Are you looking in vain for an Ancestry DNA match that you’re certain you saw before in your match list? Do you see an empty web page where your match list should be? Or are you wondering why half your Ancestry matches have disappeared?
This article runs through every scenario of the incredible disappearing Ancestry DNA match (or matches). And we’ll show you how to solve technical issues – and which scenarios cannot be reversed.
Why Has My Ancestry DNA Match Suddenly Disappeared?
In this scenario, you’ve spotted an interesting DNA match but hadn’t finished reviewing the possible connections. You may even have starred the match to remind yourself to check back later.
And then you can’t find the match!
There are three possible reasons that a single Ancestry DNA match disappears from your match list:
- You have inadvertently hidden the DNA match
- The user has opted out of DNA matching
- The user has deleted their DNA from Ancestry
Let’s run through the scenarios and their remedies.
Did you forget that you deliberately hid the match? Or perhaps you did so by accident?
Read our next section on Hidden Matches to check if you hid the match – and take action to unhide it.
All users can opt-out of Ancestry DNA matching at any time. This is a fairly drastic choice, as it stops the person opting out from being able to see any of their DNA matches.
But it also removes them from the match lists of all other Ancestry accounts.
Opting out is reversible. The user may choose to opt back in at a later date. In that case, the match will reappear in your list. The match will also reappear in any groups that you may have added them to.
There is nothing you can do about other users opting out. However, you can take some preventative action to preserve the details of matches that are particularly important to you. I’ll discuss this in the section on preserving DNA match details.
Removing DNA from Ancestry
This is an even more drastic step than opting out of DNA matching. Every Ancestry user can delete their DNA from the website at any time.
Unlike opting out, this is not a reversible action. The user would have to purchase another Ancestry DNA kit to “come back” to Ancestry matching.
As with opting out, you can take some steps with important matches to protect yourself against losing all their information.
How To Check For Hidden Ancestry Matches
That Ancestry match that “disappeared” may just be hidden. Which is something that you must do yourself. It’s possible you may have hidden the wrong DNA match, or have simply forgotten that you took this action.
Here’s how to check and fix the issue.
Hidden Ancestry matches are listed in a special group. To check if your match is hidden:
- Expand the groups’ drop-down menu.
- Select the “Hidden matches” group
- Click the Apply button to view the hidden list
How to unhide an Ancestry match
If the match you were looking for is on the hidden list, then you can unhide it from here.
- Click on the DNA match on the hidden list
- Expand the tools menu on the match page
- Click on “Show Match”
- Click the “Show match” button to confirm your choice
Why Have All My Ancestry DNA Matches Disappeared?
There are several possible reasons why you can’t see any DNA matches on Ancestry.
- Your browser cache is interfering with an Ancestry software change
- Ancestry server issues are preventing the web page from displaying information
- A browser plug-in is interfering with the web page
- You have logged in with an email used for an alternative account
- You opted out of DNA matches
Let’s run through each cause, and how to fix the problem. Don’t worry, you’ll get those DNA matches back.
Browser cache issues
Ancestry’s go-to response to support queries is to advise you to clear your browser cache. And often they’re right.
This problem can happen when the company rolls out a software change to the match list page. If your browser has cached the display, then the cached old version may not understand the latest changes. This breaks the page.
The solution is to clear the browser cache. Then refresh the page.
But what if that doesn’t solve the problem? Read on.
Ancestry server display issues
In this scenario, you’ve launched the DNA match list page. You may see your name at the top as usual. But no matches are shown on the page.
Unfortunately, the Ancestry website occasionally has technical issues with loading its web pages to your browser. The web page may show an error message telling you that the server is overloaded.
Or you may just see a spinning wheel like this:
The usual solution is to come back to the website later when the problem is resolved. If you haven’t shut the page down, you’ll need to refresh the browser page.
Browser plug-in interference.
This happened to me a few years ago. Despite repeatedly clearing my browser cache, the match list page kept showing the spinning wheel. I did get to see a few DNA matches, but the page was broken.
The problem turned out to be a browser plug-in. I had installed it long before the problem started occurring. It’s possible that an Ancestry software change suddenly became incompatible with the plug-in.
This article details my problem with an ad-blocker and Ancestry. One solution was to disable the plug-in. For this particular type of plugin, I could also stop it from running on particular websites (like Ancestry.com)
Did you create a free guest account with Ancestry before you did your DNA test?
Check that you’ve signed into Ancestry with the account associated with your DNA results. If the DNA option isn’t available, that’s a clue.
This possibility is last because I figured you’d likely remember if you told Ancestry to remove your account from DNA matching.
If you opted out of the DNA matches feature, then you just need to opt back in again. Read the next section in this article on how to do so.
Opting Back In To Ancestry Matching
When you activate your DNA kit on Ancestry, you are opted in to DNA matching by default.
You can opt out and in to Ancestry matching at any time. If you opt out, you will no longer see any DNA matches. And you will not show up on any Ancestry user’s DNA match list.
If you want to opt back in to the Ancestry DNA matching, follow these steps.
- Open the DNA tab and click on the Settings menu (top right).
- Scroll down to the Privacy section
- Click on the “Change” link in the DNA matches section
- Toggle the option to “You can’t see your DNA matches and you’re not listed as a match.“
Why Have Half My Ancestry DNA Matches Disappeared?
Has it been a while since you logged into Ancestry and took a look at your total count of DNA matches?
Ancestry took the drastic step of removing the display of DNA matches below 8 centimorgans back in September 2020. Our article will give you the background to the Ancestry match purge if you’re interested. Note that the instructions for preserving matches are now obsolete.
Ancestry users who took no action lost an average of about half their DNA matches. If this is you, unfortunately, there’s no way to get those low centimorgan matches back.