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How to Persuade Relatives to Participate???

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  • How to Persuade Relatives to Participate???

    Has there been any discussion thus far on these boards about ways to convince relatives to have their DNA tested?? I have met lots of women who want to use DNA testing in their research, yet must rely on their male cousins, uncles, etc., to submit a DNA sample. Oftentimes these women are uncomfortable contacting their male relatives - men whom they have never met - and asking them to participate.

    It would be nice to have a discussion about this - to exchange ideas and experiences related to convincing family members to participate.

  • #2
    Persuade Relatives to Participate???

    I have asked four different male cousins if they would be willing to participate in the Project and two said yes. Results were very interesting. Yesterday, I contacted yet another (distant cousin I think!) and asked him if he would mind sharing his DNA and he said, yes, he'd be willing. If he cooperates and tests, it will prove or disprove kinship. I've been successful in getting three male cousins out of five to do the test and that's not bad. Doesn't hurt to ask! Nan


    • #3
      I have persuaded a number of cousins to be tested. I had my y-DNA tested to begin with & this provided my Petermann markers. But I was interested in the y-DNA of patrilines separated from me by a maternal link (eg, my mother's father's patriline). So I have had to convince others to take the test. Since the people who would be the best test subjects frequently don't care much about genealogy, I usually offer to pay for the test. Even some of those that are interested in the family's history haven't been convinced yet about how robust y-DNA can be at determining kinships. Until you have seen it in action, both verifying a purported kinship & totally debunking a purported kinship, you probably won't be convinced.

      Family associations could start a small fund to pay for testing.


      • #4
        Funds for Testing

        A note on raising money: Our administrator was able to set up a fund through FTDNA where our members can contribute anonymously to our project. FTDNA matches every $25 gift!!! This is nice, huh? Our administrator uses these funds to help people in our project who cannot afford the full fees for testing, yet have cousins whose DNA would help our research.

        I think this is a good idea - since everyone in our project is interested in all results from all members, and this gives us a way to raise more money by letting everyone contribute whatever small amount they can.

        A note on convicing cousins to help: I was wondering if anyone has ever had trouble convicing someone to donate DNA because that person has religious objections to DNA testing?
        Last edited by TSBinLV; 30 November 2004, 01:29 PM.


        • #5
          Have you guys had more trouble recruiting older people than younger people? I wonder if older generations are more afraid of DNA testing.


          • #6
            Persuade Relatives to Participate

            I have found men to be more afraid to participate. It took so long to convince male cousins that nothing bad would happen if they participated. Even my husband! He finally tested but it took such a long time to convince him that doing his DNA would do no harm. After doing it, he seems to be more interested and now is waiting for batch 96 which will give him the results of his MTDNA test. He looks for the results each morning.


            • #7
              Some people have had privacy concerns.

              Knowing that the science that validates the outputs of DNA testing also validates much of human prehistory, I have long had a concern that some cousins who might have creationist leanings might be turned off from assisting practicioners of evolution. No one has ever expressed this sentiment, but I have been careful about NOT pointing this out to them.

              Most people have always had financial objections. As I see it, I am the economic beneficiary of the testing. Each test might save me hundreds, even thousands of dollars that would be spent climbing the wrong family tree. Since I want this done, it is only fair that I should pay for it. But I will ONLY pay for tests that are of interest to me. Having paid for it, I consider myself to be an owner of the information gained. Thus, I feel that it is my prerogative to decide whether to write about it. I don't identify participants by name -merely by line of descent. My inclination, even though I consider myself to be an owner, is to share the information gained with other researchers. Why? Because I see genealogical knowledge as a product of synergy. We all do our part & in the end, everyone benefits a bit from the research of others. I don't want to see anybody (not me, nor anyone else), throw away 10 years climbing the wrong tree. Their time & resources could be better utilized by the whole community if they are adding new data that is accurate.

              Timothy Peterman


              • #8
                I have been talking to some members of my project who are thinking of writing a letter to their male cousins before calling them on the phone "out of the blue."

                I think it would be in the best interest of FTDNA (since it would increase their business) to provide us with tips and literature for convincing male relatives to participate in DNA testing. Maybe they could provide us with some Adobe Acrobat files that we could download and print - such files could be used as flyers to put in a letter - describing the process of DNA testing - why it is safe and easy, etc. Maybe FTDNA could even provide a template letter that we could use as a starting point when writing letters to male candidates.

                Thoughts anyone? FTDNA, are you listening?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TSBinLV
                  Thoughts anyone? FTDNA, are you listening?
                  Have you read all of the back issues of the FTDNA news letters? Have you read any of the articles at FTDNA is trying to help us.


                  • #10
                    I'll try to search through those...thanks...


                    • #11
                      When I approach male cousins about getting their y-DNA tested, I tell them that I have already done this & offer to share my results. I remind them that my results say a lot about the Petermann y-DNA, but nothing about Robinson, Hall, Ellis, etc.

                      If you have a success story to share with them, it helps. It needs to be personal, usually best if it involves a family they know.

                      It is usually best to build rapport with them as a genealogist. Once they respect your genealogical credentials & understand how you are related, if you or a committee offers to pay, resistance will be light to non-existent.

                      Timothy Peterman


                      • #12
                        This is exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for...thanks!

                        I would love to hear what anybody else has to say about what helps them....


                        • #13
                          Men and DNA testing

                          Dear TSB (in Las Vegas?)

                          Going back to your original posting about WOMEN asking MEN to donate DNA for testing: I would always advise anyone to clearly point out in such a request that the test does not involve needles or blood. Some may scoff at this comment but I'm sure women often forget that many men have a great dislike of such things. This is a generalization but a valid one imho.

                          Good Luck,


                          • #14
                            I usually say, "It is no more painful than brushing one's teeth."


                            • #15
                              Yep that's right - Las Vegas. I never thought I would end up here - never really had the desire - but here I am!

                              Thanks for the feedback everybody - I am encouraging the folks in my project to read this thread...