Z16291 Ely Carroll DNABy Peter Biggins
Thomas Bohan, Helen Bowe, Martha Bowes, Kevin Carroll, David Alan Crow, Mark Green, Derek Irving, Chuck Linville, Erik Maher, Kevin O'Meagher, Adrian Martyn, Lee Morton, Andrew Murphy, Michael Rose, Bernadette Carroll Snead, Mikko Talvitie, Sean Tracey, Michael Walsh, and Alex Williamson contributed to this study.
Ely Carroll DNA Project Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree About PetersPioneers Home Page
Abridged Ely Carroll Big Y SNP Tree
R-Z16291 is the Y-DNA of Cian who lived around 200 AD (Ancient Pedigrees)
I have no business writing this. I am not a Carroll. My wife is, but we found out she is the wrong kind of Carroll. Like many Carrolls in America, my wife's family thought they were related to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence (who, in turn, was descended from the Ely Carrolls).
After I had my Y-chromosome DNA tested and found out I was descended from The Three Collas, I started to wonder about my wife's Carrolls. We found a male second cousin of my wife, Michael Patrick Carroll, and had his Y-DNA tested (Y-DNA is passed down from male to male like surnames). Turns out, he was descended from the Carrolls of Ossory rather than the Carrolls of Ely Carroll. But I was hooked on Ely Carroll. Kevin Carroll, adminstrator of the Carroll project at Family Tree DNA, had found a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. I decided to start a project at Family Tree DNA devoted to the DNA of all surnames descended from Ely Carroll.
This page is about the DNA of an ancient Irish clan called Ely Carroll. This is a name that surfaced in the Middle Ages. Ely is an anglicized form of Éile, a territory in Tipperary and Offaly. This clan goes back to a man named Cian who lived in Ireland around 200 AD.
The Carrolls of Maryland
Several famous descendants of Ely Carroll lived in Maryland:
Charles Carroll the Settler
Charles Carroll the Settler emigrated from Ireland to the colony of Maryland in 1688. Maryland was intended to be a haven for Catholics oppressed in England, Scotland and Ireland. Title to the colony of Maryland was held by the Calverts, Barons Baltimore. Charles was made Attorney General of the colony by Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore. Charles was also granted land in Maryland in compensation for that taken from his family in Ireland. In 1689, however, Maryland was declared a crown colony by William and Mary II. The Catholic Charles Calvert lost his properietorship of the colony, Charles Carroll lost his position as Attorney General.
Charles Carroll the Settler built the Carroll House in Annapolis and Doughregan Manor near Ellicott City.When Charles the Settler died in 1720 he was the wealthiest person in Maryland.
The pedigree of Charles Carroll the Settler goes back to 200 AD in Ireland. And the Y-DNA of his descendants matches up with that of men with surnames like Meagher and Flanagan that are supposed to be related based on ancient pedigrees.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Charles Carroll of Carrollton was a grandson of Charles Carroll the Settler. Charles Carroll of Carrollton is important because he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He was the only Roman Catholic to sign, and he was the sole surviving signer following the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826.
Carroll served in the Maryland Senate from 1781 to 1800. He was elected as one of Maryland's inaugural representatives in the United States Senate but resigned from the United States Senate in 1792 after Maryland passed a law barring individuals from simultaneously serving in state and federal office. After retiring from public office, he helped establish the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
In 2008, a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton joined the Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA and had his Y-chromosome DNA tested. His DNA is published along side other Carrolls on the Carroll DNA Project Results page at FTDNA. He is kit 112378.
Y-DNA is handed down male to male like traditional surnames. So, his DNA is the same as his ancestor, Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Other Carrolls in the Carroll surname DNA Project could now see whether their DNA matched up. About 10% of the Carrolls in the Carroll surname project match up.
Charles Carroll of Bellevue
Charles Carroll of Bellevue (1767-1823), first cousin of Charles Carroll the Settler, once removed, was a co-founder of Rochester, New York.
He was friends with president James Madison and his wife Dolly. It was Charles who went to the White House during the War of 1812. He saved the portrait of President George Washington for Dolly. He then took her to his home Bellevue in Georgetown, Washington, DC, until she could be reunited with the President.
The Bellevue home, now called Dumbarton House, has the portrait of Charles and his grandmother Ann Rozier on display there.
His son William Thomas Carroll (1802-1863) was friends with President Abraham Lincoln. It was William's Bible that Lincoln was sworn in on. It also exist today. When Lincoln's son Willie died William Thomas Carroll offered a temporary space in the Carroll mausoleum.
The Carroll mausoleum has many Carrolls, including the son William Thomas Carroll, Major General Samuel Sprigg Carroll. General Carroll's land became Takoma Park, Maryland.
Theis line of Carrolls, has a Y-DNA tester, David Carroll. He is a great great great grandson of Charles Carroll of Bellevue. Encouraged by his sister Bernadette, he had his Y-DNA tested at Family Tree DNA. His kit is number 738989. The testing shows that he has the SNP R-BY20010. The date of BY20010 has been very roughly estimated to be 1250 AD. See: Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree. He shares this SNP with another Carroll tester who has kit 112378. David and this tester are both descendants of Charles carroll the Settler.
Archbishop John Carroll SJ
John Carroll SJ (1735-1815), second cousin of Charles Carroll the Settler, served as the first bishop and archbishop in the United States. The diocese first encompassed all of the United States and later the eastern half of the new nation.
Carroll was also the founder of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic college in the United States.
Ancient Pedigree of Kits 112378 and 738989
Years 200 to 1150.
Google Books has made the 1892 edition available online: Volume I and Volume II. The University of Pittsburgh Library System has made the 1892 edition available online as a PDF file or Ebook: Volume I and Volume II. Library Ireland has made a transcript of Volume I available online.O'Hart's 1892 Irish Pedigrees shows, on pages 178-180 of Vol. I, the Carroll pedigree back to Cian, who lived around 200 AD. 85. Cian
87. Conla – had a brother named Cormac Galeng.
88. Iomchadh Uallach – whose brother Finnachta was ancestor of Meagher/Maher
90. Iomdhun – whose brother Fec was ancestor of O'Flanagan of Ely, and of O'Conor of Ciannacht, in the county Derry
92. Eile righ dhearg ("eiligh": Irish, to accuse), or "Eile, the red king" – after whom the territories possessed in Leinster by this sept, were called Duiche Eiligh, i.e., "The Estates of Ely," whereof his posterity were styled "Kings." This Eile was the ancestor of O'h-Eiligh (of Ely-O'Carroll), anglicised Healy/Hely
94. Amruadh – a quo O'h-Amridh; was ancestor of O'Corcrain ("corcra": Irish, red), anglicised Corcoran/Coghrane
102. Cnamhin ("cnaimh": Irish, a bone) – a quo O'Cnaimhin, anglicised Nevin/MacNevin/Bone/Bonass/Bowen.
104. Aodh (or Hugh)
105. Cearbhall ("cearbhall": Irish, massacre, slaughter) – a quo O'Cearbhaill Ele
106. Monach O'Carroll – was the first of this family that assumed this sirname.
107. Cu-Coirneach (also called Cu-Boirne)
113. Goll an-Bheolaigh ("beolach": Irish, talkative)
Years 1150 to 1550. The October 1883 issue of the Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland contains an article by Frederick John O'Carroll entitled "True Version of the Pedigree of Carroll of Carrollton." The article takes the above pedigree from Fionn, King of Ely, who was slain 1205, up to Donough, who lived around 1550.114. Fionn – King of Ely, slain 1205
115. Teige – Chief of Ely, who had (Maolruanaidh and) Conal who settled at Litterluna
116. Donal – Chief of Ely
117. Donough Dhearg – Chief of Ely, who died in 1306
118. William Alainn (the Handsome) – Chief of Ely
119. Donough – Chief of Ely, who died in 1377
125. Donough – circa 1550
This pedigree has been included in John O'Hart's 1892 Irish Pedigrees, Vol. 1, pages 75-77.
Years 1550 to the present. In the year 2000, The University of North Carolina Press published a book that includes a pedigree of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. The author is Ronald Huffman, professor of history at the College of William and Mary. The title is Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782. Also see WikiTree. Below are pedigrees taken from that book, with the addition of descendants down to two Y-DNA testers: kits 112378 and 738989. (Generation numbers have been added to facilitate reference to the more distant pedigrees provided above.)
Carroll 738989 has done Big Y-500 and has the SNP R-BY20010. The date of BY20010 has been very roughly estimated to be 1250 AD. See: Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree.
Ely Carroll Timeline150: Cian lives in Munster
400: Eile lives in Munster
1014: O'Cearbhaill Ele fights at the Battle of Clontarf
1205: Fionn, King of Ely, dies
1377: Donough, Chief of Ely, dies
1607-1609: Flight of the Earls, Plantation of Ulster
1632-1636: Ely Carroll described in Annals of the Four Masters
1634: Ely Carroll described in Keating's The History of Ireland
1652: Cromwellian Settlement
1688: Charles Carroll the Settler goes to Maryland as the colony's Attorney General
1702: Charles Carroll the Settler buys land near Ellicott City in Northern Maryland that would become Douhregan Manor
1706: Charles Carroll the Settler buys land that would become the Carroll House in Annaplois, Maryland
1727: Charles Carroll of Annapolis builds Doughregan Manor as a country home near Ellicott City in Northern Maryland
1776: Charles Carroll of Carrollton signs the Declaration of Independence
1781: Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek signs the Articles of Confederation
1787: Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek signs the U.S. Constitution
1790: John Carroll, SJ, becomes the first Catholic Bishop in the United States
1791: John Carroll, SJ, founds Georgetown University
1791: Daniel Carroll of Duddington provides the land on which the the U.S. Capitol is to be built
1892: Ely Carroll described in O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees
2004: Carroll DNA project started at FTDNA
2008: New Carroll DNA project member, kit 112378, is descended from Charles Carroll of Carrollton
2011: Ely Carroll DNA project started at FTDNA
2018: An Ely Carroll project member, kit 738989, is found through Big Y-500 to have the SNP R-BY20010. He is descended from Charles Carroll of Duddington, a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Birr Castle is a large castle in the town of Birr in the barony of Ballybritt, County Offaly, Ireland. St. Brendan the Elder (not the Navigator) founded a monastery in Birr about 540, serving as its abbot. There has been a castle on the site since 1170, and from the 14th to the 17th century. The O'Carroll family ruled from here over an area known as "Ely O'Carroll." According to the Birr Historical Society, "the present castle building was developed on the site of a previous tower house and bawn probably built by the Anglo-Normans. It subsequently became an Ely O'Carroll stronghold. It was demolished in 1778 and all trace of it has disappeared in the terraces and herbaceous borders."
The castle above was not the original castle. Genetic genealogist Maurice Gleeson forwarded an article in The Irish Times of August 6, 2018: "Archaeologists and historians have been turning up unusual finds across the country thanks to the heatwave, including . . . . impressions of the Ely O’Carroll “Black Castle.”
Ely Carroll Maps
The O’Carrol Papers
The University of Limerick Special Collection has The O’Carrol Papers. This Carrol family traces its origins back to Cian, like the O’Carroll’s of Ely whose territories comprised the present baronies of Ikerrin and Eliogarty in County Tipperary.
This Carrol family's heritage begins with Colonel ‘Long’ Anthony O’Carroll who defended Nenagh Castle, a Carroll stronghold, against Williamite forces in 1691 and who soon after attacked and defeated a Dutch force at Barra Bog. In 1712, Long Anthony favoured his cousin James Carrol of Tulla, (who through his mother’s dowry had already inherited the lands of Lissen or Kilkeary) with Lishenalclouta, Garrynamony and other townlands in the Barony of Upper Ormonde, Co. Tipperary as a reward for his services during these actions. While James never married and died intestate, his brother William, a Lieutenant in Viscount Mountjoy’s regiment, succeeded him. It was his grandson also named William Carrol that provides the foundation of, and is central to, the material in this collection.
The alteration of the family name came about as a response to the introduction from 1695 of harsh penal laws which prohibited Catholics from buying land, inheriting it from Protestants or leasing it for more than 31 years. The Carrolls like many other substantial Catholic landowners at the time conformed to the established religion to ensure retention of their estates. In a process of Anglicisation the family removed the ‘O’ and the last ‘l’ from O’Carroll, adding Parker as a second forename was seen as a furtherance of this progression.
O'Meagher, Chiefs of Ikerin
In her Maher Matters, Janet Maher discusses her ancestry back to the present barony of Ikerrin in County Tipperary. She considers an 1890 book by Joseph Casimir O’Meagher, Some Historical Notices of the O’Meaghers of Ikerrin, to be the bible about Maher, a first resource in beginning to study the ancestry of the name.
In his Irish pedigrees, 1892, John O'Hart includes a Meagher/Maher pedigree starting with "O'Carroll, Princes of Ely," on page 178 and proceeding to "O'Meagher, Chiefs of Ikerin, County Tipperary" on 237. Page 237 starts with Fionnachta, second son of Conla and brother of Iomchadh Uallach on page 179. There are 45 generations staring with Cian and ending with five Meagher brothers born between 1864 and 1876: Joseph Dermod, John Kevin, Donn Casimir, Malachy Marie, and Fergal Thaddeus.
The majority of men named Meagher/Maher and variations thereof have Ely Carroll Y-DNA. A male with that name has a 60% chance of having Ely Carroll Y-DNA. This is based on 27 members of the Meagher project at Family Tree DNA in October 2022 who had the surname and had tested 67 or 111 markers. Sixteen of these had STRs 594=11 and 492=11. This compares with an earlier study of Carrolls, where only 10% of Carrolls had Ely Carroll Y-DNA.
O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy
In his Irish pedigrees, 1892, John O'Hart includes a Flanagan pedigree starting with "O'Carroll, Princes of Ely," on page 178 and proceeding to "O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy in Ely O'Carroll," on page 203. Page 203 starts with Fec, brother of Iomduhn and son of Sabhrann on page 179. There are only 19 generations staring with Cian and ending with Cucalma O'Flanagan. A footnote says that Kinelargy is an ancient territory that corresponds with the present barony of Ballybritt.
Ballybritt derives its name from Ballybritt Castle (near Roscrea) and the townland of Ballybritt. Ballybritt barony is located in south County Offaly, west of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Ballybritt was included in the northern part of the territory of the Éile (Ely).
Ballybritt Castle is in County Offaly near Danganreagh House, and southeast of Leap Castle.
There are only a few Flanagans in the Ely Carroll project at Family tree DNA. Like Carroll, the surname Flanagan is found throughout Ireland. The percentage of Flangans with Ely carroll Y-DNA has not been measured, but it is expected to be relatively small.
Ely Carroll DNA Project – Testing
The test results evaluated here all came from Family Tree DNA. Only 67 or 111 markers tested are included here because those tests include the 66th marker, 492, which is crucial to the analysis.
If you are a male with the name of an Ely Carroll descendant, you may benefit from participating in the Ely Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.
Family Tree DNA has the largest DNA database in the field. For a look inside the FTDNA lab, see "A Visit to Family Tree DNA's State-of-the-Art Lab," written by Cece Moore in February 2013 based on a tour in November 2012.
The Ely Carroll DNA Project was started in January 2011. The project is designed to attract Ely Carroll descendants, encourage upgrades to the 67-marker test, and promote Ely Carroll research.
You can participate in our project as well as a project specifically set up for your surname. There is no additional cost for being part of two projects.
By testing the Y-chromosome DNA, males can determine the origin of their paternal line. Note that the Y-chromosome DNA strictly checks the paternal line, with no influence of any females along that line. Females do not receive the Y-chromosome, and therefore females cannot be tested for the paternal line. If you are a female and would like to know about your paternal line, you would have to find a brother or a male relative from that line willing to be tested.
You sign up online for FTDNA and they deduct the cost from your credit card. They send you in the mail a kit containing two scrapers that you use to swab the inside of your cheeks in four-hour intervals. You return the scrapers in receptacles and mailer provided in the kit. You get final results on line two months later.
If you decide to have your DNA tested, you should choose the 67 or 111 markers. The lesser tests of 12, 25, or 37 markers do not include marker 492, which is key to verifying a match with Ely Carroll descendants.
Most names have multiple origins. For example, there are Carrolls with 25 different types of DNA. For this reason, your results may show that your DNA does not match the Ely Carroll DNA, which will lead you in a different ancestry direction.
Ely Carroll DNA Project – Results
FTDNA Test Results. FTDNA provides two kinds of test results: individual and public.
Ely Carroll Big Y SNP Tree
The following pointers will help to navigate the Ely Carroll Big Y SNP Tree shown in the window below.
(See also Abridged Tree.)
About the Tree. The tree shows Y-chromosome SNPs of Ely Carroll BIG Y testers. BIG Y is a Y-chromosome testing program offered by Family Tree DNA since 2014. It identifies a man's SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and compares those SNPs with other men it has tested. The Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree includes the SNPs of all Ely Carroll members who have been tested under the Family Tree DNA BIG Y program, which tests a large part of the Y-chromosome. The tree is based on Family Tree DNA's Bigy Y tree.
Michael Sager of FTDNA maintans a Public Y-DNA Haplotree. Tester surnames are shown if two or more kits allow public project profile sharing and have the same surname spelling. See also: Public Y-DNA Haplotree
For a summary of BIG Y, see the FTDNA Big Y Q&A.
SNPs are either named or unnamed.
Ely Carroll DNA Database – Modal DNA and Key Markers
The study of Ely carroll DNA began with a preliminary modal DNA for relatively small number of people who had Ely Carroll names and DNA similar. This modal DNA evolved into a modal DNA, based on data from the Ely Carroll DNA Project. This Ely Carroll Modal DNA is now the one used in this study. Since June 2009 the database of people with Ely Carroll DNA has expanded and the modal has been recomputed. Each time, the modal has remained the same.
A reference group was put together of people who do not have the Ely Carroll DNA. This group helps to understand the uniqueness of Ely Carroll DNA, such as marker 492=11.
The identification of Ely Carroll DNA rests on the pedigree of the person with kit 112378 who is descended from Charles carroll of Carrollton. It also rests upon the similarity between a set of related names in ancient pedigrees and a set of names among men with matching DNA. See Two Matching Sets of Nine Names.
Many people with Ely Carroll DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Purcell, Springer, Tracey. Ely Carroll DNA has not yet been found for two historical Ely Carroll names: Healy, O'Gara/O'Hara.
Many people do not know where their patronymic ancestor came from, which is not uncommon. Only a small number of those tested live in Ireland. Most live in America. Many of those have resorted to DNA testing for the very reason that they do not know where there ancestors came from when the emigrated to America.
The Ely Carroll database includes some people with non-Irish sounding names. It includes some people who are related to each other. It includes surnames where there is only one representative.
Some names historically associated with Ely Carroll, like Healy, O'Hara/O'Gara, and Corcoran, are not found in the study. There are a number of good reasons.
There are many people in the Ely Carroll database that do not have historical Ely Carroll surnames. There are a number of good reasons.
The descendants of Ely Carroll share a common pattern of Y-chromosome DNA markers, and many have surnames mentioned in ancient genealogies as descending from Ely Carroll. Not all people with Ely Carroll surnames, however, have Ely Carroll DNA. In the early days of Y-DNA testing, there was a tendency for people with Ely Carroll names to think that they were descended from Ely Carroll just because they had an Ely Carroll name.
Most people with Ely Carroll DNA are not the majority of those with their surname. In fact, the majority of people with Ely Carroll DNA are a minority of those with their surname. And, therefore, most people with Ely Carroll surnames do not have Ely Carroll DNA. The reason is that most Irish surnames appear in mutiple septs. For example, an analysis of people named Carroll indicates 25 different septs.
There are several explanations for this phenomenon of multiple-sept surnames.
Two Matching Sets of Nine Names
The identification of Ely Carroll DNA rests upon the similarity between a set of nine names in the ancient genealogy of Cian and a set of nine names among 61 testers out of a total of 163 with R-Z16284 Y-DNA. It also rests on the pedigree of testers with kits 112378 and 738989, who are descended from Charles Carroll the Settler (shown in bold below).
Many people with Ely Carroll DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Purcell, Springer, Tracey. Ely Carroll DNA has not yet been found for two historical Ely Carroll names: Healy and O'Gara/O'Hara. See Historical Surnames.
Verification of Ancient Irish History
DNA testing has verified that Ely Carroll existed in Munster. But, DNA testing has also corrected some ancient genealogical connections that had historically been thought to exist. DNA testing shows that two other historical Munster pedigrees said to be descended from brothers of Cian, Owen Mor (Eoghanachta) and Cormac Cas (Dalcassian, including Brian Boru), are not related to Cian (Ely Carroll). They all have R-L21 and DF13 Y-DNA, but that DNA was formed around 2450 BC, whereas Oliol Olum's father, Eoghan Mor, fought in 122 AD against Conn of the Hundred Battles.
Three Sons of Olioll Mor
The fact that some historic connections are contradicted by DNA should not be taken as a denunciation of all history.
How to Explain DNA to Your Family
One of Lee Morton's relatives had asked sometime ago about DNA and the Bowes family. At the time, he wasn't comfortable with DNA itself, but he didn't give up and spent a hours on it, consulting Martha Bowes and myself. Here is what he came up with.
The paper trail involves searching through various documents looking for life events of ancestors. In no particular order, documents include birth certificates, baptism certificates, marriage records, divorce proceedings, military records, death certificates, cemetery records, newspaper obituaries, City Directories (old telephone books), census records, and many others. Generally, a researcher works through these records from the certainty of known events backwards through time.
When Charles the Settler came to the US in 1688, he brought an Irish manuscript with the genealogy of the O’Carroll Clan which remains in the possession of current-day Carroll descendants. The Carroll history, both in Ireland and Maryland, is covered extensively in a book titled “Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland – A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782” by Ronald Hoffman in collaboration with Sally D. Mason, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2000.
According to Hoffman’s book, the Maryland Carrolls were descendants of the Ely O’Carrolls of the Slieve Bloom Mountains which run for about 15 miles across the southeastern part of County Offaly in the Irish Midlands. Quoting Hoffman, Ely O’Carroll was the territory in which the O’Carrolls originally lived in Munster during medieval times. It encompassed parts of the modern counties of Offaly, Northern Tipperary and Laois.
The progenitor of the Carroll branch that produced the Maryland Carrolls was a Chief of Ely named Daniel O’Carroll from Litterluna in the northeast corner of Ballybritt. Daniel’s great-grandson, who died in 1377, was the last of the Litterluna Carrolls to be called a “Chief of Ely”.
The pedigree for Charles Carroll of Carrollton goes back before the creation of surnames in the 10th century AD, so it includes other names besides Carroll including Meagher, Tracey, Flanagan, and Dooley, as well as Bohan and Bowes.
Jeane herself unearthed a few more major discoveries. She found that Michael Bowes was born February 20, 1803 in the civil parish of Muckalee in County Kilkenny, and his parents were Denis Boe and Mary Delaney. Michael married Anna Walls in Cretinclough, Muckalee, County Kilkenny on March 6, 1832. We don’t know, but possibly Denis and Mary were born there as well, probably in the early to mid 1700’s.
Jeane had just been introduced to DNA and was looking for a male ancestor line from herself back to James Bowes of Girardville. Being a female, Jeane has no Y-DNA and there were no males in her family with a straight line to James Bowes. My DNA would only tell us about Mortons. So we had to find a male Bowes whose father and grandfather, etc. were direct male descendants of James J. Bowes. That’s when we met Tom Bowes. Even though Tom has no interest in genealogy, he agreed to be tested for all of us and we entered the world of DNA with absolutely no knowledge of it nor of what we might discover.
Tom's DNA would not do us any good unless other people with Bowes and related surnames got their DNA tested as well. Fortunately, a company named Family Tree DNA started testing people's DNA in 1999. They are the largest company in the business, and one with an excellent reputation for quality work. FTDNA now has a database of a half million people. That's a small portion of the population, but big enough to be helpful. The database is available to the public online through various projects administered by volunteers approved by FTDNA.
People who have their DNA tested at FTDNA can join multiple projects. A surname project has people with the same or similar surnames but not necessarily the same type of DNA. A DNA-specific project has people with the same DNA but different surnames. One of the first things learned from Y-DNA testing is that there is a variety of DNA types among people with the same or similar surnames. And, there is a variety of surnames among people with the same DNA. The main reason is that surnames were not adopted until the 10th century AD, at which time people who were related took different surnames, usually based on their given name. And a lot of unrelated people had the same given name.
You sign up online for FTDNA, and they deduct the cost from your credit card. They mail you a kit containing scrapers you use to sample your saliva by swabbing inside your cheek. (You don't have to spit!) You return the scrapers in receptacles and a mailer provided in the kit. You get final results on line two months later. The cost depends on how much of your DNA you have tested. You can upgrade later if you find you want to test more than you signed for originally.
My first contact was Martha Bowes who was administrator of the Bowes surname project at FTDNA. Later, I became aware that Peter Biggins was working on an Ely Carroll DNA project. Also, Jeane Robinson talked to Martha frequently and was able to work her way through the technicalities and strange DNA language to reach some well-founded conclusions. Jeane stayed close to Martha building an understanding of what Tom’s test meant for us. As Jeane put it: “In our Y-DNA (i.e., Tom’s), we have a gene sequence that came from a man whose ancestors lived in the Ely Carroll area of Ireland. He had a gene mutation that set his descendants apart. The reason we are sure we are from Ely Carroll is because a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton with known roots to the Carroll clan of Ely Carroll, is a DNA match to us. So, if his roots go to Ely Carroll, (there is a paper trail to show that this is true in Irish history), and we are a genetic match to him with this unique mutation in our Y-DNA, then our roots go back Ely Carroll. DNA doesn’t lie, we match.” To be clear, we ourselves do not have a line back to Charles Carroll, but we do have a line back to the Ely Carroll clan.
So, in 2008, a current-day descendant of the Carroll family of Maryland agreed to be tested by FTDNA. Two years later, Tom Bowes had his DNA tested by FTDNA, and the results proved a DNA match between the Carroll and Bowes families. The certainty of DNA proves that beyond a doubt. This is not to say that the Bowes family is descended from the Carrolls – there is no evidence of that. But we are related to them – and therefore to a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
As to when that Bowes – Carroll relationship occurred in time, we have no evidence of that, and may never find it. It could have been 300, 500, a thousand years ago – or more.
The clincher in this study is that Tom's DNA matches not only the Carroll of Maryland DNA but also the DNA of people with other names that are supposed to be descended from Ely Carroll, including Meagher, Tracey, Flanagan, and Dooley.
Lee Morton, October 20, 2013
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