Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-09 > 1158104181

Subject: Re: [DNA] O'Neil or R1b1c7?
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 19:36:21 EDT

In a message dated 9/12/2006 6:27:54 A.M. Central Standard Time,

Is there any difference between the so-called O'Neil R1b group
and that of "Northwest Ireland" which I understand to be the equivalent
of R1b1c7?
At first I understood there was a difference but after looking at
I do not see any.

It's difficult to characterize the surnames in the M222+ list (most of
which, by the way, were taken from John McEwen's SNP web page - I just added the
STRS to make comparisons easier).

_R1b SNP Summary (last updated 6/5/2006)_

The great majority of those who have tested M222+ are clearly Irish - and
many of them are most likely Ui Neill. Here you can include such surnames as
Bonner, Bryson, Burns/Byrnes, Gallagher, Cannon, Conroy, Donohoe, Ferguson,
Flanagan, Gormley,Magonegill, McNickle, Slaven. The term Ui Neill for these
is too broad a brush though - many of these are Connachta and not Ui Neill at
all (see below). Other surnames are not so obvious, ie, Dunn, Maclachlan,
Kelly. Some of the surnames claim a Scottish origin - Milligan (Galloway),
Kennedy, McGee, McGill (Wigtonshire), Ewing. Many of the surnames are common to
both Ireland and Scotland (Mclaughlin, Ferguson, McGee, Dunn, Milligan,

Some of the surnames are pretty clearly not descended from the Ui Neill of
Ireland. In this category we might place Blanchard, Clarkson, Galyean,
Sinor, Wilson.

So it seems an inescapable conclusion that not all who match the Ui Neill
modal are actually descended from the Ui Neill. In other words they are not
direct descendants of Nial 'of the Nine hostages' or his fellow tribesmen,
the Connachta. The Connchta themselves are not descended from Nial. Yet they
match the modal perfectly. That fact alone should suffice to establish that
a lot of the M222+ are not descendants of Nial. The Ui Neill as a tribal
entity only date from the late 5th/early 6th century AD. And Prof. John Brynes
has said the early Ui Neill were not so much a tribe as a dynasty, composed
at most of a few hundred people scattered across Ireland.

I don't think any of this contradicts what either John McEwen or Ken
Nordtfeldt have said about the NW Irish. They look at the NW Irish as a sort of
broader tribal grouping which includes the Ui Neill as a sub-set. In their
analysis NW Irish and Ui Neill are not the same thing. Unfortunately this
subtle distinction is often lost on the layman, especially those interested in
Irish history, for whom NW Irish is indeed synonymous with Ui Neill. I actually
like John McEwen's description of R1bSTR19Irish better for this group since
it isn't loaded with connotations that tend to confuse the issue.

The problem, as I see it, is where do you draw the line between Ui Neill
and R1bSTR19Irish? We already know the Connachta are not Ui Neill (see
Byrnes, Flanagan, Ferguson, Donohoe, etc. above). What about all the matches in
Scotland? Or England (Blanchard, Galyean, Moore, Clarkson, etc.) How did they
all come to match the Ui Neill modal?

For the DNA experts there is an easy answer to this - their ancestors all
originated in NW Ireland at some unspecified point in Irish history then
migrated to Scotland, England and points beyond on the continent (yes there are
matches in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden). According to this theory some
could be Ui Neill; others may not be (like the Connachta).

Of course none of this agrees with the theories of Thomas O'Rahilly
(Early Irish History and Mythology) but that's an argument best left for another


This thread: