R Z16526 and Subclades

Formerly R-P314 Haplogroup Project
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About us

The Early Tree

Analysis of ancient bones has identified SNP R-DF21, a long way upstream of SNP P314, as present in Rathlin Island, in the very north of Ireland, as early as about 1900 B.C. (and possibly 160 years more recent than this) and there is today a clear presence of DF21, in the form of at least one of its subclades, that of SNP FGC3213, in Scotland.  The next level on the phylogenetic tree below FGC3213 is currently defined by two SNPs: Z16532 and ZZ1. Our project tree, as updated from time to time and presented in conjunction with the McCarthy Surname Study's McCarthy R-L21 Group B at www.mccarthydna.wordpress.com/ , indicates that principal subgroups under ZZ1 are to be found in Scotland (the heavily populated subclade of SNP S3058) and Galway Bay (the subclade of S5456). The inference is that FG3213, if not also its 'parent', DF21, which is seen throughout the 'Isles, arrived first in Scotland or the north of Ireland from Continental Europe, though no theory can be discounted!

Since the start of NGS testing, SNP Z16532 had been just one of many "equivalent" SNPs comprising a bottleneck between FGC3213 and the breaking out into the many branches and twigs of the tree relating to our project. Then in June 2016 a Big Y test by 120418 Hatcher showed positive for Z16532 but negative for all further SNPs in this bottleneck. Since Hatcher's haplotype showed none of the many STR mutations which characterise the lineages of our interest we deemed this kit to be outside the realm of this project but have allowed - with gratitude for his testing - membership of this one Hatcher and have included his haplotype as Group 0 in the Y-DNA Results table. The numerous Hatchers and some possible Hatcher NPEs clearly belonging in this subclade should explore their further inter-relationships through the Hatcher project at htpps://www.familytreedna.com/public/Hatcher/default.aspx.

The next group to split off the main stem of our tree is a cluster comprising kit 208773, a participant with German origin, members of a (Welsh) Griffith family and some other Welsh / English individuals. We estimate this branching occurred about 1400 B.C. This cluster forms Group 1 in our Y-DNA Results table. Since this group tested negative for SNP P314 (aka P314.2) we were compelled to rename the project identifying Z16526 as the all-embracing key SNP.

Continuing down the 'R-P314' lineage, the next branch to split off, about 700 B.C. is our Group 2. This tests positive for SNP P314 but negative for Z16534. Five SNPs common to all the group before it begins to split into its own subgroups have been identified. The names Hagan, Ogan and, provisionally, Heaney, possibly from two roots if not a single one, feature here, but there is also a Swedish subclade. Our one Heaney member has only tested 37 STR markers. All six Heaneys who participated in the ca. 2004 Trinity College, Dublin study by Bradley, McEvoy and others - which effectively founded genetic genealogy in Ireland - clearly had haplotypes associated with what we now know as the P314 (or Z16526) lineage, albeit determined then from just 14 STR markers, so it seems likely this P314+, Z16534- group would be their home.

Principal Tree Branches

Beyond Groups 0, 1 and 2, SNP Z16534 is found in association with the rare STR mutation of 15 to 16 repeating motifs at DYF395S1a, following which myriad surviving branches begin to be recognised. Two principal divisions initially occur, about 400 B.C. but these soon flourish:

1)     Group 3, which is marked by the equally rare 12 to 13 STR mutation at DYS 617. 

A little way down the stem of the Group 3 tree, breaking away about 70 A.D. is branch identified with SNPs BY75748 and FT46992. This group, plus a small number of other participants who have not tested SNPs constitutes our Group 3a. It includes both Irish and continental Europe representation.  Group 3a does not share the SNP L362 seen in all the other members of Group 3; those with L362 are assigned to Group 3b.  L362 occurs along with many equivalent SNPs and STR mutations in a near first millenium-long bottleneck period with as yet no branching off, i.e a single lineage giving rise to progeny alive today hung by a thread for over 800 years.  This period culminates in a split into two subclades, one identifiable with SNP A11018 and the other with SNP ZS4606. The phylogeny so closely matches the ancient genealogical tracts that it can be claimed that the renowned Ceallachán of Cashel (who died circa 954 A.D.) and his son Donnchadh (d. 963) were the progenitors of all currently shown in Group 3b. So here, at least we are able to calibrate the timeline, with the subclades initiated with A11018 and ZS4606 and /or one of their respective 'equivalents' having been founded in the 10th century. Group 3b has therefore been subtitled Munster branch 1.

SNP A11018 marks Subgroup 3b4 (formerly 3b1), largely populated by the 11% of Callahans / O'Callaghans who belong in this project.  It will be seen that some Newmans in Subgroup 3b4 are inter-related with the (O')Call(g)hans. Noonan (likely source of this Newman name) and Callahan share a provenance in the barony of Duhallow, in north-west Cork.

The ZS4606 subclade is that of the M(a)cCarthys.  It soon splits into two major subclades, one marked by SNP A5813 (Subgroup 3b2) and the other by SNP ZS4598 (3b3). These two SNPs are mutually exclusive and again there is excellent alignment with the ancient genealogies, the two subgroups being headed by two sons of Dónal Mór na Curra Mac Carthaigh born late in the 12th century A.D., namely Cormac Fionn and Domhnall Got respectively. SNP A5813 marks the MacCarthy Mór / Muskerry / Duhallow branch of the McCarthys and ZS4598 the MacCarthy Reagh / Sliochd Feidhlimidh one. A third Subgroup (3b1), comprising two Carter and two Carty participants, belongs on the McCarthy tree but does not descend from either of these brothers.

It is safe to say that any other surnames found on the A5813 / ZS4598 trees must be McCarthy NPEs. For further discussion specific to McCarthys please see the McCarthy Surname Study (where they comprise McCarthy R-L21 Group B) at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/mc-carthy-surname-study/about/results

The phylogeny is therefore regarded as irrefutable evidence of alignment with the O'Callaghan / MacCarthy relationship and the splitting of MacCarthys into two major sub-branches as indicated in the historical genealogies and summarised in the top section of Fig. 2 at  www.mccarthydna.wordpress.com/Note there is as yet no evidence of SNPs L362 or ZS4606 among McAuliffes, so their origin according to the same genealogies is unproven. 

The histories and ancient genealogical tracts (and of course internet articles which trot these out) tell us that Ceallachán of Cashel's paternal ancestry lies in the Eóghanachta Chaisíl (Eóghanacht of Cashel), tracing back via Conall Corc and Ailill Flann Bec to the second century Ailill Ólom (aka Oilioll Olum) and Eoghan Mór. While genetic genealogy has validated such a common origin for many other Munster surnames, their alignment stems from a sharing of SNP A541 (estimated to have occurred about 285 A.D.) and the Irish Type II haplotype. So although Ceallachán may have emerged from among the peoples known as the Eóghanachta Chaisíl, his paternal ancestry, and thus that of the MacCarthy kings of Cashel and Desmond, was not shared with the O'Sullivans, O'Keeffes, O'Moriartys, or certain of the O'Mahonys and O'Donoghues (surnames which have multiple origins), etc. and is of a totally different provenance, viz, that of SNPs Z16526, P314, Z16534, Z29539 and L362. 

2)     Group 4, marked by SNP Z16533.

Within Group 4, a mutation at DYS458, from 17 to 16 STRs, distinguishes the small Group 4a (with Martin and Keenan branches) which splits off the main stem about 100 A.D. The remainder are marked by an STR mutation, DYS458. This is a fast mutating marker, but its value here has proven a reliable guide (always subject to the possibility of later further mutations in individual cases) in defining the tree structure for Group 4 since before the introduction of SNP data.

Several participants for whom deeper testing is required are provisionally placed on the tree under this DYS 458 mutation, alongside a Sinclair family and a Brown, with roots in the north of Scotland. All of these are assigned to Group 4x.

The remainder of Group 4 is labeled Group 4b and is defined by an STR mutation at FTY289 (in FTDNA's Panel 6, and therefore only available from Big Y tests). Group 4b then divides into two major subgroups, one defined by SNP Z16538 (leading to Subgroups 4b1 and 4b2) and the other by SNP BY23661 (leading to Subgroups 4b4 and 4b5). Those with the BY23661 mutation indicate a Scottish and possible N.W. England origin  (e.g. Eubanks, among the latter, although this might have arisen elsewhere in present day Britain).

The surnames of participants testing or suspected positive for Z16538 suggest its provenance was the same area within Munster as that of Group 3b; Subgroups 4b1 and 4b2 are consequently subtitled Munster branches 2 and 3. However the Z16538 subclade separated from its more northerly cousins in the third century A.D., some 650 years after the formation of Group 3.

Common to all in Subgoup 4b1 (Munster branch 2) are a back mutation at DYS389-2, one of the three STR markers originally used to identify likely P314.2 participants (see the Introduction on our Background page) and a quite rare mutation at DYS 438 (12 to 13 STR motifs).

Subgroup 4b2 is marked by SNP Z16525, and within this group are to be found Kennedy, Leahy and O'Meara families - the last two with name variants - all sharing the further SNP Z16523 and a quite rare 18 to 19 mutation at DYS587. Common to all the Leahys is SNP FGC14748, while the Kennedys and O'Mearas probably shared a common ancestor in whom a 34 to 33 STR mutation at DYS710 occurred, estimated in the 8th century A.D., before their lineages separated, although with this being another fast-mutating marker it might have occurred independently in their ancestries.

The diversity among the Kennedys suggests they share ancestry in a Cinnéide who lived late in the first millenium. This could not have been the same as the Cinnéides of Brian Boru(mu)'s family, although the 'seat' of the latter was not far away in the same area of Munster; these for sure had the Irish Type III haplotype associated with SNP L226. It is also to be noted that 8 of the 67 Kennedys tested in the Bradley and McEvoy study referenced above had the distinct haplotype associated with SNP P314.2 and since Subgroup 4b2 is the only group in our project in which Kennedys are to be found, it seems likely they too would have been placed there had more advanced testing been available at the time. (The Bradley and McEvoy study did not test the stand-out markers which were later associated with the Irish Type III haplotype but 23 of the 67 are potential candidates for such an origin). 

Tribal Origins   

Since Ceallachán of Cashel was clearly not of a paternal bloodline associated with most Eóghanacht peoples, are we able to assign him to a specific tribal name? It should first be noted that the Eóghanachta are regarded by many as a confederation of tribes, not necessarily all tracing their paternal ancestry back to Ailill Ólom, Eoghan Mór and Ailill Flann Bec. However the R1b-CTS4466 Plus Project has shown that most of the individual tribes do share this provenance. One exception is potentially evident within our Z16526 and Subclades Project: the aforementioned O'Meara cluster. This name is associated with the Eóghanacht Ros Airgid, of the barony of Upper Ormond, in Co. Tipperary..  [THIS SECTION IN DEVELOPMENT]

Member subgrouping

Member subgrouping on the Y-DNA Results page and the Z16526 tree is based on the above referenced groupings and is summarised as follows:

Group No.



SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532, but Z16526 negative and no STR mutations characteristic of Z16526 lineages


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526 but P314 and Z16534 negative


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314 but Z16534, Z16533 and Z29539 negative. DYS 617 = 12.


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534 but Z16533 and L362 negative. DYS 617 = 13


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534>Z29539>L362>ZS4606 (but A5813 and ZS4598 negative)


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534>Z29539>L362>ZS4606>A5813 (Progeny of Cormac Fionn Mac Cárthaigh)


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534>Z29539>L362>ZS4606>ZS4598 (Progeny of Dónal Gott Mac Cárthaigh)


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534>Z29539>L362>ZS4606; need to test SNP path beyond ZS4606


SNP path tested / predicted R-DF21>FGC3213>Z16532>Z16526>P314>Z16534>Z29539>L362>A11018 (O'Callaghans of Cloonmeen)


SNP path tested / predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533 but Z16538 and BY23661 negative and FTY289 = 14


SNP path tested / predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533>Z16538 and DYS 438 = 13, but Z16525 negative. FTY289 = 15.  Munster Branch 2


SNP path tested / predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533>Z16538>Z16525. FTY289 = 15.  Munster Branch 3


SNP path tested / predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533>BY23661 but FGC19890 negative. FTY289 = 15.


SNP path tested / predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533>BY23661>FGC19890. FTY289 = 15.


SNP path predicted R-P314>Z16534>Z16533. SNP testing required.

Note: ‘Munster Branch 1’ applies to all 3b subgroups.

Last updated 26 August 2022