Tuesday, May 7, 2013

mtDNA for Marsha Moses

I wrote a blog post yesterday on my personal genealogy blog about my mother's mother's family which was Hornberger.  My grandmother had maiden name Hornberger and her mother had maiden name Schmitt and her mother had maiden name of Rauch.  I visited two first cousins of my mother (aged late 70s to late 80s) in April and we had shared information about the families.  If you are more interested in this family, you can read this post at


At the end of the post I found myself explaining some information about my mtDNA that I thought might be appropriate for this DNA blog.  So I will repeat that information here.

I tested my mtDNA several years ago with FTDNA.  My Haplogroup is H.  I have so many matches that I honestly quit paying any attention to e-mails that came from FTDNA about mtDNA matches.

The Hornberger, Schmitt, and Rauch familes came from Alsace Lorraine in the 1800's.  So I know that my mother's female lines are from that area.

Frederick Hornberger was born 22 Aug 1865 in Alsace Lorraine, France.  Remember that Alsace Lorraine is a region that is sometimes a part of France and sometimes a part of Germany, so one needs to look at the date of the event to identify the right country when the event happened.  When this man was naturalized in 1886 he renounced forever allegiance to Germany.  The area had been a part of France in 1865, but was being ruled by Germany in 1886.  The terminology was correct.  ( Alsace Lorraine is an area of NE France, comprising the modern regions of Alsace andLorraine: under German rule 1871-1919 and 1940-44)

 According to Brian Sykes in his book the Seven Daughter's of Eve, Haplogroup H has origins in the white area shown below on this map from Brian's book that is marked Helena.

As you can see, the area is absolutely right for my maternal lines...very close to where my mother's mother's family lived as late as the 1800s.  My "clan mother"  lived 20,000 years ago when the ice age was at it's most severe.  These were the people who had pictures of "the hunt" on cave walls. Brian Sykes has nicknamed the clan mother for Haplogroup H Helena.   As an additional aside from Brian Sykes' book:

"Over successive generations the clan that began with Helena became easily the most successful in Europe, reaching every part of the continent.  The reference sequence with which all mitochondrial mutations are compared is that of Helena's sequence.  Forty-seven per cent of modern Europeans are members of her clan.  We do not know whether this remarkable success is because her mitochondrial DNA possesses some special quality that gives its holders a biological advantage, or whether it is just chance that makes so many Europeans trace their direct maternal ancestry back to Helena and the freezing winters of her Ice-Age."  (taken from p. 233)

I highly recommend reading both books by Brian Sykes:  The Seven Daughters of Eve (about mtDNA) and Adams Curse (about yDNA).  They are easily read....extremely entertaining...and help in understanding one's DNA results.  

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