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Clan DNA testing

Clan DNA testing

Ben MacDonald (View posts)
Posted: 1148385196000
Classification: Query
As a follow-up to my original post

I have a large paper trail that assures me of my line back to abt 1723 and the John McDonald (Iain MacEoghain Oig) mentioned in the book Rawdon & Douglas.

In page 112 of Donald MacDonald's 1965 book Slaughter Under Trust, the author writes about the same family story that has been passed down in our family of an escape from Glencoe, and even uses the same family names (Ewan and Ewan Og) and saying descendents still live in Canada.

This has been an oft-printed story and many in the family have used it to reference our descent form Glencoe. But a noted Highland genealogist (Dr William Matheson) wrote a letter in 1970 that said the patrynomic "Eoghain" did not lend itself to any known Glencoe genealogies and was probably of Glenmoriston descent (Clan Eoghain Bhain). That alone led myself and another descendent researcher to question the Glencoe family origins

In Clan Donald Magazine V. 13 there is a mention of the cairn erected in Pictou Nova Scotia to my GGGG-GF Iain MacEoghain Oig, and also to my GGG-GF, his 4th and youngest son, Ewen. It is annotated with the words "Survivor of Glencoe",

I took the Clan Donald DNA test in dec 05.

My results indicate I am R1b1.

The DNA administrator has samples from several who also can claim Glencoe descent, and they are R1b's also, but it is clear I am not paternally related to them.

The administrator wrote back to me:
"I have three R1bs who can trace back to Glencoe circa 1730, one of whom descends from the Glencoe chief at the time of the 1745 who was no longer paternally Somerled. You are not close to those tightly grouped signatures. They are at least 7-8 steps from you and not paternally related to you. There is also a Somerled signature with a family story like yours of flight from Glencoe but you are not R1a and clearly not related. Yours appears to be an “O’Neil/ Colla Uais” signature which may be either of O’Neil derivation from a variety of potential sources or a MacCarthend branch descendant of Colla Uais who may have come to Lorn with Godfrey MacFergus in 836 AD to fight Picts for Kenneth McAlpin. That doesn’t disprove your Glencoe hypothesis since I’m sure there were a variety of genetic signatures in the village. It does make the Glenmoriston story more plausible."

In the book "Story and Song from Loch-Ness side (page 135) is a 1-line entry about the MacDonald's of Glenmoriston and 'Conn of a 100 Battles' from whom they descended

My family research has not located any other MacDonald families in Pictou County Nova Scotia in the 1773-1815 time frame who were related to my own MacDonald’s. Yet many in that area came from Urquhart & Glenmoriston.

My MacDonald family was on the Ship Glasgow on 4 Sept 1775. It left from Fort William, retracing the 1773 voyage of the Ship Pearl. Many on board the Glasgow originated from Urquhart & Glenmoriston.

The book Voyagers to the West by Bernard Bailyn leaves no doubt that t Ship Glasgow and my MacDonald's sailed to NY in 1775. My GGGG0GF John MacDonald (Iain MacEoghain Oig) and the passengers on the ship Glasgow had always intended to land at NY harbor and then were going to take a sloop to the area around Johnstown NY where the 1773 settlement was made by others MacDonald’s from Glenurquhart who had sailed on the ship Pearl in Sept 1773.

3 MacDonnell brothers from Glengarry had organized that Pearl voyage. Those earlier 1773 Glenurquhart settlers at the Johnstown Patent moved North into Upper Canada (Ontario) at the outbreak of the 1775 hostilities. This still leads me to believe that my MacDonald family may have had close family already in upstate NY when they departed from Scotland in 1775

If, as I believe, my line originated in Glenmoriston, the administrator has no other DNA samples of MacDonald’s who may have come from Urquhart & Glenmoriston.

There are many possibilities regarding the DNA results. I would like to encourage all Clan Donald members to participate in the Donald DNA test. It will help unravel family genealogies such as mine


Ben MacDonald
Glendale AZ

Re: Clan DNA testing

Alasdair Macdonald (View posts)
Posted: 1148495582000
Classification: Query
Surnames: MacDonald, McDonald, MacNeil
I'd just like to concur with Ben MacDonald regarding encouraging folk to participate in DNA projects. I too joined the Clan Donald Project at Familytreedna and have been rewarded with several new genetic cousins.

I am R1b as well, but as the project administrator said ' you have an unusual and distinctive signature'. This groups me with some MacDonald's from Skye, one possibly from Barra, a Buie from Jura (once known as the MacDonald Buies of Jura) and another from Caithness like myself. I also have a whole clutch of McNeil's from Barra in my grouping.

I am currently awaiting some further tests (SNP tests) which might help us understand whether our group are of Viking (eastern European) or perhaps Pictish or even O'Neill origin.

I believe as more folk decide to participate some brick walls will be broken down, new and interesting questions raised and some clan histories will perhaps need to be rewritten.

It is an exciting time to get involved in DNA research and at least in my own experience well worth the investment.

There are various companies to choose from and already many clan projects up an running. Just search on google.

So I join with Ben in saying,

'There are many possibilities regarding the DNA results. I would like to encourage all Clan Donald members to participate in the Donald DNA test. It will help unravel family genealogies such as mine'

Alasdair Macdonald
Currie, Midlothian
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