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Irish Eyes - Vol 3

Welcome to this 3rd addition of Irish Eyes 16 July 2007, I hope enjoy reading it.

The Irish Type III Website was set up in December 2006 and in seven months, the website has received 1,800 hits.

Over 200 records of Irish Type III cluster members have been gathered in that time.

Do you have a Ysearch ID?

Could I first ask all members of this cluster, who haven't already done so, to set up a record at Ysearch.

Setting up a Ysearch ID allows others to quickly check for matches in the largest database available to everyone. As you have then published your results publicly, I am able to include them in the results page of the 'Irish Type III' website. I will not post them on the website unless you have a Ysearch record as I will always respect your right to privacy. We will, however, get the greatest gains by being prepared to share our information and hence get more and better matches to one another.

*Special Deal

It has been noted that in the SMGF database, 33% of 'Irish Type III' haplotypes do not have a result recorded at marker DYS463. This is much higher than in R1b in general. It has been suggested that these 'Nulls' may be due to an SNP located in the 'primer' region that SMGF uses to locate the DYS463 marker.

For the month of July 2007, a group discount has been arranged for people to test at EthnoAncestry looking for a possible new SNP in the region near DYS463 that could be definitive for our cluster.

Note:- Please be aware that in taking up this offer, you are participating in research that may not result in obtaining any information of value.

Costs would be:-

10 participants: $39 testing, plus a $49 extraction charge for a first time customer of EA
10 participants: $34 testing, plus a $40 extraction charge for a first time customer of EA
20 participants: $29 testing, plus a $37 extraction charge for a first time customer of EA

If you are interested in participating please contact myself, Dennis Wright at scorpion (at) netconnect.com.au or John Marsh at ajmarsh (at) arrrg.org who has arranged the deal with EthnoAncestry. At 01 July we have 10 participants. This offer will close at the end of July.

Some Bedtime reading on the O'Brien Clan

The Irish Type III cluster appears to be the haplotype of the O'Brien Clan and surnames associated with this clan. There is an out-of-print book Historical Memoirs of the O'Briens written in 1860 by John Donoghue AM of Dublin, which can be read, or downloaded as a 21Mb pdf file from Google Books. It is to be found at http://tinyurl.com/38adea

Also, in the last issue I alerted you to the several pedigrees on the Heber line which includes the Dalcassian Surnames. These can be found at:-


The Chief of the O'Brien clan and his successor

The chief of the O'Brien clan is Sir Conor Myles John O'Brien, "The O'Brien" http://www.obrienclan.org/conorf.htm It will be noted that The O'Brien has two daughters and no sons and so the topic of succession may be of interest to some.

In Ireland in the election of a Prince to rule the people, two things were to be taken into account, hereditary right, and the choice of the people. Any male relative of the deceased was capable of succeeding to the authority established by the founder of whom he might be a descendant, but by the election, that dignity was limited to the life of the person so elected. Yet it was not allowable for the electors to chose arbitrarily anyone among the numerous descendants of the founder of the dynasty, their choice being confined to the uncle, brother, son, or other near relation of the last possessor of the dignity, according to a law universally observed, that the selection should be made of one who was the eldest and worthiest of the blood of the defunct prince.

On choosing the prince, a successor was at the same time appointed who, in the case of the decease of the former, should assume the sovereignty. This person might be either the son, or brother, or some other of the worthier descendants of the family, and was styled the Tanist.

An article in Wikipedia on Baron Inchquin suggests who the 'Tanist' might be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Inchiquin

The Heir presumptive is the present holder's second cousin Conor John Anthony O'Brien (b.1952 ). He is the grandson of Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Murrough O'Brien, second son of the fourteenth Baron.

How Old is the Cluster?

Many people attempt to determine the age of various clusters and are frustrated by the alternative mutation rates that are suggested. There is no common agreement among the experts on the "correct" rate to use. This can easily lead to the doubling of the age or halving the age of a cluster if the "wrong" rate is used. Is our cluster 1,200 or 2,550 years old?

Our cluster has the advantage of having several "Surname" clans that have diverged from the main O'Brien line over hundreds of years. I thought that studying the pedigrees and checking which Surname clans have, or have not, the Irish Type III signature may be helpful in gauging the age of the cluster. I have used the pedigrees at http://www.libraryireland.com/Pedigrees1/HeberContents.php which supposedly trace the O'Brien pedigree back 3,000 years. If we can find the point where the appendage Surname Clans have the attributes of our cluster, we have found our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) and the age of the cluster.

Early pedigrees are unproven and many are quite incorrect, even farcical, manufactured to increase the prestige of a family. This is well known so we must proceed with care and just a drop of scepticism.

The Irish Type III cluster seems to be that of the O'Briens, while the NW Irish haplogroup is that of the O'Nialls. We can agree that both clusters started in Ireland as that is where the greatest concentration of each occurs, however they are not related as the NW Irish developed the M222 SNP, which Irish Type III cluster does not have, and there are significant differences in the STR markers.

Next I see in the Heber line that 84, Olioll Olum (d ~150AD) had three sons. From these three sons are descended the Hiberian nobility and gentry of Munster and other parts of Ireland.

From Owen Mor (or Eoghan Mor) are descended McCarthy, O'Sullivan, O'Keeffe, O'Donaghue and the rest of the ancient nobility of Desmond, the Eoghanachts of Southern Munster.

From Cormac-Cas are descended O'Brien, MacMahon, O'Kennedy, and the rest of the nobility and gentry of Thomond, the Dalcassians.

From Cian [Kian] are descended O'Carroll (of Ely-O'Carroll), O'Meagher, O'Hara, O'Gara, etc.

Looking at the 200+ haplotypes in our cluster, we see:-


Only a few of the surnames have any relationship to our cluster, so on the basis of this I believe our cluster developed in the descendants of Cormac-Cas and not before.

Now 6th in descent from 85, Cormac Cas was 91, Cas who had 12 sons. Four of those, Blod, Caisin, Aengus Cinnathach and Aengus Cinnaittin, respectively are the progenitors of the O'Briens, the Macnamaras, the O'Deas and the O'Quinns of Thomond.

When we look again at the 200+ haplotypes that are Irish Type III, we see:-


The odds are that the cluster developed in even more recent times in the O'Brien line.

In the pedigrees we have the following which I have listed as:-

His Son
92 BladBrennan BanBrennen
96 Aodh CaomhCongallNoonan
98 TurloghAilgeananO'Meara, Scanlan, MacArthur
103 LorcanCosgrachCosgrove, O'Hogan
104 CineadhBrian BoruO'Brien
-DonchuanEustace, O'Kennedy, O'Regaan, O'Kelleher, O'Beollan, O'Casey, Power, Twomey
-EichtigernHearne, McGrath
107 Turlogh MorMurtoghMahon - Macmahon
109 TurloghConsaidinMacConsidine

We know that not all the families of Ireland are representative in those that have had their DNA tested, but of the above names, we have the following in the Irish Type III cluster:-


We also have 9 Butlers but there is a satisfactory explanation in the marriage of a Murrough O'Brien who married Eleanor Butler and took the Butler name as part of his succession to the lands of Bansha, Co Tipperary in 1690 as Murrough O'Brien Butler.

Other non-Dalcassian names only occur once or twice, however there is one surname in the cluster that I cannot find in the pedigrees, namely Crow(e) with 16 haplotypes. This name is alternatively Crowe, Mac Enchroe, Mac Conchradha and is common in Clare, Tipperary and Limerick, the same counties as Irish Type III. Does anyone know if this name fits into the Dalcassian pedigree?

Using the Surname evidence above, I am putting forward that Irish Type III cluster had its origins between the time of 98, Turlogh and 105, Lorcan, say 600-900AD.

Family Stories

A little while ago, cluster member, Garry Bryant, sent me his story. I don't mind admitting I cried when I read it. We truly all are of the Blood of Brian Boru.

Bryant - O'Brien DNA - by Garry Bryant

I'm one of the few who became interested in genealogy when a child. I would sit beside my great-grandmother and ask her to tell me stories about her parents and her grandparents. Her answer wasn't encouraging, "I really don't have much to tell, my parents and family never talked about themselves very much."

While in the military during the Vietnam War, I spent one weekend writing down the various stories I had heard in my youth, and didn't think about it much till after I left the military in 1976.

After returning home to Boulder, Colorado, I was looking out my bedroom window one afternoon, which looked over a portion of the city, at which time my grandmother passed the room and entered saying, "You look blue. What's wrong?" I told her that of the 60,000 men and women who died in Vietnam, I'm sure some of them would have liked to live, and it's a shame that I can't trade places with one of them. At her suggestion she encourage that I do my genealogy, which has put me on a 30 year love affair turned into a passion for family history.

Having nothing but brick walls left, I decided to put things together and publish my findings. I have to admit that in the beginning was the hope that I could link into nobility, but all I was finding was a bunch of dirt farmers and miners. One evening with all my charts spread out I noticed a pattern emerging. Perhaps there wasn't any noble blood, but there were noble spirits. Twelve fore-fathers had served in the Revolutionary War, and I was the twenty-sixth in the lineage to have served in an American war. Plus another fourteen had served as ministers. One minister was thrown into prison for treason against the Crown in 1773, for his crime was being a "dissenting minister" in Virginia.

On 19 September 1993, I suffered a massive brain-stem stroke, the kind that usually happens in two kinds of accidents: 1) a head on auto crash at 90 miles an hour, 2) a pro lineman on an NFL team who buts head with another player. While in the ICU for the first four days and dying, I remember a voice in my head saying, "In you flows the blood of a warrior. You are a son of King Brian Boru. Fight! Fight!" Over the next month in the hospital I had come up with a plan to re-form the O'Brien Clan of Ireland. There was no society in existence it was time that one be formed.

Why O'Brien? My parents were divorced when I was eighteen months old. I met my father for the first time when I was ten, and in that meeting I was informed that the surname had once been O'Bryan. That my 3rd great-grandfather was John O'Bryan, who with his wife Mary, left Ireland and came to America about 1830 for religious freedom, for they were devout Catholics. John and Mary's son, William, ran away from home at around age fifteen, because his parents wanted him to become a priest, yet William had other ideas, and when he left home dropped the "O'" of O'Bryan, and added a "t." Such is the story of how the surname was changed. I remember lying in the hospital bed, angry. I would like to meet Grandpa William and punch him in the nose, for when he dropped the "O'" the family lost its Celtic birthright. My birthright, my identity!

A few years ago I was walking in a mall parking lot and overheard a young teenage girl ahead of me say to her mother, "I hate our name, Mackinnon! The mac says to everyone what my ethnic origin is." I wanted to stop her and say, "Never be ashamed of your surname! Do you not know that the Mackinnons were the hereditary physicians to a clan chief in the Highland's of Scotland." I envied her because her surname did cry unto the world, "I'm a Scot!" My surname didn't. Was I an O'Brien, a Bryan, or a Bryant? I'd do almost anything to know.

Finally the winds began stir and an acquaintance of mine, Patrick O'Shea, travelled in the summer of 1996 to Ireland, where he met Sir Conor O'Brien, The O'Brien, Chief of the Clan O'Brien. He told him that I was working on creating a clan society, and Sir Conor gave him his business card and told him to pass it on to me, which he did.

A few months later in January of 1997, PBS in conjunction with KBYU, aired the first program titled ANCESTORS. A large genealogical conference was held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, where a group from BYU was soliciting blood donations to build a DNA database. I was use to getting needle pricks so I volunteered. In the following years I read with interest the new avenues being created with genealogy and DNA research. Even read the book Seven Daughters of Eve, which I found fascinating. Often I wished to try the DNA surname projects but couldn't afford the cost.

In the next two years I met with Sir Conor O'Brien twice. He extended his patronage and support to the project. Joining the executive board was one Kevin J. O'Brien of Buffalo, New York. Kevin and I spent hours on the phone and emails building the "O'Brien Clan of North America."

I was envious of Kevin's heritage, for he could trace his O'Brien heritage back into County Clare, Ireland, to about 1760. And still had family he was in communication with who still lived there. His family came from just down the road from the now ruined Leamaneh Castle, famous as the home of the infamous Maire Rue O'Brien. He even had copies of deeds, etc.

At the turn of the century I got a phone call from a Mr. O'Brien who lived in California. He didn't like the webpage of the O'Brien's, for it wasn't updated as much as he would like, so he created his own group and got The O'Brien to extend his patronage. Not wanting to have two clan societies, Kevin and my self shut down the O'Brien Clan of North America, and went our separate ways.

Over the years I have wondered if I really was of O'Brien blood. There was the family tradition, Federal census records, and William's death certificate, all stated that William Bryant's parents were from Ireland, and that his native tongue was Irish. But branches of the Anglo Bryan's and Bryant's went to Ireland too. So what is my surname origin? Which ethnic blood flowed in my veins?

The first weekend of May in 2007, Kevin O'Brien called several times, but I was away at the North-West Sectional Fencing Tournament in charge of the armoury. When I returned home I was told that a Kevin O'Brien had called several times. On Monday night Kevin called and informed me that he was often at the O'Brien Clan internet site and was one of the first six to sign up for the DNA surname project conducted by Family Tree. Currently there were 89 in the project, he said. Of those 89, only one file matched that of The O'Brien (who's DNA was being used as the baseline since his genealogy could be proved back a thousand years to King Brian Boru) and only one in the surname project matched closely with The O'Brien, and it was Kevin!

Who then informed me that a week ago he was looking up O'Brien matches at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy site and came across my pedigree, for he recognized the ancestral names from an article I had written for the late O'Brien Clan journal. This was news to me. One of the conditions in volunteering for the DNA project some ten years earlier was that one would not receive any data. The fact that my pedigree showed up was of no concern to me, my name and all those still living named on the chart were protected. Kevin instructed me to type in the surname of Bryant, when the DNA markers were displayed he had me change a few of the marker numbers, and switch the search from surname to "search by match (%)." What now was displayed on the computer monitor would blow me away. Of the 37 DNA markers being displayed, Kevin's chart and my chart matched 37 out of 37! The first O'Brien file was that of his cousin who still lived in Ireland, the other O'Brien file was Kevin's. He then said, "I remember wondering if you really were an O'Brien, well you are cousin!" Trisha Tolley of Sorenson informed me that within eight to ten generations Kevin and I were related.

What is important is discovering the right blood birthright. The real surname! Guess that voice of long ago was right; I do have the blood of a warrior, and I am a son of King Brian Boru.

P.S. - My good wife won't let me change the surname back though!

Garry Bryant /Garaidh O Briain

If any members have comments, suggestions or an article that you would like to write for Irish Eyes please drop me a line .... warning, this flyer may not be too regular !!!

Slainte, Dennis Wright