Monday, March 30, 2015

Matrilineal Monday: MtDNA Danglers

I wrote my original post about my mtDNA in October of 2011. The next month, I started another blog post as a follow-up but never followed it through to completion. Originally, I had gone back online to to check on some of the earlier female lines that I was unsure of from that original post, but even more has happened since then.

For the “danglers” that I was unsure about, I discovered the following:

One I was uncertain about was Gertje Jurgens Dijkstra who married Jacob Hempenius. I found records of three male children born to this couple and then a record indicating that Jacob remarried in 1857. It would be assumed that Gertje died before then and no female children are listed in the years between his first marriage date to Gertje and this second marriage date. Therefore it is quite likely that no female lines descended from her. Gertje’s younger sister Anne Jurgens Dijkstra born in 1831 was also a dangler. It turns out she died at the age of 18 months so she did not leave any female offspring either.

I had to go over to for records before 1811 to check into the earlier generation of Geert Halbes Dijkstra’s children. I was able to find the marriage of Geert Halbes to Folkjen Alberts. The record indicate this occurred on 20 May 1782 in Westergeest, Kollumerland c.a., Friesland, Netherlands. The births of two sons are listed for this couple in 1783 and 1785. Then a daughter, my ancestor, Froukje Geerts Dijkstra was born 18 March 1787. In 1790, records show Geert and a wife by the name of Maaike Sjoerds had a daughter Lieuwkje. (Another daughter Anne was born to this couple later.) Therefore, Froukje appears to have been the only daughter of Folkjen Alberts from whom she obtained her mtDNA. Folkjen must have died before 1790 when Geert was married to Maaike Sjoerds. 

Going up further on the maternal line, I was able to find the birth record of Froukje Sjoerds which occurred 27 November 1729 in Driesum, Dantumadeel, Friesland. This was the mother of Folkjen Alberts. Froukje Sjoerd’s birth record names her father as Sjoerd Tjerks but does not list her mother. Another record shows a Sjoerd Tjerks with wife Lijsbeth Willems, which could be my earliest maternal ancestor. The records are pretty murky at this point and beyond, but the chances of finding anymore lines with the same mtDNA started looking slimmer all the time. 

Since I am better at finding dead people rather than living ones, I usually have less luck tracking down current family members but that is where I had to look next. Because our family is so far-flung for the most part, I do not always have ready information on current generations. I am embarrassed to say I even overlooked a child of one of my first cousins. It turns out my aunt’s daughter did have a daughter. I was encouraged to hear that daughter also has a daughter of her own. So that’s a plus for carrying on the mtDNA. My sister’s daughter who had a young son when I wrote the first post went on to have another son and it appears that will be her last child. Therefore it appears that there are probably no other candidates from my mother besides my three girls. (I will be happy if grandchildren do come along, but I am content to wait a while yet.)

In anticipation of a visit to see my mother, something made me think of asking another distant cousin if she was aware if my grandmother’s sister’s only granddaughter had any daughters. She not only checked for me, but put me in touch with the daughter of my grandmother’s sister (one of my mother’s first cousins). We actually got together for lunch while I visited my mother. It turns out that this one other potential for carrying on the mtDNA has done even better than I at populating that mtDNA gene pool! She had four daughters altogether who all have the potential to continue the line. One of those daughters just recently had a daughter of her own (and was named for her great-grandmother as well). 

I suggested that you stay tuned at the end of my last post on this subject. It took several years, but I am happy to finally report some progress! 

Katsma women around 1950-51

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