By: Courtney Eberhard

In today’s era of advanced genetic testing, DNA matches hold the key to unlocking our genetic heritage and solving genealogical puzzles.

Whether you’re a hesitant individual seeking guidance on initiating contact or looking for subtle approaches, reaching out to DNA matches can significantly aid your genealogical research. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of connecting with DNA matches, discuss effective communication strategies, and provide tips for handling various responses.

Identify Which Matches You Want to Connect with for Efficient Research

When you conduct DNA tests with FamilyTreeDNA, you open the door to a treasure trove of potential relatives waiting to be discovered. FamilyTreeDNA offers various types of tests, including Family Finder, Y-DNA, and mtDNA, each with its own unique benefits. Let’s walk through how to locate and identify DNA matches effectively.

How to Find Family Finder Matches You Want to Contact

The Family Finder test analyzes autosomal DNA, inherited from both maternal and paternal lines, making it the most versatile test for finding genetic matches across all ancestral lines. To locate and identify DNA matches using Family Finder, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Family Finder Matches section: Sign in to your FamilyTreeDNA account and locate the Family Finder Matches section. Here, you’ll find a list of individuals who share autosomal DNA segments with you.

  2. Analyze match information: Take time to understand the information displayed for each match. Look for shared DNA segments, estimated relationships, and any additional details provided by the match. Pay attention to the total amount of shared DNA and the longest contiguous segment, as these can provide clues to the closeness of the relationship.

  3. Explore shared matches: FamilyTreeDNA provides a list of shared matches for each DNA match. Investigate these shared matches as they may provide additional insights into your common ancestry.

For more information on Family Finder matches, you can refer to the following resources:

How to Find Y-DNA Matches You Want to Contact

The Y-DNA test is beneficial for tracing the direct paternal line, passing down from father to son. If you are a male or have a male relative who can take the test, you can delve into the world of paternal line matches. To utilize Y-DNA matches effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Y-DNA Matches section: Within your FamilyTreeDNA account, locate the Y-DNA Matches section specifically for Y-DNA testing results.

  2. Analyze match information: Similar to Family Finder matches, review the information provided for each Y-DNA match. Look for genetic distance, haplogroup information, and any additional details shared by the match.

  3. Explore surname projects: FamilyTreeDNA has various surname Group Projects where individuals with the same or similar surnames can collaborate and compare their Y-DNA results. Engaging with these projects can provide additional insights and potential connections.

For more information on Y-DNA matches, you can refer to the following resources:

How to Find mtDNA Matches You Want to Contact

The mtDNA test focuses on tracing the direct maternal line, passed down from mother to both daughters and sons. To make the most of your mtDNA matches, consider the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the mtDNA Matches section: Within your FamilyTreeDNA account, locate the mtDNA Matches section dedicated to mtDNA testing results.

  2. Analyze match information: Review the provided information for each mtDNA match, including genetic distance, haplogroup details, and any additional information shared by the match.

  3. Explore maternal haplogroup projects: FamilyTreeDNA has maternal haplogroup Group Projects where individuals with the same or similar haplogroups can connect and collaborate. Engaging with these Group Projects can deepen your understanding of your maternal line and potentially lead to valuable connections.

For more information on mtDNA matches, you can refer to the following resources:

By exploring DNA matches through different test types offered by FamilyTreeDNA, you can uncover diverse branches of your family tree and gain valuable insights into your genetic heritage. Take the time to analyze the match information and explore additional projects and resources available within the platform.

Crafting Engaging and Personalized Messages New Matches Will Respond To

Contacting new DNA matches can be an exciting yet delicate process. Here are some guidelines for composing engaging and personalized messages that will help you make a meaningful connection:

Be Friendly and Cordial

When reaching out to a new DNA match, it’s essential to be friendly and cordial in your communication. Remember, your goal is to establish a connection and potentially collaborate on genealogical research. To set a positive tone, consider the following tips:

  • Start your message with a warm greeting. Begin by addressing your match by their name or username. A simple “Hello” or “Hi [Match’s Name]” can go a long way in making your message feel personal and welcoming.

  • Express your enthusiasm. Share your excitement about the shared DNA connection. Let your match know that you are thrilled to have discovered this genetic link and that you are eager to explore the potential family connection.

  • Use a conversational tone. Write your message in a conversational style rather than a formal one. Avoid using overly technical or complex language that may intimidate or confuse your match. Remember, you are initiating a conversation, so strive for a relaxed and approachable tone.

Tailor Your Message

To make your message more engaging and meaningful, take the time to personalize it by mentioning specific details from your match’s profile or shared ancestral regions. This demonstrates your genuine interest and shows that you’ve invested effort in understanding their background. Consider the following tips:

  • Reference shared ancestral regions. If you and your match have common ancestral regions or surnames listed in your profiles, highlight those connections in your message. This will immediately establish a common ground and provide a starting point for conversation.

  • Acknowledge shared DNA segments. If you notice specific shared DNA segments or haplogroups mentioned in your match’s profile, make a mention of them in your message. It shows that you have taken the time to review the details and are genuinely interested in exploring the genetic connection.

  • Ask questions. Engage your match by asking open-ended questions related to their family history or genealogical research. This encourages them to share their knowledge and experiences, fostering a deeper connection.

Remember, the key is to strike a balance between personalization and respect for privacy. Be mindful that not everyone may be comfortable sharing extensive personal information initially. Tailor your message based on the level of information provided by your match and respect their boundaries.

By crafting friendly and personalized messages, you increase the likelihood of establishing a meaningful connection with your DNA matches.

Now that you know the importance of setting a positive tone and personalizing your message, let’s explore some template emails that you can use as a starting point for reaching out to your new DNA matches.

Template 1: Warm Greeting and Shared Ancestral Regions

Subject: Hello from a DNA Match!

Dear [Match’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well! I recently discovered that we are DNA matches on FamilyTreeDNA, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It’s incredible to think that we may share a common heritage and family connections.

I noticed that we both have ancestral roots in [Shared Ancestral Region]. As someone who is deeply interested in genealogy and uncovering family stories, I find it fascinating that our paths have crossed through our DNA. It would be wonderful to learn more about your family history and see if we can uncover any shared ancestors.

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is [Your Name]. In my research, I have traced my family lineage back to [Earliest Known Ancestor Name and Location]. I have attached a pedigree chart outlining my direct ancestors for your reference.

My [Test Name] Matches List shows that [I share/(Name on kit) shares] DNA with [Match Name].

If you’re open to it, I would love to connect and exchange information about our family trees. I believe there is so much we can learn from each other’s research. Please feel free to share any stories, names, or places that are significant to your family history. I’m eager to explore our potential connections and help each other in our genealogical journey.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I look forward to hearing from you and discovering more about our shared heritage. Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Warmest regards,

[Your Name]

Template 2: Enthusiasm and Shared DNA Segments

Subject: Hello, DNA Match!

Hi [Match’s Name],

I hope this email brings a smile to your face as it did to mine when I discovered that we are DNA matches on FamilyTreeDNA. It’s incredible to think that our shared DNA links us together and opens up a world of possibilities for understanding our family history.

I noticed that we have some interesting shared DNA segments and haplogroups listed in our profiles. It’s fascinating to consider the connections we may have and the stories waiting to be uncovered. I’m eager to explore this further and see if we can piece together the puzzle of our shared ancestry.

First and foremost, allow me to introduce myself. My name is [Your Name]. In my research, I have traced my family lineage back to [Earliest Known Ancestor Name and Location]. I have attached a pedigree chart outlining my direct ancestors for your reference.

My [Test Name] Matches List shows that [I share/(Name on kit) shares] DNA with [Match Name].

If you’re as enthusiastic as I am, I would love to connect with you. Please feel free to share any details, names, or stories that you believe might help us in our search. Let’s dive into this fascinating world of genealogy together and see where it takes us.

Thank you for your time, and I genuinely look forward to hearing from you. If there’s anything specific you would like to discuss or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here’s to uncovering our shared heritage!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Encouraging Upgrades from Your Matches Can Help Your Own Research

Engaging with existing DNA matches is crucial for building long-lasting connections and maximizing research efforts. In addition to maintaining regular communication and exchanging research findings, you can also encourage your matches to upgrade their DNA tests for enhanced analysis and access to additional features. Here’s how:

Highlight the Benefits of Upgrading

When reaching out to your existing matches, take the opportunity to educate them about the advantages of upgrading their DNA tests. Explain how an upgrade canprovide more precise matches, uncover deeper ancestral connections, and offer access to advanced tools and resources.

Emphasize the potential for expanding their genealogical knowledge and breaking down stubborn brick walls.

Share Your Own Upgrade Experience

Personal stories can be powerful motivators. If you have upgraded your own DNA test and experienced the benefits firsthand, share your journey with your matches. Describe how the upgrade has:

  • Enriched your genealogical research by providing more clues and information to explore.

  • Brought you closer to discovering new relatives by testing additional markers.

  • Provided insights into specific aspects of your ancestry by refining your haplogroups to specific migration paths with a more recent TMRCA.

By sharing your positive experience, you can inspire others to consider an upgrade.

Provide Guidance on the Upgrade Process

Some matches may be hesitant to upgrade due to uncertainty or unfamiliarity with the process.

  • Offer your assistance by providing step-by-step instructions or directing them to helpful resources provided by FamilyTreeDNA.

  • Share relevant links or articles that explain the upgrade options, costs, and the additional features they can unlock.

  • Familiarize yourself with the FamilyTreeDNA help articles on upgrades, such as [insert relevant links here], so you can guide your matches effectively.

Offer Support and Answer Questions

Be prepared to address any concerns or questions your matches may have about upgrading. Assure them that the upgrade process is straightforward and that FamilyTreeDNA provides excellent customer support. Be available to provide guidance, share your knowledge, and offer reassurance if needed.

Remember to maintain a friendly and approachable tone to encourage open communication.

Now, let’s explore some template emails that you can use as a starting point for reaching out to your matches about upgrading.

Template 1: Highlighting Benefits and Sharing Personal Experience

Subject: Enhance Your Genealogical Journey with a DNA Test Upgrade!

Dear [Match’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. Our DNA match on FamilyTreeDNA has been an exciting discovery, and I wanted to reach out and share some information that could further enrich our genealogical research.

Have you considered upgrading your DNA test? Upgrading offers a range of benefits, including more precise matches, deeper ancestral connections, and access to advanced analysis tools. I recently upgraded my own DNA test and have been amazed by the new discoveries it has brought to light.

The upgrade process is simple and straightforward. FamilyTreeDNA provides excellent support and resources to guide you through each step. I encourage you to explore the upgrade options available and consider the enhanced possibilities they can offer in uncovering our shared heritage.

Let me introduce myself. My name is [Your Name]. In my research, I have traced my family lineage back to [Earliest Known Ancestor Name and Location]. I have attached a pedigree chart outlining my direct ancestors for your reference.

My [Test Name] Matches List shows that [I share/(Name on kit) shares] DNA with [Match Name].

If you have any questions or need assistance with the upgrade process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help and share my experience. Let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the full potential of our DNA connections!

Wishing you continued success in your genealogical endeavors.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Template 2: Informative and Supportive

Subject: Explore New Possibilities with an Upgrade to Your DNA Test!

Dear [Match’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well and that you’re enjoying your genealogical journey. As our DNA match on FamilyTreeDNA, I wanted to share some exciting information that could take our research to the next level.

Have you considered upgrading your DNA test? Upgrading offers numerous benefits, such as more precise matches, deeper ancestral connections, and access to advanced analysis tools. It’s an opportunity to uncover hidden family stories and expand our understanding of our shared heritage.

Let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is [Your Name]. Through my research, I have traced my family lineage back to [Earliest Known Ancestor Name and Location]. I’ve been actively exploring the possibilities that an upgraded test can provide, and I believe it could greatly enhance our collaborative efforts.

My [Test Name] Matches List shows that [I share/(Name on kit) shares] DNA with [Match Name].

The upgrade process is user-friendly and well-supported by FamilyTreeDNA. They provide helpful resources and guidance to ensure a seamless experience. I encourage you to consider the upgrade options available and the new avenues it can open up for our genealogical research.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to reach out. I’m here to offer support, share insights, and help you navigate the upgrade process. Together, let’s delve deeper into our shared heritage and uncover the remarkable stories waiting to be discovered!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

How to Handle Positive and Negative Responses Effectively

When contacting DNA matches, it’s essential to manage expectations and handle different responses with grace. While some matches may respond positively and engage enthusiastically, others may respond negatively or not respond at all. Here’s how to navigate the various outcomes:

Engaging with Positive Responses

Receiving a positive response from a DNA match is an exciting moment. It signifies the potential for collaboration and a shared journey in unraveling your genealogy. Here’s how to make the most of positive responses:

  • Express gratitude and enthusiasm. Reply promptly to acknowledge the match’s response. Thank them for their positive and receptive communication and express your excitement about exploring your shared genetic heritage. By reciprocating their enthusiasm, you can foster a strong and collaborative relationship.

  • Maintain open communication. Keep the conversation flowing by sharing information, asking questions, and exchanging research findings. Regular updates and progress reports can strengthen your connection and deepen your understanding of your shared ancestry. Don’t hesitate to suggest collaboration on specific genealogical projects or research goals that align with your mutual interests.

  • Explore shared resources. Take advantage of the tools and features available on the FamilyTreeDNA platform. Collaboratively analyze shared DNA segments, haplogroups, and other genetic markers to uncover meaningful connections. Participate in projects or groups that focus on your shared heritage or ancestral regions, as they can provide valuable insights and opportunities for further exploration.

Remember, building a strong relationship with positive matches is an ongoing process. Cultivate a sense of trust, respect, and open communication to nurture your shared genealogical journey.

Engaging with Negative or Non-Responses

Not every DNA match will respond positively or even respond at all. It’s crucial to respect individual privacy preferences and understand that not everyone may be open to contact or collaboration. If you encounter negative or non-responses, follow these guidelines:

  • Gracefully accept their decision. If you receive a negative response or no response at all, respect the match’s privacy and their choice to not engage further. Remember that everyone has different reasons for participating in DNA testing and some may prefer to keep their genetic information private or not pursue genealogical connections at the moment. Avoid taking it personally and maintain a respectful stance.

  • Focus on other potential matches. Instead of dwelling on non-responsive or negative matches, shift your attention to other DNA matches who may be more receptive to communication. FamilyTreeDNA provides a wide array of potential relatives, so explore other avenues and continue searching for new connections. Keep an open mind, as the next match could lead to significant breakthroughs in your genealogical research.

  • Seek support within the genealogy community. Genealogy enthusiasts and DNA testing communities are filled with individuals who have experienced similar situations. Engage with these communities whether through forums, social media groups, or dedicated genealogy websites. Share your experiences and seek advice or encouragement from others who have navigated similar challenges.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to foster meaningful connections and expand your understanding of your genetic heritage. While negative or non-responses may be disheartening, they should not discourage you from continuing your genealogical journey and reaching out to other potential matches who may share your excitement.

By managing different responses with grace, you can maintain a positive mindset and focus on the possibilities that lie ahead. Embrace the connections that bring joy and move forward with enthusiasm, knowing that each interaction contributes to your genealogical exploration.

Further Tips for Building DNA Connections That Will Help Your Research

To maximize success and build meaningful connections with DNA matches, consider the following tips:

Participate in Group Projects to Find More Matches

Engaging in Group Projects allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for genealogy. These platforms provide opportunities to exchange knowledge, share research findings, and expand your network of potential matches.

By actively participating in these communities, you increase your chances of finding valuable connections and uncovering hidden family stories.

Sharing Family Stories and Anecdotes Increases Your Chances of a Breakthrough

Building a sense of connection goes beyond shared DNA segments. Share family stories, anecdotes, and photos with your matches. These personal narratives add depth and context to your shared genetic heritage, fostering a deeper bond and creating a more complete picture of your family history.

By sharing these stories, you may unlock valuable information or trigger memories that can help in your collective research efforts.

Keep Matches Informed of Research Updates

Regular communication is essential for maintaining and strengthening relationships with your DNA matches. Keep your matches informed about your research progress, breakthroughs, and new findings.

Similarly, be open to assisting your matches when they seek help or guidance. By offering your support and expertise, you contribute to a collaborative and supportive community focused on mutual genealogical success.

Celebrate Successful Breakthroughs Together

Genealogy is a journey filled with thrilling discoveries. When you or your matches achieve a breakthrough or make a significant discovery, celebrate it together. Share your excitement and highlight the power of collaboration and collective effort. By acknowledging these successes, you inspire and motivate others, fostering a positive and vibrant community of DNA enthusiasts.

Proactively Communicating with Matches Will Help Accelerate Your Genealogy Research

Contacting DNA matches on FamilyTreeDNA is a transformative step towards uncovering your genetic heritage, expanding your family connections, and overcoming genealogical brickwalls. By reaching out to matches, you embark on a journey of discovery, expanding your understanding of your ancestral roots and shaping your personal narrative. It’s important to approach these contacts with friendliness, cordiality, and respect for individual privacy preferences.

Remember, not every contact will result in an immediate connection or collaboration. Some matches may not respond or may decline further interaction. It’s crucial to handle rejection gracefully and shift your focus to other potential matches who may be more receptive. Building meaningful connections takes time, patience, and persistence.

Embrace the power of proactive communication, as it is the key to unlocking the full potential of your DNA matches. Through regular contact, collaboration, and sharing of research findings, you can maximize your genealogical success. Engage in collaborative projects, share family stories, provide assistance when needed, and celebrate breakthroughs together.

As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that each contact brings you closer to uncovering your unique family history and connecting with relatives you never knew existed. Embrace the power of DNA testing, nurture your connections, and let the stories of your ancestors unfold.

Happy matching!

Courtney Eberhard - FamilyTreeDNA Blog

About the Author

Courtney Eberhard

Marketing Coordinator at FamilyTreeDNA

Courtney Eberhard, the Marketing Coordinator at FamilyTreeDNA, is driven by a profound passion for genealogy, fueled by her personal journey as an adoptee with roots in the LDS church. Through research with FamilyTreeDNA, she has also been able to uncover her husband’s indigenous roots in Mexico and provide context for his origins.

In her spare time, she finds joy in connecting with her family and friends during cookouts, cheering for the Houston Astros, and cherishing her role as a dedicated full-time parent to a two-year-old.