Guide to mtDNA matching service-
finding our mother's mother's mother's... mothers

Better to light a candle....

This page explains an attempt to provide you with an effective way to find maternal ancestors via your mitochondrial DNA. The project is just getting started... and it is one of those things that will only "work" if critical mass is achieved... but with your help, it could work! And you aren't being asked to register or pay.

If you've had your mtDNA fully sequenced, and you have a WorldConnect page, you don't need to read the guidelines below. I will do ALL the work for you, if you will just send me the URL ("www-thingie") for the page, tell me your haplogroup, and which testing service you used. I also need to know which person on the WorldConnect page is your mother's mother's (... mother's) mother. (However, if you are feeling kind, I would appreciate it if you did the work, as described below, for me!)

The problem in search of a solution...

To understand the problem consider this: I have a cousin with whom I share maternal grandmother. His mother' mother was the same lady as my mother's mother. As a result, we have the same "mitochondrial DNA", aka mtDNA. Testing services can identify the details of the mtDNA we have.

Somewhere out there, I hope there is someone alive who shares a maternal great-great-great grandmother with me, someone who knows about her. I am hoping this because I don't know much about her.

Through the magic of DNA sequencing, we could find each other through the fact that we have the same mtDNA.... but...

In searching for my father's father's father's... fathers, things are quite easy. If my name is Lunham, then all of them are probably called Lunham. Searching is relatively easy.

My mother's mother was born a Bradley. Her mother was born a Dingley. Her mother was born a McKenney. Searching is harder.

The web site that this page explains started with....


See McKenney


See McKenney


Haplogroup H4a1a1

Maria MCKENNY -w/n (b.1834, Maine, USA) m/o + Emma DINGLEY -w/n (b.1859, Maine) m/o + BRADLEY -w/n (of Massachusetts) == h/g: FTDNA-fgs abt.5/10 More info.

That's all that was on the site originally. An entry for my oldest known maternal ancestor. With cross references to her married name from the married name for each of her direct matrilineal descendants.

To get the names you are searching for onto the list, you only need to send me the information as listed for Maria, which I will go into in detail in a moment. I will take care of adding the new headings, making the "See..." entries.

Please note that this site is only for publishing information about your matrilineal line... your mother's mother, her mother, her mother, and so on. (Leave your mother's name, and maybe even your mother's mother's name off the list, to distance yourself from identity theft problems.)

What I need you to send...


Your maternal ancestor's name, and a webpage where readers can learn more. If you haven't got a webpage yet, you can very easily start one with People will need a way to contact you, but that should be done via your webpage. I also like... despite what some people see as "flaws"... the Worldconnect project... I've given you the link there to my oldest known direct maternal ancestor, so you can see a sample of WorldConnect in action.


If you only send the minimum, I doubt you'll get responses from readers of the mtDNA Matcher website... but you are welcome to try, anyway.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking, say, for other McKenneys. If you only provide "McKenney... More info" would you bother to check the link? On the other hand, even "McKenney (b. 1834) More info" adds enough to make some people spot "your" McKenney as one that might interest them. The idea is to build an entry which helps other researchers decide if your ancestor could be their ancestor.

If you know your mtDNA haplogroup, that is VERY useful information to fellow family history hunters... send it, please... along with WHO tested your mtDNA and told you your haplogroup (it seems to be an inexact "science"), and when you last checked that your haplogroup assignment hadn't changed.

It is also going to help this directory be a success if you indicate the nature of the mtDNA testing you have so far paid for. At FTDNA, it was once possible to have just your HVR1 tested. This was a nice "introductory" product, not too expensive... but not too terribly useful, either. There are many, many, many people out there who have the same mtDNA as you, if you only look as far as HVR1. Today, the entry-level mtDNA test from FTDNA gives you the results for your HVR1 and HVR2. And you can also, if you wish, purchase a full genomic sequence analysis. In a perfect world, everyone would. Until then we will have to make do with what people wish to afford.

Continuing the matter of "degree of testing": Indicate how far you have gone. If you have only done HVR1 testing, don't be too excited by "matches" to other people, even if the surnames are "good". And don't be too surprised if people don't bother to contact you. On the other hand, if you have had the FGS done, then you should encounter many fewer false positives with other FGS testees... if you find a match with one of them, it is worth some work.

Still on "degree of testing"... I am not certain that every lab defines "HVR1", "HVR2" and "FGS" the same way. Be sure to indicate not only your degree of testing, but also which testing service gave you those results.


Best... for you (and for me!) would be perfectly formatted entries, which I can "lift" straight from your email, and add to the website. That, by the way, will for now be a purely manual process, so please understand that your entry won't appear immediately, and may be edited, to suit my ideas of how the information should be presented. The closer you can come to the format I want, the better the chances of speedy inclusion for your entry in the directory. A apologize if anyone finds my editing "dictatorial"... but I want the page to be easy to scan for users... and that requires a consistent format.


Anatomy of a perfect submission

Copy the following to a new message to me, and then go through and replace the items starting QX. Some items will be irrelevant of unavailable, I know. Feel free to TRY adding "stuff", but I'd rather keep the material in the directory to the minimum needed to send people to your own webpage about the ancestor, where you can put whatever you want to put!

I can create an entry for you, if you can point me to something like the tree presented for Mary Beach, b. 1641, in Mary Beach's WorldConnect tree. But I will put your entry in the directory faster if you do the following for me! If you merely point me to an existing tree, please tell me which person on the published tree is your direct mother's mother's mother's... mother.

N.B.: For this directory, entries are by the lady's MARRIED name, where known.

QX: Haplogroup, etc. See above.

QX: name, as, for example "Maria MCKENNY"
... capitals as there. Married name. Or maiden,
... in the cases where no married name is relevant
... for "wedded name" to confirm the same.
... (or "-u/n" for "unmarried name")
QX (): when, where born, if available, e.g.
... (b.1834, Maine, USA).
... (No space, please between, e.g., "b." and year.
... Forgive me fussing? But if we are consistent about
... spaces, it makes automated searching easier.)

... Please write US states out, and add ",USA" as
... I hope this will become an international resources
... Please do not give the town, or more than the year,
... to keep the directory concise. That further information
... can (will, I hope!) be available at your webpage.
... The role of the entry in the directory is to allow users
... to see whether or not your webpage may be useful
... to them. They don't need the detail, for that.
QX "{space} m/o {space} +"
QX then next child, specified as oldest matriarch was, e.g.
... m/o Emma Dingley -w/n (b.1859, Maine).
... (Note that if the child was born in the same state,
... there is no need to repeat "USA")
... (Also note that individuals are separated by a plus
... sign followed by a space.)
QX then next youngest person in the matriarchal chain, e.g.
... Bradley -w/n (of Massachusetts)
((Repeat the lines for daughters of daughters, etc., as
often as makes sense, but don't list living, or recently
departed people.))
QX something like " == h/g: FTDNA-fgs abt.5/10"
... consisting of...
... a space, two equals signs, a space, "h/g:" and then...
... The abbreviation for the DNA testing service you
... used, and the date

Reiteration of Abbreviations

(I'll list a few "obvious" ones in a moment.... First the "special" ones....)

My main family history hunt page can be accessed via, if you want a shorthand way to cite it.

Concerned about "issues" surrounding the submission of DNA samples? So was I. But eventually, I came to believe that FamilyTreeDNA handles those issues well. I worried about three things... Civil liberties issues- FamilyTree, last time I checked, said they'd not yet been forced to hand over an data. Getting medical insurance issues- With more and more insurers requiring a pre-insurance medical, including blood draw, we've "lost" this one already. Being "pestered" by other FamilyTree participants- I've been a member, in the "contact me if we have similar DNA" system for years. No problems yet... the system protects your email address. Details at my page about DNA testing services.

Here is how you can contact this page's editor.

Why is there a script and hidden graphic on this page? I have my web-traffic monitored for me by eXTReMe tracker. They offer a free tracker. If you want to try one, check out their site. Neither my web pages nor my programs incorporate spyware. If the page has Google ads, they also involve scripts.

Valid HTML Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at