Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Free DNA Tests at Back to Our Past

If your surname is on the list below, you may qualify for a Free Y-DNA test at Back to Our Past 2015. Check the relevant surname on the ISOGG WIki's Free DNA Tests page to see a full description of the offer. If you think you do qualify either contact the Administrator of the project in question or ask at the FTDNA stand at Back to Our Past (RDS, Dublin, Oct 9-11 2015).


ATHEY/ATHY - BARRETT - BARRY*- BARTLETT - BARTON- BONNELL - BOLT - BONNELL BOONE - BOWES - BRACEY - BROOKS - BREWERTON - BROOKSHAW - BUNCH - BURTON - CAIRD - CALHOUN - CALLAWAY - CARPENTER - CASSIDY* - CECIL - CISSELL - CHICHESTER - CHOATE CLOUD - COLDWELL - COLLINS - COLTON - CORBY - CORSON - COURTNEY - COVERLY* (<-FF) CRUMLEY - CRUSE/CRUISE/CRUWYS - CURD - DALTON - DANKO - DAVENPORT - DAW - DEVINE  - DEWBERRY - DIMOND - DOOLIN/DULING - DUNBAR - DUNCAN - DUNN - DURKIN - EASTMAN ELDER - FAMILTON - FARR - FARRIS - FAVELL - FITZGERALD - FLEMING* - FLOWERS - FOAD - FOX - FRAME/FREAME/FREMAULT - FRANKLIN - FRASER/FRAZER - FULLER - GAINES GILLESPIE - GLADSTONE - GOUGH/GOFF/MCGOUGH - GRAVES/GREAVES/GRIEVES - GUFFEY HAM - HEATON - HENDRICKS - HICKSON - HOLLISTER - HUDSON - HUNTSMAN - JOHNSTON  -KELSO - KEMP - KENNEDY - KENT - KIDD - KNOWLES/NOLES - LE GALL/ARGALL/KERGALL LAND - LAUGHLIN - LAY - LAWLESS - LITTLE - LLOYD - LOCKWOOD - LYON(S) - MacFARLANE MACHULA - MAGELLAN - MARKHAM - MAYNARD - McANALLY - McCALLUM/MALCOLM  - McCOMB - McCONNOCHIE - McELREA - McKINNEY - McLAREN - MEACHAM - MEAGHER/MAHER MEATES/MATES/MYATT - MEGAW/McGAW - MERCER - MILLIGAN - MONAGHAN/MONAHAN MORRISSEY - MUGFORD/MUDFORD/MUTFORD - MULVIHILL - MURTISHAW/MOTTERSHAW NANCE - NEIL/NEAL/NEALE - NIEDZIALKOWSKI - NORTHRIDGE - O'TOOLE - OGAN - OWSTON/OUSTON - PAGE - PARK/E/S - PARKER - PARRY - PASK - PERKINS PERRY - PHILLIPS PICTON - PIKE - PITTMAN - PITTS - POSEY - PRATT - PROCTOR - PRY - RATHBONE RAE/RAY/WRAY - RAYBURN - REANEY - REAMS/REAMES - REANEY - REID - RICKETTS - RIDDLE/RIDDELL/RUDDELL - ROACH - ROBERTSON - ROWE- RUCKER - SCREWS* - SCOTT SHADDOCK - SISKRON - SMOTHERS/SMITHERS - SOUTHWOOD/SOUTHARD - SPIERING - SPEARMAN -SPRINGFIELD - SPURLOCK/SPIRLOCK STANFIELD - STERRY - STILES - STOALABARGER STOKES - STROUD/STRODE - SWANN - TALLEY - TAYLOR - TEDFORD/TELFORD/TELFER THOMPSON/THOMSON - THROOP - TRIPP - TROUT - TRUITE - URIDGE/EURIDGE - WALKER - WALLACE - ARTHEN/WATHEN - WATSON - WHEATON - WHITE - WILEY - WILLING - WITHROW - WORDEN – WRIGHT




Monday, 5 October 2015

Jean Manco - Speaker Profile

Title of Presentation - Who are the Celts?

So what will you be addressing?

This is a controversial topic, since it has become fashionable to deny that anyone in Britain or Ireland was ever a Celt. Indeed the extreme version of Celtoscepticism aims to blot the Celts from history altogether. In essense this is an argument about ethnonyms employed in Classical sources. I aim to show that these need a more sophisticated interpretation, and to be combined with evidence from archaeology, population genetics and linguistics. Such a multi-disciplinary approach can shed light on the development and migrations of the peoples that I am happy to call Celts. 

What is your background?

What is a building historian doing delving into the days before buildings or history? Incurable curiosity is my only excuse. Though I have been interested in the human journey all my life, there has been little time to pursue this passion into the far past. Over the last quarter-century I have been too busy researching buildings and settlements from Saxon to modern, resulting in many reports and publications. Happily a convalescence coincided with an exciting time for lovers of prehistory, which I would have been sorry to miss. The winds of change are blowing through our vistas of the past. One source is the whirlwind of activity by population geneticists. New studies appear constantly. Most enlightening are those pushing hard at the boundaries of the possible in retrieving DNA from ancient bones and teeth. Meanwhile a paradigm change is spreading through archaeology. The idea of migration in prehistory, so long out of favour, has come bouncing back.

Since it helps me to distill what I have learned if I pull it into a narrative, a collection of articles found themselves being written on the fly and posted onto my website. The advantage of putting material online is that others can comment on it. Then it can easily be revised and updated. All my writing specifically for the Internet is aimed at the general reader. Yet much of this material is so new that it demands references. The end result was a strange hybrid of popular and scholarly writing. When readers pressed for a printed version, the hybrid was transferred into book form as Ancestral Journeys (2013), leaving online my collation of ancient DNA results. In autumn 2015 Thames & Hudson published a revised reversion of Ancestral Journeys in paperback and a new book Blood of the Celts

What DNA tests will be discussed?

Y-DNA, autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA


Where can people get more information about the topic?

Jean's books (including eBook versions) are available from online booksellers such as Amazon
Jean's website has a wealth of information about human migration into Europe - http://www.ancestraljourneys.org 

Some of Jean's academic papers are available at  https://plymouth.academia.edu/staffjamanco








Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Maine Irish Heritage Centre - Speaker Profiles

A chat with the Team from the Maine Irish Heritage Centre

Deborah Sullivan Gellerson is a Board Member of the Maine Irish Heritage Center, a genealogist from Portland, Maine, an Irish citizen via her mom, and an organizer and volunteer for many local organizations.

Margaret Feeney LaCombe is a genealogist who has been researching her own family roots and the Irish of Maine for over 15 years, and started the Center’s DNA project along with Maureen Coyne Norris, and created and maintains the Center’s genealogy database with help from the Center’s other genealogists like Deb Gellerson, author Matthew Barker, Krista Heatley Ozyazgan, Maureen Coyne Norris and Patricia McBride Flood.


Maurice: So what will you be talking about?

MIHC: The Maine Gaeltacht Autosomal DNA Project. Our presentation will give an overview of the Maine Irish Heritage Center and explain how to run a successful autosomal DNA project (as opposed to a Y-DNA project) using the DNA project at the Center as an example.

The MIHC has been using Family Finder tests to successfully reconnect broken family links due to immigration, and actively tests people in Ireland as well as in the United States but this model can work for any population.

Maurice: Personally, I think your project is really important for a variety of reasons. It will be the first autosomal DNA project ever to be presented at Genetic Genealogy Ireland; it focuses on the West of Ireland which is an area that has never been properly addressed at the conference; and your project may encourage others to set up similar projects, not just in Ireland but anywhere in the world - yours may be the template that everyone else hopes to emulate! But let's start at the beginning. Can you say a little bit about the MIHC

MIHC: The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) is a non profit heritage center in Portland, Maine. Housed in the former St Dominic's Roman Catholic Church which was built by the Irish for the community’s Catholics.

Maurice: And what is the Maine Gaeltacht Project all about? what are its aims and objectives? 

MIHC: The project is about connecting the diaspora with the native Irish still living in Ireland, with a focus on County Galway, and, more specifically, in Connemara. It hopes to help people discover common heritage that has been lost due to time and emigration. Portland, Maine had high immigration from County Galway, especially from the Connemara region.

Maurice: How did it all start? 

MIHC: Very simply really. We had a robust genealogy program and added DNA testing.

Maurice: What data do you collect? Y-DNA? atDNA? mtDNA? documentary data? 

MIHC: We are primarily an autosomal DNA focused project, but we encourage YDNA and mtDNA testing too. But the core of the project is the MIHC genealogy database which contains about 130,000 individuals. We request our project members to submit a brief pedigree upon joining our study. The purpose of collecting pedigrees is to see if we can connect them to other families already in the database. Also, in the event they are not accessible, we can compare data with people who inquire about matching.

Maurice: How does the project actually work? 

MIHC: We have so much fun with this project. We started off with a very large genealogy database of Portland Irish families. Then we started autosomal DNA testing. We also encourage people to test their YDNA. Trust plays a very important part. Building trust is important because most project members are people we know in our community. We also personalize the service we offer - we sit with them to show prospects what the testing involves, what results look like. We assist with testing (swabbing) and help go over results when they come in. We offer workshops about using DNA for genealogy as well as teach them how to get around on their accounts, set up accounts, use various features of the accounts. We also can help with DNA transfers from other companies.

Maurice: How do you recruit project members? are people targeted? via Facebook, for example? 

MIHC: Most of our testers are walk-ins at the MIHC who have heard about the project and wish to join. But we also do recruitment of targeted testees in Connemara and the U.S., particularly people who live in or have ancestry from specific townlands or islands, and people of certain surnames that have a long history of being in a specific area. We have also established collaborations with people and heritage centers, such as in Carna and Spiddal. We haven’t "recruited” on social networking sites but we do tell people of Galway heritage they are welcome to join our project. We have tested people everywhere - in their homes, in nursing homes, and even out in the fields!

Maurice: How do you analyse and interpret the data? 

MIHC: We find that we don’t require an advanced level of genetic genealogy skill to maintain our project. This is because we have the genealogy database and a team of researchers who know the history of the people and areas of interest very well. With the genealogy database, it’s been fairly easy to figure out closer genetic relationships (most within 3-4 generations, but some have been as far out as 5-6 generations). 

We can sometimes even infer where someone’s people lived (townland) based on the frequency of ancestral surnames among their matches. For instance, it is easy to tell Maureen’s people are from in or near Carna versus Margaret’s maternal people who are from Spiddal based on the ancestral surnames of those whom they match. 

We corroborate some matches found using autosomal DNA, by testing Y-DNA and mtDNA. 

If testers want deeper genetic analysis, we encourage them to read blogs, watch learning videos, and reach out to the ‘experts.’ 

Maurice: How do you encourage collaboration and net-working? 

MIHC: Many of our project members are local to Portland Maine or local to Connemara, such as Carna, so a couple of things are already going on. People see each other at these centers, and meet us and each other in social gatherings we host when we go to Ireland, and they can compare and discuss things in person. The can also collaborate by phone, email, Skype, or social networking sites. 

The addition of the myGroups feature to the FTDNA Group Projects has been great. In this way members, who choose to, can have online collaboration within the project. It’s like a social networking side of the DNA testing. Our myGroups activity feed is set to “group members only” as we want all our project members to feel comfortable posting and sharing information.

There’s also a Galway Genealogy Facebook group, so some testers belong to that group and the project is mentioned - they can exchange information that way too.

Maurice: How do you go about collecting further documentary data? 

MIHC: We only require basic pedigrees. We get that information added to the database and then cross check/verify accuracy with available records, such as on Ancestry, FamilySearch or with records in Ireland. Most times, we already have ample documentation already in our database for the Connemara folks, and we have Irish testees with super local and family history knowledge and who will visit neighbors to gather more information.

Maurice: What are the particular challenges and obstacles to the project? 

MIHC: Getting people to submit their pedigrees! One way we are overcoming this is requiring a brief pedigree with a join request. Getting people to interact with each other instead of coming to us is also a challenge. No one knows his or her ancestry better than the person themself!

Maurice: What particular successes have you had?

MIHC: We’ve had many successes and will highlight a few in our presentation. We have also solved a few NPE* mysteries.

Maurice: What new possibilities has this project opened up for you? for the local communities? 

MIHC: We realized almost immediately the potential this project had because of the resources that we already had in place, and that have subsequently come together to make it so successful. We believe we are a model for communities in Ireland and their diaspora communities to work together. We are reconnecting broken links between families in Ireland and their immigrant cousins in America.
Maurice: What are the next steps? what are your hopes and plans for the future? 

MIHC: Getting more Y testers. Continue to keep doing what we are doing. Fine tuning. And more testing by townland, to create a DNA profile for each townland.

Maurice: Well thanks for talking to us. Good luck with the project and I hope you enjoy your visit to Ireland.

MIHC: I'm sure we will!






Maurice Gleeson
4th Oct 2015

* NPE, Non-Paternity Event (e.g. adoption, illegitimacy, etc)





Saturday, 3 October 2015

Prof James P Mallory - Speaker Profile

Title of your Presentation - Irish Origins Revisited

Your titleProf Emeritus

AffiliationArchaeology, Queen’s University Belfast

What do you do as a Day Job?
Retired but still keep active in research.

What do you do as a Night Job?
Same thing I do during the day.

How did you get into genealogy?
I inherited a family genealogy from a Grand Aunt Sadie (anyone who has roots going back to Kansas has an Aunt Sadie) and attempted to track it back further. Also, was invited and joined the Mallory surname project on FamilyTreeDNA. I also spent one Easter holiday dragging my three sons around northern England to visit the ancestral haunts of our family line.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
My main interest is in tracing prehistoric migrations in Europe and assist, when requested, with ancient DNA researchers investigating population movement from western China to Ireland by providing both archaeological and linguistic backgrounds as well as sourcing suitable human bone samples.

What will you be talking about?
I will highlight and discuss further some of the major points of my recent book on Irish origins where they concern the archaeological evidence of the spread of a Celtic language to Ireland and the emergence of an Irish “identity”. I will not discuss DNA in any way as Dan Bradley would kill me because my lecture is before his. 

Where can people get more information?



















Friday, 2 October 2015

Low Cost DNA Tests at GGI2015

FTDNA is offering DNA Tests at special low prices for BTOP

Not only are FamilyTreeDNA sponsoring this years DNA Lectures (as they have done for the past two years), but they are also offering specially low prices for their DNA tests at Back to Our Past  And for anyone who swabs at the event, you won't need to pay shipping costs either (usually 8.85 euro), so it is a double saving.

Here are the special offers at this year's event:

  • Family Finder (atDNA)   79 euro*    ($88, usual price $99)
  • Y-DNA-37    116 euro*    ($129, usual price $169)
  • Y-DNA-67    214 euro*    ($238, usual price ($268)
  • Full Mitochondrial Sequence    152 euro*    ($169, usual price $199)
  • The Big Y   438 euro*    ($488.75, usual price $575)
  • FTDNA are also offering a 15% discount off any upgrade, so if you are thinking of upgrading from Y-DNA-37 to Y-DNA-67, now would be a perfect chance to do so.
*euro prices are approximate due to fluctuating exchange rates. Customers will be charged in US dollars.


Currently the cheapest atDNA test on the market?




Edmund Gilbert - Speaker Profile

Degree - MSci in Biochemistry in Genetics

Affiliations - Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Genealogical Society of Ireland

Day Job - Edmund is a PhD student at the RCSI

Night Job - Edmund is a PhD student at the RCSI - does he ever sleep!

How did he get into genealogy?
Edmund got into genealogy through his PhD. The Atlas collects genealogical information of its participants, which is the first direct exposure he had to genealogy. It being quite new, Edmund is always a bit amazed how well you can predict the county of origin for participants based on their ancestor’s surnames.

What about his involvement with genetic genealogy?
Edmund is a PhD student at the RCSI working on the analysis of the genetic data produced by the Irish DNA Atlas, a DNA cohort where they have genealogical information on each participant as well. Currently the Atlas is working on investigating the extent of population structure within Ireland as represented by the Atlas. Each participant has all eight of their great-grandparents from close areas so each participants’ DNA profile represent the picture of the genetic diversity found in those areas.    

So what will Ed be talking about?
Edmund will be introducing the Irish DNA Atlas, what it is, the entry criteria for participants, and what the Alas aims to investigate. He will also be discussing the preliminary findings of the Atlas, what’s been found about, and the features of, Irish genetics compared to neighbouring British and European genetics.

By investigating genetic population structure within Ireland we hope to contribute to our understanding of Irish history, and of groups within Ireland.

The data produced at the moment is primarily based on autosomal genetic data, although the Atlas has contributed to a number of Y-Chromosome studies, of which the results relating to Irish Y-chromosomes will be briefly discussed.    

What DNA tests will be discussed?

Y-DNA, autosomal DNA

Where can people get more information about the topic?

There is a brief overview of the project on the website of the Genealogical Society of Ireland - http://www.familyhistory.ie/index.php/en/2012-04-22-23-12-47

The ISOGG Wiki has a summary and some useful links - http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Irish_DNA_Atlas_Project

You can read about the 2011 launch of the project at Back to Our Past here - http://www.rcsi.ie/index.jsp?n=110&p=100&a=1966

Some early results were presented this summer at the National Library of Ireland and a podcast of the talk should be available soon ... http://www.nli.ie/en/list/current-events.aspx?article=c01a3a85-55d6-4e57-b21c-a9da07ed4ba2