About 20% of Americans have 1 or more unassigned matches on 23andMe, which means we have one or more close relatives that we may not know about. While finding your DNA matches may be quite unexpected, it’s a pleasant way to start connecting with them.
Genetics is the study of inherited traits, and when you’re preparing to contact your DNA matches for the first time, your identities both have roles to play. Your DNA matches are already aware of your identities, but it’s up to you to introduce yourself. Dating sites and applications allow you to introduce yourself, and your DNA matches are most likely using these apps to meet you. What should you say? Here’s what not to say, just in case you don’t want to break the ice by spilling the punch line.
Contacting your DNA Matches
Now that you’ve got your DNA test results back, you’re probably eager to start contacting your DNA matches. But how do you start? The first step is to figure out who your matches are and then figure out WHAT you want to say.
Contacting your DNA matches is an often-recommended activity for genealogists. It’s a great way to connect with relatives you might not otherwise know about, and it can help you fill in missing portions of your family tree.
Getting in touch with your DNA matches was one of the first challenges people faced when they signed up for DNA testing kits and uploaded the results to genealogy websites. That’s why the DNA Relatives app was created. The app lets you send personalized messages to your DNA matches, letting them know you’re interested in meeting up in person. Setting up a match meeting is easy; just send them a short message detailing why you’d like to meet up, where you’d like to meet (city, state, or country), and when you’d like to meet. After that, they’ll send you away with directions.
So, you’re ready to contact some of your DNA matches. But before you do, it’s important to understand a DNA match. It is when two individuals share enough DNA in their match list to be related potentially. While there are hundreds of types of DNA matches, the most common type is a cousin match. A cousin match means two individuals have the same biological relative. For example, if your cousin shares the same great, great, great grandfather, they would be a DNA match to you.
What to expect with DNA Matches?
DNA is a collection of genetic coding humans inherit from their parents, which is responsible for some or all of our traits. One of the biggest benefits of DNA testing is that it can help us understand more about ourselves, our ancestry, and our family history. By getting a DNA test, we can compare ourselves to our DNA matches to learn more about who we are and where we come from.
DNA matches are an exciting aspect of genealogy. Knowing who your ancestors were and where they came from can give you a sense of who you are, where you came from, and what you can expect from your family. These matches can also expand that perspective by letting you compare your DNA to that of people who share ancestors with yours but not with you.
Tips for contacting DNA matches
DNA matching can seem like a long and arduous task, but taking the time now to get in touch with your family members is time well spent. It is important in order to find out if you, or other family members, have any hereditary health concerns you should be aware of. These health concerns can include diseases such as diabetes or cancer.
As a genetic genealogist, one of the questions I often get asked is: “How do I get in touch with the person whose DNA matches mine?” It’s one of the most important questions because getting in touch can lead you to your long-lost relatives. However, finding a DNA match online is not the end of the road — there is a lot more to finding your roots.
Many of us have contacted our DNA matches to see if we can authenticate our genealogical research. However, not every DNA match is free! Most are on a paid service, and there are a few that charge a monthly subscription. The lesson learned is to get all the information you can from matches, and if you don’t feel confident enough in your knowledge to go any further, then don’t. However, if you do, then be prepared to pay a monthly fee for access to the DNA, family history, and genealogy resources offered by the site, and be prepared to get information in return for that.