DNA, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs

L2 Legacy. (And well wishes!)

My niece turned 18 today. She’s the only one of my grandmother Margaret Colvert Allen‘s great-grandchildren to carry her mtDNA haplotype — L2d1a. I’m feeling some kind of way about that, and I shared my wistfulness with a group of researchers with whom I’m fortunate to co-administer a Facebook genealogy group. J. immediately replied that I should consider taking an mtDNA Full Sequence test at FTDNA. Though in the immediate sense the test is of limited genealogical use, as she wisely pointed out, the mtDNA database will never grow if none of us contributes to it.

Arising approximately 90,000 years ago, L2 is one of the oldest of the matrilineal haplogroups and is the most common African lineage.  L2d1a, however, is a relatively rare subclade. Google it, and three of the top five references are to this blog. I have no children and will not pass along Martha M. McNeely‘s matrilineage in that way. However, I can contribute to the understanding of its history and keep Martha’s legacy alive otherwise. Stay tuned, and Happy Birthday, S.D.J.!


Martha Margaret Miller McNeely’s L2d1a progeny — my grandmother, my sister, my niece, my mother, 1998.

DNA, Maternal Kin

My mtDNA: haplotype L2d1a.

Mitochondrial (mt) DNA is passed down in a matrilineal line from mother to offspring of both sexes. Unlike Y-DNA (passed on the Y chromosome from father to son only), it mutates very rarely. MtDNA is classified into haplogroups. The L haplogroup is the oldest of all mtDNA haplogroups and originated in Africa. My haplotype is L2d1a, which is part of the L haplogroup. I inherited this from my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother and on back to an African maternal ancestor who lived many thousands of years ago.

Though each of us carries mtDNA, only a small group of my mother’s extended family shares my L2d1a haplotype. Of all of Martha Miller McNeely‘s daughters, only Carrie McNeely Colvert, Emma McNeely Houser and Janie McNeely Taylor passed L2d1a to female children. However, only Carrie’s daughters Louise, Margaret and Launie Mae passed it further. (Emma’s daughter Wardenur died childless, as did Janie’s daughters.) All of Louise, Margaret and Launie Mae’s children are L2d1a, but only six of their collective daughters passed it further. In my grandmother Margaret’s 2nd and 3rd generations, only I, my sister, my neice, and two first cousins carry it.

McNEELY -- Martha McNeely Three Quarter


McNEELY -- Carrie M Colvert 3:4 profile




Beverly Ann


IMG_9656[By the way: Harriet Nicholson Hart’s mtDNA line ended when her only daughter died childless.  Also, there are no known carriers of Walker Colvert’s or Henry W. McNeely’s Y-DNA. ]