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Pinpointing Your MacDonald Origin! 4x DNA Case Studies!

UPDATED August 2020, NEW (5th) McDonald Case Study Added!

The McDonald surname is probably one of the most famous, spawning one of the world’s most notable brands (my first ever job was in a McDonald’s restaurant). It is also one of the most common surnames found in both Scotland and Ireland. However, not all McDonalds (McDonnells, McDond, Donalds and Donaldsons) are the same. Donald (Donal/Domhnaill) is a Gaelic personal name, and multiple unrelated Scottish and Irish Clans emerged that merely shared a surname derived from what was a very common personal name. So, today, it is only through commercial ancestral DNA testing that one can uncover one’s McDonald roots, identify which of the estimated 47 distinct Clans one is related to, pinpoint an origin and determine whether ones McDonalds were descended from Viking settlers, Celtic Scots or Irish Gaels, or Ancient Britons.

To uncover your McDonald roots you should ideally get a male McDonald, McDonnell, Donaldson or Donald relative to take what is called a Y-DNA test. That test only explores the male Y chromosome (which like the surnames is only passed from father to son). Anyone you match upon Y-DNA testing will share a common male ancestor with you, BUT their surnames will differ from you (that is because your shared male ancestor lived before surnames first appeared). So what one is seeing in the Y-DNA results is a snapshot of the surnames that arose among related males living in a specific location 1,000 years ago. Hence, it means that each McDonald Clan will have a ‘fingerprint’ of genetically matching surnames revealed upon commercial Y-DNA testing. Since surnames arose in an agrarian society, and farmers with each surname in early census data could be found in the area where ones ancestor lived when surnames first appeared; one can examine the surnames revealed in one’s Y-DNA test results and pinpoint an origin for one’s McDonald ancestors.

There are now 6 different McDonald Y-DNA Case Studies that can be downloaded and studied (click on the links on the accompanying table below). All six Y-DNA results have their own 'fingerprint' of genetically matching surnames, different pinpointed origins, and are from very different ethnic groups! The first Case Study links the test subject's paternal ancestor to the Viking-Gael 'Somerled' and pinpoints an origin on the Isle of Mull. The second Case Study details how one can pinpoint an origin with few Y-DNA matches; it reveals a test subject from a Scottish Celtic Brythonic line with an origin within Dunbartonshire. The third Case Study is an Irish McDonnell Clan with an origin in Southern Ulster. The fourth Case Study details how BOTH Y-DNA and Autosomal DNA testing identified an origin for the test subject's paternal line in Southern Scotland, and that his paternal ancetsor acquired the McDonald surname through a non-paternal event that occurred in County Armagh in Ireland at some point after the Plantation of Ulster (post 1600AD). The fifth Case Study details how its quality over quantity when it comes to Y-DNA matches, it also reveals a pre-historic (pre-Celtic, first farmers) paternal Y-DNA marker. The sixth Case Study demonstrates that the test subject's paternal ancestor was originally named 'McKimmie' and acquired the McDonald/McDaniel surname in Morayshire. What will your DNA reveal?

McDonald Y-DNA Case Studies
  Haplogroup Y-DNA revealed surname matches Pinpointed origin Ethnicity LINK
Case Study 1 R1a MacDonald / MacAlister / MacIan / MacKinnon Dervaig, Isle of Mull, Scotland Viking (Norse-Gael)

CLICK HERE to download

Case Study 2 R1b Johnson / MacAdo / Mitchell Baldernock, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Brythonic Celt

CLICK HERE to download

Case Study 3 R1b McKenna / McMahon / McDonnell / McDaniel Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland Brythonic Celt

CLICK HERE to download

Case Study 4 E-M35 Wells / Jones Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, Scotland and Armagh, Ireland Roman

CLICK HERE to download

Case Study 5 I-P37

McDonnell / Merrick / Fowler

County Mayo, Ireland Neolithic CLICK HERE to download
Case Study 6 R1b McKimmie / Noble / Scott Morayshire, Scotland Brythonic Celt CLICK HERE to download 


You can contact Irish Origenes CLICK HERE for a FREE CONSULTATION on your DNA results (Y-DNA, Autosmal 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.

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