Matrilineal Monday

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At one point in my interest in genealogy I considered exploring genealogical DNA testing. You can have your DNA analyzed, and this will tell you of a certain haplogroup you belong to. A haplogroup is sort of like an ancient ethnicity, like Slavic or Turkic or the like. Since there are certain mutations that take place in chromosomes that rarely change from generation to generation, scientists are able to use Y-chromosomes to determine all the males in your patrilineal lineage (your father’s, father’s, father’s, father… etc) and mtDNA determines your mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother… etc).

For me, since I am female, the only tests that could be done are the mtDNA based ones discerning my matrilineal ancestors (a female would have to have a brother or her father tested to find her Y-DNA haplogroup, since we lack the Y-chromosome).

For me, my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s mother (great, great-grandmother) was Matilde Ozols, who I know very little about. One of her daughters, my great-grandmother, was born in 1914. So knowing that, I could say Matilde was likely born somewhere between 1872 and 1896 and married Fricis Ozolins somewhere between 1890 and 1913. My great-grandmother was born in Talsi, Kurzeme, but that is not to say for sure that Matilde originally came from there. She had 4 daughters, I believe, and 2 sons. A family story is that one of the sons was shot and killed by Soviet occupiers for hunting and killing a deer for food for his family, when food was scarce.

Combing through the Talsi church books will be my best bet for further discovering my matrilineage. Or mtDNA testing. The Talsi church books are cheaper… free ☺. I have a strong feeling that Matilde was an ethnic Latvian, so chances are she could be grouped into haplogroup H, a large, common European group. DNA testing is an option though, for those interested. One of my favourite websites, http://www.ancestry.com offers a test, complete with explanations of your results.

More on European mtDNA haplogroup distribution: http://www.eupedia.com/europe/european_mtdna_haplogroups_frequency.shtml

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