Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My DNA Journey - MtDNA Results

I am interested in the science of genealogy research – I’m not sure I understand it as well as I should but I am certainly interested enough to dip my toe in the waters.  Earlier this summer, they had a special running on Family Tree DNA for a 12 marker MtDNA test which tests the maternal lines of an individual.  I must say that the results were surprising.

My maternal line goes thus:
  • Carmen Maria Johnson
  • Betty Jean Tannahill
  • Capitola Esther Friddle
  • Sophia Vestelle Dollar b. TN
  • Buena Vista Bailey b. NC
  • Mary Marguerite Church b. NC
  • Asinith Jencie McCall b. NC

I can take it no further.  I believe that the nationalities that are associated with these lines are Scottish, German, and Irish and it really doesn’t go any further back than 1800 in North Carolina.  Understanding that these maternal lines go back much further and in fact go back thousands of years, it seems a poor listing of my maternal lines.  I must admit from experience that they can be very difficult to research – sometimes you have to just get lucky because you can’t find any other documentation that lists anything other than a woman’s married name.   Several years ago, I watched a documentary on National Geographic channel called “The Seven Daughters of Eve” which discussed the maternal lines that have emerged from the genetic testing that has been done.  It was based on a book by Bryan Sykes published in 2001 called The Seven Daughters of Eve. Now I want to go back and see it again – because now I have an idea which of the “Seven Daughters of Eve” is a matriarchal ancestor.

So, I just recently received my testing results and find out that I am from Haplogroup T2 and my ancestral matriarch is “Tara”  So…what does this tell me?  Someone from Haplogroup T has a European lineage and has an origin in the near east greater than 45,000 years ago.  In fact, according to what I read, my Haplogroup of T2 is considered to be one of the older lineages that may have been present in Europe and probably dated from the “Late Upper Paleolithic”…. translation – Late Stone Age.  So, my ancestors were probably cave dwellers who might have lived in Europe between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago.  According to what I found, about 10% of European ancestry traces their maternal lineage back to Haplogroup T.  According to the theory of Brian Sykes, my ancestral matriarch – “Tara lived about 17,000 years ago in the northwest of Italy among the hills of Tuscany and along the estuary of the river Arno.” 
Now, I am not quite sure that I know what this all means.  I know that they want me to do more testing, so I can go deeper into what branch or sub clade that I come from.  As I understand it, further testing has determined that there were most likely “additional daughters” that would definitely increase the number from seven.  When I go on the DNA website, the only matches that currently show up for my Haplogroup of T2 come from England, Ireland and the United States with the most being in Ireland. 

There are some generalities that I read that actually quite interesting.  The T Haplogroup is currently found in high concentration around the eastern Baltic Sea.  Wikipedia listed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to be part of T2 which would also include most of the royal lines of Europe, because not only was his grandmother Victoria the ancestor of most of the European royalty she was also a descendant.  Jesse James was also said to be part of T2.  So…evidently I have royal cousins and criminals as distant relatives.  That sounds about right.

I suppose that I am going to have to find the money to do some further testing.  I am curious what it might tell me.  So, now I know my ethnic heritage (My DNA Journey - The Results) and now I am curious to dig a little deeper into that heritage to find out more about deep genetic roots that I would never find through documentary research.  All I can say is that I have a lot to learn!