How to Share Your List of AncestryDNA Matches

On occasion, a family member may ask you to provide them with the list of your AncestryDNA matches. Here are the pros and cons of doing so - and instructions if you agree to do so.

What Does Sharing Your AncestryDNA Matches Mean?

It's important that you understand what happens when you give a family member "Guest" access to your list of DNA matches.

Sharing DNA Match Results

In most cases, you should provide family members with "Guest" access to your AncestryDNA matches. This provides them with the ability to:

  • Access your list of DNA matches - including updates to your match list until you rescind access
  • Access to your ethnicity estimates

Here are some of the things that AncestryDNA "Guest" access does not allow your family member to do:

  • They can't view, share or download your actual DNA results
  • Because they can't download your DNA results, they can't upload them to any other service (such as GEDmatch)
  • Your family member can't provide anyone else with access to your online match list
  • They can't edit/change any information about you or your results
  • They can't delete your results

Providing access to your DNA matches doesn't give them access to your Ancestry tree - or to information about living people in your tree. Be aware, though:

  • They will have access to your name, date of birth, and birth place if it's in your tree
  • If any of your direct line ancestors are living (usually only your parents, but perhaps grandparents), they will see their name, birth date and birth place.
  • They won't have access to information about your spouse, children, siblings or any other living relatives - unless they've taken a DNA test and are in your tree. In those (usually rare) instances, the first two items in this list apply to matches in your tree.

I promise to never share identifying information about living people that's provided to me.

Why Provide Someone Else with Access to Your Matches?

Most people don't have the time or expertise to perform detailed DNA analyses. It turns out, though, that having access to the full list of DNA matches from multiple related people is incredibly powerful. An expert can compare the amounts of shared DNA from multiple match lists to determine the likelihood that people descend from a specific family line or common ancestor(s) - even when the matches don't provide a family tree. In some cases, it can allow us to help family members break through long-standing brick walls.

How to Provide "Guest" Access to Your DNA Match List

Once you decide you're willing to provide a family member with guest access to your DNA results, here are the steps:

  • Navigate to your Ancestry DNA page
  • If you manage multiple DNA tests, click "View another test" at the top right of the page and select the appropriate test
  • Click the "Settings" button at the top right of the page

If you don't manage DNA tests for anyone else, you'll only see the "Settings" button:

  • Scroll down the "Test Settings" page until you see "Sharing DNA Results" in the left column
  • Click "Invite Others to Access DNA Results"

After you've clicked "Invite Others to Access DNA results," you'll see the following screen. Enter their email address or Ancestry username. My Ancestry username is in5847. Select "Guest" role. Click the "Send Invitation" button.


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