Monday, November 5, 2012

Your Mother's Mother

Deep Into DNA*

Your mother’s ancestry can be extremely challenging. Most of us live in a patrilineal society. The wife and the children take the surname of the husband. History shows us that recording the maiden name of the wife was often an afterthought. We have all tried traditional genealogy for our mother’s line. Some of us can go back a couple of generations and have hit brick walls. Some of us have researched a dozen generations. Mitochondrial DNA testing can aid a genealogist in discovering those lost surnames and validating your research.

Two months ago, I wrote about y-DNA and its use in tracing your paternal line. Mitochondrial DNA testing looks at your maternal line. There are many similarities and just as many differences between the two tests.

...continued at The In-Depth Genealogist with a free membership.

*The Deep Into DNA article series is published each month in The In-Depth Genealogist Newsletter and will demystify genetic genealogy and make sense out of DNA testing terminology. Each month we will talk about the types of tests available from major labs and show relevant examples on how to use DNA in your genealogy research.



  1. You are so correct! My dad traced his MALE ancestors back to Mass. in 1632...I can only trace my female line back to Switzerland and Germany for a couple of generations. For one thing, they were COMMONERS. My dad's lines were all Normans, thus they were the ruling class and were documented. NOT FAIR! I DID manage to find one line in Switzerland (a side line) that I was able to follow back some way, but, for the most part, I've given up. And, I'll only be able to trace my FEMALE DNA, right, since my parents had NO SON...sigh...

  2. Oh, and OF COURSE, the Normans can be traced further back to Sweden and Denmark. I'm liking your blog and I'm reading more stories this morning instead of doing Black Friday shopping!