Volume 6, Issue 1
March 05, 2007

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. This is our sixth year of publication!

Our newsletter covers information for everyone, regardless of your level of experience with Genetic Genealogy, whether you are just beginning to learn about this new tool for genealogy research, or have been managing a Surname Project for some time.

For those who have taken a Y-DNA test and do not belong to a Surname Project, perhaps because one did not exist for your surname when you ordered your test or joined from the Genographic Project, be sure to check every month or so to see if a project has been created. There are many benefits to be gained from joining a Surname Project.

Many Surname Project members set their search criteria to search within the project. Therefore, if you aren't a member of the project, you wouldn't find these matches when you click the Y-DNA Matches selection on your Personal Page. To see these matches, you must join the Surname Project.

Each Surname Project has a Group Administrator who is a volunteer who provides members with assistance in understanding their result, how their result fits with the other results for the surname, and direction for further research.

You will benefit from belonging to a Surname Project. At Family Tree DNA, you can belong to multiple projects, so in addition to a Surname Project, you can also belong to a Geographic Project and/or a Haplogroup Project. If you belong to multiple projects, you can toggle which project is being searched for the Y-Matches selection on your Personal Page. Just change the selected project to the right of the word Groups in the header below your name.

To search to see if a Surname Project exists for your surname:

To join a project, click the blue join button on your Personal Page.

At any time, if you have any questions, or need any help, contact our customer support. The following link provides several selections. Using this link, you can direct your question to the appropriate person. Please use the link below instead of replying to this newsletter.


Family Tree DNA provides a wide variety of educational resources to help you apply Genetic Genealogy to your family history research. In addition, email and telephone consultation is available. To begin your education, past issues of the newsletter are available at our web site. Click on the link below:


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.


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

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Past Issues
If you missed any of the past issues, they can be found online at FamilyTreeDNA.com. Click on the link below for the past issues of Facts & Genes:



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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce milestones achieved and new features.

1. The following milestones have been achieved:

Family Tree DNA now has over 132,000 records in our database. We have over 90,000 records of Y-DNA results, and over 3,900 Surname Projects, which include over 60,000 surnames. Our mtDNA database has over 41,000 results.

2. European Office

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce the opening of a European office in Zurich, Switzerland. This office provides support for our European customers in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, as well as providing local shipping and payment in European currencies.

"Opening this new office is just the latest company expansion designed to improve services to our customers," says Family Tree DNA President Bennett Greenspan. "It solves the problem of our international clientele preferring to pay for our products in their specific country's currency or in Euros and being able to write an e-mail or pick up the phone to ask a question in their own language."

To contact the European office or to order products through the European office, use the link below:


3. Advanced Tests

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce that the Autosomal and X-STR testing panels are now available to new customers. Customers can order Autosomal Makers Panel 1, Autosomal Markers Panels 1 & 2, X-STR Markers Panel 1, or X-STR Markers Panels 1 & 2. These are the same testing panels that are already available as Advanced Order add-ons for existing customers. For more information about these tests, please click on the link below:


4. The Genographic Project

Sign up for the new email newsletter from the Genographic Project. You will be kept informed about the latest news on field research, Genographic stories and highlights from the Genographic Project Web site. To subscribe to this new newsletter, click on the link below, and page down until you see the Genographic Project.



Starting a Surname Project

If you are thinking of launching 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 a 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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The Year in Review: 2006

2006 was an exciting year at Family Tree DNA, and we continued to expand our products and services for our valued customers.

Every day, more genealogists are discovering Genetic Genealogy. As you can see from the size of our database, these genealogists are choosing Family Tree DNA.

We started the year with 2,647 Surname Projects, and finished the year with over 3,700 Surname Projects!!

DNA testing is the most powerful tool ever to be available to genealogists. Genetic Genealogy is still in its infancy, and the majority of those researching their family history are not yet aware of this new tool and how DNA testing will assist them with their research.

In 2006, we brought to market the 67 marker Y-DNA test, setting a new industry landmark. In addition, we also introduced the mtDNA Full Sequence test.

Family Tree DNA acquired DNA-FingerPrint of Germany, and the principal, Thomas Krahn, joined our staff.

Family Tree DNA opened the Genomics Research Center in Houston, Texas, under the direction of Thomas Krahn. The new laboratory will allow multi-parallel processing with modern equipment including, among others, new ABI 3730 sequencer, a state of the art robot platform and customer DNA library to preserve samples in an automated storage freezer system.

All the DNA tests previously available from DNA-FingerPrint are now available to be ordered by Family Tree DNA customers. On your Personal Page, click Order Tests, and then click Advanced Tests.

Our new state-of-the-art lab in Houston will pursue research and development of new tests to benefit the Genetic Genealogy community, as well as processing the Advanced Tests now provided by Family Tree DNA.

As the result of economy of scale and the implementation of advanced robotic technology, we were able to reduce prices in 2006, benefiting our customers.

In November of 2006, Family Tree DNA held the 3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Family Tree DNA Group Administrators. The conference was an outstanding success and an excellent opportunity to hear from experts in the field. At this conference, Family Tree DNA announced the "SNP Assurance Program." If your Y DNA haplogroup can not be predicted with 100% certainty, Family Tree DNA will provide our Backbone SNP test for free.

In 2006, Family Tree DNA introduced many enhancements for Group Administrators.

Here are just a few:

Y DNA Results Chart with Mutation Colorization
Member distribution maps
Web Builder Tool - multiple enhancements
Group Administrator Tools - multiple enhancements
FTDNATiP - Family Tree DNA Time Predictor - enhanced

In 2006, we promised an aggressive plan of developing new features and products for our customers. We hope you will agree that our 2006 results met that commitment.

For 2007, we renew our commitment to our valued customers: We will implement an aggressive plan of new features and products.

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Educational Resources: Events

If you would like to learn more about Genetic Genealogy, we invite you to attend the events listed below. Please see the relevant web sites for registration information.

March 14, 2007
Time: 7 pm
Topic: Genetic Genealogy
Presenter: Max Blankfeld
Prince of Peace Genealogy Group
Prince of Peace Catholic Church
19222 State Highway 249, Houston, TX
Contact: Genevieve Cordera gbc70@aol.com
Cost: No charge, but donations welcome

April 4, 2007
Time: 7 am
Topic: Genetic Genealogy
Presenter: Max Blankfeld
Houston Westchase Rotary Club
Rio Ranch Restaurant
9999 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77042
Contact: Gene Stoffel at AEGene.Stoffel@edwardjones.com
Cost: No charge for meeting, $12 for breakfast

May 16-19, 2007
National Genealogical Society (NGS) Annual Conference
Greater Richmond Convention Center and Richmond Marriott Hotel
Richmond, Virginia
Come visit us at our display.
For more information and to register:

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Genetic Genealogy: The Genographic Project

The Genographic Project is a real time effort to map how humankind populated the earth. It is a five-year research partnership between National Geographic and IBM with support from the Waitt Family Foundation, and public participation through Family Tree DNA.

If you have tested with Family Tree DNA, you can join the Genographic Project and participate in this real time research project.

If you haven't yet joined the Genographic Project, go to your Personal Page at Family Tree DNA, and click the tab labeled Genographic Project. There is a small fee of $15.00 USD(US Dollar) to join the Genographic Project. Proceeds from this fee will be directed to the Genographic Legacy Fund, which supports local education and cultural preservation efforts to benefit the participating indigenous populations.

A Personal Page will be created for you at the Genographic Project web site. This page will provide information about your distant origins. In addition, there is an optional questionnaire, where you can provide information about your family history and approve the inclusion of your data in the research project to assist the Genographic Project with achieving their goals.

To learn more about the Genographic Project, click on the link below:

Both those who ordered through the Genographic Project and Family Tree DNA customers who joined the Genographic Project are encouraged to visit the Personal Page at the Genographic Project and complete the new questionnaire. Answering the optional questions and approving the inclusion of your data in the research project will assist the Genographic Project achieving their goals.

If you have already joined the Genographic Project and want to complete the survey, log into your Personal Page at the Genographic Project using the following link:


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Genetic Genealogy: For DNA-FingerPrint Customers

DNA-FingerPrint customers can now give permission to transfer their data to Family Tree DNA. This data will be included on their Personal Page at Family Tree DNA in about 1-2 months. For DNA-FingerPrint customers who are not Family Tree DNA customers, when you authorize the transfer of your data, a Personal Page will be created for you at Family Tree DNA when the transfer occurs in the future. All DNA-FingerPrint customers are encouraged to authorize the transfer of their results and sample to Family Tree DNA. To do this, go to:


Log in to your account, click the selection on the left My Account, click FTDNA Transfer, and follow the directions. If you have a kit at Family Tree DNA, be sure to enter and double-check your kit number to avoid errors. You must put in your kit number to have your DNA-FingerPrint results merged with your Family Tree DNA Personal Page.

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Y-DNA: Haplogroups

When you take a Y DNA test for 12, 25, 37, or 67 markers, your test result is called a haplotype. In addition, you are provided with information on your haplogroup, or major population group. All members of a haplogroup descend from a common distant ancestor.

Family Tree DNA predicts your haplogroup based on the first 12 markers of your test result. Our proprietary prediction algorithm takes advantage of our database of SNP-tested haplotypes, the most extensive in the world of its kind. In addition, our SNP Assurance Program guarantees a prediction with 100% certainty, or we will provide a SNP test at no charge to determine your haplogroup.

The chart linked below shows the composition of our database of SNP tests.


Haplogroups represent the branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens. Every male in the world is on one of the branches of the tree. The branch of the tree is identified by a SNP, which is pronounced as "snip." SNP testing can determine and confirm your placement on the tree.

The branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens are labeled A through R.

If you have taken a Y-DNA test, there is a tab on your Personal Page called "Haplogroup." When you click on this tab, the proprietary system at Family Tree DNA will predict your haplogroup, based on your 12 marker haplotype. This prediction algorithm compares your 12 marker Y-DNA result with our database of Y-DNA 12 marker results and their corresponding haplogroups.

On your haplogroup page, your 12 marker matches found in the haplogroup database are shown, along with your prediction. At the bottom of the page is a description of your haplogroup.

If exact and close matches on the haplogroup page all show the same haplogroup, then your prediction is solid, and testing is not required to confirm your haplogroup. If more than one haplogroup is shown for these matches, then your haplogroup prediction is conflicting, and a SNP test is needed to confirm your haplogroup. This test is provided at no charge under our SNP Assurance Program.

A SNP test looks at a specific location on the Y chromosome to determine if a mutation occurred. A haplogroup is defined by a mutation that occurred some thousands of years ago. These mutations are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs.

The major branches of the Y-DNA tree of Homo Sapiens, labeled A through R, have additional branches, where a haplogroup is broken down into sub-haplogroups. For example, perhaps you belong to haplogroup J. Haplogroup J is broken down into J1, J2, and J*.

The system for identifying the branches of the Y-DNA tree alternates letters and numbers. An asterisk is used to denote those who do not fit a defined branch. If you belong to haplogroup J, and are not J1 or J2, then you are J*.

Some haplogroups have more branches and twigs than other haplogroups. This is based on the SNPs that have been discovered and published.

Anthropologists study SNPs to determine ancient migratory patterns and deep ancestral dating, such as when Europe was settled.

You can see a graphic representation of a current Y-DNA tree at the following link:

Y-chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

Your haplogroup is defined by a mutation that occurred thousands of years ago, and was passed down to subsequent generations. Additional mutations also define the branches on the tree, the sub-haplogroups. SNPs are tested to identify your sub-branches, too.

Your haplogroup is predicted when you click the haplogroup tab on your Personal Page. If your haplogroup cannot be predicted with 100% confidence, a SNP test will be performed, until your haplogroup is determined. We continue to test your sample until a SNP confirmation is found for your sample.

If you want to determine your sub-haplogroup, you can order a Y-DNA SNP test for Deep Sub-clades test from your haplogroup page.

For those who take a test to determine their sub-haplogroup, the results of your test also apply to the others in your Surname Project who are a match or close match. Therefore, only one test needs to be taken by a member of a group whose results match or are a close match.

For more information about haplogroups, see the following articles:

Understanding Your Genetic History: Haplogroups

Understanding Your Results: Haplogroups

Understanding Your Results: Y DNA Haplogroup

Genetic Genealogy: Haplogroups

Y DNA: SNPs Made Simple

For an understanding of your deep ancestry and the SNPs that have occurred as humans populated the earth, consider the book or video "The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey" by Spencer Wells, listed on our resource page:

Video and Books we recommend

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Genetic Genealogy: Select a Test

Taking a DNA test is an opportunity for discovery and to learn more about your origins.

DNA testing is the most powerful tool to ever become available to genealogists. For those who are new to DNA testing for family history, it can seem overwhelming and technical. Genetic Genealogy is not any more complicated than learning about the various records available that may contain information about your ancestors.

The easiest way to learn is to take a DNA test.

If you want information about your direct female line, which is your mother, her mother, and so forth back in time, you would order an mtDNA test.

If you want more information about your direct male line, you must be male, or find a male in your family tree such as your brother or father to participate. For the male, the direct male line would be his father, his father's father, and so forth back in time. The male would order a Y DNA test.

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. Perhaps you have encountered a brick wall, or can not make a connection to the ancestral homeland.

Typically those who take a Y-DNA test join a Surname Project, when one exists. A Surname Project has a Group Administrator who is a volunteer 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.

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 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, to provide information to help you with your genealogy research, to contribute to the knowledge about your surname, and to 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.

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

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Recruiting Participants: Your Google Ranking

As a Group Administrator for a Surname Project, you most likely have a web site. The objective of the web site is to recruit participants and to keep participants informed about the project.

A web site is also important to establish credibility for your Surname Project.

Family Tree DNA provides a tool to build a web site. The web site provides automatic inclusion and updating of participant results, as well as hosting at no charge. To create or update a web site, go to your Group Administrator Page, and click Family Project Website Setup. Clicking this link will take you to our easy Web Builder Tool where you make selections and enter some text in boxes to create or modify a web site.

When preparing the description about your project for your web site, be sure to include the words family history, research, and genealogy.

When potential participants search the Internet, they will most likely search with terms such as those shown below. Usually searching on just the surname produces too many results. Most potential participants will not be actively searching for a DNA Project, so they wouldn't be searching on XYZ DNA, where XYZ is the surname. They will most likely search:

XYZ genealogy
XYZ family history

If there are other terms that potential participants are likely to use in searching with their surname, such as an ancestral location or famous ancestor, use those terms in your web site.

If you use Family Tree DNA to host the web pages for your Surname Project, and a web site exists about your surname, see if you can link to the surname site, and encourage the surname web sites to link to your Surname Project pages. This type of link often has a very positive impact on your Google ranking.

If you aren't using Family Tree DNA to host your web site, be sure to provide the join link at your web site. A link to Family Tree DNA will most likely positively impact your Google ranking.

At any time, you can determine your Google ranking by doing a search such as XYZ family history. If you then improve your site with links and key words, check back in a few weeks to see if your ranking has improved.

If you haven't yet set up your Surname Project web site, you can quickly and easily set up your site using our Web Builder Tool in 30 minutes or less. You don't need any prior experience. Go to your Group Administrator Page, and click Family Project Website Setup.

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For Group Administrators: Annual Update

A new year is always a good time to do a review and update for your Surname Project. In the past year, you have gained knowledge and experience, and can apply what you have learned to improve your recruiting success.

When revising items, it is often helpful to write a new item without looking at the current item.

Here is a check list of items to review and perhaps improve or update.

1. Project Profile
For potential participants who search Family Tree DNA's web site for their surname, your Project Profile is the first item they will encounter. The Project Profile must capture their attention, and encourage them to either proceed further to the Surname Project web site for more information, or order a test, which they can do on the Project Profile page. (For those projects which need a join request, which is not recommended, the potential participant can request to join on the Project Profile page.)

You can update your Project Profile by clicking the Project Profile Page link on your Group Administrator Page.

An important selection for your Project Profile is the first one on the page, "Show Group in Project List?" Make sure there is a check mark in this box, otherwise your project will not appear in the alphabetical list of projects.

The next important facet of your Project Profile is the variants selected for the project. These are those surnames that exist today, that could have evolved from the primary surname. The surnames in this list are what is searched when a person uses the "Search a DNA Project" feature on the Family Tree DNA website.

2. Web site
The web site for the Surname Project is a very important recruiting tool, and also keeps participants informed about the project. It is recommended that the web site be reviewed and updated at least annually. The objective of the review and update is to improve recruiting. Look at the web site and ask some questions. Often, asking a friend or associate to review the web site will provide valuable input. Here are some factors to consider:

- is the site visually appealing?
- is DNA testing explained as simply as possible without scientific terms?
- are the project objectives clear?
- are the benefits to potential participants identified?
- are the project results shown?
- is the information well organized and easy to follow?
- is there an email address provided to contact for more information?
- is the web site friendly?
- is the web site uncluttered?
- do you cover donations, and have a donation button?

3. Postings
Most likely you are doing periodic postings to various message boards, mailing lists, societies, family newsletters, and Forums. Each time, before you post, you want to update your posting to bring attention to new results, and have a fresh message to motivate potential participants

4. Recruiting Emails/letters
Perhaps you have built mailing list(s) of potential participants. These lists can be for email or postal mailings. Most likely, you use a standard or form email or letter to send to these lists. Before each mailing, you will probably review your email or letter, to see if any improvements are possible to result in a higher success rate.

5. Donation Request Emails/letters
As with recruiting emails/letters, you would most likely use a standard email or letter to solicit donations, and send these out periodically to your contacts on your email list and/or mailing list. These contacts are people who are interested in the family history of your surname. Your email/letter would make them aware that donations are needed to subsidize the testing of those participants who can not afford the cost of testing, or those participants who are needed, but are not interested in family history research. It is important that the letter is low key.

For those that host their web site at Family Tree DNA, a Donation button can be placed on the web site. The Family Tree DNA donation system will accept donations by credit card in any currency, as well as US dollar checks. In addition, the donation system will track and manage donations. Many people will feel more comfortable donating to a General Fund for the project maintained at the testing company, as compared to a donation to a person.

An annual review and update of the items above should improve your recruiting success for 2007.

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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
How do I validate the Y-DNA for a given family line?

To validate the Y-DNA result for a family tree, you would want to test the two most distant males with your surname. Your tree is then validated to the common ancestor between the two men. The validation step should also enable you to determine the result for this common ancestor.

If your tree spans multiple centuries, or has many branches, you would want to consider validating each major branch. For example, perhaps the progenitor is in the 1700's, and had 5 sons, of which 4 sons have male descendents today. In this case you would want to consider validating each of the 4 branches.

When selecting the participants, when possible, try to test the oldest surviving male(s) in your family tree. Each generation is another opportunity for a mutation to occur. If you test your grandfather instead of your brother, you have eliminated 2 generations in which a mutation could occur.

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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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