How many generations for the earliest known CONFIRMED mtDNA tested line in WikiTree?

+7 votes
This is my question related to oldest DNA tested direct lines.  Now that WikiTree can associate a direct maternal line with mtDNA results of descendants of that line, which CONFIRMED mtDNA tested direct maternal line in WikiTree goes back the most number of generations?  That is to say, how many generations ago did the most recent confirmed direct maternal line ancestor live for two mtDNA matching (direct maternal line) cousins?

Sincerely, Peter
in Policy and Style by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (524k points)

I'm trying to understand what you are asking. In my case, my oldest ancestor along my maternal line is Perine Rau.

Are you asking at which point our lines would diverge if someone else had her as a maternal ancestor? 

In my case, I'm not aware of another WikiTree member having her as a maternal ancestor that has been tested, but I know a few people out there have been tested as part of the Mothers of Acadia project.

Hello Roland,  Sorry I was not more clear.  Your use of divergence may not be the same as my thinking so here's an example of what I mean.  

Pat has mtDNA results and Pat's earliest known direct maternal line ancetor is believed to be Eva Brown who is Pat's great-great-great grandmother.  Eva had two daughters (Mary and Carol).  Mary is Pat's  great-great grandmother.  Tracy also has an mtDNA test and is a match with Pat.   Tracy's great-great grandmother is Carol.  In this example Eva is the earliest known confirmed (via matching mtDNA) direct maternal lline ancestor for Pat and Tracy.   That direct maternal line ancestor (Eva) lived 5 generations ago.  

Getting this kind of confirmation for direct maternal lines (and direct paternal lines) is vital in order to make sure the genealogy is correct.  WikiTree needs to clearly show which direct maternal and paternal lines are confirmed by close enough matching of distant cousins (who belong to those direct lines) who should share the same DNA (mtDNA or Y-DNA as the case may be).  Sincerely, Peter

Thanks for the explanation Peter. What I meant by diverge is what you explained, in other words Pat and Carol share Eva as a maternal ancestor and their lines diverge from each other at Mary and Carol.

In my case, Perine Rau is my 10x great grandmother, so someone would need to presents a matching mtDNA test who decended from Perine's daughter Catherine instead of Perine's daugther Jeanne, from who I decend, to be able to consider Perine as a confirmed direct maternal line, correct?

So, if a second cousin of mine who shares my maternal g-grandmother  was tested and found to match my mtDNA, it would only confirm the maternal line up to our g-grandmother, not any higher. To clarify what I meant by diverge, my second cousin and I both decend from Perine Rau (on paper), but our lines diverge at our shared g-grandmother.

On the topic of terminology, is there a good resource for beginners like me just getting into DNA for genealogy for getting a better grasp of the terminology and the details of the technology?

Now that I think I understand the question, I can offer this suggestion to get your answer:

In theory, it should be possible to query the wikitree database to find the mtDNA tested wikitree users with the most distant shared maternal ancestor. As users, we don't have the capability to run such queries (for good reasons!), so it would have to be done by management.

A cool feature for wikitree would be to occasionally run such a query for both mtDNA and yDNA tested users to update a page with top 5 or top 10 list of most distant DNA proven ancestors. I'll suggest this to Chris.
Yes Perine is your earliest known direct maternal line ancestor but she is not yet confirmed as such.  You would need to test a direct maternal line descendant of another daughter of Perine and that cousin would need to match you.   WikiTree does not store DNA results so it can't automatically confirm two distant cousins are a match.  WikiTreers using third party tools (or general knowledge of what constitutes a DNA match within a genealogical time frame) could designate which part of a direct line is confirmed via distantly matching cousins. In theory WikiTree supervisors with knowledge of  what constutes a DNA match could tag/highlight which parts of direct lines were confirmed and then WikiTree could automatically report which confirmed direct lines were among the longest.

This DNA confirmation is along the lines of genealogical evidence and proof.  Just because my Y-DNA is an exact match with my father does not prove he is my father.  My real father could be my father's brother or father's father.  Additional autosomal DNA testing could ferret out the truth in that situation. is the best resource.  See DNA-NEWBIE Glossary under FOR NEWBIES  Sincerely, Peter
That would be very cool, Roland.

The whole issue of  "confirmed" connections still confuses me and I don't know the right way forward.

I'm pretty sure I understand from Peter and others that the only thing a DNA test could really confirm is that you're related to someone else who has taken a DNA test. If Roland and I share significant DNA we can confirm our connection to each other. But our connection to our common ancestor is based on my genealogy research and Roland's genealogy research, right?

I know I just need to find time to concentrate on this and understand it. Sorry if I'm behind on discussions.
Thanks Peter, that link to was helpful.
Matching atDNA indicates you share ancestry somewhere is your ancestral tree.  Matching Y-DNA indicates shared direct paternal line ancestry.  Matching mtDNA indicates shared direct maternal line ancestry.  X chromosome matching indicates shared ancestry somewhere in specific subset of your ancestral tree (only the ancestors which can contribute to one's X-DNA).  Which of those matches indicate shared ancestry in a genealogical time frame depends on the level of testing and the closeness of the matches for that type of DNA test.
In your ideal scenario, Peter, what would it say on the WikiTree profile of the "confirmed" common ancestor?

For example, let's say Roland and I have matching mtDNA and we think we're first cousins. We think our grandmother had two daughters, our two mothers. What do you think our assumed grandmother's profile should say about this?
Oops, this was meant as a followup comment, not an answer!

In all the profiles of persons belonging to the same CONFIRMED direct paternal line I suggest wording similar to:

"Y-DNA testing confirms the direct paternal line genealogy from (testers' names w/ links to their profiles)  to their most recent shared direct paternal line ancestor (ancestor's name w/ link to his profile)"

It would be most helpful to also have a chart showing which lines are confirmed (and which need more testing for confirmation).  For example the "View carriers of the earliest knwon paternal ancestor" chart (  ) could have the confirmed lines in bold face font and with a note saying something like: "Names in bold are direct paternal lines [genealogies?] confirmed by Y-DNA testing.  Other direct paternal lines still need Y-DNA testing for confirmation."

Similar for confirmed direct maternal lines.

Sincerely, Peter


1 Answer

0 votes
In my ancestors, my dad's mtDNA traces back to Sarah "Sally" (last name unknown, but believed by many to be a RANSOM) (Unknown-223990).  A descendant of one of her sisters was tested (along with my dad) a number of years ago and matched.  Sarah is my dad's 3rd great-grandmother.  My dad is Athey-68.
by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (371k points)

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