In Memory

One of the saddest parts of getting older is losing friends.  And, one of the realities of Genetic Genealogy is that most of the early leadership has come from those who have "graduated" from the working world.  Inevitably, we lose another good friend and research buddy.  Often, we have had the privilege of meeting them face to face, but in our world of Genetic Genealogy, the internet is our meeting place and we work closely with many whome we never get to meet face to face. That doesn't minimize our friendship or caring - but does make it harder to pay them the resepect that they are due.

I am starting this feature to recognise and remember those who have been special friends and bright lights in the Genetic Genealogy community.  Today, I recognise four special people, two who have recently left us and two who we lost in past years.  I hope that you will join me in remembering these special people.  I welcome you to post here in memory of these and other researchers who have been special to your Genetic Genealogy research and are no longer with us.

Elizabeth M Macfarlane, M.P.H. - "Our second and longest serving MacFarlane DNA Project administrator, Elizabeth Macfarlane, has passed away at age 93.  She ably ran the MacFarlane project from 2005 until ill health forced her to step down in 2009.  She was a great friend to everyone involved in MacFarlane genealogy for two decades; her warmth and wit will be sorely missed.  May she rest in peace".  (provided by Chevalier Terrance Gach MacFarlane - current MacFarlane project administrator)

Carl M. Lee - Treasurer of Barton Historical Society - sponsoring organization for the Barton DNA Project. Carl Michael Lee, 61, of Greenville, passed away on Friday, April 1, 2011 at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Born in Greenville County, SC, he was the son of the late Wilson C. and Elizabeth Hill Lee, Sr. He was owner/operator of Gunter-Lee Construction, a member of Barton Historical Society, member of Woodmen of the World, Lodge 3 where he served as trustee, and was a member of Heritage Church where he served as a deacon.

James Reynolds Hull, Ph.D. - Founder and Administrator of the Hull Surname DNA Project.  Jim and I became friends after he began using a WorldFamilies website in 2008.  He was a dedicated project administrator who was always seeking a better way to present his Hull research.  Eventually, Jim mentioned that another reason for using WorldFamilies was to assure a suitable transition of the Hull project administration after he was gone.  That sad day came in September 2009.  I was pleased to see an orderly transition to new administrators who now capably administer the Hull project.

Leo Little - a pioneer in Genetic Genealogy, founder and administrator of the Little Surname project, and active researcher into Null 439.  Leo and I talked about a joint venture in the very early days that didn't pan out and had a special interest and care for the other's work afterwards.  We consulted with each other many times as we tried to understand some facet of this emerging field.  Leo left us in 2008.  After an extended period, WorldFamilies assumed the administration of Leo's beloved Little Surname Project in late 2009.  We are honored to help Leo's work by serving as the interim administrator - but would much prefer to hand off the Little project to a family researcher who can give it the leadership that it deserves.

Kenneth G. "Kenny" Hedgpeth - a pioneer in Genetic Genealogy, co-founder of ISOGG and good friend passed away on June 3, 2011.   Katherine Borges noted:  "Kenny not only designed the ISOGG logo and set up the two main ISOGG Yahoo mailing lists, he also did whatever he could to promote ISOGG through conferences, discussion groups at SCGS Library as well as many other things."

I enjoyed spending time with Kenny at the 2010 WDYTYA? conference in London and seeing him at the FTDNA International Conferences.  I felt great pain as I just removed his name as administrator of the following surname projects:  Aitken, Bixby, Sealy, Stonebraker, Stowe & Thalls.  He was also admin for Northumberland-England.  I'd love to see a family researcher take the leadership of any (or all) of these projects.  Until that happens, we be caretaker for Kenny's secondary projects.  Sigh - I just checked and see that his beloved "Hedgpeth-Hdpth" project has no administrator listed - or as Kenny liked to call it - H*D*P*TH

If you are interested (or know a researcher with these surnames) it's time to get focused leadership back on Kenny's projects.

Thoughts on Project Administration Continuity

WorldFamilies has become interim administrator for a number of projects over the years when the prior administrator could no longer continue.  Typically, we don't know "why" - we just know that an interim administrator is needed for yet another surname dna project.  Sometimes they are small and underdeveloped, sometimes they are robust mid-sized projects, and there have been a few that were large.  One of our first steps is to let the project participants know of our new role and to encourage them to consider joining us in the project administration - as we are glad to help them develop skills as a project administrator.  Sometimes, we have success with this approach, sometimes we are still "interim" after multiple years.  (a sad thing - in my opinion)

How much better would it have be if a project had been blessed with a lead administrator and a "co-administrator" who was either "in training" or a fully capable administrator in their own right!  Continuity would have been assured and the project would continue to benefit from the focused leadership of a researcher with specific interest in those families.

I encourage you who are project administrators to make provisions for the continuity of your beloved dna projects after you are gone.  Whether you groom a co-administrator or whether you setup some other transition plan - please make proviison for leadership to continue!  You may one of the fortunate ones who have time to realize that you "have to" hand off your project - or you may be the one who gets no advance warning of your last day.  Either way - please honor your work and project by assuring continuity.

Terry