About Surname Projects

Surname Project FAQ

To gain the most information from your test, join a surname project.     

  • You will be working with researchers who share a common interest in the family tree
  • Ordering through the project will automatically make you a member of the project
  • AND it will give you a lower price on yDNA and mtDNA tests.. 


What is a Surname DNA project?

A Surname DNA Project is a group of genealogy researchers who share a surname, or a genetic link to the surname, and who join together to use DNA testing, paper trails, and research to identify those with whom they share a common ancestor.

Typically, one or two researchers provide leadership for the project, coordinating the collection and display of pedigrees, the correlation of pedigrees to results and the presentation of results. They also share the project learnings with the members and coordinate the efforts to increase interest and awareness in the project. Note: most surname projects include a number of spelling variations - which may share common ancestry - as many families shortened or modified their names as they moved to a new culture.. 

Why join a Surname DNA project?

A surname DNA project can help you confirm relationships identified by traditional genealogy, to locate related families lost through the passage of time, and to identify the origin of the family’s early ancestors. The aim for many participants is to identify a participant who "matches" their test results, and who can help them find the paper trail that leads further back up the family tree.

Large surname projects may work to catalog all known families carrying the surname. As many surnames have evolved over time, a common approach is to open a surname project to all known spellings.

In addition, tests cost less when you order them through a surname project at Family Tree DNA.

What happens when I join a surname project?

Here is what happens when you join a project that World Families administers or supports: 

  • When we receive the notification from Family Tree DNA that you have joined the project, we send you a welcome email to provide you with information and links to the pages of the project's website and other information you need.  You will be requested to provide your pedigree and earliest known ancestor.
  • When your test results are ready, we post them on the project's results page, identifying you by kit number and earliest known ancestor.
  • Whenever a new test result or pedigree is posted on the project's website, we send you an email to inform you that new information is available. 
  • We answer your questions about the project and your own results. 
  • We at World Families are the temporary project administrator for a number of projects where no one from the family has stepped forward to administer the project.  We actively recruit project administrators for these projects and provide these administrators with any level of support they need.  Many project administrators provide a great deal of support and knowledge of the family history, and are a key part of the success of the project.. 

How do I find a surname project?

1. You can use our search box, which is located in the far left part of the Banner at the top of the page. Simply type in the surname and hit "Enter".

2. You can search through our alphabetic listing. (Click on "Surname Projects" in the banner menu). Then, you can click on the first letter of the surname and scroll down as you search for your surname.

3. If you don't find a project at our site, you can search at FTDNA's site, where they also provide a Soundex feature. You can select "sounds like" when you do your search and see what similar surnames have their own project.

4. If all else fails, contact us and request that we set up a surname project for your use.

    For more information, go to our Surname Project FAQ

How does this really work?

y-DNA correlates with the surname, as both y-DNA and the surname are passed down from father to son in patriarchal societies. This makes a surname project is a particularly effective place to look for genetic relatives. By using the results of DNA testing, participants can identify those individuals with whom they share a common ancestor. When the DNA information is combined with family pedigrees and other relevant information, the full power of Genetic Genealogy is utilized.