Genealogy

Word to your mother (and her mother, and her mother)

If you are into genealogy and thinking about genetic testing, please consider taking a mitochondrial DNA test.  It’s overlooked by genealogists as a tool to trace their maternal ancestry.  It is also a great way to help others!  I Someone might be desperately researching their maternal line and need a hand.  The regular price for the mtDNA Plus kit is $69.  I am considering buying one for someone who can show me they are also descended from Sarah Evans (married to William Brummet) through a direct female line.  

This awesome new blog by a Family Tree DNA employee tells it well:

“Also technically speaking, mtDNA is the black sheep of genetic genealogy. It’s sort of like that friend you had when you were a kid that you didn’t really like but kept around because their parents had a lot of money. mtDNA is important, but not necessarily fun.

Now here’s the part where I advocate for mtDNA testing after such a supportive prologue. In all honesty, it’s sometimes necessary. Do you want to confirm your deep, direct maternal line Native American ancestry? Autosomal DNA can’t help, as it only deals with recent ancestry (we’ll get into autosomal testing soon). mtDNA testing is the only test that can possibly help in this quest if, say, your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was Native American and inherited that from her mother. Do you want to confirm a relationship with another individual with whom you share direct maternal ancestry, and the other individual doesn’t have autosomal DNA results? mtDNA is the way to go. Would you like a rough idea of likely recent maternal countries of origin? mtDNA is your test! Are you a masochist that thrives off of pain, sweat, and sleeplessness derived from genealogical brick walls and want a test as anger fuel? mtDNA is the only way to go.” Jeremy Balkin, Breaking Genetics

Also, if you are a customer with 23andMe, please respond to messages!  Even if you don’t know what the person is talking about, just tell the inquirer so.

I actually sent a message to the last V7 match two years ago, I just also sent him a more recent message 6 months ago. None of these matches have responded.
I actually sent a message to the last V7 match two years ago, I just also sent him a more recent message 6 months ago. None of these matches have responded.
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4 thoughts on “Word to your mother (and her mother, and her mother)”

  1. Hi. There’s a lot of passionate energy in this description but I don’t know anything on this topic so the phrase “….Are you a masochist that thrives off of pain, sweat, and sleeplessness derived from genealogical brick walls and want a test as anger fuel? mtDNA is the only way to go.” doesn’t have any impact on me. Can you explain this in very simple terms for those who know nothing about this kind of test?

    1. Hi Emily Ann, some people think the mitochondrial DNA test isn’t genealogically useful because mitochondrial DNA has a slow rate of mutation (hundreds of years) and therefore a LOT of people can have the same mitochondrial DNA but be related sooooo far back it would “not matter”. I think it is useful because some of us have rare (at least so far) mitochondrial DNA so if we had a match at the most generic level that could be groundbreaking for my research.

      1. Thanks. I don’t think there is ever a connection that “doesn’t matter”! Hope it helps you in your research. I have some North African DNA, about 2% but I’d love to know about that. It must go far back but considering my paternal line is from Southern Spain and Sicily , the connection to North Africa makes sense.

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