One challenge conducting Irish genealogy research is the loss of records such as census returns prior to 1901 for the entire country in addition to a significant portion of church parish records and wills. The number of extant records from the eighteenth century and earlier is significantly lower in Ireland compared to countries like England, Scotland and the United States. However, because of impressive advances in DNA research, there are scientific methods which can help people of the Irish Diaspora trace their ancestral origins and family relations through genetic or DNA testing.
RTÉ’s programme, “Blood of the Irish” showed that some of the first people to arrive in Ireland originated from the Basque region of northern Spain. Following that programme and others like it, many people would like to trace their ancestral roots and connect with people of matching DNA through DNA testing.
Niall of the Nine Hostages
Recent genetic studies at Trinity College Dublin have discovered the genetic signature of the most important dynasty of early medieval Ireland, the Ui Niell, literally translated as the descendants of Niall, a fifth century warlord whose descendants claimed the high kingship of Ireland. We provide this test using the same genetic markers as used in the landmark study by Moore et al. The test determines your genetic relationship to the Ui Niell signature.
However, Ancestor Network offers a service to assist people in genetic genealogy, not just Irish, but all across the world. We offer tests of paternal and maternal genetic ancestry. Some products are tailored to finding out about your deep ancestry, thousands of years ago, others to help understand your genealogy, for instance by checking if two people with the same surname are a ‘genetic match’.
We have teamed up with some of the leading genetics firms dedicated to developing genetic markers and tests to help you in your deep and more recent ancestry research.
Types of DNA Testing
There are at least three types of tests on the market that are used for genetic genealogy DNA testing.
1) Haploview: This test looks at a minimum of 37 microsatellite markers on the Y-chromosome to identify which historical lineage the paternal ancestor belonged to. We are able to identify more distinct lineages than any other company. Although we identify types from around the world, we have a particular focus on British and Irish ancestry.
For customers interested in the Haploview tests, we are able to identify several distinct Irish Y chromosome types, including one that is particularly common in Ulster and Donegal (see Niall of the Nine Hostages further below); two others which find their frequency maximum in Munster, around the mouth the Shannon; and a fourth, which is more common in Leinster.
The Y-DNA, male line, your father’s father’s father’s father’s line, etc. This is also called the surname line. If you are female, you need to submit a saliva test from your brother, father, paternal grandfather, father’s brother or other male who shares your genealogy in that line because only men carry a Y-chromosome, women do not. This test can trace back origins up to around 200,000 years ago.
2) mtDNA: This test looks at the HVS1 region in combination with mtDNA or mitochondrial coding region markers to identify which historical lineage the maternal ancestors belonged to.
The mtDNA line is your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s line, etc. Both males and females carry this DNA information, so either can be tested for it, but only females pass it on to their children. The mtDNA test can also trace back origins up to around 200,000 years ago.
3) The test growing in popularity is the autosomal (atDNA) DNA test which measures 45 out of 46 chromosomes in men and all 46 chromosomes in women. The 46th chromosome in men is discussed above, the Y-chromosome discussed above. This test is growing in popularity because it reveals all your ancestral lines although it only is accurate up to about three hundred years. The autosomal DNA test results helps connect you with genetic relations with whom you share a common ancestor up to about three hundred years ago back to a the time of your three or four times great grandparents. This is popular as you can then connect with people who shares these common ancestral ties.
After submitting your saliva sample we will extract your DNA and test 37 markers on your Y chromosome. We will then compare your results to our company’s extensive database and infer your haplogroup. This will not only allow us to recognise if you carry Niall of the Nine Hostages’ type, but also allow classification into a number of other Y chromosome types, each with a distinctive history. You will receive a certificate in pdf format summarising your results.
Your personal information and results will be kept completely confidential and never shared with outside parties.
How can you order and what will the results look like?
Once you submit your online order to us, we will confirm to you by email that your order has been received. Our partner labs will in turn send you a confirmation email; post out a DNA kit directly to you. This normally takes 2-3 working days for UK customers, 3-10 working days for EU customers and up to 15 working days for customers outside Europe. You will receive an email notifying you that your kit has been shipped. You will then return this kit to our lab partner via the postal system. You will be notified via email when your sample arrives safely at the lab. Note the customer is responsible for ordering the correct test. We help guide customers in selecting the most suitable test but are not responsible for incorrectly placed orders. You will receive a pdf certificate of your results by email which is an attractive certificate illustration with description.
Your electronic pdf certificates for Haploview and mtDNA tests are emailed to you, which contain both your individual marker results as well as a map showing where your type is found in the world, with some interpretation of your genetic history. Y-SNP and mtDNA subgroup as well as custom SNP test customers will receive a PDF detailing their individual marker results.
Technical details on your Haplogroup subgroup tests
The Haplogroup subgroup tests use either direct sequencing of known SNP locations or a technique known as TaqMan in which different genetic types are tagged with different coloured dyes for detection. We use a “tree approach” to testing for some haplogroups. For example, not every possible SNP in Haplogroup J is tested. As each person can only be in one group, it is possible to choose which SNPs to test following the Y chromosome tree on the basis of the previous round of results.
How to supply a DNA sample
The DNA saliva test kit shipped to you contains a small vial of a harmless preservative solution. All you need to do is rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water (to remove any food particles) then provide a saliva sample to the tube. The preservative solution will keep your saliva sample in good condition until it reaches our partner’s lab. The DNA provided by this process is of the very highest quality and ensures fast and reliable results for whatever testing you decide to have undertaken.
Turnaround time on your tests
Lab-based tests take a varying amount of time depending on the exact test ordered and the number of orders at the lab. Eight-twelve week turnaround times (from receipt of your sample at the lab) are the norm but testing can sometimes take longer.
The procedure from receipt of your DNA samples is as follows:
a) DNA extraction – this is where we purify and store your DNA,
b) DNA sequence reactions – this is where we prepare reactions to sequence and/or analyse your DNA,
c) DNA sequence analysis – this is where we run the result of your sequence reaction on machines that provide us with information on your DNA,
d) Interpretation and returning of results – this is where we interpret your DNA sequence information and return your result as an official certificate. Note that low throughput testing such as particular custom select SNPs are more prone to delays as they require more ‘hands on’ time in the lab.
To find out more about ordering your DNA test kit, contact us today.