Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to mother to mother, for hundreds and thousands of years, for the most part unchanged from generation to generation.
My mtDNA is essentially the same as my mother’s. Hers is the same as her mother’s. And on, and on, and on…back thousands of years.
But, somewhere along the line, a mutation can occur, and a new branch of the mitochondrial tree is formed. This change of mtDNA is used to trace our ancestors back in time, to find out their migration routes and origins.
My particular mtDNA haplogroup, or branch of the tree, is H16. A haplogroup is the people who descend from a particular person in time, in which a mutation occurred, who now carry that same genetic marker.
This is from the 23 and Me website, explaining my H16 haplogroup:
Origin and Migrations of Haplogroup H16
Your maternal line stems from haplogroup H16, a relatively young group that traces back to a woman who lived approximately 6,000 years ago in the south or southeast of Europe. She lived near the beginning of the Neolithic, a period of cultural and technological revolution when the first farmers began to migrate west from the Middle East. As farming technology spread, European populations boomed, and members of H16 expanded west across the continent.
Today, members of H16 are found distributed throughout Europe. Though the group is widespread geographically, it is a rare subgroup of H, with an average frequency of approximately 1% across Europe.
And, now, what does this have to do with this week’s prompt?
I think it’s just rather amazing that a wee bit of me is exactly the same as a wee bit in my mother, and my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, and my great-great-grandmother… all the way back to ~4000BC.
In light of that, I thought I’d try to trace my maternal line as back as far as I could, within the restrictions of getting this posted in a timely fashion. And, making dinner, doing the laundry, completing the random projects around the house in various states of completeness, etc., etc., etc.
So, beginning with my mother, Bula Helen Wells:
Bula’s mother, my grandmother, Vida Bula Gard Wells:
Vida’s mother, my great-grandmother, Eva M. Kesterson Gard:
Eva’s mother, my 2x great grandmother, Sarah Ann Kendall Kesterson:
Sarah’s mother, my 3x great grandmother, Alice Jane Crew Kendall.
And, unfortunately, that is where my little quest ends. For now. I have grabbed the low-hanging fruit from this tree, and without more time for research, it will have to do.
I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day, either as a mother or as someone who has a mother. Which pretty much covers us all!
‘Til next time.