In 2018 I took a MyHeritage DNA test, and after two years of emails telling me I had “new matches”, I finally decided to reach out.
Full disclosure: The original test was sent to me for free by the company. (#Gifted) I created a video about taking the test and never planned to create more, but I was intrigued by all these emails I received over the next two years claiming to have found new DNA matches, so I decided to start contacting the matches.
When I first logged in, I was very surprised to see a genuine cousin among my top matches — I hadn’t known that she had taken the test, and I was even more surprised that the test accurately picked out a real cousin of mine!
I contacted a number of other “matches” via the site and spoke to one other match via Zoom. Unfortunately, we were unable to figure out exactly how we were related, but we had a lovely chat and shared what we did know about our family trees.
So what did I ultimately learn? I learned that these DNA kits really can tell who is related to you but that a lot of people who take them are not interested in finding DNA matches on the site. (which I understand — as I originally wasn’t either!) I learned that a lot of older people take this test after being given it as a present from their children! I learned that even these matches aren’t super helpful for figuring out lineage or relationships, and that family trees are a lot harder to work out than expected! I also learned that my grand-uncle had been working on a family tree which unfortunately stopped when he died, and my family hasn’t made much progress since.
Overall, it was good fun to reach out to my DNA matches and see what they were like and have a chat. If you’ve taken a test, it’s worth a shot to see if any of your matches will respond!