mtDNA in Surname Project?

Should I include mtDNA results in my surname dna project?


As the number of mtDNA tests has exploded in the last year, and as FTDNA is more able to find matches for those who have been mtDNA-tested, many project administrators are facing the problem of what to do with those people who join your project with only an mtDNA results.

There are a variety of reasons that an mtDNA-tested individual joins a particular surname project:

  1. An individual may not understand that surname projects are only interested in yDNA results for purposes of matches within the project, and may join the project, thinking that his mtDNA results will be useful in the surname project for his mother’s surname.
  2. A female may not have a male to test for a particular surname of interest, and wants to be part of the project in some way, even though she understands that her mtDNA test is not useful for the purposes of the surname project.
  3. An individual may simply want to be notified whenever there are new developments within the project, so he/she joins the project for that reason alone.

As a project administrator, here are some things you can do

  1. In your “welcome to the project” email, you can make it clear that mtDNA test results are not useful in a surname project for matching purposes, but that you welcome the persons pedigree for this surname and encourage the individual to post a pedigree on the project’s pedigree forum.
  2. Encourage the individual to find a male who is descended from a common male ancestor of this surname, through males only, to be yDNA-tested so their family line can be included in the surname project’s results.
  3. You may decide to post mtDNA results on your project’s website on the “mtDNA” page. We have a table for that which we can send you upon request. You can save the table as an .htm or .html file and upload it to the page.
  4. You should encourage the mtDNA-tested individual to join his/her haplogroup project to work with others who share a haplogroup with them.  As the data base is growing, some people are finding family connections through a combination of the mtDNA test results and their maternal pedigrees.

To learn more about mtDNA:

For a list of mtDNA Haplogroup projects: