Mitochondrial Testing for Female Descendents of Ada Lee Hobby and James Crook Hobby

+7 votes
I am a direct descendant of Ada Lee Hobby and James Crook Hobby. My grandmother was Elva Selene Shipman who grew up in Loundes County Alabama. My closet living relatives, a daughter of Elva Selene Day and her daughter, do not seem interested in mitochondrial DNA testing. Elva Selene Day had sisters, all of whom have passed away. However, I am certain that some had daughters and grand daughters that can trace their ancestry to Ada Lee Hobby and James Crook Hobby The daughters are probably advanced in age but maybe I have cousins from the female line that would join me in mitochondrial DNA testing. Direct ancestors of Charlotte Pace Lee, the mother of Ada Lee Hobby, might also work as a match for DNA testing. I might be able to pick up some of the cost for full genome mapping for an appropriate testing candidate.

I am seeking only female descendants.  One goal is to discover if the women of this family line carry strands of DNA that match those of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The other is to see if we can triangulate women ancestors because the female line is nearly impossible to trace before Martha Lee and Martin Day. We may locate a common ancestor 500 years ago that will help us trace the female line back to Martha Day. Although Martin Lee Sr names his wife Rutha, and family members from the Grumbles line say her last name was Pierce, there is scant evidence that her mother was Ruth Narcum and that her father was John Pierce. This is a brick wall on the female side, and it will take at least two direct descendants on the maternal line. In contrast, I can trace one female ancestor on my father's side back to the 15th Century in England!
asked in The Tree House by Moira Anonymous G2G1 (1.8k points)
retagged by Peter Roberts

2 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer

Hello Moira,

I hope you will connect your ancestry to your earlier ancestry already in WikiTree.

If you can find direct maternal line descendants (male or female) of two different daughters of the matriarch in question, then their sufficiently matching mtDNA can be used to confirm their direct maternal lines back to her.


answered by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
selected by Moira Anonymous
Hi, Peter,  

The Family Tree web site says I need to have a pair of females. Can you explain your rationale for testing a male? Not being combative. I really want to know. I think it might be harder to find a male but not sure.

I am going to build the maternal lines of my family tree back to William Lee and Rutha Pierce and link to Family Search. I have done much of this work on and I don't know how to bring all of the sources easily into Wiki Tree. I don't have the time to Re-do all of the sources for WikiTree. My family has been doing genealogy for centuries, and many lines of the family tree are quite extensive.

Perhaps if someone can see the tree, she may realize we are cousins and agree to that testing. I cannot find our family tree on Family Search unless I go in searching from my own profile, so I am not even sure if I could send a link for someone else to look at it.
Hello Moira,

If your family has been doing genealogy for centuries then I'm confident some of your ancestry is already in WikiTree.  You only need to connect to that ancestry, and you only need to focus on the direct maternal lines in question.  One respectable source per profile is good enough to start with.  You and others can add additional sources at a later time.

Anyone on the Web can easily see the matching mtDNA of direct maternal line cousins in WikiTree.  That is not the case with Geni or Family Tree DNA's trees or anyone else

Sincerely, Peter
Hello Moira,

If the FTDNA website says you need two females then let us know the web address so we can get that misinformation corrected ;-)  Males have their mother's mtDNA.  Males do not pass their mtDNA to their children.  So an mtDNA tester can be male.   Males and female mtDNA testers will not have any males in their direct maternal line.

Sincerely, Peter
So, Peter, since my mother is a direct descendant of the maternal line, and her mother likewise is a direct descendant of the same maternal line that we can trace back to Rutha Pierce and William Day Sr., does that mean that I can take the mtDNA test and that my mother's brother who is son to my grandmother who is in the same direct maternal line can also take the mtDNA test and be paired with me? We are both direct descendants on the maternal side from William Day Sr. and Rutha Pierce with two different mothers - my mother and my grandmother who is my uncle's mother.

I will look again at the FTDNA site. I am nearly certain it says two females need to be paired. I am looking at full genome mapping for deep ancestry, in actuality all the haplogroups we can find along with the best idea of our ethnic roots. I am not really trying in this case to find living relatives although I wish I could break through the Rutha Pierce puzzle. If I want to locate living relatives from the Day family of Lowndes County, Alabama,  I just have to call my second cousin to see who is alive.

The Day family has a great lineage of patriots, and the children of Ada Lee Pace Hobby and James Crook Hobby included some highly intelligent people that educated their own girl children before it was popular for girls to be highly educated. That is much to their credit!
–1 vote
Mitochondrial DNA, unfortunately, is better suited to ancestors hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Autosomal testing would probably yield better results. How many generations away are Ada Lee Hobby and James Crook Hobby? Have you traces out all their descendants, both male and female in the hope that you can find a remote cousin who can test?
answered by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (222k points)

Mitochondrial DNA is well suited for confirming direct maternal lines in a genealogical timeframe.   For example WikiTree Tops shows:

Direct maternal line with the most number of generations ''confirmed'' by matching mtDNA of distant cousins

# 19 generations from Duldig-2 to Neville-219 confirmed by the matching mtDNA of Duldig-2 and York-1245

# 8 generations from Weatherford-199 to Malone-715 confirmed by the matching mtDNA of Weatherford-199 and Zimmerman-1613

# 8 generations from Lavoie-74 to Unknown-179673 confirmed by the matching mtDNA of Lavoie-74 and Shidler-43

Interesting Peter. My MtDNA of H1a1 is useless for confirming anything recent because it is extremely common in Europe and the British Isles. It can, however, confirm that a particular woman did NOT give birth to a specific child.
Hello Rosemary,

H1a1 is your haplogroup. What is important for genealogy are your differences from the rCRS which can be seen at

You only have three matches in MitoSearch which has tens of thousands of entries. So your type of mtDNA is NOT extremely common.

I recommend watching

Sincerely, Peter
True, but we are from East Anglia exclusively and there hasn't been much testing out of England yet.
Hello Rosemary,

Most mtDNA testers are from the U.S. and Canada.  A very large percentage (majority?) of them trace their direct maternal lines to the U.K.  I suspect East Anglia is well represented.

Sincerely, Peter
It may well be. Unfortunately the preponderance of people in the US don't take their trees back to England. My maternal line centres around Attleborough in Norfolk and the women are from parishes close by, if not in Attleborough itself.

One day there'll be something more useful. Just not today.

Cheers, Rosemary
Hello Rosemary,

I've provided three examples above (Duldig-2 / Neville-219, Weatherford-199 / Zimmerman-1613, Lavoie-74 / Shidler-43) showing that mtDNA is useful today.   Please provide your evidence for why you believe mtDNA matching on direct maternal line it is not useful.

Thanks and sincerely, Peter
I don't know how much reading you have done in the lay press and academic literature but the use of mitochondrial DNA to trace maternal lineage is rapidly evolving and turning onto an extraordinary genealogy research tool. Family Tree DNA has some scientifiv articles that could provide background and a list of books that provide background in DNA testing.

It is most effective to use mitochondrial DNA testing when you do it with another person from your family tree. I read it needs to be a woman, but Peter seems to have a far better understanding of mitochondrial DNA testing than I do. While you need the genealogy as far back as possible, this type of testing can find ancestors closer to you than thousands of years. It depends partly on how many fertile females there were and how many progeny lived to procreate. Some groups have remarkably stable DNA with few mutations while others have many mutations that can show up in a relatively short time span.
If is rare to have any mtDNA differences on HVR1 and HVR2 in a genealogical timeframe.
Peter, I've just watched that video from Megan Smolenyak and yes, that's a good example. In this case there were 2 distinct families that can be traced back, and one of them could go no further.

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