Guest Blogger

Hello all,

Debbie Kennett over at wrote a great piece on her U4 mtDNA results. I asked her if I could repost it here, and she graciously agreed.

Thanks Debbie!

My mtDNA Results

I've now received my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test results from Family Tree DNA. Somewhat surprisingly my maternal line belongs to haplogroup U4, a small Indo-European haplogroup which seems to be quite rare. The haplogroup is found in only 1.63% of the population of England and Wales. The highest frequencies of U4 are found in southern Siberia, and it is also found in Eastern Europe, the Urals, in some German-speaking populations and in a few lineages in India.Brian Sykes gives names to the seven main European mitochondrial haplogroups in his book The Seven Daughters of Eve. All the women in Europe can supposedly trace their genetic ancestry back to one of these seven women. Haplogroup U4 is not one of Sykes's original clan mothers but is a sub-clade or sub-branch of haplogroup U, otherwise known as Ursula. "Ursula" lived around 45,000 years ago. "Ulrike" is of more recent origin and lived around 18,000 years ago. Sykes describes Ulrike thus:

The clan of Ulrike (German for Mistress of All) is
not among the original "Seven Daughters of Eve" clans, but with just under 2% of
Europeans among its members, it has a claim to being included among the
numerically important clans. Ulrike lived about 18,000 years ago in the cold
refuges of the Ukraine at the northern limits of human habitation. Though
Ulrike's descendants are nowhere common, the clan is found today mainly in the
east and north of Europe with particularly high concentrations in Scandinavia
and the Baltic states.

I have so far been able to trace my direct maternal line back to Mary Ann Butler, the daughter of James Butler, a labourer. Mary Ann was born in Purton, Wiltshire, in around 1815. She married Moses Ball in 1842 in Walcot, Somerset. Moses and Mary Ann had six children who were born in Sherston, Wiltshire, and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. My maternal line continues with their daughter Hannah Ball, who moved to London and married William Saunders, a coachman and stage coach driver, on 16th June 1872 at the Parish Church of St Marks in North Audley Street. The other names in the later generations of my maternal line are Tidbury, Rattey and of course Cruwys.Mutations occur much less frequently in mitochondrial DNA and the tests are therefore not so useful as the Y-DNA test which we are using for the Cruwys DNA Project. Most people who take the mtDNA test have large numbers of matches in the various databases. Not surprisingly, with my rare U4 haplotype, I do not have a single match in the Family Tree DNA database. I have also uploaded my results to Mitosearch, the public mtDNA database sponsored by Family Tree DNA, but again I do not have any matches. It is also possible to search the Mitosearch database by haplogroup. There are only 472 people in the whole world with my haplogroup in the database at present.I regard the mtDNA test as an investment for the future. My grandmother was an only child and my great-grandmother was the only daughter in her family. My sister and I have both had sons so our direct maternal line is now at an end. Sons do of course inherit mtDNA from their mother but they cannot pass it on to the next generation. My mtDNA results will have more value as more people in the UK get tested and once I start to make further progress with my research into my maternal line in Wiltshire. With a rare haplogroup it should also be much easier to verify my maternal line.

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