Ancestry DNA Test, Now What?

Recently I DNA tested my father, my mother, and a first cousin with Ancestry’s autosomal DNA testing. The results have been both fun and overwhelming. The results that arrive each week in my email are quite amazing! To determine what to do next, I started with The Barefoot Genealogist video blogs on Ancestry. Crista Cowen does a great job of explaining results, different types of DNA tests, and how to use what you have found.

source: forbes.com

source: forbes.com

http://help.ancestry.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5566/kw/export%20DNA%20matches

One of my distant relatives, Byron Brown, wrote a 12-volume set called, “Cousins by the Dozens.” After DNA testing, I feel like I am trapped in some sort of electronic version of cousin compiling. How do I contact all of these people? I was emailing each cousin with common names, possible connections, and “I think we are related”, but I didn’t feel very efficient in my quest.

I decided to take what I learned about cousin relationships and develop something I could use over-and-over to contact cousins. In writing, this type of language that can be used efficiently and repetitively  is called “boilerplate language.” It’s a huge time-saver.

Because 1st cousin matches are most likely linked through common grandparents, here is what I wrote and then copied with each cousin email:

You and my father are 1st cousins according to our DNA testing. That means that most likely we have common grandparents. Here are my father’s grandparents’ surnames:

Reed & Hiltbruner

Calderwood & Gilbert

Do you have any of these names in your family?

Then with second cousins, I wrote another boilerplate using what I know about my father’s great grandparents’ surnames.

You and my father are 2nd cousins according to our DNA testing. That means that most likely we have common great grandparents. Here are my father’s great grandparents’ surnames:

Reed & Brelsford

Hiltbruner & Riffle

Calderwood & Throp

Gilbert & VanTilburg

Do you have any of these names in your family?

And usually by the great great grandparent list, unknowns begin to appear. I included them in the list of grandparents. It’s already helped me find the surnames of two of my great great grandmothers.

You and my father are 3rd cousins according to our DNA testing. That means that most likely we have common great great grandparents. Here are my father’s great great grandparents’ surnames:

Reed & Unknown

Brelsford & Lawrence

Hiltbruner & Hagerty

Riffle & Unknown

Calderwood & Robeson

Throp & Wikoff

Gilbert & Unknown

VanTilburg & Clark

Do you have any of these names in your family?

I would encourage you to copy this boilerplate or write one of your own. Keep it simple. Save the more complicated emails for when someone responds. Reach out… at least to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins. And happy hunting!!

ancestry dna logo

Next post… how to organize the responses you receive from your cousins!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>