A Fun Project

Last week I received an email (along with about 20 other people) saying that I was a zero-distance mt-DNA match to an individual named Bonnie White. Each of us had tested on both the high variability regions with Family Tree DNA, and providing four generations of a maternal line. Each of the recipients were invited to share their maternal lines to see if we might come across a common name or location. According to Family Tree, about 50% of people with this type of match share a common ancestor in the last 5 generations. (Of course, that also means that for half the people, the connection is further back, perhaps quite a bit further.)

Before I had decided if I would do anything about the post, I started receiving replies where the sender must have clicked on the reply-to-all rather than the reply button. And before I knew it, looking at these strangers’ lists of maternal ancestors, I was hooked.

I started a new private tree on Ancestor, and put in my own maternal line, the line included in the original email, and the lines from the emails I had been copied on. No clear or obvious connections, but a very different type of genealogy than I normally did.

Also, I responded to the original email with my maternal line, as well as an offer to collate the information received, put it in an usable format, and distribute it when done. If she didn’t comment on it, I would move on to other things. After all, I didn’t have any matches I could see.

But I did get a reply, welcoming the offer of help… and a copy of the relevant correspondence.

I didn’t get to work much on the project last week—I was going back and forth to Houston, and spending time at M D Anderson to be with someone receiving treatment. However, over the weekend, I was at home, and got to do a bit more work and organizing.

Last night, I sent each of the people involved an invitation to the tree on Ancestry, as long as an excel spreadsheet that showed the information we had collected.

Here is what we have:

  • A cluster of individuals, with a common ancestor, who live in New Zealand and Australia;
  • A cluster of individuals, with a common ancestor, who lived in the USA;
  • Nine family lines, with no clear connections, in four different nations;
  • Eleven individuals who we haven’t been able to connect;
  • Two individuals who match the group on MitoSearch.org, but not on Family Tree;
  • Three different maternal lines going back to England.

Three of the invitations to the new tree I created have been accepted, and I’ve received one thank-you. I hope others are able to add to the tree, extend it, etc. Even if I don’t find a connection to my own line, it is exciting to think that this may help some others.

One of the people who matches was adopted, and doesn’t know who his birth-parents are. Wouldn’t it be great if someone has a connection to the time and place where he was adopted? At least it might give a clue to a possible parentage.

Anyway, it is that one detail, and a post on the blog AnotherTeenMom, that led me to return to this blog, on which I have posted nothing for over a year, and create this post. Hopefully, this will start to become a habit, or a Hobbit, or something of the sort.



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