Contacting DNA Matches: Get More Responses with these Pro Tips

Discovering unknown relatives is one of the most exciting parts of receiving AncestryDNA test results. Among these newly found relatives are longtime Ancestry subscribers with robust family trees. They may be able to help break down the brick walls in your research, and you may be able to do the same for them. Of course, with this gold mine of information comes the potential for frustration. Angie Bush is a genetic genealogist with AncestryProGenealogists, and she has reached out to thousands of DNA matches, including her own and those of her clients. She has found that the following tactics increase the likelihood of getting a response that is helpful to both you and your DNA matches.

In addition to these best practices, there are some common mistakes to avoid.

Sometimes, people don’t respond to even the most thoughtfully crafted message. They may not have seen it, or perhaps they intended to write a response and simply forgot. In some cases, there may be situations that make them unwilling to talk to you.

Managing your mindset may be the most helpful way to stay positive when contacting DNA matches. Angie says it is important to always assume that the people you are communicating with have good intentions — even when tone, spelling, grammar, or ignorance tempt you to think otherwise. They may be brand new to genealogy and the Ancestry website, or they may be dealing with sensitive family situations. Not every conversation is going to take the course you want it to, but with patience and the right approach, communicating with your DNA matches can be a rewarding and fruitful addition to your genealogical research.

Have you encountered obstacles when contacting DNA matches? How did you overcome them? Share in the comments below. To learn even more about communicating with DNA matches, watch Crista Cowan’s free online lecture, Communicating with Cousins.