• 790 members
Are you a member of the MacNeil project?
Gary McNeillie Gary McNeillie has a question!
February 5 @ 7:48pm
Hi, I've been doing research on my husband's paternal line, and am fairly new to genealogical research as well as DNA results. However, heard of this site and project and decided to give it a try. My husband completed the YDNA 37 and I have contacted many of the closest matches. No obvious common ancestors in our trees. I have been stuck at my husband's 3rd great grandfather James McNeillie. The information I have collected from a few US census' is that he was born in Scotland abt 1851, immigrated to the US abt 1871 (unknown port). Married a Katherine Johnson (from Ireland) in 1878 in Pittsburgh, PA where they continued to live. She died in 1921, but I cannot find any information on his death. They had three sons: Hugh, Richard, and James. My husband follows Hugh's line. Just throwing this out there in case this story sounds familiar to anyone. Unfortunately, no documents that I have found list any specific birth place, parent names, or siblings. I was able to view his marriage certificate, which I was hoping to get parents' names from but it was not included. I appreciate the read, and if anyone has similar information I'd love to hear it.
Justin McNeill
4 hours ago
Hello, while I'm not related to your husband, I did see that there is a McNeillie in the R-U106>Z2 "Frisian" group in this project. Does your husbands Y37 signature match anyone from this project? I would investigate the area of Dumfries & Galloway in Scotland to try and find James McNeillie:
John Wilkinson John Wilkinson
December 29 @ 10:01pm
Hopefully this isn't too specific to me and my matches to not be of interest to others. I am increasingly convinced that my paternal line is most likely of Norse-Gael origin, originally probably in the Western Isles and ultimately ending up in Ulster (County Antrim). Research on Wilkinson and Y67+ Surnames At Y67 and higher, I have the following surname matches: Black, Blair, Hinson, McNeil and Pedersen (I have a Wilkerson too, but am presuming that is just a variant of my own Wilkinson surname). The Black, Hinson, and Wilkinson lines are either known, or believed to have come to America from Ulster, northern Ireland. The McNeil line traces to Tiree in the western Isles of Scotland. At present, no known old world locale is identified for the Blair line (but see info below). The information below is taken from Bell, The Book of Ulster Surnames; MacSlyght, The Surnames of Ireland; Black, The Surnames of Scotland; and Dobson, Scots-Irish Links 1575-1725. As you read through the excerpts from these, note the regional connection with almost all of match family names. Virtually all of us have surnames strongly, if not exclusively, are associated with Ulster and the Western Isles. This is, I believe significant, because it implies that the suspected Norse connection is Norse-Gael and not later (1600s) transplants from lowland Scotland via descendants from Danelaw former East Anglia/York/Northumbria. WILKINSON The Wilkinson surname “is common only in Ulster, particularly in counties Antrim and Armagh. It can be of Scottish or English origin.” (Bell, p. 249). It is often considered a conjunction meaning ‘son of [a diminutive form] of William.’ Most surname treatises, identify it as such. And likely, many (if not most) are of this origin, particularly the English variants where post Norman conquest, William was probably a very common given name. However, I believe an overlooked possibility is as a patronymic from the Danish name Wilken. . This possibility certainly seems plausible for our family line, given that one of my Y67 matches is surnamed Pedersen and traces from the U.S. (western South Dakota) directly back to Denmark in the mid-1800s. Also, the surname Hinson is likely a variant developed from Hansen (Danish patronymic ‘son of Hans’). If true, the Pedersen, Hinson and Wilkinson surnames all are consistent with a Norse origin for the names. Recently, two sets of indisputably Danish Viking remains have been analyzed and found to be R-U152>L20. See and also . This is notable in that the same haplogroup that BigY matching of SNPs BY69713 and my own familial FT20578 descend from. Dr. David Faux, and early studier of R-L20, submitted that the haplogroup might be associate with the Danish peninsula of Jutland and the Celtic Cimbri tribe. See . The Margaryan 2019 results support that, at a minimum, at least some of the U152>L20 presence in the British Isles comes from Danish Viking DNA. This implies that Dr. Faux was correct and that later Nordic U152>L20 lines are presumably descended in part from earlier Celtic Cimbri remnants on Jutland. Some U152>L20 probably came to Kent/Sussex with the Jute/Anglo Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries AD. But thus far no Y matching appears to link with these L20 lines. Now, one of the Scottish and Irish variants of “son of Wilkin” is MacQuilkin. (MacSlyght, p.251; Bell, p. 250). “In Kintyre and Islay the name MacQuilken, Scots Gaelic Mac Cuilcein, from the Irish Gaelic Mac Uilcin, ‘son of Uilcin’ was anglicized Wilkieson and Wilkinson. Though both MacQuilken and Wilkinson are still found in those areas, Wilkinson is the more common form. MacQuilken is a common name on Rathlin Island and these and many on the Antrim Wilkinsons will be of this origin. In North Antrim the two forms are still interchangeable among some families who give their name officially as MacQuilken.” (Bell, p. 250). “MACQUILKAN, MacQuilken. There was a sept of this name in Kintyre, and the name is still not uncommon in Argyllshire.” (Black, p. 560) BLACK Black is a “Scottish name (connected with three clans—Lamont, MacGregor and MacLean of Duart) very numerous in Ulster. It is also used as a translation or synonym of Duff and Kilduff.” (MacSlyght, p. 18). “This popular Ulster name, most common in counties Antrim, Armagh, Tyrone and Down, is mainly of Scottish and English origin…. [M]ost Ulster Blacks are of Scottish and distinctly Gaelic origin and can be belong to Clan Gregor, Clan Lamont [nota bene: Lamont is from the old norse word for lawman ], or Clan Maclean of Duart [nota bene: Maclean held Tiree as a part of its lands, our McNeil match traces to Tiree]. Clan Gregor and Clan Lamont were each ‘broken’ at different times and forbidden to use their clan names. In each case one of the alternative names chosen was Black (see Greer and Lamont for details). Black was particularly popular with the Lamonts, as one of the main clan septs was the Clann Mhic Gille Dhuibh, ‘son of the black lad’. “While many of the Ulster Blacks arrived in the post-Plantation period, many, particularly in north Antrim, on Rathlin Island and in the Glens, arrived earlier from the west and south Highlands. It is thought that these are of the Clan Lamont Mac Gille Dhuibh family.” (Bell, pp. 16-17). “The Clan Lamont Society claims that Blacks were originally Lamonts who changed their name…. The surname is also used as an Englishing of Macilduy and Macildowie (… ‘son of the black lad’). (Black, p.78). “[L]ike most of those in the vicinity of the Campbells, [the Lamonts] lost most of their lands to them. The feud between the two culminated in the infamous massacre in the late sixteenth century when the Campbells slaughtered all the leading members of the clan. What was left of the Lamonts scattered and were forced to adopts various aliases. These included Black…. Many of these, as well as those who retained the name, came to Ulster in the middle of the seventeenth century.” (Bell, p. 117). Clan MacGregor also was ‘broken’ and “[l]ike the Lamonts… they adopted colour names, in this case Black, and White or Whyte.” (Bell, p. 85). “In historical times, the chiefs of Clan Gregor descend from one Aodh Urchaidh, a native ruler in Gelnorchy in Argyllshire…. In the fourteenth century branches of the clan migrated to Dumfriesshire under Gilgbred MacGregor and in later centuries took the names Gregson, Grier and Grierson…. Henry Greer… remov[ed] in 1653 to Redford in Counrty Tyrone.” (Bell, p. 85) “There are three times as many Greers as Greggs, more than half the Greers are in Co. Antrim and most of the rest are in Armagh and Down.” (Bell, p. 86). If the Black line shares a Norse-Gael origin, another possible source of the surname could be connections to/descent from Vikings associated with Harald the Black of Islay (c. 1020 – 1040 AD) and Olaf the Black, King of Man and the Isles (c. 1177-1237 AD). Clan MacLeod also of the Hebrides is directly associated with Olaf the Black, thorough his son Leod. I don’t know of any connection any of us have with MacLeod but it is interesting to note that there is definitely a Norse-Gael connection to established Scottish clans. There is a Samuel Black listed as a Scots-Irish student at Glasgow University in 1709. (Dobson, Part 2, p. 2). BLAIR “In Ireland very few of the Blairs live outside Ulster where over half are from Co. Antrim and most of the remainder from counties Derry and Tyrone. It is a Scottish name, common [in Ulster] since the Plantation. It is territorial in origin taken from any one of a number of places in Scotland so named[.]” (Bell, p. 17). “A Scottish territorial name very numerous in north Uster.” (MacSlyght, p. 19). In Black’s Surnames of Scotland, the examples are cited in Arbroath (Angus), Irvine (North Ayrshire), Buchan, Fife, St. Andrews, Perthshire, and Rodyok [?]. Of these, only the North Ayshire example seems to fit the geographic origins of the other matches. (Black, p. 81). A James Blair was minister in Bangor, County Down, Ireland in 1635. (Dobson, Part 1, p.3). A James Blair was a mariner in Donachadie, County Down, Ireland in 1684. (Dobson, Part 1, p.3). A William Blair was in Archadowie parish, Londonderry in 1677. (Dobson, Part 1, p.3). A Robert Blair was born in Irvine, Ayrshire in 1593. (Dobson, Part 2, p.2). A Robert Blair was a lessee to Lord Kirkcudbright in Dunboe Parish, County Londonderry in 1655. (Dobson, Part 2, p.2). HINSON Black’s Surnames of Scotland contains no entries for Hinson, Henson or Hansen. The closest is “HINSHAW. Most likely from Henshaw, Northumberland.” (Black, p. 359). Bell’s The Book of Ulster Surnames also contains no entry. MacSlyght’s entry for Hanson cross-references Hampson and Kitterick. Under Hampson it says, “The English name Hampson has superseded the older O’Hanson, that of a small sept of Co. Derry.” (MacSlyght, p. 144). Under (Mac) Kitterick MacSlyght notes “Derived from well-known Norse personal name…. belong to the Oriel counties, where strangely Hanson is found as a synonym.” (MacSlyght, pp. 185-186). The Oriel Counties were in what is now southeast Ulster and at their height spanned parts of counties Armagh, Monaghan, Louth, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Londonderry.íalla So, this last entry seems to best fit the geographic proximity of the other matches. MCNEIL MacNeill is listed as “[a] gallowglass family from the western isles of Scotland, in Antrim and Derry since early fourteenth century. A branch settled in Mayo.” (MacSlyght, p. 234) “The gallowglasses (also spelt galloglass, gallowglas or galloglas; from Irish: gall óglaigh meaning foreign warriors) were a class of elite mercenary warriors who were principally members of the Norse-Gaelic clans of Scotland between the mid 13th century and late 16th century. As Scots, they were Gaels and shared a common background and language with the Irish, but as they were descendants of 10th century Norse settlers who had intermarried with the local population in western Scotland, the Irish called them Gall Gaeil ("foreign Gaels").” “MacNeill is common only in Ulster, were it is most numerous in Counties Derry and Antrim…. [T]he twenty-first in descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages… came to the Outer Hebrides in 1049…. A branch was early established on the island of Gigha, north of Kintyre…. After the forfeiture of the lordship of the Isles in 1493, the two branches went their separate ways, those of Barra becoming followers of the Macleans of Duart and those of Gigha, followers of the MacDonalds of Islay and Kintyre…. The MacNeills of North Antrim were followers of the MacDonnells of the Glens brought there in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Hugh MacNeill at that time being granted the Ballycastle Estate, which he controlled from Dunynie Castle just west of Ballycastle…. The MacNeills of the Glens of Antrim mostly remained remained Catholic…. The main Co. Antrim concentration of the name in the mid-nineteenth century was found to be in the barony of Carey, south of Ballycastle.” (Bell, pp. 179-180). “Robert the Bruce confirmed to John, son of Robert McNeill, five pennylands of Larglanfeild in ‘le Rennys Galwia, ‘ 1329… and Nigel M’Nele, laird of Blarekanne (Blairquhan) is mentioned c. 1370-80 [nota bene: this is a very interesting entry because the name Nigel is associated with the surname ‘Black’ and here we see a place name containing the name ‘Blair’ – could this be a connection point for the McNeil-Black-Blair matches?]…. The Norsemen early adopted the name, and it appears among them as Njal….” (Black, p. 550).
John Wilkinson
January 2 @ 2:37pm
10-4 Justin, thank you. Yeah, I really don't know much about the clans, except that my surname is listed as a sept of MacDonald, but I believe only those from the Islay/Kintyre area. If the McNeil I match from Tiree ultimately came from a line out of Arran, that probably is a better geographic fit than Tiree. I really think we much have some kind of Norse lineage, as my Hinson (from Hansen?) BigY700 match shares my same terminal SNP of FT20578. I recently found a Hann and Hanns Y25 match (all the further they tested) and the both are M269 and the other is U152>L2. One traces to Galway, Ireland. I'm betting they are U152>L20 as well. I hope they'll upgrade so we can find out.
John Wilkinson
January 2 @ 2:40pm
Another interesting thing I found recently is that the Faroe Islands (a long time Danish possession) have nearly equal parts R1a, R1b and I1. They didn't refine beyond that, but I'd wager at least some of that R1b is U152>L20.
John Wilkinson
January 2 @ 6:32pm
I just received a book (monograph) by a David Wilkinson about McQuilkans (var.) who originated in the Knapdale region of Kintyre who emigrated to North Carolina in 1700s and took up name Wilkinson. My line came to NC probably around 1740 via Antrim, though my line ended up in a different area of NC. So far as I can tell, there is no direct connection between my line and the authors line, but the book identifies several lines in that area beyond the authors. One in particular caught my eye: “Gigha Men (Fugitives from Kintyre) in 1685: Duncan McQuilkin. Malcolm McQuilkin (the Younger).” Thought that was interesting re the Gigha connection with MacNeill. These two McQuilkins are different than the author’s ancestor who was an Angus McQuilkin who obtained land in 1701 at Cuildrynach.
John Wilkinson
January 2 @ 6:44pm
The author goes on to identify nine different locations associated with McQuilkins in western Kintyre: High Cuildrynoch, Cuildrynoch, Ardpatrick, Loup House (McAllister of Loup), Loup Hill, Largie Castle (McDonald of Largie), Margmonigach, Cadh Nam Paiteach (Patchen Cemetery), and Langalgarb.
Gary Halverson Gary Halverson
November 10 @ 11:56am
Hello Clan MacNeil members. --I am Gary Halverson from Ontario, Canada. I recently received my Big Y results and am in haplogroup R-YP280 which is linked to your Norse R1a group. --In fact I am a Big Y match to 6 or 7 of the members within your Clan MacNeil R1a Norse group. --From what I can ascertain in various DNA science readings, R-YP280 is the haplogroup which immediately precedes R-YP507 which several of you in the Norse group have. --R-YP280 also gave rise to R-YP330 which ultimately descends down to the various Clans Donald. Based on consultations with Clan Donald, it is believed that R-YP280 came out of Norway possibly around the year 800 AD. That period also coincides with the early Viking raids on Scotland. --If any of the Clan MacNeil of Barra R1a Norse members are interested in exploring your Norse-Viking heritage, I would be pleased to correspond with you. Best regards to all. GH
1 Comment
Gary Halverson
November 28 @ 8:31pm
Hello Thomas, thanks for writing. My patrilineal & paternal ancestry is Norwegian and I fully expected that my Y-67/111 and Big Y tests would confirm that. And I always assumed that I would therefore have some possible link to Norsemen / Vikings; however I was not expecting at all to see all the Scottish matches to me. Since discovering my links to various lines of the MacDonald clan, and now the MacNeil clan of Barra
Gary Halverson
November 28 @ 8:48pm
…..I have begun a fair amount of research into the Norse presence in northern Scotland, Orkneys, Hebrides, Skye, etc during the Viking Age. In a nutshell, the Viking raids & subsequent settlement in eastern / northern Ireland and in Scotland & its Isles left a significant Norse footprint on those areas. After the initial raiding period, it seems there was a lot of Norse intermixing with the local populations for approx. 400 years. I understand that the Norsemen had a significant presence in Barra for quite some time.
Gary Halverson
November 28 @ 8:56pm
The Norway DNA project notes that R1b is one of the 3 major haplogroups in that country. I see that your R-Z16305 (downstream clade of R1b) is shared with some MacLellans from the Hebrides - have you been in touch with anyone from that clan? Also, I highly recommend joining the Viking & Invader DNA project, it has a very active forum, lots of people are exchanging info / links to websites, etc. Here is the link:
Gary Halverson
November 28 @ 9:00pm
If you wish to contact me re Norse / Scotland , you can ask one of the administrators of this project to relay your email address to me and we can dialogue further that way. I would be pleased to share links to the various readings, research, etc on this topic that I have located so far. Best regards, Gary
Dan Jensen Dan Jensen
October 11 @ 9:31pm
Hi! Any U5b's in the room? My grandmother was born at Barra Glen, Iona, Nova Scotia. Three of her grandparents were Barra MacNeils. The fourth was a Uist MacDonald. ... I have a maternal ancestor, Catherine MacLean from Barra, who matches U5b2a6. Her sister Mary was also an ancestor of mine. Mary must have also been a U5b2a6. They were daughters of Angus "Og" MacLean. Mary MacLean married John "Mac an Tailleir" MacPhee and Catherine MacLean married Neil "Geal" MacNeil of the Piper MacNeils. They have perfect mtDNA matches with lines from Spain, Ireland, Finland, and other countries. I know of four Scottish lines that match mine perfectly. I'm sure there are others, though U5b2a6 is not a common haplogroup.
Bonita Hamilton
November 24 @ 12:19am
I am in that group, U5b2a6, Mother’s ancestries from Barra MacNeil .
Bonita Hamilton
November 24 @ 12:22am
I see you on my matches as 4 or distant cousin.
Remco Koedam Remco Koedam
November 8 @ 5:29am
Hi, I'm Marije Walbeek, I Co-use my uncles profile to find matches on our common side. My 4th great grandmother is Frances Mary McNeil (1804-1878), daughter of William McNeil (1758 Paisly - 1840 London). He is the son of John Tarott McNeill (1714 Greenock - 1785 Renfrew Burgh) and Christine Dinsmore. I'm hoping to find out more about my McNeil ancestors of matches through these ancestors.
John Wilkinson
November 8 @ 8:37am
Have you searched for those names on Scotland's People site? If not, I recommend starting there.
S F McNeil
November 8 @ 1:21pm
Findmypast is FREE Nov. 8-11 in honor of Veterans Day
Donald Tipton Donald Tipton
September 16, 2018 @ 10:42am
I was requested to join this group due to a high number of Tiptons who are showing close relationship with McNeils. Ple ase feel free to contact me. I am actually Donald Tipton's daughter Ann. His advanced Alzheimer's prevents his use of this site personally, so I administrate his data and affairs. Also, he is on GED Match, T835003.
Paul McNeil
June 13 @ 10:02am
Hi, it's interesting that you mention Jamaica as my 4xgreat grandfather William MacNeill (b. abt. 1767), also spent time in Jamaica as part of his trade links with the West Indies. He was a merchant based in Glasgow, and later purchased Hayfield Estate on Loch Awe, but was buried on Islay, so I suspect that's where he came from. I have discovered that his mother's name was Flora, but am keen to trace his parents and any siblings. I'll check GedMatch to see if we're a match.
S F McNeil
June 13 @ 12:46pm
Paul McNeil, email me!
Warren McNeil
September 27 @ 5:03pm
S F McNeil it shows us matching at a distance of 4. My McNeill family first started being recorded in 1739 in Augusta Co Va.
Sean Macneill
October 3 @ 11:33am
Hi, I have a Rachel Tipton on my match list as a 3-5th cousin. Know idea the connection, however am looking for my grandfather - James Donald Macneill. You can reach me at
Bruce McNeill Bruce McNeill
September 24 @ 11:39am
Hi, I have done the Family DNA test. I was hoping for a match to a possible cousin, but he wasn't listed. I am new and still learning. My earliest ancestor is a Henry McNeill born in North Carolina in 1774. He may be a son of Roger McNeill who is a son of Neill McNeill. If there is anyone on this line, please contact me. Thanks!! I love working on the family tree.
Justin McNeill
September 24 @ 12:32pm
If you are a descendant of Neill McNeill I'd imagine your haplogroup is I-M253? Do you match anyone in this project? Do you match anyone in the Torquil MacNeill/Taynish group?
Patrick Maloney Patrick Maloney
September 23 @ 3:43pm
Hello, I've tested at AncestryDNA and 23andMe. I uploaded my ADNA results to FTDNA, GEDmatch, and MyHeritage. My kit # here is B311892. 23andMe tells me my maternal halpogroup is U5a1 and my mother is a McNeil.
Patrick McNeil Patrick McNeil
September 21 @ 7:24pm
Hello group! I'm trying to reach to Justin McNeill III; kit 193440. Does anyone know him? Last location was Lumberton, NC. thanks, pat mcneil.
Warren McNeil Warren McNeil
February 12, 2019 @ 1:21pm
Hi, I am looking for information on Jonathan McNeill b1759 Va. He married Jane McCord later moved to Kentucky. On their marriage bond it list Neil as Jonathan's father. I have done the Y DNA37 but I don't have any close matches. The closes match was 3 generation but only at 13%. Only 2 of the 3 were here in the US.
Justin McNeill
September 16 @ 10:10am
I would definitely test A17052 given it's position in the tree. Jura is not out of the question, it is right between Colonsay and Gigha and I'm sure as the population of MacNeills grew in Argyll they dispersed and spread out to other areas too. Perhaps your search is progressing past your brickwall? That's some good news!
Warren McNeil
September 16 @ 9:05pm
That I'm not too sure of. The naming pattern doesn't line up. I have Neil as Jonathan's father. But none of the descendants are named Neil. On any of the lines. I have found descendants from 2 of Jonathan's brothers and even in their lines there isn't any Neil's. Thomas, James, John and Jonathan are in all 3 lines. Those 4 names have been carried down 5 or more generations in every descending line. As for the female names only Margaret and Mary has been carried down. That is what has me stumped.
Alasdair Macdonald
September 18 @ 4:14am
Warren there is an Isle of Jura project at FTDNA
Warren McNeil
September 19 @ 6:44pm
Alasdair Macdonald I thank you very much. As it is now I do not have a DNA connection to Isle of Jura. I have only taken the Y37 and my connection is to Northern Ireland. But I would love to join to see if there may be a possible connection.