LESSON 15: A Y DNA Success Story

Can’t afford a Big Y or Y Elite? Here is a possible path to climbing down the lower branches of your YDNA with less expense.

WHAT Y DNA CAN DO. I was successful with my son-in-law so I want to share a bit about how this can work. This is not specific to any surname,  tactics “can” work with any surname you are trying to resolve. I have still hit a brick wall with WHEATON and my cousin with FRANKLIN but sometimes it can work. So I will walk you through it. It helps to start with a question you are trying to resolve for many Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis this involves where our immigrants came from.

QUESTION: Does J. REILLEY come from the REILLY’s of Cavan Co, Ireland as is his family lore.

GOAL: Determine where his immigrant REILLEY/RILEY came from in Ireland.

FIRST STEP: A 37 marker Y-DNA test from FTDNA. (very common markers may need to extend to 67 markers but start with 37)

RESULT: No matches with any Reilley’s of any spelling and no consistent matches of any one surname. In fact he only had 13 matches at 37 Y STRS and all but a pair of SMITHS were of different names. If thye had been a cluster of a particular surname as we sometimes find, I would have assumed a NPE or Non-Paternal Event somewhere along the line. (That is the father of record is not the real father).I knew his general Haplogroup based on other testing. He was R1b-L21 but not M222 (a very pervasive Haplogroup in Ireland).

Reilley matches at FTDNA

SECOND STEP: Look at his close matches to see if any places are identified. If not look to see if these can be traced using old fashioned genealogy. And see if anyone had done further SNP testing.

RESULT: Of his 7 closest matches 5 were likely from Co Galway, Ireland. I found this by looking them up in the Irish Origenes surname Map search. That seemed like a fairly strong indication of a geographic area. His second highest match was L21 as he is but his 6th match was tested to the SNP S6165 which is way down the phylogenetic tree.

THIRD STEP: I looked at all matches for a Michael Reilley born about 1798 in Ireland.

RESULT: The only one in Cavan married and died there so could not be the one who immigrated to America. There were several in Galway and they are in some cases in the same parish as the other names on his match list.  On the death record for Michael’s daughter in law (who was also a Reilly by birth she married Michael’s son Thomas Reilley) she lists her place of birth as Cavan! So that’s where the Cavan came from.

FOURTH STEP: I placed the critical DNA matches and records I found for Michael Reilley on a map looking for clues. I also located an old clan map with more clues. (click to enlarge)

Partial Ireland Clan Map

FIFTH STEP: Since all signs pointed to a Galway connection I ordered the S6165 SNP This is the STR comparison with the HYNES who had tested the S6165 SNP

TIP comparison between REILLEY & HYNES

RESULT: He was positive! This SNP is approximately 2500 years old (Yfull estimate) with an estimated MRCA of 1550 years ago. My guess is this group in Galway is more recent than that. Sometime between the arrival of William de Burgh (later BURKE, BURK etc) in Galway 1185 and the adoption of surnames. The de Burghs’ claim ancestry right back to Charlemagne. William’s son Richard was the Viceroy of Ireland and Lord of Connacht and he married the daughter of an O’Connor. It is said that he founded the City of Galway.

This is not always possible but when it works it is very cool. This was accomplished with 1 Y37 marker test from FamilyTreeDNA.com and 1 SNP test from YSEQ.net. In this case less than $150 utilizing FTDNA sales. It is only possible due to others doing the heavy lifting via Big Y (FTDNA) of Y Elite Full Genomes Corp testing as we have done on the WHEATON project.


Kelly Wheaton Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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