My mtDNA Results – T2b

by Don Taylor

I recently took the mtDNA[i] test through Family Tree DNA. I wasn’t surprised to learn I am a T2b haplogroup (23&Me’s test also told me that). There were 30 matches with a Genetic Distance of zero (0). Tracing mtDNA ancestors can be complex as the surnames typically change every generation. With that in mind, I thought I don’t know what my mtDNA cousins’ surnames are. I know my two mtDNA sisters and my one niece, but not any cousins.

Looking At My Tree,

Photo of Sylvia Larson (later Matson) in nurse's uniform - circa 1955
My mom, in nurse’s uniform – circa 1955

I received my mtDNA from my mother.

She received it from her mother, Madonna Mae Montran. Madonna had no other daughters.

Madonna received her mtDNA from her mother, Ida Mae Barber. Ida had no other daughters.

Ida received her mtDNA from her mother, Sarah H Blackhurst (1848-1929). Sarah also had a daughter Eva. Louisa Barber.

  1. Eva married Adelbert Roswell Goff and had a daughter
    1. Lillian A. Goff (1907-___).

Sarah received her mtDNA from Fanny Taylor (1806-1889). Besides Sarah, Fanny had five other daughters

  1. Ellen Blackhurst (1829-1905) married Henry Clough and had one daughter.
    1. Kara A Clough (___-___)
  2. Elizabeth Blackhurst (1831-1915) married Isaac John Earl and had one known daughter.
    1. Mary Flora Earl
  3. Mary Blackhurst (1833-1900) married Royal Baldwin (no known children)
  4. Louise Blackhurst (1840-1927) had one daughter with Samuel Sanders and one daughter with Champion Eslow.
    1. Carrie B. Sanders (1867-___)
    2. Phoebe Ann Eslow (1879-1948)
  5. Phoebe Anna Blackhurst (1842-1929) married William Brownell and had two daughters
    1. Hattie L. Brownell (1860-1916)
    2. Fanny P Brownell (1866-1939)

I don’t know who Fanny Taylor’s parents are.

So, my known mtDNA ancestors and cousins include the following known surnames: Blackhurst, Brownell, Clough, Earl, Eslow, Goff, Sanders, and Taylor.

Next, I looked at the surname of my mtDNA matches trees.

  1. PJM: Sole, Perry, Ahearn, Broderick.
  2. SPD: Murray, Doherty, Elliott, Beggs.
  3. MDC: Newton, Barry.
  4. DJT: Hose, Rankin, McKenzie, Finlayson.
  5. SCC: Norris, Edwards, Arnold.
  6. ACG: Richardson, Douras, Lennon, O’Neil.
  7. RJC: Norris, Edwards, Arnold, Bryan.
  8. NAM: Lafferty, Doherty, Elliott.
  9. MW: Stein.
  10. MD: Parkyn, Smith, Harris.
  11. DBD: van Dyle
  12. DMW: Miller, MacKellar, Gallop, Caldwell, Flynn.
  13. BS: Regnier, Darcy, Crahan.
  14. MA: Coombs.
  15. AMN: Leonard, Campbell, O’Brien, Deasy.
  16. PMT: Bothwell, Fahey, Curtis, Jones.
  17. SV: Leonard, Campbell, O’Brien, Deasy.
  18. MKL: Lyons, Browne, Bergin, Long, Crabb.
  19. CW: Cushing, Pratt, Shonk.
    • Two trees had all mtDNA ancestors “Private.”
    • One tree was “Forbidden” to be seen by me.
    • Eight individuals had no trees.

So, none of the matches with a zero (0) genetic distance has a surname that matched my known surnames.


My next mtDNA task will be to expand my known surnames in hopes of finding an identifiable match. I’ll look closer at Eva Louisa (Barber) Goff. Did she have any daughters besides Lillian? Did Lillian have any children?


[i] Mitochondrial DNA is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. (Wikipedia- Mitochondrial DNA) – See: for more information.


Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown’s Mother – Part 6 of 6

Can DNA Help?

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any information regarding my great-grandmother’s mother, Eliza Jane Fannin(g). I’m not 100% convinced that is her name. But, continuing my investigation, my next step is to look and see if DNA testing will help. In the past, I’ve found DNA test results opened up discovering my biological father and my sister’s biological father. Two DNA tests can be helpful—Autosomal and Mitochondrial.


Image of DNAI tested with Ancestry and 23 & Me during my efforts to determine my biological father. I also uploaded my results to FamilyTreeDNA and GEDMatch.

Ancestry provides a tool that allows you to group individuals that you share the same ancestor with. In my case, it is easy to divide the matches I have into four groups based on my grandparents. The problem with Ancestry DNA is that the relationships rely upon a person’s tree. So, if they have Eliza Fannin, she will show up as a common ancestor. If they have Sarah Garvin as the mother of Mary Brown, she’ll show up as the common ancestor. So basically, I can determine if Mary (Manning) Brown is a common ancestor but can’t discriminate between her mother being Eliza or anyone else.

In looking at my DNA Matches, I found one match, N231, with a tree that indicated Phoebe’s mother was Eliza Fannin, and her parents were James Garvin and Sophia Thompson.

Name Via Common Ancestors Comments
N231 Phoebe John & Eliza (Fannin) Manning James Garvin &
Sophia Thompson

The match doesn’t help, but it is interesting to note (See Part 1 in this series – “Could it be Sarah Jane Garvin?”)

The bottom line is using Autosomal DNA test results won’t help in identifying the name of Mary (Manning) Brown’s mother because doing so relays upon other people’s trees which may be incorrect.

Mitochondrial DNA

A mother passes on mitochondrial DNA to her children. So boys have their mother’s mtDNA, but only girls can pass the mtDNA on to their children. So, Mary and Phoebe Manning received their mtDNA from their mother, who received it from her mother, and so forth. That means that any direct female descendants and their children would carry the mtDNA.

Mary (Manning) Brown had 12 children, 5 were girls.[i]

    1. Victoria – Had six children; only 1 was a girl.
      1. M___[ii]
    2. Cora – Had four girls.
      1. Beatrice
      2. E___
      3. Jo___
      4. Ju__)
    3. Dorothy (died as a child)
    4. Delores—Had eight children, six of them girls
      1. B___
      2. Sharon
      3. Patricia
      4. S___
      5. B___
      6. D___
    5. Nettie – Had five children, 2 of them girls
      1. E___
      2. (FNU)[iii]

Phoebe (Manning) Richmond had eight children; 2 were girls.

    1. Estella – had five daughters.
      1. Marjorie
      2. Mildred
      3. Meretta
      4. Hazel
      5. Phoebe
    2. Mahala – had four girls
      1. A___
      2. M___
      3. I___
      4. G___

It is possible that mtDNA test results could provide new insight into that line of ancestors. If you are the child of any of these people (or that person), you carry the mtDNA of Mary & Phoebe’s mother. I would love to hear if you have done an mtDNA test and what your test results and matches show. Genealogical mtDNA tests are only available from FamilyTreeDNA.[iv]


I don’t believe autosomal DNA testing can provide any clarity in determining the mother of Mary (Manning) Brown. It is unlikely that mtDNA tests will provide clarity in this identification, but I believe it is possible.

My next step in determining Mary (Manning) Brown’s mother is to do a “deep dive” into her life. Many new sources are available since I looked at her eight years ago that I should explore. So, I’ll begin further research by putting together a research plan using dates and locations.


[i] These names, numbers, and relationships are tentative. I have encountered the information as collateral information and have not researched these family lines personally.

[ii] Names with an initial and a underline are individuals who may be living (I have no death information for them). Note endnote i above.

[iii] FNU is an abbreviation for “First Name Unknown.” I have evidence that the individual exists but I do not have the persons first name.

[iv] I anticipate FamilyTreeDNA will have a sale on their mtDNA a little before Mother’s Day. Watch for it. DISCLAIMER: Several years ago, I was an affiliate in the Family Tree DNA advertising program. I am no longer an affiliate and will receive no reward for if you purchase any tests or services from FamilyTreeDNA.

Ancestry Updated Ethnicity Estimates & DNA Communities

Roberts-Brown Ancestors
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ancestry has updated their Ethnicity estimates once again. Ancestry likes to look at your DNA from a world perspective, but I find the “DNA Communities” much more interesting. Besides showing you where ancestors may have settled in the United States, it shows possible ancestors from that place and “featured matches,” people who also are in that group and are DNA matches. In my case, I fit into five DNA Communities.

  • My DNA Communities

    Early Connecticut & New York Settlers

  • Southern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin Settlers
  • Central Appalachia Settlers
  • Delaware Valley, Chesapeake, and Midwest Settlers
  • Lower Michigan & Virginia Settlers.

Looking closer at one of the Communities, “Early Connecticut & New York Settlers – 1700-1975,” all four ancestors suggested are from my tree, and all have entries placing them in the location during the period suggested.

Sarah Blackhurst (1847-1928)

2nd Great-Grandmother – Born in England in 1847, immigrated to New York in 1850, located to Michigan in 1860, where she died.

Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

2nd Great-Grandfather – Born in New York in 1816, moved to Indiana about 1845, where he died.

Chester Parsons (1799-1887)

4th Great-Grandfather – Born in Massachusetts, moved to New York for a short while, located to Michigan by 1826, where he died.

Madonna Montran (1893-1976)

Grandmother – Born in Michigan, lived in New York on and off during her vaudeville career from 1919 to 1930. She lived in Chicago, Michigan, and Minnesota after 1930; she died in Minnesota.

As I look at these “communities,” I wonder if Ancestry really looked at DNA matches or if they only looked at my tree and grouped various individuals into their community based solely upon my tree entries. Likewise, the “Featured Matches” included only people that have trees with the same people that I have in my tree that I do share at least some DNA with.

I guess the bottom line is that I am not impressed with the DNA Communities. That causes me to circle back to looking at Ancestry Ethnicity Estimates.

I did a Birthplace Chart/Spreadsheet about five years ago because it was “all the rage.” It had the potential to help me see what my ethnicity was. Of my 16 2nd great-grandparents, only one was an immigrant. Two were unknown, and the other 13 were all born in the United States. So, from it, I learned I was at least 6.25% from Great Britain.

I recently had a cousin who asked if I knew exactly what “Heinz 57 Variety” we were. I told him I hadn’t determined that because most of our ancestors have been in the United States for many generations. Looking at my skin tone, I figure I’m of northern European ancestry. But, after texting with my cousin, I thought it might be fun to add another generation to my Birthplace chart/spreadsheet from five years ago and see if anything new pops up after five years of further research.

No changes. I’m still 6.25% English.

My Illinois-born 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from a mix of Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky. My Ohio 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and my Ohio 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from a mix of New Hampshire, New York, and Michigan. There are still 18% of my ancestors that are unknown, but a whopping 2/3 of my 3rd great-grandparents were born in the United States. So, ethnically, I am definitely an American with a smidgen of English.

My “unknown” ethnicity places are known “brick walls.” My great-grandfather, John Montran, parentage is still unknown. I have a project to watch for all Montran’s I can find and learn more about their locations in hopes I can eventually connect John to immigrant ancestors. Likewise, My 2nd great-grandmother, Elisa Jane Fannin, parents have been elusive. I know she was born in Kentucky; I’ve looked at her several times looking for her parents. I need to do more research to try to find her parentage.

My Ethnicity map per Ancestry 2021

Ancestry indicates my ancestors are between 62 and 100% from England, Belgium, and the Channel Islands. Probably true; I have nothing in my pedigree research to disagree with that assessment. Still, it is always nice to receive confirmation.


FamilyTreeDNA – Mother’s Day Sales

In case you missed it, FamilyTreeDNA is offering Mother’s Day Sales on it’s Family Finder and mtDNA tests.

“Family Ancestry” is their Family Finder test that tests autosomal DNA and can be taken by anyone. “Maternal Ancestry” is a mitochondrial DNA test that can be taken by anyone but looks at potential maternal ancestors.

The sale runs until May 11th.

Save $20 on Family Finder

Save $20 on Maternal Ancestry DNA tests

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Ancestry – December Sale!

Ancestry® December Sale

AncestryHealth® is on sale for $99* (originally $149)
AncestryDNA® is on sale for $59.
Ancestry® Gift Subscriptions are also 20% off.

Sale ends at 11:59 pm EST on Tuesday, December 31st.

This is a great time to get the AncestryDNA® test kit you’ve been wanting.

 *Not available in NY, NJ or RI.

I have purchased several AncestryDNA® kits for family members and I pay for an annual subscription to Ancestry.Com World.  The use of these links will allow me to receive a small referral fee from Ancestry which I use to help pay manage this website. Please see my disclaimer page.

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