There are four major types of projects.
- Surname or Patronymial Projects. FTDNA hosts more than 5,500 projects. Most are Y-DNA surname projects devoted to participants with similar surnames. Most are general and will accept any man of a given surname. Some are devoted to a specific patrilineage, that is, to descendants of a given ancestor who have documented their lineage. Examples: Surnames beginning with the letter "B" at FTDNA
- Matrilineal Projects or Projects of Maternal Lineage. These projects are the mtDNA counterpart of Y-DNA Surname projects. Men and women having almost identical mtDNA signatures and who might be able to document their descent from a presumed common direct maternal ancestor, or who expect to eventually be able to do so might join this type of project.
- Biogeographical, Regional, or Historical Projects. These projects usually concern Y-DNA or mtDNA and sometimes both. They group participants who have "something in common". For instance, their ancestors might have come from the same region, or were of a particular biogeographical origin, such as the Melungeons. Or their ancestors could have shared the same religion, such as Huguenots or Jews, or even participated in a singular historical event, such as the founding of the State of Louisiana. At FTDNA, some of these project are called dual projects, meaning they include Y-DNA and mtDNA signatures. The French Heritage DNA project is a dual project. We include both Y-DNA and mtDNA participants of French heritage to join.
- Haplogroup or Subclade Projects. The fourth type of project is based upon a participant's haplogroup or subclade of the haplogroup. New projects are started as new subclades are discovered through current research. Several subclade projects exist without being publically announced by FTDNA. Administrators of these projects recruit participation upon invitation. Examples of these types of projects include Y-DNA Haplogroup G, Y-DNA Haplogroup J2, Y-DNA subclade R1b1c10, Y-DNA subclade R-P312, and mtDNA Haplogroup K (Katrina's Clan).
For a list of public projects at FTDNA: http://www.familytreedna.com/projects.aspx
If none of these projects seem appropriate for your DNA, you should consider creating your own project. The important point in creating new projects is to group members showing similarities, and to invite new persons to get tested and thus contribute to the database of DNA knowledge. Naturally, you must volunteer to administer the project.
One of the functions of the French Heritage project is to serve as an incubator for other projects. For instance, it is possible for members having the same surname, whether or not sharing the same ancestor, to initiate comparisons within this project. The French Heritage project provides you the required utilities to compare signatures and to form and study subgroups. Once a practical number of participants is obtained and organizational aspects are settled, we encourage you to split off and start a new project. But, please leave us a copy of your data so that others will be able to compare their own signature with yours, and eventually find their relatives, quite often on other grounds than a shared surname.
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