Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-06 > 1119012390

From: Robert Stafford <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] sub rugrat level
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 05:46:30 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <>

No. It would be too hard a task to go through a majority of the projects and figure out if they accomplished anything. Strangely, few projects list their accomplishments, other than body count. Of course, those that didn't accomplish anything aren't going to post it upfront.

It would also take more precise criteria for a wasteful project. However, I have looked at enough projects and heard from enough disappointed participants to say that "many" unplanned projects have wasted resources. If I wanted to up it to "most," that would be another story.

Bob Stafford


In a message dated 6/17/2005 3:23:21 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,

Many unplanned projects turn out to be a waste of resources.

You have stats on that Bob? I'd love to see them! LOL

In a message dated 6/17/2005 3:23:21 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,

Without family trees and targeted testing, projects end up as large
databases with little in the way of genealogically significant conclusions.

Unplanned? Define that for us please. I guess my project is about as
"unplanned" as they come, since I began it just to confirm a paper trail and had
to have 4 more members to get the group discount. Couldn't get them from my
own family because there aren't that many living male WEBBs from my tree. I
tried to recruit folks from lines I thought were related, but the first folks
who signed up weren't related. Then of course they wanted matches....

Granted some of my participants don't have a match yet, and some of them
haven't advanced their trees back any yet, but we have a long string of
successes from our unplanned project. Chief among them is the demolition of some old
myths about all the WEBBs in the South coming from one family and some old
"connections" that aren't in fact connections. Anything that gets rid of
widespread genealogical errors is a plus in my book.

And there's nothing like the phone call I got last week from a participant
who called to tell me that after thirty years, she has found the father of her
oldest known ancestor and "I never could have done it without DNA." Took
DNA to sort out the unrelated lines and figure out that 4 separate WEBB families
went through the one county in TN during a 20-30 year period.

My MAYNOR Project is much the same. My initial "plan" was to see which
variants are related, since the name is spelled so many ways in the records. Now
we are sorting out the various spellings from VA/NC/SC/GA/AL before 1800.
Granted, so far it has mainly redirected folks from chasing down lines they
aren't connected to, but they're happy enough to know not to waste their time
pursuing those.

In short, there are merits in all kinds of projects -- the highly planned
and focussed with "targeted testing" and the more "scatter gun" types. Or do
you think it's not genealogically significant for a person to find out he
belongs to the John Webb - Mary Boone line of WEBBs after 30 years of thinking
he descended from Sir Henry Webb? Or for a group of folks to find out their
WEBBs come from Wiltshire when they had no prior idea what part of England
they came from? OK, so their journeys aren't quite over and aren't quite as
organized as someone else's, that doesn't make them "a waste of resources."


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