Sunday, December 16, 2012

New DNA Results

Family Tree DNA ( recently changed how they report matches at each level
of testing.  If you have been thinking about it, they are currently discounting the costs of the tests
and upgrades.

Since upgrading to 111 markers some time ago, I have waited patiently for more matches at that
level and due to their new method of determining matches, I now have 11 where I had only 4.
This is very encouraging to me as well as it is to others.  One member of the Mag Uidhir
Airgialla Group now has 34 matches.  There are about 60 members of the group.

Brad McGuire has suggested that FTDNA has stopped counting some of the fast moving markers
but we won't know for sure until we hear that from FTDNA.  Also, both Brad McGuire and a
scientist from FTDNA have suggested that many more Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP's)
will soon become available to test and these are perhaps even more important than the Single
Tandem Repeats (STR's) or markers in establishing relationships.  That is all for now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Out of Touch

My blog has fallen far behind because I have not been able to straighten out my password
difficulties with blogspot.  That said, there has been nothing new to report.  Hopefully, that
will change since I have received an email from someone who matches me closely at both
37 and 67 markers with the McManus surname.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Y-DNA to the Rescue?

Two of my DNA contacts came up with some interesting ideas.  First, Brad McGuire mentioned
that the three of us with Maguire DNA but the McCown/McKown surname, were also the same
value, 16, on marker DYS 464b.  Then Pat Meguire, adm. of the McGuire Surname Group
suggested that since about 25% of his group were also 464b=16, that perhaps this indicated
a particular Maguire family line that we could trace back in time.  Then, Brad McGuire
suggests that the following markers and values in combination could identify those with
a McGuire surname that should be tested for SNP P66+.  That would then tie that particular
line of Maguires to which the McCown/McKown lines are descended.  Sounds good to me,
now all that is left to be done is to find Maguires with those specific marker/values and get
them to test for SNP P66+.  The markers and values are as follows: DYS 390=25, DYS 481
=24, DYS 640=12 and DYS 464b=16.

Brad McGuire is the adm. of the Airgialla Mag Uidhir Group and also points out that some
markers mutate faster than others  and that some SNP's mutate within a given family.  For
example, all five of the markers that separate me from being an exact match for the Maguire
modal at 25 markers are fast mutating and he mentioned that fast mutating markers could
take 3,000 to 4,000 years to mutate.  To me, that would put past mutations well before the use
of surnames became common in Ireland, about 1,000 AD.  I don't know yet whether
mutations repeat over the years and began at different times or if they vary within a single
family line.  I hope to have more on this later because I surely am at my limit tonight.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Latest on Genealogical Contacts

First, let me say that I have to post every five or six weeks to keep the blog alive.  That being
said, I have had a contact with a woman who has an ancestor with the McCowan spelling.  She
and I both have the surname, Dye, in our family trees.  She is currently on a trip to visit
relatives who have more information on their Dye ancestors to see if we have any in common.

Mine is the mother of my paternal grandmother and her name was Margaret Delilah Dye and
Margaret's father was John Dye whose father was Shippe Dye with a connection to the
Goodnight family.  I have no idea whether that is the same line that owned the Goodnight
Ranch in Texas and whose surname appears in the name of the Goodnight-Loving Cattle
trail.  If it is, none of it washed off on us.

Another interesting thing about this contact, is that her maiden name was Cone and Cone is
certainly a version of Co'an or Cowan or Owen which would relate to my surname.  I hope to
inform you whether or not our Dye connection is related to hers.  Dye appears to be a fairly
common surname.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Good Source for County Fermanagh Records

Navigate to Fermanagh-Gold and then join the forum.  That will allow you to download many
records listed by experts.  Two of these experts are Yvette Sage and John Cunningham.  On
the home page, scroll down to John-Cunningham and see the records he listed along with
Yvette Sage.  Scroll down further, and you will find Yevette-Sage.  She has listed records
that you can download and further down, you can download her CD---at no cost to you.

There is a downside to this in that by joining the forum you will receive many emails from
other forum members.  I suggest just reading the titles, and if these don't interest you, then
just delete that email.  I believe the John Cunningham, mentioned above was our tour guide
in September 2010 when we visited practically every county in what was formerly known as
Ulster.  John is a historian, a genealogist and a speaker of Gaelic as well.  He picked us up at
the Belfast Airport and drove clear across northern Ireland to Fermanagh in less than three hours.

If you, or someone in your paternal line have not been tested for Y-DNA, this is the place to
start.  There are several good DNA services, but I have all of my experience with Family
Tree DNA and it has been a marvelous experience over the years.  A good place to start with
Family Tree DNA is at their home page.  There you will see the many types of tests offered
to track both your male (Y-DNA) and your female (mtDNA).  At the moment they are having
an excellent sale to encourage new members to be tested.

One of the chief virtues of having the DNA tests is that it allows you to find people closely
related to you since their data base is the largest of those offering the test.  Also, if you can
research your family tree, the test results can prove that relationship and that is the gold
standard of genealogy.  Another is that I contact many people and together we try to find
our ancestors---although I readily admit, that often I am the beneficiary of their guidance.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

McCown and McKown on Fermanagh-Gold

There are some McCowns and more McKowns to be found on the free Fermanagh-Gold
genealogical website.  Most of these, so far, are shown in Galloon and Aghalurcher Parishes.
Parishes are, in this case, civil subdivisions of County Fermanagh.  You can go to the site
and search freely.  I was interested in information regarding just where in the county people of
our surname are located.  There is also a mailing list.  So far, the only surname bulletin boards
I have found are from Rootsweb which belongs to and probably require membership
to join.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

All Ireland DNA Project Study and Atlas

This just in from the Fair Coane.  The subject study is a combined genealogical and medical/scientific
study of all test subjects living in Ireland or if not, whose eight great grand parents all lived in Ireland.

They will study Y-DNA, mtDNA and whole genome.  There is to be no cost to the participants for the test other than the cost of a postage stamp to return the DNA sample(s) to the study center.  There are a couple of downsides to this.  The biggest one is that the person providing the sample will not get the results of his or her tests but rather they will be grouped with other DNA in communities that may
even cross county lines.  The other is that no mention is made of the testers testing for deep clades
and therefor, they cannot even get down to the whole haplogroup level.

In short, it doesn't come anywhere close to appealing to those of us tested by Family Tree DNA so
does it have an upside?  Perhaps.  The biggest problem for Americans of Irish descent trying to find
ancestors in Ireland has been identifying their names and where they lived.  I find it very frustrating
that I can spend hundreds of dollars on DNA and other research and still not make a connection even
with having engaged genealogists with excellent track records.

For example, how did they locate Barack Obama's ancestor in Ireland without a whole lot of input
being furnished by Obama?  John Kennedy was probably much simpler to research.

At best, the all Ireland DNA study can probably show hot spots where specific haplotypes are concentrated and thus give a clue as to where research may be most productive---but still it seems
to me that this is still like looking for a needle in a haystack and wondering if you found the right

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Embarrassment of Sorts

In a prior blog, I mis-reported my haplogroup.  It should be R1b1a2a1a1b4c and this time it has
all of the correct digits in all the right places.  I am a bit surprised that no one commented on this
faux paux since several of those who follow this blog are group administrators of groups of which
I am a member.  Perhaps the blog is stealthier than I thought.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cousin Sam's Results are All In

Sam's haplogroup, like mine and Jim McKown's are identical at R1b1a2a1b4c,  This is the same as
the rest of those with Maguire DNA except for the letter c suffix which means that Sam, Jim and I
are all three Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) P66+ as expected.  The three of us share a
Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) in the year of our Lord 1661.  It is extremely gratifying
to have us match so very closely over a period going back to the common use of surnames in
Ulster, Ireland.  The deep subclades, unlike markers can and do show our common heritage going back
to about 3,000 b.c..

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cousin Sam's 111 Marker Results are in

Cousin Sam and I match on 108/111 markers.  His deep subclades, including SNP P66 are still
expected on Monday, March 26th.  I no longer believe that P66+ is a necessary indicator of our
relationship.  If Sam isn't P66+, the STR evidence of our relationship at 108/111markers coupled
with our documented genealogy from US census reports meets the gold standard for genealogical
proof our ancestry.  I still expect Sam to be P66+, but this SNP is subject to skipping whole gener-
ations within a single family line.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Initial Test Results and derivative happenings

My cousin, Sam's, initial test upgrades are beginning to come in.  First, two of his
Maguire Clan DNA signature STP's (single nucleotide polymorphism) have been
received and as expected he is L513 and L69 positive along with the rest of the
Airghialla Mag Uidhir (Maguire) Group.  Brad McGuire, working with Thomas
Krahn and Mike Walsh and others have come up with about five Maguire SNP's
that allow them to predict, very reliably, how different members will show positive
results on certain STP's.  His SNP P66 result is expected by this Friday and it is
expected to be P66+ along with that of Jim McKown and I.  Brad also believes
that there are three STR's (single tandem repeats) that my predict which others with
Maguire DNA would likely be P66+.

I also want to welcome some new associates who are now following this blog.  I
suggest to them that if they scroll all the way to the bottom of the current posting,
they will be able to track all the way back to the beginning of the first posting to
this blog.  It has been a very rewarding trip so far for me.  Cousin Sam and I are
descended from our great great grandfather, Lawrence McCown, via his two first
born sons, William and Eli and I am told that this means we are second cousins.
As you might expect, we match exactly on the first 66 of 67 markers and when his
upgrade to 111 marker results come in sometime this month, I expect them to be
very close to mine at that level as well.

If you are considering having your paternal line tested, you will have to have a male
relative in the line you are tracing take the test if you are not that male yourself.
Family Tree  has been running a special on these and other tests and
they can furnish valuable discounts.  It was through this means that I discovered
Cousin Sam and also discovered that rather than being of Scottish descent, I am in
fact of Ulster Irish Heritage---most likely County Fermanagh but possibly Tyrone
or Donegal because all three have evidence of McCown (Mac Owen, McCowen or
McKown) residents of Maguire descent. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Recloh Events

SNP P66+, which I had hoped to use to identify a specific Maguire ancestor is not
a reliable indicator according to Thomas Krahn, head of FTDNA's Houston lab.
A Maguire who was P66+ long ago can well have sons several generations later
who would be P66- and that is the problem with Recloh events.  These act more like
STR's (Short Tandem Repeats) also called alleles or markers than like SNP's
(Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).  The practical difference to those like me
who don't understand this scientific stuff, is that STR's generally show family
history back to about 200 years before surnames came into common usage whereas
SNP's generally go back, way, way back thousands of years.  For example, Niall
of the Nine Hostages has SNP M222+ but SNP M222- goes back four thousand
years ago while M222+ only goes back 3,000 years ago.

Meanwhile, cousin, Sam, is now upgrading to 111 markers, having his deep sub-
clades (SNP's) tested plus SNP's L513 and L69.  If all goes as expected, he will
also be P66+, L513+ and L69+.  Brad McGuire, adm. of the FTDNA Airghialla
Mag Uidhir (Maguire) group that is based both on surname and geographical
origin, can now predict who will have Maguire DNA and who will not based on
six markers and from those can predict which SNP's an individual will  + or -.

This reminds me of why I enjoyed history classes that dealt with battles fought and
wars won or lost but totally lost interest when it came down to economic history.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I could still be of Scottish Descent

Although my DNA says that I have Maguire DNA, it doesn't say how that came about.  One speculation would be that a McCown ancestor married a Maguire widow with Maguire sons or
perhaps one on the way and then adopted her son(s).  The McCown ancestor would
have had McCown DNA but the adopted sons would have Maguire DNA.  It also
does not address whether they were living in Scotland or Ireland at he time of the
non-paternal event.

One reason I am pursuing this line of reasoning is that Family Tree DNA has a tool called Ancestral
Origins.  That provides percentages of those tested in Scotland, Ireland or wherevere.
Percentages above 4% are said to be especially meaningful in determining where
ancestors live.  The calculation is admittedly based on only 11/12 markers, but the results are of some
interest.  They are Scotland, 6.4%, Ireland, 4.9% and Northern Ireland 4.9%.

Jim McKown is in contact with Bill McKown who has devoted a lot of time to
finding his ancestors and he says that Jim's earliest known ancestor is Scottish.
Jim and I are closely matched and had a Most Recent Common Ancestor about
1661 AD so it is entirely possible for us both to have Maguire DNA but have
Scottish roots.

This brings to the fore the critical need for taking FTDNA's Y-DNA tests because
documented genealogy can be fraudulent, but if it is supported by DNA, that is
considered by FTDNA as being the gold standard of genealogy.  One Maguire and
one McCarthy both attempted to change their genealogy by falsifying their family
trees.  This wasn't detected and rejected many years later after first having been

Many people make the mistake of taking only the 12 marker test when they should
take a minimum of 37 markers to find their most meaningful matches.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Was William one of the six Brothers?

I found three records of people searching for William McCown, b. 1708, in Antrim, died 1747 in
Knockmaokigan, Fermanagh on  It says that his father was Alexander McCoun who
according to what I have read elsewhere, was a Presbyterian minister and immigrated from Antrim
about 1715 and setteled with his six sons in Pennsylvania.  If this is the same Alexander, then I know by DNA results that they are not in my line.  The searches were done by people trying to fill in family trees other than McCown trees.

I find a potential ancestor and then only two weeks later have my hopes dashed.  Such is life!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Correction to William of Antrim and Fermanagh

The Knockmaokigan, Fermanagh address is mispelled and doesn't give an exact location.  For that
reason alone, I might not have had any comments to the previous posting.  I hope to do better this
time.  The correct detail address where William McCown died in Fermanagh is Knockmakegan,
Manor Hightower, Newtownbutler, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland.  I don't have
the Irish equivalent to a zip code.  The corrected information came from the Ordnance Survey
Memoirs of 1834/5, Vol. 4 of Enniskillen, Fermanagh.

So far, I have not succeeded in returning to the records for the original entry, but there were between
five and ten listing the birth of this William McCown in Antrim in 1708 and his death in "Knockmaogkigan, Fermanagh in 1747.  We endeavor to maintain your trust with accurate information.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Irish Laurence and an Irish William

William Roulston of the Ulster Heritage Foundation has turned up a Laurence McCowen and a James McKowen in Co. Antrim in the 1700's.  Meanwhile, I have found a William McCown, born 1708
in Co. Antrim who died in 1747 in Knockmaoktgan, Co. Fermanagh.  This latter find was on  Perhaps one of these men is a member of my McCown line and that would be small
chip out of our genealogical stone wall connecting our line on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

That has been a wistful dream of mine with little chance of bearing fruit because so many of Irish
descent have been unable to make such a connection in their own research.  Finding a Laurence McCowen is a terrific surprise because I have only found two in early Kentucky but with the McCown
spelling.  I am very encouraged and hope that Jim McKown is as well.