Friday, 10 October 2014

John Cleary - Speaker Profile

Name - John Cleary

Member - ISOGG Scotland

Day Job - John teaches in a languages department at a university in Scotland, and has previously taught in colleges and universities in Germany, Japan, Malaysia and the UK. He has been involved in educational development projects on teaching modern European languages, which have led him to travel widely in Eastern Europe and central Asia. In a previous life he also worked in a museum and wrote a history of the people who had built and inhabited medieval almshouses.

How did you get into genealogy?
When working in the museum John developed an interest in the histories of communities and families. Some idle questions about some family mysteries led to him poking into his own family past, and he has since traced his own family back in each of Ireland's four provinces, as far as he can. Which isn't far enough – DNA research might be a way to see past that early horizon created by those Irish records that went up in smoke.

What about your involvement with genetic genealogy?
Like many people John began by testing himself and finding unexpected results, which fuelled the interest to discover more. He is a member of ISOGG in Scotland, assists as one of the volunteer administrators of the Scottish DNA Project, and helped establish a DNA Interest Group for Scotland which began meeting in Glasgow in 2014. He has used it to trace the shared origins of people with a shared but unusual surname, and to look deeper into how those surname bearers came to be in Ireland. More recently he has been using DNA to open up the history of the Scots captured in the Civil War and transported to forced labour in the American colonies, and whose descendants are trying to reconstruct their stories.

So what will you be talking about?
Recent years have seen a huge explosion in the number of DNA markers available for testing on the Y-chromosome. And as more and more people have taken up these advanced tests, our knowledge of the Human Evolutionary Tree has expanded. Not only that, but the new SNP results (in combination with pre-existing STR data) are creating branching patterns within surname projects and helping our understanding of the evolution of surnames within Ireland. John summarises these recent advances and shows us where they might lead.

What DNA tests will be discussed?
Y-DNA

To which surnames is this presentation particularly relevant?
  • Kemp (two Irish lineages of this name); also: Kempton, Cummings, Jacobs, Anderson, Adams, Connell, Small – all good Irish names. 
  •  The talk will be of interest to anyone who wishes to research a surname, but will also cover other uses of DNA in genealogy.
Where can people get more information about you or your topic?

The Kemp Surname Project - https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Kemp/

The Scottish Prisoners of the Civil Wars Project - https://www.familytreedna.com/public/ScottishPoWs



John's previous presentations at Genetic Genealogy Ireland ...
GGI2015: This talk is going to focus on DNA group projects - what they are; the different types; and how the family historian can get involved and use them. It will be of interest to anyone researching less common Irish surnames, especially those with possible origins in other parts of the Isles - or further away, and so may remain rare in Ireland. It's aimed mainly at those people who have taken a DNA test already and want to do more to compare their test with other people’s to extract more value from their results. People who have not tested but are thinking about doing it may also find this a useful source of ideas.

We'll look at group projects - especially surname projects and how they can increase the value of taking a DNA test. Part of the talk will look at how a surname project discovered more information about a particular surname that historical documents could not reveal. We'll look briefly at haplogroup projects – these capture “deep ancestry” (that is before surnames were used), but offer a lot to the family historian too. Then we'll introduce another, newer type, heritage projects, looking at a new project exploring the fates of Scottish prisoners transported as captives to America after defeat by Cromwell in 1650. This may interest Irish genealogists, too, given the huge numbers of Irish who also endured this fate under Cromwell and after. These show how DNA testing can be taken beyond conventional genealogy, opening up new ways to recount the history of peoples, communities and their migrations across the planet.



These lectures are sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by volunteers from ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy).



You can watch a video of the presentation by simply clicking on the image below. To watch it in Full Screen, click on the "square" icon in the bottom right of the screen.






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