Family Tree DNA http://www.familytreedna.com based in Houston, Texas, has been around since 2000. The labs are in Houston and at the University of Arizona. A large variety of projects create opportunities for people to work with others to explore their common genetic heritage. Family Tree DNA encourages customers' participation in projects. Membership is free and voluntary. Members may join or leave a project at any time and may join as many Groups as they wish. One can transfer results from FTDNA to the National Genographic project for a $15 fee and contribute to that effort, and can upload to Y-Search automatically from one's personal page at FTDNA.
FTDNA has a large database, with over 400 participants in the Jackson Project and is a very customer-friendly company. FTDNA Projects are run by volunteer administrators who have an interest in the history and genealogy of a particular surname, ethnic group, haplogroup, lineage or geographic region. As administrators, we are given access to tools to compare results and are responsible for managing and organizing the data for our projects. Each Project or Group sets it's own rules for membership. This Jackson Group is open to anyone having an interest in the surname. No documentation is required to join but you are strongly encouraged to submit an 'upline' of what you know of your Jackson ancestors. This should include birth and death dates with locations, and the spouses names when known. This exposure of your ancestral lineage is very helpful as other researchers may recognize your names and thus help you discover relationships. Though you should not give your password to anyone, you should feel free to give your kit # to administrators when asked so they can access your info for organizing your upline on the public website.
The Jackson surname is one of the most numerous in the United States (within the top twenty) with most of the original immigrants coming from the United Kingdom England, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Shetland (for the most part): patronymic from JACK. This Jackson Project was started in 2002 and has grown tremendously since. Several administrators have moved the work forward for a number of years, John McAnally, Mary Ann Theiss, Evyonne Andrews Eddins, and Don Jackson. These folks worked diligently not only maintaining the data base but also in recruiting more members so that now our database at FTDNA has the most DNA material available for comparison and finding matches. (See why size of data base is important here: https://www.familytreedna.com/why-FTDNA.aspx. A contact list of current administrators and co-administrators is at the top of this page.
Our goal is to create a database of as many Jackson males as possible, in the hope of finding matches among the samples. This should be particularly helpful for those who trace their ancestry back to the period before the earliest census records and do not know where their family came from.
How does DNA testing work?
Each participant receives a kit, which contains instructions and materials allowing him to swab his cheek for DNA, preserve it, and return it to FamilyTreeDNA. The lab then analyzes the DNA found on the Y-chromosome. This DNA is passed down (almost) unaltered from father to son. Therefore, those who share a large percentage of "markers" share a male ancestor within a certain number of generations (depending on how many and the type of test).
FamilyTreeDNA has tests for 12, 37 67, or 111 markers. You can start with any level of test, and then upgrade later. However, while no additional swabbing is necesssary for an upgrade, the sample must be processed again (which takes several weeks). The added cost of the upgrade is more than the initial combined price. In our experience, almost all participants that start with the 12-marker test ultimately upgrade to test more markers, so starting with 37 markers usually saves time and money. If there is a strong chance you are related to one of the lines already tested, a 67 marker test will be most useful in helping to figure out just where your line falls.
What do the results mean?
The results are expressed in matches. If you do the 37 marker test, for example, you'll find out those with whom you match at the 12 and 37 marker levels. You also know, through our website, those lines that you do not match. So in general, the results can tell you several things:
• Confirm that a participant is related to a particular male line, even if he doesn't know (yet) how that connection may come in.
• Or, confirm that a line already traced is likely accurate - if two 21st century men share markers, and they've traced their male lines back to a common 18th century fore-father, this is good evidence that their lines are accurately traced.
• Or, the test can tell you you're not related to a particular line. This, while disappointing, can save one years of researching in the wrong places.
Who should participate?
Any man named Jackson. Your male line must either be all Jackson (no known illegitimacy or adoption) or you're trying to prove that such a thing did/did not occur. Scroll down through the public Results Page for those already tested to see if we have information on your line.
Are you a Jackson female or grandson? Sponsor your father/brother/cousin. They don't have to do anything except swab their cheek - you'll get all the results. Do 'Join' the Jackson Project before ordering the kit to get the discount. Kits may be paid for when ordering or when returning the kit for processing.
Still have questions? Do read the FAQ page at https://www.familytreedna.com/faq/default.aspx