Share your DNA match list to help solve your mystery. July 10, 2024

Most of the time when I solve a mystery, I'll need to view your DNA match list.  If you're having concerns about me or anyone else viewing your list, don't worry.  I have viewed hundreds of lists, and there's nothing to be concerned about.  When you get your DNA results, you'll see a list of everyone you are related to. allows you to send an invite to anyone you'd like, so they can see your list.  This does not include private family trees (more on that later).  Sending a list invite is super easy.  It just involves a few clicks in the settings portion of the website.  I'll explain that in detail if I ever need to view your list.

Some people don't understand what "sharing" their list means, and they may even think it will somehow be an invasion of privacy.  NO, not at all.  What you need to understand is, thousands of people are already viewing at least part of your match list without you even inviting them.  How?  Well, anyone on that list can already see all the relatives you have in common with them.  For example, if you have a first cousin match, they will see every person on your list related to at least one of your grandparents.  Let's say you have a third cousin match.  That person will see everyone who has a connection to two of your great-great grandparents.  This will include your second cousins, first cousins, grandparents, siblings or anyone else on that line who's submitted DNA.  So, yes, people are already viewing your list without an invite.

Chances are, there are thousands of people on your list.  Most will be distant relatives you've never heard of.  They can all see at least some part of your list.  If you have no problem with them seeing who you are related to, then it would make no sense to be concerned about inviting a professional genealogist or any non-relative to see who you are related to.  Oh, and by the way, those of you who are using the GEDmatch website can already view anyone's list you want.  You can enter the kit number shown for any of your matches and see their entire list.  That site doesn't even require an invite.

Sharing your DNA list is not an invasion of privacy.

What exactly can be viewed when you send an invite?  Allowing me or anyone else to view your list, lets me see all the people you are related to and the amount of centimorgans you have in common with them.  It does not allow me to alter any data or change any settings in your account.  It simply allows me to VIEW.  Some people allow me to do more than just view, but that's not necessary.  You can send an invite to allow me to leave notes on the list or color code DNA matches, but again, it's not giving me access to your account or private information in any way.

Another great thing about sharing your list is, you don't have to be a paid member to do it.  A lot of people let their accounts expire and no longer have full access to their matches.  With an expired account, you'll lose access to things like shared matching and sending messages to your matches.  Since I have a paid account, any invite sent to me allows all the features of a paid account to be used with your list.  If you're account has expired, then finding a genealogist like myself is exactly what you need to keep your search going.

I also want to point out that sharing your list, does NOT mean sharing your tree.  Some people choose to keep their family trees private for whatever reason.  Maybe there's a family secret, or maybe you're unsure of some data and don't want to put false information out there.  Sending an invite to view the list won't give me access to private trees.  There's a separate setting if you choose to do that.  I also want to point out, at this time, the only way to send an invite is on a computer, you can't do it on a mobile device.

You can't hide from DNA.

Why would you NOT want to share your list?  Well, I suppose if there was some odd situation where you didn't want a particular person to know you were related to someone else, or something strange like that.  Or, maybe you have some secret and don't want one relative to know how much DNA you have in common with another relative.  Thanks to a new feature on Ancestry, even that won't work for you though.  Relatives can now see how much DNA you share with everybody without needing an invite (see below).  If keeping yourself hidden from everyone is your goal, you probably shouldn't be submitting your DNA at all.  The point of genealogy sites is to make connections with family members.  Sharing and communication are a big part of that.

NEW FEATURE - Ancestry recently added a new feature that really proves my point about all this.  With a Pro Tools subscription, Ancestry now allows you to see how all of your matches relate to each other.  For example, let's say you have a match of 500cM to Joe and a 200cM match to Dave.  You can now see how much DNA Joe has in common with Dave.  If that didn't make sense to you, it basically means there's a whole lot of data now visible between you and your matches.  With all this visibility, there should be even less of a concern about sharing your match list.  Your matches can now see how they relate to you AND how all your other shared matches relate to you.  Therefore, your data is already out there.  Want those mysteries solved?  Don't hesitate to send me or anyone else an invite.

Look for more posts coming soon.

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