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What is Family Matching on Living DNA

Do you want to know what Family Matching on Living DNA is? In this post, I’ll answer this question and help you explore your Living DNA match list. Plus, learn a little bit about how to understand your DNA matches.

My husband tested directly with Living DNA, he was able to access his recent ancestry report and his family matching list. It was a great deal since the reports provided insight into his ancestry that we didn’t get with the other DNA tests that he has done.

What is Family Matching on Living DNA

I will be using my husband’s Living DNA results in order to illustrate the key elements of Living DNA Family Matching.

Did you know? Many people uploaded their DNA to Living DNA and only have access to Family Matching. It’s important to know that if you uploaded your DNA information to Living DNA you can upgrade your uploaded Living DNA results for free to get an “Ancestry Teaser”, or pay $39 (USD) to receive a full recent ancestry breakdown.

What is family matching on Living DNA?

When you do a DNA test with Living DNA, they compare your DNA to the DNA of their other customers to see if you share identical segments. We share identical DNA segments with people who we are related to.

The Family Matching section of our Living DNA results contains the names of other people who have also tested with Living DNA and who share identical DNA segments5 with us. People who are more closely related to us will share more identical DNA, and distant relatives might only share one or two small segments.

This means that the people who show up on our Living DNA match list under the Family Matching results are related to us in some way. No DNA testing company can tell us exactly how we are related to our DNA matches, except in parent/child match scenarios.

In the image below, you can one of my DNA husband’s DNA matches from his Living DNA match list. I have placed a red rectangle around the predicted relationship, which in this case is 5th cousin.

What does predicted relationship mean on Living DNA
The predicted relationship can be seen within the red rectangle
Image Source: Living DNA

In order to know whether my husband and this particular DNA match are 5th cousins (or closer, or more distant), I would need to examine both family trees in order to spot connections.

How to Access DNA matches on Living DNA

There are currently two ways to access your Living DNA match list. The first way is from your main Living DNA app dashboard, which is the screen that you see when you first log in to the site.

The image below is a screen capture of my husband’s Living DNA dashboard. To access his DNA matches from this screen, I will click where it says “Family Matching”.

How to access Family Matching from the main Living DNA dashboard
I put a red arrow pointed to exactly where to click!
Image source: Living DNA

The second way to access Living DNA matches is from your ancestry results page. For example, as shown in the image below, my husband can access his Family Matching (i.e. DNA matches) by clicking on the Family Matching tab on his ancestry results.

I put a red circle around the greyed-out tab where you’ll need to click to find your matches:

How to access DNA matches from your Ancestry Results screen on Living DNA
If you click on the text “Family Matching” (circled in the image above), you can see your DNA matches on Living DNA
Image source: Living DNA

How to understand Living DNA matches

As I mentioned above, Living DNA estimates your relationship with your DNA matches using the amount of centimorgans shared between you and your match. Using this information, along with information that we can learn about our matching through our own research, we can often determine our exact relationship with our matches.

Click here to buy the Understand Your DNA Results Ebook

Why can’t DNA testing companies tell us exactly how we are related our DNA matches? It’s because for every relationship type, there is a range of shared DNA that can be seen.

Additionally, the ranges for each relationship overlap with ranges seen for other relationship types.

Below, I have a two tips with making the most of your Living DNA matches and understanding your list:

Build a family tree to make the most of your Living DNA match list

DNA testing is not, unfortunately, a substitute for good family tree research. Instead, it’s a tool in the genealogist’s toolbox. This means that building your own family tree is a good first step in understanding your Living DNA match list.

Contact your Living DNA matches to see if they have an online family tree

If you don’t recognize the name of your Living DNA match, I would highly recommend doing some searching online to see if you can find a tree that they’ve made on some of the popular family tree building sites. If you find that they don’t have a family tree anywhere that you can locate, you could contact them to see if they would be willing to share what they know about their family tree with you.

DNA matches are often willing to provide surnames of grandparents or great-grandparents to their DNA matches in order to help interested parties figure out their common ancestor. Keep in mind that not all of our DNA matches know about their ancestry.

Does Living DNA have a Chromosome Browser?

A chromosome browser is a great way to examine and compare your DNA to that of your family match in order to see the size and location of shared DNA segments. This information can be very helpful in determining the exact nature of your relationship with your DNA match.

As of November 2019, Living DNA has not activated the Chromosome Viewer feature for Family Matching. According to the site, it is a feature that will be released at some point in the future.

I know I am looking forward to this feature being added to my Living DNA results. For the time being, I will enjoy checking my DNA matches periodically in order to see in someone new pops up.

Your Living DNA Match list might grow

As more people do DNA tests with Living DNA, your match list might grow in number. This is why it is a good idea to check your Family Matching list every once in a while in order to see if anyone new has popped up.

New Living DNA customers whose DNA matches yours will be added to your list as they get their results back.

Do you want to get a Living DNA test?

If you haven’t already ordered a Living DNA test, you can get your by using this sponsored link:


I hope that this post has helped you understand what family matching on Living DNA is, how to access your DNA matches on the site, and the basics of how to understand your matches.

If you have any questions about something that you have read in this post or if you would like to add something about your own experience exploring your Living DNA matches, I would love for you to join us in the discussion below.

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