DNA Research #DNA Re: mtDNA Test & Family Mystery #dna

Steven Bloom

On 2008.04.03, Robin Altwarg <robin@...> asked:

[...]If my
cousin and I had our mtDNA tested would we be able to confirm or
disconfirm whether we share a great-grandmother? If so, do we have
to take a particular type of test?

There are a couple of issues to address here. The first issue is what
test to use. If you are testing the hypothesis that you share a direct
maternal ancestor (mother's mother's mother in your case) with this
cousin, then the mtdna test is the right one to use, so long as you know
that your second cousin has an unbroken female line back to this
ancestor (or, at least, be sure that is what the hypothesis is).

The second issue is how to interpret the result. A negative result would
show that you definitely are not related through a common female
ancestor along a direct female line.

What about a positive? A positive **would_not** show that you are
definitely related in the way you have stated. All it would say is that
somewhere down the line, you had a common female ancestor along a direct
female line, and it could have been recent but more than likely it was
not. The way this could be the case is if the two wives of your great
grandfather were actually very distant cousins (along a direct female
line). This would not be at all unusual.

However, the fact that a paper trail leads you to believe you are
possibly related in the way you state would definitely lend some
credibility to a positive result being because you indeed have that
relationship. In the case of a positive, I think you should probably
also get the high resolution test. If that is positive as well, then you
have an even stronger case for saying you relate to this person in the
way you propose.

Have you exhausted all sources for records? Perhaps another SIG could
help you with that aspect of your research.

Please contact me privately with further questions.

Steve Bloom
Central Virginia

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