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3 Ways a DNA Test Can Help You Find Relatives

Updated on September 17, 2021
Written by
Joel
12 sources cited
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Can a DNA test help me find relatives? You bet.

Are you convinced you have relatives in the world who you’ve never met? Were you adopted or do you have half-siblings, cousins, or other family members with whom you’ve lost touch? A DNA test might help you locate these people and begin a relationship with people who share your blood.

Family is important and relationships with family members can enrich your life. But all too often, we lose touch with family or circumstances prevent us from identifying distant family members we’ve never met. Luckily, there are ways we can track down people who are members of our family but with whom we’ve never met. This is especially important for people who were adopted and have to put extra effort into finding biological relatives.

Accuracy of DNA Testing for Ancestry

Tests aren’t all created equally, so it’s important to do your research before you begin. Learning about your family history is one of the primary benefits of DNA tests, but you don’t want to be misled by a less-than-reliable test.

For the most part, the best-known DNA tests offer reliable enough results to help you begin family research. 23andMe and Ancestry are two of the most popular DNA testing kits and provide sufficient information about your genetic makeup to provide you with the information you need.

However, results from these tests can’t be used for legal purposes. If you were trying to legally prove paternity, commercial testing kits aren’t enough to stand up in court. However, commercial genetic testing can ease curiosity and help you determine whether additional testing is needed.

1. Identify the Branches on Your Family Tree

Family trees stretch far and wide, which means you have relatives throughout the country and the world you don’t even know.

Have you always wanted to know more about your ancestors? Even if you know your parents and grandparents, there are likely relatives you haven’t met. Other people in your family might not even know these people exist.

Once you’ve taken a test, it’s possible to connect with relatives from around the world and determine the closest matches to your DNA. You’ll then have the option of reaching out to these people and maybe even meet them in person one day. Imagine connecting with someone somewhere in the world with a completely different life than your own, but who shares your DNA and your family history.

2. Find Biological Relatives You’ve Never Met

There are plenty of people who have never met their fathers or other extended relatives. Identifying your biological father through a DNA test is a great way to learn more about who you are and where you’re from.

DNA testing kits offer insight into your biological makeup and ancestral history. Identifying matches with immediate relatives, including parents and full siblings, is easy. More distant relatives are a bit more challenging, but it’s still possible to find a link.

If you’ve felt as if your history has always been a mystery and you want to learn more about who you are and how you came to be, a DNA test is a great way to do it.

Finding long-lost relatives is one of the most significant benefits that occur because of DNA testing, but most people don’t have this experience. If you intend to use a DNA test to find long-lost biological relatives, consider all of the complicated issues that might arise because of this. 

Many people are excited to track down far-off relatives in their family’s country of origin, but in some cases, this can open a Pandora’s Box better left sealed. Just make sure you consider all of the consequences before you launch a search based on DNA testing kit results.

3. Learn about Your Biological Family If You Were Adopted

If your biological parents placed you with an adopted family, they undoubtedly wanted what was best for you. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to learn about how your life turned out. Taking a DNA test can help you identify your biological parents if you were placed with your family via a closed adoption.

Nowadays, many states have open adoption laws. This means when a child is placed for adoption, he or she has access to information about their biological parents. In some cases, the child’s bio parents remain a part of his or her life in some way. But it wasn’t always like this. In the past, many adoptions were closed. This means it took years of research to track down biological parents who placed their children for adoption. If this is your situation and you’d like to track down your birth parents a DNA test can help.

One Final Benefit: Understanding Your Health Risks

Learning about your biological family is emotionally rewarding, but there are other more practical benefits. In addition to helping you find relatives, a DNA test can help you understand your health history and know your biological risks.

Understanding the medical history in your biological family helps you understand your risks and make important decisions about your health. Knowing your health risks is an important part of the battle against some of the deadliest diseases in the world. It’s also information you’ll be able to pass on to your children. And if you were adopted, you might otherwise have no way of knowing what’s going on with your biology.

DNA Testing is a Tool for Learning

The bottom line is DNA tests help you better ascertain what makes you you from a biological perspective. Learning more about your family heritage, examining your genetic traits, and understanding more about the risks you face due to your heritage is a great way to get a better sense of yourself as a unique individual. 

The more informed you are the better your decisions about all aspects of your life.

This doesn’t mean you should base every health decision on what you learn, but DNA testing kits provide information you’re able to discuss with your doctor. Combined with other health information, your DNA provides a more-complete picture into managing your health. 

If you know you have higher genetic risks for some things, you’re able to make decisions about your health that might otherwise not be possible.

Tips to Help You Find Relatives with a DNA Test

If you’re ready to use a DNA test to help you find relatives, here are a few tips:

  • Work with services that feature large databases. This gives you the most access to the largest amount of people and increases the odds you’ll find a genetic match.
  • Get access to your raw DNA data so you can upload it to other DNA testing companies and ancestry services. This allows other people to find you even if they are not using the same service you used.
  • Remember, not everyone wants to be found. Even if you have a strong desire to meet relatives, this doesn’t mean they want to meet you. Do your best to respect everyone’s boundaries when searching for DNA family matches.
  • Look for DNA test kits that provide information about traits that can help you trace your heritage. Companies with access to a large database must be able to connect your traits to those found in their database or the information provided won’t be as helpful.

If you’re wondering if a DNA test can help you find relatives, the answer is yes. DNA testing can help you track down your biological parents, long-lost relatives, and people throughout the world with whom you never realized you had a connection.

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Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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