Monday, March 09, 2009

Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project... an update

Dear Cousins,

It has been a while since I updated you on the Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project.

To date there are 83 participants in the project. I am always amazed that just when we think there will be no other participants someone writes to me expressing interest in being tested.

If you are interested don't hesitate to contact me. The results are interesting to say the list.

We are still searching for individuals who descend from some of the Founding Mothers of Acadia for who we still have no test results. Do take a look at the list to see if you are a direct descendant from one of them. For someone who wants to be mtDNA tested, that person should figure out her or his direct maternal line. A direct maternal line means it starts with you to your mother, to her mother and so on as many generations back as you can go.

If you an Acadian descendants, Stephen White would gladly verify your lineage as we have been collaborating together on this project. So you would want to join the Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project site when you are ready to order your test kit.

Now if you are French-Canadian, you would want to join the French Heritage DNA Project. Doug Miller is the administrator of that project and is very helpful.

The Acadian project was begun because of all the scuttlebutt that was going on with some wanting to believe that all of the first Mothers of Acadia - or the founding Mothers - had to be of Native descent because we had no records to prove otherwise.

Well so many records were destroyed at the time of Deportation by the British while others were buried in the ground by the Acadians who had been told they would be returning. So between those destroyed and those that rotted in the ground, the records that would have given us the origins of our first ancestors was lost forever.

Then along came mtDNA... ta da! When embarking on this project we did so with open minds. All we wanted was the truth and to put the fabrications to rest once and for all.

We really expected that some of the results would and could come back showing Native results. In the end, those women who were thought to have been of European/France origins are and those we already knew were Native have proven to be so. So far there have been no big surprises.

It is important to know that every additional test taken is a huge contribution to our heritage.

One can take what is called the HVR1 test or the HVR2 test. There is now the FGS test. The FGS is the newest and most refined test to date - it is a Full Sequence test.

When I contacted Eileen Krause of Family Tree DNA for a breakdown of what each test tells us as far as how far back people with the same results might be related to a particular ancestor, I received the following informaton:

Matches to just the HVR1 and HVR2 can be more distantly related.

A low resolution match (HVR1 only) has about a 50% chance of being related within the last 52 generations.

A high resolution match (both HVR1 and HVR2) has about a 50% chance of being related within the last 28 generations

An exact match on the FULL SEQUENCE (FGS TEST), based on what is currently known about the mutation rates of mtDNA, is likely related within 2 to 4 centuries. Please note that only limited studies have been performed on mutation rates of mtDNA, so the estimated range in which a common ancestor lived may decrease or increase as the results of more intensive mutation rate studies become available.

Of course the past 400 years is what we are looking at for Acadia. So FGS testing has become very important to us.

If you have any questions about mtDNA testing for our Mothers project, please do not hesitate to post a question or to write to me privately. It is an exciting time to be able to work with science to find our roots at this time in our history.

As an aside, I sent in my test kit last month. The results should arrive pretty soon. Of course, my direct maternal line is on my French-Canadian side and I have been able to research that line into France so I will be very surprised if my results are not European. But.. we don't now for sure until the results are in. Maybe I'll find that "Indian Princess" my grandmother and my mother always talked about yet (Smile>).


Your Cousin Lucie

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