Clan Colla 425 null

R-Z3000: DNA of "The Three Collas" - rulers of the Kingdom of Airgíalla
  • 819 members

About us

Welcome to the Clan Colla 425 Null Project!

Very Important Information about Joining the Project

If you join the project, be sure the administrators have Limited Access to your kit so they can see your matches.

Join this project if you are interested in paternal ancestry:

  • your tester has done Y-DNA testing (male tester only)

  • his predicted haplogroup is of the R-M269 type

  • his 48th STR is 425=0

Family Finder and mt-DNA testing will not help you track your paternal ancestry in this project.

This DNA project is not one of the very general projects such as Ireland DNA, and it is not a general surname catch all, where anyone can join no matter what their DNA markers are.  And not everyone who has one of the listed surnames, will necessarily have markers that match the signature DNA of the Collas.  Most testers will not match the DNA profile that is required to be a part of this project.  As well, the highest expectation of having Colla DNA may be no better than about 50% if you have a Colla surname.

Clan Colla Project Summary

The Clan Colla 425 null project is for anyone who has the R-Z3000 SNP, named by Mike Walsh in 2013. "425 null" refers to STR 425=0, a predictor of Z3000.

(You do not need to know what SNPs and STRs are, but SNP stands for "single nucleotide polymorphism" and STR stands for "short tandem repeat.")

R-Z3000 is the Y-DNA SNP of two groups: 
 - R-Z3008 - SNP of The Three Collas, who lived in 4th century Ulster - Origin of The Three Collas
 - R-Z16270, R-Z29586, and BY3160 - SNPs of cousins of The Three Collas

The best test for Clan Colla DNA is Big Y-700. It will tell you where you fall on the Clan Colla Big Y SNP tree now and as it grows in the future.

Lesser tests can predict Z3000, but they do not tell you where you fall on the Z3000 SNP tree. The Y-67 test includes predictors STR 511=9 and 425=0. The Y-111 test includes additionally predictors STR 505=9 and 441=12.

Identification of the Y-DNA of The Three Collas rests upon the similarity (as of October 2020) between Two Matching Sets of Names:
     1. a set of 20 surnames in the ancient genealogies of The Three Collas and
     2. a set of 20 surnames among 232 testers out of a total of 466 with the Y-DNA SNP  called R-Z3008.

It also rests upon the pedigrees of:
 - four McDonalds who trace their ancestry back to Colla Uais - 43 Generations: Colla to McDonald
 - two McMahons who trace their ancestry back to Colla da Crioch - 50 Generations: Colla to McMahon

In addition to identifying the Y-DNA of The Three Collas, the project has identified historical persons or groups that do not have that Y-DNA: Conn of the Hundred Battles;  Niall of the Nine Hostages; Kelly of Hy-Maine; and Clan Donald of Dunnyveg, Kepoch, Vallay, Glengarry, and Clanranald.


Clan Colla SNP Tree

Over 100 members of the Clan Colla project have done Big Y testing at FTDNA. This has made it possible to construct a tree of SNPs downstream of Z3000. For a summary of the latest version of this tree, see: Abridged Clan Colla SNP Tree. For the full tree, see Unabridged Clan Colla Big Y SNP Tree.

What Defines Clan Colla DNA?

Z3000 SNP:
..... R-M269>L23>P311>P312>L21>DF13>DF21>S971>Z3000

Key STR markers predict the Z3000 SNP:

..... 47th STR: 511=9 
..... 48th STR: 425=0

..... 76th STR: 505=9
..... 91st STR: 441=12

Testing Alternatives

  1. Big Y SNPs: Testing for SNPs on a large portion of your Y chromosome through BIG Y-700. This is the ultimate in Y-DNA testing at FTDNA. Clan Colla DNA includes the Z3000 SNP and many downstream SNPs that are unique to Clan Colla. It also includes upstream SNPs, such as L21 and DF21. There are three parts to the Big Y-700 test:
        - Big Y SNPs.
        - Automatic upgrade to 111 STRs for those who have not done 111 STRs.
        - Additional 589 STRs, to bring the total STRs to 700.
  2. 67 STRs: Testing 67 STRs, which includes key Clan Colla STRs: 511=9 and 425=0. The 67-STR test is enough to verify Clan Colla DNA if the genetic distance from the 67-STR Clan Colla modal DNA is 11 or less. This test for Big Y testers helps us place other testers in SNP subgroups.
  3. 111 STRs: Testing 111 STR markers, which includes key Clan Colla STRs: 511=9, 425=0, 505=9, and 441=12. The 111-marker test is enough to verify Clan Colla DNA. This test for Big Y testers helps us place other testers in SNP subgroups.
  4. Individual SNPs: Testing for the Z3000 SNP or a few other ancient individual SNPs downstream of Z3000. A few men have done this after testing 67 STR markers. This is much less expensive than Big Y testing. It verifies Clan Colla DNA, but provides no downstream SNPs for placing oneself on the BIG Y SNP tree.
  5. Z3000 SNP Pack: Testing for the SNPs in the Z3000 SNP pack. A few members have done this after testing 67 STRs. This is less expensive than Big Y testing. The SNP pack verifies Clan Colla DNA and often provides downstream SNP matches, but does not test for recently-discovered downstream SNPs nor SNPs that will be discovered in the future.
  6. Upstream SNP Packs: Testing for SNPs in the M343, P312, L21, and DF21 SNP Packs. A few men have done these SNP packs when they had no idea that they had Clan Colla DNA. These SNP packs include the Z3000 SNP, but no downstream SNPs.

Colla Subgroups

To better understand the DNA data that has been accumulated, the public Results page for the Colla Project has been broken down into subgroups and one Diverse subgroup made up of singletons. The surname subgroups are based on:
  • Surname
  • Family genealogy
  • Genetic distance among group members
  • Uniqueness of certain STRs
Some surnames have multiple subgroups. Most surname subgroups have one or more singleton surnames because the DNA matches. A surname subgroup is created for a singleton if that person has Big Y test results. The Diverse subgroup consist of singletons that do not match a surname subgroup and have not done Big Y.

More on the subgroups can be found at Colla Subgroups.

FTDNA Test Results

FTDNA provides two kinds of test results: individual and public.
  • Individual Test Results (homepage called myFTDNA, password-protected)
  • Haplogroup
  • Matches
  • STR Results
  • Haplotree and SNPs
  • Big Y Block Tree, Results, and Matches
  • Personal Information
  • Personal Profile
  • Contact Information
  • Account Settings
  • Genealogy
  • Beneficiary Information
  • Privacy & Sharing
  • My Profile
  • My DNA Results (we suggest Anyone)
  • Account Access
  • Order History
  • Projects (we suggest your surname, DF21, L21, P312, R1b. There is no cost for joining multiple projects)
  • Public Test Results for current Clan Colla project participants
  • STR Results, including subgroup, kit, ancestor name, and haplogroup
  • SNP Results, including kit, ancestor name, and haplogroup

Project Administrators

  • Josiah McGuire. Josiah McGuire had his DNA tested in 2004. In early 2005 he recognized that he matched several other people with Colla surnames and began studying those matches. After upgrading to 67 markers in 2006, Josiah learned that he had a null value for marker 425, as did the other Colla surnames. In 2007 Josiah computed modal values for the DNA of the Three Collas and put it on Ysearch with the user ID of DURRQ. In June 2009, he started the Clan Colla 425 null at FTDNA to attract Clan Colla descendants, encourage upgrades to the 67-marker test, and promote Clan Colla research. He is also the administrator of the Mag-Uidhir Clan Project. Josiah's DNA is kit #23171. His genetic distance from the Colla Modal DNA is 9. He traces his family back to the eponymous Josiah McGuire, who was born in 1794 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Josiah lives in Indiana, USA. His email address is:

  • Patrick McMahon. Patrick Ciaran McMahon had his DNA test in 2009. He is an administrator of the Clan Colla Null 425 Project. In addition to being a fellow Colla descendant, Patrick spent a good part of his career working as a geneticist and lives in Ireland. Patrick's DNA is kit #145687. His genetic distance from the Colla Modal DNA is 4. Patrick has an advanced degree in genetics from Trinity College Dublin. He has traced his family back to Faolan MacMathghamhna (Felim/Phelan MacMahon), who lived in County Monaghan in the early 12th century (see 49 Generations: Colla to McMahon). Patrick lives in Gorey, Ireland. His email address is:

  • Thomas Roderick, 1930-2013. Thomas Huston Roderick PhD, passed away September 4, 2013, at home in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA. He had his DNA tested at FTDNA in 2003. He was administrator of the Roderick-Rhydderch Family Project at FTDNA as well as the Clan Colla Null 425 Project. Tom's DNA is kit #8551. His genetic distance from the Colla Modal DNA is 8. He had recruited 13 other Rodericks to the Clan Colla project. Tom graduated from the University of Michigan in philosophy in 1952 and zoology in 1953 and from the University of California, Berkeley, with a PhD in 1959. He then joined The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, as a staff scientist in genetics where he remained for 37 years. Tom cofounded the Center for Human Genetics. He was a member of the National Genealogical Society and had traced his family back to Rhydderch Evan who was born circa 1700 in Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales. Tom had also been a research geneticist and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. Tom was one of the original members of the international Human Genome Organisation in 1988. Obituary

Who Were the Three Collas?

The ancient genealogies record that the Three Collas lived in Ireland during the early part of the 4th century, and that their descendants have been kings, lords, chiefs, and saints down through the ages. The Collas were warlike princes, the sons of Eochy Doimhlein, son of Cairbre Lifeachar the legendary High King of Ireland.  The Three Collas (under the sponsorship of the King of the Connachta) conquered Ulster in the battle of Achadh Leithdheirg, by defeating the forces of king Fergus Foga, at Emain Macha.  The territory conquered by the three Collas comprised the present day counties of Louth, Monaghan, and ArmaghColla da Crioch was the founder and first King of the Kingdom of Oriel; and died about the year 357 AD. Many of the Clan Colla progeny were styled Kings of Oriel, down to the twelfth century.

In the Book of Ballymote, written in 1390AD, it stated that Cairpri Daim Airgit (Argait), King of Airgialla, (Kingdom of Oriel) died 513AD. This King of Airgialla is six generations down from Colla da Crioch. The King had seven sons; three of them were... Cormac from whom the Maguires descend; Nadsluaigh from whom the McMahons and Carrolls descend; and Daimhin from whom the Boylans and Kellys descend. Colla da Crioch was one of the Three Collas who sought to restore the monarchy to their line. At one point, the Three Collas were exiled from Ireland and made to live in Scotland, however through the influence of the King of Alba, and the intervention of the Druids, the Collas were pardoned by the Irish King, and were invited back to Ireland.

Generally for historical references, we rely on John O'Hart, who provided two lists of Colla descendents in his Irish Pedigrees; or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, published in 1892 (3rd edition): one list is on pages 669-670 of Volume I and the other is on page 577 of Volume II. For a consolided list, in alphabetic order without regard to O' and Mac, see Descendants of the Three Collas.  Jim McMahon has created a valuable resource on the history of Clan Colla and their descendants. See Clan McMahon of the Kingdom of Oriel.  Another good resource for studying the Collas is Kingdom of Airghialla by Dennis Walsh.  See also Peter Biggins website the Clan Colla DNA Study 

Others such as Donald M. Schlegel have questioned the traditional story and have suggested a different theory about the origins of the Three Collas.  For more details, see further below in the paragraphs titled "Other possible origins".

The above traditional story led us to wonder if DNA analysis of these various Colla surnames might lead to a better understanding of who "The Three Collas" were, and where they may have originated from.  For more details, see the website: Clan Colla DNA Study 

Etymological Theory for the Collas

An earlier spelling for Colla was Conlae, and "The Three Collas" were also known as "Na Trí Collai".  Their names were Conlae Uais, Conlae Menn, and Conlae Fochri (collectively known as "The Three Collas"). Historian/gealogist O'Rahilly wrote a short section on the derivation of the name Colla.  Based on variant forms of the name appearing in the Irish MS., O' Rahilly says the name Colla stands for an earlier Conlae; apparently as Irish evolved the earlier " nl " turned into " ll ".  O'Rahilly also mentions other variant forms of spelling; Conla, Conlae, and Condla. O'Rahilly sees Conlae as similar to the Gaulish "Condollios, derived from Condollos, ie, conn (head, chief) plus ollos (great). O'Rahilly states Condollios probably means son of Condollos.

Could "The Three Collas" be anciently derived from the Conii (or Cynetes), a pre-Roman tribe from the Iberian Peninsula.  Past DNA studies have shown the similarities between the DNA of people in Ireland and those in Spain and the Iberian area.

The Conii or Cynetes were one of the pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, living in today's Algarve and Low Alentejo regions of southern Portugal before the 6th century BCE (in what was to become the southern part of the Roman province of Lusitania). They are often mentioned in the ancient sources under various designations, mostly Greek or Latin derivatives of their two tribal names: ‘Cynetas’/’Cynetum’; ‘Kunetes’, ‘Kunetas’, and ‘Kunesioi' or ‘Cuneus’, followed by ‘Konioi’, ‘Kouneon’ and ‘Kouneous’/‘Kouneoi’.  Inscriptions in the Tartessian language have been found in the area, in a variety often referred to as Southwest Paleohispanic script.  The name Conii, found in Strabo, seems to have been identical with the Cynesii, who were mentioned by Herodotus as the westernmost dwellers of Europe and distinguished by him from the Celts.

The main city of the country of the Conii (or Cynetes) was Conistorgis, according to Strabo, who considered the region Celtic.   In the local language Conistorgis probably means "City of the Conii".  It was located somewhere in the interior of the Algarve, in southernmost Portugal, although the exact location is unknown.  The Conii had made an alliance with the Romans during the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. This led to the city's destruction by the indigenous Iberian confederation, led by the Lusitanians, during the Lusitanian War against Rome from 155 to 139 BC.

The Conii’s city Conistorgis was destroyed apparently for their alliance with the Romans, this would make the Conii basically homeless.  It would then be reasonable to assume that the Conii would now be in search for a new home, away from their destroyed city, and their apparently new enemies the Lusitanians who led the destruction of their city.  According to Herodotus the Conii are listed as the westernmost dwellers of Europe and distinguished by him from the Celts.  The westernmost part of Europe is of course Ireland, and this would be consistent with the story of the Collas being in Ireland.  The Collas ancient ancestors (the Cynetes or Conii if this theory holds) may have left the Iberian Peninsula area after their city was destroyed during the Lusitanian War sometime between 155 and 139 BC.  This would place the ancestors to the Collas in the westernmost areas (the early British Isles) as Herodotus had mentioned about the Conii.

The Celtic Encyclopedia: Volume 1 - Page 160  (pages 159 – 160), The Conii were a coastal people whose inscriptions show that they spoke a mixture of Goidel and Brythonic Celtic languages. ... lands of nearby Ithaca ( Andalucla, Spain) and/or the earlier BC 15th century Goidel invasion of Ireland. ...

Cynetes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  The name Conii, found in Strabo, seems to have been identical with the Cynesii, who were mentioned by Herodotus as the westernmost dwellers of Europe…

Other possible origins

In 1998, Donald M. Schlegel, suggested (in his article "The Origin of the Three Collas and the Fall of Emain" in the Clogher Record), that "The Three Collas" were Romanized Celtic Britons from the Trinovantes, a celtic tribe from Colchester, the oldest recorded Roman town in England.  He wrote as well, that the Collas are perhaps the only instance in prehistoric or early historic Ireland of three brothers having each a personal name, a name in common, and an epithet. His implication being that such a naming convention must have been imported, and the obvious source is the Roman Empire.  He proposed that the Collas received military training from the Romans and eventually went to Ireland and became military leaders in service of the King of Ireland.  Schlegal also wrote concerning the early town of Colchester that... "As late as the middle ages, the western gate of the city of Colchester was pointed out as the site of King Coel's Castle."  And he suggested that the Collas may have possibly be linked back to the legendary figure King Cole.

Also in his book, Donald said that Coir Anmann reported that the Collas were also called Coll-ni in the ancient books.  He wrote that the name Coll-ni might be derived from the name of the River Colne that runs through the middle of Colchester.  He suggested that the two names Coll-ni and Colne looked and sounded similar to each other. As well, one might point out that Coll-ni looks and possibly sounds very similar to Conii.  Conii is described a paragraph or two above this one.

On Page 179 of Schlegel's summary, he says:
"...there is no strong reason to reject the story of the three Collas, who under the sponsorship of the King of the Connachta conquered southern and north-central Ulster and were the ancestors of the Airghialla.  There are hints and clues that suggest that the three Collas were Romanized Britons, originating in the tribe named Trinovantes; used Colla as their nomen..."

The Schlegel article appeared in The Clogher Record, a local history journal published by the Clogher Historical Society. It covers the history of counties Fermanagh, Monaghan, South Tyrone, and South Donegal. The article can be read at many schools and libraries on JSTOR: The Clogher Record, Volume XVI, No. 2, 1998, pp. 159-181"The Origin of the Three Collas and the Fall of Emain" by Donald M. Schlegel.

Colchester Background History - (Various source references and text [links above and below] are found on Wikipedia.)

The name Colchester is from Latin: the place-name suffixes chester, cester, and caster derive from the Latin word castrum (fortified place). In folk etymology the name Colchester was thought of as meaning Cole's Castle, though it actually means the Roman fort Colonia (plural coloniae).  Colonia was originally a Roman Empire outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.  Coloniae also included towns founded by Rome to house those who held Roman citizenship. In Britain this usually meant those who had completed their military service in the Legions and were thus owed a grant of land by the state; see Marian Reforms.

Other earlier associated names for Colchester were Colecester, Colcestre, and Colcestria.

Camulodunum is the Roman name for the ancient settlement which is today's Colchester, a town in Essex, England. Camulodunum is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain as recorded by the Romans, existing as a Celtic settlement before the Roman conquest, when it became the first Roman town, and eventually a settlement of discharged Roman soldiers, known as Colonia Claudia Victricensis. There is archaeological evidence of settlement 3,000 years ago. Its Celtic name was "Camulodunon", meaning "the Fortress of Camulos" (Camulos being a British god equated with the Roman Mars). This name was modified to the Roman spelling of "Camulodunum".

Camulodunon was the capital of the Trinovantes tribe, who built an impressive system of earthwork defences to the west and south of the town. It was probably established as their capital by Addedomarus, a king known from his inscribed coins dating to around 25 - 10 BC (at the time of Caesar's invasions of Britain in 55 and 54 BC, the tribe were probably based at Braughing).  Colchester was the only place in the province of Britannia where samian ware was produced (for a short time). Roman brick making and wine growing also took place in the area. Bricks have been made in Colchester (or in the surrounding area) for around 2,000 years.

A Roman legionary fortress or castrum, the first permanent legionary fortress to be built in Britain, was established at Camulodunum in 43. A veteran colony was established in an effort to subdue the Silures and as part of an attempt at Romanisation.[6] Later it became a colonia – a settlement of discharged Roman soldiers – and the principal city of Roman Britain. A Roman monumental temple was built there c. 44 and was dedicated to the emperor Claudius.[7]

According to Tacitus, in 60/61 when the Iceni and Trinovantes under Boudica revolted against Roman rule, the city was undefended by fortifications,[8] and was only garrisoned by 200 members of the procurator's guard.[9] The rebels destroyed the city. The settlement was a target for the rebels because the veterans who inhabited the city "drove people out of their houses, ejected them from their farms, called them captives and slaves".[8]

Local legend places Colchester as the seat of King Cole (or Coel) of the rhyme Old King Cole, a legendary ancient king of Britain.

The Calkins Family origins

The Calkins family represented in our project traces its ancestry back to 16th-century Chester, England, just north of the Wales border.  Calkins is a spelling variant of Culkin and MacCulkin, which O'Hart says were descended from Colca (or Colcan).  O'Hart also lists Colcan as descending from Colla da Chrioch.  The Calkins name may have derived it's spelling origin from the "Colcan" name and with time, it was changed from Col-can to Cal-kin and Calkins. Or alternately the descendants (or the clan people) associated with King Cole may have adopted the term Coles-Kin or Cole-kin, which may have morphed over to Col-kin, and then over to Calkin.

One of our project administrators, Geneticist Patrick McMahon, believes that the Calkins surname may have have derived it spelling directly from the Colla Clan itself.  Patrick's thoughts on the origins of this Calkins family is below.

"A similar argument could be made for yet another family, the Calkins, who are also of Clan Colla and come from Cheshire/North Wales, being proto Colla and originating in another Roman Town, Chester. Equally, they could have come from any part of Britain, propelled westward by the Romans following failed uprisings such as Bodicea’s in East Anglia. This family might bear a derivative of the original tribal name, Colla Kinsmen or abbreviated to Colla-kin."  And Colla-kin then changed over to Calkin.

Back to the legendary story about King Cole:

In the legend Helena, the daughter of Cole, married the Roman senator Constantius Chlorus, who had been sent by Rome as an ambassador and was named as Cole's successor. Helena's son became Emperor Constantine I. Helena was canonised as Saint Helena of Constantinople and is credited with finding the true cross and the remains of the Magi. She is now the patron saint of Colchester. This is recognised in the emblem of Colchester: a cross and three crowns. The Mayor's medallion contains a Byzantine style icon of Saint Helena.

Colchester has also been suggested as one of the potential sites of Camelot, on account of having been the capital of Roman Britain, and because of its spelling similarity to the ancient name of Camulodunum.