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Linking DNA and Irish Placenames

In about 10% of Irish Y-DNA Case Studies it is possible to link one's paternal ancestors to a single Irish townland (the entire island is divided into approximately 64,000 townlands, the vast majority of which have names that pre-date the Normans in Ireland). This 'Keegan' Y-DNA Case Study is special for a number of reasons! Firstly it establishes a relationship between the multiple Keegan and Egan groups that are scattered throughout the Irish Midlands. Secondly, and more importantly, it links these groups back to an original core 'MacAoigain Clan' that inhabited a territory that was encompassed by four very specific townlands; which surround the modern borderlands of Counties Longford, Leitrim and Cavan.

The Case Study also reveals that the MacAogains were part of the R-M222 Gaelic Irish expansion that poured south in waves from their Inishowen hearthland into the Brythonic south from around 400AD onwards. For reasons that are not yet completely clear (and which we hope DNA will provide the answer), it would be the 'Northern' Irish Gaels that would come to dominate the identify of the modern Irish.

Lastly, Autosomal DNA testing (which explores more recent shared ancestry over the last 200 years) reveals a more recent migration (post appearance of surnames) of the test subject's 'Keegans' into Westmeath. The beauty with commercial ancestral DNA testing is that the link can be confirmed by commercial DNA testing males (e.g. Keegans) from the pinpointed locations (Leitrim/Westmeath) a process that is proving to be remarkable successful and fruitful (click here). 

This Case study beautifully illustrates the power of modern commercial ancestral DNA testing, illustrating how the Irish Diaspora can rediscover their Irish heritage in a way that is almost unique, linking their ancestors back to the handful of fields in townlands with names like Ballymakeegan (BaileMhicAogáin), Lismakeegan (LiosMhicCagáin), Carrickmakeegan and Derrymacegan; which have now become tourist destinations! The Full Y-DNA Case Study can be downloaded and studied for FREE by CLICKING HERE.

CLICK HERE for a FREE CONSULTATION on your DNA results (Y-DNA, Autosomal or mtDNA) or to find out which commercial ancestral DNA test is suitable for you. Remember folks, I am a trained Scientist with over 20 years’ experience in both Academic and Industrial Labs. Always check the scientific qualifications of the blogger offering DNA advice. An honorary qualification is no substitute for decades of genuine awards and practical experience.


English Origenes

Scottish Origenes