Irish genetic genealogist Dr. Maurice Gleeson, joined NYG&B in March for a webinar, Using Your DNA to Connect to Your Irish Roots, which is now available for NYG&B members to watch online. Dr. Gleeson is an education ambassador for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy. He runs several surname studies, helps adoptees find their birth parents, and makes popular YouTube videos.
In this lecture, he will guide you through using your DNA to connect to your Irish roots.
Here are five questions the webinar answers:
1. Overview of different DNA testing companies.
As more and more testing companies pop up, it can be difficult to weigh your options. Dr. Gleeson weighs the costs and benefits to each and guides you to the wisest investments with the highest likelihood of turning up new leads.
2. What are the major approaches to genetic genealogy?
Dr. Gleeson walks you through the two main strategies for finding new ancestors with your DNA: target testing to answer a specific question, and genetic fishing trips to catch whatever might be in testing databases.
3. What can your autosomal DNA reveal?
Our autosomal DNA provides many opportunities to uncover your Irish heritage. Dr. Gleeson will guide you through how you may be able to use triangulation to track down a new ancestor or two.
4. What can your haplogroups reveal?
Our mtDNA and Y-DNA, passed through the maternal and paternal lines respectively, can reveal much about our ancestors. In this webinar, you will learn how to use both types of DNA to research family surnames and dig further into your past.
5. How do you break down an Irish ancestry brick wall with DNA?
Those with Irish heritage are very likely to hit brick walls. Large families, common names, and sparse records can all be barriers to diving deep into your family history. But Dr. Gleeson will set you on the path towards finding new Irish ancestors with fresh, innovative new strategies. The key to breaking down your brick wall may very well be written in your genes.
Webinar Outline and Table of Contents
The outline below includes an overview of many specific topics covered in the webinar, and the approximate timestamps you can use to jump to that specific section.
- Introduction: How do you break down the Irish ancestry brick wall with DNA? (1:30)
- The types of DNA (3:17)
- Y-DNA: the most promising
- Autosomal DNA
- What DNA testing company should you use? (5:28)
- FamilyTreeDNA tests Y-DNA
- The Spearin Surname Project (6:52)
- Gleeson’s personal Y-DNA success story
- An example of how Y-DNA tests can be used
- The rise of surnames in Ireland (19:09)
- A timeline of the development from clans to surnames
- Connecting to ancient genealogies
- How analyses of ancient DNA from excavations can help corroborate surname research
- How to use autosomal DNA (28:15)
- How to maximize exposure in different companies’ databases
- How to use Irish records in tandem with DNA results (30:20)
- How to increase level of confidence in record-based research
- How to compare trees with your matches
- The two approaches to DNA testing (39:15)
- Targeted testing — answering a specific question
- Fishing trip — catching what’s in the database
- Personal example of targeted DNA testing (40:05)
- Confirming or refuting a potential connection
- Personal example of the fishing trip approach (46:52)
- Which companies you should test with
- How to organize matches
- How to dig into DNA clusters
- Using DNA to target a specific ancestor using triangulation (53:28)
- With known cousins or with unknown cousins
- Another personal example
- Conclusions on DNA research (1:08:10)
- Your ancestry is written in your DNA
- Your matches can help unlock it
- Questions (1:08:26)