Bg1qf8QIMAApZtKRachel Dobree, of Guernsey

When I was writing about matryoshka, I was vaguely thinking about the idea that cells from a growing child end up staying in the mother’s body after birth…in such a sense a mother is irrevocably changed by childbirth so change takes place backwards in time as well as forwards; I had forgotten the matter of mtDNA – mitochondrial DNA inherited only from your mother. When looking at lineages, whether immediate or stretching back across thousands of years, mtDNA gives information about your maternal biological inheritance. For men, mtDNA ends with you – your children inherit mtDNA from their mother, not you. For women, your children inherit an unbroken line of inheritance going back through your female ancestral line*.

Then there’s lots of science…

…much of which is beyond me.  But for some reason, it makes me happy. I have reading a bit about new advances in population genetics, linguistics and early history lately – my hope is that, despite its misuse, this kind of research can have a progressive use; as with anything, of course, one must use discernment.

A nice lady posted a portrait of a maternal ancestor from (at a guess) the late eighteenth century and said that the lady has the same eyes as her son. There’s a lot of genealogy about these days and it is a very popular pastime. Despite being descended from Charlemagne, apparently, most Western Europeans don’t have royal blood (except for we Catholics who are ‘kings in exile’), but we like to know where we have come from. It is so moving to go back through the generations of all those women, to glean bits of their lives from the small facts of births, marriages and deaths.  I have one precious copy of a photograph of a great-great-grandmother who has some recognisable family traits which I have inherited. Apparently, with this lady, the family opposed the wedding. The brutal sweep of history does not care but I am quite pleased that she defied her family…

There’s Rachel, from my Twitter friend, at the top of the post. She was a Huguenot lady and had seven children.

[*of course, you inherit all sorts of things from male and female ancestors on both sides….]

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2 Responses to mtDNA

  1. Interesting post—I love antique photographs and find genealogy fascinating.


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