Frequently Asked Questions About Project Administration
Becoming a Project Administrator at
Administering a Project at
Editing my project's website and administering my project

What is a Project Administrator?
Typically, one or two volunteer researchers provide leadership for the project, coordinating the collection and display of pedigrees, the correlation of pedigrees to results and the presentation of results. They also share the project’s learnings with the members and coordinate the efforts to increase interest and awareness in the project.
For more information on becoming an administrator, read Become An Administrator

How do I start a new project?
If there is no FTDNA project serving your surname, we will set up the project for you through and allow you to be the Co-Admin or simply be a participant.
Click here to request us to set up your Surname Project  Surname Project Request
You can also contact Family Tree DNA directly to request a project. 

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 site.

For more information on becoming an administrator, read Become An Administrator

What is the time commitment? 
It is as little or as much as you choose to give.  A modest sized project will probably take 2-10 hours per week.  It depends on how hard you work and how many other people you can get involved to help create the interest and bring in the families.  Recruiting and answering questions will take the bulk of your time.  Smaller projects which are allowed to develop at their own pace, with very modest recruiting efforts, probably take only 1-2 hours a week.
What kind of computer knowledge do I need? 
You need to be able to navigate and use the resources available on the internet.  It will be helpful if you are able to create a word document.  You'll also find that working with an Excel (or similar) spreadsheet will be very helpful - but it's not critical.  You do not need to be able to program or to create a website.
Can I manage more than one Surname Project? 
Yes - we have Co-Admins who manage 6-8 surname projects.
What are the tasks for a Project Administrator?
There are 4 main tasks for the Project Administrator: 
1.  Emailing members to welcome them and to inform them of new developments in the project, and answering queries about the project.
2.  Recruiting new members and raising awareness of the Project.
3.  Posting pedigrees on the website's Patriarchs Page.
4.  Posting results on the website's Y-Results Page. 
To learn more, go to the Project Administrator's Task page.
Do I have to do all of the tasks right away?
You can choose to do all of them right away, or start by doing some of them. We highlyrecommend that you recruit a co-administrator to share the tasks. We ask that all project administrators take over Tasks 1 and 2 above (emailing and recruiting) .  We will provide you with a sample message that you can use as it is or edit, or you may create your own message.  WFN can do Tasks 3 and 4 until you are ready.   To learn more, go to the Project Administrator's Task page. 
How can I set up a project for my surname?
First find out if there is already an FTDNA  project for your surname:
  • Go to Surname Projects to see if your desired project comes up in the right hand column of the Search results
  • Check again by going to www.familytreedna and typing your surname in the surname search box to see if your surname is included in a project with a similar name.
How can I become the Administrator of an existing surname project?
  • If the project is a Project that is being administered by because there is no Administrator from the family, we will be happy to set you up as Project Administrator if you are willing to begin with sending welcomes, emails, and recruiting members.  You can take over the posting of results and pedigrees to the website as you feel ready.  
  • To request that you be made a Project Administrator, click here.
  • If the project is a Project and it already has an Admininstrator from the family, we will discuss with the existing Admin(s) their willingness to add you as another Co-Administrator
  • If the project is based at FTDNA, already has a project administrator, but has no website at,  we are unable to help you.  (You'll need to contact that Admin directly)
For more information on becoming an administrator, read Become An Administrator
What are the skills I need to be a Project Administrator or a Co-Administrator?
  • An enthusiasm for working with the issues of the entire surname grouping
  • An ability to contact and communicate with the other researchers in the familyA basic understanding of genealogy and the issues researchers face
  • An interest in learning how to compile the genealogy and integrate it with the dna-learning created by the project
  • A desire to share the knowledge gained
  • An ability to type (two-finger hunt and peck is fine) and a basic knowledge of using computers.
  • As many of the “Perfect Attributes” as you happen to have.

What is a fairly typical progression of duties?
(This can be flexible to meet your own skills, time, and interest.)
  1. Send a welcome email to new project members. 
  2. Edit the project's website to personalize it for your project.
  3. Send an email whenever there is a new posting on the Patriarch page or on the Results Page, using the "bulk email" tool at FTDNA.
  4. Begin posting pedigrees from the Pedigree Forum to the Patriarch Page
  5. Begin posting results to the Results page
  6. Assume the lead role in understanding the dna results in your surname and answering questions from your participants
  7. Fully take over management of the Project and/or start training a co-admin of your own
  8. Customize the project and the website to your needs – and to the specific issues that your surname families face.
  9. Work with the various surname families and their researchers.  If you can get “each family” to post their pedigree and to have a dna representative in the project, you have a wonderful start.
  10. Our role becomes coach as you gradually take over.
Here are the perfect attributes for a Surname DNA Project Administrator.

Before you panic – this is in jest.  I doubt that any Surname Admin even comes close to meeting these requirements:

  • Knows every researcher in the surname and all of the associated spelling variations
  • Knows all of the family histories, the theories on how they tie together, how the surnames evolved over time and where the questionable links are in each pedigree
  • Completely understands the use of DNA as it applies to understanding the surname’s genealogy
  • Is completely humble, very patient and never makes a mistake
  • Has an unlimited amount of time to devote to this project
  • Is able to create a fabulous website in one sitting
  • Has unlimited funds to help pay for testing
What does do?  
We set up and administer Surname DNA Projects at Family Tree DNA when they do not already exist.  We also assume the administrative role when the administrator is no longer available - for whatever reason.  This is a service that we are pleased to provide – when no one has stepped forward from the families to do it.  However, most of the Surname Projects that we set up are not our ancestral surnames.  Our goal is to find 1 or 2 people who are interested in the Surname DNA Project who will gradually (or immediately) take over the management of the project.   We do not have time to promote the project, so it is up to the participants to help do that.  The more people involved, the better chance of finding your genetic family and breaking down your blank wall.  WorldFamilies has a business relationship with Family Tree DNA that allows us to provide this service. 
Why does administer so many surname projects?
When Surname Projects do not have a family member to administer the project, often steps in to administer the project until a family member is ready to take over.  We provide the project's website, post results and pedigrees on the website, inform project members of any activity in the project, and answer questions from the project members.  In addition, WorldFamilies also co-administers projects that have a Project Administrator who needs help administering the project.  WorldFamilies has a business relationship with Family Tree DNA that allows us to provide this service. 
More information about
There's no project for my surname of interest.  Can you set up a project for me?
Yes, if you believe your surname is not included in any of the Surname Projects at FTDNA, you can send a request to Terry to set up a project. Click here for instructions.
How do I request a project website for my Surname Project?
WFN provides a website to any FTDNA project at no charge.  Click here for instructions on how to request a website. 
How can I become administrator of an FTDNA project?
We can help with that.  Click here for instructions.
I lost my Co-Administrator.  Can help?
Yes,  we can co-administer the project to take some of the stress off you.  Just email to request some help. 
I want to keep my website at FTDNA (or another place) and add a website at  Is that allowed?
Yes.  Adding a website at WFN will increase your project's visibility.  We can add information directing viewers of your website to your other website for additional information. 
I don't know how long I can keep administering this project.  What should I do?
First, start looking for an admin within your project.  If you have no luck, send Terry an email and ask for his help, either now or later. 
Do I have to let have access to my project to use one of your websites?
No.  We will set up our website structure for you upon request.  The website is free and the requirements are modest.  If you prefer to take a project we have already established and operate it it at another site - that is fine.
I already have a successful Surname Project.  Why should I use one of your project website?
Our project sites offer up to 10 pages for your project's information.  In addition, we can assist you in administering your project, if the need arises.  The free project website can be used as a stand-alone system, can be used in conjunction with the project pages provided by FTDNA, or can be coordinated with another site which already supports your project. Having a website at gives your project more visibility.
What if I want to manage a Surname Project at a different testing Company?  
Our sites are only for Surname Projects based at FTDNA.
Where can I find a list of all the project administration information page at
You will find lists of the pages you should read as you take on the responsiblities of project administration on both the Administrator's Guide Page and on the Site Map
Can I choose which pages to use for my website?
Yes, log in as project administrator,  go to your project's home page and click the edit button near the top of the page.  Scroll down below the editing box and your will see "Pages Enabled".  Click on each box to check it, meaning the page will be displayed on your project's website, or uncheck it, meaning the page will not be displayed.  Home and Order must always be displayed.  After you have selected the pages you want to display, scroll to the bottom on the page and click "Save"
Can I rename pages of my website?
 Yes.  On the home page of your project, you can click "Edit" and choose the name that will be displayed at the top of all project webpages, along with the tag line you would like to include.
On each of the other pages of your website, click "Edit", then type the name you want for the webpage in the top box called "Page Title". 
Always scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Save" to make the changes you want. 
back to top
How do I add a Co-Administrator to my project?
First, add your new Co-Administrator's name and email address to the GAP at Family Tree DNA. 
Then, make sure that your Co-Administrator has registered at  Then have him/her go to your project's website and click "Track" in the left sidebar.  Once he/she has done that, you can log in as Admin, click on " # members tracking project" in the left sidebar of your project's homepage.  Click "Admin: Create" next to his/her name.  Then click "Join Community".  The Co-Administrator's name will now appear on the bottom of each of the project's webpages. 
How do I edit my email address at
Log in at, then click on "my account" in the left sidebar.  Then click "Edit". Change your email address, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Save"  This will change your email address associated with your registration at
To change the email address that is displayed for you as Project Administrator on your Project's website, click the tab "Personal Information" make the change to the name and display email address, and click "Save".
How do I change my username or password at
  • If you would like to change your username or password, log in, and click on "My account" in the left sidebar.  Then click "Edit" to change your password.
  • If you would like to change your email address that appears at the bottom of each of the project's webpage, click on "My account" in the left sidebar.  Click “edit” and then click "Personal Information".  Make the change and click “Save”.
How can I learn to use the GAP at FTDNA?
Take a look at this page on the WFN website:  Learn to Use the GAP
Read the FTDNA pages for administrators listed on this page:  FTDNA Resources for Project Administrators.  
How do I send a "Welcome" email to new project members?
FTDNA has made it easy for Project Administrators to automatically send a Welcome Email to every new project member.  For more information and a sample welcome, click here.
How do I send a bulk email to all project members?
You can send bulk emails through the GAP at FTDNA.  Click here for information.  Sample "Results" bulk emailSample "Pedigree" bulk email. 
Why should I post the pedigrees on the Patriarchs Page?
Project Administrators who take over the posting of pedigrees find that this is a great way to get a feel for the lineages and the researchers for this surname. In addition, 1.  You will be aware of activity and interest in the project.
2.  You can contact the person posting the pedigree who is not a project member, to encourage him/her to test or encourage a family member to test.
3.  You will be able to find and develop possible linkages in paper trails, and put project members in touch with each other. 
4.  Your Patriarch Page will be up-to-date, so that project members and viewers can see the pedigrees and contact the posters, and you.
Do you have step-by-step instructions for posting pedigrees on the Patriarchs' Page?
Yes, for detailed instructions on posting to the Patriarch Page, click here.
Also, see Editing Your Project's Website for good information.
Can I change how my project members submit pedigrees for the Patriarchs Page?
WFN now requires that project members submit pedigrees by email for the Projects that we post pedigrees to the Patriarchs Page.  If a Project Admin is posting pedigrees for his project's Patriarchs Page, we forward those emails to him/her.  If you would like to have your project members submitted directly to you, contact and the message on your Pedigree Forum will be changed as you request. 
Can I use the WFN Results Tool to update my project's Y-Results Page?
Yes, the WFN Results Tool™ lets you update your project’s WFN Results Page in minutes, automatically bringing in new results, sorting by haplogroups and matches, yet still allowing you to change groupings, delete kits, or add informationYou do not have to save a spreadsheet and upload it when you use the WFN Results Tool™
  • Click here if you would like to try the WFN Results Tool
What is the difference in "Edit" and "Upload" on my project's webpage?
The “Edit” tool is the website-provided editing tool that allows you to change the text that appears on your project’s webpages, using the editing box and tool bar displayed on the editing page. You can make any changes or additions you want to the page's content, then scroll down to click "Save" so that the new content will appear on the page.  For more information
The "Upload" tool allows you to upload to the page your own content that has been saved as an .html file.  You cannot edit the uploaded file on the webpage, as you will lose the formatting.  For more information.
I'm having trouble editing a project webpage or uploading an .html file.
Go to this page for Common Problems and Questions with Editing Pages
Also, see Editing Your Project's Website for good information. 

How do I upload a page to my Project's website?
Click here for information on uploading an .html file

How do I save a file as an .htm or .html file for uploading?
Click here for information on saving as an .htm or .html file.
I want to upload my own results spreadsheet.  Do you have step-by-step instructions for posting results on the Results Page?
Yes, for detailed instructions on posting results, click here.
Also, see Editing Your Project's Website for good information. 
What is a Lineage?
Project members' results who match at 23/25, 33/37/, 61/67 or better are grouped together as a Lineage, which means they share a "recent" common ancestor.
What is a haplogroup?
This name is used for the branches of the "Family Tree of Man" based on analysis of yDNA.  The Haplogroups shows the different branches that have separated over 1000s and 10,000s of years. Haplogroup branches characterize the early migrations of population groups. As a result, haplogroups are usually associated with a geographic region and can tell us about our ancient ancestors and their migrations. Haplogroups were assigned letters of the alphabet before the complete analysis was done which means that the specific letter assignment itself is meaningless. Each man today can be assigned to a Haplogroup, which tells him the "deep ancestry".
What is an "Apparent Ancestral Profile"?
When men are grouped together in a lineage, we can estimate the yDNA profile for their common ancestor by deducing what his profile had to be in order for his descendants to have their specific results.  This Apparant Ancestral Profile appears in the top row of the lineage, on the same line as the name of the Lineage. Also called Ancestral Signature and Modal Haplotype at FTDNA.
What is the "Earliest Known Ancestor"?the male who is the farthest back in the paternal line of the participant - as traced through a paper trail.  Earliest Known Ancestor is the term used by   FTDNA uses the term “Most Distant Known Ancestor”

back to top
How is the Earliest Known Ancestor obtained for the Results Page?
When the project member posts his "Most Distant Known Ancestor" on the "User Preferences" page of his MyFTDNA page, FTDNA picks up that information and displays it with his results.  

Can I allow people who have tested at companies other than FTDNA to submit yDNA results for posting on the project's results page? no longer accepts results from companies other than FTDNA for the Surname Projects we administer, as FTDNA now makes it so easy to add these results to FTDNA for a modest fee.
To learn more, click here:
However, some Project Administrators choose to accept results if placed in a conversion table.
What is ISOGG?
The International Society for Genetic Genealogy is the first society founded to promote the use of DNA testing in genealogy.  Its mission includes educating people about the use of genetics.  It is a noncommercial non-profit organization, with other 7,000 members from across the world.  Their website provides a wealth of information about using DNA for genealogy.
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  We believe that this represents over 90% of all surname projects worldwide. 

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 identify appropriate participants for my project?
For information on choosing participants for your project, click here.
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.
What is a Sponsorship Program?
The "FTDNA General Fund" is an easy way to set up a Sponsorship Fund for your project.  (See the link on the GAP for your project. )  The advantage of doing your fund this way is that FTDNA will allow the donations to be made with a credit card or a check, and the funds will be held in your General Fund until you tell FTDNA how they are to be used for tests.
Do you have any suggestions for how a Project Administrator can make his Surname Project a success?
Yes, take a look at this page:  Managing a Successful Surname Project.