Select Page

Happy Mother’s Day all!

It is Mother’s Day here in the United States.

Those of us who are mothers are (with some luck) getting feted by the children and grandchildren. Those of us whose mothers and grandmothers are still alive are (if we know what’s healthy for us) feting our mothers and grandmothers.

And genetic genealogists look at the genes.

Mitochondrial DNA — mtDNA for short — is our most compelling inheritance from our mothers, because it’s the type of DNA we get only from our mothers, and they got only from their mothers, and so on back into the mists of time.1

So it truly is the strongest piece of evidence of our maternal ancestry, and can be used to prove a relationship, as in the Richard III case in 2013,2 or to disprove a relationship or ethnicity.3

So in honor of that wonderful tool of mtDNA, here on DNA Sunday, The Legal Genealogist honors her mtDNA line.

My great great grandmother Martha Louise (Shew) Baird Livingston:


Her daughter, my great grandmother, Eula (Baird) Robertson with Eula’s granddaughter, my mother, Hazel Irene (Cottrell) Geissler:


Eula’s daughter, my grandmother Opal (Robertson) Cottrell with her daughter, my mother, and her daughter, my sister Kacy, and her daughter, my niece Hannah, and son, my nephew Ian.


We have children in yet another generation, but none so far in that direct maternal line… sigh… I keep telling myself that patience is a virtue…

And, by the way, if you’ve been wanting to get your mtDNA tested, today — this very day, Sunday, May 8th, is The Day. There’s a sale through midnight tonight central time at Family Tree DNA: the Family Finder autosomal test and the full mitochondrial sequence, on sale for an astounding $228 total.


  1. ISOGG Wiki (, “Mitochondrial DNA,” rev. 17 Apr 2016.
  2. See Judy G. Russell, “Rewriting history through DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 3 Feb 2013 ( : accessed 7 May 2016), and “And the answer is…,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 4 Feb 2013.
  3. See ibid., “No, no NA,” posted 23 Aug 2015.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email