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What is point of projects?

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  • What is point of projects?

    I joined the Sutton project when I joined FTDNA two years ago. Since then, I've never seen a report from the project, no communication about anything, no matches, nothing.

    When I go to the project page for the Sutton project all there is is an overview. The exact same overview that I saw before I joined the project.

    Maybe I'm missing something here, but what is the point of these projects? They seem pretty useless to me. Is the data only give to the project manager?

  • #2
    Active projects are well worth joining, however there are many inactive projects where the administrator has gone missing (perhaps even died).

    Try emailing your project Admin. If you get no response you can lodge a complaint with FTDNA and I'm told that they will also try to contact the Admin.

    I'm also told that under some circumstances FTDNA will allow a new person to take of the Admin role of a defunct project, but I don't know if that's a fact.


    • #3

      Thanks. The project administrator does respond to email. I've emailed several times in the past.

      It would help me to know what to expect from a project when I talk to her. I mean, should I be able to go to a page here on FTDNA and see something for the project other than an overview page that doesn't say anything?


      • #4

        Some projects have pages on other sites - worldfamilies, yahoo etc. - where communications between members is possible. The Y Haplogroups forum on this site is a recent addition to facilitate communication among those interested in Y phylogeny.

        The point of a project is to pool results around the project focus - a surname, ancestry, location, subclade etc. - so as to gain insight into the focal concern of the project through comparison of results.

        I have yet to encounter a project for which I would qualify in which the administrator drove the project forward. Like you, my experience has been unproductive.
        Last edited by tomcat; 7 April 2013, 09:47 AM.


        • #5
          Many surname DNA projects have their own email list through ,
          I just checked for you and there is not a Sutton DNA project email list, but it is possible they are discussing the Sutton DNA on the genealogy email list for the Sutton surname.

          RootsWeb - the Internet's oldest and largest FREE genealogical community. An award winning genealogical resource with searchable databases, free Web space, mailing lists, message boards, and more.


          • #6
            Projects, what projects?

            I also joined 4 projects at FTDNA over 2 years ago. I did receive ONE communication in all that time


            • #7
              If there are issues with your Project, reports or updates that your would like to see, then perhaps discuss this with the Project Admin.
              As Project Admins are volunteers and have their own lives apart from DNA projects, you may like to offer to assist as a Co Admin.
              The more people who put ideas forwards for the advancement of the project and are willing to help the better the project becomes.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Footprints View Post

                Thanks. The project administrator does respond to email. I've emailed several times in the past.

                It would help me to know what to expect from a project when I talk to her. I mean, should I be able to go to a page here on FTDNA and see something for the project other than an overview page that doesn't say anything?
                I am in two surname projects. One has an extremely active admin who is a member of various genealogical societies, runs a blog, has recently authored two genealogy-related books, monitors members' results and gives upgrade and SNP test advice accordingly -- as well as running a household. This is one very busy person and she certainly proves the truth of the saying "if you want something done give it to a busy person".

                By stark contrast the other surname project is as quiet as the grave. The admin doesn't respond to emails except, reportedly, one from FTDNA to determine if she was still there.

                As mentioned by others, haplogroup projects -- especially the major haplogroups -- tend to have active discussion groups associated with them.


                • #9
                  I can say that our sub-clade project has been absolutely essential to understanding the family Y-DNA. There was a large, extra-paternal event in our line about 10 generations ago, resulting in a group of six surnames matching ourselves like one family.

                  We don't match our own surname, except since the extra-paternal event, and it was very confusing trying to understand the match results until they were organized in the project. We have a great project admin, and I was able to sort of ramrod a campaign to get everyone of suspected sub-clade match tested to make sure.

                  This would have been impossible without the project; we were scattered among five other projects and not matching our own. Now the history is pretty clear, and we at least have a plan for what to do when new matches come in.

                  Also I have posted the results at Ancestry at the page of the person at the suspected extra-paternal event, and I got instant results there. Someone of the other lines supposedly related to us sent in a sample to be tested WITHIN DAYS. This really worked.
                  Last edited by Wilma Wildcat; 9 April 2013, 07:55 PM.


                  • #10
                    Useful Surname Projects Combine Genetics with Genealogy

                    Hi Footprints:

                    To my mind, the most useful surname projects combine genetic results with genealogical pedigrees. Putting those two things together helps project participants understand how the different genetic lines fit together (or not ), and provides a chance to identify the progenitors of particular lines.

                    Because FTDNA does not provide this capability for the projects it hosts directly, the best projects on FTDNA (in my humble opinion) are going to have a project website where participant pedigrees can be shown -- World Families provides this capability for FTDNA projects that are hosted there (they work in partnership with FTDNA), and a lot of projects have their own independent websites dedicated not just to DNA results, but to broader genealogical concerns. Unfortunately, the result tables for off-site-hosted projects don't update automatically, but have to be updated manually -- this entails a lot of work for administrators and a greater possibility for error.

                    The comments above about project administrators being unpaid volunteers are worth bearing in mind. Most come to the job with a great deal of genealogical background but knowing very little about genetics. Most (I'd wager nearly all) have lives outside the project and sometimes life can get in the way of project administration. I would encourage you to volunteer to assist your project administor. If you want to bring some good ideas to the table about how project administration should work, you could do a lot worse than consulting the project administrator's guide at World Families ( Terry Barton is the founder and president of World Families and has some example projects that he administers for you to take a look at -- the Barton project and the Hodges project. (Personal horn-tooting moment: My own project is at


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Footprints View Post
                      ...When I go to the project page for the Sutton project all there is is an overview. The exact same overview that I saw before I joined the project... Maybe I'm missing something here...
                      Hi again Footprints:

                      Maybe there IS something you're missing: When you visited the Sutton project page, did you click on "Results" in the header menu?


                      • #12
                        Sad to say that I have not seen the value of the projects I've joined. My e-mails go unheeded, my results remain ungrouped, despite having full mtDNA results. The members of yDNA projects can see some value but those with mtDNA/autosomal results don't see much point.


                        • #13
                          Hello all,

                          If you receive no reply from your group admins (especially if you have sent multiple emails) please email the helpdesk at [email protected]. We can try and help get a response from them, and sometimes we find that the projects have been abandoned and a new admin needs to be found.

                          -Darren Marin
                          Family Tree DNA


                          • #14
                            I've taken on several of the mtDNA projects that had been dormant, and I spend a couple hours each night grouping new members into subclades and sending emails to new members. I try not to send out too many bulk group emails to the project members. And yet the two top reasons people give for leaving the project are: 1) No project activity; and 2) Too many emails.

                            Nelly has recently taken on the lead for the mtDNA H mtDNA projects, and she is overloaded simply grouping people and organizing the H projects. We plan to do more phylogeographic analysis of the mtDNA results (look at the mtDNA U5 results summary for an example), but both Nelly and I also have full time jobs, so progress is slow.

                            Bugs in the FTDNA software has been another source of frustration. Coding region results are not showing correctly for RSRS, and step matches are being calculated incorrectly for people with new FMS results. We recently had a 3 weeks period where the GAP would not allow us to group people into subclades. So, we have many frustrations and obstacles, and lots of work, but we are slowly making progress.
                            Last edited by GST; 15 April 2013, 09:46 PM.


                            • #15
                              Gail, are the new FMS step matches still being incorrectly calculated? I've been somewhat puzzled by my mother's, as first she had no exact matches at all and then she suddenly got a clump, but I can't see how any of the exact matches (those with any info, anyhow) can share a MRCA within any reasonable historical period. She is T1a1 with the matrilineal ancestry going back to a woman whose probate occurred in 1701, which is earlier than any ancestor shown for her exact matches. I keep having the uneasy feeling that the MRCA is back in Viking times as most of the exact matches are widely dispersed and none of them is geographically very near.