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April 18, 2013

A Suggestion for Genealogists Using 23andMe for DNA Testing

A Suggestion for Genealogists Using 23andMe for DNA TestingI am really liking for DNA testing. I've talked about what the site offers in previous posts for anyone who wants to know more: 

Serendipity Strikes and a Tombstone is Found 

DNA Results Showing Native American and East Asian Heritage

23andMe DNA Results In!

Quite a few people from 23andMe have been contacting me over the past month and that's great. But I administer three different profiles on 23andMe - mine, my husband's and my brother's. And when an invitation to share Genomes comes to me, it does not tell me which Genome profile is being requested. This is an automatic feature on 23andMe and it's wonderful because it's easy. Too easy perhaps. All a person need do is click on a link which sends an automatic request to another individual.  But it would be helpful if the requester also clicked on the link to "send a message".

You would think it would be a simple matter to go to each of the 3 profiles I admin and see if the sender of the invitation matches any of us. But it's not. People often use nicknames on their profiles rather than their real name, so a search under the real name can come up empty.

So after much wasted time and frustration on my part I thought I'd offer a suggestion to anyone using 23andMe. If you are sending an invite  to one of your DNA matches to share Genomes, PLEASE consider also sending a quick message. That message could simply say "Hi xxx I match you and would like to share genomes" If the sender included the name of the match (me, my husband or my brother) I would be so much happier! 

Yesterday was particularly aggravating as I received such an invite. I checked each profile for the name of the sender. I searched his full name. No matches. I searched his first name only. No matches. I searched his surname. No matches. Then I found his username and searched under that but nothing popped up. This took me 30 minutes because it's a bit slow for each profile to load. 

 In frustration I wrote directly to him and gave him the names of the profiles I admin. I asked which one he matched. His response was that he didn't match any of us, he just thought maybe, since he and I shared the FINN surname, we might be related. He may be right but it would have been much more efficient (and friendly) if he'd written a personal message saying he had a FINN ancestor in such and such a location at such and such a time. And did we connect? I could have saved us both a lot of trouble and time as my FINN line is from mid 1700s in Kent England. His is not. 

 So genealogists, be kind and write a brief explanatory message to anyone you are trying to connect with on 23andMe. Actually, let me take this one step further - be kind and write a brief explanatory message every time you contact another genealogist, no matter what service you are using.


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