09 August 2010

Creating a Family Finder Project

The idea of Family Finder Projects is being tossed around in genetic genealogy circles to determine how a Family Finder project could best serve the genealogy community. Some projects already exist. As I have said, we are in the pioneering stages with autosomal DNA testing, and the path not taken may be a great opportunity lost.

Although Family Finder test results can be incorporated in several DNA projects as mentioned in the previous blog, Family Finder projects are, by nature, family projects. They focus on particular families. A Family Finder Project focuses on the descendants of one set of ancestors. To ensure that many testers have relevant matches within the project, you should choose a couple no more than eight generations back.

Getting Started

A pedigree chart of known descendants should be posted on the project website or if there is a separate genealogy site for this information, post the link instead. The descendant chart should be continually updated as more information is available. The administrator would then seek eligible descendants to test from the known pedigree. Keep in mind that beyond second cousins it is reasonably possible that some known relatives will not share enough DNA to be detected by Family Finder. As more descendant lines are tested, the number of matches between cousins will increase.

Join Requests

As the common connection between project members is shared genealogical ancestry, a JOIN REQUEST would be required as well as a documented pedigree to the targeted ancestors for those who test independently of the project. Such a request is available for all Family Tree DNA projects and is merely a request to join the project. This gives the administrator control over the membership and surety that the members are related.

Suggested Descendant Project Goals

1. To gather all the descendants of the targeted ancestors.
2. To find cousins for the purpose of furthering this family’s lineages by combining research efforts.


We each have many ancestral couples five, six, seven, and eight generations back. Indeed, six generations back we have sixty-four great grandparents or thirty-two ancestral couples … too many couples to create projects for each. Not to become overwhelmed by project administration, it is important to select a couple that is of particular interest in your genealogical research and to recruit other Family Historians and Genealogists to help administrate the project. Those who face a road block more recently than five generations may wish to run a project on more recent generations.

To order a Family Finder test or create a project contact Family Tree DNA

Thank you Rebecca Canada for rewriting this topic to the point of authorship! You help and insight has been invaluable.

© Aulicino, 22 July 2010

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