Saturday, March 08, 2008

In Honor of International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, I'd like to honor the women in my family by announcing my mtDNA haplogroup. This is my genetic link with the women in my family that goes back thousands of years, you might say the tie that binds us. We are truly an international group of women so it is especially fitting to honor the whole lot of us on this special day.

Back in early February I won a DNA test kit from DNA Heritage in a contest on The Genetic Genealogist blog. I chose an mtDNA test (maternal line) and have written a couple of posts about the testing process and my thoughts about it. My results came in earlier than I expected and ever since then I've been trying to find information about my haplogroup. Now that National Women's History month is here it's time for the big reveal. It is after all, the deep history of the women in my family.

Drum roll please... ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Thank you! The results of my mtDNA test are: I'm in haplogroup H.

Now don't go falling all over yourselves with excitement here... try to contain your enthusiasm. I know what you're thinking. Yes, H is a lovely letter. H is for happy, healthy, heart, heat, honey, history, hope, healing, hippies, home, humor, hummingbirds, harmonica, heaven, Helena, and human. They are all lovely words aren't they? And happy I am to be in haplogroup H!

But H is not just for happy words. It has it's share of not-so-happy words too... like huh? which is what I thought when I got my results, and hassle which is what I've gone through trying to find information about my haplogroup, hectic is the pace I've kept while trying to get the research done on my maternal line in time to write it up for the next edition of the COG, hissy-fit is what I want to throw every time I find another link leading to the Family Tree DNA web site because they won't let me play with them, hard is what it's like to read the scientific journal articles about my haplogroup, and headache is what I get when I'm through reading them.

So what have I learned about my haplogroup? Not a lot really, especially given that haplogroup H is the largest of the 7 haplogroups in Europe. It's estimated that around 40-60% of native Europeans belong to haplogroup H. You'd think with a group that size there would be a good amount of information available about it but I'm not finding that to be the case. Or maybe I should say I'm having a hard time locating understandable-to-a-layman information about the group.

I am working on compiling information on haplogroup H and have even started a blog on the topic. I know, I know, my New Year's resolution was NO NEW PROJECTS (in conjunction with "get something published")... and I didn't even make it through February before I got another one started. But I couldn't foresee this one coming!!! How was I supposed to know I was going to win this contest??? What's a girl supposed to do?

But seriously, my new blog,, is intended to be nothing more than a compilation of information I come across that may be of interest to other non-scientific haplogroup H information hunters. I'm thinking that my education on the topic of haplogroup H will be ongoing and sporadic (as time allows) and that's how I predict my posting to that blog will go as well. The Creative Gene blog is already diverse enough without adding all my haplogroup H findings to it so that's why I felt the need to start a new blog.

Now, before I finish this final post in my series on winning the DNA testing kit I'd like to say a great big THANK YOU to Blaine Bettinger, author of The Genetic Genealogist blog and Alastair Greenshields at DNA Heritage. These two gentlemen have launched my genetic genealogy journey and I am very grateful to be on my way. Just for the record, I am very glad I chose the mtDNA test in spite of the fact that I'm a little challenged right now in interpreting my results. I was very pleased with the ease of use of the DNA Heritage test kit and with the quick results. This has been a very happy experience for me!

P.S. Blaine is writing an ebook on the topic of interpreting the results of your DNA test and he has graciously shared his work in progress with me. This will no doubt be a hugely popular book because it is so badly needed and so very well written. There are more and better resources in his book than I found in all my many hours of searching online.

Oh, and one more thing. Marie Antoinette was a haplogroup H member. So I have finally found my family connection to royalty ;-)

Who else out there is in the H group? If you'd like to learn more about haplogroup H, please join me on the Haplogroup H blog!

Here are my previous posts on this topic:
Here's Where I'm at With Analyzing My mtDNA Results
The Results Are In!
Here Today Gone Tomorrow
Kit On Order
My Own mtDNA vs Y-DNA Test Analysis