Page Actions

Promoting your DNA project

From ISOGG Wiki

Promoting your DNA project is essential if you wish to attract new participants.

DNA project websites

A website is essential if you wish to promote your DNA project. If you set up a project with Family Tree DNA you are given a free courtesy website. Even if you choose to set up your own website it is still a good idea to use the FTDNA facilities to increase the visibility of your project. DNA results are automatically uploaded to the FTDNA results pages thus ensuring that participants always have access to the full dataset for the project.

ISOGG members can list their project on our New DNA projects page. ISOGG members are also encouraged to create Wiki pages for their DNA projects. See the listings on the Wiki pages for surname DNA projects and geographical DNA projects. If your project is able to sponsor any DNA tests add the details of the offer to our page on Free DNA tests.

Members of the Guild of One-Name Studies are encouraged to create a Guild profile page where they can provide details about their surname study and include a link to the DNA project website. Search the members' profiles on the Guild website for ideas.

Website listings

Once you have set up a project website make sure you get it listed in as many places as possible to ensure that it appears high in the search engine rankings when someone is searching for your surname.

Cyndi's List has a special section devoted to surname DNA studies

Other sites where you can add links include:

Surname lists

There are many online surname listings where you can advertise your surnames of interest. For UK surnames see the Genuki UK page on surname lists.

Mailing lists

Announce your project on the genealogy-related mailing lists. Rootsweb hosts a variety of surname and geographical mailing lists. Many genealogy mailing lists, such as those for the English county of Somerset, are now hosted on Yahoo rather than Rootsweb. Search the Yahoo groups directory by keyword.

Post not only to the surname boards and lists, but also the regions in which the surname is found (i.e. county, parish, country.) When posting a message to a mailing list choose your wording carefully and do not cross-post the same message to multiple lists. It is wise to get a feel for a mailing list first before posting a message. Some lists do not welcome posts about DNA so read the list description and FAQs carefully.

PLEASE NOTE: Rootsweb has strict rules governing the content of DNA project postings on the Rootsweb message boards. DNA related postings are often the targets of deletion from Rootsweb message boards. The following are helpful tips to prevent the removal of your DNA project postings on the Rootsweb message boards:

1. Don't list prices of the tests, the company you are using, or hyperlinks to the company. Some Rootsweb board admins view this as promoting a commercial company and will use this as grounds to remove your posting.

2. Do not post the same message to multiple boards, alter each post just a bit or tailor it for said board. Some Rootsweb board admins view same multiple posts as "spamming the boards" and use this as grounds to remove your posting.

Message boards

Post an announcement about your project on the appropriate surname message boards at Ancestry. Ancestry has a dedicated message board for the announcement of new projects. Announcements can be made about projects hosted at all testing companies.

If your surname project has a focus on the British Isles you can use the popular RootsChat message boards. There is a dedicated one-name studies board

Social media

Many ISOGG members have set up Facebook groups for their surnames. Details of how to set up a Facebook group can be found on the Facebook groups page in the Facebook help pages.

Family history societies and genealogical societies

If you belong to a family history society or genealogical society it might be possible to publish an announcement about your DNA project in the society's journal. Journal editors might even welcome an article about your DNA project or a short feature on a success story.

If you belong to the Guild of One-Name Studies make sure you set up your free Guild profile page. Further information can be found in the video "Registering a surname and publishing your Guild profile" by Tessa Keough:

Family associations

Many surnames, particularly in the US, have family associations or societies. Submit an announcement about the project to related family associations or family reunion organizations/newsletters.

Further reading


  • DNA Project Website Resources and Info Template

See also