The Brown Story

This case study was produced with the cooperation of Mr Walter Brown to whom we are grateful.

Mr Walter Brown and his wife Angelina used our service in 2001. Walter admits openly to having been "sceptical" and that ordering a MatriLine analysis was "something of a risk". However, when he received the results he was "pleased" and this is why.

We determined that Walter was in the clan of Helena (clade H, predominantly European). In his words, "Not too surprising" given that his maternal grandmother, Emma Minnie Sutterby, was born in Buffalo, New York, on March 5, 1889 and that from the name he suspected English ancestry.

However, it was his wife, Angelina's results that were of greatest interest. The "Oxford Ancestors - Order and Consent Form" asks our customers to provide any information that they have concerning their deepest known ancestry. For the MatriLine analysis, we use the supplementary maternal information provided in those cases where the results indicate the possibility of descent from one of the rarer clan mother. In Angelina's case, all that was written on the Order and Consent Form was:

  • Maternal Relationship
  • Country
  • Region
  • Town
  • Great Grandmother
  • USA
  • California
  • San Luis Obispo

She was giving us no clues!

As it turned out, Angelina is a descendant of Ina (clade B, predominantly Native American) and, after she had received her results certificate, Walter told us that Angelina's Great Grandmother, Katrina Bielnes, was said to be 50% Chumash Indian (a Californian tribe). Apparently, she was born on the Californian coast in the mid-nineteenth century. Our MatriLine result therefore provided confirmatory evidence that Angelina was indeed descended from a line of women belonging to a Native Indian tribe of California.

Walter felt that there was a high probability that his wife's maternal descent was from the Native Americans, in his words:

" The Spanish sent men to Mexico (and on to Old California), but not families or women for the most part, and the men took wives from among the Native Indian population. Thus, the majority population of Mexico, the mestizo, is a mix of Europeans and Native Indians, but with the Indian line being supplied by the women. This contrasts with the English colonies further north, which were colonized mostly by already-married couples, and there was little mixing with the native Indian population."

As with many of our customers, Walter approached our MatriLine analysis with anticipation, but also with a degree of uncertainty about how informative the results would be. After we identified "correctly" that his ancestral mother was "European", one of the "Seven Daughters of Eve", and that his wife's ancestral mother was "Native American", he reckoned that he had "gotten (his) money's worth". In short, we had "passed the test."