Help DNA Matches Find Answers

Diahan Southard

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Pay it forward! It can feel just as rewarding to help your DNA matches break down their brick walls as it can be to solve your own family history mysteries. Check out this inspiring story—and how easy it was to help.

Pay it Forward Help DNA Match Find Answers Brick Wall Family History Mystery IO.pngWe all come to DNA testing with OWN own family history questions. But along the way, there are sometimes opportunities to help others find answers to their questions. And sometimes it’s an easy thing to do! Here’s a story from Donna, who just completed my DNA Skills Workshop (I share this with her permission):

“Your DNA Skills Workshop is awesome. Previously, I had a familiarity with most of the tools and concepts but your teaching has turned them into real skills that work so well together and that I can put in to real practice. I am thrilled!

Today, I was adding a leftover mystery shared match into my tree.  Her name is ‘Lorraine’ and we share 20 cMs (1 segment). I got to her maternal grandfather on her tree, who was listed only as ‘Mr. Farris.’ There was no other information about him. In further checking I saw that Lorraine’s mother, who was born in 1918, was listed on the 1918 U.S. census with her unmarried mother’s surname. They were living with Lorraine’s mother’s extended family.

It occurred to me that there was a good chance that her Mr. Farris is my 3C2R/Mr. Farris, who was the right age and lived in the right state. I messaged the guy who is managing Lorraine’s DNA account. He said he that, yes, he was helping Lorraine and they were looking for Mr. Farris. He said he appreciated any help. I gave him the details and sent him a link to Mr. Farris in my tree.

So in the process of looking for my own mystery ancestor, there is a good chance that I ended up helping someone else find theirs—at least I hope so. Has this ever happened to students using your book or your workshop?”

—Donna Jansak

I can’t tell you how much I love this! This kind of paying-it-forward mentality is a great way to look at DNA testing for family history. Some people say they don’t have any brick walls to break down: their family trees are full, no questions, thank you very much. (That’s sometimes less true than we think it is, but that’s another topic.) If you DO have a beautifully leafed-out family tree, SHARE it with your DNA matches who may desperately need your branches to graft onto their family trees.

As far as the question Donna poses at the end, I’m curious, too. Has anyone else been able to answer their DNA matches’ burning family history questions? Like, introduce a biological member of your family to your shared genetic roots, or identify someone else’s missing ancestor on your tree? Please send us your story! I love to hear about random acts of DNA kindness!

Share my Story

Do the DNA like Donna

You can do the DNA.pngMeanwhile, if you’re ready to learn more DNA skills that lead to meaningful DNA discoveries—for yourself or your matches!—we’ve got just the thing to help! Our “Finding an Ancestor Using Your DNA” Quick Guide teaches you everything you need to know, and nothing more, about getting started with your DNA results. This downloadable file can be yours for just a few dollars, give it a try!

Take me to that Quick Guide!



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<a href="" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.


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