Volume 7, Issue 1
February 20, 2008

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. We are entering our seventh year of publication, and continue to be the only publication devoted to Genetic Genealogy. Established 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.

In 2008, we will spotlight several Surname Projects. If you are aware of a Surname Project that would be of interest to our readers, and of educational value, please submit the project for consideration to the Editor at:
editorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com for Dexter

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, which will result in a quicker response.

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. For customers, to change your email address, go to your Personal Page. Click Modify Contact Information. Change your email address, and click the box to the left of Facts & Genes Subscription if it does not already have a check mark. For those that subscribe to the newsletter and are not customers, to change your email address contact: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com

Send your comments, suggestions, tips, and feedback to:
Dexter Montgomery
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 118,000 records in our database of Y-DNA results. We also have over 4,650 Surname Projects, which include over 73,000 surnames. Our mtDNA database has over 61,000 results.

2. Family Tree DNA Announces My Maps

My Maps is now available on your Personal Page. Using this new tool, customers will be able to see the ancestral location of their matches on a map. My Maps is a very valuable tool when trying to make the connection to the ancestral homeland. For My Maps to function as designed, participants will need to enter the location for their oldest known ancestor. See the article below titled "Genetic Genealogy: Oldest Known Ancestors for My Maps" for details.

My Maps is an exciting step forward for all genealogists. Again, Family Tree DNA is the leader in Genetic Genealogy, consistently investing in new tools, features, and services for genealogists.

Take a few minutes today to enter the location of your oldest known direct line male ancestor and direct line female ancestor so everyone can benefit from My Maps.

3. Family Tree DNA Has Moved
Family Tree DNA has moved into our new and expanded offices and lab to better serve our customers. Our new address is:

1445 North Loop West, Suite 820 Houston, Texas 77008, USA

Starting a Surname Project

If you are thinking of starting a Surname Project, now is the time to begin. 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:
ashley@familytreeDNA.com for Ashley Coursey

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The Year in Review: 2007

2007 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. Family Tree DNA has the largest database, with over 176,000 records. Our competitors, if they even provide a proprietary database, do not disclose the size of their database, which is a clear indication of the size.

We started the year with 3,780 Surname Projects, and finished the year with 4,575 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 2007, we opened a European Office in Zurich, Switzerland, to better serve our European customers. 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."

Family Tree DNA also relocated our corporate headquarters in 2007 to expand our office facilities and our Genomics Research Center.

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

The state-of-the-art lab in Houston pursues research and development of new tests to benefit the Genetic Genealogy community, as well as processing the advanced tests provided by Family Tree DNA.

In 2007, Family Tree DNA implemented a major web site upgrade, and commenced development of the next version of our web site, due for release in 2008.

Also in 2007, Family Tree DNA held the 4th 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.

In 2007, Family Tree DNA introduced enhancements for Group Administrators and participants, such as My Maps. For those interested in pursuing research, Family Tree DNA announced Personal Y-DNA SNP Exploration: A Walk Through the Y. Personal Y SNP tests provide an opportunity for anyone interested to get involved in scientific discovery.

In 2007, we promised an aggressive plan of developing new features and products for our customers. We hope you will agree that our 2007 results met that commitment.

For 2008, 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 & Publications

The Family Tree DNA Library

Family Tree DNA provides an online Library of scientific papers for those who want an in-depth knowledge of recent scientific research. Scientific knowledge is not required to be a Group Administrator, nor to take a DNA test. The Library is for those customers who have an interest in the scientific research.

The Family Tree DNA Library is located at:


The Library contains scientific papers for both Y-DNA and mtDNA, as well as General Interest and Combined Y-DNA/mtDNA Papers.

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Genetic Genealogy: Oldest Known Ancestors for My Maps

For those that have taken a Y-DNA or mtDNA test, you can enter information about your oldest direct line male and/or direct line female ancestor. To enter this information, go to your Personal Page, and click "User Preferences".

Move down the page until you see the section "Displaying the Most Distant Known Ancestor". Enter your information in the box shown. The information about the most distant ancestor is an optional display on the project web site, and can be valuable to the Group Administrator in interpreting your results.

Adding this information is very important for a new tool called My Maps. To add your ancestor to the map, you must enter the latitude and longitude for the ancestor in decimal format. A link is provided that will determine the latitude and longitude for a location provided. To access this tool, click on "click here" at the end of the sentence: "To find a location in the decimal format click here", which is right above the boxes where you enter the data.

Adding your ancestor(s) location so the data is available for the My Maps tool is very important.

In addition, your Group Administrator can select an option on the Family Project Website Page to display the map of the location of all most distant ancestors in the project on the project web site. If you are a Group Administrator, go to your Group Administrator Page. Then click on Family Project Website. This page is used to set up and maintain your web site. Move down the page, below the boxes, where you will see:

Display Ancestor's (Alleles) Map:
Display Ancestor's (mtDNA) Map:

Click on the box to the right of the first line so that a check mark appears to display the Y-DNA most distant ancestor map. Click on the box to the right of the second line so that a check mark appears to display the mtDNA most distant ancestor map.

The Group Administrator can also view at any time a map of the most distant ancestor or a map of participants location by going to the Group Administrator Page and clicking "View Member Distribution Map".

Those that have tested are encouraged to add their most distant ancestor information today!

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Genetic Genealogy: Participate in a Real-Time Scientific Study

On your Personal Page, you have an opportunity to participate in the Genographic Project, a real-time scientific study. Click Genographic Project on your Personal Page.

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.

As a Family Tree DNA customer, you can join the Genographic Project without having to order a new kit and perform a new test. You will be asked to agree to the Project's consent terms, and contribute a nominal fee of $15 USD. Proceeds from this fee will be directed to the Legacy Project which will support local education and cultural preservation efforts to benefit the participating indigenous populations.

When you join the Genographic Project, your 12 marker Y-DNA or your mtDNA result will be uploaded to the Genographic Project. A Genographic Personal Page will be created for you, where educational material is provided, and you can keep track of the progress of this fascinating project.

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Genetic Genealogy: Vendor Selection

Selecting a vendor for your DNA test or Surname Project is a very important step. Often, the vendor selected will determine the success of your project. If you are a participant, the vendor selected may determine whether you find matches, and whether you maximize your investment in DNA testing, based on the size of their database.

Since 2000, Family Tree DNA has been providing DNA tests for genealogists. This is our only business. We have constantly expanded our products and services to bring the latest science and tools to our valued customers. Our track record shows innovation and a commitment to our customers.

A key issue in selecting a vendor is whether they provide a proprietary database and the size of that database.

A proprietary database is a database of lab generated results for the vendor's customers. Family Tree DNA provides this type of database to our customers. Since all the results in our database are lab results, transferred electronically from the lab, you can be confident when you have a match that two lab generated results are being compared.

The alternatives from our competitors is to not provide a proprietary database in one case, and in another case, the database mixes lab results with user entered results. Imagine a situation where you find a match in a mixed database, invest time and money in pursuing the match, only to discover that your match had made several typos in entering their result - and they aren't a match at all!

A proprietary database is the only approach that insures data integrity. Each result in a proprietary database is a lab generated result.

In addition, our customers can control their search criteria, as well as their match notification emails.

For customers who also want their results in a public database, Family Tree DNA sponsors Ysearch.org and mitosearch.org. Our customers can upload their results with a click of a button, maintaining the data integrity of the customer's result.

Family Tree DNA understands that it is often difficult to differentiate vendors when you are getting started. Issues like a proprietary database, no proprietary database, or a mixed database aren't clearly evident. Other features, such as match notification emails, or the lack of match notification emails, is even more difficult to determine.

Every day, people and Surname Projects switch to Family Tree DNA. We understand that there is an additional cost to be re-tested, which is required to maintain our database integrity. A discount is provided to those who have tested elsewhere to make it easier for them to join Family Tree DNA, the leading vendor in Genetic Genealogy.

Click on the link below to order if you have tested at another vendor.


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Genetic Genealogy: Save GINA Contest

Enter the Save GINA Contest and have an opportunity to win a DNA gift basket valued at $150 which includes a DNA test! GINA is the acronym for the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act which has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives but is stalled in the Senate. The contest is open to U.S. registered voters only and ends 3/31/08.
To enter:

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Genetic Genealogy: Advanced Tests

This month's featured Advanced Test is the Y-STR DNA-FP Panel 2 (Extended resolution Y-STR panel).

This Advanced Test contains many markers from the Y-DNA25 and Y-DNA37 marker tests. We only recommend this panel for filling missing markers or for re-testing inconsistent results.

To order an Advanced Test, on your Personal Page, click "Order Tests and Upgrades" and then click "Advanced Orders." Go down the page until you find the Y-STR DNA-FP Panel 2.

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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 rewrite it 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 show up in the alphabetical listing of projects at Family Tree DNA.

The next important facet of your Project Profile is the surname variants entered for the project. These are those surnames that exist today, that could have evolved from the primary surname. Entering surname variants is important to ensure your project shows up when a surname search for the surname or variant is run at Family Tree DNA.

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's objectives clear?
- are the benefits to potential participants identified?
- are the project's 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 should review your email or letter to see if any improvements are possible to result in a better 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 should make them aware that donations are needed to subsidize the testing of those participants who cannot 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, rather than donating to a person.

An annual review and update of the items above should improve your recruiting success for 2008.

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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

My second cousin, once removed, and I, tested. We are a 36/37 match. We have a solid paper trail to our common ancestor in the first half of the 19c. Can you tell me what this means?


You and your cousin mismatch on 1 out of 37 markers. Somewhere between your common ancestor and one of you, a mutation has occurred. You can test additional persons, to determine in which branch the mutation occurred, and with whom the mutation occurred, if you have living descendants who are willing to test. You would want to do this step to establish the ancestral result for your tree if the common ancestor is the progenitor of your tree.

You have validated your paper research back to the common ancestor between the two men.

The test result doesn't prove your exact relationship. The paper trail determines the relationship, and the DNA results confirm the paper trail.

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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:
editorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com for Dexter

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For customers, to change your email address, go to your Personal Page. Click Modify Contact Information. Change your email address, and click the box to the left of Facts & Genes Subscription if it does not already have a check mark. For those that subscribe to the newsletter and are not customers, to change your email address contact: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com

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