Drag Your Bait!

John Shepherd, Project Administrator for the Shepard Project (see the project's website here:  http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/shepard) recently sent me an article he wrote for his project members that is so good, I'm using it here, with his permission. 

I hope you will take the steps John suggests to enhance your chances of making that connection you are seeking through genetic genealogy.


On Dragging Your Bait


A long time ago when I was a small lad an older man watched me fishing and advised: “You need to drag your bait. Keep it moving, but gently, so the fish can see it, think about it and decide to pounce on it.”  This turned out to be great advice for catching fish.


The same is true in genetic genealogy.  If you bait your hook (Test your own DNA) and then take a nap, you will get some nice sleep.  However, if you wiggle your bait now and then, you have a much better chance of making a connection with someone else by getting their attention. There are a number of ways to do this for both Y-DNA and mtDNA, and I’ll list them here:


  1. Provide your website administrator with the name, birth date and birth place of your earliest known ancestor.  
  2. Upload your GEDCOM (Pedigree information) on your Personal page. This gives people who are in your “Matches” page some clue about how they might relate to you.
  3. E-mail the people in your “Matches” and ask them to post GEDCOMs to their Personal Pages if they haven’t already done so.
  4. E-mail the people in your “Matches” who only have a Y-DNA12 test and ask them to upgrade their test so that it will be more definitive.
  5. Join Y-Search or Mt-Search to connect with people who have not tested with FTDNA.  These two websites are provided FREE by FTDNA so that YOU will be able to do this.

None of these first five will cost you a nickel!

  1. Upgrade your test results from Y-DNA12 to 25 or preferably 37, which has become the definitive basic test in the last few years. This will give you the best and most accurate chance at an initial match with another member.
  2. If you are in a lineage group which is having trouble finding a mutual earliest known ancestor, upgrade to Y-DNA67 to either provide separation or proof of a match.  Organize this group to assist each other in the search for a match by sharing the full sibling relationships at each generation.
  3. Add the Deep Clade-  to your test to better define your personal test


Now, get out there and drag your bait!


John M. Shepherd

Website Administrator