Meagher, Magher, Maher, Mahar, Marr Surname Project - Results

Much has changed since this project was started nine years ago, and much of that change has occurred in the last two years. During that time new Y-DNA SNP markers have been discovered, and tested for, so that many new sub-branches have been identified, both for our specific surname project, as well as for the larger world of Y-DNA tests.

The largest subgroup in our project is the DF21+ or predicted, Ely Carroll subgroup. There is a good geographic correlation between the ancestral homelands for Ely Carroll and for O'Meagher. However the Ely Carroll subgroup accounts for less than half of our total Y-DNA STR members, as shown in the following table.

Distribution among Subgroups (September 2013)
R1b HaplogroupI Haplogroup
Ely Carroll Other DF21+ Other R1b I1 I2
Number 10 4 7 3 1
Percent 40% 16% 28% 12% 4%

Note: The table above includes only those members whose paternal ancestry is a variant of the O'Meagher surname. Also, the table does not include a Maher who joined our project from the National Geographic Geno 2.0 Project, and who is DF21+, but has not yet tested for STR's.

Half of our members report either no known European ancestral location, or nothing more specific than Ireland. For the twelve members who do report specific location information, their ancestral locations are distributed among the subgroups as shown in the following table.

Ancestral Locations (September 2013)
Within 20 miles (32 km) of the O'Meagher ancestral homeland
Ely Carroll Other DF21+ Other R1b I1 I2
Co. Tipperary - - 1 - -
Co. Laois (Queens) 2 - - - -
Beyond 20 miles from the O'Meagher ancestral homeland
Ely Carroll Other DF21+ Other R1b I1 I2
Co. Tipperary (southwest) 1 - 1 1 1
Co. Kilkenny 1 - - - -
Co. Westmeath - - 1 - -
Co. Clare - 3 - - -

Generally the specific locations lie within a band 30 miles either side of the N7/M7 highway. The N7/M7 extends from Dublin to Limerick, and near its midpoint the highway passes through the O'Meagher ancestral homeland. The locations can be seen plotted under Map under Y-DNA Results.

It may take a long time to sort out whether the various subgroups were already present in the local population before the clan evolved, or whether stragglers were welcomed into the clan in later centuries. The latter might explain the Gaelic-to-English translation of Meagher--"Hospitable!" The existence of a variety of subgroups is actually a benefit for confirming relatively recent ancestors. For example, the original group administrator's Meagher ancestor is included in the tables above under the I1 subgroup. There was a paper trail, but with gaps, to a third cousin. When the cousin agreed to test, it was only necessary to test for 25 STR markers to reveal the 24 out of 25 match.

Although this project is primarily about YDNA results, there are a number of people who have joined this project solely because of their mtDNA results. So mtDNA results are also available on this project page. The clusters, or lack of them, can be seen in that display, and require no further discussion.

Similarly, a number of people have joined this project solely because they have Family Finder results, and know that there is a Meagher/Maher/etc. in some branch of their family tree. The Family Finder matches can be displayed by the group administrators, but unlike the case with mtDNA results, there is no option to display the Family Finder matches on this public project page. That is a good thing, because for most combinations the answer is no match. (In other words, if a particular Maher does not appear on your own personal matches page, then they will be a no match in the cross-comparison of surname results.) We have eighteen Family Finder members of our project; some of these are also YDNA or mtDNA members of the project. The preponderance of no match combinations seems to indicate that in most cases the common Meagher/Maher/etc. ancestor goes back a number of centuries.