Quick Tip: Invite Someone to See Your AncestryDNA Results

This post has been updated.

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 DNA 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 “Sharing Preferences” with a subsection called “DNA Ethnicity and Matches.”  Click the blue “Change” link.
  4. The menu will expand to show yourself as the Owner of the DNA results and anyone else you may have invited already.  Now click “Add a person”.
  5. In the field that appears, enter the Ancestry user name or email address of the person you are inviting.  User names are case sensitive.
  6. Select a radio button to designate the role for the 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 SEND INVITATION 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 Ethnicity and Matches Access” panel and click the little grey “x” beside their name.


Updates to This Post

27 September 2019 — Updated to reflect changes made by Ancestry to this process

7 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.

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