View Full Version : Would mtDNA be more useful in tracing surnames

28-09-17, 17:13
As a genealogy researcher and genetics newbie with questions, I wonder if as a society, children should inherit the mother's last name, and surname projects should be based on those names.

My reasoning is that mtDNA is passed from mother to child ending when the male child marries or there is no female offspring. The use of YDNA is ONLY useful for tracking the male line. If surnames were from the mother, they would continue upward to infinity for both male and female.

Please forgive me if this observation has already been made, but I was unable to find it. And it may very well be naive, but please attribute that to my basic education in this field. As always comments are welcome and will most definitely enrich my understanding.

30-10-17, 11:39
Unique mtDNA haplogroups [or markers] are already useful even if using paternal surnames. The Acadians & the Lejuene descendants for example. Certain haplogroups and/or markers that could be used to link familial relationships together regardless of surnames.

Some people put too much merit to paternal Y DNA and markers but that's likely because they come from a patriarchal society & thus trained to think the male line matters but female line not so much.

Shame really as the male line can be, at times & in some ways, irrelevant. A handful of surnames, for example, originated as matriarchal. There have also been practices, among social classes & cultures, where the man (of the lesser social class or because there are no male heirs to carry on the name) took on his wife's surname. I have seen people on forums trying to figure out why they have a different haplogroup than X family name & they automatically blame an unfaithful wife, an NPE event, etc. Other possibilities rarely cross their mind.

31-10-17, 04:19
Yes, and then the NPE could be more easily discovered (in male children of course) because the surname would have been the mothers name.

I have an Acadian grandfather who gave up his surname and took his 'title' as his surname when he became Americanized. Mostly because he was called that name as if it was a surname during the revolutionary period.