Becoming a Project Administrator


What are the tasks of a project administrator?
Many project administrators begin by taking on one or two tasks to begin and adding more functions as they grow more comfortable with the job. provides lots of help.

These are the main functions of the Project Administrator:
--Managing the surname DNA Project (recruiting, emailing project members whenever there is new information, answering questions, assisting participants)
--Editing your project's website
--Posting pedigrees on your project's website
--Posting test results on your project's website.

How does WFN help project administrators?
We will try to make it as easy as possible for you to administer this project by providing:

How difficult is it to coordinate a Surname DNA project?
The difficulty increases with the size and complexity of the project. A coordinator needs to be comfortable in communicating with potential and actual participants and should have a reasonable familiarity with traditional genealogy. Most coordinators will also need to be willing to learn more about DNA testing to satisfy their own concerns, as well as those of their participants. (and most coordinators didn’t know very much when they started) We recommend that most Surname Projects start with a limited scope and related participants, or those who ‘hope to be related”. The testing companies provide varying levels of assistance to the coordinator, further reducing the difficulty to a manageable level for most people.

What problems do project coordinators usually run into?
Most coordinators express frustration about finding as many and as varied a quantity of participants as they need to meet their project goals.On the Genealogy-DNA-L list, we often hear from coordinators who need help in interpreting results. Generally, that help is quick in coming.

Do I have to know much about computers to make a website?
To use our Free Website, you need some skill in typing. You really don’t need to know about computers.

Why do you offer a free website?
We started as the Coordinators of a major Surname Project and built our Family’s Historical Society website as a part of our work. Terry and Rich both have a strong interest in genealogy and a belief that DNA testing can be a major help to genealogical research. Rich has a business, which provides websites to doctors, which gave us access to skills and resources. We also saw how many Surname Projects either had no site or didn’t have the skills to present their material in a clear and useful way. We receive a small commission from each test ordered through our website, which enables us to continue to provide this service.

Can you help me with the website I've already created on my own?
Sorry, that is not something that we are able to do.

Can you help me with my existing project?
Yes, if you have an established project, we can provide you with a website and as much or as little help as you desire.  Sometimes, administrators need help because they have time constraints or other considerations.  We can help you out, you can coninue to be the project administrator, and do all or part of the functions, as you wish.

Why should I use your free website or the website through DNA Families Plus?
You should use our website if you wish to provide genealogical information alongside your DNA results and either don’t have the time or skills to create your own site.
We are supportive of you creating your own site. If you will email us with information, 
we’ll list it with the Search results from our Surname List Search Engine.

How can I share administration of a project?
Most joint efforts evolve and become a partnership over time - as you get to know each other. The weaker ones divide into "your jobs" and "my jobs" with little interaction. Here are some possibilities  

  • Let's say that one of you sends all the welcome messages (copying the other)
  • Let's say that the second admin feels good about putting technical and family info on the website
  • Then, over time, the two of you discuss and make a general division of other key aspects
    • Managing Pedigrees, including posting on the Patriarch page, deciding which lines merge, guiding resolutions of paper trail conflicts, making sure the pedigrees of those being tested are tied to their pedigree with a "B-number" etc
    • Posting Results, making sure that all results list the earliest ancestor (when known)
    • Initial response to questions directed to both of you
    • Recruiting
      • Maybe you divide recruiting by lines
      • Maybe you divide by Forum (one takes RootsWeb, one GenForum) or maybe you both do both - to talk it up between you
      • One handles the contact and "permissions" with List Owners) bably cc each other on most correspondence .
      • You probably cover for each other when one is out of pocket
      • You probably adjust the roles regularly, as you discover strengths, preferences, time available