Surname DNA Projects FAQ

 

  • What is a Surname DNA project?
  • Why join a Surname DNA project?
  • How do I find an existing project?
  • Once I've found a project, how do I join?
  • Does every family have a project?
  • What about alternate spellings of my name?
  • How do I start a new project?
  • What do I need to know to set up a Surname DNA project?
  • How do I add my existing project to your listing?
  • Why should I list my project through your website?
  • How will other people find my project?
  • What kind of people should I recruit?
  • How do I find these people?
  • How do I convince them to get tested?
  • How many markers should we use?

     

    What is a Surname DNA project?
    Since y-DNA correlates so closely with the surname (both y-DNA and surnames are passed down from father to son), a surname DNA project is a good place to look for genetic relatives. By using the results of DNA testing, along with other information and family pedigrees, participants can identify those with whom they share a common ancestor.

    Why join a Surname DNA project?
    A surname DNA project can help you confirm relationships identified by traditional genealogy, to locate related families lost through the passage of time, and to identify the origin of the family’s early ancestors. The aim for many participants is to identify a participant's) who "matches" their test results, and who can help them find the paper trail that leads further back up the family tree.
    By participating in the project, you will have a website to display your test results and your pedigree.  In addition, you will be alerted each time a new pedigree or test result is posted on the website.  You will be able to see lineages develop and will have help in recruiting key members to join the project.
    Large surname projects may work to catalog all known families carrying the surname. As many surnames have evolved over time, a common approach is to open a surname project to all known spellings.
    In addition, tests cost less when you order them through a surname project.

    How do I find an existing project?  
    There are several ways to search for a surname on the website:

    1. Type your surname in the "Search" box in the upper left corner of any page.   Click on the link to the project.
       
    2. Click on the link to "Surname Projects" in the navigation bar at the top of every page of the website.  This will take you to a page where you can search for the project by clicking on "Search for a project" or you can click on the letter that begins your surname and jump to the listing of projects that begin with that letter. Scroll down to find you project, then click on the link to the website. 
    3. If there is no project for your surname, you can request a surname project by clicking on the "Request a Project" link on the Surname Page.  

    Once I've found a project, how do I join?

    • If you have not been tested, order your test through the project (this will automatically make you a member of the project).
    1. Click on the link on your project's website "Click here to order a DNA test in the ___Project" to go directly to your project's order page at Family Tree DNA.. 
    2. You can also click on "Order" in the light gray navigation bar at the top of each page of your surname project's website to go directly to your project's order page at Family Tree DNA.
    3. Click on the "Order Test" link in the dark gray navigation bar across the top of each page, type your surname in the box, and you will be taken directly to the project's order page at FTDNA.
    • If you have already been tested at FTDNA, but are not yet a member of the project
      In your FTDNA page is a blue button labeled "join". Click on that button, then select the surname, then select a second gray join button which is lower on the page. Or, you can call or email FTDNA and ask them to transfer you into the project. 
    • If you were part of the National Genographic Project, you can transfer yourself, your results and your retained sample to Family Tree DNA
      Go to your National Geographic Genographic page.
      Log in using your kit number.
      On the next page, click on "I acknowledge".
      On the next page, scroll all the way down to the bottom.  You will see "learn more" in small blue letters near the bottom of the page.  Click on it.
      Check "I agree".
      Fill out the FTDNA form "Adding Your Record to FTDNA" and click "Continue"
      You should be able to finish it from there.  
      Once you have been transferred into FamilyTreeDNA, you will be given access to a "personal page".  In your FTDNA page is a blue button labeled "join".  Click on that button, then select the surname, then select a second gray join button which is lower on the page.  Or, you can call or email FTDNA and ask them to transfer you into the project (713) 868-1438 or http://www.familytreedna.com/contact.html
    • If you were tested at one of the companies whose results we accept for posting, we will post your results if you submit them in the table we provide. We require that you provide your earliest known ancestor and pedigree. 
       

     Does every family have a project?
    No, most families have not started a Surname DNA Project. We provide World Families Network to assist those who wish to start new Surname DNA Projects.

    What about alternate spellings of my name?
    Most Surname Projects are very open to participants with alternate spellings. You should search for variant spellings of your surname if you don’t find a Surname Project for your surname.

    How do I start a new project?
    Family Tree DNA expects you to ultimately have 6 participants, but has a number of projects listed with one or two participants. You can contact them for more information.
    Alternately, we will set up the project for you through World Families Network and allow you to be the Co-Admin or simply be a participant. Click here to request us to set up your Surname Project.   If you already have a project and need a website, we can Request a Project Site.

    What do I need to know to set up a Surname DNA project?
    Most Surname DNA Project coordinators didn’t know a lot about DNA testing when they started. They had an interest in furthering their research and were willing to start their project and learn as they went. We have provided advice on how to start and run a project at our World Families Network site. To learn more, see our Project Administrator Information page.

    How do I add my existing project to your World Families Network listing?
    Simply go to our Request a Project Site page and send us an email.

    Why should I list my project through your website?
    You will list your project at WFN because you want to maximize the possibility of a potential participant finding your project. By listing at World Families Network, you help assure that nearly all Surname Projects are included in a single listing. (If your project is listed with Family Tree DNA, we will automatically include it in our list)

    How will other people find my project?
    We maintain The World's most complete Surname DNA Project listing. This includes all projects that are listed with Family Tree DNA plus any projects that have individually registered with World Families Network. We believe that this represents over 90% of all surname projects worldwide. Anyone searching at the testing company that handles your project will also find your project.

    What kind of people should I recruit?
    You need a male participant who either carries the Surname or one who is believed to be paternally descended from a man who carried the surname.  When you are establishing your project, the most important participants will be those who can trace their ancestry. Researchers who are enthusiastic about researching your surname through DNA testing can be very helpful in recruiting and in convincing the doubters of the value of DNA testing.

    How do I find these people?
    Use every possible method of contact that you can imagine. Typically, some are found through word of mouth, some are found through Surname Forums and Discussion Pages, some are found through Family History societies and some are found through luck. If you know old-timers who have a network of fellow researchers who still communicate by snail mail and phone, you have a potential source into many families in your surname, as these researchers usually keep a list of contacts who are a part of their line and a list of those who are not a part of their line. The more different channels of communication that you can open to find and recruit participants, the more likely you are to be successful in finding them.

    How do I convince them to get tested?
    This can be a challenge. Some folks are willing to participate, but can’t (or won’t pay the cost). In these cases, you can encourage the family to collectively pool the cost of the test for one representative. These situations are ones where the 12 marker tests are particularly useful, as $99 is easier to raise than $148, $189, or $269.
    Some folks don’t understand the value of the testing. Hopefully, you can learn enough from these FAQs and other information to persuade them. Some coordinators have shared their challenges on the Genealogy-DNA-L list and gotten help from experienced coordinators.
    Some folks fear that the test will somehow invade or compromise their privacy. Again, hopefully, you can learn enough from these FAQs and other information to persuade them.
    If you aren’t able to convince someone to participate, don’t give up. (and don’t offend them, as they could become an ally later) One possibility is that they might refer you to another family member who is more receptive. You may also find a way to answer their concerns and discuss with them again another time.
    Some projects create “sponsorships” to help pay the cost of testing in specific situations.

    How many markers should we use?
    Use as many markers as your participants can afford. Generally, we recommend starting with at least 25 markers as a trade-off between cost and information. (If cost is a major issue, screening tests can be done with 12 marker tests.)

     

     

     

     

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