Help! AncestryDNA Match with Unlinked Tree

The unlinked tree of your DNA match may have the family history answers you need. Here’s how to get to an unlinked tree.

AncestryDNA match unlinked tree (1).png

A DNA match without a family tree linked to his or her test results can be frustrating because it’s harder to determine how you’re related. Recently, Ancestry started showing your matches who DO have trees on the site but who haven’t linked those trees to their DNA results yet. Here’s what the Unlinked Tree note looks like:

unlinked tree AncestryDNA match.png

When you see an unlinked tree for one of your DNA matches, click on it! You’ll see a screen like this (which I’ve privacy protected by just using my match’s initials):

unlinked tree AncestryDNA match page.png

 Here’s what you’re looking at:

  1. A summary of your genetic relationship to your match. In my case, this match is identified on my mother’s side by the site because my mother has tested at Ancestry, too.

  2. Unfortunately, you’re not going to see common ancestors for someone with an unlinked tree.

  3. You’ll see your match’s unlinked public tree here. Those who don’t link their trees often have small trees, like with 10 people or less in them (themselves, their parents, maybe grandparents). That can be disappointing. BUT sometimes, especially with closer matches, it can be enough to tell you how they hook up to your tree. Click on the box that says Public Tree.

Because it’s a public tree, you can look at it. Here are the 10 people on it (I had to click on the Siblings dropdown menu to see them):

unlinked tree AncestryDNA match public tree.png

I can see the names of SB’s parents and three of her grandparents (I privacy-protected their full names). The names shown as Private mean they are still living.


For this 2nd-3rd cousin match, even this small tree could be enough to help me identify which branch of the family she descends from, especially if I’ve already built out an excellent family tree that’s optimized for DNA matching purposes with as many descendants as possible.

You may also see a few “locked” Unlinked Trees, which show up in gray text:

unlinked tree AncestryDNA match locked.png

If you click on this match, you’ll see something like this:

unlinked tree AncestryDNA match locked detail message.png

Because the unlinked tree is private (locked), you can’t see it without requesting access to it. Do that by messaging your match, which you can do with the Message box in the upper right. Here are some tips for reaching out to your DNA matches for the first time.

Still can’t figure out how you’re related to your DNA match? Try strategies like these:

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