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Henrys in Ireland; Irish, Norman, English, or Scots? Let the Y-DNA decide!

Firstly I’d like to thank Mr Henry for allowing me to share his Y-DNA Case Study Report. This study is interesting for a number of reasons. Most importantly it clearly demonstrates how commercial ancestral Y-DNA testing can pinpoint where ones direct male ancestor was living when paternally inherited surnames became common. That time-point will vary between Countries and regions but in Ireland it corresponds to approximately 1000 years ago. This Henry Y-DNA Case Study demonstrates how Y-DNA testing can determine the medieval ethnic origin of one’s ancestors; this is important as with a surname like Henry one’s ancestors may well have been Gaelic Irish, Norman/English, mercenary Gallowglass Scots from the Highlands and Islands of Western Scotland, or later 17th Century lowlander Scots or English Planters. In addition the Henry surname today is often a shortened form of Fitzhenry, McHenry, McEinri, or potentially McEnery, McNerney, and McInerney (I’ll stop there but there are more).

To accompany this Y-DNA Case Study I have also produced the first ever complete and comprehensive review of the distribution of the Henry, McHenry, and Fitzhenry surname in Ireland (for that additional report contact me here). In 'The Henry Surname in Ireland Report' I have plotted precisely where all the Henry, McHenry, and Fitzhenry farmers were found in 1911 (Catholic and Protestant heads of household). It reveals some fascinating information; potentially 2 distinct Gaelic Irish Henry Clans, at least 3 clusters of Norman Henry/Fitzhenrys, in addition to classical pattern of Planter-Henry settlement and what could be a distinct pre-plantation settlement of Scots Highlander McHenrys! (click on the sample images to enlarge and view). The Henry Surname in Ireland report also details the location of the many Henry, Fitzhenry, and McHenry Castles and placenames in Ireland.

Without Y-DNA testing one can only wonder about ones Irish ‘Henry’ origins. This new Henry Y-DNA Case Study sheds some interesting new light on how ones Irish ancestors adapted to their times. When oral family history records ones recent Irish 'Henry' ancestors as Presbyterians from Northern Ireland the temptation is to assume that they were originally 17th Century Scots or English settlers, we don’t stop to think that they may in fact have been Irish Gaels who shed their old religion, Irish surname, language, and customs to embraced the new faith, and the English language of their recently arrived lowlander Scots neighbours! What better way to reflect that new identity than with an anglicised surname. In that manner MacEniri becomes Henry! To read the full Henry Case Study report click here


English Origenes

Scottish Origenes