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Re: Austin's Wives
Posted by: Eleanor Prieskorn (ID *****4007) Date: September 10, 2008 at 08:31:01
In Reply to: Re: Austin's Wives by Pamela Coones of 492

Ken and Pam:

Short answer: no.

Long answer: the only way I would know would be 1) if someone in the various Lee projects had mtDNA tested, and 2) if they had recorded their female lineage, and 3) if it matched the Davis's or Hedgepath's. Problem is: the various surname studies are by their nature YDNA (paternal lineage) based. Very few people have done the mtDNA testing at all. For instance, I haven't. But a maternal aunt has, so I guess mine and hers are the same except for the last generation.

It is my opinion, and I expressed this to Ellie, that mtDNA testing is not particularly useful. The problem comes prior to 1850 or so when censuses and other records didn't even mention the wife's name, much less what her maiden name might be. That's when a lot of casual genealogists get stumped. So, generally, most people only have their female lineages about as far back as yours, if that far. Given that, and the statistical impreciseness (is that a word?) of a mtDNA match or near-match, how can you and someone else make a firm connection?

For instance, let's say that you and I matched 100% on our mtDNA test. That means that we have a common female ancestor somewhere back in time, probably closer to now than further, but possibly 15 or 20 generations back. Well, I know that none of mine match the ones you've listed, so the match might be Sarah Davis's mother or grandmother or great-grandmother, or even Mary Hedgepath's mother, gm, or ggm. So, what good is that to us? We don't know who those people are, where they came from, or anything about them.

In YDNA, you're generally dealing with people of the same surname, because the surname tends to follow the YDNA information down the descendant chain (the male one, anyway, barring any "non-marital" events like adoptions, name changes, or illegitimacies). So, when I match a fellow named "Leigh" (and I do - the only one I've found), we know that he and I share a common ancestor back in time, probably back when people were illiterate and the spelling of the surname was a bit fluid. He has his earliest ancestor back to 1704. I have mine back to 1760. Mine doesn't appear to descend from his, ergo, the common guy was farther back. But he was named Lee, or something like it. And that gives me something to look specifically for. And, given that my "match" has his line traced back to England, that tells me WHERE to look for it.

Folks with mtDNA matches aren't so lucky in our patricharchal system. After some point in time, the raw data starts to peter out, and you don't have any clue of where to look for it.

Good luck in your search, though.

Dennis Lee

Wimberley, TX

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