Now that the New Year is upon us, I have an update and a special request from the Harrell DNA project. I know this is a lengthy post, and ask that you take the time to read it if you can.
If you visit the project website (www.harrelldna.com), you will see that the project has had a slow but steady start since it began in August of 2003. We already have some great results. In fact, the first results that came in were surprisingly rewarding, helping a participant to trace his line to a new U.S. state and to destroy a huge roadblock that had stumped him for a long time in his genealogy research.
I am very happy to report that we have also received a lot of interest from Harrell women who are interested in sending in a test from their father, brother, or uncle. You see, even though I wish that there was a way that women could participate directly (i.e. submit their own sample), the nature of the test makes this impossible. However, since well over half of genealogists are women, you can see that women will be still be pivotal in the success of this project!
Therefore, in an ironic yet satisfying twist of fate, women are ***THE most important participants the project has***! You see, women may not have any Harrell brothers who have continued their father's paternal line. Thus without their interest and participation, at some point in the future, their Harrell relatives will pass away. Since their Y-chromosome will no longer exist, it will be impossible for them or the project to ever know about the Y-DNA that their relative carried.
Women can be every bit as active in the project as men, and I encourage everyone to join in and participate. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions whatsoever on which relatives of yours can send in a test.
I know that cost is a factor for many people, and I just want everyone to know that their relative can be tested at the group rate we receive from FTDNA of $99, and you don't have to send in any further samples for future testing- the DNA is preserved even if the person passes away. Also, only one person from your entire line needs to be tested! Many families are easily pooling their money and sending in just one person's sample (Preferably a sample from the eldest male Harrell, but any male Harrell sample is perfectly fine). How much have we all spent in the last few years on our genealogy research? I don't dare add that up for myself! Ask yourself if $10 per month over the next year is worth possibly getting over that roadblock, or helping many others do the same.
In addition, you can see from the website that confidentiality is of utmost importance, and participants are only identified by their ID code and their early ancestors. In addition, the DNA is securely stored and by law will only be tested for genealogical purposes and only with your permission. Also, the test involves a painless cheek swab, and is finished in minutes.
The Harrell DNA project will go on for years and years to come, and so we are in no hurry to find the answers, as we know that the answers will come. We do need to make sure, though, that information is not lost forever- we need to test those Harrells we know of that are the last of their line. The testing becomes ever more urgent if these individuals are elderly or are in poor health. And so I am making a special request, from genealogist to genealogist- please check to see if your male Harrell relative may be the last of his line. If so, please do your best to send in a test from him as quickly as possible. You may be saving information otherwise lost forever, and you may one day find that this test is the only thing allowing you to break a roadblock in your own research.
I wish everyone a wonderful year in 2004, and will update the board again periodically as more discoveries are made.