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How to interpret matches

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  • How to interpret matches

    I've very inept with analyzing Mtdna. I didn't have the full sequence, but the bottom most one 4 years ago. I'm T2b. When I view HVR1/HVR2 matches, there are only 4. Three are in England.

    My heritage analysis shows 10% British Isles, but I have no known ancestry there. My ancestry is 50% Polish, 25% Swedish, 25% Ukraine. My FF matches are mostly Polish and Swedish, a few German, and just a tad English.

    I know that Mtdna measures mother's mother mother, etc. My 2x great-grandmother was Polish, born around 1850. But, I don't know that ancestry before then yet. Should I interpret my Mtdna as an English woman migrating to Poland within the last 500 years?

    Another quirk to add is that I was born a redhead and have many freckles. I got the exact skin type from my mom, although her hair was brownish-red. My dad was half Swedish (whose facial hair grew-in my same auburn hair color), so I suspect both carried a recessive redhead gene. Nobody else in her family has our freckles. I'm wondering if there is a link from England per my Mtdna, thus my freckles come from some English woman many years ago.

    Should I even bother to look at Mtdna for genealogy purposes?

  • #2
    Originally posted by hollifer View Post
    I've very inept with analyzing Mtdna. I didn't have the full sequence, but the bottom most one 4 years ago. I'm T2b. When I view HVR1/HVR2 matches, there are only 4. Three are in England.
    The matches that you see are those that match you exactly, with no differences. FTDNA only shows exact matches at the HVR1/HVR2 level. Most of the mtDNA isn't included in that test. Only the full sequence tests the entire mtDNA, 16,539 locations.

    At the full sequence level, FTDNA shows matches that differ with you on only 3 or less locations. In other words, there are probably more matches in the database, but you won't see them until you upgrade to the full sequence. However, if someone differs with you at 2 or 3 locations at the full sequence level, the common ancestor is likely to be fairly distant, probably at least several hundred years or over 1,000 years ago.

    Originally posted by hollifer View Post
    My heritage analysis shows 10% British Isles, but I have no known ancestry there. My ancestry is 50% Polish, 25% Swedish, 25% Ukraine. My FF matches are mostly Polish and Swedish, a few German, and just a tad English.

    I know that Mtdna measures mother's mother mother, etc. My 2x great-grandmother was Polish, born around 1850. But, I don't know that ancestry before then yet. Should I interpret my Mtdna as an English woman migrating to Poland within the last 500 years?
    An exact match at the HVR1/HVR2 level could easily mean a common ancestor over 1,000 years ago, maybe even several thousand years ago. So, the fact that 3 of your 4 matches are English may have nothing at all to do with the ancestry of your maternal line in the last few hundred years. Without the full sequence test, you don't even know if those English matches are in the same subclade as you. If they're not in your subclade of T2b, of which there are many, they don't share a common maternal line ancestor with you in several thousand years. My understanding is that T2b, which is a common haplogroup, has many subclades and in general it's fairly common in eastern Europe.


    Originally posted by hollifer View Post
    Should I even bother to look at Mtdna for genealogy purposes?
    I think it's fair to say that the general consensus is that the mtDNA test is the least useful of the tests FTDNA offers for genealogy research, compared to Family Finder and yDNA tests. An mtDNA test may be useful when you're trying to rule in or rule out that two people share the same woman as their maternal line ancestor in the last few hundred years, at most. For instance, two people believe the same woman was their maternal grandmother or mother of their maternal grandmother. If they have the same mtDNA haplogroup/subclade, then it's possible that's true. If they have different mtDNA haplogroups/subclades, then that's impossible. Otherwise, mtDNA tests for genealogy are just not that helpful, although they can be interesting from a deep ancestry viewpoint.
    Last edited by MMaddi; 5th May 2017, 09:54 AM.

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    • #3
      In addition to what Mike said, a person can rule in, or rule out, Native American heritage on their maternal line with mtDna testing.
      Last edited by Biblioteque; 5th May 2017, 10:39 AM.

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      • #4
        Thanks both for your replies which are very useful.

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        • #5
          What kind of age range would a full sequence match at a genetic distance of 1 indicate?

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          • #6
            So this is why one could get a match in coding region but not at HVR1?

            Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
            The matches that you see are those that match you exactly, with no differences. FTDNA only shows exact matches at the HVR1/HVR2 level. Most of the mtDNA isn't included in that test. Only the full sequence tests the entire mtDNA, 16,539 locations.

            At the full sequence level, FTDNA shows matches that differ with you on only 3 or less locations. ... However, if someone differs with you at 2 or 3 locations at the full sequence level, the common ancestor is likely to be fairly distant, probably at least several hundred years or over 1,000 years ago.
            So you are saying that the requirements for "matching" loosen up when it gets to the coding region? That could explain this?

            mtDNA - Haplogroup Origins
            HVR1 MATCHES No matches were found.
            HVR1 and HVR2 MATCHES No matches were found.
            HVR1, HVR2, AND CODING REGION MATCHES No Matches Found
            Okay. Exact same thing with "ancestral origins". No matches at any level. The "migration map" and frequency map are blank. Matches map no pins.
            But .... going to the "matches" screen
            there are no matches when HVR1 is selected in the drop-down, none when HVR1 and HVR2 are selected -
            !!! but, when the coding region is added in, there is a single remote "match". A very strange one who changed most of her name within 24 hours of the matching and removed her e-mail address - we hadn't contacted her, she just must have received some sort of generic "you have a match" e-mail. (We would sort of like to know where on earth, literally, she is from.)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by abuelita View Post
              So you are saying that the requirements for "matching" loosen up when it gets to the coding region? That could explain this?
              Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Matches shown at the HVR1 and HVR2 testing levels have to be exact. In the full sequence test, which includes the coding region, up to 3 differences are allowed.

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