06 February 2009

So...You are a Newbie DNA Administrator

Once you have tested yourself or your family’s DNA, you may become interested in having your own DNA Project. Perhaps, a project for your family surname does not exist. You are a perfect candidate to start the project. You already know a lot about your family’s surname, you have researched the line and have found that some with your surname may or may not be related. You may have few or no matches when your line was tested, but wish to find others who do match.

If you are not an administrator, this information is still important for you. You may wish to also share it with your project's administrator to encourage them to try these ideas. Also, consider volunteering some of your time to him your admin.

There are many reasons genealogists become administrators for a DNA project, and any reason for creating a project is greatly helpful in the Genetic Genealogy world.

Administrators vary in their interest, knowledge, ability, and time commitment for running a project. One can be as involved as you wish.

A few items are listed below help you with your DNA Project. This does not mean you must do them. These are only “best practices,” and it is up to you to determine how involved you wish to me. Choose what works for you.

For now, I will assume that everyone is starting a Surname Project. However, these ideas will work for any type of project: Geographic, Ethnic, or Haplogroup.

1. Educate Yourself: Read the online tutorials and various books posted in the archives of this blog or go to the various DNA companies as some have wonderful Q&A sections as well as book lists. Also, become a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG). This non-profit organization has a very useful email list for new administrators as well as some wonderful links and files to help you. The website is: www.isogg.org Ask for any type of help and post any questions you have.

2. Establish an Email Group:
To begin, you have had contact with many people who are researching your surname. Gather the emails for those genealogists and interested family members whether they carry the surname or not, and put them into an email list. This can be an email list established on Yahoo or some other online forum. This can be a contact list in your own email program. You want both males and females on this email list…anyone interested in the surname. Email the group rather often with information on DNA testing so they will understand it. Also email when there are people ordering tests or results arrives. This group will be essential in creating scholarships for testers (see below) as well as for finding testers and checking lineages.

3. Create a Website: Most good DNA companies have a website for your project. If not, or if you are a web builder, consider designing your own. If anyone is a new administration for Family Tree DNA, you are welcome to view one of my sites to use that information for yours. See: www.familytreedna.com/public/Talley-Tally

4. Spread the Word: There are various email lists you can join to mention your DNA project exists. Any of the Rootsweb boards and forums allow mention of DNA, but do not mention the company nor any costs. Do not post DNA information on a Rootsweb email list without the permission of the administrator. ISOGG email lists, DNA lists on Rootsweb, and other email lists dedicated to genetic genealogy allow postings about projects.

5. Create Scholarships: When trying to get testers who are not greatly interested in genealogy or genetic testing or when you find people whom you wish to test, but who lack the funds, you must consider creating a scholarship program. Your testing company may have the means to establish one, but if not, hold an email fundraiser. Use one week to gather donations from your email group. In my fund-raisers, I allow any amount to be donated. I also establish a minimum amount and if that is given, I donate a sum. For example, I request a donation of $20 or $30 (gear it to your group), and if that amount is given, I contribute $10. Every administration usually contributes to someone’s testing sooner or later. This money is held aside, and I try to purchase spare tests when there is a sale at the company I use. This way the money goes farther. A test can be stores for years if not allowed to be near heat. I establish a criteria for giving the scholarships, also. Make these guidelines clear to your email list.

6. Convince People to Test: This is a learned skill. See this blog’s Ocober 2008 archives for more detail.

7. Ride the Roller Coaster: Realize that there are periods of success and periods of failures. Your project will grow, but can plateau at times. This is normal. You may struggle to find new testers, but after a while, they will find you as well. During the times of no testers, still remain in contact with your group.

NOTE: Take the time to check this blog’s archives as there are many posts to help the new tester as well as the new administrator.

©Aulicino, 6 Feb 2009

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