Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maternal Mysteries

   I recall sitting in a college class once and being instructed to write down my maternal lineage as far back as I could, including first names.  The point of the exercise was to show us how deeply paternal our culture is since few people could remember the first name of anyone beyond their maternal grandmother, and some didn't even know that.  I knew my maternal great grandmother's name because I am named after her.  So I thought I was doing pretty well at the time.  But today there is so much more that I wish I knew!
   Through the 23andme results I have learned that my maternal haplogroup is U3a1.  The maternal finding is that which comes from the unbroken line of mother to daughter and so on down the line.  U3 is an unexpectedly odd result.  According to the brief history given on the 23andme site "U3 originated in the Near East region about 45,000 years ago and later spread around the Mediterranean Sea, reaching as far as India and Spain."  That information isn't so startling; information about haplogroups concerns ancient genealogy, not the type that we usually do when on the paper trail of the elusive great great great grandparent.  But this fact was: "Haplogroup U3 is relatively rare in mainland Europe today, reaching levels above 1% in some Italian and Iberian populations."  According to 23andme, and to anything I have discovered through traditional means, my ancestry is completely Northern European.  So where did I get a maternal haplogroup that is most common among the Roma, or Gypsy, people?

   My known maternal line is not that long.  Here is the line of people I can trace who must share the U3 haplogroup:
My Daughters, Colleen Virginia Couch & Rhianna Rain Ladd (1995, 1998)
and myself, Elizabeth Annette Thomas (1969)

My Mom, Marsha Kay Blevins (1948)

My Grandma, Virginia Lucille Goff (1922)

My great grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Osborn (1885)

And last but not least,
My great great grandmother Mary Knox Paul (1851)
   Though Mary looks like a nice grandmotherly lady, she is as mysterious as any ancestor you would want to find.  How did this lady who claimed her parents were Irish on the census come to have U3 genes?  Why can't I find a marriage record for her?  These and other questions will be explored more fully in my next post.


  1. Very interesting results! I hope that you are able to get back a few more generations and perhaps find some answers.


  2. I also just found out I'm U3A1. But my family is mostly irish. sounds like a similar story. grandma lied and married a catholic guy.

  3. I am the same U3A1 and it says that we are descended from Levi Jacobs third son in the bible as in the Levitical priests. I already knew this because our last name is CURRY which is the anglecized form of McMurrich which was the galecized form of Korach or Korah or Core however you wish to spell or pronounce that.

  4. I also am U3 (HVR1 and HVR2 coding region) I haven't done coding region but based on my sequence the U3 haplogroup mtdna project admin thinks I am likely subclade a1c. My Maternal line so far as I have traced it goes to Ireland (county Kerry) at the turn of the 1700s to 1800s. From what I have read; subclade U3a1c is common to Scandinavia; which makes sense how it could end up in Ireland; the Vikings were no strangers to Ireland.

  5. I am U3a1c1, almost exclusive british sub-branch (visit openSNP.org U3a1, please) but I am totally spainard. I am lookin for your 23andme profile but I still haven't found it.

  6. U3a1 atlantic europeans haven't romani ancestry but romani spainards have around 40% U3a1 mtdna by admixture with local women. Atlantic U3a1 remains were discovered in Denmark circa 2,000 years ago but now there aren't U3a1 families in Denmark (less than 1%) but in Norway, West Scotland, West Ireland, Asturias and North Portugal (U3a1 in Bretagne is different).

  7. My maternal hapolotype is U3a1 and they came from Czechoslovakia for many generations.

  8. My maternal hapolotype is U3a1 and they came from Czechoslovakia for many generations.

  9. In Bayern U3a1 is different subclade than atlantic U3a1c. From Sweden until Canary Islands has been descovered new U3a1c. The most in Aracena, Huelva (Western Andalucia)

  10. I'm also a U3 (haven't got the results back for which subgroup yet) with a mysterious 3g grandmother named Laura Ann Pike who was born in about 1818 in New York from parents who according to census records were probably born in New Hampshire.

  11. Hi everyone, I am very new to genealogy and dna testing. My mother unexpectedly passed away a 4 years ago. She was adopted as an infant in Ellwood City, PA (1949). My haplogroup is U3a1. If anyone can offer guidance in understanding how this all works and how to determine which Daughter Group you come from, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

  12. I apologize but my post didn't let me click notify me so I'm adding a comment.