5 Tips When Asking Relatives to Take a DNA Test

  • Bruno Rice
  • September 12, 2018

Taking an ancestry DNA test is an exciting journey. Part of the excitement lies in the fact that you are never certain where your search for relatives will lead. Assuming you have done the test and you are now ready to start hunting potential relatives down, how do you go about it?

You see, they may not be as excited or as keen about knowing whether they are related to you as you are. You will need to be very tactful and cautious about how to approach them. For starters, let’s look at a couple of tips on the best approach to persuading potential relatives to take an ancestry DNA test.

1. Test the Oldest Relatives First

Chances are that you don’t have enough money to test anyone with the slightest hint of being related to you. Therefore, test the oldest relatives first. One reason for this approach is that these relatives could be ageing and may not be available for tests in the future. You, therefore, need their DNA samples as soon as possible. The older generation may also have more autosomal DNA from the ancestor you are interested in.

2. Test Closest Relatives

You share autosomal DNA with relatives closest to you. Convince this group to be tested first. These include your first and second cousins, but you may not have much luck with third cousins. You should also encourage any potential relative who does not have both parents living to go for testing. This is because they are the only link you have to research that branch of your ancestry tree.

3. Meet the Cost of the Test

To make it easy for the relative you want to take an ancestry DNA test, consider paying their costs. Handle everything for them. All they need is to provide the DNA sample. Even if they may not be as excited about the test as you are, if the only thing they have to do is swab or spit, they are likely to cooperate. Once they have submitted their samples, keep track of the testing progress by making sure you have login credentials to the database. You should also be available to answer any question they may have concerning the process.

4. Share Your Experience

Some of your relatives may be hesitant or have jitters about taking an ancestry DNA test. You can quell these jitters by sharing your ancestry DNA testing journey. Chances are that they might also be as interested in finding out who is related to them as you are. If they like deep history, you could even share the results of your ethnicity test. Demonstrating to them your DNA journey, including what you have established thus far, could be the motivation they need to take the test.

5. Be Helpful and Cooperative

If you want your relatives to cooperate with you, be extremely courteous when dealing with them. Answer every question they may, including the seemingly absurd ones. Be as helpful and cooperative as you can. Some of the relatives may even be rude. Do not give in to the temptation to respond in equal measure. Remember, you are the one who needs them; not the other way round, and the last thing you want is to piss them off.

When contacting relatives to take an ancestry DNA test, be as open and honest as you can be and help them understand why the journey you have embarked on is important. Let them know that you will share as much information as possible about your ancestry DNA search. Chances are that your journey thus far has produced ancestry information that they could also be interested in.

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