Monday, October 10, 2011

Matrilineal Monday – Who Shares My mtDNA?

I was introduced to the concept of DNA testing because of the Sizemore surname DNA project. My second great-grandmother was Martha Sizemore Hardy. I have said before that even though she died some 50 years before I was born, Martha seemingly spoke to me through the things she left behind. But those are stories for another day.
I also read the book, Seven Daughters of Eve by Brian Sykes on matrilineal DNA several years ago as well. I was reminded of it after reading Barbara’s Life from the Roots blog post about her meeting with the author last year.
A couple of years ago, I took a look at my family tree to see how far back my maternal line goes and where my mtDNA comes from. I only had about five generations before I hit a brick wall. I decided to make it a research goal to work on that particular line and had some success. After working diligently to find my grandmother’s grandmother, I was able to extend the tree back another four generations.
Beginning with my grandmother’s grandmother, the line goes like this:
Gertrude Bos (28 November 1852 - 18 May 1930)
Maaike Jurgens Dykstra (born 1 June 1817)
Froukje Geerts Dijkstra (18 March 1787 – 25 August 1848)
Folkjen Alberts (ca. 1756 – before 1789)
Froukje Sjoerds (b. ca. 1729)
Lijsbeth Willems
I have three daughters with whom I have passed along this same mtDNA. I got to thinking about what other living females share this mtDNA with us and will pass it to their female offspring.  I have one maternal half-sister, so she shares it. Her daughter (my niece) then shares it. That’s two. If my niece has daughters, they will also share it (she has a son who shares it but won’t be passing it down).
My mother was the oldest of seven children. She had three sisters and three brothers. Of the sisters, one never had children, one had only sons. The other aunt did have a daughter but this daughter only had sons. We can add the two (aunt and cousin) but it ends there.
My grandmother had one older sister and one younger sister. The younger sister had one son. The older sister (named Gertrude for the grandmother Gertrude Bos) had two sons and one daughter. This daughter (who carried the middle name of Gertrude) had four boys and one daughter. We can add her. It’s possible she had daughters but she is a second cousin with whom I do not have contact. I would be interested in trying to track her down further and find out if she has daughters.
My mother’s grandmother was the oldest of six children. She had two sisters, one who died in infancy. The other sister only had one child, a boy. Therefore, there are no living females from this generation. Gertrude Bos was the only daughter of three children born to her parents. No living females from that generation either.
Maaike Jurgens Dykstra was the sixth child and first daughter born to her parents. They went on to have five more children, adding two more daughters to the family. Gertje Jurgens Dykstra (born 3 September 1820) married Jacob Jacobs Hempenius in Tietjerksteradeel, Netherlands in 1848. There may still be female offspring from this line. Anne Jurgens Dykstra was born 23 October 1831. I have no record of marriage for her but if she did marry, there may still be female offspring from this line as well.
My records indicate that the mother of Froukje Geerts Dijkstra died before 1789. Froujke was born in March of 1787 so she wasn’t very old when she lost her mother. It’s quite likely that Froukje then was the only product of the union between Folkjen Alberts and Geert Halbes Dijkstra. (Remember him? I have his signature on an earlier post).  Geert listed ten children when he registered the family name of Dijkstra in 1812, including two daughters Lieuwkje age 13 and Anne age 5. If these two were from his marriage to Folkjen and not a later marriage, they could possibly have female offspring carrying the same mtDNA.
From my records, it appears that Folkjen Alberts was the oldest child and only daughter of Froukje Sjoerds and Albert Meinderts. Froukje and Albert were married in 1754 and Folkjen’s birthdate is placed at 1756. There are two brothers listed after her. Of course, there may have been additional children that were missed in the records for one reason or the other. The same goes for the earliest known generation. I have Froukje Sjoerds listed as an only child of Lijsbeth Willems and Sjoerd Tjerks but there could have been more that just haven’t been accounted for.
So at this point, I know of four possibilities of continuing this mtDNA down to the next generation, my three daughters and my niece. There’s also the possibility that more are out there from my second cousin. Plus the two sisters of Maaike Jurgens Dykstra need to be looked into and the two younger daughters of Geert Halbes Dijkstra (if they're not half-siblings to Froukjen). I suppose these could always be new research goals...


  1. What was your mtDNA? Mine turned out to be H (Helena in the Sykes book) which is very common. I wasn't surprised because my mother and her maternal line go back to England and 12 Mayflower passengers. However, my husband is a first generation American from Spain. His mtDNA was also H! That was strange considering we are from both distant ends of Europe, but nice to known we are connected way, way back!

  2. Believe it or not, Heather, I don't know! I've never gotten around to having the testing done. How interesting that you and hubby share the same. Maybe it was more than fate that brought you two together. Have you worked on his line? Thanks for the question!