Monday, March 11, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Mary Agnes Rementer and her DNA

The baptismal certificate of Mary Agnes was the first document I ever saw for my direct matrilineal line, sent to all of us in the family by her grandson my cousin Donald Ulmer. Her daughter, Margaretta Schubert Swanson, my grandmother, died young and tragically when my mother was three years old. Don's mother, my Great Aunt Bessie, her sister was close to her in age.

I could write volumes about this line, so important to my cousins and I. Possibly the most important  fact is that all of us who are descended in the straight maternal line share her mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. This twisted strand  holds together generations of our family. My daughter has passed it on to her sons, where it stops for my children, female to female is how it is passed. The term for that is to "daughter out".

My mother Elizabeth Louise Faunt  passed this to me from her mother Margarettta. Retta is her turn received it from Mary Agnes; Mary Agnes from her mother Margaret Lynch who we knew was from Cork.Her origin place is practically all we did know, except that Margaret met and married Charles Rementer a whaler from Philadelphia in New England. The tale got sort of twisted and murky as it was passed down from to us;Aunt Bessie, the family historian may or may not have ever met her grandmother as she was the youngest daughter of many children.

Charles Rementer, a whaler who survived his ship being wrecked in the Atlantic, in later years turned back to his Philadelphia family's occupation as gardener. Margaret Lynch Rementer, widow, on his death in September 1900 took over his business. We are not sure where she dies, her only son and daughter remained in the Burlington County area so it is possible she return to NJ from Rhode Island.

Another cousin, Danny Ulmer, who spent summer vacations with Aunt Bessie, his grandmother told me that  Margaret was a cousin to John L. Sullivan. Hmmm.

Imagine my surprise, when I first tested my mitochondrial DNA, and matched another family from Cork. This family and mine not only had a "rare" haplogroup but we share a "private mutation" and the entire coding region. This means that it originated and was shared by a very small group of folks. Tom H. my mito cousin and I have explored this to the nth degree. Experts in the fields have weighed in on our private mutation. Our haplogroup is  called J2b1a1a  and the last bit is shared by only the  other family as well as our own, at least so far as we have yet discovered.

What else has DNA  shown us, you might ask? We have a great number of cousins on this line, all of them from West Cork;Sullivans are matches as of course is Lynch and occasionally O'Shea. John L.Sullivan could easily be  a cousin as John McDermot my intrepid Irish researcher has proven to me. John McD. and my DNA cousins have pointed to the Beara Peninsula as our matrilineal origin place. Specifically the Sullivans are from Kerry  on the Cork borders.

Just a little cheek swab and some money for research has opened a window into our past.Yes, Aunt Bessie, they came into Canada first.Nova Scotia is most likely.

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