Irish Ancestral Heritage

Past stories of my Éire families

Saturday, 25 October 2014

DNA Testing, Results and Thoughts (Initial blog)

Well, 9 months have passed, since I took the Family Tree DNA test.
9 confusing months, with almost daily intrusions into my deep inner self.
9 months of trying to unravel, this fascination with my inner coded building blocks of my Human Genome.

There are 3 parts to Ancestral DNA test (the basic parts that you need to know).
  1.  Autosomal testing : Links you with Cousins from both sides of your parents
  2.  Y-DNA : Strictly your Paternal line (Testing for Males only)
  3.  mtDNA : Strictly your Maternal line (Testing for both Male and Female)

This is predominately your close family and relatives that you know of.
Autosomal can also find 1/2 siblings as well. Beware of this.
The major flaw with Autosomal testing, is that it is looking from both sides of your family and it doesn't tell you which side it is from. Yes it's nice to identify a close cousin, but unless their surname is known (and they have placed "research names" in their data), you've got a small chance of nutting it out.
I have about 5 people who I have confirmed are cousins, however it's quite scattered.

There is an X Chromosome component there as well, but you have to becareful with this. Study this over a few hours, it's not learnt in a few minutes.
It is a Maternal line check, but it can start to go awry if you don't understand how the X chromosome works.
In basic, it starts with your Mother only. (That's an easy one..haha)
But this is where it can get tricky. It can be from your Mother's Mother (Maternal Grandmother) or your Mother's Father's Mother (Maternal Great GrandMother).
As your Mother inherits 2 "X" chromosomes from her parents, the X can be transmitted from either the Mother's Mother or the Father's Mother (It always follows a Man's Maternal side). Again learn how the X and Y are transmitted down to you.

Y-DNA and mtDNA is very difficult to work with. I have found the mtDNA the hardest to work with, as the names that changed due to marriages and it's just crazy trying to work with name changes.
The Y-DNA hasn't alluded to anything major under the 37 marker. But has been very helpful above the 67 Marker.
However don't disregard the names at the 37 marker and below, as these show a pattern of very distant families.

The biggest thing that you must ask yourself, when wanting to do this type of test is : "Am I ready"? - Ready for what???

By that I mean, with the DNA test, with enough learning behind you, things "will" come up unexpectedly.
By that, I mean, you could find unexpected relationships (certain relatives are not biological).
It has happened, does happen and still happens today.
You have to take this test in a sense of whatever you find out, have an open mind, whether it's good or bad.

Ok, so what have I found ??? 
Story so far leads me to Ireland (surprise!!!!!), pretty well way back into time. I knew it would be Ireland, but I didn't expect this.

My autosomal matches are around 600. 5th cousin and closer. Ironically, not 1 person matches my surname, nor any matches on the Y-DNA.
Yes, my Father and Mother match me - again, there was no reason to doubt this.
And not what I was doing the test for.

I did the Autosomal test first, thrown in the deep end, didn't know what to do.
Simply guessed my way around, I suppose.
It took 3-5 months to get the hang of it and looking for comparative links.
Started around 450 DNA match's and no-one matched my surname... Great.
Started looking around and it was quite clear that I had to do more research on my surnames list.

Wasn't having much success there, so then I updated the kit to a Full Genomic Sequence (FGS) mtDNA.
That was almost a bummer as it still didn't allude to names and families I knew on the maternal side.

I then turned to Y-DNA, as I still had some reservations on how the DNA was correlating to what I knew of the paper trail.

So after 9 months, this is what I know :
  • mtDNA hasn't alluded to much except for a mysterious link with 3 matches. These 3 matches are Autosomal matches to myself and my Father, but not my Mother, yet they appear in my Maternal DNA. The match is at an expected 3rd cousin Autosomal range and a 3rd Genetic Distance on the mtDNA. It seems we match Autosomally through my Father, but there is a link to the Maternal line as well (I think there is a link between my Father's line and Mothers line, but not 100% established - might be a MacCarthy / Fitzgerald thing??)
  • Y-DNA has only started to be understood in the last 2 or 3 weeks (after 4 months at it).
    My haplogroup started to at R-M269, then after careful scrutineering, I was expected to have the CTS4466 trait. CTS4466 is known as "South Irish DNA". Mostly based in what is called Munster. I tested positive to the CTS4466 Haplogroup.
    Which means, that my Direct Male line has shown scientific evidence, that connects to this Munster "South Irish".

    After many weeks I still didn't see how to interpret the result, but what I found was that most people who matched me at above the 67 marker level, were in this haplogroup as well.
    Now to break it down even further a map was drawn up, explaining where the families of this Haplogroup interrelated with each other.
    In a maze of segments of detailed DNA- known as "SNP's", in order to determine who you came from, you have to find your detailed last Haplogroup, then you need to test down a line of SNP's, thus it's a process of eliminating them.
    In order to prove, you first must eliminate.

    Now what was striking about the Y-DNA, I still had no one match my surname at the 67 marker and or the 111 marker.
    What I did see, was a semi closeness to the Davies and Caldwell families at the 67 level and an O'Hearn at the 111 marker (still distant though at this level)
    This puzzled me and still does, due to the fact the the info suggests that you should see your family surname atleast appearing at the 67 marker.
    If you don't, it suggests a name change (most probably a Marriage), or you line was from an adopted person.
    Being an Irish surname -  Fitzgerald (yes with a lower G), initially got my mind running, that we may have been adopted in but I heard a story that most possibly we descend from a woman Fitzgerald.
    So, initially I thought that it was adoption, but then it turned "Oh it was just the marriage" thing.
    Well, I still haven't got a clear male surname (that's closer than 5th Genetic Distance).
    This is where I had to turn to study the Paternal Haplogroup tree a little more.
    Low and behold, I finally seen what the DNA was telling me.
    CTS4466, was known as the South Irish or Irish Type II. In this tree, segmented many times and certain families ran down each of these lines.
    If you knew about mathematics, you could effectively eliminate these lines at low cost, due to hitting the right SNP (so if turned Neg, it would wipe out the most familes in one hit, thus saving you time and money)
    I have taken out 4 SNP tests, 1 to confirm the CTS4466 and 3 others to widdle down the family involved. It is a trial and error, but if you do it right you can save money with educated guesses. Though it is only $39USD per SNP.
    In the Y-DNA, it has shown families like : Davies, McCarthy, O'Sullivan, Fitzgibbon, and Caldwell, with a 111 marker to an O'Hearn.
    After many hours so far, I haven't figured out which Fitzgerald faction yet (there is about 5 factions) but in about 6 weeks, it should be down to a handful of families.
    The problem with the Fitzgerald's, is that so many had interrelated marriages, by the way of 1st cousinship.
    So what my DNA is telling me, I relate to a few factions, however which one is the more dominant?? The $64 million question. More to come.
  • AutosomaI : have been told there is a Limerick connection there somewheres with my Fathers side. I know my Maternal side has strong Cork/Dublin and Galway influences.
    Like the Y-DNA, the same result for the Autosomal, no Fitzgerald's.
    However, there are links to families who mingled with them.
    Have confimed a handful of connections, but it's very difficult to figure it out, due to a factor that my Mother and Father's DNA are close to each other (unfounded which lines yet). My Father has Irish Paternal, with mixtures of English and Irish Maternal. My Mother has Irish Maternal line and English Paternal line. And I do really believe there is a cross over of DNA, but as of yet, it's distant (maybe around 7th cousin?)
    I have a hunch which faction we might be from, but I'll wait for a bit more confirmation.
    What is apparent, there is some weird connection with South West Cork, as I only know of Cork City, there seems to be a story there.
    Mum's side looks like it's starting to evolve as well. Some links are showing promise, but it's still distant and needs a lot of research time, along with a helpful "cousin" who wants to also - share info.  Interesting times.

What has been shown in contrast to my testing, is that because I am so many Generations down without "so called" Irish intervention as such, in the Genealogy world, my DNA vs my Father's or Mother's DNA is at the cutoff point of the Autosomal DNA test.
Many matches that match my Father and Mother, don't match me, why?
Because I fall in the bracket of the "Cutoff" point of 7cM (measurement of DNA).

If my Father or Mother matches someone at say 7.6cM or 8cM, the chances of me having the same level of inherited segment of DNA, is quite slim.
I have proven this, as I know a 5th Cousin, he has taken a DNA kit and he matches my Mother, but not me. I just fall under the cutoff at I think a 6.7cM level.
My Mother is a 5th Cousin -1 x removed, I am 2 x removed.
Something to think about when comparing cousins at the 5th cousin or 7cM level. 
Anyway, I'll leave it there for the moment, until more results come in.

**** Note : Many thanks to all the people that have helped out so far (Meryl, Ellen & Paddy and many others who have responded to my detailed emails). 

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by Brett Fitzgerald Saturday, October 25, 2014 No comments

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