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What Does “DNA Verified” Mean on Ancestry?

Have you ever seen “DNA Verified” on someone’s Ancestry tree? You may have seen any number of variations of this, fonts with different colors, and all usually having a simple “DNA” icon. What does it mean when you see this on someone’s tree?

In this post, I’ll explain:

  • Exactly what “DNA verified” means on Ancestry DNA
  • How and why people put this in their tree
  • The pros and cons of adding this type of graphic to your own family tree
  • Plus, want to use a graphic in your tree to indicate your relative is DNA related? Check out the graphic at the end of this post.
What Does _DNA Verified_ Mean on Ancestry_

The meaning of “DNA Verified” on Ancestry

You might notice that someone has “DNA Verified” as an ancestor’s profile photo on Ancestry. Other times, it is in the image gallery connected to an ancestor’s profile, which might make it show up as a hint for you (if you share that ancestor or relative in common).

People choose to put a “DNA Verified” placeholder or image in their relative’s profile in order to indicate that they have DNA evidence that they are truly descended from, or related to, that particular person.

For example, if your first cousin does a DNA test and you share the amount of DNA that is expected for full first cousins (i.e. two people who share one set of grandparents), then you could take this as “DNA proof” that you are descended from those grandparents. This is a scenario where someone might add the “DNA Verified” graphic to their family tree.

The same concept is used for more distant ancestors. For example, I had a DNA match show up a few years ago who was a first cousin three-times removed to me. She was very elderly, and shared 179 centimorgans with me. Our most recent common ancestors (MRCA) are my great-great-great grandparents born about 1860 (they were her grandparents).

Based on the amount of shared DNA that I had with this match, and the fact that this same match shares 635 centimorgans with my grandmother (perfect amount for a first cousin once-removed), I feel confident that I am actually descended from both of my great-great-great grandparents. If I wanted to, I could add a “DNA Verified” graphic to my ancestor’s profiles.

Why people put “DNA Verified” in their tree

Most people add “DNA Verified” graphics to their trees for their own benefit. It can help the owner of the tree visually keep track of which ancestors they feel confident that they are biologically descended from. This is most useful (and most reliable) with more recent ancestors, but people do occasionally use them for more distant relatives.

The image below is from my own tree, where I have added a simple DNA graphic to my tree. I did it as an example to demonstrate what it might look like if you did this in your tree. I could easily look at my tree and figure out which lines need more DNA focus, especially if I am concerned about a particular line of my tree.

Should you use this graphic?

I’ve noticed that people tend to have strong feelings on this topic. My personal opinion leans towards a “live and let live” philosophy. If it helps people keep their tree and DNA results organized, then that’s fantastic. If someone doesn’t feel like they need to do this in their tree, that’s great, too!

This graphic might show up as a “hint” for other Ancestry users, and they might add it to their tree, even if they aren’t descended from or related to the relative in question. In fact, this might be how you spotted this type of graphic initially. When you are checking through hints, you can ignore these type of graphics instead of adding them to your ancestor’s profile.

Do you want to “DNA Verify” your ancestors?

If you haven’t yet taken a DNA test and happened upon this article to learn more about why people post this graphic to their tree, you might be curious about how DNA can help you verify your family tree and learn more about your ancestors.

DNA is a very useful tool for genealogists, even those with an extensive family tree. I highly recommend the experience, no matter where you are in your research.

Looking for a DNA Verified placeholder or graphic?

I’ve provided you a “DNA Verified” graphic that you can use in your own trees, should you decide that you’d like to use this graphic to indicate that you have DNA evidence that you are indeed descended from a particular ancestor.

You can download the image below to use and share freely:

How to add a “DNA Verified” graphic to your Ancestry tree

In order to add this graphic to your tree, you will first need to add it to the gallery in your ancestor’s profile. Once you have uploaded it to your gallery, you can then click on your ancestor’s current profile image and will be given the option to choose an image from the gallery to use as the profile picture. Choose the above image (or the image that you chose) that you uploaded to their gallery. Then, click “use full image” at the bottom of the screen. That’s it!


I hope that this post helped you understand what it means when you see “DNA verified” on someone’s family tree and why people use this graphic. How do you feel about including this photo in your tree? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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