), and even distant cousins (like 6th-8th cousins).  Everything that I could possibly want to learn about my family’s history, including finding new relatives, is only a few mouse clicks away.

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What do you get with Ancestry DNA results?

For those looking for family, you will be happy to know that your DNA results will include a long list of relatives.  The particular relatives that are on your list depend on which of them have tested.  Your relatives will be listed in categories (i.e immediate family, close relative, first cousin, second cousin, etc.)  You will be able to see the username or name of your DNA match, whether or not they have a family tree published on Ancestry, exactly how much DNA you share together, and their ethnicities.

Even if you are only looking for living family with your DNA, there are some other interesting features that come along with your results:

  • Access to your unique ethnicity (you might find some surprises!) reaching back as far as 500 years or so
  • Ability to attach your DNA to a family tree and learn even more about your family history
  • Shared Ancestor Hints and DNA Circles, if you have a public family tree attached to your results

One of my favorite aspects of my DNA results is that they are regularly updated.  When a new Ancestry DNA customer tests, if they show up as a match to me, they are added to my match list.  In other words, my match list is always growing.  Additionally, when they develop a new way to analyze ethnicity or find additional information that might be helpful, they automatically update my results to reflect the latest in research.  This is all included in the initial cost of the kit – I don’t pay anything extra to get this updated access.

For example, when I first got my DNA results back, I only had about 40 fourth cousins or closer.  I now I have more than 330 fourth cousins or closer! And many more thousands of more distant matches than I had when I wrote this article a few months back.

(You do need a subscription to access public family trees, and see the family trees of your DNA matches, but there are many features available without a subscription.)

Want to see an example of Ancestry DNA results?

What is the first step to test my DNA?

You can use this sponsored link to order your Ancestry DNA kit: Discover the story AncestryDNA® can tell.

  • The test usually takes 6-8 weeks from the time that you send in your sample.
  • Also, make sure that you subscribe to my newsletter.  I send it out once per week, and it includes articles about all aspects of understanding your DNA results.  I can help you find your family, understand your ethnicity results, and so much more.


I hope that this article helped explain why Ancestry DNA is the best choice for finding living relatives and lost family.  It has genuinely been an excellent experience for me, and I hope that you have similar success in finding family.  If you have any questions or comments about anything that you read here, please leave me a comment.

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