The Beauty of mtDNA and MitoSearch in WikiTree
By Peter J. Roberts

Child: “Mom, what’s it like having the most beautiful child in the world?” Mom: “I don’t know. Ask my mother.”

We inherit more than just our good looks from our mother. She also usually provides us with an exact copy of her mtDNA, which is usually an exact copy of her mother’s, and her mother’s, etc., back to the beginning of humankind. However, tracing your direct maternal line ancestry is often not so precise because maiden surnames at birth usually change each generation. Our mtDNA provides a convenient guidepost to navigate this often neglected line of ancestry. (For more on that here are two videos, mtDNA Inheritance  and DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Sisters, that show how it works.)

Fortunately, WikiTree also has useful DNA Features which allow you to associate your HVR1 and HVR2 mtDNA results with your direct maternal line. Simply add your rCRS (not RSRS) result to MitoSearch and then enter your MitoSearch ID on your DNA Tests page in WikiTree. If your direct maternal line cousin also has their MitoSearch ID in WIkiTree then you can compare results. If you match each other then you should confirm each tester’s direct maternal line back to your most recent direct maternal line ancestor. The mtDNA confirmation template looks like this:

This confirmation helps make WikiTree more accurate and having results in MitoSearch allows others to verify your confirmation. If your comparison reveals more than a minor mismatch then there is a mistake in that direct maternal line and it should be noted in order to make the correction.

Entering only your mtDNA haplogroup in WikiTree is not enough because these haplogroups predate known genealogies. People can belong to the same mtDNA haplogroup and not share the same direct maternal line in a genealogical timeframe.

Perhaps your mtDNA matches King Richard III’s? His direct maternal line is currently WikiTree’s most extensive mtDNA tested line. How beautiful is your direct maternal line?  Are you ready to share your mtDNA?

Peter J. Roberts is an associate professor and archivist at Georgia State University. He has an undergraduate degree in art history from Emory University and a graduate degree in museum education from The George Washington University. He has had an interest in genealogy for about 40 years and has been exploring genetic genealogy for the past 10 years. He is the administrator for the Bahamas DNA Project and three surname DNA projects, namely Roberts, Sasser, and Rustin. He is a past regional coordinator for the Atlanta area for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy. In WikiTree he is an active member of the DNA Project and a leader of the Bahamas Project.

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  2 Responses to “The Beauty of mtDNA and MitoSearch in WikiTree”

  1. I have submitted my DNA results from the Ancestry.com test I did.
    I have a lot of hits on Ancestry but have no idea how to find and/or find matches on Wikitree.
    Can someone help me with this?
    I am very interested in the Kuykendall side because this is where I am lest sure of the lineage I have found, mostly educated guesses.

  2. Hi Peter,
    This is my mt-DNA inherited from my GGGgrandmother Isabella Catherine Beavers Shofner Wilhoite. I don’t know how to input it on your system.
    Haplogroup H
    263 A G
    315.1 : C
    16519 T C
    PATERNAL O-P186

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