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How to Share Your List of AncestryDNA Matches

On occasion, a family member (like me!) may ask you to give them "Viewer" or "Collaborator" access to your list of DNA matches. This article contains several sections:

  1. Levels of access
  2. How to do it
  3. Should you do it?
  4. What's in it for you?

Please understand that this is not a request for any personal information (like names or dates of birth) about you or your living family members. It does help me, however, to understand how you link to the family line in question (if you know). Feel free to provide that information from your grandparents (or even great-grandparents) back if you're concerned about privacy.

If you ever happen to provide me with identifying information about living people, I will never share it publicly - not even your Ancestry username.


Access Levels

AncestryDNA allows users to give other people three levels of access to their DNA results:

  • "Viewer" - Recommended for people who do their own genealogy research.

    Allows the Viewer to see your list of DNA matches, DNA Circles, and Ethnicity estimates. Does not give them access to information about living people in your tree.
     
  • "Collaborator" - Recommended for people who don't plan to do their own genealogy research.

    Allows the Collaborator to associate your DNA match with their Ancestry tree. This is very helpful for your matches (and only your matches) as they can use the tree to determine how you might be related to them. Gives the Collaborator the ability to add a note to a match, such as how the match is related to you. Only you and the collaborator can see the notes.
     
  • "Manager" - Not recommended in most cases.

    Gives the Manager full access to your results and your account.

How to do it

Once you decide you're willing to provide a family member with "Viewer" or "Collaborator" access to your DNA matches, 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 "DNA Result Access" in the left column
  • Click "Add a Person"

After you've clicked "Add a Person", you'll be prompted to provide an email address or Ancestry username. My Ancestry username is in5847. Select "Viewer" role (default) or "Collaborator." Click the "Send Invitation" button.


Should you do it?

Providing family members with "Viewer" or "Collaborator" access to your AncestryDNA matches gives them the ability to:

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

"Viewer" and "Collaborator" access both maintain a number of restrictions:

  • They can't view, share or download your actual DNA results
  • They can't view information about living people on your Ancestry tree - or any information about people in a "private" tree
  • Because they can't download your DNA results, they can't upload them to any other service (such as GEDmatch)
  • They can't add/change/delete information about you or anyone in your tree

Why Provide Someone Else with "Viewer" 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 an incredibly powerful research tool. 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.

Why Provide Someone Else with "Collaborator" Access to Your Test?

If you're not interested in performing genealogical research yourself, it's a good idea to give one interested family researcher "Collaborator" access to your test. They can link your results to your spot in their Ancestry tree. Your matches will see information about your deceased ancestors, but never any personal information about you or your living relatives.

Your Collaborator can in turn grant you access to their Ancestry tree so you easily view how you're related to your matches - without having to purchase an Ancesty subscription. v

Why Provide Someone Else with "Manager" Access to Your Test?

The general rule is "Don't." A Manager has full control of your AncestryDNA test results. They get the same access and control of them that you have. Never give this level of access to anyone except your family genealogist or someone you fully trust.


What's in it for you?

As a thank you for providing me with "Viewer" or "Collaborator" access to your list of AncestryDNA matches, I will email you a detailed report of all 20,000 of your AncestryDNA matches (or whatever your number is). It will not only show you how closely you match to each of them, it will show you if, and how closely, they match to other people in our mutual families. Upon request, I'll send you a quarterly (or even monthly) update.

Knowing that 10 or 20% of your matches all belong to a certain family (or small set of families) can give you a big head start on your research of your unconnected other matches as well.

As we identify a larger number of connections to a particular family, the chances improve that we'll discover someone who has a trove of unpublished material about that family. I collect those types of stories and try to share them more widely. Check out my current collection of family stories - and send any of your own that you're willing to let me share to .

Thanks for your help!

 


Are we related?

Here are the GEDmatch Kit #s for my father and mother:

GI: A909282
CL: A216073


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