Volume 4, Issue 6
December 05, 2005

The World's Only Newsletter Dedicated to Genetic Genealogy

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In This Issue

Editor's Corner

Welcome to this issue of Facts & Genes, the only publication devoted to Genetic Genealogy.

Begun in 2002, Facts & Genes provides valuable information about utilizing Genetic Genealogy testing for your genealogy, and keeps you informed about the latest advancements in the field.

The holiday season is here, and provides many opportunities.

During the holidays, many of us will be attending family events. These family events are a perfect time to gather information for your family history research, as well as to share information about genetic genealogy, and what this new discipline can do for your family history research. The results of your DNA test or the results from your surname project provide fascinating information to share with others.

Family gatherings are also an opportunity to recruit that relative whom you need to take a DNA test. A festive setting combined with a simple, non-technical explanation of the test will go a long way to overcome fears and concerns.

If you have prospective participants for DNA testing that haven't been able to afford the cost of the test, a DNA test might be the perfect gift. This would not only help your genealogy research, but would also be a unique gift for them. A gift of a DNA test is a gift of discovery.

Each year the postal mail system slows down, so test kits are taking longer to reach participants, as well as to be returned to Family Tree DNA.

If you are going to place an order for delivery by the holidays, please note that we can not guarantee delivery by the postal service. For postal mail delivery, we suggest placing your order early in December. For orders placed after December 15th, we recommend that you request Next Day Air or Third Day Air delivery.

For orders to be sent Next Day Air, please place your orders by noon December 22, and for international orders, by noon December 20th.

For those looking for unique gifts beyond a DNA test, consider the following:

Our Y DNA Haplogroup Wall Chart is a colorful educational chart showing the origin of all identified Y DNA Haplogroups since the beginning of man.

Y DNA Haplogroup or mtDNA Haplogroup pins, from www.DNApin.com.

A donation to the General Fund of a surname project.

The Genealogy by Genetics video. You can make and distribute as many copies as desired by either downloading the video to CD, which is played on a computer, or ordering a VHS tape and making copies. For more information, see the article below titled: "Educational Resources: Genealogy by Genetics Video."

If you change your email address, be sure to change your address for the newsletter. To change your email address, go to the link below.


This link is also provided at the end of each newsletter.

Send your comments, suggestions, tips, and feedback to: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com. We hope you enjoy this issue.

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Past Issues
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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce milestones achieved, a successful conference, and new features.

1. The following milestones have been achieved:

Family Tree DNA now has over 48,000 records in our database of Y-DNA results. We also have over 2,500 Surname Projects, which include over 26,000 surnames.

2. The 2nd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy was held November 4-5, 2005 in Washington, D.C., at the corporate headquarters for National Geographic. The conference was an outstanding success.

The conference featured leading experts in the field making presentations on a variety of topics related to the use of DNA testing for family history and deep ancestral origins. Among the speakers was Spencer Wells, author of “The Journey of Man,” the National Geographic Explorer in Residence, and the Project Director for the Genographic Project. Dr. Wells spoke about the Genographic Project, its goals, and how the genealogical community can participate.

Hosting this year's conference at NGS headquarters reflects Family Tree DNA’s role in performing the testing for the public participants in the Genographic Project. The Genographic Project is a five-year research partnership between National Geographic and IBM to study human migratory history.

3. Upload your pedigree so a family tree icon appears for your matches.

A new tab has appeared on your Personal Page where you can now upload your Gedcom file. When you upload your Gedcom file, those whom you match will see a family tree icon after your name on their match page. Those persons who match can then click on the family tree icon and view your family tree. (A Gedcom file is a standard file format generated by most genealogy programs to share information about your family tree.)

Your family tree can only be viewed by those to whom you match and by your group administrator.

On the Y DNA Matches page or the mtDNA Matches page, a family tree symbol next to your matches indicate those who have uploaded their Gedcom file. When you click on the icon, the family tree will be brought up in a new window for you to view. The direct line of the participant will be highlighted. If the participant took an mtDNA test, their direct female line will be highlighted. If the participant took a Y DNA test, their direct male line will be highlighted.

To upload your Gedcom file, click on the tab on your personal page labeled "Gedcom - Family Tree." You will then browse to select your Gedcom file. After your Gedcom file is uploaded, a new page will appear in which you will be able to select whether persons born after 1900 are hidden. The default is that all persons born after 1900 are hidden. If you want these persons displayed, you must click on the box with the check mark to remove the check mark.

The final step is to link the person who took the DNA test to the Gedcom file. Browse the list provided of persons in the Gedcom file and click on the person who provided the sample for the test. Your Gedcom upload is now complete.

You can view or delete your Gedcom file at any time by clicking on the tab on your Personal Page labeled "Gedcom - Family Tree."

The icon for a family tree will now appear following your name and email address on the Matches page of those to whom you match or are a close match. The icon for a family tree will also appear on the group administrator's Project Members List on the line with your name.

If you have taken both a Y DNA test and an mtDNA test, on the Gedcom-Family Tree page, you will select whether your Gedcom is to be attached to your Y DNA test result or your mtDNA test result. If you want it attached to both, you will have to upload your Gedcom under each selection.

4. Y DNA Recent Ethnic Origins

The Recent Ethnic Origins (REO) tab on the personal page for those who have taken a Y DNA test searches the entire Family Tree DNA database and displays matches and close matches. The purpose of the REO search is to provide information on where the most distant ancestor was located for those whom you match or are a close match. Those records where the origin is unknown and who do not have a comment of additional information attached are no longer shown. These entries did not provide information since the location of their most distant ancestor is unknown.

5. DNA & Genealogy

A new book about genetic genealogy has recently been published by Colleen Fitzpatrick & Andrew Yeiser, titled DNA & Genealogy. It is written for individuals wanting to know what type of test is right for them, for participants wanting to understand how they fit into their project, and for group administrators at any experience level. Since it is written by genealogists for genealogists, we have found it to be a good guide for genealogists wanting to learn more about using DNA as a research tool.

You can learn more about the book here: http://www.forensicgenealogy.info/index1.html

If you are thinking of starting a surname project, now is the time to get started. Our educational resources, combined with our email and telephone consultation, help you each step of the way. Feeling confused or overwhelmed will quickly pass, and be replaced with the excitement of new discoveries.

Anyone with experience with family history research can start a surname project. We supply the tools and guidance so your surname project is successful.

There are just two steps to take to become group administrator of a surname project:

1. Find out if a surname project exists for your surname. Click on the link below to search our database of surname projects:


2. If a surname project has not been established for your surname, then use the email contact below to establish a surname project or to discuss establishing a surname project:
leahw@familytreedna.com for Leah Wark

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Educational Resources: Genealogy by Genetics Video

The Genealogy by Genetics video available from Family Tree DNA is an excellent educational tool.

The Genealogy by Genetics video is available on-line at the Family Tree DNA web site. The video can be downloaded and then played on your computer. The "Genealogy by Genetics" video is a series of interviews with several Family Tree DNA customers, and is an excellent educational tool to learn more about genetic genealogy. It is recommended that those interested in starting a surname project view the video. Through the interviews you will learn how others have utilized DNA testing for genealogy, and what they discovered.

The on-line video is presented in two versions: a dial-up version for those who are connected through a 56k modem, or a broadband version for those with a faster DSL or cable connection. The video is in 4 parts, due to the file size. If you do not have a viewer on your computer, there are links on the web page to get a free viewer.

To see the Genealogy by Genetics video, go to:


Once you have seen the video, if you would like a DVD copy to show at family reunions, Genealogical Societies, Family History Centers, and Family Association gatherings, you can order one at no charge at the following link:


Group administrators can copy the video for their participants and potential participants. For those who are interested in starting a surname project, and do not have a 56k modem or broadband access, use the link above to order a copy of the video.

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Genetic Genealogy: Journey of Discovery

Taking a DNA test is an opportunity to learn more about your origins. If you take a Y DNA test, you will receive information about your direct male line, which is your father, his father, and up the family tree.

Taking a Y DNA test is an opportunity to discover information on 3 levels:

- Genealogical
- Surname
- Anthropological

The primary use of genetic genealogy testing is to provide information which cannot be found in the paper records to help you with your genealogy research. The applications of DNA testing for genealogy are as diverse as the problems that can be encountered in your research. For example, perhaps you are trying to bridge the gap of destroyed records or trying to sort out multiple families with the same surname in a location.

Typically those who take a Y DNA test join a surname project, when one exists. A surname project has a volunteer group administrator who performs a variety of functions including managing the project, recruiting participants, assisting participants in understanding their results, and providing suggestions for further research or testing.

Once you take a Y DNA test, you will be able to determine which other family trees with your surname are related to you.

Over time, the group of participants in a surname project will grow. Once the group reaches the point at which most or all of the family trees for the surname have tested, it will be possible to draw conclusions about the surname. To draw these conclusions, comprehensive research in early records will be combined with the results of Y DNA testing. The research in early records is important, since drawing conclusions without the associated research will lead to erroneous results. Just as Y DNA testing is combined with genealogy research for your family tree, Y DNA testing of multiple family trees of the surname is combined with genealogy research to draw conclusions about the surname.

A Y DNA test will also provide you information about your distant origins. This information is quite interesting.

A mtDNA test provides information both for genealogy research and about your distant origins. The applications of mtDNA testing to genealogy research are more limited than Y DNA testing, primarily because the surname usually changes for the female in each generation, and because mtDNA does not mutate as frequently as Y DNA, resulting in a longer time frame for a match to a common ancestor.

DNA testing for genealogy is a tremendous opportunity to uncover information not found in the paper records, provide information to help you with your genealogy research, contribute to the knowledge about your surname, and learn about your distant origins.

Getting started is easy. If a surname project exists for your surname, you can order your test kit through the project. A link is shown below to search the surname projects. Otherwise, you can order a test kit at the link below, or send an email to discuss starting a surname project.

To search for a surname project:

To order a test kit when a surname project doesn't exist:

To discuss starting a surname project:
leahw@familytreeDNA.com for Leah Wark

If you want to view sample pages, which will show what you will receive, visit our demo. Click on Demo-2:

To see an example certificate and report you will receive in the mail, click on the link below:

If you are thinking of becoming a group administrator, you can view the tools available for group administrators, at the group administrator demo. Click on the link below, and then click Demo-1:

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Y DNA: Projects

Y DNA testing is organized into surname projects. A surname project covers a surname and the associated variants.

The group administrator for a surname project is a volunteer. A surname project may also have a co-administrator, who will act as backup when the group administrator is unavailable, and the co-administrator may share some of the tasks with the group administrator. The role of the co-administrator is defined between the group administrator and the co-administrator for each surname project, and the roles may change over time.

The group administrator performs multiple important functions, including assisting participants with understanding their results, interpreting results for the project, and recruiting participants to the project.

The group administrator establishes goals for the surname project, and typically the project has a web site where the goals and results are communicated. The web site is important to keep participants informed and for recruiting new participants.

As the database of results grows at FamilyTreeDNA, everyone will eventually have matches with other surnames. The surname is a very important factor in evaluating a match. The surname establishes the most distant time frame of the relationship between two people. If the Y DNA results match, and the surname matches, then the participants are related since the adoption of surnames. The degree of the match, such as exact or a genetic distance of one, and the number of markers tested, will establish the estimated time frame of the common ancestor.

Over time, the group administrator will most likely develop a knowledge base about the surname. This base of knowledge will be helpful in managing the project as it expands and in making recommendations to the participants for further research.

If a surname project exists for your surname, it is important to join the project. Often, the participants have their search criteria set to search within the surname project, so if you are not a member of the surname project, you will not find these matches. To see if a surname project exists for your surname, click on the link below, and then click the "Join" button on your personal page to join the project. If a surname project doesn't exist, you can bookmark the search link, and check periodically, since new projects are set up every day.

To search for a surname project:

In addition to a surname project, a Y DNA participant may also be interested in joining a geographical project. At Family Tree DNA, you can belong to up to two projects.

Geographical projects cover a defined geographical area, and are established for a variety of reasons. One reason is to assist those whose family trees go back to an area where hereditary surnames were established only within the last few hundred years, and patronymic surnames were previously used.

You can review the geographical projects that have been established by clicking on the link shown above, and paging down to the heading geographical projects.

If you are female, and took an mtDNA test, most surname projects and geographical projects will welcome you as a member.

If you are thinking of starting a surname project or a geographical project, now is the time to get started. Family Tree DNA provides educational resources, email and telephone consultation, and helps you each step of the way.

Anyone with experience with family history research can start a surname project.

There are just two steps to take to become a group administrator of a project:

1. Find out if a surname project exists for your surname, or a geographical project exists for your area of interest. Click on the link below to search our database of projects:


2. If a project has not been established, then use the email contact below to establish a project, or to discuss establishing a project:
leahw@familytreeDNA.com for Leah Wark

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Recruiting Participants: Opportunities

Are you missing any opportunities to recruit participants? For example, does your Family History Center have a bulletin board, where you could post a notice? Is there a newsletter for a Family Association for your surname where you could submit a notice about your project? Have you submitted a notice to the journals and newsletters for the Genealogy Societies which accept such notices?

Have you asked the participants for help finding other participants? Participants are the ideal person to find the distant male in their family tree to test for the validation step. In addition, participants may belong to societies and organizations where they can post or mention the surname project. Participants can be an excellent resource to find others to participate.

Have you asked the females interested in your project for help finding participants?

Have you registered your research interests at all the available sites, including Ancestry.com? There is typically no charge, and others will be able to find you.

Are you posting to the relevant mailing lists quarterly, when you have some results to report?

Is your web site inviting, with a minimum of technical terms, or is it time for a revision?

Have you joined genealogy societies for the areas where you ancestors resided so you can be listed in the societies members interests pages?

Recruiting participants is an ongoing process. It is worthwhile to revise your message periodically.

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For Group Administrators: Action Items

Action Items are suggested tasks for the group administrator to continually enhance their recruiting efforts. So far this year, we have recommended the following activities:

Review of the project profile and reviewing the surname variants.

Review and update, or creation, of your web site.

Start your surname population and distribution chart

Inform your participants and potential participants about our newsletter Facts & Genes.

Build a mailing list in your email address book.

Surname variants: Listing surname variants in your project profile is very important.

Establish a co-administrator

In this issue of Facts & Genes, we are recommending the following activities:

1. Review and revise your posting notice which you use for the applicable mailing lists. Be sure that you mention results of the project, and do not include any commercial information, such as prices. If it has been a few months since you posted to mailing lists, you may want to post again. Be sure to spread out your postings over several weeks so your postings don't come across as spam. In addition, you would want to tailor the posting to the mailing list. If you make several identical postings, then the postings will be considered as spam.

If you have never posted to a mailing list about your project before, be sure to check with the list administrator to determine if your postings are acceptable. Review the mailing lists that exist to determine which lists are appropriate for your project.

2. Prepare and send a message to your email mailing list. You would want to cover the results of the project, and reasons to participate.

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Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy

In each issue of the newsletter, we present a situation which you may encounter as you utilize genetic genealogy testing for your family history research, followed by our recommendation.

Case Study
We have been attempting to locate where the XYZ surname originated, and it seems, unfortunately, that it originated in America. So, we cannot make the 'leap across the pond' to continue researching our ancestors.

Is there any DNA test that can provide a country of origin?


Unless your ancestors are Native American, they came from somewhere else. To find the link across the pond, it is recommended that you exhaust sources in the USA, such as census records, vital records, cemetery records, passenger manifests, and naturalization records.

A DNA test by itself will not provide a country of origin. Even so, taking a DNA test is important, and could help you eventually make the leap across the pond. You could have matches with others with your surname who reside in the country of origin, or whose tree has made the jump across the pond. This information would be very valuable in identifying the country of origin.

In addition to testing, you can also prepare a surname population and distribution chart, which will identify the countries where the surname resides today. Be sure to include the variant surnames in your chart. The chart will most likely provide clues about the country of origin. For example, you may find your surname in several destination countries, such as the USA and Australia, and in only two potential originating countries, England and Germany. The population count may provide further clues, with less than 20 in England, and hundreds in Germany.

You could then recruit participants from both England and Germany to see whom you match.

For more information on preparing a surname population and distribution chart, see the following article in Facts & Genes:

Managing a Surname Project: Surname Distribution and Population

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Next Issue

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Facts & Genes. Please feel free to contact the editor with your comments, feedback, questions to be addressed, as well as suggestions for future articles. If you are a group administrator and can help others with tips or suggestions, please contact: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com

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