Posted by Anna Swayne on October 31, 2016 in AncestryDNA, Website

Having a small, medium, or large tree attached to your test will help you get the most from your AncestryDNA experience. Whether you started your DNA journey to find out where in the world you came from, or to find a new cousin, attaching a family tree gives you added power when it comes to making connections. Watch the following video to gain insight into the benefits of having DNA + family tree.

Anna Swayne

Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.


  1. Janice

    I agree it is good for folks to associate their DNA test with a tree. I would add that you can search your DNA matches by surname and/or location. This can be very valuable. Also, you can see if you have “shared matches” with a particular person who shows up in your DNA results – also quite a valuable tool that is probably underutilized.

  2. Avis Carolyn Sullivan Bastone

    Pulling pain grandmother on Father’s Side by the Giants Sullivan Margaret Hall Reeves on Mother’s Day and mother Louise Sullivan Mary Louise Reeves Sullivan Abraham

  3. Alan Doyne

    It is somewhat inconvenient that we can attach our DNA test to only one family tree. In reviewing my matches I sometimes find matches with “No Family Tree” who in fact have 2,4, 8, sometimes a dozen or more trees some with hundreds of people and I have found several cousins among those trees. Yes, these people should link their test to a tree and a lot of others have to enlarge their trees to help us find common ancestors, but that limitation does get in the way.
    Al Doyne

  4. John

    DNA is a great genealogical tool but this has not been a banner year for ancestry DNA. The Shared Matches tool is a great tool for working with our DNA matches, but that was released in August of 2015. At the time, it gave me hope that ancestry was finally working on tools that would allow us to use our DNA matches in a productive way. So far in 2016 not much of nothing has been added. In January we were given a way to see exactly how much DNA we share with our DNA matches, and while I appreciated this much need information, that little addition covers the new tools added for 2016. The revised matching algorithm that was implemented this year was a bust. I sincerely hope 2017 will be a better one for ancestry DNA, it can’t be any worse than 2017. There is a long journey ahead of us, it is time to pick up the pace. I hope Anna will share this with the ancestry DNA team, and if you need ideas call me.

  5. Bonnie Szydlowski

    I love the DNA tool for use with the Tree. Unfortunately, too many people get DNA tested and don’t have trees attached or do have trees but mark them private so only they can see the match. Ancestry should make just the match section available to people when they are matched up to someone who has marked their tree private. Don’t need to see their entire tree and invade “their privacy” but it would be really nice to be able to view the same information the other person in the match can see. Also, still looking for a way to mark our trees with DNA matches as they appear in the shared ancestor portion of the DNA results.

  6. MKath

    I have 582 pages of DNA matches and no efficient way to search. I have 30 pages of matches for my father’s surname. Many people do attach public trees to private DNA accounts or to listings that say “No family tree.” However, this is not indicated in the matches lists. How about a special icon to call attention to those trees? A search-by-username function would help those of us who have multiple DNA accounts (siblings In my case) attached to one tree. For the most part, DNA searches don’t give good results anymore.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @MKath that’s a great suggestion and we’ll pass it along to our developers for consideration.

  7. Joyce

    I have a “large” family tree of about 10,000—I try to keep it this size as some sites cannot handle large GEDCOMS BUT following each generation out a few places–including siblings and children/spouses in each branch has really helped me with DNA matches BUT in addition to that-I am constantly getting emails from folks thanking me for having their ancestors on my tree as they had hit a brick wall and MY research enabled them to get more of their research completed.

    In addition, you might hit a brick wall going ONLY down your pedigree line, and by adding siblings etc you can sometimes find the info you need to go forward by researching the siblings.

    I also document, document, document—in gallery, in facts page, I attach media to any event I can find info on to PROVE where my info came from and that it is correct.

    Very often when I get a DNA match I can tell exactly what branch it comes from this way.

    It really helps us ALL to share info and find as much info as possible–and good way to find answers for YOUR tree might come from others trees if they have an extended tree.

    Many times family history has been handed down in a branch other than yours–so you can benefit from seeing other trees.

    I ran into a tree a while back that the cousin had gotten a “sampler” done by my 3 X GGM–that included her full name and her age at that time as well as the year it was done.

    I would have NEVER found out her last name without that little tidbit.

    DNA tests should ALWAYS be attached to the person the DNA test goes to—this also enables others to see exactly where the lines lie.

    Working together is important. I have met several cousins through ancestry and now we work together to figure out various things—some of those folks have memberships to other sites I don’t have–working together on this particularly difficult branch we all have in common has helped us a LOT–but you are not going to find those cousins to work with unless you have an extended tree—and hopefully they have an extended tree as well.

    BTW just because a DNA match says NO TREE does NOT mean there isn’t one–I have found MOST DNA matches that say no tree actually have one if you click on the match–I think ancestry is NOT doing a good job of explaining to people that DNA tests SHOULD be attached to a person–I have heard of people who wanted to have their DNA attached to their tree but did not know how to do it–so many of these folks without trees attached is because ANCESTRY is NOT doing a good enough job of explaining things when people enter their DNA info. This NEEDS to be fixed ancestry. This problem has only started recently and I suspect it is SOLELY due to not enough explanation for folks attaching their DNA tests–they simply do not understand how to do it–and ancestry need to explain WHY and HOW it should be done…

    Granted some folks are adopted but MOST in my experience have been confused about how to enter their DNA to get it attached to their trees.


  8. Ricardo Jimenez

    Why can’t we communicate with our matches for free? After all we did pay for the test and it would only be fair and fun to talk to some of these people.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Ricardo you can send a message to any of your DNA matches, irrespective of the status of your subscription.

  9. lindy moody

    I am considering getting some tests done – I live in Christchurch, NZ – will it b easy 4 me 2 b able 2 keep in contact from here plse!!?? …. also 2 cover all base of the most extensive tests on both my maternal & paternal lines & any deep ancestral lines ie neanderthal etc, what would b the best tests 2 do plse!! I want 2 b thorough as possible!!?? ….also, I am a little confused on the family tree website – some of the tests mention males – r these name tests only?? Or testing the male line – so a female could request these!!?? …. thanks!!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @lindy AncestryDNA is an autosomal DNA test. This means that your results will reflect both your maternal and paternal lines.

  10. Seaton Smithy

    One feature I would really like to see is a confirmation in the messaging system that your message to a match has been read. Many matches do not respond to contact and it would be good to know if they have seen the message and chosen not to respond. And please, please, please could you add Cluny, Aberdeenshire to this list of searchable locations – I have requested this a number of times now.

  11. Monika

    To Member Services Social Support Team – The answer you gave to Ricardo is incorrect. Many times, when I am checking my new DNA matches, when I press on the username to send a message to them it will tell me “You have to be a paying member to communicate with a member” (I am paraphrasing right now). And then, again, sometimes I press on the user name any way and it will let me send a message.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Monika: We’re sorry to hear that you had trouble with this. However, you can send messages to your DNA matches even if you don’t have a subscription. You can do this by clicking on the green “Send message” tab directly from the DNA matches page.

  12. Donald

    Yeah people with DNA but no tree are pretty much worthless to everyone else. I would like to see an option to filter those people out.

  13. Lynn Hotchkiss

    Definitely need to be able to link results to more than one tree. I have two separate trees, one for my father’s side and one for my mother’s side. So unhelpful to not be able to link to both!

  14. Janice

    For Donald, Some folks are adopted and don’t know their family. That was the case for a new-found cousin of mine. She showed up as a close DNA match but had no family tree – how would she know when she didn’t know her birth parents? So I sent messages to her and did hear back. She is a close cousin I knew nothing about because she was adopted. So I don’t think that Ancestry should make it a qualification, i.e., to have a tree, in order to take a DNA test or pop up in results.

  15. Pat

    I am wanting to get the DNA kit for my husband but dont know how to go about it. Can you lead me in the right direction? Thank you

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Pat: Yes of course, please visit where you can purchase the test and also see more information about our DNA kit.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Tina: You can start a 14 day free trial but please be aware that you will need to cancel this within the 14 days if you don’t want it to renew into a paid subscription. Please find more information here,

  16. Monika

    To: Member Services Support Team – Yes, thank you – O have a Master’s Degree and am smart enough to figure out that I can send a message by pressing on the green “Send Messge” button. As late as an hour ago, AFTER PRESSING ON THE GREEN BUTTON, I still received the message from ACOM that “Only Ancestry members can message other members” (exact wording). However, I have discovered that–if I ignore this message and keep pressing on the green message button five or ten more times, sooner or later it lets me send a message. I just feel that I should not have to go through allthis….and please do not insult me with a message like that it is my browser. My browser does NOT create the wording that “Only Ancestry members can send messages to other members”.

  17. Mary Jean Hatcher

    Hi, curious, can my DNA be matched by using my married name when I registered for DNA results, . I did not give my maiden name on registration for DNA.
    Is that gonna be a problem with my DNA Mary Hatcher

  18. Marsha hall

    I am adopted and had My DNA done. My father might be my mothers uncle, is there any way I can tell from my result if my father was my mothers uncle?


    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Marsha hall The easiest way of proving this is to also have them also take the test if possible.

  19. Kathy Stoelker

    I did the DNA test about a year ago but haven’t done much with. I separated my mother and father and did two trees. From what I’m reading in these comments the DNA will only connect members in one tree. Is that correct?
    One other comment…I have so many DNA matches I will never find the time to check them all. So I’ve been deleting those who have no family trees but it’s a two step process which take too much time. Will Ancestry consider putting a “delete” option on the initial page so I don’t need to click on each one to find that option?
    Thank you.

  20. Jennifer Fancher Davis

    I paid for my husbands DNA test for a gift and I was the only one on Ancestry so I was the contact. I got a call from a man that said, ” He’d been waiting 48 Years for this phone call.” He was an orphan looking for his family and it went back to my husbands side. He now has a family that claims him even though his father has passed many years prior. It has transformed this person emotionally. For that I’m thankful to have been a part of it. My husband, James Ritchie Davis however was very disappointed in his DNA results because he wanted to know more about his Cherokee roots and it simply didn’t give him any break down for that. Has this changed in the newer DNA approach? He had a significant amount of indian on both sides?

  21. Sarah Scott

    I need a better understanding of connecting adoptions with matches. I am 4th cousins with a lady who was adopted, she have no real information. Where do we start and how can I (we) connect on one of my surnames?

  22. Linda Burgess

    Mother is alive. Father is Buried in a cemetary in Oregon and I just found out I have Some type of Indian in me and I cannot go to Oregon?

  23. Patricia M Darby

    Will this find relatives that I do not know, I was adopted by my step-father and do not have anything but my Father’s name?

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Cap Your results should be ready within 6-8 weeks of our lab starting their analysis of your sample.

  24. Michelle Lee Trammel

    It was done to help me find my bio logical father, who don’t know I exists and I’ve ever laid eyes on him. How do I go about using My DNA to find him I’m made up of 3 main ethnicit 59%29% & 12% then there’s one 2% and two 1%… I’m confused how to do this… please help me so I can feel complete

  25. Robynn Peterson

    I have a road block on my maternal great great grandfather. So we had a “cousin” from the all male line from this ancestor do a DNA test. But now where do we go from here? The test shows that he is from the Western France area and this is where I thought we would find this line. However when he immigrated and to what port did he come through is a mystery. The name spelling is probably the biggest issue. The name is changing on every document we find. Sh how does this DNA help us fill in the missing line??

  26. Theresa

    I’ve had several first cousins do the DNA test. It showed no Indian. I know for fact that my grandmother was half Cherokee. I don’t feel that this test is accurate.

  27. Ninfa

    I agree with one of the listed suggestions to filter out DNA matches without attached trees. I find these matches a hindrance to my review each time I search only to find there’s no tree there. I feel that I must search each because although it indicates there’s no attached tree, sometimes there is one. Maybe your system can program to recognize when there’s something in the search page although not attached. It’s a good thing to see more and more testers, but it also increases a hindrance when we have to open the search and there’s nothing there.

    Also, I notice many private trees, which for whatever reason os selected to be private, is also a hindrance to my search because there’s that possibility they hold a piece of the puzzle to my tree and I have to send a message and sometimes they don’t respond, or want to spoon feed the information sought, even when I ask if they can allow for me to peak for any recognized names. I find some private tree owners ta king from public trees, but not giving back by having a public tree. Maybe private trees should be limited to view-to-copy by my authorization only. I choose my tree to be public in order to assist others, which will in turn help me to find missing links. I am generous and post pictures and documents as a sharing team player, but when private tree members choose to remain private, whether they have 5 or 80,000 people in it, I don’t understand the logic. I have been allowed in by many others without hesitation and that is appreciated because there exits that open communication and updates as doubly interested parties with intent to search and find, especially when when we know we’re related. It is so exciting when we do find the common link.

  28. Claudia

    I agree with a few above. I have 6 separate trees and would like to be able to attach to at least two of them. I went on my biggest tree and added a few branches from another. Will they be expanding it to encompass more then one?

  29. Ninfa

    Can you also create the option, as you have searching by date, relationship, hints, to search in alphabetical order? I administer six trees, in addition to my own, and when I want to compare the lists of each, I have a difficult time because the match list is not fully user friendly. If I do a last name search, that is not an option when I don’t know the last name of someone I might’ve seen earlier. They might have initials only or a nickname. I can’t do a date search on those I missed months ago . I have to painfully go through hundreds of pages just to look for one name, sometimes for each member I administer.

    I am happy you at least have the stars, which I use a lot for identifying a positive find, or further follow up due.

  30. Michele Norine

    My brother and I have had our DNA done and I’ve attached the results to my trees. While I absolutely love the DNA matches, 99% have their trees “private” and do NOT respond when contacting them. VERY frustrating!!

  31. John Pohlman

    Why haven’t you extended me the courtesy of responding to my hypothesis that your D NA perception of my ancestery is not 51% UK, but 70+% Anglo/Saxon, similar to most present day UK residents, but also overwhelmingly the same as the residents of Germany. I’ve traced my “Tree” back to the 17th century and can’t find anyone born west of Luxembourg, or Alsace, France.

  32. Israel Sellassie

    I think I currently have an active membership with
    Can you double-check on whether I am already an active member with ?

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Isreal we’re happy to look into this for you. Please feel free to call in to discuss the matter.

  33. Donald Crawford

    I have a FTM DNA test done before ancestry DNA was and 23 & Me DNA I am not buying an ancestry DNA why cand I use one that I already have!?

  34. Rex A Hayward

    Interested in learning my heritage, as I am an adopted person. How do I get to have my DNA ancestry done and what is the cost ??

  35. Colette

    Sounds sad and very difficult for most of your members. I would never had thought that unless I did’nt read each and all of there questions, concerns,ideas/input,desperation for answers by all means I thought you had by your commercials and your anc member official response was sadly lame and condescending new and paying members.

  36. Jeanne

    I was really excited to send in my DNA. My Dad is French and German, my Mom is all German. The ethnicity part didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I had already come across all of the closer cousins in previous research. I found one new connection. I’m waiting for results on my husband’s DNA (I have him on a separate tree). I also sent in my Mom’s so that could be interesting. There are a lot more people testing their DNA and I look forward to some new connections but I’m guessing there are many, many people who do the test but don’t subscribe to Ancestry. I’m hoping that more people from Europe will start participating. Thank you.

  37. Jorge E Almodovar Martinez

    I looking for my mother is Ana Lydia Martinez and your Father name is Francisco martinez and her sister name is Tonita martinez they are from Guayama, P.R.

  38. Lovell Embree

    As a child of adoption, I’m thankful that Ancestry is giving me a chance to learn something about my biological background through DNA analysis. I’m currently awaiting my DNA results. I’ve received emails from Ancestry telling me to create a family tree, which is impossible for me since I only have the first names of my biological parents. It would be amazing to find information beyond my nationality through the website. Honestly, it’s part of why I started the process. Is there a way to indicate on my Ancestry profile somewhere that I am adopted and have no real information? Will possible DNA matches to me be able to find/contact me without one? Thanks for your help.

  39. Jorge E Almodovar Martinez

    I looking for my mother Ana lydia martinez and her father name is Francisco martinez and her sister name is Tonita martinez

  40. Larry Wilson

    It would be useful to know the additional information if a match is also a Y chromosome or mitochondrial dna match. I am helping an adopted relative find his birth parents. He recently got a 1-2 cousin match with the surname of Carmichael. Knowing that he shares a Y-chromosome would help determine that this cousin is on his father’s side. Interestingly, his given name is Terry and he matches with descendants of a Stephen Terry. I can’t help but think that this strengthens the match. Y-chromosome information might help in determining my relative’s father as a Terry or Carmichael.

  41. Nancy Zewiey

    Why can’t I speak to someone from Ancestry DNA? When Ancestry changed criteria for matches, several persons were removed as matches. Over the past year my brother son and granddaughter have all had DNA tests. Some of these removed persons match to my son brother and granddaughter. I wanted to know why. I called Ancestry and was told I couldn’t tal;k to anyone knowledgeable about the criteria for inclusion or removal, but they could refer the question in writing and I could call back and ask about “R” on my account. Did so and received totally irrelevant answer that match was mistake. Is this worth $300 plus a year?

  42. Anthony Madejczyk

    The biggest problem here is that you have far too much crucial information that hits a dead end by allowing the”private” category! Why should I spend money and time only to find so much frustration? I know that my birth certificate last name will not match my DNA which I believe is Wanicki and not Madejczyk. Please do something about this quickly as we who are searching are not getting any younger! Thanks and God Bless.

  43. Victor Lebel

    Hello everyone,

    I’m slow in starting my searches to find my new people around the world. My Neice that is here living with me till march will be helping me with this project, can’t wait. I’m wondering if that is a good idea to let her help me with the
    DNA program?

    With regards

  44. My brother Ken had a DNA and sent me the inform. W permission to see but so far I have not been granted permission to view. Since we have the same DNA it would not prove anything His would reveal. Hep me out with this would be helpful as I am the only family member that has the nose for looking back into our history.

  45. AnneMarie Boucher-Isbell

    I want to find out what nationalities I am – specifically. Will this DNA say that I am German or Irish for example or will it just say European?

  46. Carol

    My father was placed in the family of White. He does’nt know his real family or name. How can I find out anything about his heritage? There was a old census record from the 30s.showing him to be 9 years W.Va his name was Brien.

  47. Linda Kataw

    I am from North cucaiosan (adiga) one lady I know she is also adiga from Noth cucaiosan when she did the Dna test they told her she is from middilest I don’t how happen that if she is not Arabic . Really I am not confortapall to do my DNA test

  48. Janet Martin

    I received my results from you. Thanks for that. But I lost the e-mail on my computer. Is there anyway that I can have you print it out and send it to me. I will pay for that. Jan Martin

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Janet you can log into your account at any time to access your results and print them.

  49. Greg

    I think one of the biggest problems is sending a message to a matching cousin only to find that that person will not get that message unless they happen to sign back into Ancestry and notice there is a message. Surely you could change this system so that people receive this message direct as an email or at least alert them to sign back in to Ancestry because they have messages waiting. I have close matches who haven’t signed in since May 2016.
    This would help many people get answers back after sending messages. I do know this is how it has been working because I did get a message back from someone who fortunately signed in and saw my message. He said he was disappointed he didn’t receive an email message directly which he said was the way it used to happen.

  50. Roger Seiboldt

    Haven’t received the results of Sharon Seiboldt’s DNA test we sent in a couple od months ago. Please advise! Roger Seiboldt husband.

  51. Dorothy Robinson

    I don’t know who my gr gr grandmother was? When I look at DNA results, not sure if I should focus on 3rd, or 4th-6th generation, and are all the fe-male(mtdna) surnames in the lower portion of the tree match. I can only search from my grandmother to be sure & she was only child who had children of this family. I cant seem to go beyond my grandmother for matches. When I try to match my gr grandmother surname ( MASON in PA) I draw a blank. I have had 2 people contact me with match at 4th-6th, but I have no idea of what surname I could be matching with them. I am trying to do this mainly by location & surname due to fact I don’t know who my gr grandmother was. Wish Ancestry had staff available to answer these question via email or phone, or message board for DNA dummies like myself. If anyone out there has any suggestions please let me know how to sort thru the 4th-6th, or 3rd generation to pin point the surnames I should be focusing on in my dna matches. Thank you

  52. Loretta

    It would be most helpful if attaching the DNA results to a tree would be part of the DNA test processs. Sometimes when I request someone attach their results to their tree, they do so. Many times, I don’t hear back. I have so many matches with no attached trees, that I am certain that I am missing out on important clues to my family ancestry.

  53. First, thank you for posting this DNA video! I could have done without the music track which was distracting and the microphone for voice was not close enough to the speaker allowing too much ambient sound from the room. All of this made it difficult to follow what was being said.
    As for Ancestry DNA, I’m probably beating a dead horse in echoing what others have said and the feedback I’ve already given to Ancestry.
    The Ancestry messaging system is broken! It just doesn’t work. If I can’t communicate with DNA cousins, there is no way of gaining any important information that will help break down any brick walls in my family research! I’m estimating that of 100 messages to cousins, I am lucky to have one reply! Yes, I understand that not all cousins are interested in communicating. But I’m quite sure very few ever get the messages in the first place! The Ancestry app for IOS and Android as no method of showing messages and I think i’m correct in saying, this is how many of Ancestry DNA customers are viewing their DNA results.
    On a PC or Mac the little message icon is easy for people to miss and many Ancestry customers may be older and overwhelmed using computers and all this is just too complicated. I wonder how many know to check junk mail folders or even know what a Junk mail folder is!
    3 million tested is impressive. However, most of those are just curious about their ethnicity and have no interest in Genealogy! Then their those that are hoarding all the hard work they’ve done researching their family history and will not share it. They don’t link their tree to their DNA test, or they lock their tree. Let others do their own research the hard way like they have! They will take all their research to their grave. Of course their is no way to fix that , but Ancestry can fix the messaging system and really need to do that soon if they expect to keep customers renewing membership.

  54. Keith McKeown

    This will be protected. I can share if I want not you! My choice not yours. It is kind of cool about this. You guys do a cool job. Props to you. Thank you for your service.

  55. Barbara

    My father was adopted and I have finally received 2 DNA matches that are very close. But those matches have not responded to my emails. As mentioned before, I too am very frustrated with the lack of communication with DNA matches. Why on earth even have the test done if you aren’t going to pursue what you find and share with others? It’s a cruel tease to those of us who are desperately seeking information. I don’t want to take up your valuable time, I just am asking for a little information. Geez!

  56. Kiera

    Hello. My name is Kiera Threatt. I am 12 years old. All I am trying to do is learn more about my family. My folks say that I am a Threatt, some say that I am a Smith, some say that I am a Wiggins, and others say that I am a Holly. I don’t knoww what I am and all I know is that I need to now what I am.

  57. mslvs1940

    I would like Ancestry to add a Chat line for connecting with CSR’s to talk with. The wait time to get to talk with someone is frustrating. Even the Geek Squad has a Chat line.

    I totally agree with the folks that are disappointed with people who lock their trees. They should be listed in a separated DNA section. If you don’t want to share that is fine, but they should not be included with folks who really are interested in family history.

  58. jacque Carruthers

    I wrote and sent my check. My grand daughter did the test in Nov of 2016. We have not heard from you. How long does it take. I see comments of people that have receive result that submitted around the same time

  59. Valerie Egert

    I would advise more employers to work with these dna samples so people can get their results sooner.

  60. John.c henry

    I’m trying to out isy grandmother and great grandmother are American Indian. I found my great grand Mother on roles

  61. Mary Heldreth

    I sent my DNA around October last year. I’ve heard nothing even after texting for results. After trying twice, I still can’t maneuver in it.

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