What's that thing in the header?
We're talking about that spiral green and brown thing in the top left corner of the page. Well, we have to have some color and pictures for “visual interest”! Back when we first started the project, we had a rather crude website at one of those free hosting places. In searching the web for information about DNA I stumbled upon a site where Paul Thiessen, an organic chemist and software developer was selling posters and T-shirts of wonderful graphics he had created. I particularly liked one of them and got his permission to use it, modified, in return for a link back to his site. His site is still there but the link to buy a poster of the image doesn't work any more, but we continue to use his graphic. Now you know.
What's “Project Administrator” Mean?
We actually have three "project administrators": Brad Hadley, Jim Hadley, and John Hadley. Brad and Jim are descended from George Hadley of Ipswich, MA (16xx-1686) and have focused mostly on his descendants, although they are finding that the connections are more complicated than originally thought. John Hadley is President of the “Hadley Society”. His focus is mostly on the descendants of Simon Hadley, who came to the Americas from Ireland. The Hadley Society has always been open to all Hadleys, and variations on the name, so he has worked with Brad and Jim on several issues even before the DNA Project got started.
As per rules set up by FamilyTreeDNA, each surname project must have at least one administrator to “coordinate activity” for the project. They don't actually ask or demand much of us. Occasionally they will ask us to pass on some information that is particularly important, such as when they changed their numbering of the markers to match a new industry standard. Other than the initial setup work, such as the very minimal web page at FamilyTreeDNA's site, we don't really have to do much of anything.
So everything else is voluntary: our own website, the customized results table, the occasional email to all participants, communication among participants. All on our own.
But administrators can do some things. At the moment, only Brad has access to these. We could change it so Jim and John could too, but they prefer not to. (Hmmm!). If Brad drops dead, vanishes mysteriously, or runs away, or something, Jim and/or John can contact FamilyTreeDNA and they will give them what they need.
The main thing that administrators can do is access a special section of the FamilyTreeDNA website called GAP (Group Administrator's Page). From this page, the administrator can see, but not change, most of the participant information. This includes contact information, status of tests at the lab, the detailed results, and each participant's results page. One of the conditions of being an administrator is that you promise to keep the information private. The most common use of this capability is to check for new matches and encourage the matched people to get together. When FamilyTreeDNA first started, the emails for matches weren't automatically shown on everybody's matches list, so until this was changed a few years ago, administrators spent a lot of time emailing people to get permission to show the other matches their emails.
The GAP pages also give administrators tools such as the “bulk email” tool that lets us send a message to everybody in the project without blowing up our own email systems or exposing everybody's email addresses. If you have never gotten such an email, you likely have one of the boxes checked that says to never send you such things. We strongly suggest that you don't block these; we try not to send messages too often. This is different from emails directly from FamilyTreeDNA about your results, special offers, or news, which is a different set of boxes in your profile.
So there isn't a lot of power or responsibility for group administrators. Oh, and we are certainly not compensated by FamilyTreeDNA or anybody else. We do it to promote research on the surnames included in the project. A win-win situation.
Help save our ancestors' gravestones
Gravestones are a great resource for family history research. Unfortunately they are disappearing at an alarming, and increasing, rate. Normal deterioration is destroying the older stones. Increased acid in rain is accelerating this. There is also vandalism, unfortunately. Whatever the cause and speed, gravestones are disappearing. Do you want them to be there for future generations? There are two things that you can do to help.
First, help photograph and document the gravestones of your ancestors and others with your surname. We recommend putting your information on Find-a-Grave. Find-a-Grave is a non-profit organization that has helped researchers create a huge database of gravestone information. There is no charge to add information, but you must register. Just click on “Join Now” at the top right of the home page.
Once you register you can add an entry, called a “memorial”, that includes names, dates, and photographs. You can also link memorials for family members. There are 11,360 records for Hadley; 4,247 for Headley, 578 for Hedley, and 3,237 for Hatley today. Note that when you search, it looks for exact matches, so Hadley and Hadly gives you two different lists.
There is some, but not much, advertising on the memorials unless you “sponsor” the memorial. When you sponsor a memorial, for $5 (USD), no advertising shows up on that memorial ever.
There is a lot of HELP information and guidance at the site.
The second thing you can do is help clean up and maintain cemeteries. Many organizations have organized “clean up” days. Or you can just go to a cemetery and tidy. However, be careful not to do anything to the stones unless you clearly understand what you are doing, or are supervised by someone who does. Many well-meaning people have damaged stones trying to clean them, take rubbings, etc. If you aren't certain, talk with the cemetery administrator or contact the local historical society for guidance.