Introduction to Clan Ursula and Haplogroup U5


In 2001, Dr. Bryan Sykes, a Professor at the University of Oxford in England, published his first edition of "The Seven Daughters of Eve".  The seven daughters he identified were Ursula, Jasmine, Tara, Helena, Xenia, Katrine, and Velda.  Dr. Sykes and other anthropologists found from DNA-based studies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), that over 95% of modern day Europeans possess mtDNA that directly descends from one of these seven "founding mothers" of Europe. 

Shortly after publishing his book, Dr. Sykes began a company called Oxford Ancestors in England, that tested mtDNA for interested people, to determine from which founding mother of Europe they descend.  As other DNA-testing companies arose and more people were tested, the general public became aware that anthropologists communicated their mtDNA data using a letter/number-based nomenclature for mtDNA "haplogroups".  Thus, for example, it became clear that Sykes' Clan Velda correlated to mtDNA haplogroup V, Jasmine correlated to J, Xenia correlated to X, Tara to T, Helena to H, and Katrine to K. 

However, for those not testing through Oxford Ancestors, it was unclear which mtDNA haplogroup correlated to Clan Ursula.  After receiving my mtDNA results from Family Tree DNA and finding out I belonged to U5a1, I began looking into the scientific literature to see how U5 correlated to Ursula.  What I found is that U5 was the first subgroup of the mtDNA haplogroup U, to enter Europe (see my "Links" section).  Since Sykes stated in his book that Ursula was the first mtDNA Clan to enter Europe, it made sense to me that U5 = Ursula.  I later contacted Oxford Ancestors and they were able to clarify this issue for me as shown below.  Each subgroup of haplogroup U has its' own name.  So at this website, Clan Ursula covers haplogroup U5 and all of its' subclades. 


Dear Dr Hamman,


Thank you for your e-mail.  We have no objection to you having your own website and wish you luck with your project.

In reply to your query it must be remembered that the clans and clades are not exactly the same, as different data sets have been used to form these groups.  However the main clades, which Oxford Ancestors term as clans, that have been given names, such as Helena by Professor Sykes, are the same, i.e. Helena = clade H.

Broadly speaking the following clans and clades are similar although not exactly the same:

U1 -Una
U2 -Uta
U3 -Uma
U4 -Ulrike
U5 -Ursula
U6 -Ulla
U7 -Ulaana

Groups U1 to U7, along with K (Katrine) all share a common maternal ancestor.


The use of the U5 = Ursula link is copyrighted to Professor Sykes and Oxford Ancestors has a global exclusive licence to use this.  Providing you reference both the company and Professor Sykes on your web site there is no problem with you using it.

I hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

Marie Kitchin

Senior Scientific Officer,
Oxford Ancestors