Linda's Orchard

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Category: mtDNA

Genetic Genealogy

DNA is the hottest topic in genealogy. It seems that everyone I know is testing. I’ve got kits from several different companies ready to go when the relatives show up for the holidays. I even tested my dog! But do you wonder what the results actually tell you? Are the admixture (ethnicity) estimates accurate? What about the cousin predictions? What kinds of tools are available to help you understand your results? Are there ethical considerations with testing? Do you worry about privacy? Disclaimer: I don’t.

There are classes available in many locations. The California Genealogical Society offers a series of DNA classes. There are websites, blogs, and YouTube videos. There are facebook pages galore. And there are conferences. Last week, the Institute for Genetic Genealogy was held in San Diego with speakers such as CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, Kitty Cooper, Schelly Dardashti, and more. Two days, 22 lectures, and all were recorded. Hopefully those recordings will be available for purchase within the next few months.

There are two big DNA events planned in northern California in 2018. The first is “A Day with the Genetic Genealogist: Blaine Bettinger.” Held at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on March 3, the day will feature four lectures and a catered buffet lunch by Greenleaf Platters. This seminar is sure to sell out and is one of the signature events planned in honor of the 120th anniversary of the California Genealogical Society. In November, the San Mateo Genealogical Society will host Genetic Genealogist, CeCe Moore, who will present a different line up of lectures.

Whether your ancestors came from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific Rim, or the Americas, whether you can trace your ancestors back dozens of generations or you were adopted and don’t know your biological family, DNA has something for everyone. Join the fun and add DNA to your genealogy tool box.

Looking at DNA through Strawberry Colored Glasses

From January 11-15, 2016, I was immersed in the study of Beginning Genetic Genealogy, one of many tracks at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Five hours a day for five consecutive days, a group of about forty eager students listened attentively as Blaine Bettinger, CeCe Moore and Angie Bush explained the ins and outs of DNA for genealogists. On the last day, the beginning and advanced classes merged to enjoy a hands-on activity of extracting DNA from crushed strawberries during our final lecture. It reminded me a little of Sister Christopher’s high school chemistry class. Fun!

DNA Daiquiris

DNA Daiquiris

I returned home with multiple DNA kits in hand. One was sent to an Etheridge cousin for a Y-dna study. Another was sent to an Okazaki cousin. An autosomal to another.

In the midst of this excitement I was invited to the home of yet another cousin to scan photos. Not just any photos. I am talking about very old photos from my Corville/Cullum line. In 2011, I used Y-DNA to prove the connection between my Corville line in San Francisco to an Emerson line in New South Wales, Australia. It was a perfect match. And now I have the photos to go with the DNA. I only hope I have as much luck with my Etheridge, Okazaki and Orchard Lines.

Here is a look at some Mitochondrial DNA:

Maria Prosser Cullum c 1867

Maria Prosser Cullum c 1867

Maria Cullum Corville c 1874

Maria Cullum Corville c 1874

Tuchia Corville Ambrose 1900

Tushia Corville Ambrose 1900

Ruth Margaret Ambrose Harms c 1920

Ruth Margaret Ambrose Harms c 1920

For more information about Genetic Genealogy, I encourage you to look at the ISOGG wiki, or follow one of the many genetic genealogy blogs.

What Does mtDNA Really Look Like?

DNA is a popular tool among genealogists. Y-DNA gives us great insight into specific ancestors in a direct male line. I was able to prove a connection to a family in England dating back to 1733 with yDNA. Autosomal DNA is tremendous for looking at ethnic origins. I have learned much about my early northern European ancestors.

mtDNA follows a direct maternal line to ancient origins. So far, I have only proven my direct female line back to Esther Amelia Gillett. Thanks to photography, I know what seven generations of mtDNA looks like. Happy Mother’s Day.

Esther Gillet circasophronia copyHarriet Mae Lane 1906Modeste Etheridge circa 1926 (1)Diane Orchard 1954Linda Harms 1977Samantha Okazaki 2007