23 Ways To Be a PITA

PITANo, not PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but PITA – Pain In The Arm….yes….arm…what are you thinking???

For most people, being a PITA doesn’t come naturally….so you might need some help knowing how to be one, or perhaps perfecting your PITA skills.  Yes, in case you’re wondering….my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek.

For genetic genealogists, there are special ways to be a PITA.  Let me share some of these with you, just so you can fine tune and add to your PITA skills.

First and maybe the best ways to be a PITA, right off the bat.

1. Send e-mails with no subject or punctuation and an indecipherable topic, especially to someone you’ve never communicated with before.  Here’s an example.  You can just copy and paste this and send it to anyone you want to irritate or confuse.

“i would love to have any information you could give me…..thanks…..”

I so want to send this person something about penile implants.  Is this wrong?

2. Send e-mails with no capitals or punctuations.  This is always a wonderful way to impress people.

i just wanted to let you know that i have no idea how to type or how to use the period or comma keys or how to use the shift button i’m also using the fact that i’m using my phone as an excuse not to use punctuation however I can manage to type half of my life story for you to try to decipher so get out your special decoder ring


4. When a match asks you for genealogy information, just send them a link to your Ancestry.com tree.  You can then sit back and laugh, knowing that they have no idea where to search in your 35,723 people for a common ancestor without looking for every surname they have.  Plus, you have the added benefit that Ancestry will help you be a PITA by attaching your tree to their account like a giant kudzu vine that they can’t disentangle without knowing the secret handshake.

5. When a match asks you for genealogy information, never, ever send them something actually useful, like a pedigree chart with an index.  Instead send them rambling e-mails with disconnected tidbits from both sides of your family, or that link to your Ancestry tree.  Go to sleep then, knowing they will be up all night trying to figure this out.

6. Ask for, or better yet, demand free consulting.  Select someone at random (not me please, I already receive more than my share – 17 yesterday alone) and send them a rambling stream-of-consciousness e-mail several pages long.  At the end, tell them that you can’t afford to pay anything, but ask if they would tell you “what they think.”  Before sending these to anyone in the genetic genealogy community, send several to other professionals, physicians or lawyers in your community and see how that works out?

Now, if someone is a project volunteer, that’s a bit different.  They still don’t “owe” you free consulting, but they have set themselves forth as a volunteer resource.  Still, try to be respectful of their time and be brief and concise in your requests.

In other words, the 21 page e-mail I received this week from Person Unknown demanding that I, as a project administrator, figure out how the “requester” was related to three people in the large Cumberland Gap project (also persons unknown) was, well, ahem, a bit over the top, to put it mildly.  No, I confess, I did not read all 21 pages and the only reason I know it WAS 21 pages long is because I wanted to use it as a bad example.  If that was your e-mail and I’ve just offended you, well, I’m sorry you’re offended, but that is not the way to win friends and influence people, nor to get your questions answers or your problems solved.  It is, however, a great way to be a PITA.  In fact, you win this week’s PITA award!

Here’s an example of a reasonable, concise question from my blog:

“Thanks for that explanation, I needed that information. Still would like to know what a “back mutation” is.”

And the answer:

“A back mutation is when a mutations happens, like from A to C, and then the reverse happens, a mutation from C to A. It initially looks like no mutation happened, unless you are aware of the intermediate step and that two mutations actually happened.”

There’s a big difference between a simple one or two line general DNA question and a multi-page personal epistle that the receiver has to read three times and make charts to even begin to unravel or understand, so, to be a PITA – always make yourself annoying and then you can wonder why you never receive replies from people.  Then complain about not receiving replies.

Oh, and if you do write to a project administrator, never, ever tell them how or why you are writing specifically to them – it’s much more fun to leave them guessing.  The sender of the 21 page epistle did not SAY it was the Cumberland Gap project – they left that for me to decipher.

7. Skim articles, don’t click on the links, and then ask questions of the author that would have been answered if you had clicked on the links they provided in the first place.  They love receiving several of these e-mails every day!

Now, if you have DNA tested at any of the three major testing companies, there special ways for you to be a PITA with each one.  Let me give you some fresh ideas.

At Family Tree DNA

8. Join a DNA project, any project.  Then, when the administrator sends you a welcome message, introducing themselves and asking for genealogy information, send them a nasty note.  Here’s one I received recently.  You can just use it.

“Who the hell are you and why are you contacting me.  Don’t ever contact me again.”

9. Family Tree DNA does you the very large favor of providing you with the e-mail addresses of your contacts instead of forcing you to go through a message system like at 23andMe and Ancestry.

When sending an e-mail to someone you match, be sure to never include the name of the person you match, or what kind of a test you took that matches.  This will confuse them and make them really want to answer your inquiry.  Many people manage test kits for several people and if you don’t put the name of the person you match in your e-mail, they will probably think it’s their kit, and then they will either spend a lot of time looking for matches and/or putting together genealogy info to send to you that is not useful.  Then, after you receive the info, tell them you’re sorry, but the match was to a different person.  That will truly endear you to them.

10. Don’t ever update your e-mail address…then complain online and loudly about how you never receive contacts from either your project administrator or your contacts/matches.

11. Don’t upload your GEDCOM file either, because someone might accidentally discover a common surname match or a common ancestor, and that would be just awful.  It would also provide Family Tree DNA with the information to bold matching surnames on your autosomal match list for you, AND you’d get a $10 coupon…all of which would be just terrible.

12. Volunteer to be a project administrator, then do nothing at all.  Leave your project entirely ungrouped, and refuse any assistance.  In this case, you really don’t have to DO anything to be a PITA.

Better yet, create an off-site (non-FTDNA) website instead of using the one at Family Tree DNA and remove any information that could be useful to someone searching for their ancestral line.  Here’s an example.

Private project no useful info

Don’t want to create your own website?  Well, you can be almost as large a PITA by using the Family Tree DNA page and simply disabling anything useful, like, you know, most distant ancestor.  That way people can see that there is a project and their line MIGHT be hidden in there, but they have no way to find out other than contacting you.  Then, don’t answer, of course.

ftdna project no names

At 23andMe

13. Give yourself a really innovative “screen name,” like, say “Your cousin” or “3rd cousin” or better yet, “My Mother.”  That way when you send contact requests or sharing requests to people, it looks like it is coming from their mother…and if their mother has already passed over…well…let’s just say your contact request could be really startling.  Worse yet, if that person matches two people who are equally as creative and both named themselves “My Mother,” how will they ever tell you apart???  And can you really have two mothers?  OMG, I feel an identity crisis coming on…

14. Tell your contact that you are really interested in genealogy, provide a little bit of genealogy info, just a couple tidbits, maybe a juicy morsel, but then refuse to share your DNA.

15.  Don’t provide any surname or location information.  That might give someone a clue as to how you connect – so don’t ever do that.

16.  I’d tell you to never upload your GEDCOM file, or create one, but you can actually be a larger PITA by uploading your file at 23andMe, because their file reader interface works so poorly that your match will be more frustrated trying to read the file than by not finding one at all.  So you can be a PITA whether you upload your file or not.  How’s that for good luck!

17.  Don’t ever reply to contact or sharing requests.  I know this one is already quite popular.  About 90% of the people there already do this, so you’ll be in good company.  If people at 23andMe aren’t interested in genealogy, there is an opt-out, but don’t opt out because you can be much more of a PITA by leaving yourself in the genealogy pool but never replying to anyone, especially close matches.  Drives them crazy!

At Ancestry

18. First and foremost, never, ever reply to messages.  I know that this one is very popular, because many of my DNA matches, including my closest match at Ancestry has implemented this scheme.  She, I assume, due to the name (unless I’m related to the boy named Sue) and I share a common great-grandfather.  In this case, I have photos she might really like to have.  Too bad she is being a PITA.

19. Make your tree private, AND never reply to requests.  This is the ultimate tease, because your match KNOWS the information is there, right there, hiding just out of reach, and can’t get to it.

20. Copy and paste several trees together because, after all, the names match and, hello, it wouldn’t BE on Ancestry if it wasn’t RIGHT.  Right?  You can then scare the bejesus out of someone when they discover that their non-Mormon grandfather had 7 wives and 35 kids….all while married to their grandmother.  That’s always fun.  Then, when they frantically contact you to ask about it, don’t even think about replying to that message.

21. Insist that because you and your Ancestry DNA match have a shakey leaf and a common ancestor in your tree, that you KNOW that’s your DNA match because Ancestry SAYS SO.  When your match tries to explain that connection might be incorrect, may not be your DNA match and that there is no way to prove it, at least not without utilizing tools from either GedMatch or Family Tree DNA, don’t reply to them anymore.  That will certainly solve the problem!

22.  Send random people invitations to your Ancestry tree – and be positive your tree name has absolutely no identifying words in it.  Like the one I received recently, for example, named “A Global Tree of Life.”  Yep, I can tell you right away who sent that to me and why!!!

23. Oh yes, and in true PITA-esque fashion, never, ever say “Thank you,” to anyone, ever, for anything.  Thank you is such an easy thing to say and it makes the person on the receiving end feel good about whatever it was they did for you – even if was “just” answering your question.  So don’t slip up and do this!  Otherwise, you’ll certainly be thrown out of the PITA Club!

Thank you collage

Added PITAs

24. Instead of being grateful for free things, like blogs and webpages, and simply unsubscribing or ignoring them if you don’t like them, make nasty comments.  That will certainly confirm your PITA membership and make the person providing the free content feel warm and fuzzy about the time they invest.

“How about I unsubscribe to your boring emails about your family I have been getting the last year. Ms PITA.”



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82 thoughts on “23 Ways To Be a PITA

  1. A great article! I think you covered most of the ways to be a PITA. I have been on the receiving end too many times.

  2. How about I unsubscribe to your boring emails about your family I have been getting the last year. Ms PITA.

    Sent from my iPad


      • One of the reasons I write about my family is that is the venue I have for research, those are the examples I have for people to learn from. I should perhaps add lack of gratitude, especially for free things, to my PITA list.

    • Another PITA. People asking to be ‘unsubscribed’ from anything! Don’t they pay attention to the bottom of the elists, newletters, blogs where it says ‘Unsubscribe’. People have to know so they must just do it for drama.

  3. . “Send e-mails with no capitals or punctuations. This is always a wonderful way to impress people.” One of my favorites, as I get posts like this on Facebook!

    I’m afraid I am guilty of not posting my tree. However, it is partly because I need to figure out how to separate out people who are not my relatives and living people from it first. But I do respond to emalls, and send surnames.

    • My hope is that perhaps, some folks might see this and not realize that what they have been doing is PITAesque. Maybe they will have an aha moment. We all had to learn one way or another:)

  4. Reblogged this on GENCOM, Genealogical Computer Society of North Louisiana – Located in Shreveport, Louisiana and commented:
    At our GENCOM DNA Special Interest Group meetings, I have been asked several times how to correspond with your matches on your DNA results. On her blog, Roberta Estes lists twenty three ways not to correspond or respond to your matches. Even though she lists the “Do Nots” you can probably pick up many hints about how to properly communicate.

  5. Thank you for trying to educate us; sometimes in all the excitement of finding a possible match we forget to mention the information needed by the person on the other end of the line. I have been a PITA in the past and will work are not renewing my membership in that group.
    I enjoy reading your explanations about DNA and have connected with many 2nd and 3rd cousins because of your comments about contacting and sharing.

    • I think we’ve all done that. I often forget to put the name of the person I’m writing TO when I have matches. And you’re right, the excitement of the moment is something overwhelming!!!

  6. OMG please write your emails to me all in one large-a$$ paragraph also having no punctuation or capitals well once in a while maybe capitals and then mixing up topics all throughout this one large paragraph I just had one of these today and I want to pull my hair out. GAH.

  7. After teasing with information about your “mother”, “father”, “aunt”, “cousin” etc. never include a name or, heaven forbid, a real surname.

  8. Thank you for having the words to express my feelings! I think instead of banging my head on my desk when I receive the frustrating emails, I’ll just re-read this blog!

  9. I love this post!
    I felt so much better after reading it – almost as much as if I had written it, plus it reminded me of the GEDCOMs I need to do on FTDNA.

  10. Many of my favorites are listed here, however you forgot, pick a random royal family member or other celebrity and make them fit into your tree.
    I detest private Gedcom’s, what’s the point !, please people just download the appropriate software, there are many out there that are FREE and leave the rest of us alone.
    I am at a loss to understand why anyone would go to the trouble of developing an online family tree, making it (PRIVATE) and then follow up with a DNA test, what do they believe they are going to gain from this.
    On the same subject, why have a DNA test and not bother to respond to someone who believes they are a match, the least you can do is say you don’t understand how it all works and allow them the opportunity to help you.
    Don’t ask me though, i am genealogically incompatible with DNA theory, but i can work with names, dates, newspaper and official records 🙂 (smiley face) just because some people hate them.

    PS: i am looking for UK and USA sites similar to http://trove.nla.gov.au/?q= in Australia any help would be much appreciated.

    • One of my big concerns about making my family tree public on Ancestry.com is ownership. Will Ancestry some day decide that everything on its site belongs to Ancestry to sell as they see fit? Another is the people that copy and paste willy nilly. I don’t think I want my own careful research copied onto someone else’s carelessly constructed unsourced tree. And the third is the new policy at FamilySearch that allows others to edit one’s own information.

      • I TOTALLY agree with you, Marlene – on all three issues you bring up! And I will not post my tree publicly for those very reasons. (And yes, I do understand that this “hurts” me too.)

        I’m still mad that Sorenson sold my family tree when they went belly up!

        I have seen the “fallout” of someone posting incorrect info about one of my relatives, and can easily tell where the info came from whenever I see it reposted. I’ve asked this man repeatedly to correct his original posting, but he hasn’t done it in over 20 years. It gets on my last nerve whenever I see info posted about Sedovicci Rohr when his name was LUDOVICI Rohr!!

      • Read the fine print…public or private, if you put it on ancestry, they capture it and at any point can do what they wish with it. Something to think about as they have certainly done this in past. 🙁

      • I do not post my information on Ancestry because of the ability people have to just take it, and never give credit to the person who took the time and spent the money developing it.

      • I agree with you 100%, Marlene. I also don’t want my carefully researched work copied onto someone else’s carelessly constructed tree either. In fact, most everyone that I know also have private trees and we share among ourselves.

        When Ancestry first started with the online trees mine was public. After having numerous things that I researched, wrote and spent countless hours researching copied without listing sources, that was the end of my public tree, it’s been private since 2008. One person copied and then changed something I wrote and even added people to it that did not belong there. That erroneous information has now been copied to over 30 trees on Ancestry.com. I cringe every time I see it!

        It’s pretty easy to tell the serious researcher from the “caps” (copy and paste suckers) –They are the ones who have 20,000 people in a tree and very few saved records (census, marriage, birth, etc.) and no sources.

        There are many ways to find other researchers without having to post your information on a public tree. We’ve been doing it way before Ancestry.com or the internet was around.

        • About private trees on Ancestry. Mine are still public but I admit that recently someone has taken at least 25 photos and research and only contacted me to tell me that I had misspelled a city in California. No, wow, thank you so much for all the information! So the idea of private was tempting, however the cat is already out of the bag.
          So my PITA about private trees 1)Close dna matches, with a leaf, that I have emailed three time with polite amounts of time in between and no response. I mean why are they on there? Just sayin . . . 2) they take my stuff including photos, don’t thank me or contact me, even if I email them to discuss how we might be related.

          The really nice ones answer and even share their trees with me. So far my experience has been less than 50% – but thanks to them!

          • I do always reply to emails, even though my tree is private and share information. But thanks for reminding me that I should thank people when I “borrow” their photographs. I’m surprised that it never occurred to me before. I was being a “pita.”

  11. Thank you for all the hard work you do trying to explain the ins and outs of DNA to amateurs like me. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you this past year and have had a few good laughs along the way. Today’s was the best. I laughed so hard I cried. Well said and thanks again. Keep them coming.

  12. So funny, but so true. BTW – I am not that Sue ( I hope), although for a while some of my matches emails were going straight to my Junk mailbox – which is kind of funny as the emails from Nigeria advising me that someone died and left me a Hugh inheritance still manage to get through….

  13. Here’s one of my pet PITAs: The PITA who completely disregards your huge autosomal DNA match — and stops communicating — because you’re not in the same haplogroup.

  14. Bonus PITAs:

    The PITA who gives you a lecture on DNA — and the information is all wrong.

    The PITA genealogist who goes through the trouble and expense to do DNA testing but tells you DNA is “very inaccurate” and “too primitive” for use in genealogy.

  15. I read this right after responding to a PITA #9 – he had emailed me that he had received information about a match from FTDNA – but not a match to whom or which test. It took a while to find him as, like you, I manage kits for siblings each with more than one test. It was a Y-DNA of my brother’s. And FTDNA was very slow today – think they finally got some results out from December testing.
    My first inclination was to be impolite – I ended up making suggestions for him.

    • My mother used to say that you never have to regret being nice. Actually what she said was “being a lady.” After having a few regrets after behaving the other way, I try to remember that each and every time I’m frustrated. Some days, easier than others:)

  16. Loved the article and laughed all through it. I’ve gotten a lot of those “send me everything you’ve got” messages. I have been tempted to take a picture of two rooms of info stacked way high and asking them which part they want.

  17. For the old Guys. Been doing Genealogy since 1979. In theory it should work great using a PC on line, When “one World Tree” switched to the Ancestry.com It sounded great. When DNA came along it offered great promise. I pd the extra 15$ for reg with Nat Geographic and offered my DNA results to the two Dr’s that asked. I would like to share my DNA with anyone that wants it.My Paternal Haplogroup is I1*, and the Maternal is U2e1. I have had members of my family test with Family Tree DNA. I tested with 23andMe when they came out with autosomal testing (Cumberland Gap) and then again with FTDNA. I have a good George Family Tree on Ancestry.com and they indicate I have made a GEDCOM but I don’t know how to retreive it. My Brother, Billy Joe George, was tested to 67 markers on the Y_ test.(He has sons) My Mother was a McDonald and I had a male McDonald take the 12 marker test. So far, none of the DNA Testing

  18. Glad you got that off your chest. I have to confess I am guilty of a few of those PITA items. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. WHAT AN AWESOME BIT OF FUN THIS MORNING!! Great piece Roberta..been there, done that…i.e.” Can you send me the parents of William Jones” WTH?!?! My favorites here…#s 16, 20 & 22. THX FOR THE LAUGH my friend.. I’m sharing this one! 🙂

  20. So maybe people are PITA’s and just don’t even realize it? I have had many PITAs but try not to practice it.

    • That was actually my purpose in writing this. We’ve all done these things from time to time. Once most people realize, they really are much more interested in obtaining the help of answers they need rather than being a PITA:)

  21. Ouch. There were a couple I’ve definitely been guilty of. Will be more careful about being specific as to which kit I’m referring to. And starting with a pedigree chart with an index instead of my huge Ancestry tree. Thanks, Roberta!

  22. Roberta,

    I hope and pray I did not add to any of your angst being in the “PITA” tree. I cringed at some of your article and laughed out loud at other part. It was an excellent treatise and summary of how we forget how much manners and consideration of others would make the research world of genetic genealogy so much more congenial.

    I am most appreciative of any and all suggestions and guidance from you and so many others, Jane, Richard, AnnieDear, Carla, I can’t name them all, but you are all most helpful. My goal is to never be a PITA again.

    Thank you for all you do Roberta.

    Donna Turner Schulze

  23. Roberta you know how to tell it like it is. It was a great eye-opener, I’m sorry to say, but I too will try to never be a PITA again.

    Donna Turner Schulze

  24. Amen to PITA #4. I hate being “invited” to those cluttered, convoluted Ancestry trees. Ancestry trees are great for sharing stories, pictures, etc., but for our DNA matches, it’s better to have a tree at Rootsweb World Connect. Each tree has easy-to-follow links, an index, and different views you can select for any individual of interest: descendancy, pedigree, or ahnentafel. So much easier, and such a time saver!

  25. Thank you for writing this article. I have only been doing genealogical research for about six months and I have made some of these mistakes. I try to be as detailed as possible when I send emails to matches, but I recently got a nasty email back from a match who was on a tirade about having no idea who I was talking about. It didn’t occur to me that he may be managing several kits. He probably thought I was a huge PITA. After your article, I don’t blame him for his frustration.

    Thanks again!

  26. Pingback: Friday Finds – 03/21/14

  27. In my experience, the main impediment to making progress on GEDmatch and the FTDNA Family Finder is that only a small number of people have bothered to post their GEDCOM files. I would really like to know, why exactly? I can think of several reasons: (1) don’t know what a GEDCOM is, (2) don’t know how to generate one, (3) my pedigree is on Ancestry and (a) I can just tell you to go look at it, (b) I don’t know how to generate a GEDCOM from it, (4) I’m afraid if I tell anybody anything about my ancestry they will copy it, (5) I’m afraid hackers will steal my identity from my genealogy and empty my bank account… Are there other reasons?

    Really, has anyone done a survey, even informally, to find out why posting a GEDCOM has turned out to be such a problem? There has to be a better way!

    • I don’t think anyone has done a survey, but just from my observation, the older kits don’t seem to have Gedcoms. Many were originally ordered before you could even upload a Gedcom. Some uploaded the original Gedcoms that only were the direct Y line – and those are no longer there. The time to upload the Gedcom is when someone is initially excited about the test – when they order – and after that, I think interest sometimes wanes and the Gedcom never gets uploaded. There have also been technical issues with uploading Gedcoms. Mine was too big and I had to work with customer support to get it done.

  28. I don’t want to be a PITA so could use some advice, please. I recently tested with 23andme for health reasons, but family history is my passion. Out of curiosity, I have not turned off the DNA relatives option yet. I have 8 matches that it might be instructive and interesting to pursue so am thinking about introductions. In the meantime, I have received two intros from 3rd to distant cousins, with no genealogical information, asking me to share my genome. From what I know of following paper trails the old fashioned way, I see no point in sharing genomes if no research has been done to back it up. Am I mistaken? Already there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thank you in advance.

    • I might also add that genetic genealogy works a bit differently from traditional paper trail genealogy and basic sharing may result with you learning a connection you weren’t aware of by chance. Like Roberta said in another blog..you never know until you try. You just might learn something new and exciting!. 🙂

      • Speaking of paper trail genealogy versus genetic genealogy, I have a question for anyone willing to read it. I am going insane trying to reconcile what I have found (paper trail) against my genetic results. My population finder results show me as 70% Western Europe (emphasis French and Orchadian) and 30% Europe (emphasis Romanian, Russian, and Tuscan). I also sent my results to someone for independent analysis and the results showed 70% Ireland and 30% Italian. My paper trail shows many (recent) ancestors from Germany. I do not understand this discrepancy. If anyone can offer guidance regarding this issue, I would greatly appreciate it.

        Thank you!

        PS – I apologize for being a PITA and asking a question so specific to myself, but I saw the paper vs genetic topic and had to ask.

    • Do you have a tree on 23&Me? If not shame on you. How would anyone who has a match know the ‘old-fashioned’ way? The people who contacted you were using the default message. But how else can they get more information. I found a maternal line cousin just by going back and forth with questions on surnames (before they had trees). Eventually I got enough names to figure out our connection. Also, I have a spreadsheet with the surname and the place where we match (cant remember the technical names). When I find another person and we match exactly the same spot, that is the surname I look first. So go for it!

        • I agree. the 23andME trees are atrocious–they hang constantly, cut off information and are just a waste of time. That is why I, like many others I see have a link to my offsite tree in my profile on 23andMe. 🙂 So be sure to read the profile…

        • I have to agree, in spite of my earlier statements, that the tree program is awful. I tried to help my niece manually build hers and had numerous problems. I don’t know why I didn’t with mine – maybe it was so long ago that I forgot. But suffer through a little of it. It really is better than a surname list. And it gives a icon on the person. Sometimes if they don’t have one, I don’t even bother to look at a profile. So many people on 23&Me don’t respond so I give up more quickly.

      • No, I don’t have a tree on 23andme as I only took the test for health reasons and got the results just days ago. I don’t have a public profile because I am not looking for cousins. I’m in the middle of two projects with four cousins and can’t deal with anymore at this point. I’m simply curious about the information I was given which included some apparently confirmed 2nd and 3rd cousins that I would love to share email with. I never expected to be approached by anyone wanting to share genomes and truly don’t understand exactly what I would be sharing if I agree. Do they get a copy of my raw data just like I do?

      • Thank you Roberta! I had read both of those articles and no, they really don’t tell you what you’re sharing. Sharing only a few segments, as opposed to the whole lot, doesn’t seem so bad. I’ve initiated contact, but not sharing and we’ve just begun a conversation. Maybe. I look forward to reading your article. Perhaps then I will feel confident enough to actually share. I enjoy reading your posts, both on DNA and on the family side of things. Thanks again.

  29. Brilliant! Thank you so much for this. There are days I tear my hair out at all the DNA/genealogy PITAs, but I also recognized a few things I could *ahem* do better at myself!

  30. I’ve got a few good ones, One of my top matches at FT DNA has no surnames, no family tree, and to boot a fake e-mail address. I almost wish they had messaging system like 23andMe so I know that the person gets the message. Why would someone test at FT DNA and not care to share anything. It baffles me. A 1st to 2nd cousin at Ancestry that doesn’t post a family tree or respond to my message, and many at 23andMe that don’t respond to sharing makes genetic genealogy frustrating at times.

    • May I venture a possible explanation for why people like me (a newbie) have not done more? In my case, lack of time and lack of computer skills. I don’t know how to download a GEDCOM, don’t really even know what one is. I have some genealogy trees via cousins, on paper. The thought of entering all of that, when I hate to type and it’s actually painful (arthritis) is daunting. I got the DNA kits out of curiosity and just didn’t realize how much was expected, afterwards. I have initiated contact with a few matches–some wrote back, some didn’t. I’ve responded quickly to anyone who wrote to me.
      I’m very thankful to Roberta and others who blog and explain things, but I don’t have a scientific brain, alas, and not a lot of free time to devote to all of this.

      • Hi Melissa,

        Genealogy software all generates a file that can be exchanged between different software programs and read by all of them. That file is called a GEDCOM file.


    • So far, I’m not convinced that the messaging system at 23andMe actually works. I found two messages in my inbox, but was never told by 23andMe that they were there. I accepted contact with both of the requesters and have heard nothing whatsoever in over a week. Did they actually get a notice that I replied. I’ve also sent messages to two public profiles, one of which states that they will accept all requests for contact or sharing. Again, I have heard absolutely nothing although I think these profiles were created quite some time ago.

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  32. I got a good one last week. A man sent me his name (kit was under a different name at FTDNA) and a long rambling email. I asked him who he matched as I admin over a dozen kits. He sent me his kit number and password and told me to find my kit in his match list. I advised him not to give out his password and he sent the same info again, getting quite agitated, and wanted me to search through his entire list to find out which one of my kits matched him. It turned out he was a ydna match (12 markers, no less!) and not a FF match. Oh. My. Lord.

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