Monday, August 28, 2017

Surname Projects: Examining my first Y-DNA match

After I ordered a Y-DNA test from Family Tree DNA, I wanted to join a surname project.  I should have joined the project before ordering the test because I would have gotten a discount on the test.  So after receiving my results, how did I join the Thompson DNA Project? Here's the general procedure. Log into your account, then click Projects>Join a Project.

On the next page you will first see a section called Matching Projects. This is a list of projects that include your surname. Some of these projects will be relevant to you, but some will  not.

Click the name of the project you wish to join. The Thompson surname project appears on my Matching Projects list.

If you want to see other projects go to the bottom of the Matching Projects section to see all projects. There are even more sections which are not shown in the image below.

You will want to become very familiar with this process because you will be joining multiple projects to get the most from your DNA results.  It does not cost to join any projects, so you can join as many as you wish. If you wanted to find the Thompson surname project you can see that there are 296 surname projects that start with the letter T.  Click on T:

Then go through the alphabetical list of surnames. You may need to check variant spellings. Now we will click on Thompson.

You can click the website link to see the project before you join, or just click the orange Join link to become a member of the project. Some projects screen participants before they join, but most do not.

So now we're in the Thompson project. You will immediately appear in the project, but your placement within the project may change after your project administrator looks at your results. You can access any of your projects by going to Projects>Manage My Projects.

The first project I joined was the Thompson project, but over the years I have done more testing and have joined multiple projects for my brother's kit:

Ok, now let's click on the Thompson project! The Thompson surname project has more than 1000 members (and some projects have many more), so it can be bewildering at first. My kit does not appear anywhere on the page below. In the image the arrow is pointing to the page size which is automatically set to 500.  I need to change the page size if I want to see everyone on the same webpage, or I can click page by page until I find my results.

I will reset the page size to 1200:

Now I can find my kit!  When I first started I had tested 37 markers and had only one match. Here is how it looked [The only difference from the results screen below and the original results is the Haplogroup column because we have both now been SNP tested--I have done the BigY test and the other man has tested an FTDNA SNP pack. We will examine what that means in a future post.]

If you refer to my previous blog post, What do I do with my Y-DNA results?, you will see that Family Tree DNA stated that my brother was a genetic distance of 4 from the man who descends from Augustus M Thompson. We can now see what that means. These two kits are mismatching by one number each at four locations: DYS448, DYS456, DYS576, and CDY. If they were very closely related there might be no mismatches. At a genetic distance of four at 37 markers, this is at the edge of what Family Tree DNA considers to be a match. So this does not appear to be a close match.  I tried very hard to find our genealogical relationship, but even though I've been doing genealogy for decades and even do it professionally I could not find our common ancestor. Our common ancestor was further back than my Electious Thompson.

How frustrating! What now? I had to hope that other Thompsons would test, and I even had to recruit some myself. We will next look at this process in the next post, Setting up for great DNA matches. We will then see the amazing power of Y-DNA testing.

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