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Genealogy Fun

My direct maternal line comes from Finland. Or does it?

I knew my Finnish grandmother, but she was born in Minnesota and had no personal knowledge of Finland. My immigrant great-grandparents died before I was born. No family member who had lived in Finland ever visited us. I knew nothing of my family’s life in Finland.

I did not even know where in Finland my family had lived until I began doing genealogy. I found that we come from Karelia, in eastern Finland.

This area borders Russia, and I began to wonder whether I have any Russian heritage. I decided to take a DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA to see whether I really am one quarter Finn.

The autosomal test came back as my family said it should: 26% Finnish. I surmise that the only Russian relatives I have are cousins descending from those who married into my Finnish line.

As part of my DNA test, I asked them to check my mitochondrial DNA. That would test my direct maternal line stretching back many generations. I learned that I belong to haplogroup H, widespread in Europe with about 40% of the population. I am part of subgroup 4, often found in the Iberian peninsula, the Maghreb (northwest Africa), Finland, Britain, and Ireland.

What should I do with this information? Mitochondrial DNA does not offer much help for my genealogical research unless I want to compare results with others who share my maternal ancestry (Mattila<Lampinen<Miettinen<Toivain).

Perhaps that is why FamilyTreeDNA offers a fun spin on mtDNA results. You can make a video about your maternal line.

I made my video today. Starring me, it provides an overview of mtDNA and how it is passed on. The video tells me that I share the H haplogroup with Queen Victoria whose mother was German. I wonder how many generations back the Queen and I would have to go to find a common ancestor. Somewhere along the way, one daughter must have headed to Germany while another went to Finland.

The video on FamilyTree DNA provides a fun respite from the tedium of analyzing DNA results. We all need some comic relief now and then.



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