Monday, 22 April 2013

Saturday, 6 April 2013

6 April, National Tartan Day

Americans of Scottish descent have played a vibrant and influential role in the development of this country. However not until 1997 was this influence recognized by a single-year U.S. Senate Resolution that appeared in the Congressional Record of April 7, 1997. In 1998, National Tartan Day of April 6 was officially recognized on a permanent basis when the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 155 recognizing April 6th as National Tartan Day. This was followed by companion bill House Resolution 41 which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 9, 2005. The passage of this bill was due to the work of the National Capital Tartan Committee, Inc. and president James Morrison.

The date of April 6 commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, which asserted Scotland's sovereignty over English territorial claims, and which was an influence on the American Declaration of Independence.

Canada has been celebrating "National Tartan Day" since 1993. The idea and motivation for creating a similar American holiday was provided by the Scottish Coalition, a group of national Scottish-American cultural organizations.

Irish Language in East Belfast

There is an increasing amount of research into Ulster's Irish speaking Protestant community.  Dr Peter Toner Sr's well known research into the predominately Presbyterian Gaeltachtaí (Irish speaking areas) in New Brunswick, Canada, in the mid 18th Century well into the 20th Century, made many aware of this largely understudied aspect of Ulster history. 

Many Irish speaking Ulster Scots descend from the migration of Argyll and Hebridean Redshanks into Ulster in both the 1500s and 1600s.  Recently as Irish census records of the early 1900s have come on line some Ulster Presbyterians have discovered Irish speaking ancestors. As these Ulster Scots migrated to the New World, they often brought their Gaelic language with them.

Below, a link to The Irish Times article Ulster says Tá, which highlights the growing interest in learning Gaelic among the Protestant community in east Belfast.

Link:  Irish Language in East Belfast

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ulster and the Scottish Lowlands, genetic links

The Niall of the Nine Hostages haplogroup (genetic signature) was one of the first large family groups discovered by DNA testing.  It was designated as the Northwest Irish modal, because so many Irish in northwest Ireland have this paternal ancestry. It genetic short hand it is called the R-M222 family.

The R-M222 branch of the Y-DNA tree  has a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) called M222. As more men participate in DNA testing an interesting pattern has developed.  This diagnostic marker is not only found in many individuals whose roots lie in the counties of Northwest Ireland and Ulster in general, but it is also found in the Scottish Lowlands.

The map above shows the area where this profile is most often found. In the county of Donegal an incredible 20% of the population share this paternal ancestry.  The map shows where the R-M222 is found in significant numbers, but it is also found throughout Ireland and Scotland, from the Orkney islands south to the shires of northern England.  It even shows up in Iceland and Norway.