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January 2004

Family Tree DNA Announces mtDNA Enhancements

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce that mtDNA Haplogroup descriptions
are now available. These Haplogroup descriptions were prepared
specifically for Family Tree DNA. For those who have taken a mtDNA test at
Family Tree DNA, when you view your test results, you will find a
description for your Haplogroup shown on the page for your mtDNA test
results. The Haplogroup description is located below your mtDNA test

To view your mtDNA Haplogroup description, log into FamilyTreeDNA.com with
your kit and password. From your Personal Page, click on the selection
"mtDNA Results".

For more information about mtDNA and mtDNA Haplogroups, see the article
below titled "Understanding Your Results: mtDNA Haplogroups".

There are two mtDNA tests available from Family Tree DNA:
mtDNA [Previously called Maternal Match]
mtDNA Plus

A mtDNA test will tell you about your direct female line, which is your
mother, her mother, and her mother, back in time. The mtDNA test provides
information about your direct very distant maternal Line ancestor.
Therefore, the mtDNA test is known as an anthropology test, since the
results relate to the very distant past. The mtDNA test may also be used
for genealogical purposes.

The mtDNA test can be taken by males and females. Both males and females
inherit mtDNA from their mothers, though only females pass on mtDNA.


Understanding Your Results: mtDNA Haplogroups

Each mtDNA Haplogroup represents all those persons descended from one of
the Clans, actually subdivisions from the female that we all descend
from...In lay terms, the mtDNA Haplogroup is often referred to as the
"Daughter of Eve" or the "Clan Mother".

Each of these females or clan mothers now have millions of descendents
today, who are all identified as belonging to the same Haplogroup,
although their specific DNA signature may vary.

Humans originated in Africa about 120,000 to 150,000 years ago. The
original female to exist in Africa is known as the Mitochondrial Eve.
The "Clan Mothers" or "Daughters of Eve" are descendents of this original
Mitochondrial Eve.

Scientists have identified a few dozen mtDNA Haplogroups around the world,
and more mtDNA sub Haplogroups could be discovered as the scientists
research remote populations.

mtDNA Haplogroups are identified by letters of the alphabet, and some of
these Haplogroup labels also have numbers. When a subgroup is identified a
number is placed directly after the letter, for example J1 indicates that
at least 1 specific subgroup for J has been identified.

Below are some of the Haplogroups for mtDNA:

A, B, C, D, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, L1, L2, L3, T, U, V, X

Each mtDNA Haplogroup originated in a different geographic area, thousands
of years ago. For example, it is known that Haplogroup H originated in
Europe, and was involved in a population expansion about 20,000 years ago.
Over time, populations migrated, and Haplogroup H is now spread out over
Europe, and about 40% of all Europeans belong to mtDNA Haplogroup H.
Haplogroup U5 is the oldest European lineage, dating about 50,000 years
ago, and may have come in contact with Neanderthals living in Europe at
the time.

The classification of mtDNA Haplogroups should not be confused with the
classification of Y DNA Haplogroups. Y DNA and mtDNA each have a separate
system for classifying the respective Haplogroup. Y DNA Haplogroups are
based on a test of the Y chromosome, and mtDNA Haplogroups are based on a
test of mtDNA. Even though Y DNA has an A Haplogroup, and mtDNA has an A
Haplogroup, these Haplogroups are completely different.

Both males and females inherit mtDNA, and only females pass on mtDNA.
Your mtDNA represents your direct female line, which would be your mother,
her mother, and so forth. Therefore, both males and females can take the
mtDNA test, to learn about their direct female line. Your mtDNA can be
traced back thousands of years to one of the original females. You
Haplogroup defines which of these females was your ancestor.

Your mtDNA Haplogroup will tell you some information about the general
geographic area where your Daughter of Eve originated or at least where
that Haplogroup is most commonly found today:

Southern Europe: J, K
Northern Europe: H, T, U, V, X
Middle East: J,N
Africa: L, L1, L2 and L3.

Asia: A, B, C, D, F, G

Native American: A, B, C, D and sometimes X

mtDNA Haplogroup X is found in Europe and Asia, and is believed to have
migrated to the Americas about 15,000 years ago, making up a very small
component of the Native American population.

The mtDNA Haplogroup descriptions at Family Tree DNA provide additional
information about your mtDNA Haplogroup.

There are two mtDNA tests available from Family Tree DNA:
mtDNA Plus

The test called mtDNA will test one region of mtDNA and provides the
results for this region, and identify your Haplogroup. The mtDNA Plus
test includes the mtDNA test, and also tests a second region of mtDNA.
These regions are called HVR-1 and HVR-2, and are known as HV (Hyper
Variable) Segment or HV Region. The HVR1 and 2 tests look at mutations
with the control region of your mtDNA...an area of the mtDNA that is not
known to 'code' for anything and enjoys the fastest mutation rate of any
region in the mtDNA. The scientists use both the terms HV Segment and HV
Region, and you may well find these terms used interchangeable, as well as
the associated abbreviations.

In summary:

Test What is Tested
---------- -------------------------------------
mtDNA HVR-1 and determines the Haplogroup
mtDNA Plus HVR-1, HVR-2 and determines the Haplogroup

Occasionally, an ancient human has been discovered and their mtDNA tested,
such as the Ice Man. The 5000 year old Ice Man belongs to Haplogroup K.
The Cheddar Man belongs to Haplogroup U.

The mtDNA test is often called an anthropology test, since mtDNA mutates
very slowly, much more slowly than Short Tandem Repeats (STR's) that we
test with the Y chromosome. The results for a mtDNA test tell you about
your most distant female ancestor, or Clan Mother.

The mtDNA test, besides telling you about your very distant direct female
ancestor, can also be used to confirm genealogical relationships. If two
persons are linked by a common female ancestor, then their results from
the mtDNA test will match exactly. The two persons could be either male or
female, as long as the male's mother belongs to the direct female line
being tested.

Since mtDNA mutates very slowly, if you are interested in finding matches
to others, or using mtDNA for genealogy purposes, it is important to take
the mtDNAPlus test. If you have already taken the mtDNA test (Maternal
Match), this test can be upgraded to the mtDNA Plus test. The addition of
testing the second mtDNA region, HVR-2, will shorten the time frame of any

It is highly recommended that the mtDNAPlus test be ordered by those
persons interested in a genealogical application, or for matching. mtDNA
has a very slow mutation rate. The chart below shows the time frame of the
common ancestor for a random match.

Test   Time frame of common ancestor for a match
============= ===========================================
mtDNA 50% of the time, 52 generations or less
mtDNAPlus 50% of the time, 28 generations or less

These time frames are for random matches. When you are utilizing mtDNA
testing for genealogical purposes, you have identified the ancestors or
potential ancestors, so the time frames shown above are not relevant.

mtDNA test results show the Haplogroup, and the mutations compared to the
standard, which is called the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS). The CRS
is simply the first mtDNA sequenced, so all results are presented as the
mutations compared to this standard.

Since mtDNA mutates, or changes, very slowly, the Matching selection at
FamilyTreeDNA.com only provides exact matches, since partial matches are
not genealogically relevant.

You mtDNA goes back further than any written record. To order a mtDNA
test, click on the link below:


============= ===========================================

In 2003, Family Tree DNA again set a new industry standard with the 37
Marker Y DNA test. This scientific advancement came only a short time
after the 25 Marker test was introduced in July 2002. The 37 Marker Y DNA
test provides more data and is more cost effective than any other test on
the market.

In 2003, Family Tree DNA introduced three Haplogroup products:

Y DNA Haplogroup estimate
Y DNA Haplogroup test
Haplogroup database


Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy

In each issue of the Newsletter, we look at what Genetic Genealogy will do
for your Family History research. This article is a continuation of the
topic, with situations, called "Case Studies", followed by a
recommendation. The objective of the case studies is to present different
situations you may encounter in your family history research, and how DNA
testing can be applied.

Case Study

We received the first three (3) results back for participants in our
Surname Project. Each individual had a different result, and all 3 are in
a different Haplogroup. How do I interpret this data? Are these 3 people
related, or are they from different Lines?


The 3 participants are not related, and each represent a different Line of
the Surname. To confirm this conclusion you would want to test at least
one more person from each Line, who is a distant cousin to the person
tested. This step is recommended to validate the result for the Line. In
addition, this step could identify the Ancestral Result for the Line.
Determining the Ancestral Result will be very beneficial for analyzing the
results of future participants.

Copyright 2004, Family Tree DNA "Facts & Genes"   http://www.familytreeDNA.com/facts_genes.asp

The address to join our Holland family DNA Project is



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Holland Family History and Family Tree:  Holland Family Resource Center
Diana Holland Faust 
Published  10 June 1996   This page added 6 November 2003   Last updated 10 March 2014