Contacting DNA Matches: IT WORKED!

Diahan Southard

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To successfully contact DNA matches, here’s EXACTLY what one researcher did. The outcome (spoiler alert!) included actually MEETING some of her newfound Jewish and Eastern European cousins.

Contacting DNA Matches Tip IO.pngJulie wrote me a while back to report a successful experience with contacting her DNA matches. Unresponsive matches are a pain point for SO many people! So I thought I’d share her success. She even told us EXACTLY what she said to her matches! (Thank you, Julie!)

Here’s what she told me:

“I have encountered road blocks and other obstacles for over a year. I went to [your seminar] as almost a last ditch effort. As it turns out, you are my inspiration!!!

I liked your approach to writing very specific emails to those on my AncestryDNA match list. (In the past I have employed a shotgun approach. I sent out the same email to a lot of matches and had very little to show for it.)

Your approach, on the other hand, works!!

I carefully researched the first two unknowns on my DNA Match List. Here is the email I sent to one of these:

Julie Contacting DNA Matches.png

And now I have a lot of new relatives I didn’t know existed. Yesterday I had lunch with my newly found second cousin. He lives about two hours south of Vero Beach in Pompano Beach. After the holidays (Passover) they are going to invite all the local relatives together so I can meet everyone.

My second cousin’s father is still living (90+). I am hoping to spend time with him to learn the family history.

Thank you again for the amazing suggestion. I think you are one of the few people who can make a DNA presentation fun and exciting!!”

Thanks for sharing your success, Julie! (And the compliments.)

Tips for contacting DNA matches

It IS challenging to figure out how to get your DNA matches to write back to you. Over time (and lots of trial and error), I’ve learned lots of important principles for contacting DNA matches, which are what Julie learned from me. A good approach to contacting DNA matches only takes a little bit of practice, and it can yield huge results. It can help you to meet new cousins, like Julie has done, or to find birth roots like Etta has done, or put missing ancestors on your family tree like Ed has done.

Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for, the part where I share those tips with you (assuming you weren’t at that same seminar with me and Julie). Reach out to your matches and see what you can learn to grow your family tree.  Click below to get my free downloadable handout, “Contacting Your DNA Matches!” 

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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.


  1. Christine J Murray

    How do I get to the download? It looks like the link to the download is just this post.

    • Diahan Southard

      Christine!! Thanks so much for finding this broken link! All fixed now, ready for you to click on and get your free download.


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