Fortune Bay mtDNA

Fortune Bay mtDNA

A guest post by Devon Griffin

Mary Park Brooks

John G. Edgar provided me with details of Mary Park Brooks from his research. She was born about 1758 in the Burin area, according to 1838 List of Inhabitants of the Bay of Islands. Her birth family name is unknown. She first married Robert Park. Their children included Mary, James Charles, Richard, Thomas, Robert and John. There are possibly other children, including Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Beverley. Mary Park’s second husband was John Brooks, a widower, and they had no children together.

Mary Ann Payne, great-granddaughter of Mary Park Brooks

Descendants of Mary Park Brooks maintain she was of Mi’kmaq origin, and several records describe her descendants as being native. Recently an mtDNA test was conducted, with a family history verified by several local genealogists including Mr. Edgar. It shows that her maternal line matches that of Elizabeth (Joe) Blanchard, Elizabeth Saunders, and several known ancestral Mi’kmaq women. This indicates she is a close relative to these women, possibly a sister, aunt or other maternal relation.

Charlotte Jeddore Cox

Charlotte Jeddore Cox

Charlotte (Jeddore) Cox was born about 1825 in Conne River to Mi’kmaq parents. A young Frederick Cox was working in Bay d’Espoir in the logging industry and met Charlotte. Against her parents’ wishes, Charlotte moved away to the Burin area with Frederick and married him. She took the name of her neighbours, the Riggs, in Creston South, Burin to apparently hide from her family. She may have changed her first name also, to Charlotte.

It isn’t completely clear why her parents didn’t approve of her marriage to Frederick Cox. Some of their descendants say that some of her older brothers found her, in her new life, sometime in the late 1800s. However there are conflicting stories of what happened as a result of this skirmish.

Charlotte and Frederick had several children, and their descendants live on today along the Burin Peninsula and elsewhere. Charlotte’s mtDNA test has been completed. It shows that she shares the same maternal line as Elizabeth (Joe) Blanchard, Elizabeth Saunders and Mary Parks Brooks, all ancestral Mi’kmaq women.

Mary Josephine Brown Murphy

As stated in my first article on Fortune Bay, Mary Josephine was born 1854 and married John Murphy. Their children were known as Mi’kmaq. They grew up in wigwams or tilts around the Piper’s Hole area, before moving to St. Joseph’s and Parker’s Cove along the Burin Peninsula.

The results of a recent mtDNA test confirm Mary Josephine’s maternal line arises from northern Eurasia, which would be modern day Siberia and Scandinavia. This could point to the direct maternal line being Native American as Natives travelled from Siberia to North America. There are no matches to the mtDNA test. So until another full sequence mtDNA match from Newfoundland appears, it is not known who her relatives were due to an absence of records.

Saunders Family Update

There may have been another Saunders sibling, child of John & Elizabeth Saunders. A few years ago, I found an adult baptism in the RC Church in Burin for a Mary Saunders in 1837. Her sponsors were people from Terrenceville (then Fortune Bay Bottom). Being that there was only one Saunders couple in the area at the time, this seemed peculiar.


I could not find what happened to Mary or who she was, however, until now. A great great granddaughter of a James and Mary Hare of Burgeo completed a DNA test. Her results matched several descendants of the Saunders family out of Fortune Bay, as cousins. Through further analysis, this was undoubtably a Saunders relation. The Hare family had come from Fortune Bay, Belleoram area specifically, prior to living in Burgeo. Mary, wife of James Hare, was born about 1821 and passed away on April 26 1908 in Burgeo. They had several children and have many descendants across Canada.

In 1925 Joseph Small completed his diary of Burgeo which detailed the families in the area. Joseph Small believed that Ann Saunders (daughter of John and Elizabeth) who married Esau Rhymes had come from Fortune Bay with the Hare family. This further displayed the probability that Mary Hare was a Saunders. It’s likely the two sisters, Ann and Mary, came to Burgeo together from Fortune Bay. An mtDNA test for a direct female descendant of Mary is being worked on to confirm this theory. So if anyone has any information on this Hare family, please comment below!

Future mtDNA Research

An mtDNA test is currently in process for a direct female descendant of Ellen (Unknown) Hollett. She married William Hollett (b.1786) and lived on Woody Island, Placentia Bay. Ellen is suspected to have been of Mi’kmaq origin. However, as of yet there is no proof. Autosomal DNA has pointed towards a relation to the Saunders family. An mtDNA test will be interesting to see for more of this story. I have been told that a Hollett descendant has a two page lexicon of words from an unknown aboriginal group. It’s possibly a connection to the Beothuk tribe.

The Smith (of Argentia) and Salmon (of Long Harbour) families are next to be tested. Their Mi’kmaq origins are likely to be discovered.

Ancient Mi’kmaq Village in Placentia Bay

In 1680, a French report on the topography and hydrography of Placentia Bay and the South Coast of Newfoundland had noted a Mi’kmaq village near Placentia that was occupied by a group of about 240 Mi’kmaq… The report went on to identify another Mi’kmaq village of two hundred people that was situated on the south coast of Newfoundland, a little further west of Placentia.

The Placentia Area: A changing mosaic – Lee Everts 2016:47


Everts cites M. G. (Jerry) Wetzel’s 1995 LLM thesis for this 1680 reference to south coast Mi’kmaq villages. It may well be that the latter, west of Placentia, is Miawpukwek. The former, “near Placentia,” is not as readily identifiable but it could mean it’s in the Burin area or anywhere in Placentia Bay.

Could the Park, Saunders, Jeddore, Joe, and Brown ancestors have all originated out of this village? Mary Parks Brooks was only born 75-80 years after the date of this French report. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to connect her to this community. She was from the Burin area, after all. We also know that the Bernard, John and Barrington families as well as many others frequented the area of Pipers Hole and Upper Placentia Bay in the 1800s.

Also see by Devon, Terrenceville Mi’kmaq (June 8/18), a story about Esther Mary (Myles) Mitchell

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Les or Dorothy could one of you contact me?

  2. Hi there, has the testing on the Smiths from Argentia been completed? Thanks

  3. Has there been anymore information on Ellen(?) Hollet?

    1. We tested her mtDNA and she does not match the other women.

      1. Hello Devon…. Ellen would have been my 5th great grandmother.. Is there a DNA test i could take to help to figure out more about her? I have a hereditary disease called charcot marie tooth, a neurologist once told me alot of people from Newfoundland that came from small isolated tribes has a high number of CMT.
        Thank you for your time

  4. I am a descendant of Charlotte Jeddore Cox. Just starting to learn some things and found this fascinating. Thanks

    1. I am a descendant of Charlotte jeddore cox . She was my grand mother’s grand mother.mak8ng me fifth generation.

  5. Hi Dorothy!

    This is so interesting! A cousin prompted me to this website tonight and yes, Mary Josephine Brown Murphy is my great great grandmother, via her son Albert Murphy of Parker’s Cove, NL – like Ron Loder above (whom I’ve never met). My niece’s colouring was so distinct as a baby and we all just assumed it appeared through my father’s rumoured maternal line but lo and behold, here’s proof of inheritance through my mother’s paternal line. Love it! Genealogy is a blast!

  6. Hi Dorothy:

    I am just wondering if you found any more information on Mary Josephine Brown Murphy? She is my great great grandmother, via her son Albert Murphy (1888-1977) of Parker’s Cove, NL. Do you have any more details on the DNA test done on her?

    Thank you

    Ron Loder

    1. Ron, I’d like to contact you. Dorothy could you send him my email?

      1. Hi Devon – done.

  7. Hi There,
    Have always known that I am a descendant of Charlotte Cox (Jeddore) and have researched from my mother right back to her. I am wondering if anyone here has ever applied for and received their status from her?

    Thank you
    Sherry Pike

    1. I am fifth generation. From Charlotte jeddore cox .

  8. PHM,

    You’ll be happy to learn Whole Genome Sequencing is now available from Dante Labs for a very cheap price.

    It was originally $899, but now is $399 and can be gotten for $299 US with discount code DAZZEL4REAL for the month of November. The test does not come with ethnicity estimates but can be uploaded to gedmatch genesis and also includes your y-dna and mtdna. I’m not sure how beneificial it will be right now, but in the future for sure. It will surely decrease FTDNA’s prices.

  9. I believe his group of people are:
    -the Indians that were recorded to have attacked the English at Trinity Bay abt.1703.
    -the Indians that helped take the Fort at Louisburg in 1758.
    -the Indians that were on the losing side at the Battle of Quebec in 1759.
    -the Indians that returned to NL after they left Cape Breton and were returning to St.Pierre and Micq. each spring to celebrate Easter and baptisms etc…afer 1780.

  10. The photo you posted of Charlotte Jeddore Cox is a photo of of her daughter Eliza Cox Wiscombe, (the daughter of Charlotte Jeddore Cox) and my gg grandmother.

    1. Hi Les, thanks. Devon?

      1. Hi Les,
        I have a pic of her daughter Eliza and it doesn’t look like this is her. I will have to do some digging. Got it from a Hodder descendant.

        1. Like to see that photo Devon,i’m Les’ brother. That had to be Eliza Cox Wiscombe at Left in photo my g grandmother. because it was taken Approx 1923 and Charlotte Jeddore Cox wasn’t alive then 1825-1891.

        2. I also have a photo of her Eliza Cox Wiscombe standing next to my grand mother who is her daughter, Charlotte Wiscombe Clarke my father Stephen Clarke his brother John Samuel Clarke and his sister Dinah Clarke Hodder. This is the only photo I have seen of Eliza Cox Wiscombe.

    2. Eliza Cox Wiscombe is our Great Grandmother Les not GG…..Charlotte Jeddore Cox is our GG Grandmother. We are related to her on both sides of our family as our Grandfather Henry Hodder is son of Charlotte Cox…also Charlotte Jeddore Cox’s daughter.

      1. Hi Austin,

        Can you contact me regarding Charlotte Jeddore research. Les had been through ancestry.

  11. My husband (Jordy Blanchard) is part of the Cheqau Mi’kmaq family group as well.

  12. Very Interesting article, I have heard all my life that there is Micmac blood in our family, from our Mitchell line. The coloring in the family seem to prove that. Now that I have had my MTDNA done, a Hermel Duguay from the Chegau M’kmaq family group is showing up as being related. I have not heard from him yet to see what his line is. In my Autosome DNA a lot of relatives from PLacentia Bay and Fortune Bay showed up and I haven’t yet proved how we are related.

    1. My husband and I both are descendents of George Robert Mitchell and Rebecca Wiley. Their daughter Ruth married Uriah Brown of Burin Bay. Ruth is my husband’s ancestor. George Robert and Rebecca’s son Joseph Wiley Mitchell is my ancestor. We believe there is native blood in my husband’s family, but we are not sure if it is on the Mitchell side or the Brown side. Another fact is Uriah and Ruth’s grandson Angus Uriah Brown married Miriam Child’s of Grand Bruit. Miriam was the daughter of James and Miriam (Billard) Childs.

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