Monday 31 December 2018

Big Y results for Lineage III (West Clare Gleeson's)

Big Y results recently came back for project member 191141, a member of Lineage III - the Gleeson's from West Clare (specifically the area around Coore & Connolly). This is a very close-knit group with few mutations, which suggests that they all share a common ancestor shortly before 1800. The origins of this group were first discussed in a blog post from July 2016, and a subsequent blog post (June 2018) detailed the genealogical information gathered for this group thanks to the sterling efforts of Bill Gleeson.

The 5 members of Lineage III

The new Big Y results indicate that his "terminal SNP marker" is indeed DC127 as previously predicted. This characterises a sub-branch below the SNP marker L226 which is the hallmark of the O'Brien clan from Clare and thus Brian Boru.

A SNP Progression is the sequence of SNPs that characterise each branching point on the Tree of Mankind from the major Haplogroup SNP (R-P312 in this case) down to the most downstream branch of the Tree of Mankind (i.e. the branch on which you currently sit). The SNP Progression for Lineage III is as follows:
  • R-P312/S116 > Z290 > L21/S145 > DF13 > ZZ10 > Z253 > Z2534 > BY25450 > FGC5618 > FGC5625 > L226 > FGC5660 > Z17669 > A10950 > DC127
So what does this new information tell us?

Additional analysis of this member's results was undertaken by the team at The Big Tree. You can see this branch and it's nearby genetic neighbours here and in the diagram below.

The Lineage III member sits on the branch on the far left
(click to enlarge)

What stands out is the genetic connection to several surnames with a strong presence in county Clare, including McNamara, O'Malley, Curry, Hehir, McInerney & Slattery:
  • McNamara - this is an important sept of the Dál gCais, connected with the O'Briens and thus related to Brian Boru.
  • O'Malley - there was an important O'Malley clan in the old kingdom of Thomond, near Limerick city (just south of county Clare).
  • Curry - a sept bearing this surname was prominent in Thomond (and is reflected in the surname distribution map below).
  • Hehir - concentrated in the Clare/Limerick area. MacLysaght states that they were a sept of Clare which originated with the Uí Fidhgheinte of Limerick.
  • McInerney - these were a major sept of county Clare and remain concentrated there to this day.
  • Slattery - these were a sept of East Clare. The name is numerous in northern part of the province of Munster.
The strong genetic association with surnames from Clare suggests that the DNA origins of the Lineage III Gleeson's is indeed in county Clare, where many of them still live today.

Surname Distribution Maps based on Griffith's Valuation (mid-1800s)

We can attempt to date the various branching points in the SNP Progression for Lineage III members. Here is a reminder of the SNP Progression and we will be looking at the dates for just the last few branches:
  • R-P312/S116 > Z290 > L21/S145 > DF13 > ZZ10 > Z253 > Z2534 > BY25450 > FGC5618 > FGC5625 > L226 > FGC5660 > Z17669 > A10950 > DC127
Some dates have been calculated by the Big Tree. Here are the crude dates for the following branching points:
  • P312 ...      <4620 ybp (years before present) = sometime around 2670 BC
  • L226 …     <1900 ybp (years before present) = before 50 AD
  • Z17669 ...  <1810 ybp = pre-140 AD approximately
  • A10950 … <1350 ybp = pre-600 AD approx.
  • DC29 …    <1090 ybp = pre-900 AD approx.
  • DC31 …    <840 ybp   = pre-1100 AD approx.
  • DC30 …    <740 ybp   = pre-1200 AD approx.

Dates for the more downstream branches can be crudely estimated using similar methodology (i.e. crudely, 150 years per SNP, average birth year of participants assumed to be about 1950). The 3 people on the DC127 branch have 23 unique SNPs between them (Smith 8, Johnson 9, & Gleeson 6). This suggests that the common ancestor for Smith, Johnson & Gleeson is about 750-1250 years ago.

Incorporating all these dates into the Big Tree diagram gives us the following branching structure with crude dates (allow several hundred years on either side of the estimate).

Crude dates for each of the branching points in the Lineage III portion of the Tree of Mankind

Although these dates are crude, it seems pretty clear that the connection between the Lineage III Gleeson's and their genetic neighbours (McNamara, O'Malley, etc) is before the time of surnames (i.e. pre-1000 AD or thereabouts). However, the connection with the Smith and Johnson individuals is much less clear. Neither of these names is an Irish surname and this suggests that there may have been an SDS (Surname or DNA Switch / NPE) somewhere along their direct male line.

The Lineage III member has Y-STR matches with a Maloney (GD 8/111) and a Smith (Genetic Distance 6/111), both of whom have tested positive for DC127 (so presumably this Smith is the same one in the Big Tree diagram above). The Maloney individual has not yet uploaded his results to the Big Tree so I have sent him an email with instructions. This may add a lot of additional detail to the current picture.

The Maloney individual belongs to Group 2 of the Maloney DNA Project (of which I also happen to be the Administrator). This Maloney Group 2 (11 members in total) is more genetically diverse than Gleeson Lineage III ... i.e. they are an older group and the common ancestor for these Maloney's is likely to be 400-600 years ago. It would be useful to have a second person from this group do the Big Y test as this would help clarify a Maloney-specific DNA marker and could also indicate when the Maloney Group 2 and Gleeson Lineage III split away from each other. In other words, it might help answer the question: which came first - the Maloney chicken or the Gleeson egg?

Group 2 of the Maloney DNA Project, showing the genetic diversity within the group

Maloney is also a Dalcassian name (i.e. it is associated with the clan known as the Dal gCais, of which Brian Boru is the most well-known member). These Maloney's were chiefs of the district around Kiltanon, in the barony of Tulla, in east county Clare. This further reinforces the likely Clare origins of Lineage III.

The distribution of Maloney surname variants in the mid-1800s

The connection with the Maloney's is interesting for another reason too. Some of the historical texts dealing with the origins of the Gleeson surname in Ireland (in particular those of Dermot F Gleeson) report that there is an association with the surname Moloughney (supposedly originating in Muskerry, an area around northern Cork and extending toward south Tipperary). This particular surname variant is said to be an old Tipperary surname, and Tipperary is the ancestral homeland for the Gleeson's of Lineage II. So does this provide evidence of a connection between the two Gleeson Lineages (II & III)? or does it indicate some confusion in the historically reported origins of the two different lineages? or is this merely a coincidence? Something to be borne in mind as our research into the wider Gleeson"clan" continues.

DC127+ individuals in the L226 Haplogroup Project
(click to enlarge)

Lastly, the L226 project lists several people as testing positive for DC127, and a new name appears among this group, namely Cusack. There are at least two origins for this latter name (according to MacLysaght):
  • it is of Anglo-Norman origin (from de Cussac) arising in the 13th century
  • it is a naive sept originating in county Clare (from the Irish Mac Iosóg)
It seems likely that the Cusack listed in the L226 project belongs to the latter of these groups. And this further emphasises a strong Clare connection for the Gleeson's of Lineage III.

The Cusack surname (mid-1800s)

Maurice Gleeson
Dec 2018