Thursday 1 December 2016

The Tribes of Galway make a comeback!

Back in 2013, during the first annual conference of Genetic Genealogy Ireland, we had a wonderful presentation from Adrian Martyn on the fourteen Tribes of Galway, based on his extensive research. There was a huge amount of interest in the topic then, and there has been ever since, with over 2000 people viewing the YouTube video of his presentation online. 

For many years now, Adrian has been working on publishing a book of all his research and I am delighted to announce that this eagerly awaited publication has now been realised. You can order your own copy via Adrian's website on the link below. This would make an excellent Christmas present (for yourself or others) and comes highly recommended.

Here is what Adrian says about the book on his website:
"Fourteen families from the medieval Irish lower-classes rose to become Galway’s prime merchant families, nicknamed the tribus Galvia in the 1600s.
The families of Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Darcy, Deane, Font, French, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martyn, Morris, Skerrett, have been THE TRIBES OF GALWAY ever since.
Over the course of four centuries, they and their fellow Galwegians survived and often thrived against warlords and sieges, during economic booms and busts, times of plenty, famine, and plague. All within Europe’s most westerly urban settlement. This is their story."

Some of Adrian's academic papers can be downloaded and read free of charge from And here is Adrian's presentation from GGI2013 ... it starts at 1 minute 22 seconds, so skip ahead to the good bits! You can view a larger version on YouTube here.

Maurice Gleeson
Dec 2016

Friday 11 November 2016

Some great publicity ...

We had a huge interest in the DNA Lectures at Back to Our Past this year from a variety of radio and TV stations. This was a major change from previous years and a very welcome one too. Radio and TV reaches a very different audience to that engaged in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Below is a selection of the TV and radio interviews that took place prior to GGI2016 and feature myself, Ann Marie Coghlan and Paddy Waldron. We also had some news coverage in the popular press, including this article in which has already been viewed over 24,000 times.

16th Oct 2016,

First of the radio interviews is a very comprehensive piece put together by the Morning Ireland programme on RTE (Ireland's national radio station). Will Goodbody, Science and Technology Correspondent, discusses the advent of genetic genealogy and specifically the DNA Lectures at Back to Our Past. Mike Mulligan from Ancestry also features in this clip (click the image to listen).

Pat Kenny is an institution in Ireland, being one of Ireland's premier radio & TV personalities. Pat interviewed me on his Newstalk programme and we covered a huge range of topics in the 15 minute spot including how DNA can help adoptees, the anonymity of sperm donors, identifying the remains of WWI soldiers, and the Irish genetic footprint in the Caribbean. Click the PLAY button below to listen.

Myles Dungan has run The History Show on RTE Radio 1 for many years and has a wide audience. Myles interviewed myself, Ann Marie Coghlan (DNA Corcaigh), and Paddy Waldron (Clare Roots Society) about genetic genealogy and the success stories we have had. Click the image to listen.

Lastly, I appeared briefly on the 6pm National News on RTE television discussing the 3 main types of DNA testing. It's good to see that Irish Genetic Genealogy is beginning to make national headlines in Ireland.

Maurice Gleeson
Nov 2016

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Maggie Lyttle - Speaker Profile

Talk Title: Adding DNA to your Family History Society

Affiliation: member of the NIFHS

Qualifications: 23 years works experience in a criminal investigative role

What do you do as a Day Job?
Medically retired Police Officer

What do you do as a Night Job?
24/7 genealogist

How did you get into genealogy?
I was always interested in my family which became a hobby back when I was a teenager (many moons ago). I recall sitting down with my mum and a blank A4 sheet of paper and drawing out our family tree. It was my own curiosity, wanting to know my roots. So that was that, completely hooked on finding out more information who they were, where did they live, what life was like for them growing up in Ireland and where they came from in generations past. My only regret was not starting sooner and asking my elderly relatives. My parents would say these names of people when I was young and I never thought then to ask about them. I just never knew how we connected.

One fact drew me into researching in earnest. My mum mentioned one day that we were connected to the last man hung in Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast. Wow such scandal and literally a skeleton in the cupboard. So I set out to find out who this ancestor was. I did not have a computer back then and so information and facts were thin on the ground. It was not until I got a computer and was able to search on the internet that I found out that the last man hung in the prison was Robert McGladdery. It was only when I researched the tree more that I found out that in fact our family connection was not tothe last man hung but the 3rd last man hung Harold Courtney. He was my 1st cousin 2 x removed. Hung for the Murder of Minnie Reid. I was able to find lots of information online and picked up several books about the hanging. Newspaper reports were fantastic as I found a photograph of him.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
When I hit the infamous brick walls in my tree I turned to these new genetic tests to see if could help me fill in the blanks and answer some of my questions. In 2012 I took a mtDNA test and I had my brother take a Y-DNA test with Ancestry. It did not tell me much at all apart from the halogroups to which we belonged to but I was very interested in what genetic genealogy testing could provide me with and I wanted to know more.

In 2013 our Ballymena branch of the NIFHS discussed the idea of having Dr Maurice Gleeson an expert in Irish genetic genealogy give us a talk in Ballymena. We advertised our event and were amazed that so many turned up to hear about this relatively new concept which included the Autosomal DNA test that could help you find living relations. The event took place on the 30 April 2014. Maurice brought along FTDNA kits and we had over 50 people test at the event. A project was set up for the NIFHS in conjunction with the talk which has grown and grown with a membership of 362 to date.

My interest in the Autosomal DNA test has grown into an obsession of getting more and more family members to test when I can afford to. The introduction of phasing has been amazing and a great help. Having lost my Father prior to my interest in genetic DNA I have been able to create much of his DNA using ‘Lazarus’ in Gedmatch. Anyone can join our project who has had an ancestor born in Ulster. You do not have to be a member of the NIFHS to join the project.

What will you be talking about?
I will describe what the NIFHS stands for and where it covers. Its structure and how it works in practice. The benefits of being a member. Brief historical background to Ulster – Vikings, Gallowglass, Ulster Scots etc. Why did we add a DNA project and what difference has it made? Are different DNA profiles evident? What makes it different from other DNA projects in Ireland. Y-DNA will be discussed in brief with more focus on Autosomal DNA. I'll also discuss a few success stories.

Further information ...

Paddy Waldron - Speaker Profile

Presentation: Eugene the Blackguard & the Lynches of Moveen West

Qualifications: MA, MLitt, PhD

Chairperson emeritus of Clare Roots Society, Public Relations Officer of Kilrush and District Historical Society, Ireland Reaching Out volunteer Parish Administrator for Moyarta civil parish in County Clare, council member and former chairman of Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, member of ISOGG, Irish Genealogical Research Society, Thomond Archaeological and Historical Society, Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society, Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, etc.

Day Job - no time for one!

Night Job - genealogy. For more details of all my activities, see my website:

How did you get into genealogy?

I am a third generation genealogist. My grandfather began work on the family tree before he retired at 65 in 1949. His mother had four children before she turned 21, including my grandfather and his identical twin, and she lived to 88, so was still around to help him. The identical twins posed a further problem for those who like to calculate expected percentages of DNA shared - by marrying two sisters, whose own father had married twice, to two first cousins. My father caught the genealogy bug from his father and passed it on to me at a young age. At the age of 13, I rewrote the whole tree. I've now spent 30 years trying to get it all into a computer database. Every time I think I'm nearly finished, another batch of new records comes online.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy

My degrees in mathematical sciences, economics and finance included a lot of statistics, which inspired my curiosity about drawing genealogical inferences from genetic data. The jargon finally began to make sense when I first heard Maurice Gleeson speak at the Irish Genealogical Research Society in March 2013. A few months later, Katherine Borges swabbed me at Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 and I have been hooked since my results arrived a month or so after that. My closest match at the time was a lady who was adopted in 1938. My best efforts to help her over the next three years turned up nobody closer to her than second cousins, but search angel Julia Bell has since found her original birth certificate and located some of her paternal first cousins and maternal half-siblings. Other adoption and fostering cases, including the one that inspired the title for my talk at GGI2016, have proved much easier to solve. I've also taken my own County Limerick ancestry back another two generations as the result of a DNA match between my first cousin and our fourth cousin twice removed, whom I already knew without ever suspecting a relationship or discussing our common roots.

I am now co-administrator with Terry Fitzgerald of the Clare Roots project at
which was established to coincide with Maurice Gleeson's talk at the monthly Clare Roots Society meeting on 19 November 2015. By 29 Sep 2017, it had 816 members. Anyone with an ancestor who lived in County Clare is welcome to join. I am also co-administrator of the Clancy, Durkin/Durkan/Durcan and O'Dea/O'Day/Dee surname projects and am working on establishing an Irish Waldron Surname Project.

I have recruited well over 100 people to genetic genealogy in Clare, Limerick, Mayo and other ancestral heartlands via the DNA Outreach IRL project. In 2013, the top 30 matches for any Irish person getting autosomal DNA results were typically complete strangers; nowadays, I expect to know personally about six of the top 30 matches of anyone from West Clare that I swab. Working out the relationships can still be a challenge.

What will you be talking about?

All that the Sacramento Lynches knew of their grandfather until DNA-matching connected them with Paddy Waldron in mid-2016 was that Eugene Lynch was a blackguard who abandoned his wife and children in Sacramento around 1910. The census of that year revealed merely that Eugene was Irish-born, and he could not be found in any other census. By November 2016, Eugene's grandchildren were meeting their long-lost cousins on a farm in the townland of Moveen West in County Clare, home to Eugene's grandparents and to their descendants for two centuries. The missing link between the Moveen grandparents and Eugene's mysterious appearance in California remained a puzzle until another Lynch visit to Moveen in 2019. A flash of divine inspiration during that trip, and the use of every trick in the genetic genealogist's toolbox, brought genealogical brick walls tumbling down. This talk will reveal how re-visiting the evidence produced unexpected breakthroughs, and not for the Californian Lynches alone.

Previous presentations at Genetic Genealogy Ireland: 

GGI2018 DublinExpert Panel: Autosomal DNA Projects in Ireland

GGI2017Match Making in Clare using Y-DNA & atDNA ... Lisdoonvarna in County Clare is still famous for its annual matchmaking festival. Genealogists soon learn that in previous centuries marriage in Clare and elsewhere was always an economic rather than a romantic transaction. I will talk about some of the surprising trends in arranged marriages revealed by genetic genealogy.

To genetic genealogists today, the word "match" is more likely to suggest DNA comparisons than arranged marriages. As co-administrator of the Clare Roots project and an Ireland Reaching Out volunteer, I meet and greet members of the project when they visit Clare and introduce them, not to prospective spouses, but to long-lost cousins in Clare. Most of these meetings have provided new lessons about DNA matching which will feature in my talk.

The other type of match making that genetic genealogists engage in involves matching up (a) the oral traditions passed down through the generations, (b) the archival sources used by traditional genealogists and (c) the DNA evidence that often reconciles them, but sometimes refutes the oral tradition. My presentation will include many examples illustrating these points, using both Y-DNA and autosomal DNA.

GGI2016The Ups & Downes of atDNA Matching ... My presentation will combine examples of the successful application of autosomal DNA matching from my own experience with my thoughts on the statistical shortcomings of the current matching methodology. Examples will include how to use phasing and triangulation to confirm or refute suspected relationships, often revealing unexpected double relationships. I will demonstrate other tips and tricks for managing lists of DNA matches. I will show how DNA matching inter-relates with adoption and inheritance searches, marriage dispensations, bad record-keeping, and other aspects of genealogical research. My examples will show how DNA matching unites the Irish diaspora around the world. Just like the financial markets, the work goes on around the clock, with Irish researchers often passing the baton at bedtime to those on the west coast of the USA, who pass it on to members of the diaspora in the Antipodes, who may have solved the problem by the time we wake up here in Ireland the next morning.

Further information ...

Paddy's personal website ...

The Clare Roots Project ...

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

Peter Sjölund - Speaker Profile

Talk Title: The Power of Mitochondrial DNA

I am one of the founders of SSGG, the Swedish Society of Genetic Genealogy. Also a member of ISOGG.

What do you do as a Day Job?
I’m a professional Genetic Genealogist at the company DNA Academy, providing training, presentations and consultancy for genealogists. I am also an author, having written a handbook in genetic genealogy and a popular science book on the peopling of Sweden, spanning the past 11,000 years. I am a regular contributor to the Swedish genealogy magazines.

Before I did go 100% into genetic genealogy, I worked many years as a chemical management consultant.

What do you do as a Night Job?
When I’m not deep into mutations, DNA segments and church records, I have a family of four, 10 chickens and a farm house built in 1799 to care for.

How did you get into genealogy?
I have always been interested in local history and I love solving mysteries, so I got hooked on genealogy 30 years ago. My special interest is to dig out facts from really old records to investigate families and the local societies in the 17th and 16th Century. I have traced all my family lines back to at least the early 18th Century and many lines back to the 16th Century. But my curiosity makes me want to look even further back. Enter Genetic Genealogy!

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
With my background in Natural Sciences and my love for mystery-solving and family history, the field of genetic genealogy came as a God-send. I started out in 2010 with testing myself and my mother. Since then I have dug deeper and deeper into the fascinating world of DNA and genealogy. I have come to focus on the investigation of deep ancestry with the help of Y-DNA and mtDNA. This has led me to write a book on the peopling of Sweden, from when the ice melted 11,000 years ago up until today, based on DNA and archaeology. In my own family history, genetic genealogy has helped me to break through the brick wall of finding the ancestors of my GGGG Grandfather. In 2015 I and a group of genealogists founded SSGG, the Swedish Society of Genetic Genealogy, a society for promoting genetic genealogy in Sweden.

What will you be talking about? 
My talk will focus on mitochondrial DNA (aka mtDNA). 

Mitochondrial DNA, the DNA of your mother’s line, is often underrated by genealogists. We hear people saying "It’s not useful for genealogy" ... but nothing could be further from the truth! It just takes some knowing on how to use this hidden gem in your DNA. I will present success stories from Scandinavian genealogy to show you how to use mtDNA in your genealogy and how to find your prehistoric relatives.

Previous Presentations at Genetic Genealogy Ireland
At GGI2016, Peter gave an inspiring presentation entitled Viking DNA in Ireland. Do you have some and where did it come from? This talk certainly captured the imagination of the audience and has been viewed over 7000 times on YouTube (you can also watch the video below). Here is how Peter introduced his talk: One of the most common question we get in Sweden, from people living outside of Scandinavia, is “Do I have Viking DNA?” In Ireland and Scotland, many men indeed carry Y-chromosomes which arrived with the Vikings. I will talk about how you can know if your Y-DNA is of Scandinavian origin. I will trace the DNA of the Vikings back to different parts of Scandinavia and all the way back to when people first colonised Scandinavia at the end of the Ice Age.

Further information about Peter ...

René Gapert - Speaker Profile

Talk Title: Testing Ancestral Remains: the Barrymore Project 

Qualifications: PhD, Prof Cert (Forensic Radiography), FRAI, MCSFS, Cert FA-III

- Royal Anthropological Institute (Fellow and Certified Forensic Anthropologist)
- Chartered Society of Forensic Science (Professional Member)
- British Association for Human Identification (Council Member)

René is a freelance Consultant Forensic Anthropologist in Ireland. He trained as a Medical Dissector/Prosector in Berlin, Heidelberg and Düsseldorf in Germany and pursued doctoral research studies in Forensic Anthropology and Human Anatomy at University College Dublin in Ireland.

Dr Gapert holds a PhD in Forensic Anthropology/Anatomy and a Professional Certificate in Forensic Radiography. He is an accredited Forensic Anthropologist under the UK Justice System and has over 20 years of experience in the dissection of the structures of the human body and 14 years of experience in the examination and analysis of human remains in forensic and historical contexts.

What do you do as a day job?
After over 15 years working in a University environment I have finally set up my own consultancy as a forensic anthropologist. I found that that I needed more time to invest in case work and interesting research projects which would have been difficult to pursue otherwise.

What do you do as a night job?
The same as my day job. I am 24/7 on call.

How did you get into genealogy?
I always had an amateur interest in history and particularly my own. I am originally from Germany and was able to follow back both my parents’ families to just before the start of the Second World War. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out anything further back due to the lack of or destruction of family records during the war.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
My involvement with genetic genealogy came by accident as I was contacted by Roger Du Barry and James Barry of the Barrymore DNA Project in my capacity as forensic anthropologist. They were looking for some advice on the possible sampling and testing of human remains located in a crypt in Castlelyons, Co. Cork and I was able to help them with the licensing issues. I suggested analysing the remains from a forensic anthropological perspective prior to any destructive sampling. They agreed and here we are now.

What will you be talking about?
My plan is to briefly introduce the field of forensic anthropology and how I came to be involved with the project. To my knowledge this is the first time that human remains were accessed in Ireland for anthropological and genetic genealogical purposes and I will outline the processes we went through from first permissions to final testing. As the project is ongoing and I am hoping to access the remains again before the conference for further examinations, it may be possible to add some more unknown details. Overall, I hope that my talk will provide an interesting insight into a multi-disciplinary approach to genealogical research which may give other research groups ideas for further projects.

What questions will you address during your presentation?

- What does a forensic anthropologist do?

- What are the ethical and legal considerations around human remains testing for genealogy?

- What examinations have been carried out in the Barrymore DNA Project?

- What are the results of these (anthropological) examinations?

- Can forensic anthropology be used in my/our own genealogical research?

What DNA tests will be discussed?
I will only discuss the actual sampling of the remains and leave the DNA discussion to James Barry.

Check out René’s website at

Jens Carlsson - Speaker Profile

Talk Title: The genetic identification of the 1916 Cork Rebel, Thomas Kent

University College Dublin – School of Biology and Environmental Science/Earth Institute

Qualifications: PhD in Population Genetics (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)

What do you do as a Day Job?
Lecturer at UCD

What do you do as a Night Job?
Research, primarily focused on aquatic organisms including fishes, shellfish and hydrothermal vent and methane seep fauna. My research interests are in conservation, ecological and population genetics, as well as evolutionary biology. I employ genetic tools at population and individual levels to study genetic questions (gene flow, genetic drift, effective population size and selection) and to couple genetics with behaviors (kin-biased behaviours, reproductive success, mate choice, migratory behavior and life-history). I am also interested in conservation genetics, functional genomics and studies that combine population genetics, behaviour and ecology. In addition, I am interested in theoretical population genetics based on simulations and co-evolution of host-parasite systems.

How did you get into genealogy?
By coincidence!

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
I was approach by John Byrne who is leading an Irish charity organisation (Friends From Ireland) about striped hyena biology in Kenya. I went to Kenya to investigate the possibilities of doing research there. During the visit it turned out that John was also working for the Garda Síochána. After returning to Ireland, John asked me if I could help Garda Síochána and Forensics Ireland to identify the remains of an historic person.

What will you be talking about?
I will briefly go through the background of the Thomas Kent case – how the remains were found and the uncertainties surrounding the identity of the remains. I will then highlight the problems associated with doing genetic work using standard approach employed by forensics laboratories throughout the world. Finally, I will present how we were able to overcome these problems by developing new approaches for genetic identification of human remains.

Further information ...

Linda Parker Magellan - Speaker Profile

Talk Title: Navigating the New World of Genetic Genealogy


Founding Member of ISOGG
Technical Assistant/Webmaster for JoGG


Daughters of the American Revolution
United Daughters of the Confederacy
Southern California Genealogical Society


Linda Parker Magellan is an independent Professional Genetic Genealogy Consultant who has travelled internationally assisting individuals in the discovery of their ancestry through the use of DNA testing.  Linda enjoys putting the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the mystery of one’s genetic inheritance.    

Linda ordered her first DNA test kit in 2003 and has been hooked ever since.  She now administers several surname projects and has experience with FamilyTree DNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and The Genograpic Project.  

As a founding member of the International Society for Genetic Genealogy, Linda has long regarded education a priority and continues to develop professionally through workshops, conferences, and continuing education coursework.  Her area of expertise is in teaching others how to unravel the story in their DNA.  

What do you do as a day job?

Officially retired Apple Certified Macintosh Technician
Owner at Our Family Origins
Professional Genetic Genealogist
Speaker and Historian

What do you do as a night job?

Most of my nights are occupied with my day job! Research, research, research!

How did you get into genealogy?
My interest in genealogy began at about age 10. I started by asking my parents about my grandparents and what ethnicity they were. I wrote everything down and I still have those notes to this day. My next adventure into genealogy came in about 1988 when I bought my first Apple computer and decided to make my own database to keep track of my research. In 1989, with my computer in tow, I drove across the United States in search of relatives to interview… I’m still interviewing relatives throughout the world.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy
In 2003 while doing research on my mother’s maiden name, Wright, I happened across the FamilyTreeDNA website. I had really wanted to discover where my Wright family came from so it took me all of about 30 seconds to decide that I had to order a 12-marker y-DNA test for my male Wright cousins. It was at that time that I set up the Wright Surname Project which currently has 993 members. I must admit that I had no idea what to expect, but almost immediately realized that DNA testing would become an invaluable tool for genealogy research. Since those early days I have sought to learn as much as possible and have tested at all of the major DNA testing companies. 

What will you be talking about?
This presentation is geared for the new DNA tester. However, there will be useful information for anyone seeking ideas about what to do next. Information will include how to set up a spreadsheet for tracking matches, ideas and suggestions for contacting matches, and a review of many resources available.

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

Ann Marie Coghlan - Speaker Profile

Presentation: Introducing DNA for family research

Affiliation: Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) British Chapter

Cork Genealogical Society
Society of Genealogists [UK]
Cloyne Literary and Historical Society

Ann Marie Coghlan is a Professional Genealogist living in Ireland. She is a member of The British Chapter of APG : The Association of Professional Genealogists. Ann Marie’s background is in Education and in Business Consultancy. She manages Social Media for Cork Genealogical Society and has the Cork Genealogical Society’s Facebook pages with its private Hubgroup for Cork DNA. She is also the Admin for The Cork Ireland Project, The Nagle Family Project and McGrath Clan Project hosted at FamilyTreeDNA.

What do you do as a Day Job? 
Professional Genealogist at ‘ Family Past & Place Genealogy Services’.

What do you do as a Night Job? 
My own research if I’m lucky !

How did you get into genealogy?
As a small child, looking at family photograph albums and listening to my relatives, especially my Great Uncle Joe’s family stories and his time in France in WW1

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy 
I was always interested in early prehistory research. I read Brian Sykes ‘Seven Daughters of Eve’ and that started my interest but at that time DNA testing was very expensive. At WDYTYA Live in London 2013. I was ‘encouraged’ by Maurice to test with FTDNA and was also interested in the possibilities around reuniting the Cork Diaspora with Y- and atDNA. On receiving my results, I realised the only way to identify my own Cork lines was by networking with other Cork researchers. I applied for the Cork-Ireland Project on FTDNA and set up a private Facebook group for Cork Heritage using the Gedmatch Facebook group model. These were then connected to the established Cork DNA Leaders’ research, and the Gedmatch group subsequently to Cork Genealogical Society, where I have been a member for over 12 years. We are also registered with ISOGG as a Geographic Project.

I finally tested my own mtDNA two years ago and was awarded a rare Haplogroup and profile (thank you Grandma!) which is very interesting in itself, but not helping me much with my own traditional family research.

What will you be talking about? 
Why should we add DNA to our personal genealogy toolkit? Ann Marie explains the basics of DNA testing and how we can use genetic genealogy research in understanding not only our own personal family history but also our community history. This is an excellent talk for complete beginners who have never tested before, and a great refresher for those who already have.

Previous Presentations at GGI:
At GGI2016, Ann Marie gave us a fascinating insight into Adding DNA to your Family History Society. Here is the blurb about her talk, co-delivered with Maggie Lyttle: There are a variety of Family History Societies around Ireland and many of them have recently started to incorporate DNA testing as part of their society’s activities. In this presentation we hear from two such societies, one from Cork, the other from Ballymena. Ann Marie and Maggie will be telling us how they did it, why they did it, and what difference it has made to the members of their respective societies.
  • Cork Genealogical Society - who are we and what do we do? 
  • DNA Project Leaders for Cork and Irish Heritage 
  • Historical Profile of The Cork Diaspora 
  • Our DNA Corcaigh Project - how it works and current outcomes 
  • How we incorporate DNA research into Cork Genealogical Society. 

More information ...

Family Past & Place Genealogy Services
+353 87956 2840

Associate member of the AGI (Accredited Genealogists of Ireland)

Member of The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)  

Cork Genealogical Society

Cork DNA Projects [membership on personal request}

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

Robert Casey - Speaker Profile

Title of Presentation
Y-SNPs: Key to the future

Membership ‐ ISOGG

Day Job
Retired from IBM after 40 years in sales, services and product development.

Talk Summary
The impact of the explosion of Y-SNPs being discovered is covered in depth in Robert’s presentation. It shows how Y-SNPs can organize surname projects by Y-SNP. It explores how Y-SNPs can be used to determine when Y-STR matches are not actually related. Y-STR “signatures” are covered in depth and how these signatures can be used to determine relatedness and predict Y-SNPs which reduce Y-SNP testing costs. With such plentiful Y-DNA data becoming available, the combination Y-STR signatures and extensive Y-SNP testing now allows the creation reasonably accurate genetic descendant charts by extending Y-STR signatures into the genealogical time frame.

Robert has been an active genealogist for forty years, publishing nine 600 page family histories at his web site. Ten years ago, he started concentrating on genetic genealogy and created the L21 YSNP predictor tool in 2011. He has extensive web sites on the Casey, Brooks and Kiersey Surname Projects, the R‐L226 private haplogroup project and the R‐L21 private haplogroup. Due to the explosion of Y-SNP testing, he continues to concentrate on determining the relationship between Y-STR signatures and Y-SNP testing results and is now developing new methodologies to produce genetic descendant charts based on both Y-STR and Y-SNP testing. Robert recently retired from IBM after forty years in sales, services and development.

How did you get into genealogy?
When my Dad retired in 1976, my parents and I became devoted genealogical researchers going on many research trips and dozens of “genealogy sessions.” From 1980 to 1992, we published four paper based family histories and now have nine family histories with around 60,000 relatives documented at my Interactive Family History web site.

How did you get into genetic genealogy?
After researching my ancestors for over 30 years, I was very frustrated in breaking down my brick walls and YDNA looked very promising for a long term strategy to make progress on my Casey ancestors. In 2006, I ordered my first 67 marker test. With YSNP discoveries of “Walk the Y” tests, I rolled out my R‐L21 YSNP predictor tool in 2011 and the R‐L21 Private web site that analyzed all new R‐L21 branches as they were discovered. With the onslaught of NGS tests, I switched my efforts to R‐L226 and rolled out the R‐L226 interactive descendant chart and the R‐L226 Private web site in May, 2016. My NGS test from Full Genomes Corporation Y Elite 1.0 was the first R‐ L226 NGS test and I now have five branches under R‐L226 based on my original NGS test.

What DNA tests will be discussed?
Only YDNA tests will be discussed with the primary focus on how YSNP testing enhances information discovered via YSTR testing.

Where can people get more information about you or your topic?
For my web DNA web sites:

For my family histories:

To learn more about the SAPP charting tool:

YouTube video (older version of this presentation):

Jennifer Zinck - Speaker Profile

Title: Investigating Family History Mysteries with DNA: The Tools

Talk Description: Your autosomal DNA test results are in, so what’s next? What do we do with the pages of matches? Explore the latest tools offered by Family Tree DNA as well as the third-party tools offered by GEDmatch, DNAGedcom, and Genome Mate. Discover which tools are most useful for your situation and how to develop a DNA research plan to help solve your own family history mysteries.

Background: Jennifer Zinck is a researcher, writer, and speaker from the United States who specializes in the intersection of traditional and genetic genealogy. She frequently speaks and presents workshops on topics including beginner and intermediate genealogy, genetic genealogy, using DNA for unknown parentage, and technology for genealogy. Jennifer routinely attends conferences and participates in professional groups to remain current in her field. Jennifer serves as the President of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council and as a member of the Genetic Genealogy Standards Committee. She is a member of several professional organizations including ISOGG and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Dennis O'Brien - Speaker Profile

Title of presentation
The DNA of Clan O’Brien

Dennis is a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists, and Administrator of the O’Brien Surname Project.

What do you do as a Day Job?
  • Retired International Logistics Specialist in Customs Laws
  • University lecturer and Teacher at various Business Colleges in Australia and China

What do you do as a Night Job?
  • Genealogy, DNA
  • Director of the Mary Wade Society in Australia

How did you get into genealogy?
Born as a 3rd generation member to an Australian/Irish Catholic family. This offered lots of chances to meet my many great Aunts and Uncles and many cousins. In my mid-teens the elder Aunt asked me to read a small book she had written about the eldest of 10 children brought up in an Irish Catholic family in country Victoria, Australia. I was so hooked, I told my father of the book, he arranged for it to be printed and it became the base of all family research for our family in Australia and Ireland.

Within a few years I started gathering my own information and over the next 50 years have become the official keeper of the family records for both my paternal and maternal families, which extend to around 9500 persons in Ireland, England, USA and Australasia. Since 2001, I have visited many family members across the world and arranged several reunions in Ireland and the USA. Through the Mary Wade Society (Mary was one of the earliest arrivals in Australia, and a convict), I have access to over 17,000 extended family members, all on my maternal side.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy.
Possibly by accident. My parents and I were having lunch with Sir Conor O’Brien at the Dromorland and he was telling us about the O’Brien Surname Project. Both my father and I were tested and as the tests extended we continued to extend our knowledge.

Originally Michael O’Brien (USA) was the Administrator, but once the L226 connection was proven he felt the need to pass the position on and I accepted his invitation. I also worked extensively with Dennis Wright, L226 Project, as there is a direct overlap in our common goals. However, I have also been involved in helping non-L226 O’Brien’s members to extend their knowledge of where they came from.

What will you be talking about?
  • Surname versus DNA results
  • In DNA terms, who are the O’Brien’s
  • The O’Brien’s and the Dál gCais
  • SNP’s as against Y-STR markers

What is the relevance of each topic to Ireland & Irish genealogy?
Everyone wants to belong to a “Royal” family

What questions will you address during your presentation?
That a surname identifies you as a family, DNA identifies your history

What DNA tests will be discussed?

To what surnames is this topic relevant?
O’Brien and its many variants


Dennis Wright - Speaker Profile

The DNA of the Dál gCais and sub-clades discovered with Big-Y

BSc (Chem) VUW Wellington NZ


Dennis Wright has born in New Zealand and his interest in Genealogy began over 40 years ago following up family stories which led him back on his maternal side to Robert the Bruce, Scottish, English and ultimately European Royalty. He even found a line going back to Brian Boru. 

On his paternal side however, he has battled against an early 19th century brick wall in New Zealand for some 40 years. In 2005 it was suggested that DNA testing may help him break through and indeed it did. But to his surprise he found his paternal ancestry was Irish, not English as his name would suggest.

Dennis administers the FTDNA R-L226 Project and has maintained a DNA website for this Irish cluster. He authored a paper in the Spring 2009 edition Journal of Genetic Genealogy, entitled "A Set of Distinctive Markers Defines a Y-STR Signature for Gaelic Dalcassian Families".

Dennis is a past member of Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies, New Zealand Society of Genealogists and Hampshire Genealogical Society. He is the ISOGG Australian Regional Coordinator.

Talk Summary
This presentation starts with the discovery of a distinctive STR signature in 2006 for a clade that was subsequently found to be that of the Dál gCais, the O’Briens and King Brian Boru. It leads through Walk the Y testing where the haplogroup defining SNP L226 was discovered in 2009.

In the last two years with the availability of Big-Y testing has resulted in an explosion of SNPs and branches found under R-L226 giving the men of this clade a better understanding of where they fit on the Dalcassian tree.

Tell us about your involvement with genetic genealogy 
After some 30 years doing paper genealogy, I was approached by the administrator of the Wright Project at FTDNA in 2005 and did a 12 marker test. This was followed by a 43 marker test at DNA Heritage which showed some unusual markers. Ken Nordveldt indicated he had seen these values in a small cluster from Clare, Tipperary and Limerick.

As no one else was researching this cluster I started looking more closely and setup a website in December 2006 for the Irish Type III cluster, which this group was now known as. There are now 1,000 haplotypes associated with the group. I authored a paper in the Spring 2009 edition Journal of Genetic Genealogy, entitled ”A Set of Distinctive Markers Defines a Y-STR Signature for Gaelic Dalcassian Families”.

After getting support for a Walk the Y test, SNP L226 was discovered in 2009 and the R-L226 project was established at FTDNA, which I administer. As one of the first participants in Big-Y, I collected and analysed the data of Z253 and L226 men as available and made recommendations to FTDNA on SNP pack testing, and to ISOGG for additions to the haplotree.

I have given presentations to several bodies in Melbourne on Genetic Genealogy. I have also been tested at 23andMe for ancestry and health reports.

What topics will you discuss?
The STR and SNP signatures of Irish Type III cluster

What is the relevance of each topic to Ireland & Irish genealogy?
This cluster is Dalcassian.

What DNA tests will be discussed?
Y chromosome only

To what surnames is this topic relevant?
O’Brien, Casey, Kennedy, Hogan, McGrath, McNamara and Crow


James Barry - Speaker Profile

Talk Title
Testing Ancestral Remains: The Barrymore DNA Project

Jim Barry is the administrator of the Barry DNA Project and a member of the Earls of Barrymore Project, the first effort to do DNA testing of the remains of a member of the Irish aristocracy. Jim has been an amateur genealogist for more than 30 years and a genetic genealogist for more than five. Educated as a social scientist, he was a professor of politics at George Mason University and a researcher in conflict resolution at the University of Maryland. Jim has published in the fields of international politics, negotiation and artificial intelligence. His family is from Barryroe, County Cork.

International Society of Genetic Genealogists; New England Historic Genealogical Society

How did you get into genealogy?
My interest in genealogy began more than 30 years ago when my parents passed away and I wanted to learn about their families, which were rarely discussed when I was young. It was only in the past 5 years or so that the combination of online records and DNA testing enabled me to trace all of my immigrant ancestors to their places of origin. In the process, I discovered that my Barry ancestors were from a tiny village in West Cork and that I had other ancestors from Armagh, Cavan and Down. My excitement was such that I have continued to explore my family roots and have helped many others to find their families of origin.

What about genetic genealogy?
I first got into genetic genealogy as one of the beta testers for the autosomal DNA test. Shortly thereafter I began Y-DNA testing with FamilyTreeDNA and founded the Barry DNA Project in 2013. That same year, in collaboration with other genealogists and forensic scientists, I established the Earls of Barrymore DNA Project, the first effort in Ireland to test the remains of a deceased member of the Irish aristocracy.

What will you be talking about?
One of the most important Anglo-Irish families, the Barrys are found today throughout Ireland and the countries of the Irish Diaspora. Yet much remains unknown about this prominent family. The Barrymore DNA project uses the tools of modern anthropology and genetic science, coupled with genealogical research, to address these mysteries and learn how the Barrys of today relate to their aristocratic forbears. This presentation describes the results of forensic analysis and DNA testing of remains from the Barry mausoleum in Castlelyons, Cork. It details initial conclusions of the project, the challenges of ancestral DNA testing and future directions for research.


Tuesday 4 October 2016

Revised Timings for DNA Lectures

The opening and closing times for this year's show have recently been changed. They are not the same as previous years. Back to Our Past is now opening earlier (at 11am each day) and closing earlier (at 6pm each day, instead of 7pm).

As a result, the timings for the DNA Lectures have been shifted back by 30 minutes and so each presentation will be starting 30 minutes sooner than previously advertised. Below is the revised Timetable together with a detailed breakdown of each of the talks.
Key: Y, Y-DNA topic; M, mtDNA topic; A, autosomal DNA topic
(click to enlarge)

DNA Lecture Schedule (Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016)

Sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy)


11.10 - ISOGG Ireland update
(Gerard Corcoran, ISOGG Ireland rep)
Subject: generalGerard gives an overview of recent developments in Irish genealogy and genetic genealogy in particular. His presentation will include the new opportunities afforded by the new EPIC Ireland exhibit, and other recent initiatives, and what they mean for the future of Irish genetic genealogy.

12.00 - Introducing DNA for genealogy
(Katherine Borges, ISOGG, USA)

Subject: Beginners

This is the perfect presentation for the absolute beginner. If you have no idea how DNA can help you in your family tree research then this is the talk for you. Katherine gives an overview of the three different types of DNA test and how each of them can help you break through Brick Walls in your own genealogical research.

13.00 - Testing Ancestral Remains: the Barrymore Project
(René Gapert, HRSI, IRL & Jim Barry, ISOGG, USA)
Subject: Ancient DNA
This is the first privately-sponsored project to extract ancient DNA from ancestral remains. Jim Barry raised the money for this project himself and gained permission from the National Museum of Ireland to recover and test the remains found in the Barrymore Mausoleum in Castlelyons, Co. Cork.  The preliminary results presented here are consistent with the hypothesis that the remains located there include those of James Barry, 4th Earl of Barrymore (1667-1748). René & Jim will discuss how the DNA was extracted and the results thus far.

14.00 - The DNA of the Dál gCais & subclades discovered with Big-Y
(Dennis Wright, ISOGG, AUS)
Subject: DNA & the Gaelic Clans
The Dál gCais is one of the oldest Gaelic Clans and gave rise to Brian Boru’s branch among many others. In 2006 Dennis Wright discovered a distinctive set of DNA markers that defined this Clan and since then advanced DNA testing has helped clarify the branching pattern within this particular Clan, allowing people to place themselves on particular branches of the Dalcassian family tree. Dennis discusses the history of this project, how it has evolved over time, and what the future holds for the men of the Dál gCais.

15.00 - Five Tips To Make Sense of Your DNA Testing
(Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide, USA) 
Subject: Autosomal DNA
This is a must for anyone who needs help understanding their autosomal DNA test results. Diahan discusses various strategies for how to turn your list of genetic cousins into ancestral discoveries. You will leave with a solid understanding of how to start actually using your autosomal DNA testing in your genealogy. 

16.00 - Recent Findings in Ancient Irish DNA
(Prof Dan Bradley, TCD, IRL)
Subject: Ancient DNA
Many ancient Irish skeletons are currently undergoing ancient DNA analysis. They vary in age and some are up to 6000 years old. This year saw the publication of the first of several papers reporting on the analysis of four such skeletons which were found in Rathlin Island and Ballynahatty. Further research is ongoing and here to give us an update is Prof Dan Bradley from Trinity College Dublin.

17.00 - Adding DNA to your Family History Society
(Maggie Lyttle, North of Ireland Family History Society, & Ann Marie Coghlan, Cork Genealogical Society, IRL)  
Subject: general
There are a variety of Family History Societies around Ireland and many of them have recently started to incorporate DNA testing as part of their society’s activities. In this presentation we hear from two such societies, one from Cork, the other from Ballymena. Ann Marie and Maggie will be telling us how they did it, why they did it, and what difference it has made to the members of their respective societies.


11.10 - DNA testing for beginners
(Linda Magellan, ISOGG, USA)
Subject: Beginners
Linda covers all the basics about DNA testing – the three main types of DNA test, what each one can do for you, and what kind of questions DNA can help you answer in your own particular family tree research. If you have ever thought about doing a DNA test (or even if you haven’t) this presentation will leave you with all the information you need to dip your big toe in the genepool.

12.00 - The latest developments in Y-DNA
(John Cleary, ISOGG, UK)
Subject: Y-DNA
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 ability to build more accurate genealogical trees with genetic information has expanded. The new SNP results can combine with pre-existing STR data and genealogical research to create clearer branching patterns within surname projects and help our understanding of the evolution of surnames within Ireland. John summarises these recent advances and shows us where they might lead.

13.00 - The DNA of Clan O’Brien
(Dennis O’Brien, ISOGG, AUS)
Subject: DNA & the Gaelic Clans
The O’Brien surname is one of the most common in Ireland and the O’Brien DNA Project is one of the most mature Surname DNA projects in existence. Dennis discusses the DNA results of the project, how the O’Briens are genetically related to the rest of the Dál gCais, differences and synergies between SNP & STR marker results, and the implications of the DNA results for the future of O’Brien family tree research.

14.00 - The Future of autosomal DNA testing
(Debbie Kennett, ISOGG, UK) 
Subject: Autosomal DNA
There are some exciting developments in the field of autosomal DNA and Debbie will be discussing the implications of these in her presentation. These developments include some exciting refinements in genetic ethnic admixture estimates, as well as new tools for categorising genetic cousin matches. We can expect more tools and utilities in the near future and this presentation will give us some insight into what we need and what we can expect.

15.00 - Identifying our Soldiers of WWI
(Maurice Gleeson, ISOGG, IRL)
Subject: Ancient DNA
Over 330,000 WWI soldiers are still missing-in-action on the Western Front. Every year 30-60 soldiers (many of them Irish) are found during routine farm work. This presentation discusses the identification process using examples from recent finds (such as Fromelles) and how you can help the process to identify your own war dead relatives.

16.00 - Investigating Family History Mysteries with DNA: The Tools
(Jennifer Zinck, ISOGG, USA) 
Subject: Autosomal DNA
This is a must-see presentation for anyone who wants to dig a bit deeper into their autosomal DNA results. Jennifer presents a variety of different tools that can prove useful in analysing your results, organising them so you can easily keep track of what you are doing, and optimising your chances of making a breakthrough in your own family tree research.

17.00 - Viking DNA in Ireland. Do you have some and where did it come from?
(Peter Sjölund, SSGG, SWE)
Subject: Y-DNA, mtDNA, atDNA
Peter runs the Swedish DNA Project which currently boasts over 4000 members. He will reveal how to recognise if your DNA is of Viking origin. He will also trace the DNA of the Vikings back to different parts of Scandinavia and all the way back to when people first colonised Scandinavia at the end of the Ice Age. If you suspect you are a Viking, this is for you.


11.10 - Using DNA to Solve Family Tree Mysteries
(Michelle Leonard, ISOGG, UK)
Subject: Beginners
This is another talk for complete beginners and will cover the three main types of DNA testing. Michelle will focus on how it can help you confirm the accuracy of your research, and find new cousins to help break through the roadblocks and dead ends in your own research. Using personal success stories, Michelle talks you through the process from getting your results to matching with cousins and offers practical guidance on the best steps to take to succeed.

12.00 - Y-SNPs: Key to the future
(Robert Casey, ISOGG, USA)
Subject: Y-DNA

The explosion of Y-SNPs is having a major impact on Surname Projects. Robert explores how Y-SNPs can be used to determine when Y-STR matches are not actually related. Y-STR “signatures” are covered in depth and how these signatures can be used to determine relatedness and predict Y-SNPs which in turn reduces Y-SNP testing costs. The availability of this new and ever-increasing body of Y-DNA data now allows the creation of reasonably accurate genetic descendant charts by extending Y-STR signatures into the genealogical time frame.

13.00 - The Ups & Downes of atDNA Matching

(Paddy Waldron, ISOGG, IRL)
Subject: Autosomal DNA
Paddy is Chairman of the Clare Roots Society and has pioneered DNA testing in Clare and surrounding areas. He has also DNA-tested numerous members of his extended family and has had many genealogical successes with DNA. Here Paddy discusses some of cases from his own experience, using them to illustrate how you can use DNA (particularly autosomal DNA) to expand your own research and make fascinating discoveries that you would otherwise have never known they existed.

14.00 - The genetic identification of the 1916 Cork Rebel, Thomas Kent
(Jens Carlsson, UCD, IRL)
Subject: Ancient DNA
The remains of Thomas Kent, one of the 16 men executed after the Easter Rising, were exhumed in June 2015 and reburied in Sep 2015 following a State funeral in Castlelyons, Co. Cork. The only way to be sure that the remains were those of Thomas Kent was to recover DNA and compare it with those of living relatives. The scientific team was lead by Dr Carlsson from the UCD Earth Institute and here he tells the story of the recovery and identification, and how recent advances in DNA testing made this process a lot easier than it would have been ten years ago.

15.00 - The Marriage of Genetics and Genealogy: A Case Study(Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide, USA)
Subject: Autosomal DNADiahan’s mom was adopted from an unwed mother’s home in Seattle, Washington. But using a combination of genetic and genealogical tools, she was able to reconnect with her mom’s biological family. In this presentation you will learn how it has affected their lives and you will leave with concrete ideas on how to apply these same methods to your own personal genetic genealogical endeavours, whether you are looking for your father, or your 3X Great Grandfather.

16.00 - Connecting your DNA to the Ancient Irish Annals

(Maurice Gleeson, ISOGG, IRL) 

Subject: DNA & the Gaelic Clans

Maurice set out to connect his Gleeson “Clan” to the Ancient Irish Annals, only to be confronted with a variety of different hurdles and challenges. The same obstacles are likely to be encountered by many genealogists and DNA Project Administrators attempting to achieve the same objective and Maurice discusses some hints and tips on how to approach these genealogical conundrums.

17.00 - The Irish DNA Atlas Project – update Oct 2016
(Edmund Gilbert, RCSI, IRL)
Subject: Autosomal DNA
Ed returns to give us an update on this milestone project for Irish genealogy. Over 200 people have been recruited, each with 8 great grandparents from the same geographic area (c.50km radius). This gives us a snapshot of Irish autosomal DNA from about 1850, prior to the major emigration of later years. Already the project has identified distinct genetic groups within the Irish population, many of them quite clearly geographically defined. But what else have they recently discovered?

Maurie Gleeson
September 2016