Mitochondrial DNA

I have done a lot of research and interviews with people who know a lot more about this than I do in an attempt to explain to you what mitochondrial DNA  is and why it is important.  I think in my own mind I have a pretty good idea of the whole thing but find it very hard to explain so I will go to the definition I found in the National Library of Medicine – Genetics Home Reference.  It is a science that is very active and new things or ideas are being developed all the time so if you need more than this to understand it go to the internet and you will find all the reading on this subject you could ever hope for.  My advice is just get an ideas of what it is, what it does and where it is found.  I am using it for the one trait it possess to trace the mother’s family line.

In doing any work with family trees, in the past we have always used the father’s line and traced that family name back as far as we could.  However, that does not guarantee you are tracing the father’s blood line.  Every time a baby is born you have to go on faith that that man listed as the father is in truth the biological father of that child and there is now way to trace that back 10 or 20 generations back.  However, if we use the mother’s line back we can be sure if a woman gave birth to a child, she is the biological mother and they have the same mitochondrial DNA (mDNAt).  Of course now with donor eggs, and all the other changes that are taking place in reproduction, things maybe very different in the future.  Then these family trees tracing the (mtDNA) will be more important than ever when tracing a family tree.

“What is mitochondrial DNA?

Although most DNA is packaged in chromosomes within the nucleus, mitochondria also have a small amount of their own DNA.  This genetic material is know as mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA.

Mitochondria are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use.  Each cell contains hundreds of thousands of mitochondria, which are located in the fluid that surrounds the nucleus (the cytoplasm).

Mitochondria produce energy through a process called oxidative phosphorylation.  This process uses oxygen and simple sugars to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell’s main energy source.  A set of enzyme complexes, designated as complexes I-V, carry out oxidative phosphorylation within mitochondria.

In addition to energy production, mitochondria play a role in several other cellular activities.  For example, mitochondria help regulate the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis).  They are also necessary for the production of substances such as cholesterol and heme (a component of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood).

Mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes, all of which are essential for normal mitochondrial function,  Thirteen of these genes provide instructions for making enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation,  The remaining genes provide instructions for making molecules called transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosornal RNAs(rRNAs), which are chemical cousins of DNA.  These types of RNA help assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into functions proteins. ”

That gives you an idea of what I am talking about.  I use it for the “Mitochondrial DNA  tests” also explained in this same article.    A mitochondrial DNA test traces a person’s matrilineal or mother-line ancestry using the DNA in his or her mitochondria.  mtDNA is passed down by the mother unchanged, to all her children, both male and female.   A mitochondria DNA test, can therefore be taken by both men and women.  If a perfect match is found to another person’s mtDNA test results, one may find a common ancestor in the other relative’s (matrilineal) “information table.”

That is why when you send in your DNA to be tested you will get back other famous people you are related to.

And so lets begin my mtDNA line.  I know my birth mother but I needed to find my start for the family tree.  In other words who is carrying on my mtDNA into the future.  I needed to look at my female offspring.  Males do not pass on mtDNA even though they have it in their cells, so I need to look at only my daughters.

First there was Katherine.  She had two daughters, Celina and Mali.  Celina had just one son and no daughters and as far as things look now Celina has no intention of having another child so she is a dead end for this study.   Mali is not married or planning a baby so she is a player I will hold in reserve for future consideration.

Next came Shanti.  She had just one child and that was a boy.  And altho he has two daughter’s they do not carry my mtDNA, they have their mother’s mtDNA so Shanti is a dead end for this study.

Lastly came Patty.  She had one daughter, Rebecca who intern had one daughter.  She does not intend to have any more children so it looks like my only hope for the future of mtDNA is with Regina Lang.

So this family tree will begin with Gina, I just hope it does not end with Gina.

The mitochondrial DNA family tree of Carol Petts starting with the present holder of this mtDNA in 2018.

Generation I

Regina        Lang    born in Florida on March 3, 2009  She has been raised in Florida all her life.

Generation II

Rebecca            Homon Lang  born in New Hampshire on March 3, 1983.  She was raised in New Hampshire for 9 years before moving to Florida.  She married Christian      Lang on     in Florida.  She gave birth to Regina              Lang on March 3, 2009 and to twin boys, Colby         and James          Lang on

Generation III

Patricia Ann Petts   born in New Hampshire on December 23, 1956.  She was raised in New Hampshire where she married Dwayn Joseph Homo (later changed to Homon) on                      She gave birth to a daughter, Rebecca          Homon on March 3, 1983  and a son Joseph Tyler Homon on                              .    They all moved to Florida in 199

Generation IV

Carol Ruth Thayer    born in New Hampshire  on September 16, 1932.   She was raised in New Hampshire where she married Norman Irvin Petts on February 28, 1951 .  She gave birth to Katherine Ann Petts on November 2, 1952  and to Rebecca Ann Petts born on August 21, 1954 and Patricia Ann Petts on December 23, 1956.   Carol gave birth to a son Joseph Thayer Petts on March 9, 1968.   Carol, Norman and Joseph moved to Florida in 1982.

Generation V

Doris Helen Brown  born in New Hampshire on March 3, 1898.   She was raised in New Hampshire where she married Guy Webster Thayer on .   She gave birth to Warren Guy Thayer on  , 1930 and Carol Ruth Thayer on September 16, 1932  and Shirley Norma Thayer on


Generation VI

Grace        Carver born in Nova Scotia



I must stop this now and get to my daily duties.  As you can see from the family tree so far I have some dates to look up and middle names to find .  I will get those as I can and will finish this tree as soon as I can.  Much of my material that I need to do this is in storage at the moment and I will not get that until our new house is built so it will be an on going project.  I will also rejoin and can get some information there where I put the male line family trees from before but I have to be a member in order to call up that information.   Have a great day and I’ll talk at you soon.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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