GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-11 > 1163442059
From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] colla uais DNA
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 18:20:59 +0000 (GMT)
Must admit that I cannot think where I heard the
Somerled gene was spread through the other
Somerled-descended clans. The source seemed to say it
was in even greater numbers among others than the
McDonalds but cannot remember the source or exact
details so may be unreliable. I think you are right
and it is from Sykes.
The thing about the name of Somerled is not too
important IMO as his father and grandfather sport
Gaelic names and the use of Norse names among Gaels is
not unknown. Admittedly, this could also be fiction
but who knows.
It is interesting that there are a lot of 'Niall'
genes in Clan Donald, which does to some degree fit
the predicted genealogies of the Airgialla as sharing
an ancestor with thew Ui Neill. Few thought that the
Irish Airgialla genealogical link to the Connachta and
Ui Neill was genuine and indeed the Irish Airgialla do
not themselves seem to be of 'Niall' origin from what
I hear. However, many thought that the Airgialla may
well have been a group of disparate unrelated 'hostage
giving' tribes that have been artificially
genealogically stuck together and the descendants of
the correct branch of the Airgialla may have not been
analysed yet. The O'Flynn Ui Maicc Uais seems the
most likely to be relevant and they are not yet
satisfactorily tested. We also cannot be sure if this
is who the Senchus Airgialla were really from and they
may have been from another Irish Airgialla group who
may not even have identifiable descendants (as is the
case for the Irish Dalriadans in Antrim).
I think that what I said about intruders often being
happy to either take over an existing people and steal
there identities and (crucially) their manpower was
common in both Ireland and Scotland. So, a clan can
incorporate members of the original lineage then
slowly (and usually only partly) dilute it with
increasing numbers of downwardly mobile descendants of
the new chiefly line. This seems to be the very
essence of Gaelic clan takeovers with very few
rendering the land useless by clearing the existing
population. Low population was a chronic problem in
the early Gaelic world and you did not want to totally
clear people away.
So, I think the Somerled-descent clans could have been
a blend of the Airgialla with a Norse chiefly element,
whether well known or a non-paternal intruder.
Whatever happened, they did not take some prestigious
descent from a Norse earl or king or even a Scottish
or Dalriadan king but instead chose a deep ancestry
which would have been a stunningly underwhelming one
to choose if there was not a real link of some sort,
I must also admit, I am one of those who think that
clades like NW Irish are much much more ancient than
the Early Christian or Medieval periods, possibly
dating to very early prehistory.
Unfortunately, I think it will be ifs and buts for a
while yet until agreed y-DNA dating is possible.