Come and Share My Passion for History

Archive for October, 2014

Sullivan Mitochondrial Haplogroup V17

Results for K M are in and now we are just waiting on B A‘s results.

Today I will explain about the mitochondrial  DNA (mt-DNA) results for the female line of my family. Rose has her complete mt-DNA results. She is haplogroup V17.

Mitochondrial DNA  is a special type of DNA passed from mothers to their children and it mutates at a very slow rate, Because of this slow mutation it tells us about our ancient female roots on the human tree. My mother passed this on to me and she got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, all the way back to the beginning. So my mt-DNA traveled to me by way of

  1. Rose
  2. Florence Burns
  3. Catherine Sullivan
  4. Margaret O’Sullivan

This is as far as I can go at this time because I do not know what part of Ireland Margaret came from and Ireland has lost much of it’s records for the time period of her birth. With any luck, this DNA project will eventually take me back additional generations.

All of my first cousins (male & female) who descendant from Stevens women will have this same haplogroup. The Stevens boys (my uncles) will have this mt-DNA haplogroup from their mother, but they do not pass it on to their children. So me, S G, and K M are all mt-DNA haplogroup V17, but P C did not receive mt-DNA from Dad, so we do not know the haplogroup of P C.

The V haplogroup is primarily European in origins. V is a relatively young branch of the mitochondrial family tree. It is about 13,500 year old. What this mean is that the mutation I and several of my cousins carry that separate us out as member of the V haplogroup occurred about 13,500 year ago. Today the V haplogroup is most commonly found in Scandinavia.

We received this mt-DNA from our Irish great-great-grandmother, yet V is not very common in Ireland. Since the Vikings of of Scandinavia are know to have looted and pillaged Ireland for decades, one explanation for our mt-DNA results might be that we descend from a female Viking line.

I’m not sure if that is good news or bad news 😉

And that’s the end of today’s DNA lesson and fun fact.

Update 5-Nov-2014
I found this interesting graphic that shows the likely migration route of our V ancestry.

DNA Results Update

I am pleased to announce that all four of my “1st round” DNA test kits have been received by the lab. Two kits have completed processing (P C & S G) and I have started working with them. K M’s results should be available any day now but I will have to wait about 4 weeks before B A’s (our Burns cousin)  results are available – he kept forgetting to do it before he ate 😉

Once B A’s results are back I will be able to do all sorts of analysis and begin the process of separating our Irish DNA from our old New England DNA. Once that project is underway, I can start working on the mystery of Grampa Stevens’ mother.

The DNA testing company I use, FamilyTreeDNA, is experiencing a lot of growing pains at the moment and many parts of their website are currently broken. I will be in touch with my cousins to give them passwords for their DNA accounts as soon as things settle down and there is something to actually see and do once you log-in to your account page.

I am now ready to recruit a few more cousins for another round of testing. The more the merry!


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