Ely Carroll DNABy Peter Biggins
Y-chromosome DNA shared by men with 9 names that match names in ancient pedigrees of men descended from Ely Carroll, and from Cian who lived in 4th-century Ireland. The 58 are 49% of a total database of 119 men. Names: Bohan/Bowes, Carroll, Dooley, Flanagan, Keeffe, Kealy/Kelly, Meagher, Murphy, Redmond.
Included is the Y-DNA of two known descendants of Charles Carroll the Settler: Ancient Pedigrees.
All 26 who have BIG Y test results share many unique SNPs downstream of R-DF21, including Z16291.
Key STR markers: 390=25 and 492=11.
DNA testing shows that two other historical pedigrees, Eoghanachta and Brian Boru, are not related to Ely Carroll.
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.
Carroll Roots Ely Carroll Yahoo Group Ely Carroll DNA Project About PetersPioneers Home Page
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 was originally known as Clan Cian or Ciannachta, going back to a man named Cian in the 4th century.
Famous persons descended from this clan in modern times are:
Birr Castle is a large castle in the town of Birr in 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.”
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 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.
The pedigree of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and his descendant who has tested his DNA, goes back to 4th century Ireland. And the descendant's DNA matches up with the DNA of men with surnames that are supposed to be related based on ancient pedigrees.
The identification of Ely Carroll DNA rests not just on the pedigree of testers with kits 112378 and 738989, who are descended from Charles Carroll the Settler. It also rests upon the similarity between a set of nine related names in ancient pedigrees and a set of nine names among men with matching DNA.
Many people with Ely Carroll DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Bohan, Purcell, Springer, Tracey. Ely Carroll DNA has not yet been found for several historical Ely Carroll names: Corcoran, Healy, O'Gara/O'Hara. See Historical Surnames.
Years 350 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 in the 4th century. 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. 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 and matches the Big Y results of Linville (Carroll) kit 23133 and Lee kit 54646: Z16291, Z16284, Z16289, BY2009, and BY20010. See: BIG Y test results. Carroll 112378 has not done Big Y, but kits 112378 and 738989 have a genetic distance of 3 based on 67 STR markers.
BC 1000: DF21 SNP occurs in Britain in a man with the L21 SNP
43-410 England and Wales controlled by the Roman Empire
300-400: Cian, with the Z16291 SNP, lives
950: Surnames adopted by Cian descendants in Ireland
1014: O'Cearbhaill Ele fought 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
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
2017: New Ely Carroll project member, kit 738989, is descended from Charles Carroll of Duddington, a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton
The map to the right shows Éile, the territory of Ely Carroll, in the north eastern part of Munster in 700 AD, in the present-day counties of Offaly and Tipperary. This map comes from a website developed by Dennis Walsh. He has a good summary of the history of Éile.
The Ely Carroll Map shows:
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.
Following is a chart showing values of the Y-DNA of markers 1 to 111 for the current participants in the Ely Carroll DNA project, by surname category. The category descriptions include:
All of the current participants in the Ely Carroll project who have tested 67 markers are predicted to have the Ely Carroll Z16291 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism). The Ely Carroll SNP is downstream of M269, L23, L11, P312, L21, DF21, S5488, Z16294, Z16281, and Z16282. The Z16291 SNP was discovered in a new SNP testing program called BIG Y
SNP Results Page. Following is a chart showing the positive and negative Y-DNA SNP test results for the current participants in the Ely Carroll project.
Ely Carroll DNA database is not limited to people who join the Ely Carroll DNA Project. It is gleaned from various projects at Family Tree DNA that included Ely Carroll surnames or surnames that match people in the Ely Carroll DNA Project. It was fairly easy to construct this database. We had the names from Irish histories. We went to FTDNA surname projects for those surnames and pulled off the data for people who had tested 67 markers and matched the modal DNA of Ely Carroll people.
Including anyone who matched Ely Carroll DNA resulted in a variety of people with Ely Carroll DNA--some with Ely Carroll surnames and some without. There were plausible reasons for the existence of this latter group: adoption, name change, historical pedigree omissions, and distant cousins.
Table of DNA Marker Values. The table below shows the 67 DNA marker values for the 119 people in the database as of September 21, 2017 and the modal DNA for the group.
The ancient genealogies and DNA test results seem to be confirming each other. A pattern or "signature" DNA has emerged for Ely Carroll descendants identified long ago by John O'Hart and others. And the ancient genealogies have given us a clue as to which people have Ely Carroll DNA.
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, under the user ID of TG7S3 at Ysearch. This TG7S3 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 next step was to compute the genetic distance from Ely Carroll Modal DNA for each person in the study. Genetic distance occurs because of mutations from one generation to another. If two people are identical in all markers except they are off in one marker by 1 point, the genetic distance would be 1. If they were off at 2 different markers by 1 point in each marker, then the genetic distance of those two samples would be 2. If they are off by 2 points at one marker and 1 point in a second marker, then the genetic distance would be 3. Genetic distance for certain markers or marker groups is limited to 1. This method of computing genetic distance is called the hybrid mutation model. If a marker has a null value for one person and a positive value for another, the marker is ignored.
As of September 21, 2017, there were 118 people with 67 markers included in the Ely Carroll database. They have been included because their DNA has been found to match fairly closely with Ely Carroll Modal DNA. Three out of four were included in the Ely Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. The rest have been obtained by searching surname studies at FTDNA and through the use of Ysearch.
Table of Genetic Distances. The table below shows the 67-marker genetic distances for the 110 people in the database between each one and the modal.
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 A Coincidence of 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 several historical Ely Carroll names: Corcoran, 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.
All Ely Carroll project members who have tested for the L21 SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) have tested positive. L21 was discovered in October 2008. People with the L21 SNP are said to be members of the R1b1a2a1a1b4 haplogroup. As groups of scientists discover SNPs, they are named for the research lab and the order in which they are found. The L in L21 indicates that it was found at the Family Tree DNA Genomic Research Center in Houston, Texas. The L stands for Leo Little who did much pioneering work in genetic genealogy and who died in 2008. (L21 is known as S145 in some testing organizations.)
The L21 SNP is estimated to be 4,000 years old. It is sometimes referred to as a "Celtic" SNP. In their 2011 book The Scots, A Genetic Journey, Alistair Moffat and James F. Wilson say L21 "could be said to be the most emphatic signal of the Celtic language speakers of the British Isles. It is found in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and it is almost certainly characteristic of those farming communities who may have spoken early forms of Celtic languages in the centuries around 2,000 BC."
L21 SNP Tree, Including DF21
Ely Carroll participants also have tested positive for the DF21 SNP, which is downstream of L21. The first Ely Carroll member tested positive for DF21 in August 2011. As of October 13, 13 of 48 members of the Ely Carroll project have tested for DF21 and all have tested positive. This further narrows the haplogroup for Ely Carroll descendants. All Ely Carroll descendants are expected to have the DF21 SNP. Other groups also have the DF21 SNP--perhaps 10 percent of all those with the L21 SNP. The DF21 SNP is estimated to be 4700 years old (see Rathlin Man 1). It was discovered by an anonymous researcher using publicly available full-genome-sequence data, including the 1000 Genomes Project data. The DF in DF21 is taken from DNA-Forums.org, a now-defunct genetic genealogy community. (DF21 is known as S192 in some testing organizations.)
DF21 SNP Tree, Including Ely Carroll
Ely Carroll participants are urged to join the L21 project and DF21 project at FTDNA. The DF21 project has been set up by David Reynolds for people who have tested positive for the DF21 SNP or are interested in ordering the test.
The L21 Yahoo Group has been set up to serve as a forum for those interested in DF21 and other SNPs downstream of L21. We also have a Ely Carroll Yahoo Group has been set up to serve as a forum for those interested specifically in Ely Carroll DNA.
In April 2014, Alex Williamson identifed new Y-chromosome SNPs for Ely Carroll testers downstream of DF21. The SNPs came from a new product called BIG Y, which looks at more than 1/3 of the testable portion of the Y chromosome.
Past efforts to find an Ely Carroll SNP have failed. In 2012-13, Linville (23133) and Carroll (283359) participated in Geno 2.0 at National Geographic (tested by FTDNA). But no SNPs were found downstream of DF21.
Without BIG Y, we identified Ely Carroll DNA with two key marker values: 390=25 and 492=11. The first became known when FTDNA started. The second became known in 2006 when 67 markers became available. We also have Ely Carroll modal DNA, which was started in 2010. And, since 2012, we know that all Ely Carrolls have the DF21 SNP. We are thankful for all that. But we knew it would be better if we had a SNP downstream of DF21 that specifically identified Ely Carroll DNA. BIG Y has done that.
The following pointers will help to navigate the Ely Carroll Big Y SNP Tree shown in the window below.
Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP 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 Alex Williamson's Big Tree. Ely Carroll can be found on the Z16291 portion of his Big Tree. Testers have downloaded their raw results from their FTDNA homepage. The raw results are then uploaded to the Y-DNA Data Warehouse (prior to October 2017, Big Y file in the L21 Yahoo Group). Testers agree to making their results public on the Big Tree. Alex compares a tester's SNPs with other testers and puts him on his Big Tree based on shared SNPs. We owe Alex Williamson a debt of gratitude for producing his Big Tree and including us in it. Alex has the DNA of a group called the Little Scottish Cluster.
FTDNA maintans a tree for Z16291 as part of its Haplotree & SNPs, which is accessible by each tester from his homepage at FTDNA. Click here to view the Z16291 portion of the FTDNA tree as of January 2019.
FTDNA maintans a tree for Z16291 as part of its Big Y Block Tree, which is accessible by each Big Y tester from his homepage at FTDNA.
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.
The following table compares various groups with DF21 DNA along with other groups with L21 DNA. Based on very rough estimates, these groups constitute 50% of L21.
The 67-marker modal DNAs of the subgroups listed above are shown in the following table.
The genetic distances among the 67-marker modal DNAs of the subgroups listed above range between 11 and 20 as shown in the following table. Calculations were made using the FTDNA 111 Mode BETA version of the McGee Utility. The method of computing genetic distance is the hybrid mutation model. If a marker has a null value for one person and a positive value for another, the marker is ignored. So, the genetic distances between the Clan Colla modal and other modals ignore marker 425 and are a little low. As an example, see Colla Versus Niall DNA.
Verification of Ancient Irish History
DNA testing has verified that Ely Carroll existed in Munster. DNA testing has also corrected some ancient genealogical connections that had historically been thought to exist. South Irish, Brian Boru, and Ely Carroll had previously been thought by some as descended from a common ancestor, Olioll Olum. DNA testing has proven otherwise, as they have different SNPs and significant genetic distances between their modals:
Patrick McMahon analyzed the geographic distribution of the members of the L21 project at FTDNA in January 2011 and made the following observation.
Assuming today's testers are a random sample, these results support the views put forward by many that the L21 SNP occurred somewhere north of the Alps (about 4,000 years ago) and the L21 population drifted Northwest over time concentrating in the western fringes of the British Isles mainly in Ireland. North of the Alps would most likely be Germany or France where the original (presumed) high numbers would over time be replaced by further waves of migrants or simply driven North by more advanced civilisations.
How they made their way to Ireland is open to conjecture. The shortest sea journey then (3,000 to 4,000 years ago) as now would be from France to Southern England. However, they could have made their way directly to Ireland from Brittany (or via Cornwall or Wales). The figures support the view that there was no significant migration towards the Eastern parts of Europe and only minor ones to Scandinavia and Spain with the main thrust through Northern France to Britain and Ireland. Archaeologists have termed these peoples (and the proto-Collas are part of this population) as 'Bronze-age' Britons.
For a good presentation of the origins, age, spread, and ethnic association of Europeans see The Peopling of Europe and Eupedia. Following is a haplogroup timeline taken from Eupedia. "ybp" is years before the present.
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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