Fitzpatrick DNA Project Update 21 March 2020
Aside from this update of the Fitzpatrick DNA project I hope and trust you all keep safe and well during this testing time. The motto of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society (chun freastal chun leanúint = to serve to follow) and a nice modern interpretation courtesy of the Fitzpatrick-Mac GiollaPhádraig Society (‘we will always be strong if we do what is right’) of the battle cry of the Mac GiollaPhádraigs (ceart láidir abú) certainly encourage me at this time.
As expected, the project has now pushed through the 500-member mark and it seems as if new discoveries are being made on a weekly basis. Recently I had reason to analyse the discreet number of Fitzpatrick haplotypes (defined by 37-STR markers) on the project and found there were more than 50. In plain English this means there are more than 50 Fitzpatrick sub-groups that do not share ancestry with each other prior to ca. 500 AD; that’s at least 50 different scenarios in which Fitzpatrick has been taken as a surname – mind boggling, at least to me.
Esther and I have recently published an article that partly summarises the project findings and offers an interpretation of them; much of the article seeks to articulate what the DNA data means with respect to being a Fitzpatrick. The article may be too much for some, but it’s more than 20 years into the 21st century now and DNA studies are coming of age. I consider it’s time to think about surnames in a much deeper and more critical way. Please note the paper does not present my thinking with a full-stop after it, rather it is a point in time where I state that the idea of a singular and dominant Fitzpatrick narrative is dead, and that it’s time to seriously attempt to uncover ALL of our other (many) Fitzpatrick narratives. I hope Fitzpatricks can move together in that direction. The article is free to access here:
To the recent findings. Several ‘Ossory Fitzpatricks’ have taken BigY tests and their data adds further weight to their A1488 sub-group emerging ca. 1300 AD, with one branch leading to the line of the Barons of Upper Ossory. The offspring of A1488 now number no fewer than nine discreet lines (six Fitzpatrick, one Costigan, one FitzGerald and one O’Meara). I have previously posited the identity of A1488 might be Séafraid (Geoffrey) Mac Giolla Phádraig the ‘King of Slieve Bloom’, whose father was Domnall Clannach – the latter being a real man of mystery having a lineage unconnected to any other Mac GiollaPhádraigs (Jaski, 1994). Domnall Clannach means Domnall (Donald) ‘of the Clans’, literally meaning he had ‘lots of children’; on that basis the DNA evidence points to Domnall Clannach as also fitting the bill as A1488.
To FGC11134…BY12234, and if you haven’t yet witnessed Ian’s trees that he has posted to the activity feed go take a look because they are first class examples of how to interface traditional and genetic genealogy. BY12234 is now benefitting from BigY tests (and several more are scheduled for the up and coming Easter sale) and we now understand it is a Pátraic-line that stretches back unbroken for more than a millennium. The benefits of advanced DNA testing are not just being able to understand ancient origins and make connections, close and distant, with Fitzpatricks and their ‘cousins’, but also relate to how we perceive historical records and the work of fellow genealogists. I’m sure we’ve all come across trees on ancestry.com and the like, which are just a muddled mess of poor research. One such example is the lineage of William Fitzpatrick and Sarah Breckenridge. Armed with a deep understanding of Fitzpatrick DNA, Ian’s revision of that line places them firmly within BY12234. Ian will post a detailed summary of his recent findings in the near future.
It has been understood for some time that Z255…BY2849 emerged in a common Pátraic ancestor ca. 1000 AD. My recent focus has been trying to understand how, when and where the different sub-branches under BY2849 evolved. One of the two main sub-groups of BY2849 (associated with Co.Kildare and Co.Down) possibly arose in a townland near Monasterevin, Co.Kildare, called Grange MacGilpatrick. To date this townland is the only one I’ve found in all of Ireland that is associated with the name MacGilpatrick, the name also borne by Co.Down Fitzpatricks until the late 1600s. The second major line under BY2849 is found in Fitzpatricks who trace to Co.Down and Co.Louth, however it is likely the line arose in southern Co.Meath ca. 1600 AD. This new thinking comes from evidence in the Patents of James 1, which links the well-known family of Bellew with MacGilpatricks.
That ‘Fitzpatrick identities are no longer bound to dominant and elitist narratives’ and that there is now ‘freedom to remember Fitzpatrick narratives away from clouded visions and binary thinking’ (Fitzpatrick & Fitzpatrick, 2020) brings me to the large group of FGC11134…CTS4466 Fitzpatricks on the DNA project. We plan to embark on a series of BigY tests on these group members from around October 2020, and I hope that testing will shed light on a developing theory about the group’s origins. There is no question they share ancestry with Sullivans-McCarthys-O'Donoghues, at approximately the same genetic distance, from ca. 1400-1600 AD and that their origins are in Munster; specifically, they appear to have arisen in Co.Cork. The ability to think about Fitzpatricks as more than Ossorians led me to interrogate the fiants (Elizabeth 1) and Patents (James 1) and there I noted the many references to O’Mulpatricks who were associates of Sullivans-McCarthys-O'Donoghues. Perhaps even more remarkable is the ‘rediscovery’ of the townland of Ballymulpatrick (i.e., the town of Mulpatrick) in the Barony of Imokilly, Co.Cork; this is highly significant on several levels, not the least of which is learning what became of O’Mulpatricks. Hence, my working hypothesis is that some CTS4466 Fitzpatricks (there are two sub-groups) are O’Mulpatricks. I consider there will also turn out to be Breifne O’Mulpatricks, who are an entirely different sept from the ones in Co.Cork. Watch this space!
Last but by no means least, I’d like to welcome Karen Fitzpatrick Hall as a co-administrator on the DNA project. Karen has been brought in to help us progress the autosomal arm of the DNA project. To that end a Fitzpatrick surname project has also been initiated at GEDmatch.com; please email Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in learning more.
Mike Fitzpatrick PhD
Administrator – Fitzpatrick DNA Project
Fitzpatrick, E.; Fitzpatrick, M. When Everything Changes: Using Critical Family History to Deconstruct Keesing and Fitzpatrick Surnames. Genealogy 2020, 4, 25.
Jaski, B.; The traditional rule of succession in early Ireland, [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of History, 1995, pp 326, pp 275
Fitzpatrick DNA Project Update 12 November 2019
The current growth in the Project is unprecedented. This remarkable project was the brainchild of Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick in 2000 and by the end of 2014 had grown to approximately 250 members. At that time, for one reason or another, the project was floundering, but it has since been revived due most largely to the efforts of Ian Fitzpatrick, Tim Fitzpatrick and I. The Fitzpatrick DNA project is significant and progressing once again, and we expect to double the project membership from its late 2014 figure, up to 500, by early 2020.
Some of the growth has been due to the addition of people with other surnames, such as D’Alton and Robinson in the FGC5494 group, O’Kelly and Kenny in the FGC11134…BY9001 group, and Ireland in the Z255…Z16434 group. Such additions are essential if we are to understand the various origins of the surname Fitzpatrick because by understanding who our genetic cousins, uncles etc. are we can learn much about who we are. And it’s NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) that is able to make some sense of those sometimes-confusing y-STR surname matches and enable us to examine narratives and historical accounts via scientific, critical and factual lenses.
Over the past few years the Fitzpatrick DNA Project has been focussed several areas of research associated with some of the larger DNA sub-groups. Since the arrival of NGS the L21…Z255…Z16434…BY2849 group (Co.Down, Co. Kildare, Co.Louth) has been the flagship for Fitzpatrick genetic genealogy. A recent project focus has been the large L21…FGC5494…A1487 group (Ossory), which now has very good numbers of NGS testers. The project has now shifted focus to L21…FGC11134…BY9001 (Breifne), which although large in numbers is low in NGS data. Toward the end of 2020 the project will seek to advance NGS testing in the L21…FGC11134…CTS4466 group (Munster) and after that it will likely be the turn of the L21…L513 group (also Breifne).
But this…if you think you have a case for an NGS test why not email me to discuss?
Now, a summary of some recent NGS and other key NGS results. In L21…Z255…Z16434…BY2849 Casey Fitzpatrick returned as BY2893 which adds further weight to Kilcoo (Parish) being where this SNP originated, perhaps even pinpointing ‘Fitzpatrick Close’ in Fofannybane, Co. Down. Ian Fitzpatrick, who cannot find evidence to trace to his Irish homeland, came back BY52612 as expected, which places him in a group of Grangebellew/Clogherhead (Co.Louth) Fitzpatricks who share ancestry from the 1600s-1700s. Sheeptown, Co.Down’s own Michael Fitzpatrick returned a 37-marker test that was simply remarkable because it clearly places him close to the aforementioned Co.Louth Fitzpatricks. If you stand at Clogherhead Point, Co.Louth, and look north up the coast you can see the entrance to Carlingford Lough and a Mournes backdrop – well at least you can on a clear day. I mentioned this to the Fitzpatrick Clan Society cultural and historical advisor, Proinsias Mac Fhionnghaile CIOM, who stated:
‘In medieval times, a trip by boat would have been the usual option between locations on or near Carlingford Lough. Travelling by boat was quicker and easier then. Movement of people were much more complex in those days, and, as you suggest, happened over a longer period. The reasoning for this is that people had longer social and cultural memories. Relationships, made by war or marriage, lasted many generations and were retold in stories ‘by the fireside’. My own clan has had a strong bond with the Sweeneys since the early 14th century when the first Sweeney settled in north Donegal and married the daughter of the McGinley chieftain. This ‘special relationship’ lasted throughout the rest of the Gaelic period and indeed into the twentieth century in a reduced form. Even as late as the late 19th century we find a high level of inter-marriage between the two surnames. Therefore, if a Fitzpatrick settled in a particular area, for whatever reason, if would attract others of the name over many generations.’
Great insights indeed!
Moving on to the FGC5494…A1487 group, there are now 29 members who have taken an NGS test, with the majority having a BigY-700. The latest round of NGS results for the FGC5494…A1487 group largely speak for themselves. I have uploaded a simplified y-DNA SNP haplotree (genetic tree) to the photos folder that serves to illustrate the genetic connections of Ossory Fitzpatricks. Note the long bottleneck between the A1487 block and A1499 and no Irish ancestors for A1499, whereas many would be expected if the historic pedigrees of Ossory Fitzpatricks are even remotely correct. The familial relationships ca. 1150-1275 AD are complex and ‘congested’, with several surname lines arising within the space of 4-5 generations. Ossory Fitzpatricks do not possess a surname-specific genetic mutation, rather it is shared with a Costigan and a line of FitzGeralds. The surname FitzGerald also occurs further up the haplotree of Ossory Fitzpatricks, which I consider may be a ‘smoking gun’ pointing at the possible Norman origins of A1499. Ossory Fitzpatricks have a line of genetic close cousins who are D’Altons who trace to Kilkenny, as well as a line of genetic close cousins with Bran-type surnames who trace to England, Ireland and Wales. The Bran-type surname group is complex, and I consider it far too simplistic to assert the origins of those A1487 men with Irish type Bran-surnames must have been with the O’Bráonain Princes of Idough. Bran-surnames are not uncommon in England, Ireland or Wales and, for example, one Irish derivation is from the Gaelic Breathnach, which means Welshman.
Moving on, results in the L21…FGC11134…BY9001 (Breifne) group are starting to come in. Ian Fitzpatrick is running this project and I won’t report on it until he has worked the data. One thing I can say though is that if you are in this group and you’d like to take the BigY test, please contact Ian.
Finally, it’s exciting to see the recent BigY results of one of our project members, which define an entirely new Fitzpatrick haplotype. We now have a Fitzpatrick who is L21…Z53…L226…DC40; I know the jargon can be overwhelming at times, but what that means is he is confirmed in the Dál gCais group (L226) and as such is considered as sharing ancestry with Brian Boru, King of Ireland (1002-1014). I met Brian Boru’s direct descendant, Baron Inchiquin (Conor O'Brien, Chief of the name, Prince of Thomond) this April past at the Clans of Ireland Summit, and he's as nice a guy as you could meet and not a bad cousin to have!
Once again I am very grateful to those who have make generous financial contributions to the project group fund, which has facilitated much of the recent testing. A summary of donations to the group fund over the past two years is as follows:
Anon: USD 940
Joan Dalton: USD 500
Fitzpatrick Clan Society: USD 6,948
Mike Fitzpatrick: USD 1,014
Rob Ireland: USD 100
Tim Fitzpatrick: USD 1,679
If you’d like to contribute, even in a small way, to the Fitzpatrick DNA project it’s really easy. From the Group Fund General Contribution page simply select ‘F’ from the dropdown and then search for Fitzpatrick.
Mike Fitzpatrick PhD
Administrator – Fitzpatrick DNA Project
Fitzpatrick DNA Project Update for Group 2 – July 2019
I am very pleased to provide an update of the DNA project that relates to our Groups 2G-2L, which are sub-groups of Group 2A. The latter is sometimes referred to simply as ‘Ossory Fitzpatricks’ although Groups 2A and S2G-2L also contain members with other surnames, most notably Costigan and FitzGerald.
The recent flood of BigY data has provided us with much greater confidence that a single mutation known as A1488 marks the common ancestry of ‘Ossory Fitzpatricks’ and that Group 2A members who have not undertaken NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) tests will most likely possess this mutation.
A rigorous analysis of data from 13 men who have the A1488 mutation has found they share common ancestry from ca.1250 AD. Around that time annalistic records note Séafraid (Geoffrey) Mac Giolla Phádraig was ‘King of Slieve Bloom’. Geoffrey sired at least three sons, Geoffrey, William and Oistegan, and from the latter is derived the surname Costigan. Remarkably, one of the A1488 men is a Costigan, corroborating historical records and pointing the finger firmly in the direction of Geoffrey senior as the progenitor of the ‘Ossory Fitzpatricks’.
The line of Geoffrey, son of Geoffrey, became that of the Barons of Upper Ossory. One A1488 man on the DNA study can show descent from Barnaby Fitzpatrick, the 1stBaron of Upper Ossory, and although he possesses the mutation shared by others, his additional mutations indicates he is, so far, quite unique. It is likely other Fitzpatricks on the DNA study have additional shared ancestry at least two to four generations earlier than Barnaby, perhaps back even as far as William, son of Geoffrey.
These findings are a great example of how DNA can confirm some of the histories recorded by Irish scholars. However, at the same time a deeper analysis of data from Ossory Fitzpatricks is challenging those very same histories. It is considered implausible that Geoffrey was the descendant of Irish clansmen in the 10thCentury, at the time the Mac Giolla Phádraig clan emerged. Rather, Ossory Fitzpatricks bear an earlier genetic signature from ca. 920 AD, and have a broader genetic profile, which is more consistent with a non-Irish, continental origin – perhaps Norman, or Viking, or from an isolated clan of Gaels.
The field of genetic genealogy is extremely dynamic and a single future DNA result might alter the theories presented here. But that does not mean we will not advance what we consider to be the best supported theories at any given point in time.
We hope this update provides a focus for some healthy discussion and, additionally, encourages those who haven’t taken any NGS tests to consider doing so. There are various options available at FTDNA, from a quite affordable single mutation test to the more pricy BigY-700.
And on that note, genetic testing in Group 2 has been facilitated in no small part thanks to generous financial contributions, including those from Tim Fitzpatrick (Australia) and the Fitzpatrick Clan Society. Data analysis was conducted by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick (New Zealand), Ian Fitzpatrick (Canada) and Tim Fitzpatrick (Australia).
Mike Fitzpatrick PhD
Administrator – Fitzpatrick DNA Project
Fitzpatrick DNA Project Update – January 2019
1. General News
We are enjoying good project growth with project numbers recently breaking through the 400 mark. So, a big welcome to new Fitzpatrick members as well as several folks who don’t have the surname Fitzpatrick, but who are critical to helping us understand some of our older genetic roots.
We have also seen increased levels of testing in the past few months. Mostly importantly there has been a greater uptake of NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) tests. Our thanks go to those who have made sizeable financial donations to the project in order to facilitate much of this testing, namely: Tim Fitzpatrick, Joe FitzGerald, Mike Fitzpatrick and the Fitzpatrick Clan Society.
2. Summary of Recent Results
As well as trying to learn more about individual genealogies, a big focus has been trying to understand the relationships between men who share DYS390=21 and YCAII= 22-23. This group has benefited from several new members and new results.
At this stage it appears likely the FitzGerald and Fitzpatrick branches will all defined under FGC5494…A1506>A1496>A1488. And the addition of a Brennan, who has a BigY, to the project has enabled us to understand the Brannan branch is probably defined under FGC5494…A1506>BY140757. All that is really missing in our quest to unravel the complexity of the FitzGerald-Fitzpatrick-Brannan-Dalton relationship is a Dalton BigY, which we are working on.
Z255…BY2849 Fitzpatricks continue to surprise. We now understand there are four discreet genetic branches that are also distinct geographically: (i) BY17792 (Newry, Co. Down); (ii) BY2893 (Iveagh, Co. Down); (iii) BY2894* (Co. Kildare); and, (iv) BY52612 (Co. Louth). BigY tests on Co.Louth Fitzpatricks, in particular, have enabled this sub-group to make connections that were never likely to have been made any other way.
We now have our first NGS test for a CTS4466 member who traces to Co. Kerry. They are CTS4466…A923. It’s too early to know if A923 will define all of this large group, but it is likely that many CTS4466 Fitzpatricks on the project will be A923 and have roots in Co. Kerry or Co. Cork. Members of this group please email us if you’d like to test further and we’ll see what funds can be made available.
Although there have been no new NGS results in the large FGC11134…BY9002 group we are now also calling for members of this group who would like to take an NGS test.
3. Major Results in the Pipeline
In FGC5494 we await the important BigY for a Costigan, which will most likely enable us to calibrate the age of mutations in the FGC5494 group against what we understand about Fitzpatrick-Costigan genealogy. Another family member of Tim’s awaits their BigY, which will enable the aging of his branch with more precision. Recently, another Fitzpatrick with good genealogical records has decided to take a BigY; we hope this will allow us to understand Fitzpatrick connections as well as afford greater confidence in our estimate of the age of A1488. Finally, we have a new non-Fitzpatrick member who is taking the BigY. He traces to North East Italy and his relationship with Fitzpatricks is from before the time of surnames; we think his results will shed considerable light on the origins of FGC5494 Fitzpatricks ca. 500-1000 AD.
In Z255 we are waiting for an Ireland surname BigY that should result in some further branching of the Ireland tree and a more precise estimate of the age of BY17850.
There are also a couple of BigYs coming for project members who are on the study because of autosomal matches to Fitzpatricks. We wish them luck with those.
4. Admin Matters
For those with folk on the Y-DNA part of the project, if you haven’t done so already you might like to consider adding information about your MDA (name, DOB, location).
And for those who may have missed it, if you want to see your Y-DNA results on pubic display (https://www.familytreedna.com/public/fitzpatrick?iframe=yresults), just email us.
5. Autosomal Analysis
We have mentioned previously that project administrators are able to conduct a slightly deeper analyses your autosomal results than you can as an individual. If you would like us to look at your autosomal data in this way feel free to ask.
Mike Fitzpatrick PhD – Administrator
Ian Fitzpatrick – Co-Administrator
Tim Fitzpatrick BPharm – Co-Administrator