Find Family Members without a DNA Test Using True People Search

True people search is a risk-free way to find contact information for people you want to get in touch with. This might be an old friend, someone you want to network with professionally, someone who owes you money, or even a long-lost relative. 

Ancestry tests have become quite popular in recent years. By analyzing your DNA, companies like 23andMe, MyHeritage, and Ancestry.com can help you find out who your ancestors are. However, not only are there certain drawbacks to ancestry DNA tests, but they also are limited when it comes to getting in touch with living relatives.

True people search and ancestry DNA tests both have their place. In this article, we’ll explain the two so that you can make the best decision when it comes to finding your family members. 

How Do DNA Tests Work?

Most direct-to-consumer (DTC) ancestry DNA tests mail you a tube into which you put your saliva. Then you mail it back to the company. They test the DNA extracted from the cells in your saliva looking for similarities and differences between specific single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) of your DNA code and those of other users in the company’s database. 

These similarities and differences help figure out which groups your DNA most closely matches. Results typically include an ethnicity report and a match list.

The ethnicity report shows the total amount of DNA that matches each ancestry as a percentage. It is possible that you have ancestors from all over the world!

The match list provides you with the names of other users whose DNA yours closely matches. The report can estimate relationships up to 4th or 5th cousins.

However, there are some limitations to ancestry DNA tests. 

How Accurate Are Ancestry DNA Tests?

The science behind ancestry DNA testing is sound. But even with 99.9% accuracy, when 1 million SNVs are processed, that still leaves room for 1,000 errors. This is one reason why siblings, even twins, can end up with vastly different ancestry reports. Each DNA ancestry company has its own process, but it typically involves a proprietary ancestry algorithm that analyzes datasets of genetic information from reference panels and public databases like the 1000 Genomes Project.

These reports also depend on the information available in the company’s database. Your DNA can only be matched to the DNA of those whose ancestry is already known. So basically, your DNA is matched to the DNA of previous users. This means that data gets more and more rich every year. So your results could vary by company and by year. 

The SNVs each company processes vary as well. This leaves a lot of room for inconsistencies, not to mention the already subjective nature of certain assumptions and definitions. Users can sometimes even indicate the “confidence interval” they want reported. This means they can control the accuracy of their report. For example, you might be able to get a more detailed report that has a low confidence interval, meaning the results are based more on assumptions than exact matches.

Those with a more homogenous ancestry can expect more accurate results than those with heterogeneous ancestry. And, in order for your ancestry to be correctly determined, your ancestors need to be represented in the company’s database. There are some populations that aren’t as well-studied as others.

Broad matches, like continents, can be more accurate than narrow regions within specific countries. So without representation from these smaller, more specific regions, it’s difficult to get a precise picture.

What Are the Benefits of Ancestry DNA Tests

While they can’t tell you how your ancestors lived or about their culture or heritage, ancestry DNA tests can provide a glimpse into your ancestral roots and the geographic regions from which you inherited your unique DNA. It can also be used to generate a list of living relatives. And in some cases, it can indicate nonpaternity which occurs in about 1-2% of births in Western populations. Adoptees have been successful in locating their biological families with the help of DNA testing.

DNA testing can provide insights into a person’s susceptibility to certain conditions and diseases. However, scientists warn users about making medical decisions based on inaccurate or imperfect information.

Finally, although highly controversial, DNA databases can be subpoenaed by law enforcement and the federal government to assist in identifying and eliminating criminal suspects. That is how the number one suspect in the Golden State Killer case was identified.

What Are the Drawbacks Involved with Ancestry DNA Tests?


First, just like any company’s database, DNA databases can be hacked. And there is nothing more private than your personal genetic information. 

Third-Party Profit

Aside from hacking, your personal genetic information is not necessarily safe from third party profit. Although it is a user’s choice whether or not to opt in to allowing the DNA company to share the information with academic, nonprofit, and industry organizations, 80% of 23andMe users do consent! After your data is shared, however, there is no way to control where it ends up or how it is used.

Weak Genetic Privacy Laws

Furthermore, laws concerning genetic privacy are not very broad, and a company’s privacy statement can change at any time. This means that you always need to be aware of the details regarding the policies and promises made by each company you provide with your personal genetic information.

Lack of Privacy

Then there are privacy concerns. Although it’s great that the Golden State Killer case was cracked after decades, this lack of privacy could deter some users. Law enforcement and the federal government can pressure DNA companies to share your DNA. And even if you’ve done nothing wrong, remember that you share similarities in your DNA with your relatives. When you provide your genetic information to a DNA testing company, you are also providing information about those related to you, and vice versa.


And of course, there is the issue of inaccuracies. There is also speculation that certain ethnic groups in particular are underrepresented due to socioeconomics. An ancestry DNA test costs around $100 which could rule out participation for many populations. This is data that will not be available for the 26+ million users of DTC ancestry DNA testing websites. 

Difficulty Contacting Relatives

Finally, there are limitations when it comes to contacting relatives through the DNA testing sites. First of all, your relatives have to use the same website as you in order to be matched by name. Second, not every user’s family tree is made public. So you could have a match and hit a dead end. Third, you can message your matches, but if that person never logs back into the website, he or she won’t get your message.

That’s where a true people search comes in.

What is a True People Search?

A true people search, also known as people finder, is a tool that allows you to search databases of public records and proprietary information to get contact information for almost anyone in the United States. So you could take a name from your ancestry DNA match list and enter it into a people search tool to get an address, phone number, email address, and even a list of relatives if the person is in the United States.

Or, you could skip the DNA test altogether, and search for long-lost relatives using your own family tree. Is there an address where your ancestors used to live? You can enter the address of the property to get a list of current and past residents to get more information about who used to live there.

Of course, not all information will be available for each search. But you pay nothing if the information you are searching for isn’t located. If your search does get results, the cost is significantly less than a DNA test! 

A standard people search can provide you with a full name, street address, phone number, and email for $1. A premium people search adds known aliases, current address and 3-year address history with reported dates, all known phone numbers with line type (wireless or landline), date of birth, and relatives with their dates of birth for $2.

And you get the results in minutes—no DNA required!

DNA Test vs. True People Search

You can use ancestry DNA tests and true people search independently or in conjunction. It just depends on what information you have and what information you need. However, it’s important that you understand how companies use your data so that you can make the right decisions about what information to provide.

The best way to really get a glimpse into your ancestors’ culture or experiences, you’re going to need more than a DNA test. You’re going to need to talk to living relatives to piece together your family’s history through family trees, photo albums, keepsakes, and stories. 

To find long-lost relatives nearby, use a true people search tool/people finder to get in touch with someone you can speak to and meet with. DNA testing websites are a good way to make yourself available if anyone is looking for you. But true people search allows you to actively get in contact with people you want to find. Your customer data is never shared or sold, and with no memberships or contracts, you can rest assured that your information is private. Sign up to create an account and try it today! Your first results are free!