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About us

The immigrant ancestors of Neely DNA Project administrators were traditionally thought to have descended from the MacNeils who in turn descended from the O'Neill clan. There are records of Neelys in England in the late 1500's, but large groups of Neely records did not show up until the mid 1600's around Londonderry and southern County Tyrone of Northern Ireland. We have been able to piece together much of the movement in Ireland from these records. There were also McNeelys in Co. Antrim in the mid 1600's and earlier, and McNeelys in western Ireland whose name was anglicized from Mac Conghaile. These two groups of McNeelys are not related, but we had assumed the Antrim McNeelys and the Neelys probably came from the MacNeil clans and their descendents in the borders area of western Scotland. Similar surnames don't always have similar YDNA haplotypes. The Neely DNA Project was started because none of the original Neely participants appeared to have a common ancestor within the past 40 generations with any of the participants of the MacNeil, McNeely, or O'Neill projects. These Neelys probably have no common ancestor with MacNeils, McNeelys, or O'Neills within the past 1000 to 1200 years, with the exception of the small Neely 'Viking' Branch whose modal haplotype (group average) matches that of a large subgroup of MacNeils 36/37. This observation was contrary to the suggestion of some Neely genealogists that the Neely surname was likely derived from MacNeil, McNeely, or O'Neill within the past few hundred years. As the number of participants in this project grows, we continue to look for links between Neelys and similar surnames . For more information about our Neely ancestors see