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.
Carroll Roots Ely Carroll Yahoo Group Ely Carroll DNA Project Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree About PetersPioneers Home Page
Two Matching Sets of Nine Names
|Surnames in the Ancient Genealogy of Cian||Surnames of R-Z16284 Testers - Surname Mutation - FTDNA Kit Numbers|
|O'Meagher, Chiefs of Ikerin, County Tipperary, O'Hart 237||17 Meagher - BY4005 - 8099, 22400, 26665, 385132, 396950, 411823, 430970, 509147, N73615, 897152, N41701, 206466, 24434, 375935, B75307, B387131, xxxxx|
|O'Carroll, Princes of Ely, O'Hart 178||12 Carroll BY2010 - - 355417, 71400, 112059, 112378, 185954, 300355, 359921, 394786, 471460, 738989, 23133, MK45929|
|O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy, in Ely Carroll, O'Hart 203||11 Flanagan - FGC63585 - 3720, 3721, 3722, 3723, 4763, 4764, 8349, 8350, 917007, IN32480, IN89827|
|Bone/Bonass/Bowen, O'Hart 179||7 Bowe - FGC61823 - 174346, 146114, 177452, 203814, 203816, 30445, 276544|
|Dubhlaoch, anglicized Dooley, O'Hart 179||6 Dooley - BY20011 - 1405, 3224, 115408, 168720, 366379, N54552|
|Eochaidh, anglicized Keogh of Munster, O'Hart 237||4 Keefe - Z16284 - 160886, IN88767, xxxx, xxxx|
|MacMurrough/Murphy, Keating 677||2 Murphy - FT91841 - 223130, 194206|
|Corcoran, O'Hart 186||1 Corcoran - FT91841 - 876445|
|Redmond of Ardagh, O'Hart 180||1 Redmond - FT91841 - 256801|
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.
|R-Z16291 (788 BC)|
|Z16284 (809 BC)||BY3829 (630 AD)|
|Z18012 (449 BC)||FT14437||
|BY4011 (823 BC)||Y83713|
|BY2009 (675 AD)||FGC58695
Unabridged Tree: The complete tree is at: Ely Carroll Big Y SNP Tree
SNPs: SNPs are single nucleotide polymorphisms, or mutations, found on the Y chromosome and shared by a group of testers. Major SNPs are shown in the top part of the table. The very roughly-estimated year in which a SNP was born is shown in parentheses. Click on a SNP to see detail on Alex Williamson's Big Tree.
Ely Carroll: O'Cearbhaill Ele was a descendant of Cian.
Last row: Sequence on the Family Tree DNA public results page for the Ely Carroll project.
Surnames: Surnames with two or more testers are listed under the SNPs. Surnames in bold are said in ancient pedigrees to be descended from Cian. Many surnames in the ancient pedigrees are not here because they have not been tested, died out, or were included in a pedigree in error. Also, surnames have multiple origins, even within a clan. The two most populous names are Carroll and Meagher.
*Carroll includes two Carrolls who trace their ancestry back to Charles Carroll the Settler (1660-1720), O'Cearbhaill Ele, and Cian. See Ancient Pedigree of Kits 112378 and 738989.
Introduction and Summary
Ancient Irish History
Ely Carroll DNA Project
Ely Carroll DNA Database
R-Z16291: 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. Names: Bohan/Bowes, Carroll, Corcoran, 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 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 said to be descended from brothers of Cian, Owen Mor (Eoghanachta) and Cormac Cas (Brian Boru), are not related to Cian (Ely Carroll).
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."
Birr Castle today.
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.”
“The Black Castle would have been more or less the headquarters of the O’Carrolls,” explained Mr Kennedy. He said most of the old castle was long gone. “Where the main hall of the castle is today was originally the gate.”
"The Black Castle was held by the O’Carrolls until the 1580s when it was sold to the Ormond Butlers. The castle fell into ruin before it was granted to the Parsons family by James I in 1620.
"While it was known the old castle had been located on the grounds of the existing castle, the exact location has only now been revealed thanks to the weather."
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.
Signature of Charles Carroll of Carrrollton on the Declaration of Independence, 1776.
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.
Years 350 to 1150.
John O'Hart, 1824-1902.
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
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
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.)
125. Donnell McTeige Oure O'Carroll of Kenechane and Ballymooney – circa 1550|
126. Daniel Carroll of Ballymooney
|127. Anthony Carroll of Aghagurty
128. Daniel Carroll of Aghagurty and Litterluna (1642-1688)
129. Charles Carroll the Settler (1660-1720) – immigrated to Maryland in 1688 and brought with him a "little Irish Manuscript Book" containing the genealogies of the O'Carrolls. Built Doughregan Manor near Ellicott City, Maryland, and the Carroll House in Annapolis
127. Keane Carroll of Aghagurty
128. Daniel Carroll I of Upper Marlboro (1696-1751)
|129. Daniel Carroll II of Rock Creek (1730-1796) – signer of both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
130. Daniel Carroll III (1752-1790)
|129. John Carroll, S.J. (1735-1815) – first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States. Founder of Georgetown University and Georgetown Preparatory School|
130. Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702-1782)
131. Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) – signer of the Declaration of Independence
132. Charles Carroll of Homewood (1775-1825)
133. Charles Carroll V (1801-1862)
134. John Lee Carroll (1830-1911) – Governor of Maryland from 1876 to 1880
135. Philip Acosta Carroll (1879-1957)
137. Private, kit 112378
|130. Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1707-1734) – received the land on which the Capitol would be built when he married Ann Rozer
131. Charles Carroll of Duddington (1729-1773)
|132. Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1764-1849) – built a home for himself in 1791 which was torn down by Pierre L’Enfant to build the U.S. Capitol. The Senate met there in 1799, the House met there in 1807, and it was completed in 1829. In 1812 a partnership, Williams and Carrolls, erected Sligo Mill to mill grain and distill whiskey on Sligo Creek in Tacoma Park, Maryland. Partners were Daniel Carroll of Duddington, his brother Charles Carroll of Bellevue, and Elie Williams.
||132. Charles Carroll of Bellevue (1767-1823)
133. William Thomas Carroll (1802-1863) – Supreme Court Clerk
134. Samuel Sprigg Carroll (1832-1893) – Major General
135. Samuel Sprigg Carroll Jr (1875-1935)
136. Mahlon Ashford Carroll (1921-2002)
137. David Carroll, kit 738989
Ireland circa 700 AD, showing Éile in north eastern Munster. Source: Dennis Walsh, Ireland's History in Maps.
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:
|Click on a marker to see a description or photo.|
Zoom in and zoom out by clicking on the "+" or "-" or moving the scale up or down.
Move the map by holding down the clicker or clicking on the directional arrows.
Click on a category in the Legend to see only those markers.
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.
FTDNA Test Results. FTDNA provides two kinds of test results: individual and public.
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.
Ely Carroll Modal DNA
4 key markers are shaded tan. Red indicates more rapidly mutating markers.
2 Key Markers
An October 2013 study compared markers 390 and 492 for two groups who had tested 67 markers at FTDNA:
Marker 390=25. 85% of Ely Carroll have 390=25. Only 6% of the other DF21 have that value.
Marker 492=11. 100% of Ely Carroll have 492=11. Only 5% of the other DF21 have that value.
The 5% of Other DF21 with 492=11 had genetic distances of 14-22 from the Ely Carroll 67-marker modal DNA. This compares with a range of 1 to 12 for the Ely Carroll group.
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.
The Z16291 SNP for Ely Carroll is descended from three well-known SNPs: M269, L21, and DF21.
Map of Ely Carroll SNPs by SNP Tracker, as of June, 2020.
Any tester with Ely Carroll DNA who has tested STRs but has not done SNP testing is predicted by FTDNA to have the M269 SNP. The M269 SNP is the most common European haplogroup, greatly increasing in frequency on an east to west gradient. Its prevalence in Poland is estimated at 22.7%, compared to Wales at 92.3%. See: Haplogroup R-M269. A real rough estimate of the year M269 was born is 4400 BC, based on the YFull R1b Tree as of October 2018. M269 is descended from M343, which is also refered to as the R1b haplogroup. There is an M343 Project at FTDNA.
M269 Eastern Europe (4400 BC)|
L23 Eastern Europe (4100 BC)
L51 Eastern Europe (3700 BC)
P310/P311/L52 Central Europe (3600 BC)
L151 Central Europe (2800 BC)
|S1200||U106 Germanic||P312 Western Europe (2676 BC)|
Z290 Western Europe (2632 BC)
Gallic & Iberian
|L48 (2700 BC)|
|L21/S145 (Atlantic Celtic) (5800 ybp)|
|DF21 (See Below)||L513||ZZ10||Z39589|
(Whelan, Phelan, Brazile)
|DF49, DF23, Z2961||L1335
(Hy Maine Kelly)
(Niall of the Nine Hostages)
|ybp is for years before the present, an estimate of when a SNP first occurred. 565=11 indicates that marker 565 has a unique value of 11.|
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/S192 (4700 ybp)|
Little Scottish Cluster
|Z29584 Harbour, Rudelli||S7858
|Rathlin Man 1
The Seven Septs of Laois
|ybp is for years before the present, an estimate of when a SNP first occurred. 492=11 indicates that marker 492 has a unique value of 11.|
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.
(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 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.
DF21 and Other L21 Subgroups
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 (Brian Boru), are not related to Cian (Ely Carroll). Theuy all have R-L21 and DF13 Y-DNA, but that DNA was formed around 2100 BC, whereas Oliol Olum's father, Eoghan Mor, fought in 122 AD against Conn of the Hundred Battles.
The fact that some historic connections are contradicted by DNA should not be taken as a denunciation of all history.
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.
ANCESTOR RESEARCH USING THE PAPER TRAIL AND DNA
THE PAPER TRAILTraditionally, family historians and genealogists research family history using the so-called “paper trail”. They start with preliminary talks with immediate family members which yield varying insights into a particular family’s history. Once in a while, these searchers may “hit it big” by finding significant work already done by a family member. At some point, the researcher must continue the process back in time by following the paper trail.
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.
THE CARROLL FAMILY OF IRELAND AND MARYLANDMore affluent or otherwise well-known ancestors sometimes leave behind a treasure trove of genealogical information in the form of written family histories. The Carroll Family of Ireland and Maryland is a good example. Charles Carroll the Settler (1661-1720) was born and raised in Ireland, was a wealthy land-owner there and came to Maryland in 1688. His son Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702-1782) and Grandson Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) continued the family dynasty in Maryland, mainly through extensive land holdings and farming. Charles Carroll of Carrollton became a highly respected politician in Maryland and was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
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.
THE BOWESJeane (Reisinger) Robinson (1948-2013) and I had independently researched our respective Bowes lines for years before we “met” on line about 2008. We both knew that our common great-grandparents were James J Bowes (1850-1896) and Catherine “Kate”(Haley) Bowes (~1859-1905) from Girardville, PA, near Pottsville in Schuylkill County. We also knew that James’ parents were Michael Bowes (1803-1865) and Anna “Nancy” (Wall) Bowes (~1815-1872) who were born in Ireland, and came to the US about 1848, and settled in the Pottsville area.
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.
DNA AND GENEALOGYWhat does DNA have to with genealogy? Well, we are talking about a part of DNA that is handed down from father to son just like surnames. It is called Y-chromosome DNA. Only males have it. Your DNA is contained in the cells of your body. And all the cells in your body have the same DNA, even your spit.
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.
DNA SHOWS CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CARROLLS AND THE BOWESTom signed up for his test in February 2010. When results from his sample came in, I quickly realized I was in way over my head with the technicalities of the DNA science and language, and never learned to interpret the data provided by FTDNA. Luckily, there are volunteers at FTDNA who can do that, especially if there is a group of clients searching for the same ancestor. Luckily again, there was a group interested in the name Bowes.
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
Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782 by Ronald Hoffman, The University of North Carolina Press, 2000 (paperback 2002).