Press Releases

Panel to discuss The Genetic History of Ireland
Press Release
15th October 2013
For immediate publication

An especially convened panel will discuss the genetic history of Ireland at the first day of Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013. The panel will explore the different genetic imprints that various migrations have left on the island and will delve deeply into the various subgroups of the R1b haplogroup, the most common genetic signature of the Irish people.

The panel will review the cutting edge work that is currently ongoing in this area and discuss the possible implications for Irish genealogy.

The panellists include:

Dan Bradley
Patrick Guinness
Margaret Jordan
Elizabeth O’Donoghue/Ross
Nigel McCarthy
Finbar O’Mahony

The panel discussion takes place in Speakers Area 3 at 16.45 on Friday Oct 18th at the Back to Our Past exhibition at the RDS, Ballsbridge. Further details can be found at

93% of people would have a DNA test to find their ancestors
Press Release
9th October 2013
For immediate publication

A new survey reveals that 93% of people would be interested in having a DNA test done to help find their ancestors. The survey is being carried out as part of the run-up to Ireland's first conference on genetic genealogy at the Back to Our Past exhibition at the RDS in Dublin from October 18th to 20th.

The overwhelming majority of people who responded to the survey (at gave a resounding yes when asked "would you be interested in doing a DNA test?". This suggests that the Irish public is more open to DNA testing than previously thought and many more people may undertake such testing in the future.

When asked "what DNA test would be the most important for you?" there was a clear gender bias with 25% choosing the Y-DNA test (which measures the father's father's father's line) and only 8% choosing the mitochondrial DNA test (which measures the mother's mother's mother's line). However, the vast majority of people in the survey chose the autosomal DNA test (66%). This looks at all the chromosomes and therefore assesses all one's ancestral lines, and not just one's direct male line (Y-DNA test) and direct female line (mitochondrial DNA test). It also provides you with a breakdown of your ethnic makeup and can reveal information about physical traits and medical risk (depending on the testing company).

Much of the current ongoing Irish DNA research will be presented at the forthcoming conference at Back to Our Past in the RDS. As a science, genetic genealogy is relatively young (the first tests only became commercially available about ten years ago) but the fact that so many people are interested in DNA testing augurs well for the future of genetic genealogy in Ireland.

Additional information
The survey results thus far are based on a maximum sample size of 152. The survey was widely advertised on Facebook and people were encouraged to complete the survey if they were Irish. Most of the 10,700 visitors to the GGI2013 website to date are from the US (36%), Ireland (27%), and the UK (20%). The survey can be found at

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 is a 3-day series of presentations that runs at Back to Our Past at the RDS, Dublin, October 18-20, 2013. The lecture series is sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy), and runs in parallel to the usual traditional genealogy lectures sponsored by and organised by APGI (Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland).

Maurice Gleeson is a medical doctor and genetic genealogist. He has used DNA testing to break down a Brick Wall in his Spierin line and to confirm a common Gleeson ancestor with a family in Australia. He runs the Spearin Surname Project and is co-administrator of the Irish Mitochondrial-DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA. He is an active member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG).

Free DNA Tests at Back to Our Past (RDS, Dublin, Oct 18-20)
26 September 2013
For immediate publication

A limited number of Free DNA Tests are available in the run up to the Back to Our Past exhibition at the RDS. This annual genealogy event attracts thousands of people who are interested in tracing their family tree. At this years event, there will be two new and exciting features - 1) Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013, which is a whole series of lectures on DNA and how it can help your genealogical research; and 2) DNA testing at the event itself. This is the first time that DNA testing is being offered directly to the public at Back to Our Past. The company offering the tests is FamilyTreeDNA.

In addition, there will be several prize draws for Free DNA Tests that can be collected from the event itself. There will be at least 4 prize draws and the first is due to take place this coming Monday 30th September. Other draws will take place on Monday 7th October, Monday 14th October, and Tuesday 15th October. Entry to the prize draw is free, but prizes must be collected at the Back to Our Past event itself. Further details (and Terms and Conditions) can be found on the Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 website here -

Some people may be able to avail of Free DNA Tests that are being sponsored by private individuals. There is a complete list of sponsored surnames available on the Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 website (using the same link as above). if your name is on the list, you may qualify for a free test. Check out the website today and see if your name is there. Some of the names include Cruise, Devine, Doolin, Lawless, Little, Mulligan, Meagher, Reaney, Loughney, Kennedy, Flanagan, Walker, Morgan, Gormley, Callaghan, and Kelly.

DNA and the Irish - Ireland's first genetic genealogy conference. 
11 September 2013
For immediate publication

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 is a 3-day series of lectures and presentations on DNA and its usefulness in Irish family tree research. The presentations are sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA, organised by ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogists), and scheduled to run at the Back to Our Past exhibition at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin from Oct 18-20. 

DNA and genealogy
More than one million people around the world have had their DNA tested as part of their family tree research and it has helped them break through "brick walls" where the paper trail of traditional records is either absent or has failed to help any further. This is particularly relevant to Irish research where there is a relative lack of documentary evidence prior to 1800. DNA testing has become increasingly affordable in recent years with basic tests available for as little as 40 euro.

Irish DNA Research
There has been a flurry of interest in DNA in Ireland over the last ten years and some incredible work has been undertaken by passionate Irish genealogists (many working independently and voluntarily) which is changing the way we think about ourselves. Many of these enthusiasts will be speaking at the conference on their own particular projects and how it has informed not only their own family tree research but how it sheds new light on a variety of Clan histories, Irish surnames, and their origins and evolution.

The international panel of speakers will discuss topics which include a basic introduction to DNA testing, early and later migrations into Ireland (Gael, Norman, Viking, Scotch, English), connecting with the Irish in America, and individual Clan and surname projects with names that cover the entire island. As well as talks on the Tribes of Galway, and the Munster Irish, Prof Dan Bradley will discuss his unit's work relating to the genetic signature of people in northwest Ireland and the correlation with Niall of the Nine Hostages. Details are available on the dedicated website - Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013 at <>. 

These DNA lectures will complement the programme of traditional genealogical presentations organised by APGI and sponsored by (the Irish Family History Foundation).

DNA testing at BTOP
This is the fourth year of the Back to Our Past exhibition which last year attracted 20,000 visitors and over 250 exhibitors. This year FamilyTreeDNA have a stand at the exhibition and will be offering DNA testing at discounted prices. This is the first time that DNA testing will be offered directly to the Irish public at the exhibition. There will also be some limited Free DNA tests available and further information can be found here <>

So if you happen to find yourself in Dublin in October, come along and have a DNA test - it may connect you with long lost cousins you never knew you had. Entrance to the entire exhibition and conference only costs 5 euro if booked in advance online via the BTOP website at <>.

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