Thursday, April 9, 2009

Clan Ursula

In 1902 Samuel Tillman Hartley testified in front of The Dawes Commission that his mother was half-Choctaw and half-Cherokee. His sister was my great-great grandmother, on my maternal mtDNA line. Assuming Samuel was correct about his mother, and assuming he had the same mother as his sister, an mtDNA test of myself or my mother should have placed us in a Native American haplogroup.

Alas, it didn't. My mother's test came back this week, and we are in Haplogroup U5. (Clan Ursula)
Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b form the highest population concentrations in the far north, in Sami, Finns, and Estonians, but it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the haplogroup, indicate individuals from this haplogroup were part the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe.

Haplogroup U5 is found also in small frequencies and at much lower diversity in the Near East and parts of Africa, suggesting back-migration of people from northern Europe to the south.

Haplogroup U5, with its own multiple lineages nested within, is the oldest European-specific haplogroup, and its origin dates to approximately 50,000 years ago. Most likely arising in the Near East, and spreading into Europe in a very early expansion, the presence of haplogroup U5 in Europe pre-dates the expansion of agriculture in Europe...Interestingly, individuals with haplogroup U5 and U5a may have been come in contact with Neandertals living in Europe at the time. 11% of modern day Europeans share this origin.
Nothing is wrong with being in this haplogroup, but we had hoped to confirm our Native American ancestry. It appears that Samuel and Sarah Hartley's mother wasn't 100% Native American. How much was she is uncertain.

With some research, I might be able to find a Y-DNA descendant of Sarah's brother to test the Hartley line. However, Samuel thought his father, George Hartley, was 1/2 Choctaw. If that meant George's parents included one full-blood Native American, that almost always meant the mother. Still, I think I would be interested in finding out his ancestry. Of course, even if I am able to find a direct male descendant, I don't know if I will be able to convince him to take the DNA test.

According to FamilyTreeDNA - they know of three matches for both HyperVariable Regions 1 & 2. They make it clear this doesn't mean they are necessarily closely related, and the common ancestor could be as much as 50 generations back, since mtDNA changes so slowly. However, they do provide contact information. The three recorded their origin as England, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Of course, there is no assurance that they were correct with the origin.

This leads me back to thinking about the names given to my great grandmother, Margaret Jane McAlpin Monteroy Denyer. The daughter of Sarah Hartley and Ebenezer Denyer, family names weren't uncommon as middle names in the Denyer line. However, the names could equally have come from fellow soldiers Ebenezer fought with during the Civil War - or elsewhere. I wouldn't mind having McAlpin lineage, though.

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