Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2011-07 > 1311757508

From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] What DNA surname project should be
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 05:05:08 -0400

> From: Bill
> Sent: Friday, July 22, 2011 8:00 PM
> Diana
> Can you point to two or three projects which you feel
> are good examplars of what a DNA project surname
> should be?

Of course, your mind goes blank when someone asks you a question like
that, but the KELLY/KELLEY, ROSS, and WILLIS projects come to mind. I
like to think mine do, as well.

> What are their main characteristics?

The most important one for me is grouping results and supplying
lineages, which the above do. They also have information on family
origin, history, etc. In other words, they've made an effort to make
their web site a "good read," as well as supplying needed information.

> What specifically should admins be doing that you
> believe they are not?

Mainly, grouping members, meaningfully, and supplying lineages. There
are many cases where people are included in groups they should not be,
or not grouped when they should be. The main reason for mistakes in
grouping is testing too few markers, especially in Hg R1b. Careful
grouping is more critical in a surname project where a mistake can
lead people on a wild goose chase with their paper genealogy, setting
them up for a big disappointment when the error is uncovered.

> What are the specific things
> about many projects that you feel discourage
> participation?

The web site is "bare bones" with little additional information, not
even earliest ancestors filled in, much less providing lineages. If
they're not using the FTDNA web site, taking weeks or months to update
test results or add new members. Inability to answer whether a
descendant of a major progenitor of the surname has been tested.
Inadequate knowledge of the genealogy of the surname (unaware of who
the major progenitors even are). No written introduction or summary
of the project to indicate what has been accomplished. Vague goals.
Has the admin identified some major questions that could be answered
with testing? Are they actively seeking subjects to test and answer
those questions? Or are they just sitting back and waiting,
passively, for something to turn up?

The problem is most acute for projects involving common surnames. I
can think of one where it appears the admin is in over his head (e.g.,
he only groups members when the member tells him what group to put
them in), but won't take on a co-admin or let the project go. And
another where the admin brags of having multiple projects (I forget
exactly how many), which is astounding to me because no one can manage
that many projects, well, much less more than one project for a common
surname (in the top 20 in the U.S. census). We are not just
gate-keepers taking tickets at the door. If someone isn't going to
put their heart and soul into their project, please give it to someone
who will.

Stepping down off soapbox,

This thread: