Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour had the same mtDNA!

Family trees are commonly represented from the male perspective. Presenting family trees from the female perspective occasionally identifies relationships that aren’t always apparent.

The History Database has a number of Maternal Family Trees that show descent only through the female line. Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is passed from mothers to their children; men don’t pass mtDNA on.

In transpires that Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, the latter having usurped the former in Henry VIII’s affections both shared the same mtDNA. So did their children Elizabeth I and Edward VI respectively. The progenitor of the line is Eleanor Vitre from Brittany, died 1233. She married William 2nd Earl of Salisbury. Their daughter Ela married William Longespée 3rd Earl Salisbury.

The maternal line continues through numerous families: Bourchier, Darcy, Grey, Fitzherbert, Boteler, Strange, Cockayne, Seymour, Cromwell and Howard to name some of the most prominent.

Jane Seymour inherited her mtDNA from her mother Margery Wentworth and her grandmother Anne Say.

Anne Boleyn inherited her mtDNA from her mother Elizabeth Howard and her grandmother Elizabeth Tilney.

And, of course, before Eleanor Vitre, her mother was Emma of Dinan (Brittany), whose mother was Eleanor of Brittany (aka Penthièvre which is in southern Brittany) whose mother was Hawise of Guincampe, which is in northern Brittany.

The line appears to have ended with the two daughters of Dorothy Sidney, Dorothy and Penelope, neither of whom appear to have had daughters, and Jane, the daughter of Mary Boyle, who didn’t have issue.

 

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