Friday, December 18, 2020

How to Join the Ackley Surname Project at FTDNA

I've gotten a pretty strong response to the last post, "A Report on the Status of the Ackley Surname Project Y-DNA Testing", both from current project members (two of you have purchased Big Y tests -- Yay!) as well as people who want to know if they can join the project, so I thought I would do a quick follow-up post.

Who Can Join the Project?

The primary purpose of any surname project at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is to provide a platform for men with a common surname to do Y-DNA tests and then share the data within the group to analyze relationships and provide insights. The ultimate goal is to provide information to project members that will help them with their genealogy. Many surname projects restrict membership to only men with the surname of interest who have done some type of Y-DNA test. We do not have that restriction in the Ackley Surname Project -- there are non-Ackley men and women in the project who have Ackley ancestors and have done autosomal DNA tests. However, most of the tools available to project administrators center around Y-DNA testing, so that is the main focus of the recruiting we have been doing and will continue to be. As such, men with the Ackley surname would be the most likely people to join the project. 

The person who will benefit most from joining the project at this point is a male with the Ackley surname, or a female who has Ackley males in her family that she can test, who knows something about their genealogy but may not know which Ackley family group they belong to and would like to try to find out more. We have identified two groups of Ackleys in the project so far: descendants of Nicholas Ackley (the majority of project members), and descendants of Johan Hendrick Eckler who changed their surname to Ackley (see this post for more information on this line). If you are a male with the Ackley surname and have no idea about your ancestry, joining the project and taking a test could connect you to one of the existing groups or establish a new Ackley family group that has not yet tested. We would love to have you!

If you know you are related to one of these groups and you already know how, you probably won't learn much new information by joining the project and doing a Y-DNA test. However, we would still love to have you join the project if you are interested in taking a test and adding to our data. The more data we have, the better able we will be to help members with their genealogy.

Will the Project Pay for my Test?

At this time, the project does not have any funds to pay for testing. Earlier this year we had received some donations and used them to run a small recruiting drive, but we have used up those funds for now. If we receive more donations, we may have another concerted recruiting effort in the future. You can always pay for your own test and join the project.

How Much Does a Y-DNA Test Cost?

FTDNA is currently running a holiday sale on DNA tests. The "entry-level" Y-37 test is on sale for $99 (regular price is $129), the more advanced Y-111 test is on sale for $199 (regular price is $249), and the most advanced Big Y-700 test is on sale for $379 (regular price is $449). Could be a good Christmas present for somebody! A link to the ordering page is below in the Link of the Day.

What Test Should I Take?

The test you take depends on what you already know about your genealogy, what your goals are, and how much you are willing to invest. If you don't know much and want to find out more, a Y-37 test will get you in the door and will establish which Ackley family group mentioned above you belong to (or establish a new group). If you already know a lot, are interested in adding to the group's knowledge, and your budget can handle it, a Big Y-700 test might be right for you. If you know a lot but aren't sure you want to spend a lot of money on testing just yet, you could do a Y-37 test to start out and then upgrade to a Big Y later on. Upgrading from a Y-37 to a Big Y does not cost full price; the sale price for that upgrade right now is $319.

How Do I Join the Project?

If you buy a test, you will establish an account at FTDNA, and the top of your home page will look something like this:

To join a project, hover over the "myPROJECTS" link at the top of the page and click on "Join A Project". That will take you to a page that looks like this:

You may or may not have a list of suggested projects to join like this shows; if you do you can click on the Ackley project if it shows up in your list and you will end up at the page below. If not, click on the "A" under the "SURNAME PROJECTS" section. From there, you will see a list of surname projects that start with the letter "A"; scroll down to Ackley and click on it and you will end up at the page below:

Click on the orange "Join" button and you are in.

Hope this answers any questions you may have about joining the Ackley Surname Project. If there are other questions, please post them in the comments section and I'll answer them as soon as I can.

Link of the Day

Here is a link to the order page at FTDNA:

The Y DNA products are on the lower left.

Quote of the Day

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

– Helen Keller

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