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  • Lack of meaningful information/Vouchers

    I have 2 gripes.

    The first is the distinct lack of meaningful information. Let's take joining for instance. You join believing you can contact members of your project only to discover that is only members of your DNA match set. You find yourself with no matches, ungrouped and having to ask a Group Administrator to ask a member whether they will correspond with you.

    You join to find half of the people in your surname project don't have meaningful information against their DNA kit and haven't pinned a last known ancestors location.

    You aren't told how you might use your matches productively (ie a person with a genetic difference of 3 (Y DNA) might be closer to you than a person with a GD of 4.

    You are offered a discount of say $30 but cant use it because you cant buy a 2nd kit for a relative to use and everything you want to do doesn't cost $175 so the Voucher is useless. You can't use it to upgrade the test you took.

    No-one points out that as each generation passes you are getting a substantially diminished picture of relatives: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128 ... of your relatives. Your family line may have died out. People in the group encourage you to do SNP testing even if you have no relevant matches - to what end? If you are grouped you are grouped and have a common ancestor. If you aren't how does SNP testing further your search with non-existent matches?

    Your matches won't assist you with questions about their family tree (I heard this is the case in a Project I belong to, having no group myself).

    You seek a SNP test to test for a backbone haplogroup and it takes 8 weeks or more - you get bumped with an unsatisfactory explanation ("You probably don't have to do anything").

    You are constantly told you have a Y12 or Y25 match, but your Administrator says Y11 and Y25 matches are meaningless and anyway Y37 is the minimum test you can do, but you dont match at Y37 (clearly).

    Theres a Donation button for your group but no-one knows what its for.

    Your Administrator says your idea to ask members to submit meaningful information for their last known ancestor is "stupid". Well who would join a project with half of the participants not disclosing their information on a publicly viewable webpage?

    Steve
    Last edited by 737044; 2 January 2018, 12:30 AM.

  • #2
    Almost every thing you complain about is covered in the "Learning Center" and in the many blogs and books about DNA testing. It doesn't matter what you buy you need to become an educated consumer before making the purchase.

    At least once a year I send a message to my project members suggesting they add most distant known ancestors, a surname list and a online tree. Not all project admins have the attitude you indicate your has. Maybe you need to look for another project to join based on your Haplogroup or your geographical location.

    I found FTDNA's coupons very helpful. It is their right to set restrictions on how the coupon is to be use. Remember they didn't have to offer them at all. They didn't have to run their sale for almost two full months.

    Comment


    • #3
      Your complaints have nothing to do with FTDNA personally. Delays are caused by inadequate results (due to poor samples) in the quality control phase which requires a retest. You'd rather be delivered an imperfect result so long as it's always on time?

      FTDNA doesn't run the projects. Make your own or join another if the one you're in isn't working out.

      What you know about DNA and how to use it is on you. I researched for weeks before ordering my first test, then continued to research while waiting for the results. There's even a Facebook group for people new to DNA testing. I think it's called DNA Newbie.

      And I hate to tell you, but as long as there are ads everywhere encouraging people to learn their ethnicity from these tests, that's the only reason many (not all, but many) people will be testing. I was researching my family tree when I learned about the tests, and I had hoped they would help me. I've found them useful and I've connected with some matches and learned wonderful things. No luck on my family tree yet, but maybe in time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Some of the issues you describe with projects are due to the fact that some people want privacy so FTDNA does not make certain things automatic. For example, contacting others in the project. If the project has an Activity Feed, you can post there and hope others read it and reply back. Not everyone will check back often and your message might go unnoticed for a long time.

        The project admin could also create an email listing. Again, some of this really depends on the admin(s) of your projects. If your admin thinks a suggestion of submitting information is stupid, clearly you have a bad admin. An admin should encourage cooperation and help with results, not toss out ideas for no reason. I'm curious to know why this admin thought your suggestion was stupid. What is their objective if not gather more data? The donation button is really up to the admin as well. Could be to fund upgrades or new tests for possible cousins of the project or to help others pay for a test of a match without giving that match the money directly.

        I took over an abandoned project. Many matches for this surname hadn't joined the project. Others that did hadn't provided info on their most distant known ancestor. Once I started contacting them all, slowly but surely many were interested. All they needed was support from other interested people.

        The coupon you complain about is meant to be shared. You can't use it but want to use another one? Well that is what having contacts is useful for. Or if you had been keeping up with a better project or even the forums, people would tell you go to the coupon exchange ( http://tiny.cc/ftdna ). That is what people have been doing for the past 3 end-of-the-year holiday sales.

        Now about not knowing how to use your matches or that no one is pointing the "substantially diminished picture of relatives", well... If you had posted here people would tell you. If you had asked a (good) admin, they would have told you. If you had searched online, you may have found blogs and sites about it.

        If there was one best way to use the results, then FTDNA would have placed it on everyone's results. The problem is that there are many factors. What works for one lineage does not always work for another. For example, I had an uncle take a Y-DNA test. Based on what I have learned from this lineage, I can find his paternal cousins even at the Y12 level. Of course there are some false matches there, but the STR signature is unique enough that I can get matches at any level. For a different uncle on a different Y line, there are so many false matches. I have to go to Y111 in his case to be safe.

        So what worked for one did not work for the other. This is why it is hard to provide a simple set of instructions that will be useful with your results. It will also depend on your goals. An adoptee may only be interested in finding his father's surname. Someone else may be trying to solve an NPE (non-paternal event) which could be some sort of unofficial adoption. The haplogroup information can be useful for a big picture of the deep ancestry of your lineage.

        As for some encouraging you to do SNP testing, that varies. Some want more distant cousins to test that they may encourage everyone to do so just to be safe. If you don't know how it can help you, then don't do it. One reason could be to find potential distant cousins who are not showing up as matches due to unique mutations that make it so they don't show up as matches.

        In your case, If YDNA is of interest, go track down potential distant cousins. Have them test to see if they are real leads. If your trees show you should match but YDNA says something else, then you got a mystery on your hands to unravel. If you match, then you have a basis of would cousins should look like. A lot of this depends on your goals. So state them and maybe we can be more precise on what you could do with your results.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for your thoughts

          I have encouraged others to and I believe 2 will presently join a surname with 785 others (a surname project). I won't be starting a competitive surname project, obviously. I have offered to be co-administrator.

          My goals - I imagine - are the same as most: to find distant relatives from Skye, Scotland. I have joined a geographical project Hebridian Islands.

          My surname has many ungrouped members - probably 50%.

          Autosomal DNA has led to the discovery of relatives in Scotland with my surname who I can identify to a son of my ggg grandfather.

          If I used the FTDNA website I haven't the vaguest clue how Family Finder works and how it would add anything to checking my matches manually.

          I have contacted matches and have had 2 rebuffs and 1 discussion with someone who should match if his tree is correct and not based on fantasy back to the C16 or before. He relies on others' research as his evidence.

          If I have no meaningful matches (best is one at 34/37, who responded but went silent and has an unrecognisable surname and link to Scotland), how could further SNP testing advance my search (especially when I would have to test everything)?

          From recollection I believe I suggested requiring members to post details of most recent ancestor including: name, place of birth, date of birth and death and to pin their location and if they weren't happy to do so to leave the project. My thinking - which I explained - was that people who are consudering joining could see the spreadsheet with half of it lacking any relevant information, which must be off-putting for anyone considering paying to join the project via FTDNA. Fairly innocuous I thought.

          Cheers
          Steve
          Last edited by 737044; 2 January 2018, 10:15 PM. Reason: Add information.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 737044 View Post
            I won't be starting a competitive surname project, obviously. I have offered to be co-administrator.
            Well FTDNA has a rule against overlapping projects so they would never accept a competitive project.

            Originally posted by 737044 View Post
            If I used the FTDNA website I haven't the vaguest clue how Family Finder works and how it would add anything to checking my matches manually.
            Well the tools can be useful in certain cases. For example if you know cousin A shares a great great grandfather and no other branch, then your shared DNA segments could have come from that ancestor. In which case you could use the chromosome browser to find others who match you both in those areas. It would be a lead on how you connect with those matches. For a lot of things, manual checking is best. You could do a search for a surname on the top bar which will find people with those surnames or with that surname listed.

            Originally posted by 737044 View Post
            I have contacted matches and have had 2 rebuffs and 1 discussion with someone who should match if his tree is correct and not based on fantasy back to the C16 or before. He relies on others' research as his evidence.
            You said "should". Has he tested then? Assuming you mean matching in Y-DNA, it is always good to confirm. In one surname project a group of us found that there were 2 separate Y lineages linked to the same surname of the same family. Turned out there was an NPE in one of them which explained why both lead to the same ancestor which is impossible based on their Y-DNA.

            Originally posted by 737044 View Post
            If I have no meaningful matches (best is one at 34/37, who responded but went silent and has an unrecognisable surname and link to Scotland), how could further SNP testing advance my search (especially when I would have to test everything)?
            In this case, SNP testing won't give you any useful data. SNP testing could be useful if you have a lot of false matches due to convergence. Which is where distantly related lineages appear to be more closely related due to STR marker values that appear similar due to coincidence. In a larger surname project, SNP testing (specifically Big Y), would be useful to find specific SNP markers that can be pegged to a specific ancestor. That way those lacking records could still be grouped with those that have shown to belong from a sub-branch of the surname. Again not helpful or needed in your case.

            Originally posted by 737044 View Post
            From recollection I believe I suggested requiring members to post details of most recent ancestor including: name, place of birth, date of birth and death and to pin their location and if they weren't happy to do so to leave the project. My thinking - which I explained - was that people who are consudering joining could see the spreadsheet with half of it lacking any relevant information, which must be off-putting for anyone considering paying to join the project via FTDNA. Fairly innocuous I thought.
            Ah! That is different from what I thought you meant originally. While the idea is not stupid, it has drawbacks. If you start requiring people to provide information or risk being kicked out, well you will lose some people. Due to them being inactive when the change takes place or because they don't know much. You would force some to consider lying just to be kept in the project. Also, not everyone has a good paper trail. Like you said, some depend on what they see others have found. Some have found records on their own, but not all will bother with that work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by 737044 View Post
              I have contacted matches and have had 2 rebuffs and 1 discussion with someone who should match if his tree is correct and not based on fantasy back to the C16 or before. He relies on others' research as his evidence.

              Reply:
              You said "should". Has he tested then? Assuming you mean matching in Y-DNA, it is always good to confirm. In one surname project a group of us found that there were 2 separate Y lineages linked to the same surname of the same family. Turned out there was an NPE in one of them which explained why both lead to the same ancestor which is impossible based on their Y-DNA.

              Response:
              The island in question is small and there is a famous assumed progenitor. If you consulted a particular Clan's well-kept history you'd see that both gents should be related to one another.

              I assumed I would be related to one or other claiming the particular heritage.

              Either, neither match, or the match is outside 15 generations where matches should occur. This assertion comes from a statement at the top of our surname project, viz:

              "For genealogy within the most recent fifteen generations, STR markers help define paternal lineages."

              Comment

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