Easy, Free, and No Commitment Required
You don't have to commit any of your time unless you want to, and there are no mandatory activities or tasks. And, of course, there's never a fee of any kind. All we ask is that you register so that you can have full access to the website, including the Assets & Archives areas and the ability to upload files. We want everyone to visit the website, but need to limit full access to those who have a genuine interest in one of the surnames involved in the Study.
When you register, the first thing you can do to actively help is complete as much of the information as you feel comfortable with, and allow us to create a Member Profile page for you. That helps family members and researchers find you, and it allows other Study members to have a reference for you.
But what if you want to do something more than just register and read?
Good news! There are many things you can do that range from five minutes every once in a while to more time given; from one-off tasks or projects to ongoing activities. We'll break them down below, and give each type of activity a separate icon so that you can identify the category of activity at a glance. Click a category below to see examples of possible activities.
- Things You Can Do On Your Own
- Things You Should Contact Us About First
- Coordinated Activities or Tasks
- Managed Projects
Note that many things you should contact us about first are actually, by definition, projects. But unlike a managed project where it's necessary to involve and coordinate with other people, these are smaller, one-person efforts. See "What Constitutes a Project within the Scope of the Study?" for more information.
- Tell relatives about the Study and mention it on social media.
The more interested researchers and family members that know of the Study, the greater the likelihood of additional participation and more new resources. And don't forget that when Family Tree DNA is not having a sale, most new DNA testing kits can be purchased at a discount via the Threlkeld DNA Project "join" page at https://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=threlkeld.
- Use your free @threlkeldfamily.org forwarding email address.
If you registered for a free address, consider using it as your registered address at sites like WikiTree, Family Tree DNA, GEDmatch.com, and others. When interested researchers see your contact information, not only will it keep your primary address private, but it will show a domain address that can be used to reach the Study website.
- Add your genealogy to WikiTree.
We use WikiTree as our collective family tree of-record repository because it is purpose-designed for genealogy collaboration, and because it has some unique tools, particularly for DNA. You add and manage your own family members and, hopefully, then connect them to the larger tree.
- Join the conversation in the Forum, our message board.
In a common and popular threaded-message, bulettin-board format, the Threlkeld Forum is our virtual conference room and chat area. Not everything is fair game, but most is. Ask for research look-up help, let others know about an interesting source you found, tell us about the irascible character in your family's past.
- Contribute family history items to our Assets & Archives area.
This is the Study's virtual library where we currently have about 2GB of files available. The most valuable items are contributed by our members: unique family materials like photographs, scanned Bible records, recordings of grandparents talking about the family: things that aren't readily available on standard research sites that need to be shared and preserved.
- Join yourself and family members to our DNA Project.
The Threlkeld DNA Project at Family Tree DNA is critical to a major objective of the Study. The Y-chromosome is tested to trace the paternal lineage to potentially many generations, back to before first arrivals in the Americas, and autosomal DNA can be used as evidence to expand the tree horizontally, to many living individuals and triangulate them as far back as 4th—and possibly 5th—great-grandparents.
- Offer ideas for projects, research, and improvements.
In the Forum, we have a category titled "Suggestions for Research, Project, or Blog Subjects" just for the purpose. What do you want more information about?
- Do lookup requests or answer questions for other researchers.
Likewise, another category in the Forum, "Requests for Research Assistance," is a place to ask for or provide look-up assistance. There are several for-fee sites for research, and few or none of us have access to all of them. Too, some frequent locations of physical records, and can provide simple research that otherwise might be out of reach.
- Help us flesh-out our earliest-ancestors reference tree.
Our resource for interactive GEDCOM archival must have a public tree in order to be visible, so what better than an effort to record the key, oldest-known family members. This will be a work-in-progress for some time. If you can actively contribute, contact us and we can see about giving you edit-level access.
- Be a guest blogger.
Something on your mind? Something somehow related to the Study, that is. And feel like being published as a guest contributor to Counting Chromosomes? Drop us a note and let us know what you want write about.
- Write an article, biography, or research piece.
See "Some Example Project Ideas," below. There are a lot of options for one-person projects. And whether it's as personal as a brief biography of your great-grandfather, or as general as a compiled index of Thrailkill U.S. 1850 census entries for a particular state or group of states, it can bring real value to the Study. Send us a Project Request (available under Contact Us when logged in).
- Help proofread the website and publications.
If you should have been an editor; if you can spot typos like they're bright blips on a radar screen; if you immediately see where argument and conclusion disconnect like the Professor of Logic and Rhetoric at the University of Glasgow, then we could use your help. You'll be notified after a new post to the primary website, and will see most articles and research papers in advance. You don't need to spend time doing rewrites: just point out errors and weaknesses.
- Help review and vet new source information or submissions.
One of our guiding principles to curate the data we collect. Some of it is of high value (Member-submitted photos, scanned Bible records, recorded interviews with family members); some of it is of known value (images of BMD certificates, census pages, land/tax records); and some of it is of unknown value (third-party genealogies, transcriptions, compiled indexes). We put the latter in a special holding area and give volunteers time weigh-in on any problems they see.
- Help manage the discussions in the Forum.
This is a by-invitation role. The Forum is open to public registration—we want any interested party to be able to contribute, even if he or she chooses not to register for the Study itself—and that means, despite best technological efforts, some 'bots and spammers can sneak through. The Forum Moderators are our sergeants-at-arms.
- Help manage the Study at WikiTree.
This is a by-invitation role. The Study's presence at WikiTree doesn't require a great deal of management per se, but our Study Managers there will be able to edit information about the Study, and to work with select profile managers (people who own profiles important to Study).
- Be a Project Manager and run a project from planning to completion.
Our projects are unlikely to ever be large and complex, and they will always be managed via online information and collaboration. But every project needs a leader, someone who has the overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closure of a project. Someone who stamps his or her name on the outcome.
- Actively participate in a working project.
In larger projects, task owners and subject matter experts working together are the only way to achieve the objective. The project manager coordinates the tasks, but the real productivity comes from the team. In early 2018 we'll prepare an online questionnaire about areas of interest and expertise. We'll notify you when that's ready.
We see constant confusion among the terms Study, Program, and Project. For example, Family Tree DNA refer to their surname studies as projects, and on WikiTree we see, for example, the U.S. History Project, the DNA Project, and an oxymoron, the One-Name Studies Project.
Founded in 1969, the non-profit Project Management Institute is the pre-eminent source for foundations and practices in project management. Their quick description of what constitutes a project clarifies the matter:
A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates that a project has a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when the project's objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists.... Temporary does not necessarily mean the duration of the project is short. It refers to the project's engagement and its longevity.Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition
The key is the time-bounded criterion. The Threlkeld One-Study is not bound by time; we will continue to add information. Researching, compiling, and publishing that information is done predominantly in many small projects where the objective, responsibility, and schedule is determined in advance.
If you have an idea for something that would improve our knowledge in any way about the Threlkeld surname or any of its variant spellings, and that idea can be stated as an objective, and the effort to achieve the objective can be time-bound with a start and end date...it can be a valid project within the scope of the Study.
This is just a quick brainstorming of possible project ideas. By no means should you feel constrained by any of them. Keep in mind that we are a global study compiling information about the Threlkeld surname and all its variant spellings. Your project objective, scope, and complexity can range from a short biography you write about one of your ancestors, to something more ambitious like an mtDNA project to trace the matrilineal line of Susannah, wife of Christopher Threlkeld III (1698-1757) to verify the hypothesis that her mother was a Penobscot Native American.
Be creative. If the subject interests you and is within the scope of the Study, you'll almost certainly get a green light to proceed, including help to arrange for resources you may need. Want to just float an idea by the Study members? Post it in the Threlkeld Forum in the category "Suggestions for Research, Projects, or Blog Topics." If it's something you can do independently and are ready, send us a Project Request (available under Contact Us when logged in).
The examples below are just that: examples only. Create something that interests you.
- Compile an index of census entries for a particular timeframe and/or location.
- Compile an index of travel and immigration related records for a particular timeframe and/or region.
- Create a map of the movements over time of your own family line (e.g., tracing places of BMD and residence).
- Do an occupational survey of a particular family line or region (e.g., referencing census, trade guild, or other records to compile an overview of occupations).
- Publish a family group sheet or Ahnentafel report for your own family line (despite WikiTree and other genealogy tools, there is always value in compiling your own reports).
- Write a narrative family history of a branch of your family.
- Write a short biography of an individual or family in your line.
- Write an article germane to the subject (e.g., speculation to explore a brick wall; examination of a controversial element from family history; the history of a particular family around a certain event, like the U.S. Civil War...also note that subjects of your articles might also be of interest to genealogical society publications).
- Create a family digital photo album.
- Do an exploration of a particular location—might be a region, township, or even as specific as a particular house or property—as related to your surname.
- Write a travel article; for example, a visit to England's Lake District is always worth the trip, and any relevant piece with photos is always welcomed.
- Different types of DNA-centric projects are possible (please note that privacy considerations must be always in mind):
- An autosomal DNA triangulation project linking multiple cousins along family branches to their Most Recent Common Ancestors
- An mtDNA project to trace the matrilineal line of an early Threlkeld daughter
- A yDNA project to recruit direct-line male descendants in your family to verify the paternal ancestry and determine the modal haplotype
- A yDNA project to prove an hypothesis, e.g., John Thrailkill was a descendant of Henry Threlkeld, but his spelling of the surname changed
- An autosomal DNA triangulation project linking multiple cousins along family branches to their Most Recent Common Ancestors
- Write a population or demographics paper, e.g., the densities by city of Threlkeld, Thrailkill, and Thurlkill households in available post-WWII public directories in Kentucky; or the locations and frequencies of Threlkeld and variant spellings in the England censuses of 1881, 1891, and 1901.
As you can see, there are a myriad of possibilities for projects that would prove valuable to the Study. And everything we add to the body of knowledge enriches the lives of everyone who descends from this ancient surname.