Which Projects?

How do projects work?

The projects within FTDNA can be very useful to understand more of one’s results, and to get help with questions. The projects are run by unpaid volunteers, and many spend much of their available time helping genealogists who use DNA-tests in their research.

The projects function both as a service to the testers, and as a database of results. By joining the right projects you contribute to everyone’s knowledge, and you can follow the development as new information is found.
FTDNA my projects

Projects collecting Y-DNA and/or mtDNA present their results to the public like this:

The lists show kit number, information about the earliest known ancestors, and your numbers/results. They do not reveal who you are.

Note that some projects show members’ current surnames. It is part of the project settings chosen by the administrators, and you can contact them to request the surnames to be hidden in the public lists. The Norway DNA project does not reveal current surnames, only Most Distant Ancestors, to ensure members’ privacy.

There are no limits to how many projects you can join. Independent of project membership, you will get matches with anyone tested by FTDNA. You might however consider that as a project member you give project administrators access to your information. Members of an irrelevant project will typically be placed under a category called “Other” or similar, so there is no real contribution to the public lists or the project goals.

It seems many people are members of the “wrong” projects, and not those that are most relevant for them. Join the best geographical projects, and very important: the relevant haplogroup projects, to learn more about your haplogroup and subclade.

What is a well run project?

  • informative webpage with links to more information
  • practical boundaries and framework for the project
  • no large number of unsorted tests
  • haplogroup projects show the SNP-results for their members
  • several administrators who collaborate
  • sensible and good categories for Y- and mtDNA


The Norway DNA Project

Everyone with known Norwegian ancestry or living in Norway should be members of our common Norwegian DNA project.

By joining you contribute to our common understanding of the Norwegian haplogroup distribution. Our statistics only show members, so it is important for us to recruit as many known and documented Norwegian lines represented as possible.

With project membership it gets easier to work together to verify direct paternal and maternal lines. Out public lists of Y-DNA and mtDNA are both important sources for Norwegian genealogy. The Norway DNA Project is thus a dugnad for Norwegian genealogists to gather information about as many Norwegian direct paternal and maternal lines as possible.

The project administrators can also be of assistance with interpretation of results and tips of further genealogy research and test types that can be useful as a next step.

Read more about Norway DNA, our goals and why you should join.

Haplogroup projects

For both Y-haplogroups and mt-haplogroups there are a large number of projects, and we strongly recommend joining those that are most relevant for your results.

Remember to visit the project pages regularly to check which category your kit is sorted under. This is informative as of which subclade you belong to and which further SNPs might be of interest.

Y-DNA projects


The match list for Y-DNA does not always contain information on haplogroup or last tested “terminal” SNP. Only actual tested SNPs also listed in the “official” FTDNA-tree  are atomatically added here; matches where there are no haplogroup or SNPs have just not tested any of these. This is one of the reasons why Y-haplogroup projects are so important, to enable people checking the open Y-result lists for which tests are sorted in the same category with the same subclade and SNPs, tested and predicted.

Geographical distribution of a haplogroup is also best illustrated through the results lists for the large haplogroup projects.

Surname projects

Surname projects are created to follow Y-DNA-lines through direct paternal lines (from father to son) in families with hereditary surnames since the 1100-1400s, which is the case for most British and Anglo-American families.

The condition for this method is that the name has been inherited unchanged through direct male lines through the centuries, through men only: Patrilineal Surnames.

The Y-chromosome + old, inherited, patrilineal surnames = surname project for Y-DNA

This is not the case for Scandinavian family last names.

For Norwegians (and Swedes, Danes and Icelanders) who have not had inherited surnames, surname projects are largely irrelevant.

Scandinavians with last names ending in -son or -sen do not have these name as “true surnames” through hundreds of years, but as a frozen patronymic just recently adopted as a family last name.

“Surname projects” for patronyms like Olsen are useless, since the name has only been used as a family name for a few generations. Scandinavians with last name Olsson or Olsen are not related or descendants from the same family. Instead it means that they had an ancestor whose given name was Ole or Ola, and that the family started to use the patronymic Olsen/Olson as a new hereditary last name, sometime between 1800-1923 or on emigration to America. The same goes for other Scandinavian frozen patronymic last names.

Read more about why projects for Scandinavian Patronymic last names are not useful.

There are a few old surnames used in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and there are surname projects for the following ones:

These are mainly aimed at men with tested Y-DNA and a direct male line to the surname.

Projects for ethnic groups and various subgroups

The Forest Finn DNA project collaborates with both Norway DNA, Finland DNA and Sweden DNA.

Ethnic projects

Geographical projects for our neighbour countries

There are a lot more.

Privacy Concerns and Projects

Projects exist for community contribution to knowledge, through sharing haplogroup information and origins with other testers and genealogists.

When joining projects you share the following information.

The public gets access to:

  • Y-haplogroup and results for earliest known ancestor and kit number
  • mt-haplogroup for earliest known ancestor and kit number

Project administrators get access to:

  • contact data
  • matching lists

Only the account owner will have access to:

  • raw data for Big Y (download)
  • raw data for mtDNA and Coding Region
  • raw data for Family Finder autosomal test

Independent of project membership, your matches always have access to:

  • earliest known ancestor
  • haplogroup and SNPs
  • your full name and email address


Comments are closed.