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, you’re reaching out to someone with a shared history and heritage. In such an instance, 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. Professional private detective services by Bond Rees and similar agencies would be more than up to the task to assist you in finding these distant family members. All that leaves for you then is approaching and connecting with them.
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 also created. Remember that not everyone you know might not always be on this app, but it’s a start. 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?
When you’re finally ready to dive into the world of DNA genealogy and reach out to your DNA matches, it’s essential to know what to expect from the process. DNA matches are individuals who share segments of DNA with you, indicating a potential familial relationship. The first thing to keep in mind is that not all matches will respond or have the same level of interest in genealogy as you do. Some may be eager to connect and collaborate, while others may be less responsive or even have their DNA tested solely for health-related reasons. Be prepared for a range of responses.
Additionally, not all matches will have a close relationship with you; some might be distant cousins, while others could be more closely related. Remember that DNA matches are merely a starting point for your genealogical research, and building a family tree together often requires additional traditional research methods. Approach your DNA matches with curiosity, respect, and an open mind, as each connection could uncover fascinating pieces of your family history.
Tips for contacting DNA matches
DNA matching can seem like a long and arduous task, but the chance to get in touch with your distant family members can be 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.