My Mitochondrial DNA

A while back I wrote about the Y-DNA test one of my male Brewster cousins took to determine if we were descended from the Mayflower Brewsters. Unfortunately that test indicated that we do not descend from Elder William Brewster.

The test results were rather interesting, though, so last year I decided to have my DNA tested, too. I had a different test done since the Y-DNA test is for males only. Females do not have Y-DNA, which is the DNA is passed down from father to son.

I had a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test done.


MtDNA is passed down from a mother to her children and both men and women can test with it. The mtDNA test shows the maternal line— the DNA of your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, and on and on. All of a woman’s children will have the same mt-DNA.

My grandma Schumm had 3 daughters, and all of their children, my cousins, would have the same mtDNA.

So listen up, my maternal cousins!

I have traced my maternal line back a few generations and it looks like this:

  • My mom
  • Hilda (Scare) Schumm (her mother)
  • Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Schinnerer) Scaer (Hilda’s mother)
  • Elizabeth (Schumm) Schinnerer
  • Maria Barbara (Pflueger) Schumm
  • Anna Barbara (Seckel) Pflueger
  • Elisabetha Maria Friederika (Hilgert) Seckel

Elisabetha Hilgert was probably born c1750-60.

MtDNA indicates where your maternal line comes from and who you are related to in that line. The results tell your haplogroup, or the primeval tribe you come from.

I am in haplogroup H, just about the most common haplogroup in Europe, making up about 40% of central and northern European mitochondrial lineages. No surprise there since I know my maternal line came from Germany.

But haplogroup H goes back much farther than the time period we think of.

According to FamilyTreeDNA, where I sent my DNA, and Wikipedia, haplogroup H is mainly European but it originated outside of Europe a very long time ago—before the last glacial maximum, the last time sheets of ice were at their greatest peak. That was between 26,000-20,000 years ago.

Haplogroup H likely originated in Southwest Asia and expanded into the northern Near East, Eastern Europe, and Southwest Asia thousands of years ago. Sources feel haplogroup H reached Europe even before the last glacial maximum.

Some pretty interesting stuff. And so much farther back than my research could ever take me!


    • Sondra Samples on June 19, 2015 at 7:49 am
    • Reply

    DNA research has certainly come a long way since the O J Simpson triial….that is the first time I ever heard of it. Some pretty interesting stuff indicated by your family DNA.

    1. Ha! You are so right. It is interesting but complicated. So much to learn. I will write another post sometime about another DNA test I had done for myself. I am going to swab Joe’s cheek one of these days with hopes of learning more about his Bennett ancestors.

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