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by Abigail Van Buren

Invitations From Friend Are Declined for Safety Reasons

DEAR ABBY: I recently did a DNA test using a kit through a genealogy company that advertises nationally and internationally. I received my results and discovered that one of the features is that the website shows people with whom I share DNA, along with predictions of my relationship to them.

I'm interested in trying to strike up conversations with people to whom I am distantly related (most of my matches are fourth or fifth cousins or further), but I'm at a loss for how to begin. I have tried mentioning common family connections, but haven't gotten anywhere with that approach. Do you have any advice you can share with me about how to start a conversation with someone I'm related to, but don't know? -- CURIOUS IN CANADA

DEAR CURIOUS: What you should do is tell these people that your DNA test results showed that you may be related, and ask if the person is willing to share information. However, if they do not respond, take the hint and don't follow up.

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