Sponsorship Programs

The Barton DNA project has operated a sponsorship program since 2001 and the Hodges-Hodge project started a Society in 2006 which now operates its sponsorship program. The Cooper project is under new leadership, setting up a site at WorldFamilies and including a Sponsorship Program. I would guess that a number of projects operate some sort of sponsorship program.

Obviously, a significant number of Surname Projects are in the Sponsorship Program mode - even if it is Ad Hoc and just for the WDYTYA? (Who Do You Think You Are? meeting in London) each year.

As a reference - the Barton DNA Project currently offers a 37 marker test for $100 for the first male tested in each Barton family (as defined by earliest known ancestor). We also will provide a free test for special situations - and have committed to provide up to three tests at WDYTYA?


Other Sponsorship Approaches

Our first Sponsorship program was memorable.  Three men who were tested in the early days each donated $500 to a sponsorship fund - which the Barton Historical Society matched - dollar for dollar.  We used a part of those funds to "buy down" the cost of testing for every single Barton who tested for more than a year.  This gave us a great start in getting a number of Barton men tested.

We also created a Sponsorship Program based on "targeted families" - where we paid a portion of the cost for the first member tested from each target family.   This helped us get a representative from the best known Barton families.

Through the years, the testing companies have regularly increased the number of markers available to test.  Several times, the Barton project has paid a defined part of the cost of important upgrades - allowing our men to stay at the cutting edge in markers tested.

When we switched our base of testing from Relative Genetics (now defunct) to FTDNA, our sponsorship program paid a portion of the cost for men who chose to retest at FTDNA.  Through the years, over half of the men who initially tested at RG have retested at FTDNA.

Our sponsorship programs have been focused mainly on the higher marker level tests.  We've never sponsored the 12 marker tests.

One of the tools we have used in recent years has been to buy a number of 37 marker yDNA tests when they were on sale - and then to use these in our sponsorship program.  There is a significant up-front cost, but we have a constant flow of funds back to the sponsorship fund as men take one of these tests and repay us over 80% of our initial cost

What other approaches have projects used?

Administrator Comments

I've had a couple of email comments to this discussion:

We offer a free 37 marker test kit for any Pitts/Pitt (etc) man from the U. K. who submits an acceptable pedigree. We do offer 37 marker assistance to other Pitts/Pitt men on a case by case basis (usually 50% but sometimes 100%).  David Pitts

I think this is a great idea..would gladly sponsor or help pay for some tests, even some that are not in my projects. My Hodgens cousins have paid for 5 test for English men and if I found another great possibility they would pay again because finding JBH’s family is that important to them. I have paid for atleast 4-5 test myself…in fact ordering a kit for someone totally not related to me but same surname…what goes around comes around.  Derrel/ Oakley Teat (Hodgens, Oakley)

Recently, the Barton Project sponsored a SNP test for a man who isn't a traditional match - though he's relatively close to us - as we suspect he might share our "private" SNP.  If he tests positive, it will no longer be a private SNP. 

One of the Sponsorship Programs that I received authorization for at at the last Annual Barton Historical Society Meeting is to test individual markers on men already tested - but not tested to the full 67 markers - where there is indication of possible shared mutations that might define a branch within a genetic Lineage.  That program is next on my list.

What have YOU done?