To start the story of my family I have to go backwards in time to the Mitochondrial Eve
Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. Passed down from mothers to offspring for over a hundred thousand years, her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is now found in all living humans: every mtDNA in every living person is derived from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived at different times.
She is believed to have lived about 140,000 years ago in what is now Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania. The time she lived is calculated based on the molecular clock technique of correlating elapsed time with observed genetic drift.
Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans via the mitochondrial DNA pathway, not the unqualified MRCA of all humanity. All living humans can trace their ancestry back to the MRCA via at least one of their parents, but Mitochondrial Eve is defined via the maternal line. Therefore, she necessarily lived much longer ago than the MRCA of all humanity.
To find the Mitochondrial Eve of all humans living today, one can start by listing all individuals alive today. For every individual (males and females), trace a line from the individual to his/her mother. Then continue those lines from each of those mothers to their mothers, and so on, effectively tracing a family tree backward in time based purely on mitochondrial lineages. Going back through time these mitochondrial lineages will converge when two or more women have the same mother. The further back in time one goes, the fewer mitochondrial ancestors of living humans there will be. Eventually only one is left, and this one is the most recent common matrilineal ancestor of all humans alive today, i.e. Mitochondrial Eve.
It is possible to draw the same matrilineal tree forward in time by starting with all contemporary human females of Mitochondrial Eve. Some of these women may have died childless. Others left only male children.
For the rest who became mothers with atleast one daughter, one can trace a line forward in time connecting them to their daughter(s). As the forward lineages progress in time, more and more lineage lines become extinct, as the last female in a line dies childless or leaves no female children. Eventually, only one single lineage remains, which includes all mothers, and in the next generation, all people, and hence all people alive today.
OUT OF AFRICA
The African ice age was characterized by drought rather than by cold. It was around 50,000 years ago that the ice sheets of northern Europe began to melt, introducing a period of warmer temperatures and moister climate in Africa. Parts of the inhospitable Sahara briefly became habitable.
Moving Through the Middle East
The first people to leave Africa likely followed a coastal route that eventually ended in Australia.
Beginning about 40,000 years ago, the climate shifted once again and became colder and more arid. Drought hit Africa and the grasslands reverted to desert, and for the next 20,000 years, the Saharan Gateway was effectively closed. With the desert impassable, my ancestors had two options: remain in the Middle East, or move on. Retreat back to the home continent was not an option.
While many people remained in the Middle East, others continued to follow the great herds of buffalo, antelope, woolly mammoths, and other game through what is now modern-day Iran to the vast steppes of Central Asia.
These semi-arid grass-covered plains formed an ancient "superhighway" stretching from eastern France to Korea. People migrated out of Africa into the Middle East, then traveled both east and west along this Central Asian superhighway. A smaller group continued moving north from the Middle East to Anatolia and the Balkans, trading familiar grasslands for forests and high country.
The Eurasian Clan Spreads Wide and Far
This large lineage, known as the Eurasian Clan, dispersed gradually over thousands of years. Seasoned hunters followed the herds ever eastward, along the vast super highway of Eurasian steppe. Eventually their path was blocked by the massive mountain ranges of south Central Asia?the Hindu Kush, the Tian Shan, and the Himalayas.
The three mountain ranges meet in a region known as the "Pamir Knot," located in present-day Tajikistan. Here the tribes of hunters split into two groups. Some moved north into Central Asia, others moved south into what is now Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent.
These different migration routes through the Pamir Knot region gave rise to separate lineages.
Most people native to the Northern Hemisphere trace their roots to the Eurasian Clan. Nearly all North Americans and East Asians are descended from the people described above,as are most Europeans and many Indians.
The Journey Through Central Asia
The Eurasian Clan that had moved to the north of the mountainous Hindu Kush and onto the game-rich steppes of present-day Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan, and southern Siberia.
Although big game was plentiful, the environment on the Eurasian steppes became increasing hostile as the glaciers of the Ice Age began to expand once again. The reduction in rainfall may have induced desertlike conditions on the southern steppes, forcing my ancestors to follow the herds of game north.
Leaving Central Asia
After spending considerable time in Central Asia, refining skills to survive in harsh new conditions and exploit new resources, a group from the Central Asian Clan began to head west towards the European sub-continent.
They ultimately split into two distinct groups, with one continuing onto the European subcontinent, and the other group turning south and eventually making it as far as India.
Colonizing Europe. The First Modern Europeans
During this period, the Eurasian steppelands extended from present-day Germany, and possibly France, to Korea and China. The climate fostered a land rich in resources and opened a window into Europe.
Homosapiens arrival in Europe heralded the end of the era of the Neandertals, a hominid species that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia from about 29,000 to 230,000 years ago.
Better communication skills, weapons, and resourcefulness probably enabled my ancestors to outcompete Neandertals for scarce resources. This wave of migration into western Europe marked the appearance and spread of what archaeologists call the Aurignacian culture.
The large number of archaeological sites found in Europe from around 30,000 years ago indicates that there was an increase in population size.
Getting Around There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.
In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.