Tips for Administrators

Tips for Project Administrators

      Round up your project members and keep your project moving!

Learn to use the GAP at FTDNA
FTDNA keeps adding new and more effective tools for Project Administrators. 
Sharpen your skills and save yourself some time by learning to use the GAP (Group Administrator Page) most effectively:
Recruit New Participants
  • Use the "Invite a Friend" feature in the left sidebar of the website to increase interest in your project, and encourage project members to do so as well.
  • Make personal contact with researchers you have met over the course of your traditional research.  Seek out the families that you weren’t related to, as well as those that are “known kin” and “believed to be kin”.  All three groups are important when conducting a Surname DNA Project.  The “most distant” “known kin” will help you best to define the DNA of your earliest ancestor.  You’ll likely want to take this opportunity to establish whether those “believed to be kin” are actually related or not.  And, the ones you previously concluded “weren’t kin” will help you define the other Families in the Surname if you choose to expand the test to all who carry the Surname (and it might turn out that those “aren’t kin” folks are related after all.)
  • Encourage every researcher you work with to contact their own circle of researchers - and to make the same requests of them to participate and to contact their circle of researchers.
  • Encourage each participant to post his pedigree on the Pedigree Forum and to post his Earliest Known Ancestor at FTDNA.
  • Recruit representatives of specific families that are important to your family project
  • Recruit the key researchers who have their own network of contacts and may become line leaders
  • Establish a "sponsorship fund" at FTDNA to pay for tests for those whose test results are important to your project.
  • Utilize your Family Historical Society, Family Reunion, or other organization of your family name to help you find interest, participants and support.  (i.e. sponsorships, links & info on their websites, etc.) If necessary, start one
  • Allow the enthusiastic members of the greater surname family to help.  It’s likely that they will identify Family Lines and contacts that are unknown to you.  They may even choose to sponsor participants to get information on a Family that is of particular interest to them.
  • Be prepared with extra test kits.  FTDNA will allow you to order test kits on invoice so that you can take them to family reunions or when visiting relatives, just in case.  You will only pay for the kits when they are returned for processing.  Be sure you fill out the forms with the appropriate names, emails, and addresses when you send the kits back to FTDNA.  To order extra kits, go to the GAP and click on "Order Multiple Kits for Distribution" in the left column.
Approaching New Testers
  • Know a few previous generations of their line.
  • Show desire to determine a specific relationship or crumble a brick wall.
  • Ask if there is a family genealogist.
  • Offer to check your database for your family.
  • Refrain from mentioning DNA initially.  In fact, be prepared to have several conversations before mentioning DNA testing.

Use the Forums
There are a number of forums will be helpful to you and your project:

Recruit a Co-Administrator
  • For large or extended projects, we recommend that at least two people share the administration. There are many advantages to having a co-administrator:
  • You can divide the administrative tasks so that each of you makes use of your strengths and minimizes the time necessary to administer the project.
  • You may have different contacts and circles of recruiters, so that the project can draw from a wider pool of potential project members
  • You have another person to help you evaluate information, make decisions, and answer questions that come up in the project. 
  • You can add a co-administrator for your website by having him log in, then "track" the project.  You will then be able to log in as admin and make him an administrator through clicking the “#members tracking project” and finding his name on the members' list. Click on “Admin:  Create” and click “Join community: on the next screen.
  • You can add a co-administrator for the project at Family Tree DNA by logging in to the project's GAP and clicking on "Project Administrators" under Project Administration.  Then send an email to the new co-administrator to invite him to become an administrator of the project. 
  • Considerations in choosing the right participants
    • You’ll eventually want at least two representatives from each Family Line, but testing often starts with only one.  (In this context, “Family Line” is a many generation family group, not the 2-3 generations we normally call our family.)
    • Typically, there hasn’t been a large advantage in having many participants from a single Family, but each additional result does add detail and confidence to the results.  (If you find mutations between the initial participants of a Family, additional testing to isolate where those mutation originally occurred can sometimes be useful.)
    • There is usually little advantage in getting a father and son, an uncle and nephew, brothers or first cousins to both be tested, as the probability is quite high that their results will be identical.
    • Of course, if someone “insists” on being included, their participation should be welcomed, as there is always some value added by each participant.  We know of several cases where a cluster of related men provided special and unusual information.
  • Ideal Separation:  The “ideal” approach is to have descendants of two different sons of the earliest known ancestor to represent the Family.  If they have matching results, they establish the Haplotype of the earliest ancestor.  (For most of us, this is difficult-to-impossible, but do get as much “separation” between participants as possible.   The next best is descendants of two sons of one son of the earliest ancestor.  5th cousins are preferred over 4th cousins, 4th over 3rd, and so on.)
  • Targeting: Some projects target specific Families for testing.  Hopefully, there is a researcher known for each targeted family who can help identify and recruit the needed representatives for testing. Here is the ideal place to use your Scholarship Program.  Typical Targets include: 
    • Families of the Project Coordinator or sponsoring organization
    • Families suspected to be related to the first Target List
    • Families who can trace their genealogy to the legendary home country or family seat
    • Families who can trace their genealogy back many centuries, possibly even to the time when surnames began common usage (typically, but not always,  11th to 13th centuries)
    • Families whose members include the famous and infamous

  • 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.
  • Establish your criteria:  minimum markers?, maximum amount for a sponsorship?, sliding scale for different tests?, proof of lineage needed?, requests in writing?, recipient must contribute for future testers?
  • Get help raising funds:
  • Encourage project members to donate on a regular basis
  • Suggest contributions can be made in memory of or in honor of a beloved family member
  • Have an email-a-thon--Set the time, set the challenge, announce the pledges daily, and solicit matching funds.