Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update, May 09

We receive many emails asking how to view the results; The best way is to go to our main website, look at the menu on the left, click on DNA Project, that will open a page that will have a link to the results.

To reach our main website Google (or use your search engine) 'Ulster Heritage,' we should be the top result. Just click on that and bring up our website, then bookmark that page. You can also click on the link below:

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project

Some news on the DNA front; our lab, Family Tree will be adding some new markers to their tests, this very good for families that have succeeded in locating many branches, this will allow participants to judge the chronology of your matches, i.e. when the various branches tie into each other. I have also heard that the Family Tree lab is going to adjust the MRA computation. This is a result of the many advances made by the geneticists in discovering new subclades, markers, etc., and this will benefit your family history research.

On our main website we will reorganise the 'Scotch-Irish' section in June. As our project has grown we see a need for much more data on the families that have Scotch-Irish ancestors. There were three migrations of Scots into Ulster, the Gallóglaigh (1200 to 1400 AD), the Redshanks (1450 to 1600 AD), and then the Plantation Scots (1610 to 1720 AD). The Ulster Scot presence in Ulster is much more complex than is commonly represented in many histories and we will post information on all three groups.

Several very important Irish clans have appeared in our results and we will continue to post news of these on the main website and on the Ulster Heritage Magazine blog. The Maguires (Mag Uidhir), the O'Kanes (Ó Catháin), O'Neills (Ó Neill) are now on the results tables, along with several other historically important clans.

We are working toward creating a non profit organisation to assist research for all participant families. It is our hope, that with this funding, we can offer free analysis to participant families in the future, so wish us luck in this endeavour. We will also have a data base created which will have a home in Ireland. For those of you that travel to Ireland and N Ireland, this will give you a place to visit, have a cup of tea and biscuit, and check the records. This data base will be unique as it will be the only one in existence that will correlate surnames, DNA results, and geographic location of families.

For families that have made sufficient progress to the point they feel the need for a researcher in Ireland or Northern Ireland we can put you in contact with bona fide researchers, in fact, the top in the field; just drop me an email if you need this.

Jim McKane, our webmaster, has added several new ebooks, and puts out a newsletter; you can join the newsletter on the main website. He also runs a forum for Ulster Genealogy, which is also found on our main website. Jim has created a store also with Ulster Heritage items for those who want to celebrate their heritage, and the funds go to helping the project. On the shop you can get shirts, caps, etc., with the Brown Bull of Ulster on them. The Brown Bull goes back to the Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cualgne). This is the epic tale of the war against Ulster by queen Mebh of Connacht, fought over the brown bull of Ulster. In the tale, the young hero Cúchulainn (said Coo-hul-lan) defends Ulster. It is one of the oldest pieces of literature in Europe and is not unlike Homer's Iliad.

If you would like to assist the Ulster Heritage Project, donations are needed and welcomed. Our main costs now are the non profit start up and the need to keep our computers up to date and serviced. You can donate via the 'Buy Us a Pint' link on the main website via paypal or just mail a cheque to our PO address.

I encourage all participants to be very proactive with your DNA results. Email all your matches, if you get a geographic fix, make sure you post notices on any forums run by that County. In your personal settings, make sure you allow non surname matches to appear, this very important. Many times a non surname match can be the missing link in a family history. Irish, Scotch-Irish, even Hugenot surnames, all have multiple variations, some surnames were translated, while others were given a phonetic form variation. You will only catch these if you allow non surname matches to appear.

I encourage everyone to do as many markers as you can afford. Due to the homogenous nature of Ulster families, often the 67 marker test is needed to confirm kinship.

If you have any basic questions, just email Jim or myself. There is a FAQ section on the main website, if you are new to genetic genealogy, make sure you read that.

I know many families are making connections, as I see them in the results section. If you have trouble finding your kit listed, just bring up the results pages, do a search for your kit number. Because there are so many anglicised forms of some surnames, I list them by the original Gaelic spelling. There is (generally) only one original spelling and this is a very good way to group the various forms of the surname.

Please notice the St Columba Medal, which can be seen on the UH Magazine site. This is the creation of artist Garth Duncan. All proceeds for the sales go to a church in need of repair on the Island of Skye, in the Hebrides. St Columba is one of the most famous sons of Ulster. He is the patron saint of Ireland, Ulster, of Scotland, and Argyll, so very important to people of Ulster ancestry. If you would like a medal just contact me or Garth Duncan.

Garth's website is: Duncan House

Cheers agus is mise le meas mór,

Barry R McCain

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