Convincingly Ask a Relative to Take a DNA Test



There are times when we need to get a relative's DNA to answer our genealogy questions. Learn what you can do to persuade relatives to take a DNA test.


Why We Need Our Relatives to Take DNA Tests


I've said many times before that DNA by itself is relatively worthless. My DNA without anybody else's DNA is not going to do any good. But by pairing it with other people's DNA, we can actually see how we match and where our common ancestors might be.


Because we don't share DNA with all of our distant relatives, we may need our close relatives to test as well. They may share DNA with some of those distant relatives we're hoping to find.


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4 Things to Do When Asking Relatives to Take a DNA Test


Let me go through four things that I do with each relative whenever I ask them for a DNA test.

  • Show Them Your Research

  • Explain Why I Need Their DNA

  • Offer to Pay for the Tests

  • Respect Their Decisions


Show a Reluctant Relative Your Research


The first thing that I do is I show the relatives I want to take a DNA test what I am doing.


Some relatives are interested in their family history but not necessarily interested in research. I show them what I found. I explain the different things that I've been doing what research questions I'm working on.


My first step is basically giving my relatives the background of my research.


Explain Why Your Relatives' DNA is Crucial


Next, explain why you specifically need their DNA. Couch the question that needs to be answered in terms of their benefit.


If I'm trying to identify my great-grandfather, I say, "I need your DNA to help identify your Grandpa Lee."


If there is a family mystery, either remind them or tell them about the unknown common ancestor.


Briefly explain why your DNA alone can't solve the case. Thus, the addition of their genetic result can benefit your research and their heritage.


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Offer To Buy a DNA Test for Your Relative


DNA testing can be expensive for some people test. The best price costs $49 if you catch a sale. Typically autosomal tests cost around $99. A yDNA or mitochondrial DNA test costs much more.


If you're relative isn't interested in genealogy, they won't pay that amount. You should offer to pay for that test. When you pay for the test, you can overcome many relatives' primary objections to testing.


However, after seeing your research, many relatives will want to support your work and pay for their own test. In fact, my grandma refused to let me gift DNA tests to her. She said, "I have the money. I'm paying for it. Go buy something for my great-grandchildren."


Respect Their Decisions


If a relative is reluctant or refuses to test, respect their decision.


Don't badger or trick them into taking a DNA TEST.


There are many paths to solving your genealogy questions without this family member testing.


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My Success in Asking Relatives to Take DNA Tests


In total, I have requested dozens of different relatives take a DNA test. Many of them have consented to the test. Because of that, I've made many discoveries about our common ancestors share with them as well.


For more about DNA testing, check out these blog posts:


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