DNA - Extreme Family History
My mother Anne has now
had her mitochondrial DNA analyzed by Oxford Ancestors. Everyone
inherits their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA for short) from their mother.
Your mother inherited it from her mother, who inherited it from
her mother, who inherited it from hers and so on back through time.
We all inherit other genes from our many other ancestors but only
mtDNA traces a direct maternal line back through time.
The farthest I have
been able to trace my mother's direct maternal ancestry is to Ann
Parry who was born about 1807 in Grosmont, Monmouthshire and who
married Thomas Ellaway. All of the direct female descendants of
Ann Parry will have the same mtDNA as my mother.
My mother's direct maternal
ancestry is European. She is descended from one of the "Seven"
major European clans. These are the "Seven Daughters of Eve"
who represent the seven clan mothers from whom almost all native
Europeans are descended. The "Seven Daughters of Eve"
are Ursula, Xenia, Tara, Helena, Katrine, Velda and Jasmine.
My mother is descended
from the clan of Helena (Greek for light) whose descendants
make up over 45 percent of the European population. Helena's descendants
can be found from the Alps in the south to the Scottish Highlands
and the Norwegian fjords in the north and as far east as the Urals
and the Russian Steppes.
According to Oxford
Helena was born about
20,000 years ago on the strip of land that joins France and Spain,
near what is now Perpignan. She belonged to a family of hunters,
who harvested the rich oyster beds in the lagoons of the Camargue
to supplement their diet of meat. Helena's clan arrived in Europe
from the Middle East, pushing their way along the Mediterranean,
constrained to the narrow strip of land that was still habitable.
Not long after she was
born, the glaciers that covered the Pyrenees, which Helena could
see on a clear day only thirty miles from her camp, began to draw
back as, little by little, the summers grew warmer. Some of her
clan moved south of the mountains, up the valley of the Ebro to
the West to reach the lands of the Basque, where they remain to
this day. The most adventurous of her children took advantage of
the climatic improvements and journeyed ever northwards to join
the great movement of hunters across the plains of France. We know
that they reached England around 12,000 years ago because DNA recovered
from a young male skeleton found in Gough's Cave in Somerset shows
that he too belonged to the clan of Helena.
You can find more information
at the Oxford
click here to go to Gerald's paternal
2005 Gerald Majumdar