GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-11 > 1163379363
Subject: Re: [DNA] colla uais DNA
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2006 19:56:03 EST
In a message dated 11/12/2006 11:44:45 A.M. Central Standard Time,
I must say that I would tend to disagree that it would
be impossible to distinguise the Ui Thuirtre Flynns
from other Flynns with a different origin. The other
septs that also gave rise to the Flynn surname are
fairly distant from the Antrim and Down settlement
area of the Ui Thuitre tribe. If one could test
long-resident rural families in Antrim and especially
the Upper Ards area of County Down (where they are
known to have been driven to in the 15th century), I
feel that there would be a very high probability that
local Flynns of Lynns would be of Ui Thuirtre (and
therefore Ui Maicc Uais, Airgialla) origin.
That would be interesting. The problem is finding an O Flynn with verified
origins in that area. As usual most of those who have been tested have no
idea where their ancestors came from in Ireland.
Here's the problem I see with the "Colla" business in Scotland and with
the MacDonalds in particular.
Their pedigree links them to the line of Colla Uais which in turn connects
them (as Sellars showed) to the northern Ui Meic Uais of northern Ireland.
But the line of the MacDonald chieftains test Norse R1a as Bryan Sykes
showed. Here we have a little problem since the DNA does not match the pedigree.
Whatever the Airgialla were in Ireland they weren't R1a. None of the Irish
Airgialla show a predominance of R1a, including the Maguires, McMahons and
So evidently the pedigree is just another fabrication of mediaeval origin.
The earliest version of the MacDonald pedigree dates to the mid-thirteenth
century in the G2 manuscript (Ireland). Prior to that no antecedents of this
pedigree are traceable in Irish manuscript. Rawlinson B.502 has a large
section on the Ui Meic Uais - but the lines peter out in the 9th or 10th century
and have never been updated since as the tribe became increasingly
irrelevant in Irish politics. Even Sellars, in his magnificent defense of the
MacDonald pedigree, admitted it was non-historical. He called it a "pointer
pedigree," a concept accepted by historians prior to DNA analysis.
If the pedigree is a fabrication, then why did the Irish scribes connect
the MacDonalds to the line of Colla Uais? One possibility might be that the
pedigree was conceived during the gallowglass era in Ireland (1300-1400s).
The O Clery Book of Genealogies list a MacDomhnall gallowglass sept settled in
Ui Neill territory under the O'Neills. The Irish scribes might have
concocted the pedigree to connect the Scottish MacDonald gallowglasses to a native
Irish line; the same thing done for the MacSweeneys of Donegal, another
Scottish gallowglass sept given an Irish pedigree after settling in Ireland.
I know the Clan MacDonald prefers to think there is some validity to the
Colla Uais descent, if not for the chieftains then for the rank and file clan
members, perhaps indicative of some kind of female line descent. And with
the references to the Airgialla in western Scotland and the Isles I can see why
this theory is attractive.
The MacDonald pedigree itself, aside from Sellar's pointer defense, is a
pretty poor specimen. It is much too short - by a huge number of generations -
and is clumsily tacked on to the line of the Ui Meic Uais - one cannot trace
the pedigree past the first two or three generations given in Rawlinson
B.502. And this ms. itself gives two different versions of the same basic Ui
Meic Uais pedigree, which is somewhat disturbing in itself. On the face of it
the MacDonald pedigree would appear to be one of the more clumsily fabricated
pedigrees in Irish manuscript history.
All I can say is who knows? It doesn't look too promising to me though.