Posted by Ancestry Team on October 21, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Hear it from an adoptee, a story of she not only found out she is Irish, Scandinavian and European Jewish, but how she connected to a few family members as well. Read or listen to Nancy’s story hereBackground image of DNA molecule. Science concept

Taking a DNA test can open up possibilities that haven’t been available before, but will they happen to you? There is only one way to find out. Take a DNA test for yourself.

Once you have those results back, you can review them. DNA can unlock the mystery of where your genetic roots came from 500+ years ago. Your unique DNA reveals what you have inherited from those who came before you. Are you Irish? Native American? Italian? When you take an AncestryDNA test, we compare your DNA to the known regions around the world and give you an estimate of how your DNA matches those regions. I have talked to many people who are adopted and the ethnicity is one of their top reasons for taking the test.

Now that you know where in the world your story started, you can dive into the matching. We compare your DNA to everyone else who has taken an AncestryDNA test to see if you can find family members to connect you with. Can you image finding a 1st cousin, aunt or even a sibling? It has happened. I have heard of some life-changing stories. If you didn’t read the story at the beginning of this article make sure you go back and read it. I would be confident to say that it has changed her life.

Are you an adoptee who is hoping to find family members through an AncestryDNA test? Here are four tips for success.

1. Look at the Closest Matches First

This seems simply enough, but if you don’t have anything closer than a 4th cousin-matching can get discouraging. It may take some time before a closer connection takes the test and we can compare them to you.

2. Contact All of Your 2nd Cousin Matches and Closer

Asking never hurts. Based on the predicted relationship, contact your 1st cousin and 2nd cousin matches to see what the possible connection could be. For example, a 1st cousin relationship would mean you probably share grandparents and 2nd cousins would share great-grandparents. A half-aunt or uncle could also show up as a 1st cousin and that is because you share only enough DNA as a 1st cousin. The further you go back the harder it will be to decide where the connection is.

3. Link Your AncestryDNA Results to a Tree

I know, you’re adopted and don’t know your tree. But put in your tree “adopted” and include anything you may know: a location, a surname… something. Not linking a tree is discouraging to your matches; they want to see something. It may seem like a crazy idea, but it may also help.

4. Be Patient

Depending on how much tree data you have online you may never figure out how you are related to some of your matches. Don’t get discouraged. Check back often and revisit your matches.

Read adoption success stories.

Begin with an AncestryDNA test and start making discoveries of your own.


  1. I find hope in your post. I almost give up tracing my ancestry root. I tried asking my cousins about our ancestor. Seemingly, they don’t have time to trace it. Thanks!

  2. Karen Campbell

    My son is doing a Y67 test. His legal last name is Campbell. I am his biological mother, know who is bio father is but not WHERE, and my son was adopted by my second husband. WHAT family project should he join? The obvious one of bio father? But we are more interested in his lineage though my side of the family. Where can I get advice? Thank you

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