Use the “big three” DNA companies, AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA“Family Finder” and get your DNA into as many databases as you can afford. These are all autosomal DNA tests – don’t bother with MtDNA or Y-DNA tests for now.  Take note of the kit numbers and passwords that you get when you purchase the tests. now has a larger database than (FTDNA) or; you can upload your AncestryDNA results to FTDNA for free. MyHeritage also offers DNA tests.

The autosomal DNA tests are around $99, but often going on sale for about $59 or $69 before Christmas (starting in November), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and also in the summer.

If you are ordering a DNA test, consider going through CeCe Moore’s site, she gets a small commission to offset her volunteer work.


Before You Contact Your Matches – See our articles about Preparation and Reunion Tips on this website (under Resources/Articles).

If you have taken a test with AncestryDNA, read this guide before you start contacting your matches: Adoption, Autosomal DNA Results & The Road Ahead

Letter to a Birth Parent

Genealogy – If you are a parent, or a child with one known biological parent, create a family tree GEDCOM and attach it to your DNA tests.

Getting Started in Genealogy – An excellent ‘how-to’ guide to genealogy (family tree research) that will help you avoid errors:

Analyzing Your DNA Matches

You can trust any articles by CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger.

For more matches and comparison tools upload your DNA results to  for free – the best triangulation tools there require payment of $10. also accepts uploads from other companies (for free).


The Facebook sites below contain links and ‘how-to’ guides for DNA testers who are trying to find birth relatives with the main testing sites.  DNA Detectives (with CeCe Moore) has a mix of exciting reunion success stories and struggles, as people learn how to use DNA matches to figure out their families and connect with them. Learn and take hope!

The DNA Geek

X-match tips, x chromosome charts

Getting Cousins to Test

Introduction to DNA Painter, by Blaine Bettinger

Don’t be discouraged if your matches are in the 3rd cousin range or more distant. More people are taking tests all the time, and you may get a closer match to work with eventually.

updated March 18, 2018