Re: Protocol Advice Sought #dna
I have e-mailed potential friends and relatives (i.e., strangers) many
times and have had some success in piquing their curiosity and
interest enough for them to order a DNA kit and "join" our family. I
introduce myself in a friendly, factual and respectful way. Then I
tell them a bit about myself and my family research (short, to the
point, and including a positive finding through DNA, or hopes of one).
I explain what they can learn >from DNA, again, short, to the point.
I also tell them that regardless of whether they decide to participate
in the genetic genealogy research, I would still be interested in
comparing our family histories to see if we might be related. And I
add that I'd be happy to answer any questions they might have about my
ancestry or DNA testing for genealogical purposes.
If they respond to me, we exchange e-mails, share family research info
as I would have before I ever knew about DNA testing for genealogical
purposes. As I get to know them and we develop some trust between
each other, I give them more DNA info, including a link to the Family
Tree DNA website www.familytreedna.com or the JewishGen Genealogy
by Genetics website
http://www.jewishgen.org/DNA/genbygen.html if appropriate.
Sometimes I can give them all the DNA testing info on my second e-mail
to them, and sometimes it takes many more e-mails- it all depends on
their responses; I follow their lead. Don't forget to tell them that
FTDNA has a discounted price if you order a test kit through a
project; there are surname or geographic projects that are appropriate
I follow up with them, answer all their questions or if I can't, I
refer them to someone who can. I continue to follow up with them
after they have ordered the kit and received the results. Usually
they will e-mail me to ask what their results mean, and I take time to
explain them. If it turns out that they do not match our family, I
connect them with other surname, geographic and/or haplogroup projects
so they can learn more about their own ancestry. In some instances if
they are very interested and want to order a DNA kit but can't afford
it, I will pay for the kit myself.
I think "nurturing" would be the correct word to use in how I
introduce people to the concept of DNA testing for genealogy. It
isn't magical, it's another tool in the kit, and I help them
understand what they can and can't learn >from it and get used to the
idea that many genealogists are using it. I'm open and honest, and
follow their lead in terms of how much or how little information to
provide. I fight the temptation to say "I'll be over at your house in
an hour with the DNA kit in hand." :) I used to assusme everyone
will be worried about confidentiality and privacy, so I started with
the statement about how carefully FTDNA protects their privacy. But
after a while, I realized that I was more concerned about this than
most of the people I was recruiting, and I stopped mentioning it up
front unless they specifically asked about it.
I hope this helps.
Stony Brook, NY
On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 7:29 AM, Robert Leiser