Last updated 03 October 2013
McCARTHYs and OTHER MUNSTER IRISH
For a study of McCarthy genetic genealogy in relation to other Munster surnames please go to http://www.familytreedna.com/public/MunsterIrish
LATEST ANALYSIS OF McCARTHY RESULTS
Two major clusters, one with a common ancestor who lived near the end of the Iron Age (McCarthy “Group A”) and the other several centuries later than this (“Group B”), account for about 50% of all McCarthys. It is often the case that the progeny of chieftains flourish at the expense of the more impoverished 'serfs and soldiers' who surround them, although the high mortality rate arising from both inter-clan and internecine feuding involving Irish chieftains is an argument against this. However, if the progeny of Cárthach, King of the Eóghanacht Cashel (d 1045), did flourish, it seems likely that it will be found in McCarthy Group A or Group B. According to the ancient genealogies, the first independently named branch of Cárthach's progeny gave rise to the McAuliffe surname, and those few McAuliffes who have tested their Y-DNA (outside of this Study) clearly have the Irish Type II haplotype associated with McCarthy Group A.
Whereas it is argued below that all the Group B McCarthys (who account for approx. 29% of all McCarthys) could have a common ancestor born in the era of Cárthach, it currently appears less likely that such a claim could be made for the approx. 21% who make up the Group A McCarthys, there being various lineages within Group A which probably only have common ancestry some centuries earlier. Moreover, claimants to MacCarthy Reagh ancestry are also found in McCarthy Group B (notably the McCarthy Rabagh subsept) and Group M (where there is also found a claimant to MacCarthy Glas, or Sliochd Feidhlimidh, ancestry). Although there are the occasional O'Sullivan and O'Mahony, and notably, (O')Calla(g)han who share the late first millenium ancestry of McCarthy Group B, marked with the occurrence of SNP R-L362, there is none of other prominent surnames deriving from the Eóghanacht Cashel with this ancestral haplotype, which McCarthys dominate.
On the current evidence, this Study concludes that Group B McCarthys are the most likely to be direct descendants of Cárthach, and thus that either the Eóghanacht kings of Cashel, and sometimes of Munster, tracing back to Conall Corc, the reputed first King of Cashel, were of a lineage associated with SNPs P314.2 and L362, or that there was a break in the continuous line claimed by the ancient genealogical tracts. The Group A McCarthys share common first millenium ancestry with many whose surnames purport to derive from the Eóghanacht of Cashel (besides some whose names do not immediately suggest an Irish origin at all), thus even if they are not direct descendants of the eponymous Cárthach, their earlier ancestry is consistent with the genealogical concepts of the ancient tracts.
Groups C and D each comprise about 5-6 % of McCarthys. Group C shares common ancestry with the “Irish Type I” peoples many of whom have roots in the north of Ireland, Scotland and the north of England. Whether the progenitors of Irish Type II (Group A) and Irish Type I (Group C) ancestral haplotypes were born in Ireland or lived elsewhere in Western Europe prior to migration of their progeny to Ireland is open to debate and ongoing study.
Group D shares common first millennium ancestry with the main Kerry group of O’Sheas, considered to be descendants of the Corca Dhuibhne peoples who had occupied the shores and hinterland of Dingle Bay.
Group E comprises nine participants who are predicted to test positive for R-Z255. One has tested negative for SNP R-L159.2, but most of the others, who have more in common with one another, could test positive for this. The STR pattern associated with this profile is known as the Irish Sea (or Leinster) modal haplotype, and is also seen in Norway. The first certain McCarthy Crimen (Crimeen) to test is within this group.
One kit in Group F has tested positive for SNPR-Z253 and the others, closely related, are predicted likewise; the Sowney agnomen features both in this group and independent group D.
The remainder of McCarthys belong to numerous minor clusters or lineages unrelated to Groups A, B, C, D, E or F later than the Bronze Age (although further testing of Group M4 may prove it should be included in Group E) and are seen as likely making up the entourage of the tribe(s) which took the Mac Carthaigh surname from Cárthach, or were adopted or otherwise came to belong to the McCarthy family subsequently as suggested in 'McCarthys in Antiquity' on the 'Background' page of this website. It must also be considered that there was more than the one Cárthach whose progeny took the Mac Carthaigh surname, just as is clearly the case for the O'Donoghues and several other surnames prominent in Munster.
The results of y-DNA testing for haplotype and haplogroup determination are shown on the "y-DNA Results" page on this website, and indicate that a small number of McCarthys have been tested or predicted as being within haplogroups E1b1b1, G, I1, I2a, I2b1 and R1a1. However, FTDNA predicts that about 90% of McCarthys have common ancestry in the progenitor in which SNP R-M269 occurred (current FTDNA subclade designation R1b1a2). A number of geneticists believe he lived in the region of the Caucasus about 8,000 years ago (+/- a few thousand years!). It is likely that most if not all of these McCarthys will also share common ancestry in the more recent progenitor of the subclade marked by SNP R-L21 (currently designated by FTDNA R1b1a2a1a1b4). As explained under “McCarthys in Antiquity” on this website, the haplotype estimated as occurring in this common ancestor of over 70% of Irish men is known as Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH). (This is sometimes prefixed “Super Western”, thus SWAMH). In the discussions of McCarthy Groups A-F below, sequences of DYS mutations defining the “modal haplotypes” of specific lineages in the progeny of the R-L21 ancestor are referenced to AMH. R-L21 is estimated to have occurred about 3,700 to 4,200 ybp (years before present) in a foetus created somewhere in mainland Western Europe. It appears that two other SNPs, R-L459 and R-Z245 occurred in conjunction with R-L21, or in a generation or two before or after in the same ancestral lineage, and that SNP R-DF13, identified in Spring 2012, in the common ancestor of about 95% of those carrying R-L21, the implication being that DF13 probably occurred just a few hundred years later than L21. Initial testing indicates that all McCarthys who test positive for R-L21 will also be positive for R-DF13.The 2004 analysis of McCarthy Surname Study results, provided below for reference, had only the benefit of the 12 FTDNA Panel 1 markers, but was able to divide the R haplogroup McCarthys into three groups, the third being a miscellany. Groups A and B labels have been retained to this day. The current R-M269 groups (A-F and M) are more precisely defined below.
The diversity among present day McCarthys is illustrated by the following breakdown of haplotypes for the 66 McCarthy participants in Prof. D G Bradley and B McEvoy’s Trinity College, Dublin study of 2003/04 and results from the McCarthy Surname Study. The latter includes data taken from sources other than FTDNA; where participants share very recent common ancestry, they are counted as a single entry. A comparison with data inclusive of others of Irish origin from the Ireland yDNA project is also provided.