Rapid Growth in Project Leads to Results
Several years ago, Mark MacDonald started the Clan Donald DNA project for those with Clan Donald surnames such as MacDonald, McDonald, McDaniel, and McConnell, as well as other men who could trace their male lines to Clan Donald lands. Later Doug McDonald joined the project as co-administrator and took responsibility for maintaining the project website.
Yesterday Doug McDonald posted results for the 500th man added to the Clan Donald DNA project tables. I believe that this makes the Clan Donald DNA project the first surname project to reach this milestone. The project has been around for some time, and the recent growth of the project has been extremely rapid. I started to write down numbers in June. On June 8, there were results for just 434 men on the project tables, so the project has grown 16% in less than 4 months. Favorable press coverage of DNA genealogy earlier this year has contributed to the success of the project, but the sustained commitment of Mark MacDonald and Doug McDonald to the project made this possible.
Last year, the project website was revamped and the project results were made public. This resulted in extremely rapid growth in the project, and Doug has updated the project database many times over the last year. During the last couple of weeks, Doug has again revised the website to reflect the recent growth. Addition of results for new project members to the tables is just a part of this revision. From time to time, I have seen that Doug has reclassified men on the tables, i.e., he has been able to move them from one category to another. Generally the newer category is a smaller, more closely related group than the category to which the man was previously assigned. Last week he was able to do this for a large number of men in the project.
The relationship trees have also been updated and there is a lot of change in their branch structure. Many of us have some of the same closest neighbors on the trees as we did before, along with new neighbors who joined the project more recently. However, there are some people whose positions on the new tree relative to many of their old neighbors have changed substantially. For instance, on the old R1b 37 marker tree, D. E. McConnell and J. L. McConnell were on the same branch. On the new tree, they are far apart, and D. E.'s closest McConnell neighbors are C. W., R. H., and M. F. McConnell. The branch for the Green group related to Niall of the Nine Hostages has also shifted substantially. There are trees for 25, 37, and 67 markers, and those of you who are already in the project with results for 25 or more markers will want to find yourselves on the new trees.
For me the changes in the trees and the classifications into subgroups are a clear sign that the growth of the project is leading to an increased understanding of the relatedness of project members. This process will continue as more men join the project. Kit counts for the Clan Donald project and some of the surname variants associated with it indicate that this rapid growth is continuing, accelerating the growth of the project.
Thanks go to Doug and Mark, whose hard work and dedication have made the success of this project possible. You can explore the project website at http://dna-project.clan-donald-usa.org/DNAmain.htm
For those who are unfamiliar with Y chromosome DNA genealogy and would like to learn more, the Clan Donald project website is very helpful and also has links to many other informative websites on the subject. For some posts related specifically to the Clan Donald DNA project, you can look on the McConnell board for posts that I have made about the project this year.