GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2011-11 > 1320734001
From: "Alister John Marsh" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Problems with some surname project admins
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2011 19:33:21 +1300
In my surname project with around 180 participants, I have very few of them
grouped on the FTDNA project administrator's pages, because I don't use the
FTDNA public web site option, but use my own web site where I can integrate
people of the same surname tested at other test companies, and also people
of other surnames who may be related in the past 1000 or so years, to get
insights on origins of the Y-Lines. If FTDNA assessed my project on the
basis grouping shown on the non public FTDNA pages, the project would get a
Looking for a positive in this, if FTDNA made it possible for project
administrators to integrate not FTDNA results, or non surname results on
their web site, it might encourage more people to use their standard web
sites rather than start their own.
I have come to think that having my own web site allows me more control.
If FTDNA got it in their head to sack me because my projects are ungrouped
and appoint another project administrator, they would find that a lot of
participants have been tested anonymously, and the new project administrator
would not know who they are, or how to contact them.
In almost all cases when a new person tests in my project I send them a
personal email, or usually several over a period of time, giving an analysis
of the DNA, and the links to related persons of their surname, and various
other bits of information as might be appropriate to their case. Whether
my participants are grouped on the FTDNA pages is therefore not conclusive
evidence of whether the participants are being served by the administrator.
I have often looked at other projects using the FTDNA public web pages which
are not grouped. It does not personally bother me that they are not
grouped, although grouping would be helpful admittedly. As long as the raw
information is available, it is accessible, and I can to my heart's content
group them any way I like. Different people have different ways of
grouping people. I tend to lean towards grouping based on distinctive off
modal markers, but others ignore distinctive off modal markers and group
people just based on genetic distance, which does not do much for groups
close to AMH as an example.
Almost better to be ungrouped, than incorrectly grouped.
As to grouping, I use a 3 part numbering system. Each participant gets and
A number, which is their individual number which never changes. The next
project participant will be A180, because he will be the 180th person in the
project. A180 will also have a B and C number. The B number is a paper
trail family number. The C number is less precisely defined, but it is
basically a group which has rather similar Y-DNA, presumably related since
surnames have been used. A new participant might start our as A180 B180
C180. If however, I discovered that his paper trail connected to
participants A37 and A157, I take the lowest participant number of this
group, in this case A37, and the B number or family number becomes B37 for
all of this paper trail related group. It might be however that the Y-DNA
of A37, A157, and A180 are very similar in Y-DNA to A8 and A30 and A156. In
that case the lowest number in the grouping with similar Y-DNA is A8, so C8
becomes the matching Y-DNA group number, where common ancestor since
surnames looks likely. So A180 would have a full number A180 B37 C8. As
soon as I see that number I know that this person is the same paper trail
family as all the B37s, and the same Y-DNA matching group as all the C8s.
Over time, sometimes paper trails are corrected and revised, or more DNA
information, say from 111 markers, causes the C number to be rethought. So
from time to time B and C numbers might change for any particular
participant, and he might change B and C group number as is appropriate.
I have a private off line database where I have people linked to ABC
numbers. I can either do a word search in the database for A, B or C
numbers, to find linked families/ haplotypes. I also on this database have
address, emails, earliest ancestor, earliest know ancestral origin, family
tree, dates contacted, dates replies received, and brief notes about this
particular person. I also have separate manila file folders for each
participant where I keep lengthy printouts of correspondence, family trees
etc if they are available.
When I get a new participant who is say from a family tracing to
Cambridgeshire England, I can search my database and bring up in a single
list all of the families of my surname tracing to Cambridgeshire. These are
sub grouped further according to village of origin. As it happens if a new
Marsh comes up with connection to Cambridgeshire, I have 153 Marshes or
Marsh descendants tracing to Cambridgeshire in my database. The I have
those sub grouped into dozens of villages. If a New participant appeared
tomorrow tracing to say Ely, Cambridgeshire, I have only 7 in the Ely
subgroup, but I have a starting point to work with a new participant. I can
often give a new participant a contact list of person of his surname tracing
to the same ancestral location as himself. Even if I do not have time to do
detailed research on their family, I can give them a starting point and some
tools for them to help themselves.
Now that I have 179 participants, it is harder to give personal attention to
each one. but I do my best. And as happened today, a person tested about 3
years ago with no matches since, has come up with a near identical Y-DNA
match of his surname, tracing to about 10 miles from his ancestral origin.
So that participant who has perhaps only heard from me about once in the
past 3 years, will get an email from me with details of their new match. I
do also send out bulk emails to all participants 3 or 4 times a years.
Anyway, my view is you have to be careful which criteria you use to judge
project administrators by. Sometimes 90% or the iceberg is below the water
out of sight.
From: Marleen Van Horne
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 6:00 PM
Subject: Re: [DNA] Problems with some surname project admins
In my opinion, the most telling sign that a project, surname or
otherwise, is not being properly managed, is when all of the project
members are left in the ungrouped catagory.
It would not be too difficult to run a report that goes to each project
admin, on say a monthly basis, telling the project admin as well as the
management of FTDNA how many project members are left in the ungrouped
A while back I had occasion to visit a project, the surname I do not
remember, which had perhaps 20 individuals listed under two separate
ancestors, and maybe as many as 200 dumped in the ungrouped catagory.
It seemed apparent to me that the two groups with ancestors were
connected to the project admin, and the rest of the subscribers were on
At first I though a solution might be for FTDNA to list new results in
the tables by haplogroup, but in my White project, that would not work,
because I have unique rather than generic sub-group headings, and FTDNA
cannot expect to code for every project admins sub-grouping peccadilloes.
I definitely think the report would give FTDNA a basic idea as to which
projects are getting little or no attention from their admins. This of
course would only work for those projects on the FTDNA website, leaving
the off site projects twisting in the wind.
Marleen Van Horne
To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
quotes in the subject and the body of the message
|Re: [DNA] Problems with some surname project admins by "Alister John Marsh" <>|