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Kelly Case Studies

Kelly is the second most common surname in Ireland. Yet the original Gaelic ‘meaning’ of Kelly remains a mystery. This should not really come as a surprise as virtually every Irish surname has been anglicised, but the real tragedy is that since Irish surnames were often a record of a notable trait of ones founding ancestor, all of this information together with the original Gaelic Irish spelling and pronunciation has been lost. Fortunately today modern commercial ancestral DNA testing allows one to pinpoint where ones Kelly ancestor lived and hence allows one to tentatively reconstruct the history of ones ancestors. This is because the ancestral DNA test results pinpoints an area where one can examine the historical records and understand more about ones Kelly ancestors from that specific location. In addition the DNA test results reveal who one’s ancestors were related to. One can find out for example that one’s southern Kelly ancestors were related to the prominent McCarthy’s or that one’s Kelly ancestors in Wexford were related to the Kavanaghs who dominated that area.

Surname distribution mapping for the Kelly surname in Ireland reveals relatively little with regards the geographical origin of ones Kelly ancestors, simply because the surname is so common and Counties as an area are quite large. However given that Ireland has remained essentially an agricultural based society, this allows one to explore in more depth the distribution of the Kelly surname, as one can examine where Kelly farmers cluster within Ireland. This is because Kelly farmers can still be found farming the lands that their ancestor farmed when ones ancestor first picked the ‘Kelly’ surname. This reveals 22 clusters of farmers with the Kelly or surnames related to Kelly (that may have become Kelly over time) which includes Cuskelly, Skelly, Kilkelly, and Kiely. These 22 Kelly clusters may each represent different Kelly Clans unrelated to one another and each founded by a different founding Kelly-Adam. If your surname is Kelly then which one of these 22 clusters of Kellys are you related to????? Put simply only your DNA can answer that question!!! But how?

If you decide to get a commercial ancestral Y-DNA test then you will receive (with the results of that test) the names of males with whom you share a common male ancestor! But you will notice that their surnames are all different. This is because the surnames that are revealed in your Y-DNA test results will have arisen among a group of males living in a very specific location. If you plot where those surnames occur you will reveal a common area to all; that will be where your direct male ancestor lived when he first picked his Kelly surname. For example if your ancestors were Kellys from Cork then you will be a genetic match to people with surnames like McCarthy and Dennehy (click here to read the NEW Gloun Cross Kelley Case Study report). While if your ancestors were the Kellys from Mayo then you will genetically match people called Boland and McLoughlin, surnames associated with County Mayo (click here to read about the Kelly of Kilkelly Case Study report).

The beauty of doing Case Study reports for those with Irish ancestry is the wealth of information that the Irish landscape reveals. Many of the placenames in Ireland are quite ancient and reflect the surnames of the Clans or Families that lived there. There are many townlands that are related to the Kelly surname and they are indeed found clustered where the Kelly surname clusters. There are also quite a few Castles and Towerhouses that were built by a number of different Kelly Clans. These would have been the most prominent of the Kelly Clans. If your DNA results links you to these prominent Kelly Clans then you can actually go and visit these castles and literally walk in your ancestors footsteps.

I am Dr Tyrone Bowes and I interpret ones commercial ancestral DNA results for a living and pinpoint my customers ancestral origin within Ireland based solely one ones DNA. If you have had a commercial ancestral DNA test and want me to interpret those results I can do a FREE CONSULTATION for you (click here to contact me). If you have not had a DNA test but are interested then contact me here.

English Origenes

Scottish Origenes