Newfoundland and Labrador mtDNA Project- Background



The focus of this project is on maternal ancestral lines in Newfoundland and Labrador. Anybody with a direct maternal ancestor who lived in Newfoundland and/or Labrador is encouraged to join the project.

Project members can find out which other project members match their mtDNA by following the steps below:

  1. Login to your account at Family Tree DNA
  2. Select "Advanced Matching from the "mtDNA" submenu
  3. Check the "HVR1", "HVR2" and/or "FMS" boxes and select "NfldLab-mtDNA" from the drop-down menu for "Show Matches For", and then click on the "Run Report" button

What is mtDNA?
Mitochondrial DNA (or "mtDNA" for short) is a small portion of our DNA, but it has the property of being inherited only from one's mother, who inherited it from her mother, who got it from her mother, and so on. Everybody has mtDNA, but men cannot pass their mtDNA on to their children. The result is that genetic analysis of mtDNA will reveal a genetic signature that corresponds only to one's direct maternal line of ancestry.

If you have ancestry from Newfoundland and Labrador:
Note that the Newfoundland and Labrador mtDNA Project is intended only for people whose direct maternal ancestral line involves Newfoundland and Labrador. However, there is a separate Family Finder Project for Newfoundland and Labrador, designed for people with ancestry (anywhere in their pedigree) from Newfoundland and Labrador. Click on the link here to go to the Newfoundland and Labrador Family Finder Project.

mtDNA Project Goals:
• using mtDNA as a tool to assist with traditional genealogy in Newfoundland and Labrador
• gaining a better understanding about the early women of Newfoundland and Labrador, and of the family relationships between these early women
• identifying mtDNA from native peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador (including, if possible, identifying surviving Beothuk mtDNA lineages)

How to join the Newfoundland and Labrador mtDNA Project:

If you have not yet had your DNA tested, then you can order a DNA collection kit from Family Tree DNA through this webpage (and ultimately select either the mtDNAPlus test or the mtFullSequence test).

If you are already a customer of Family Tree DNA, then the following steps outline how to join this project:

  1. Login with your kit number and password at
  2. Hover your mouse over "Projects" in the menu and then click on the "Join" item in its sub-menu.
  3. Enter "Newfoundland" in the "Search by Surname" area and then click on "Search".
  4. Two projects will then be listed. Click on the "NfldLab-mtDNA" link.
  5. Click on the "Join" button that appears near the bottom of the page.

If you have already had your DNA tested by the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project, then go to your personal webpage with the Genographic Project, then go to your Profile page and then click on "Expert Options" followed by the "Transfer to FTDNA" link.

Once you have joined our project, please login to your personal webpage with Family Tree DNA, go to your "User Preferences" and enter the name and details of your most distant maternal ancestor, including the latitude and longitude of where she lived [this way a pin will show up for her on the map for this project]. To find the decimal formats for a location's latitude and longitude, you can use this online utility. As an example, coordinates for the town of Gander are Latitude 48.95 and Longitude -54.6 [note the minus sign].

Project News:
01 January 2014 - the number of project results is 193 (from haplogroups A, B, C, H, I, J, K, L, N, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2013 - the number of project results is 146 (from haplogroups A, C, H, I, J, K, L, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2012 - the number of project results is 96 (from haplogroups A, C, H, I, J, K, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2011 - the number of project results is 75 (from haplogroups A, C, H, I, J, K, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2010 - the number of project results is 59 (from haplogroups C, H, I, J, K, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2009 - the number of project results is 45 (from haplogroups C, H, I, J, K, T, U, W, X)
01 January 2008 - the number of project results is 27 (from haplogroups H, I, J, K, T, U, W, X)
02 April 2007 - the number of project results is 13 (from haplogroups H, K, T, W, and X)
24 March 2007 - the NFLD-LAB-DNA mailing list was established
27 October 2006 - the project was created

Discussion Group:
The NFLD-LAB-DNA email mailing list serves as our project's mailing list, as well as a forum for discussion of genetic genealogy in Newfoundland and Labrador. To subscribe to the list, click here. All messages posted to the list can be found in the NFLD-LAB-DNA archives.

FTDNA Webinars
Newfoundland and Labrador "Family Finder" DNA Project
International Society of Genetic Genealogy
Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador GenWeb
Newfoundland's Grand Banks Genealogy Site
NFLD-ROOTS mailing list
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador

Beothuk mtDNA:
In a paper published in 2007 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the HVR1 mutations for two members of the Beothuk people were determined in the table below:


Demasduit has genetic matches with present-day Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq as well as Cherokee in Oklahoma. Nonosabasut's matches include some Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq as well as Chippawa from North Dakota/Alberta, Wisconsin Chippawa, and the Kiowa of Oklahoma.

Non-FTDNA Results:
The results in the table below are for people who were not tested by FamilyTreeDNA or the Genographic Project. This table can only be updated manually by one of the project's co-admins, whereas our project's main table is automatically generated from results within the FTDNA system.

MitoSearch IDAncestorHaplogroupHVR1HVR2
DSKPESusanna Anderson
[1814-1915, Burgeo]
4FK85Margaret Barron
[born circa 1815]
9633TJane Thistle
[1780-1841, Hr Grace]
T316126C,16292T,16294T,16497G,16519CNot Tested
7NABJMary G Kennedy
[1846-1935, Conception Bay]

Each person's test results include a mtDNA haplogroup designation. Haplogroups are anthropological in nature, and reflect the ancient origins of one's direct maternal line. Origins for a number of haplogroups are listed below:
• European haplogroups: H, I, J, K, T, U, V, W, plus some X's
• Native American haplogroups: A, B, C, D, and some X's (especially X2a, which includes the HVR1 mutation 16213A and the HVR2 mutation 200G)
• African haplogroups: L, M
• Asian haplogroups: A, B, C, D
Haplogroups listed with numbers (like T2b) are actually subgroups (for example, T2b is a subgroup of T, H5a is a subgroup of H, etc).

What Constitutes a mtDNA Match?
A mtDNA genetic match consists of an exact match on the HVR1 test results (and also on the HVR2 and FGS results when they are available).

General Fund