Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update, late April 2008

notes from the Ulster Heritage Y chromosome DNA testing

We have recently updated the results page so that now every participant has been placed into one of the categories either by haplogroup or by family or clan group. Some interesting cases coming in, an example would be the two McCown families. Both come from the Gaelic surname Mac Eogháin but the two groups not related. This is not unusual as any given Gaelic surname will have several non related families using that surname, even more than several with surnames taken from popular given names like Eáin, Eogháin, Dónaill, etc.

In the surname books you will find a name like McDonald and a one-size-fits-all explanation of its origins, usually to the Scottish clan for that particular surname; the reality is there were dozens of men named Dónail from south Cork to the north tip of Scotland, whose sons took his name and whose descendants now know carry the anglicised name of McDonald. With our McCowns one group appears to be native Irish, a sept of the MacGuire clan, and the other appears to be Argyll in origin and probably came to Ireland in the 1400s or 1500s as a Gallóglach family.

Jim McKane, our Ulster Heritage Lord of the Web, has returned to Canada from his wintering in Arizona. While away his basement flooded, so he’s been busy. Jim has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and has 13 grandchildren, so he’s not easily flustered. He has managed to keep our main website updated despite the flood and has even added another E-book. This is The Vital Records of the Scots-Irish from the Parish of Magilligan. In it you will find notes on Scots-Irish families and also many native Irish and Hebridean families from Magilligan Parish in County Derry. The E-books are available for a nominal price.

You can also find Rev George Hill’s classic, The Stewarts of Ballintoy in the E-book selection. This is one of my all time favourite little books about the history of north Antrim. The book has some of the views peculiar to Victorian Ulster sensibilities, but that really just adds to the colour of the book. It is an excellent read and has information on the Irish clans native to north Antrim, the Gallóglaigh clans that moved there in late medieval times, the Hebridean families that moved there to work of the McDonnells who controlled that part of Antrim, and the Ulster Scot settler families.

We now have the Ulster Heritage mtDNA project running, so all with Ulster maternal lines are welcomed to join. This is also a chance for our ladies to participate, as both male and females can do the mtDNA testing.

The link to the UH mtDNA Project is on our main web site: http://www.ulsterheritage.com/

All participant families that have a clan or family organisation are urged to send us a link so you can be listed. Visit the ‘Clan’ page of our main website to see how we do this. This is a new feature, but we already have the Clann Mhig Uidhir (the McGuires), Clann Mhic Eáin (the McCains), and Clann Uí Laithbheartaigh (the Lavertys) listed. The information presented on these Irish clan pages will be unique in that these groups have used Y-chromosome DNA testing to confirm kinship.

Barry R McCain

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