Wednesday, 7 January 2009

ulster heritage dna project 2009

Ulster Heritage DNA Project 2009

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project has entered a new year and has grown to 797 members. We are an exclusive DNA project in that we really do require a participant to have bona fide connections to the historical Irish province of Ulster, meaning the full nine counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry, Tyrone, Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan. Our project has been stunningly successfully and many participants located their kin in Ireland, N Ireland and the Diaspora and also uncovered their family’s history.

As I receive email from around the world concerning the Ulster Heritage DNA Project I have noticed an interesting theme developing which is many people want to find out the ‘real’ history of their family and its place in Ulster, as one email put it, ‘to separate pseudo history from real history.’ There is a wholesome embrace of facts in preference to the stylised history that one all too often finds.

The stated goals of the Ulster Heritage DNA Project are:

The goal of the Ulster DNA Project is to further the study of Ulster surnames, families, clans, and tribal affiliations of the people of Ulster and their descendants throughout the Diaspora. The Ulster DNA Project will use Y chromosome test to accomplish this goal.

has several factors that have made family research and surname study there very problematic, however DNA testing has given researchers a very powerful and effective tool to bring clarity and uncover obscured Ulster history.

This project has evolved from the very successful work of individual Ulster family DNA projects. These projects very dramatically demonstrated the need to separate history from pseudo history and to correct many mistaken ideas that originate in generic surname books.

The Ulster DNA Project will not only further one’s family history, but also has the goal of showing a family’s origins, clan affiliation when appropriate, and even deep ancestry dating to tribal times.

Anyone with Ulster ancestry is urged to participate. This includes Ulster families of Native Irish, Hebridean Gael, Ulster Scot and English Settlers, Norman, Welsh, Frisian, Manx, etc., origins.

The UHDP is meeting its stated goals. We have identified several of the Gaelic clans linked to Ulster, we are getting a fair representation of the Gallóglaigh families of mid Argyll, and we are also getting a better idea of the imprint of the Norse in the north of Ireland. Several of the leading Norman families have appeared in our results and turned out to be exactly who they said they were. This always a relief when taking a DNA test, My own family had a pseudo history of being descendants of the ruling line of the McDonald clan, alas, the first DNA results crashed that completely! Our many Scots-Irish participants have learned much about their base ethnicity and some have established links with their kinsmen in Ulster and Scotland. There have been some surprises, the rare A haplogroup turned up in County Antrim for one.
All in all, we have done well with more progress to come.

New refinements in DNA testing give us the ability to reveal even more information about a family's ancestry. New Deepclade and SNP tests seem to come out every few months, allowing the genetic scientist to fine tune a participant's ethnic history. I started out a generic R1b and I am told now I am a R1b1b2a1b with more to follow.

As the Ulster Heritage DNA Project moves into a new year I look forward to seeing more families join and more of Ulster’s real history being uncovered.

Barry R McCain © 2009

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