You are viewing Charles Taylor's 23andMe Ancestry report.

Maternal Haplogroup

You descend from a long line of women that can be traced back to eastern Africa over 150,000 years ago. These are the women of your maternal line, and your maternal haplogroup sheds light on their story.

Charles, you belong to maternal haplogroup H1.

As our ancestors ventured out of eastern Africa, they branched off in diverse groups that crossed and recrossed the globe over tens of thousands of years. Some of their migrations can be traced through haplogroups, families of lineages that descend from a common ancestor. Your maternal haplogroup can reveal the path followed by the women of your maternal line.

Migrations of Your Maternal Line

180,000 Years Ago
65,000 Years Ago
59,000 Years Ago
57,000 Years Ago
18,000 Years Ago

Haplogroup L

180,000 Years Ago

If every person living today could trace his or her maternal line back over thousands of generations, all of our lines would meet at a single woman who lived in eastern Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Though she was one of perhaps thousands of women alive at the time, only the diverse branches of her haplogroup have survived to today. The story of your maternal line begins with her.

Haplogroup L3

65,000 Years Ago

Your branch of L is haplogroup L3, which arose from a woman who likely lived in eastern Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. While many of her descendants remained in Africa, one small group ventured east across the Red Sea, likely across the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb into the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Haplogroup N

59,000 Years Ago

Your story continues with haplogroup N, one of two branches that arose from L3 in southwestern Asia. Researchers have long debated whether they arrived there via the Sinai Peninsula, or made the hop across the Red Sea at the Bab-el-Mandeb. Though their exact routes are disputed, there is no doubt that the women of haplogroup N migrated across all of Eurasia, giving rise to new branches from Portugal to Polynesia.

Haplogroup R

57,000 Years Ago

One of those branches is haplogroup R, which traces back to a woman who lived soon after the migration out of Africa. She likely lived in southwest Asia, perhaps in the Arabian peninsula, and her descendants lived and migrated alongside members of haplogroup N. Along the way, R gave rise to a number of branches that are major haplogroups in their own right.

Haplogroup H

18,000 Years Ago

While some members of R traveled far and wide, some remained in the Middle East for tens of thousands of years. Haplogroup H arose among the latter group, from a woman who likely lived less than 18,000 years ago. Her descendants expanded dramatically to the north after the Ice Age, and eventually reached from Arabia to the western fringes of Siberia.


Years Ago

Origin and Migrations of Haplogroup H1

Your maternal line stems from a branch of H called H1. The common ancestor of haplogroup H1 likely lived between 9,000 and 15,000 years ago, not long after the end of the Ice Age. Her maternal-line ancestors had been among the former inhabitants of continental Europe, people who were pushed out of the north by glacial ice sheets during the last great peak of the cold at the end of the Ice Age. They sheltered for thousands of years in warmer refuges along the Mediterranean, including in the Iberian peninsula. H1's common ancestor likely lived within that Iberian refuge, and as the Ice Age faded away her descendants migrated northwards.

Following the Atlantic coast, they carried H1 into what would become the British Isles. As the climate continued to warm, some carried the haplogroup as far north as Scandinavia, while others went east. Still others turned southward, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into northern Africa. Today, about 13% of present-day Europeans trace their maternal ancestry to the H1 haplogroup, and for the Spanish population that rate is nearly 25%. It also reaches significant levels outside Europe, from Morocco and Tunisia to Lebanon and east into Central Asia.



H1 is frequent among 23andMe customers.

Today, you share your haplogroup with all the maternal-line descendants of the common ancestor of H1, including other 23andMe customers.
1 in 19
23andMe customers share your haplogroup assignment.


Haplogroup H1 connects millions of people, from the British to the Tuareg.

Women carry laundry in the Sahara, home to the Tuareg.

Though haplogroup H1 rarely reaches high frequencies beyond western Europe, over 60% of eastern Tuareg in Libya belong to haplogroup H1. The Tuareg call themselves the Imazghan, meaning “free people.” They are an isolated, semi-nomadic people who inhabit the West-Central Sahara and are known today for a distinctive dark blue turban worn by the men, and for their long history as gatekeepers of the desert.

How did women carrying H1 make it all the way from western Europe to this isolated community? They likely migrated from Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco after the Last Ice Age, where they were assimilated into the Berbers of the Mediterranean coast. Then, about 5,000 years ago, the Sahara shifted from a period of relative habitable conditions to its dramatically arid desert environment. This shift may have caused migrations throughout the Sahara, prompting the ancient Tuaregs to meet and mingle with the Berbers, bringing H1 lineages into their population.

The Genetics of Maternal Haplogroups

Read Scientific Details

Your haplogroup is determined by your mitochondrial DNA.

Each generation, mothers pass down copies of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to their children. While most of your genome exists in 23 pairs of chromosomes that exchange pieces between generations in a process called recombination, mtDNA is transmitted unshuffled. Because of this unusual pattern of inheritance, mtDNA contains rich information about maternal lineages.

A small number of DNA changes, called mutations, generally occur from one generation to the next. Because mtDNA does not recombine between generations, these mutations accumulate in patterns that uniquely mark individual lineages. Scientists can compare the sequence differences that result by constructing a tree. This tree shows how maternal lineages relate to one another, including the observation that they all share a most recent common ancestor approximately 150,000 to 200,000 years ago.

The term "haplogroup" refers to a family of lineages that share a common ancestor and, therefore, a particular set of mutations. We identify your haplogroup by determining which branches of the mtDNA tree correspond to your DNA. Because more closely related lineages tend to share geographic roots, your haplogroup can provide insight into the origins of some of your ancient maternal-line ancestors.

Maternal haplogroups are named with sequences of letters and numbers that reflect the structure of the tree and how the branches relate to one another.

What's the story of your maternal line?

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