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What are atDNA and mtDNA doing in my Surname project?

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  • What are atDNA and mtDNA doing in my Surname project?

    I have "inherited" the Raymond surname project as Admin. I expected all members to be males testing Y-DNA hopefully 37 markers or better, and with surnames similar to Raymond.
    But there are strange members:
    -10 females, testing atDNA and/or mtDNA
    -8 males testing only atDNA and mtDNA
    -12 males testing Y-DNA, but with surnames not even close to Raymond
    Plus many males testing more than Y-DNA

    This was an early DNA project, maybe from about 2007. Maybe all DNA types were encouraged. It is found under the Surname projects, and the brief Overview refers to surnames.

    Are the ladies and non-Y-DNA men and non-Raymond men all there by mistake? Should I politely invite them to leave?
    The GAP pages give the capacity to manage and sub-group the mtDNA members and display their mtDNA results. But am I responsible for this, and should I spend time learning how to do it?

    I'll just do my best to manage the Y-DNA men with reasonable surnames and ignore the rest. Unless I hear a good idea.

  • #2
    I've been an admin since 2002. I accept anyone into my projects. Even if they don't have Y-DNA results they might encourage a friend, brother, father or male cousin to join and order a Y-DNA test. I don't try to group members with mtDNA, but I group all Y-DNA results. For Y-DNA I group by Haplogroup or subgroups of Haplogroups. In your case I would have one 'Non Raymond Members' group. It would include all members not having a Raymond type surname and who didn't have Y-DNA matches with Raymond members. A Smith with a majority of Raymond matches would be grouped as though he had the Raymond surname.

    I would never do anything to discourage membership.


    • #3
      I allow a mix of different types of tests in what I started as a surname YDNA project for various reasons. FF and mTDNA members need have some known family tree (genetic, not by marriage) connection to the surname, so it might be worth emailing those in your project to check. I keep these in the project, if they are willing to allow me at least "limited" admin access (to see their matches lists) because many of my YDNA project members also have done this testing. I also have YDNA members with a different surname - I only keep these in the project if they have strong matches to the surname project (and no matches to their own surname) on the basis that these are probably NPEs to my study name. I do allow anyone to join the project, but if I see a new member who doesn't appear to fit, then I will contact them and ask why they joined. Just occasionally I get people who are clearly looking for clues for adoptions rather randomly joining projects (you can sometimes spot these by the number of other surname projects they have joined) without any kind of strong match to anyone with the surname, so after contacting them to check there isn't a good reason for them being part of the project, I will delete their membership. BUT it is up to you as project administrator - if you really do only want a YDNA project, there is no reason why you couldn't get rid of the rest. I'm just not ready to say no to some of those FF kits who may end up matching a male who also has a YDNA in the project, and in doing so adds more information to the family trees for both people.


      • #4
        There is no need to eject anybody, but women sharing their mtDNA in an ftDNA surname project are simply in the wrong place. I think it would be a kindness to ask if they really want to belong here.
        It can't hurt to contact the questionable members, ask them if they really intended to be in this surname project, make them feel welcome if they did, or help them find an appropriate project.

        I assume all agree there is nothing a surname project admin can do for mtDNA results, for male or female.


        • #5
          Originally posted by DougInAmbler View Post
          I assume all agree there is nothing a surname project admin can do for mtDNA results, for male or female.
          Of course there is something you can do. You can help them understand their mtDNA results/matches, their atDNA results/matches and encourage they to have their male relatives with the surname of the project join the project and order Y-DNA if they don't already have it.


          • #6
            This topic is more than a year old, but I'm going to risk stirring up controversy by expressing a different point of view. My colleague took over the Beasley Project that had been moribund for some time. He did a marvelous job recruiting YDNA tests and I joined him as admin shortly after. Over time, my colleague started to gain an interest in autosomal testing of family, friends, and acquaintences. Over time, nearly 2/3s of the particpants had only Family finder or YDNA of no relation to the surname. Managing, displaying, and interpreting information became a confusing mess. We agreed to form a separate Family Finder Project and encouraged people with YDNA that had no connection with any Beasley to withdraw. It was difficult and not everyone was happy, but now, the project is much more illuminating and clear.

            I get plenty of applications to join. I respond to every one. I explain how the project works and that there is nothing for them to gain by being in the project. Anything for non-admins is on the Public page. But their questions and participation is important, so I ask and answer questions. Even for people in the project YDNA, whatever can be gained from being a member is limited. Particulary, YDNA (and mtDNA) is completely obtuse to participants without guidance and interpretation from a good administrator.

            As for mtDNA and autosomal, I decided to make this FTDNA project only about YDNA. That's why it is labeled such. I'm not knowledgable about mtDNA and I don't have the time or mental bandwidth to do it. There are some participants who have mtDNA tests but no one has ever asked about it. If they did, I'd gladly help them find a resource. As for autosomal... I'd love to be more skilled about that, but once again, I just don't have the time. Even if I did, being in an FTDNA group would be far from sufficient. That would involve much work outside of FTDNA including other services and particularly GedMatch.

            The resources for analysis and display of YDNA testing at FTDNA is marvelous and indispensible. Any person with the surname of the project is welcome and encouraged. I also accept people of other surnames who match Beasleys. But to have members whose maternal 3rd grandmother was a Beasley doens't make sense.

            Understand, I'm not arguing AGAINST accepting people into a project for whatever reason an administrator chooses. I'm simply offering a different way of working that makes sense to me.
            Last edited by dbeezley; 30 September 2021, 09:29 PM.


            • #7
              Do administrators have control over letting non-members see the activity feed? I suspect some people have a legitimate interest in a surname but do not have a patrilineal line to gain membership. I have found myself in that position before.


              • #8
                I'm not sure what you mean by "the activity feed". Aside from being an administrator, the only thing that anyone can see, member or not, is on the Project's public page. If you aren't a member of the projec, you can see and contact anyone who matches you on any test through your own profile. On the Public page, the administrator decides what is posted and how. I can't see any reason to limit that except to make it more readable and understandable. The most useful graphic for is the YDNA grouping. On the public page, this looks exactly like what the administrator sees exept for the small number of people who choose to have their kits concealed from the public. For Family Finder testers, there is nothing, zero, that an administrator can see that can't be seen by anyone with a Family Finder test. As for mtDNA, there are very few people in my study who have the test or seem interested in it. I admit, I have little to offer about that, so I don't go to a great deal of effort to do anything with the few tests I have. Besides that, if you have an mtDNA test, that has precisely nothing to do with your surname in all likelihood but the simple definition of what the test is. I suppose that if one wanted to study mtDNA it would be best to join or form an mtDNA project targetted to whatever audience is most useful.


                • #9
                  As far as someone who has an interest in the surname... I have many people apply because they have an interest in the surname. Often they don't even have a test, so joining does nothing at all. If you do have a YDNA test it does nothing but cluttering up the chart with meaningless information. And, once again, if the person wants to see meaningful information about the surname, that is available on the public site. I think the final reality is that DNA of any sort is hard to understand for many people. A lot of the requires interpretation and communication with someone knowledgable about the surname. And, there is no genealogical information at FTDNA except for the family trees uploaded by participants which are usually liimited if present at all and often full of errors. Even the list of "Earliest Known Ancestor" is often wrong unless clarifed by the administrator. And, this information, such as it is, is available on the public page. If you have a good administrator you will get plenty of information on the public page and by personal commincation and referral. If you have a poor administrator, being a member of the project doesn't matter.


                  • #10
                    Thanks. I agree with not clogging up the works with people who don't belong, but I seem to remember not being able to see the activity feed for some groups.


                    • #11
                      What are you referring to... "activity feed"? Do you have an example to link?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dbeezley View Post
                        What are you referring to... "activity feed"? Do you have an example to link?
                        I see. It is a discussion area, but you apparently do not have it set up for your project (I took a look). 'Activity Feed' is usually a selection in the menu along with "About', 'DNA Results', etc.


                        • #13
                          Left side, third option...


                          This is accessible from a Public Y page, or from an individual's Home Page, if they click on any Group Project, which then defaults to the Activity Feed view.


                          In the Abrams Y page that I admin, I have created two non-Y groups. Via mtDNA for those who took that test and Via Family Finder for those who have an Abrams/Abraham somewhere in their tree. I use "Via" to force these groups to the bottom of the page. That keeps their Y results out of those groups with a Y purpose.


                          • #14
                            All of my Y-DNA Group Names start with the word Group except for the people with Y-DNA not connected to the project name. All of those members are in the Non-Surname Y-DNA group. Same results as using Via. I'm glad to have these people in the project. You never know who they might get to join the project.


                            • #15
                              I joined a Y-DNA group for my father’s surname because FTDNA suggested it, and I was warmly welcomed by the moderator who knows a great deal about the history of the name ( most of them are related, going back on the paternal line ) and gathered information from me on my father’s grandfather that he used to access a record at ancestry and fill out my tree a little more. Then, he combed through my autosomal matches and found people descended of the same line as himself and thought it would link me to a specific immigrant with the name. I knew quite well when I joined the project that I had no Y-DNA and that all I could contribute was a male relative’s DNA : and I did that. But, we confused the project anyway, because it turned out that my father has an entirely different haplogroup from the rest of the project members, all except one whom he still doesn’t match, at least not at 37 markers. I’m hesitant to invest in a bigger test, but an autosomal match later proved that my father and paternal grandfather, at least, were not non-paternal events.