Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-02 > 1266266786

Subject: Re: [DNA] FTDNA v. ISOGG R1b haplotree comparison updated
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 15:46:26 EST

In a message dated 2/15/2010 1:41:16 P.M. Central Standard Time,

Though there are exceptions, I wouldn't see the M222 lines on the whole as
more homogenous than their southern counterparts. For instance, only a
small percentage of the O'Neills are NWI, and the large majority are not
related to the chiefly line either. Could you let me know what other
northern Ui Neill recognized chieftains there are that have been tested,
except for the relation to the O'Connor Don lineage?

The only other northern chieftain (M222) I'm aware of who has been tested
is the current O Dochartaigh (through his brother). This family is long
settled in Spain and have a decent if incompletely verified pedigree filed in
the GO sometime in the late 1700s. The sample is M222 and contains the
same characteristic O'Doherty modal markers as the majority of the Donegal
Dohertys. The O'Dohertys are of course Cenel Conaill, said to descend from a
son of Nial.

The O'Dohertys have an interesting DNA project. I'm doing this from
memory so I may get the stats slightly off but it is one of the largest DNA
projects involving M222 tupes. Something like 80% or more of the O'Dohertys
tested to date are M222. These aren't cherry picked samples but random
entries taken from clan members all over the world. There is one smallish group
of Doherty who are not M222 (about 10 total). They may not be Donegal
Dohertys at all. There is at least one other sept said to have assumed the
same surname (O Dubhertaigh) in the south. The other Dohertys in the project
are various flavors of I haplogroup and R1a, neither numerous (probably
another 10 samples). The Doherty situation is somewhat clouded by the fact
that the current clan head attempts to link every Doherty to some ancestor
in Donegal. It's amazing how many pedigrees they have in their database
linkied to 17th century Dohertys. It's also probably a lot of bad genealogy.

When it comes to the MacLoclainns of Donegal the situation is murkier
because there were so many different origins for the surname, in Ireland and
Scotland. We do have a core group of McLaughlins who match a distinctive DNA
signature we believe represents the old MacLochlainn of Donegal sept based
on some solid paper trails to Donegal and Tyrone. It is our single largest
related group in the project by far. The problem is since so few project
members know where their ancestors came from we can't say anything
definitively about McLaughlins who do not match this modal. They could be from
Donegal, members taken into the clan at some point, NPEs or whatever - but we
can't say for sure.

We see the same kind of situation in O'Donnells and Gallaghers, also Cenel
Conaill septs from Donegal. Both are large groups of M222 yet there are
some that don't match. The O'Donnell surname is not unique to Donegal.
Both of these projects are much smaller and we can't say much based on limited
samples (maybe 15-20 in each). The O'Donnell sampeles are especially poor
- mostly 12 marker tests. The last time I looked they had only one decent
37 marker test in the project.

The O Cathains of Ulster (Cenel Eoghain) are similar. Large clusters of
M222 but with many other varieties of DNA. Barra McCain has done a lot of
work on this. Their situation is vastly complicated by the sheer number of
different groups in Ireland and Scotland that wound up with the same
anglicixed surname. Yet Barra is confident most of the Cenel Eoghain O Cathains
are M222.

My statement about the northern Ui Neill clans being more homogenous is
based mainly on the O"Doherty project. The other M222 Ui Neill projacts are
too small to make such a statement or there are too many possible origins
for the surname. I will point out however that the last Trinity college
study reached the same conclusion. That there was a higher degree of
relatedness in the clans said to descend from Nial from those they studied in the
south (Moore et al, 2008). They saw more of a relatedness among surnames
common to the old Ui Neill chieftains of the north than they saw in the
Eoghanachta and Dal Cas. As far as I know they did not offer a reason but
stated they thought a different kind of tribal structure may be at place in the

The O'Neills are the one group in the north that do not fit this picture.
When Ed O'Neill and I did our DNA article on the O'Neills we purposely
concentrated our analysis on O'Neills in the study who claimed an origin in
Ulster, on the theory that if a DNa modal emerged it would most likely
represent the O'Neills of the north rather than the other O'Neill septs scattered
around Ireland. The results were interesting. Without reviewing the
article I can't give exact figures but about 30 samples were listed in Ulster.

M222 O'Neills (8)
Large related O'Neill group (not M222) 13
A second small O'Neill group not M222 but not matching the large group (6)
different haplogroups (3, I and R1a).

So far none of the O'Neill chieftains (there are several) have been
tested. These results were interesting iin that the various groups were
scattered about in the old O'Neill territory without any obvious geographical
significance.(Donegal, Tyrone. L'Derry, Armagh, Antrim). We also found some
McShane samples that matched the large group of non M222 O'Neills. SInce
McShanes were said to be a sept of the O"Neills (that's well documented even if
their descent is unknown) that was a clue. Since the time of the article
Ed O'Neill found an O'Neill with a paper trail to the O'Neills of Clannaboy
that matched the large group on non M222 O'Neills. Searches in the online
databases show an even more pronounced weighting towards the non M222

By pedigree and history the O'Neills should match the McLaughlins and O
Cathains (m222). But it appears the line of the chieftains may not although
so far no O'Neill chieftains has agreed to DNA testing. Various opinions
were advanced as to what this meant. Patrick Guinness of the Trinity study
opined that the true line of the O'Neills were the smaller group of M222
O'Neills and the rest he said were clan followers, probably Airgialla, who
assumed the surname.

Ed and I didn't really buy that because the large group of non M222
O'Neills in the study clearly had a single common ancestor in the not too distant
past. Trinity college estimated the TMRCA at about 900 AD. This did not
look like a random collection of strays taken into the clan but a single

We also do not know if the DNA of the two major O'Neill lines matches.
There were O'Neills of Tyrone and O'Neills of Clannaboy, splitting apart in
the early 13th century. We don't have enough data to know for sure if both
lines match.

We wound up guessing that some kind of NPE occurred in the O'Neill line but
that was just a guess.

Anyone is welcome to look at the data and draw their own conclusions.


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