Kinney, McKinney & Variations
Lenhart & Variations
DNA Project notes


4 June 2007

 mtDNA is passed down from the mother to all her children, males and females. However, only her daughters pass on her mtDNA to their children. The sons have her mtDNA but can not pass it on. mtDNA has only genes for energy metabolism (the Y has genes pretty much limited to sex determination and sperm production). My web site focuses on DNA surname studies using the Y chromosome and since mtDNA can not be used in surname studies my site contains little information on this subject. However, below are a few links I refer to from time to time.

See FTDNA’s tutorial


According to FTDNA, mtDNA matches (must be in same haplogroup):

HVR1 only tested – exact match (also called a low resolution test/match):
50% chance share common ancestor within the last 52 generations (about 1300) years. 

HVR1 & HVR2 both tested– exact match (also called a high resolution test/match):
50% chance share common ancestor within the last 28 generations (about 700 years).

That’s a 50% chance within the last few hundred years.  It could be thousands of years!

“The "far side" of the curve -- the 50% who wouldn't find a common ancestor in that time frame -- can extend for thousands of years. There are people . . .  who are an exact match for the IceMan's HVR1 results . . . .” Quote from Ann Turner in answer to a question on the DNA list in March 2007

Participants with a match on HVR1 often upgrade to HVR2 expecting to fine tune their relationship.  If they match, the odds are now 50% that they share an ancestor within the last 28 generations (and still a 50% chance it is much further back).   However, often they do not match at HVR2. Participants are often confused when they match on one but not the other.   If they have an exact match on HVR1 but do not match on HVR2 then the odds have now dropped.  The information tells you there is a far less than 50% chance that there’s a match within a genealogically relevant time frame.  This is also the case if you match exactly on HVR2 but not on HVR1.

In other words, additional DNA information might indicate you are not as closely related as the earlier results indicated.  Results are like election returns, you may be ahead in some precincts but not in others.  What matters are the final returns – the most complete results.  Those who have Y-DNA tested know that a couple of differences/mutations on Y-DNA does not negate a close relationship but do not realize that this is not the case with mtDNA. One difference/mutation in two mtDNA results usually represents thousands of years. 

An example of how mtDNA was used to solve a contemporary issue:

Subject: [DNA] Practical mtDNA test, or Kelly sisters project

Best “picks” of a discussion about mtDNA matches on the RootsWeb list:
Ann Turner
Bill  Hurst


FULL SEQUENCE mtDNA  (FTNDA refers to this as FGS or “mega” mtDNA test)

Ann Turner remarks (12 May 2005) about entire mtDNA sequencing now available

Example of report from Ann Turner (fee)

Finding FTDNA submissions in GenBank (thanks to Bill Hurst)  – working as of  9 March 2007:

Go to the NCBI (GenBank) database:
Then put "family tree houston" into the search box
Then click on Go, then click on Nucleotide.
Gives you the list of FTDNA submissions, nothing more, nothing less.

Sept 09 thread – Ann Turner remarks:

mtDNA database

Ann P. Turner has her mtDNA database on WorldConnect. These remarks were based on her post to the Genealogy DNA List: The database contains descendants located to date (May 2004) for the matriarch, Mary (last name unknown), mother of Mary Beach, born 1641 in Watertown, MA. Everyone in the database should have the same mtDNA. Some points about the displays: If you pick any individual from the index and pursue the pedigree as far as it will go, everyone will end up at Mary. You'll note that the pedigree always proceeds along the bottom line of the chart, and the descendant chart displays a limited number of generations.

Gregg Bonner was the first to propose this method of sharing mtDNA results. You can read more about it at his web site,

See Charles Kerchner's mtDNA log and associated links -

Comparison Chart - don't know how current this is - so check for revision date:

Deducing prehistoric migrations from modern human DNA

mtDNA Haplgroup map - pdf file (includes Y also) - Dr. J. Douglas McDonald

Migration map of the descendants of "Adam" and "Eve" and article

Tracing Ancestry with MtDNA, By Rick Groleau

MITOMAP: A Human Mitochondrial Genome Database. - you can submit your full sequence

I first became aware of DNA testing from a TV program about the Madres de Plaza de Mayo (also known as Abuelas/Mothers/Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) in Argentina. The below link relates to this story:

Mitotyping Technologies, LLC
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) provides a valuable locus for forensic DNA typing in certain circumstances.

mtDNA used in Jesse James study ca. 1996
mtDNA used to identify the Titanic child (Nov 2002)
mtDNA used to identify unknown soldiers (on going)
mtDNA used to identify 9/11 victims

Brian Sykes of the University of Oxford made his name in the adventures of mtDNA; author of The Seven Daughters of Eve.


[mtDNA] "Genetic research conducted by Theodore Schurr, Douglas C. Wallace, and others provides compelling evidence for multiple colonization events. Modern Native American populations fall into four mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, A-D, and a fifth founding group is genetically linked to an Eurasian haplogroup X. (Transmitted solely along the female line, mtDNA can help identify individuals to haplogroups, or genetic groupings.) Haplogroups A, C, and D were brought to the Americas perhaps as early as 30,000 years ago. A second immigration may have brought haplogroup B possibly between 13,000 and 17,000 years ago, either along the coast or overland, or both. An additional haplogroup X that shared affinities to European or possibly Eurasian populations may have also entered the Americas prior to the last glacial maximum and is absent in modern Siberian populations. Ancient Beringian populations isolated during the last glacial period evolved by post-glacial times into a large North Pacific Rim branch of haplogroup A, which includes Eskimos and Na-Dene Indians."

[mtDNA] Diversity and Age of the Four Major mtDNA Haplogroups, and Their Implications for the Peopling of the New World
Sandro L. Bonatto and Francisco M. Salzano
Am. J. Hum. Genet., 61:1413-1423, 1997
Received March 4, 1997; accepted for publication October 1, 1997; electronically published November 26, 1997.


Kinney, McKinney & Variations
Lenhart & Variations
DNA Project notes