DNA and Genealogy

June 16th, 2006
I am not a big fan of DNA Genealogy Projects, for many reasons, one being that for me family relations are much more that who took whos mother to bed.  Did they stick around afterwards?  Who actually raised you?  Who were you around when you were growing up, and who had the greatest influence on you?  So testing to prove you belong to a specific family or group is not productive in my mind.  It shouldn’t be used to single out specific individuals and used in a neg way as to say- well he raised you but unfortunately he’s not you’re real father.  Anyway- you get the point!?  If you don’t, contact me and I’ll explain futher.
So I came across an email sent to me recently, since I belong to a email news group for Cape Breton, and it was titled “DNA GENEALOGY PROJECTS”  I though to myself oh boy here comes the genealogy nazis trying to promote the separation of church and state or in my mind the separation of mother and son.  However, I was wrong on this one- the message was quite interesting and it opened up the of where did our decendents come from prior to populating the Scotland and Ireland mainland?  Ready the message as they do a better job in explaining it: MESSAGE STARTS HERE>>>
Hello Glen,I am one of the administrators of the Clan MacNeil DNA project at Family Tree DNA. We have had an excellent response from MacNeils with Nova Scotian roots and we are now able to identify at least two forefathers of Barra. The two MacNeil Barra groups that have emerged are the Barra R1a (Norse Viking) group and the Barra R1b1 Group which is likely of Celtic origin. Through our study we have discovered that many of the mainland Scotland MacNeils do not share common ancestry with the MacNeils of Barra. Through this project I have discovered that my roots are Norse Viking.We welcome all men with Barra roots. We have two MacKinnons with CB/Barra roots, two MacDougalls, one McInnis, one MacPherson and a Nicholson has just signed on as well. We have discovered that some of the MacPhersons of Barra belong to the MacNeil R1b1 group and some MacInnises of Barra belong to the MacNeil R1a Group.We also welcome women and men who have a maternal line (women only) back to Barra. Men have the advantage of being XY so we have both maternal and paternal DNA whereas women have only mt-DNA.
We also welcome all forms of the name Mac Neil such as Neil, O’Neil, Nelson etc. So far it looks like the MacNeils of Barra do not descend from Neil of the 9 Hostages as we are not getting matches with those that do. The members of the Barra R1a Group have a DNA signature which is close to the reconstructed DNA signature of Somerled. His signature was reconstructed from DNA samples taken from the Chiefs of the Clan MacDonald.
Vince MacNeil
—– Original Message —–
From: “K Glen”
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 2:59 PM

> There seems to be a number of world wide projects being offered on the
> referenced subject; Eg National Geographic as well as each of the Clan
> Societies plus some of the software company like Family Tree Maker
> We are now aware that Mitochondrial DNA testing (mtDNA) is becoming
> more popular. Unlike Surname DNA testing, which gives you information
> only on your paternal side (father’s father), mtDNA gives you
> information on your maternal side (mother’s mother). Maternal ancestry
> is much more difficult to research than the paternal side, since women
> traditionally change their names upon marriage. mtDNA testing,
> however, can unlock many of these dead ends to new research. A public
> database has been established for mtDNA results, greatly increasing
> the probability that you can find matches.
> The National Geographic project appears to concentrate on the paternal
> side with the most common DNA test. The Clan Societies appear to offer
> both DNA and mtDNA tests but are somewhat limited in the number of
> participants.
> Has anyone had experience with any of these Project and from which
> group would one get the best results? I’d like to open some discussion
> on this subject and hopefully we’ll all learn from it. Glen Morrison
> Co’ sinn.
> MacLEOD of Inverness, Victoria and Cape Breton Counties, NS, CANADA,
> plus Islands of Lewis, Harris and Skye, SCOTLAND. MacPHERSON, YOUNG,
> WATSON, MacGREGOR, Perthshire, SCOTLAND. Co’ leis thus?
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1 Comment to "DNA and Genealogy"

  1. Vincent MacNeil's Gravatar Vincent MacNeil
    January 19, 2015 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Hello Glen, funny to find this posting 9 years after you quoted me. I wonder if your original views of DNA testing have changed. Anyway, Y-DNA has been very successful for the Clan MacNeil and we are rewriting our Clan history. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/macneil-clan-shocked-as-dna-checks-force-rewrite-of-history.116231580

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