Quick Tip: Invite Someone to See Your AncestryDNA Results

This post was updated in November 2023.

Want to share your DNA results with a collaborator or get extra help from an expert?  At most of the testing companies, your only option is to be show them your actual computer screen or to hand over your password.  AncestryDNA, on the other hand, has a nifty invitation system that gives you complete control over who can see your ethnicity estimates and matches and what they can do with them.

This Quick Tip describes how to “invite” someone to see your AncestryDNA results.


Step by Step Instructions

  1. From any screen within your Ancestry account, click on “DNA” in the top bar of the browser window and select “Your Results Summary.”
  2. At the top right of the next screen, click the SETTINGS button.
  3. Scroll down the next page until you reach a section called “DNA Sharing.” Click on “DNA Test Sharing.”
  4. At the top of the next page, you’ll see a blue “Invite” button.  Click it.
  5. In the popup that appears, enter the Ancestry user name or email address of the person you are inviting.  User names are case sensitive.
  6. In the same popup, select a role for your guest.   A “Viewer” can see your ethnicity estimates and match list the same way you can, but can’t do anything else.  A “Collaborator” can see your results; add notes, stars, and color groups; and link your DNA results to a tree.  A “Manager” can do all of the above as well as download your raw data to upload elsewhere.  Only give manager status to someone you trust implicitly.
  7. Finally, click the blue “Invite” button.  Your guest will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed.  If the email falls into the wrong hands, don’t worry! Your results remain protected, because only your guest can use the invitation, and they have to log in to Ancestry again (even in they’re already logged in) to accept it.

If you ever want to remove a guest’s access, follow the steps described here to get to the “DNA Test Sharing” panel and click the little grey “Remove” button beside their name.


Updates to This Post

  • 27 September 2019 — Updated to reflect changes made by Ancestry to this process
  • 18 May 2022 — Updated with current screenshots
  • 17 November 2023 — Updated with current screenshots

13 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Invite Someone to See Your AncestryDNA Results”

  1. Great tip. i love sharing DNA. It is surprising what you can see and the perspective you receive from viewing from other people’s DNA. As bonus, if you are a paid Ancestry subscriber and the other person is not, when you revieve shared DNA, you have full functionality of Ancestry paid subscriber features while viewing from their DNA.

    1. Agreed! I’m working a case right now to identify the unknown father of a man born around 1826. I’ve found a cluster of matches descended from another man with the same surname born around 1832. I think they were brothers. The only way I’m going to prove it is with a lot of pairwise comparisons between people on the one side and people on the other side. Invitations have been crucial for this problem.

  2. Ancestry’s system is so bad that this should be the default, not some hidden feature. I did my test over a year ago and only just discovered that if person A and person B match, person A might have people listed under “shared matches” that person B can’t see! It’s also annoying that you can’t see how closely your shared matches are to each other, two of them might be siblings but you’d never know unless you messaged them.

  3. Paragraph 6 says “A “Viewer” can see your ethnicity estimates and match list the same way you can.” I can see living people in my tree. Will a viewer be able to see them or will they be shown as “Private?”

    1. Inviting someone to see your DNA results doesn’t give them access to your tree, so they can only see what other Ancestry members can see. If your tree is private, they can’t see it at all, and if it’s public, they cannot see living people.

  4. The user-name field does not work, how do I know what the ‘official’ user name is ? I enter the user-name as displayed on their Account Profile page “Xyz Abcde” Name has upper case and a space which I enter exactly as displayed on their account page

    1. You’ll have to ask them what their user name is. It’s not always the name displayed on their profile page. User names do not have spaces in them.

  5. I have tried countless times to invite someone to see my ancestry dna results. I go to my DNA PAGE. Then to SETTINGS. Then SHARING PREFERENCES. Then CHANGE. Then ADD A PERSON. Then I add their EMAIL associated with their account. I even have tried with their USERNAME. Then I select their role and I have tried all three roles. Then I click SEND INVITATION. Then type my PASSWORD. That’s when a message comes up saying: There was an error saving your settings. Please try again later.

    1. I recommend that you contact Ancestry’s customer support as it sounds like you’re having a technical issue. As an aside, you shouldn’t have to enter your password unless you’re making them a manager of your DNA>

  6. If I invite someone to be a viewer/manager of my DNA, are enquiry emails (from say a person wanting to contact me because of a match) sent to MY email address or the viewer/manager’s email address ?? I do not have my own paid subscription to Ancestry so my DNA results or as free membership. The person I want to invite to be a viewer/manager has a full subscription.

    1. If you invite someone as viewer or collaborator, any messages will come to you, even if you don’t have a subscription. If you make someone the manager of your DNA results, the messages will go to them.

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