Updated: Oct 18
Receiving our DNA results can come with excitement and confusion. Your first glance of matches can be very overwhelming. One of the best ways to begin the process of trying to figure out the connection is to send them an email.
The most common complaint I hear is that DNA Matches do not respond to the emails. We cannot force someone to reply to an email, but here are some tips to raise the chance of getting a reply back that I have found works for me.
On the subject line, I recommend writing
"DNA Match." Since I began this I get a higher amount of replies from matches I send emails to. It is also important to let the receiver know the website you found the DNA match on. There are some people like myself that have actually downloaded DNA results to several DNA and genealogy websites. By letting them know what DNA company and the website you matched them on will help them to look at the results if they want to look at your profile & results.
I also recommend that you put in the DNA match's user name. Not everyone handles their own DNA results. For example, I manage my mother, children & their spouses' DNA correspondences. By providing the user name it will help them determine if it is actually their DNA or one that they manage. Many times I will include my user name as well, so that they can find my results easier.
Another tip is to put down the suggested relationship that you connect at. For example, if it states that you potentially fall into the 3rd - 4th cousins spectrum. If you were able to figure out the connecting ancestor then supply their name(s) and how you are related to that ancestor.
For those who do not have any idea of your relationship, I suggest writing that you have no idea of how you are related. If it is suggested that the DNA match is a very close family or 1st cousin match there is a chance that either you or them do not know the biological connection. It could either be due to a family disconnection for various reasons or adoption cases. I recommend for the first email to not put all your personal information in the first email. You do not want to give them a bunch of information and not ever hear back from them. It is best to begin a dialogue with the person you are reaching out to before giving them a bunch of information.
I normally end the email on a positive note and tell them that I hope to hear from them and recommend that they can reach me at my personal email.
If they don't reply within the next 3 months I will sometimes resend an email again to see if I can get a reply. This has worked several times for me. Particularly if it been over a year.
Keeping your 1st email to your DNA match simple will give you a better chance of getting a reply.
If anyone else has tips to writing the first email to a DNA match I would love to hear them in the comments below. What do you include in your first email to DNA matches?