Thursday, January 15, 2009

About your TAYLOR team administrators

As a person interested in the Taylor DNA project, you may have wondered about the history of the project itself and about who the volunteer administrators are and what brought them to the project. I plan to introduce each member in a series of articles. The TAYLOR DNA project has grown from a handful of participants to our present count of a couple of hundred members. At the beginning, there was no structure for the site nor well-defined jobs for the administrator. Everything was evolving. Expanding membership brought its own challenges and demands on the volunteers' "free" time. So some administrators stepped down and others volunteered.

Since TAYLOR is such a popular surname, we expect the project to continually expand its membership. [The more people tested the better chances we have to match someone else.] We have a system that works now, but when this project goes through its next major growth, say to get to a thousand members (!), we will be again working hard to have systems that allow the data to be most easily sorted and arranged in ways that facilitate the users getting the information they want and need.

So for our first article I find no better place to start than with the head of this team of volunteers, Dr. Leigh Taylor. Soon after the Taylor project was begun the first administrator called for more volunteers to assist. Leigh answered that call and has been involved with the project ever since.

In addition to her own personal genealogical research, Leigh's background includes research techniques, statistics and computer science as well as education.

Through Girl Scouting Leigh became interested in people from different cultures and countries. Her parents and maternal grandmother studied and spoke different foreign languages. So she became interested in her own ancestry. Before the days of internet-searching and DNA testing she gathered information from family members and the US Federal census. Luckily her Taylor family stayed put in Ohio for generations but once she found her great-great-great-grand-father b. 1759 in VA, census data would not help. She found several third cousins through searches on various genealogical websites and the DNA testing proved their paper trails to be correct but they were all stuck at this same brick wall. Through DNA testing, they were successful in matching with another Taylor member whose ancestor came to America from England in the 1600's. Now they are all working on this 100 year gap to find their common ancestor. The DNA test also disproved the family legend of kinship to President Zachary Taylor.

On the non-Taylor side of her family, Leigh has also had a cousin's DNA tested. He matched 3 other people with 100% match on 67 markers. So they too are trying to find the actual common ancestor but with the certainty they are related.

Next article, I will take up the story of the blog and of Dr. Leigh Taylor in my next post. One hint, she has recently published a genealogy book that is available from

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