Ely Carroll DNA

By Peter Biggins
About PetersPioneers

DNA helix Y-chromosome DNA shared by 58 men with 9 names that match names in ancient pedigrees of men descended from Ely Carroll, and from Cian who lived in 4th-century Ireland. The 58 are 49% of a total database of 119 men. Names: Bohan/Bowes, Carroll, Dooley, Flanagan, Keeffe, Kealy/Kelly, Meagher, Murphy, Redmond.

Included are two known descendants of Charles Carroll the Settler.

All 24 who have BIG Y test results share many unique SNPs downstream of R-DF21, including Z16291.

Key STR markers: 390=25 and 492=11.

DNA testing shows that two other historical pedigrees, Eoghanachta and Brian Boru, are not related to Ely Carroll.

Thomas Bohan, Helen Bowe, Martha Bowes, Kevin Carroll, David Alan Crow, Mark Green, Derek Irving, Chuck Linville, Erik Maher, Kevin O'Meagher, Adrian Martyn, Lee Morton, Andrew Murphy, Michael Rose, Bernadette Carroll Snead, Mikko Talvitie, Sean Tracey, Michael Walsh, and Alex Williamson contributed to this study.

Carroll Roots      Ely Carroll Yahoo Group      Ely Carroll DNA Project      About PetersPioneers      Home Page

Introduction and Summary

Ancient Irish History

Ely Carroll DNA Project

Ely Carroll DNA Database




I have no business writing this. I am not a Carroll. My wife is, but we found out she is the wrong kind of Carroll. Like many Carrolls in America, my wife's family thought they were related to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence (who, in turn, was descended from the Ely Carrolls).

After I had my Y-chromosome DNA tested and found out I was descended from The Three Collas, I started to wonder about my wife's Carrolls. We found a male second cousin of my wife, Michael Patrick Carroll, and had his Y-DNA tested (Y-DNA is passed down from male to male like surnames). Turns out, he was descended from the Carrolls of Ossory rather than the Carrolls of Ely Carroll. But I was hooked on Ely Carroll. Kevin Carroll, adminstrator of the Carroll project at Family Tree DNA, had found a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. I decided to start a project at Family Tree DNA devoted to the DNA of all surnames descended from Ely Carroll.

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Ely Carroll

This page is about the DNA of an ancient Irish clan called Ely Carroll. This is a name that surfaced in the Middle Ages. Ely is an anglicized form of Éile, a territory in Tipperary and Offaly. This clan was originally known as Clan Cian or Ciannachta, going back to a man named Cian in the 4th century. Famous persons descended from this clan in modern times are:

  • Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737-1832, a signer of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • John Lee Carroll, 1830-1911, great grandson of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, was governor of Maryland from 1876 to 1880
  • Daniel Carroll of Duddington, 1764-1849, built a home for himself in 1791 which was torn down by Pierre L’Enfant to build the U.S. Capitol
  • Charles Carroll of Bellevue, 1767-1823, was friends with president James Madison and his wife Dolly. During the War of 1812, he went to the White House and saved the portrait of President George Washington for Dolly. He then took her to his home Bellevue in Georgetown, Washington, DC, until she could be reunited with the President.
  • Daniel Carroll II of Rock Creek, 1730-1796, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He supported the American Revolution, served in the Confederation Congress, was a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 which wrote the Constitution, and was a U.S. Representative in the First Congress.
  • John Carroll, S.J., 1735-1815, was the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States. He was a founder of Georgetown University.

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Charles Carroll of Carrollton

In 2008, a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton joined the Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA and had his Y-chromosome DNA tested. His DNA is published along side other Carrolls on the Carroll DNA Project Results page at FTDNA. He is kit 112378.

Y-DNA is handed down male to male like traditional surnames. So, his DNA is the same as his ancestor, Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Other Carrolls in the Carroll surname DNA Project could now see whether their DNA matched up. About 10% of the Carrolls in the Carroll surname project match up.

Charles Carroll of Carrrollton
Signature of Charles Carroll of Carrrollton on the Declaration of Independence, 1776.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton is important because he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He was the only Roman Catholic to sign, and he was the sole surviving signer following the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826.

The pedigree of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and his descendant who has tested his DNA, goes back to 4th century Ireland. And the descendant's DNA matches up with the DNA of men with surnames that are supposed to be related based on ancient pedigrees.

Birthplace of Charles Carroll of Carrrollton
Charles Carroll House and Gardens of Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by Charles Harrison.
Birthplace of Charles Carroll of Carrrollton
Charles Carroll House and Gardens of Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by Charles Harrison.

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A Coincidence of Nine Names

The identification of Ely Carroll DNA rests not just on the pedigree of testers with kits 112378 and 738989, who are descended from Charles Carroll the Settler. It also rests upon the similarity between a set of nine related names in ancient pedigrees and a set of nine names among 58 men with matching DNA.

Related Ancient Pedigrees
  1. Bone/Bonass/Bowen, O'Hart 179
  2. O'Carroll, Princes of Ely, O'Hart 178
  3. Dubhlaoch, anglicized Dooley, O'Hart 179
  4. O'Flanagan, Chiefs of Kinelargy, in Ely Carroll, O'Hart 203
  5. Eochaidh, anglicized Keogh of Munster, O'Hart 237
  6. Kellaigh, anglicized Kelly, Keating 676
  7. O'Meagher, Chiefs of Ikerin, County Tipperary, O'Hart 237
  8. MacMurrough/Murphy, Keating 677
  9. Redmond of Ardagh, O'Hart 180
Matching Modern DNA
  1. Bohan/Bowe - 15288, 21674, 21675, 103590, 174346, 146114, 177452, 203814, 203816, 30445, 276544
  2. Carroll - 355417, 71400, 112059, 112378, 185954, 300355, 359921, 394786, 471460, 738989, 23133, 14073, 93928, 107055, 112777, 120553, 190806, 229066, 283359, 569347
  3. Dooley - 1405, 3224, 115408, 168720
  4. Flanagan - 3722 and 7 Flanagan with private data
  5. Keeffe - 160886
  6. Kealy, Kelly - 49685, 174951
  7. Meagher/Maher/Mahar/Mahan - N73615, 8099, 430970, N41701, 22400, 24434, 206466, 385132, 396950
  8. Murphy - 223130, 194206
  9. Redmond - 256801
Numbers are DNA kit indentification numbers.

Many people with Ely Carroll DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Dooley, Purcell, Springer, Tracey. Ely Carroll DNA has not yet been found for several historical Ely Carroll names: Corcoran, Healy, O'Gara/O'Hara. See Historical Surnames.

Table of Contents

Ancient Pedigree of Kits 112378 and 738989

Years 350 to 1150.
John O'Hart
John O'Hart, 1824-1902.
John O'Hart (1824-1902) provides a pedigree entitled "Princes of Ely O'Carroll" in his book, Irish Pedigrees; or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, published in 1892 (fifth edition), Volumes I and II.

Google Books has made the 1892 edition available online: Volume I and Volume II. The University of Pittsburgh Library System has made the 1892 edition available online as a PDF file or Ebook: Volume I and Volume II. Library Ireland has made a transcript of Volume I available online.

O'Hart's 1892 Irish Pedigrees shows, on pages 178-180 of Vol. I, the Carroll pedigree back to Cian, who lived in the 4th century.

85. Cian
86. Teige
87. Conla – had a brother named Cormac Galeng.
88. Iomchadh Uallach – whose brother Finnachta was ancestor of Meagher/Maher
89. Sabhrann
90. Iomdhun – whose brother Fec was ancestor of O'Flanagan of Ely, and of O'Conorof Ciannacht, in the county Derry
91. Earc
92. Eile righ dhearg ("eiligh": Irish, to accuse), or "Eile, the red king" – after whom the territories possessed in Leinster by this sept, were called Duiche Eiligh, i.e., "The Estates of Ely," whereof his posterity were styled "Kings." This Eile was the ancestor of O'h-Eiligh (of Ely-O'Carroll), anglicised Healy/Hely
93. Druadh
94. Amruadh – a quo O'h-Amridh; was ancestor of O'Corcrain ("corcra": Irish, red), anglicised Corcoran/Coghrane
95. Meachar
96. Tal
97. Teige
98. Inne
99. Lonan
100. Altin
101. Ultan
102. Cnamhin ("cnaimh": Irish, a bone) – a quo O'Cnaimhin, anglicised Nevin/MacNevin/Bone/Bonass/Bowen.
103. Dubhlaoch
104. Aodh (or Hugh)
105. Cearbhall ("cearbhall": Irish, massacre, slaughter) – a quo O'Cearbhaill Ele
106. Monach O'Carroll – was the first of this family that assumed this sirname.
107. Cu-Coirneach (also called Cu-Boirne)
108. Riogbradan
109. Donal
110. Fionn
111. Maolruanaidh
112. Donoch
113. Goll an-Bheolaigh ("beolach": Irish, talkative)
114. Fionn

Years 1150 to 1550. The October 1883 issue of the Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland contains an article by Frederick John O'Carroll entitled "True Version of the Pedigree of Carroll of Carrollton." The article takes the above pedigree from Fionn, King of Ely, who was slain 1205, up to Donough, who lived around 1550.

114. Fionn – King of Ely, slain 1205
115. Teige – Chief of Ely, who had (Maolruanaidh and) Conal who settled at Litterluna
116. Donal – Chief of Ely
117. Donough Dhearg – Chief of Ely, who died in 1306
118. William Alainn (the Handsome) – Chief of Ely
119. Donough – Chief of Ely, who died in 1377
120. Roderic
121. Daniel
122. Roderic
123. Donough
124. Teige
125. Donough – circa 1550
This pedigree has been included in John O'Hart's 1892 Irish Pedigrees, Vol. 1, pages 75-77.

Years 1550 to the present. In the year 2000, The University of North Crolina Press published a book that includes a pedigree of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. The author is Ronald Huffman, professor of history at the College of William and Mary. The title is Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782. Below are pedigrees taken from that book, with the addition of descendants down to two Y-DNA testers: kits 112378 and 738989. (Generation numbers have been added to facilitate reference to the more distant pedigrees provided above.)

125. Donnell McTeige Oure O'Carroll of Kenechane and Ballymooney – circa 1550
126. Daniel Carroll of Ballymooney
127. Anthony Carroll of Aghagurty
128. Daniel Carroll of Aghagurty and Litterluna (1642-1688)
129. Charles Carroll the Settler (1660-1720) – immigrated to Maryland in 1688 and brought with him a "little Irish Manuscript Book" containing the genealogies of the O'Carrolls. Built Doughregan Manor near Ellicott City, Maryland, and the Carroll House in Annapolis
127. Keane Carroll of Aghagurty
128. Daniel Carroll I of Upper Marlboro (1696-1751)
129. Daniel Carroll II of Rock Creek (1730-1796) – signer of both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
130. Daniel Carroll III (1752-1790)
129. John Carroll, S.J. (1735-1815) – first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States. Founder of Georgetown University
130. Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702-1782)
131. Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) – signer of the Declaration of Independence
132. Charles Carroll of Homewood (1775-1825)
133. Charles Carroll V (1801-1862)
134. John Lee Carroll (1830-1911) – Governor of Maryland from 1876 to 1880
135. Philip Acosta Carroll (1879-1957)
136. Private
137. Private, kit 112378
130. Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1707-1734) – received the land on which the Capitol would be built when he married Ann Rozer
131. Charles Carroll of Duddington (1729-1773)
132. Daniel Carroll of Duddington (1764-1849) – built a home for himself in 1791 which was torn down by Pierre L’Enfant to build the U.S. Capitol. The Senate met there in 1799, the House met there in 1807, and it was completed in 1829. In 1812 a partnership, Williams and Carrolls, erected Sligo Mill to mill grain and distill whiskey on Sligo Creek in Tacoma Park, Maryland. Partners were Daniel Carroll of Duddington, his brother Charles Carroll of Bellevue, and Elie Williams.
132. Charles Carroll of Bellevue (1767-1823)
133. William Thomas Carroll (1802-1863) – Supreme Court Clerk
134. Samuel Sprigg Carroll (1832-1893) – Major General
135. Samuel Sprigg Carroll Jr (1875-1935)
136. Mahlon Ashford Carroll (1921-2002)
137. David Carroll, kit 738989

Testers with kits 112378 and 738989 have a genetic distance of 3 based on 67 STR markers. They have not done the Big Y test, but both are predicted to have Ely Carroll SNPs based on their STRs and matches and the Big Y results of Linville (Carroll) kit 23133 and Lee kit 54646: Z16291, Z16284, Z16289, BY2009, and BY20010.

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Ely Carroll Timeline

BC 2000: L21 SNP occurs north of the Alps in a Celt with an R1b haplotype
BC 1000: DF21 SNP occurs in Britain in a man with the L21 SNP
43-410 England and Wales controlled by the Roman Empire
300-400: Cian, with the Z16291 SNP, lives
950: Surnames adopted by Cian descendants in Ireland
1014: O'Cearbhaill Ele fought at the Battle of Clontarf
1205: Fionn, King of Ely, dies
1377: Donough, Chief of Ely, dies
1607-1609: Flight of the Earls, Plantation of Ulster
1632-1636: Ely Carroll described in Annals of the Four Masters
1634: Ely Carroll described in Keating's The History of Ireland
1652: Cromwellian Settlement
1688: Charles Carroll the Settler goes to Maryland as the colony's Attorney General
1702: Charles Carroll the Settler buys land near Ellicott City in Northern Maryland that would become Douhregan Manor
1706: Charles Carroll the Settler buys land that would become the Carroll House in Annaplois, Maryland
1727: Charles Carroll of Annapolis builds Doughregan Manor as a country home near Ellicott City in Northern Maryland
1776: Charles Carroll of Carrollton signs the Declaration of Independence
1791: Daniel Carroll of Duddington provides the land on which the the U.S. Capitol is to be built
1892: Ely Carroll described in O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees
2004: Carroll DNA project started at FTDNA
2008: New Carroll DNA project member, kit 112378, is descended from Charles Carroll of Carrollton
2011: Ely Carroll DNA project started at FTDNA
2017: New Ely Carroll project member, kit 738989, is descended from Charles Carroll of Duddington, a first cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton

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Ireland 700 AD
Ireland circa 700 AD, showing Éile in north eastern Munster. Source: Dennis Walsh, Ireland's History in Maps.

Ely Carroll Map

The map to the right shows Éile, the territory of Ely Carroll, in the north eastern part of Munster in 700 AD, in the present-day counties of Offaly and Tipperary. This map comes from a website developed by Dennis Walsh. He has a good summary of the history of Éile.

The Ely Carroll Map shows:

  • Castles and other locations associated with Ely Carroll
  • Carroll locations in Maryland
  • Locations where ancestors of DNA testers are from.

Click on a marker to see a description or photo.
Zoom in and zoom out by clicking on the "+" or "-" or moving the scale up or down.
Move the map by holding down the clicker or clicking on the directional arrows.
Click on a category in the Legend to see only those markers.

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Ely Carroll DNA Project – Testing

The test results evaluated here all came from Family Tree DNA. Only 67 or 111 markers tested are included here because those tests include the 66th marker, 492, which is crucial to the analysis.

If you are a male with the name of an Ely Carroll descendant, you may benefit from participating in the Ely Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA has the largest DNA database in the field. For a look inside the FTDNA lab, see "A Visit to Family Tree DNA's State-of-the-Art Lab," written by Cece Moore in February 2013 based on a tour in November 2012.

The Ely Carroll DNA Project was started in January 2011. The project is designed to attract Ely Carroll descendants, encourage upgrades to the 67-marker test, and promote Ely Carroll research.

You can participate in our project as well as a project specifically set up for your surname. There is no additional cost for being part of two projects.

By testing the Y-chromosome DNA, males can determine the origin of their paternal line. Note that the Y-chromosome DNA strictly checks the paternal line, with no influence of any females along that line. Females do not receive the Y-chromosome, and therefore females cannot be tested for the paternal line. If you are a female and would like to know about your paternal line, you would have to find a brother or a male relative from that line willing to be tested.

The two swabs and scraper tubes in the FTDNA Kit. For more on how it's done, see "DNA Collection Method" by Dave Dorsey.
Y-chromosome DNA goes back male to male like traditional surnames.

You sign up online for FTDNA and they deduct the cost from your credit card. They send you in the mail a kit containing two scrapers that you use to swab the inside of your cheeks in four-hour intervals. You return the scrapers in receptacles and mailer provided in the kit. You get final results on line two months later.

If you decide to have your DNA tested, you should choose the 67 or 111 markers. The lesser tests of 12, 25, or 37 markers do not include marker 492, which is key to verifying a match with Ely Carroll descendants.

Most names have multiple origins. For example, there are Carrolls with 25 different types of DNA. For this reason, your results may show that your DNA does not match the Ely Carroll DNA, which will lead you in a different ancestry direction.

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Ely Carroll DNA Project – Results

Following is a chart showing values of the Y-DNA of markers 1 to 111 for the current participants in the Ely Carroll DNA project, by surname category. The category descriptions include:

  • Surname
  • Source that describes the surname pedigree
  • The range of genetic distances from the 67-marker Ely Carroll modal DNA

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Ely Carroll DNA Project – SNPs

All of the current participants in the Ely Carroll project who have tested 67 markers are predicted to have the Ely Carroll Z16291 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism). The Ely Carroll SNP is downstream of M269, L23, L11, P312, L21, DF21, S5488, Z16294, Z16281, and Z16282. The Z16291 SNP was discovered in a new SNP testing program called BIG Y

SNP Results Page. Following is a chart showing the positive and negative Y-DNA SNP test results for the current participants in the Ely Carroll project.

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Ely Carroll DNA Database – Marker Values

Ely Carroll DNA database is not limited to people who join the Ely Carroll DNA Project. It is gleaned from various projects at Family Tree DNA that included Ely Carroll surnames or surnames that match people in the Ely Carroll DNA Project. It was fairly easy to construct this database. We had the names from Irish histories. We went to FTDNA surname projects for those surnames and pulled off the data for people who had tested 67 markers and matched the modal DNA of Ely Carroll people.

Including anyone who matched Ely Carroll DNA resulted in a variety of people with Ely Carroll DNA--some with Ely Carroll surnames and some without. There were plausible reasons for the existence of this latter group: adoption, name change, historical pedigree omissions, and distant cousins.

Table of DNA Marker Values. The table below shows the 67 DNA marker values for the 119 people in the database as of September 21, 2017 and the modal DNA for the group.

The ancient genealogies and DNA test results seem to be confirming each other. A pattern or "signature" DNA has emerged for Ely Carroll descendants identified long ago by John O'Hart and others. And the ancient genealogies have given us a clue as to which people have Ely Carroll DNA.

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Ely Carroll DNA Database – Modal DNA and Key Markers

The study of Ely carroll DNA began with a preliminary modal DNA for relatively small number of people who had Ely Carroll names and DNA similar. This modal DNA evolved into a modal DNA, based on data from the Ely Carroll DNA Project, under the user ID of TG7S3 at Ysearch. This TG7S3 Ely Carroll Modal DNA is now the one used in this study. Since June 2009 the database of people with Ely Carroll DNA has expanded and the modal has been recomputed. Each time, the modal has remained the same.

A reference group was put together of people who do not have the Ely Carroll DNA. This group helps to understand the uniqueness of Ely Carroll DNA, such as marker 492=11.

Ely Carroll Modal DNA

4 key markers are shaded tan. Red indicates more rapidly mutating markers.
Markers 1-12 393 390 19 391 385 426 388 439 389-1 392 389-2
Value 13 25 14 11 11-14 12 12 12 13 13 29

Markers 13-25 458 459 455 454 447 437 448 449 464
Value 16 9-10 11 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-17-17

Markers 26-37 460 GATA H4 YCA II 456 607 576 570 CDY 442 438
Value 11 11 19-23 15 15 19 17 36-38 12 12

Markers 38-47 531 578 395S1 590 537 641 472 406S1 511
Value 11 9 15-16 8 10 10 8 10 10

Markers 48-60 425 413 557 594 436 490 534 450 444 481 520 446
Value 12 22-23 16 10 12 12 16 8 12 22 20 13

Markers 61-67 617 568 487 572 640 492 565
Value 12 11 13 11 11 11 12

Markers 68-75 710 485 632 495 540 714 716 717
Value 33 15 9 16 12 25 26 19

Markers 76-85 505 556 549 589 522 494 533 636 575 638
Value 12 11 13 12 11 9 12 12 10 11

Markers 86-93 462 452 445 GATA-A10 463 441 GGAAT-1B07 525
Value 11 30 12 12 24 13 10 10

Markers 94-102 712 593 650 532 715 504 513 561 552
Value 22 15 18 13 24 16 12 15 24

Markers 103-111 726 635 587 643 497 510 434 461 435
Value 12 24 18 10 14 17 9 13 11

2 Key Markers

An October 2013 study compared markers 390 and 492 for two groups who had tested 67 markers at FTDNA:

  • Ely Carroll. 76 people in the Ely Carroll database and
  • Other DF21. 280 people in the DF21 project (excluding Ely Carroll).

Marker 390=25. 85% of Ely Carroll have 390=25. Only 6% of the other DF21 have that value.

Marker 390
ValueEly CarrollOther DF21

Marker 492=11. 100% of Ely Carroll have 492=11. Only 5% of the other DF21 have that value.

Marker 492
ValueEly CarrollOther DF21

The 5% of Other DF21 with 492=11 had genetic distances of 14-22 from the Ely Carroll 67-marker modal DNA. This compares with a range of 1 to 12 for the Ely Carroll group.

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Ely Carroll DNA Database – Genetic Distance

The next step was to compute the genetic distance from Ely Carroll Modal DNA for each person in the study. Genetic distance occurs because of mutations from one generation to another. If two people are identical in all markers except they are off in one marker by 1 point, the genetic distance would be 1. If they were off at 2 different markers by 1 point in each marker, then the genetic distance of those two samples would be 2. If they are off by 2 points at one marker and 1 point in a second marker, then the genetic distance would be 3. Genetic distance for certain markers or marker groups is limited to 1. This method of computing genetic distance is called the hybrid mutation model. If a marker has a null value for one person and a positive value for another, the marker is ignored.

Actual calculations were made using the FTDNA 111 Mode BETA version of the McGee Utility. Input to the utility consists of the DNA of the participants from the Source Data.

As of September 21, 2017, there were 118 people with 67 markers included in the Ely Carroll database. They have been included because their DNA has been found to match fairly closely with Ely Carroll Modal DNA. Three out of four were included in the Ely Carroll DNA Project at Family Tree DNA. The rest have been obtained by searching surname studies at FTDNA and through the use of Ysearch.

Table of Genetic Distances. The table below shows the 67-marker genetic distances for the 110 people in the database between each one and the modal.

  • The 118 genetic distances from the modal range from 1 to 11 (average: 5.7).
  • The genetic distances among the participants range from 0 to 18 (average: 9.1).
For example, Carroll 112378 has a genetic distance of 4 from the modal. And his genetic distances from the other people in the database range from 3 to 13, with an average of 7.3.

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Historical Surnames

The identification of Ely Carroll DNA rests on the pedigree of the person with kit 112378 who is descended from Charles carroll of Carrollton. It also rests upon the similarity between a set of related names in ancient pedigrees and a set of names among men with matching DNA. See A Coincidence of Names.

Many people with Ely Carroll DNA do not have historical surnames. The major names are: Purcell, Springer, Tracey. Ely Carroll DNA has not yet been found for several historical Ely Carroll names: Corcoran, Healy, O'Gara/O'Hara.

Many people do not know where their patronymic ancestor came from, which is not uncommon. Only a small number of those tested live in Ireland. Most live in America. Many of those have resorted to DNA testing for the very reason that they do not know where there ancestors came from when the emigrated to America.

The Ely Carroll database includes some people with non-Irish sounding names. It includes some people who are related to each other. It includes surnames where there is only one representative.

Some names historically associated with Ely Carroll, like Healy, O'Hara/O'Gara, and Corcoran, are not found in the study. There are a number of good reasons.

  • Only a small number of people have had their DNA tested thus far.
  • Many who have had their DNA tested have tested only 12, 25, or 37 markers rather than the 67 required for this study.
  • Some people have been tested by an organization other than Family Tree DNA.
  • Some people may have lost their name because an ancestor changed his name or was adopted.
  • Ancient pedigrees probably included some surnames of people who were not really Ely Carroll descendants.

There are many people in the Ely Carroll database that do not have historical Ely Carroll surnames. There are a number of good reasons.

  • The historical lists of Ely Carroll descendants were incomplete.
  • The name is on an historical list of Ely Carroll descendants but we have not found it yet.
  • In early Irish history there was the concept of “fostering,” where two powerful tribal leaders would place their infant son with the other family to seal a defensive alliance. It is likely that some of these sons took on the tribal name of the family with whom they were placed.
  • There was a name change by an ancestor.
  • They or an ancestor were adopted.
The genetic distance from the Ely Carroll modal DNA is essentially the same as for those with and without Ely Carroll surnames.

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Multiple-Sept Surnames

The descendants of Ely Carroll share a common pattern of Y-chromosome DNA markers, and many have surnames mentioned in ancient genealogies as descending from Ely Carroll. Not all people with Ely Carroll surnames, however, have Ely Carroll DNA. In the early days of Y-DNA testing, there was a tendency for people with Ely Carroll names to think that they were descended from Ely Carroll just because they had an Ely Carroll name.

Most people with Ely Carroll DNA are not the majority of those with their surname. In fact, the majority of people with Ely Carroll DNA are a minority of those with their surname. And, therefore, most people with Ely Carroll surnames do not have Ely Carroll DNA. The reason is that most Irish surnames appear in mutiple septs. For example, an analysis of people named Carroll indicates 25 different septs.

There are several explanations for this phenomenon of multiple-sept surnames.

  • The same surname developed independently in different geographic areas.
  • At the time surnames came into being around a thousand years ago, many surnames were based on relatively common given names.
  • A male was adopted by a clan other than the one he was born in.
  • A male married a woman from another clan and took her surname, perhaps because it was a more respected name.
  • A male changed his surname when he was ennobled or otherwise came into possession of territory, perhaps adopting the name of a respected prior holder of that territory.
  • A male was a subordinate (vassal, servant, slave, etc) of a member of another clan and took his master's surname when he became free.
  • A male took the surname of another clan without any connection to the clan, simply because it was a respected name.

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L21 and DF21 SNPs

All Ely Carroll project members who have tested for the L21 SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) have tested positive. L21 was discovered in October 2008. People with the L21 SNP are said to be members of the R1b1a2a1a1b4 haplogroup. As groups of scientists discover SNPs, they are named for the research lab and the order in which they are found. The L in L21 indicates that it was found at the Family Tree DNA Genomic Research Center in Houston, Texas. The L stands for Leo Little who did much pioneering work in genetic genealogy and who died in 2008. (L21 is known as S145 in some testing organizations.)

The L21 SNP is estimated to be 4,000 years old. It is sometimes referred to as a "Celtic" SNP. In their 2011 book The Scots, A Genetic Journey, Alistair Moffat and James F. Wilson say L21 "could be said to be the most emphatic signal of the Celtic language speakers of the British Isles. It is found in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and it is almost certainly characteristic of those farming communities who may have spoken early forms of Celtic languages in the centuries around 2,000 BC."

L21 SNP Tree, Including DF21

L21/S145     (Atlantic Celtic)     (5800 ybp)




A2121(Lunney, McGing)

(South Irish)
DF21 (See Below) L513 ZZ10 Z39589
(Scottish Borders)
(Airghialla 2)
Z253 Z255
(Irish Sea)
(Whelan, Phelan, Brazile)

(High Stewards)
DF49, DF23, Z2961 L1335
(Scottish Cluster)
(Brian Boru)
(Continental Irish)
(Hy Maine Kelly)
(Niall of the Nine Hostages)
ybp is for years before the present, an estimate of when a SNP first occurred.      565=11 indicates that marker 565 has a unique value of 11.

Ely Carroll participants also have tested positive for the DF21 SNP, which is downstream of L21. The first Ely Carroll member tested positive for DF21 in August 2011. As of October 13, 13 of 48 members of the Ely Carroll project have tested for DF21 and all have tested positive. This further narrows the haplogroup for Ely Carroll descendants. All Ely Carroll descendants are expected to have the DF21 SNP. Other groups also have the DF21 SNP--perhaps 10 percent of all those with the L21 SNP. The DF21 SNP is estimated to be 4700 years old (see Rathlin Man 1). It was discovered by an anonymous researcher using publicly available full-genome-sequence data, including the 1000 Genomes Project data. The DF in DF21 is taken from DNA-Forums.org, a now-defunct genetic genealogy community. (DF21 is known as S192 in some testing organizations.)

DF21 SNP Tree, Including Ely Carroll

DF21/S192     (4700 ybp)
FGC3213 S971
Z30233 S5488
P314 S424
Little Scottish Cluster
Galway Bay
Z29584 Harbour, Rudelli S7858
Ferguson, Bruce
Clan Colla
Rathlin Man 1
(4000 ybp)
Z16294 S7200 L588
CTS3655 L1403
The Seven Septs of Laois
Cain, Byrne
Ely Carroll
Duffy, Corcoran
Clan Chattan?
ybp is for years before the present, an estimate of when a SNP first occurred.      492=11 indicates that marker 492 has a unique value of 11.

Ely Carroll participants are urged to join the L21 project and DF21 project at FTDNA. The DF21 project has been set up by David Reynolds for people who have tested positive for the DF21 SNP or are interested in ordering the test.

The L21 Yahoo Group has been set up to serve as a forum for those interested in DF21 and other SNPs downstream of L21. We also have a Ely Carroll Yahoo Group has been set up to serve as a forum for those interested specifically in Ely Carroll DNA.

In April 2014, Alex Williamson identifed new Y-chromosome SNPs for Ely Carroll testers downstream of DF21. The SNPs came from a new product called BIG Y, which looks at more than 1/3 of the testable portion of the Y chromosome.

Past efforts to find an Ely Carroll SNP have failed. In 2012-13, Linville (23133) and Carroll (283359) participated in Geno 2.0 at National Geographic (tested by FTDNA). But no SNPs were found downstream of DF21.

Without BIG Y, we identified Ely Carroll DNA with two key marker values: 390=25 and 492=11. The first became known when FTDNA started. The second became known in 2006 when 67 markers became available. We also have Ely Carroll modal DNA, which was started in 2010. And, since 2012, we know that all Ely Carrolls have the DF21 SNP. We are thankful for all that. But we knew it would be better if we had a SNP downstream of DF21 that specifically identified Ely Carroll DNA. BIG Y has done that.

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Ely Carroll BIG Y SNP Tree

Source: Alex Williamson's Big Tree.     See also FTDNA Q&A.

Continuing in the tradition that SNPs found by the community have the prefix Z, Alex Wlliamson has added Z names for many of the recently found shared SNPs on the tree (e.g., Z16291). The CTS SNP was discovered by Chris Tyler Smith of The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a charitably funded genomic research centre located in Hinxton, nine miles south of Cambridge in the UK. The L SNP was discovered by Family Tree DNA.

As shown at the top of the tree, there are 24 testers on the tree. As shown at the bottom of the tree, the number of SNPs (mutations) ranges from 14 to 31. The average is 19. SNPs occur randomly. There is no way to date SNPs, but some have hazarded the guess that Big Y SNPs occur on average every 120 years. Based on this time span average and the SNP number average, the tree above very roughly goes back 2280 years, or to the year 280 BC. The five oldest SNPs, which all have, would span the years 280 BC to 320 AD.

On your FTDNA personal page, if you have not ordered BIG Y, you should see BIG Y on the left side under the list of your projects. Click on "Learn More" to read more about BIG Y or order it. The current price is $575, but it goes on sale several times a year.

Individual tests are offered by FTDNA for certain SNPs for $39 apiece. These SNPs are in bold on the BIG Y tree above.

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Analysis of L21 and DF21 DNA

The following table compares various groups with DF21 DNA along with other groups with L21 DNA. Based on very rough estimates, these groups constitute 50% of L21.

DF21 and Other L21 Subgroups
Subgroup Name % of
FTDNA Project SNP or Unique Marker Comments
DF21 Subgroups
Ely Carroll1%Ely Carroll project, DF21 projectSNP S5488
SNP Z16281
66th marker 492=11
Modal based on people with surnames that Irish history says are descended from Ely O'Carrolls: Carroll, Bohan, Dooley, Meagher, Kelly, Murphy, Flanagan, O'Keefe, Redmond. One of the Carrolls is descended from the Carrolls of Carrollton. John O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees; or, the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation describes the relationship between the Ely Carrolls and the Carrolls of Carrollton on page 75. See also the Ely Carroll Yahoo Group maintained by Martha Bowes. All who have been tested have the DF21 SNP, a subclade of L21 that includes other groups.
Clan Colla5%Clan Colla project, DF21 projectSNP S971
SNP Z3000
47th marker 511=9
48th marker 425=0
76th marker 505=9
91st marker 441=12
See DNA of the Three Collas. This subgroup has a number of surnames historically associated with Clan Colla, including McDonald, McGuire, Carroll, McKenna, McMahon, Boylan, Duffy, Kelly, MacDougall. All who have been tested have the DF21 SNP, a subclade of L21 that includes other groups.
CTS36551%DF21 projectSNP CTS3655
106th marker 643=9
Modal based on 25 people with the CTS3655 SNP from England and Scotland, including Reynolds, Grant, Moore, and Montgomery.
Seven Septs of Laois1%DF21 projectSNP L1403
106th marker 643=9
Modal based on 21 people with the L1403 SNP. Descended from the "Seven Septs of Laois," with Devoy, Lawlor, Moore, Kelly, Dolan and other surnames.
P3141%DF21 project, R-L21* 11-13 Combo projectSNP P314Modal based on people with the P314 SNP. The SNP is a subclade of DF21, which is a subclade of L21. The P314.2 people who know where they are from originally are practically all from Ireland.
Little Scottish Cluster5%Little Scottish Cluster project, R-DF21 projectSNP S190
22nd marker 464a=13
42nd marker 590=9
Three people have tested positive for SNPs S190 and S424. Testing of the SNP is not yet available at Family Tree DNA. The most common are Hall, Kilgore, Sloan, Boggs, and Williamson. This cluster's origin may well be in the vicinity of Stirlingshire, Scotland, about 900 to 1200 years ago. See the Little Scottish Cluster website.
L1336<1%DF21 projectSNP L1336Modal based on 12 people with the L1336 SNP from Ireland, including O'Rourke and Moore.
Clan Chattan?<1%DF21 projectSNP L720Modal based on 10 people with the L720 SNP from Scotland, including MacIntosh. These people may be descendants of Clan Chattan.
Other L21 Subgroups
South Irish4%CTS4466 project, Eo´ganacht Septs project, Corca Laidhe project, South Irish projectSNP CTS4466
67th marker 565=11
Also referred to as Irish Type II. Descendants of the Eoghanachta, an Irish dynasty centered around Cashel which dominated southern Ireland from the 7th to the 10th centuries, and the Corca Laidhe, rulers of Munster until the early 7th century. See Tim Desmond and Kathleen Sullivan Kerwin. Surnames include Sullivan, McCarthy, O'Keefe, Donahue, Driscoll, Donovan, Coffey.
Brian Boru4%L226 projectSNP L226Also referred to as Irish Type III. The SNP L226 has been found under the R-L21 project for Irish Type III, descendants of Brian Boru. This haplogroup originated in the counties of Clare, Tipperary and Limerick around the time of Brian Boru, who was born in circa 940 and died in 1014. This type also is called Dalcassian. Surnames include O'Brien, Kennedy, Casey, and Keane. See the Irish Type III Website maintained by Dennis Wright, who also administers the R-L226 Project for FTDNA. In 2009, Dennis Wright wrote "A Set of Distinctive Markers Defines a Y-STR Signature for Gaelic Dalcassian Families.
Continental Irish4%R-Z253 project
R-L1066 project
SNP Z253
SNP L1066
Also known as Irish Type IV. National origins vary. James O'Shea estimates roughly 35% Irish, 30% English and Scottish, 10% German, 25% Other.
Irish Sea4%R-Z255 projectSNP Z255
SNP L159
Also known as Beatty-Byrnes. This profile is called the Leinster Modal, because early research showed that many families in Leinster in Ireland are members of the group. The group also appears to be plentiful in other parts of Ireland and Scotland, and there seem to be a number of English matches to the modal as well.
Scottish Cluster15%L1335 projectSNP L1335Also referred to by some as Dalriada. This group is referred to as str47 'Pictish' by Alistair Moffat and James F. Wilson in their 2011 book The Scots, A Genetic Journey. In 2004, a Clan Donald press release said that they believed this group was Clan Colla. Clan Donald now calls this the R1b-L21 Red-Black subgroup and refers to it as "a very common L21+ group in Scotland." In addition to McDonald, the group includes Alexander, Campbell, Ferguson, McRae, Mitchell, Roberts, Rogers, Stewart, Templeton, Young. There is a genetic distance of 18 between the modals for this group and Clan Colla.
Hy Maine<1%DF49 projectSNP Z2961
49th marker 413a=21
51st marker 557=17
67th marker 565=11
Modal based on FTDNA kits for 15 people with surnames that Irish history says are descended from Maine Mor who lived in Galway and Roscommon: Kelly, Madden, Traynor, Larkin. This subgroup had previously been thought of by some as related to Clan Colla. DNA testing has proven otherwise, as evidenced by the genetic distance of 18 between the modals for the two subgroups. In April 2013, one Kelly and one Traynor tested positive for SNP Z2961. This SNP, like M222, is downstream of DF23. In 1843, John O'Donovan discussed Hy Maine in The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many, which included his translation of the Hy Maine portion of the Book of Lecan.
Niall20%M222 projectSNP DF23
SNP M222
Also referred to as Niall of the Nine Hostages and Northwest Irish. It had previously been identified in a Trinity College Study by a SNP called M222. This subgroup had previously been thought of by some as related to Clan Colla. DNA testing has proven otherwise, as evidenced by the genetic distance of 23 between the modals for the two subgroups. See Colla Versus Niall DNA. This was the original Irish type, so it should be called Irish Type I; but no one calls it that. For information on Niall of the Nine Hostages, see: The History of Ireland, by Geoffrey Keating (1569-1644), translated into English from the original Irish by John O'Mahony, 1857, pages 372 to 394. The Nine Hostages are explained on page 394. Surnames include Burns/Byrne, Cowan, Daugherty/Doherty, Ferguson, Ewing, McGonigal, Milligan, McLaughlin, O'Neill, and Wilson. David Wilson and John McLaughlin have a webpage at M222 Project. William E. Howard III and John McLaughlin have explored the DNA of Irish and Scottish surnames and possible ties to Niall in A Dated Phylogenetic Tree of M222 SNP Haplotypes.
Scottish Borders3%L513 projectSNP L513
SNP L193
Scottish and Irish located near the Irish Sea. Surnames include: Clendenen, Duff, Elliott, Kennedy, Little, McLain, Vance.
Airghialla 22%L513 project, Airghialla Mag Uidhir projectSNP L513
The Airghialla 2 subgroup was identified by Joseph Donohoe. See Two McGuire Septs. This subgroup consists of McGuires from the same general area as the McGuires of Clan Colla, but with different DNA. There is no historical record of two separate groups of McGuires. While this group has many McGuires, it does not have the large variety of other historical Colla surnames that Clan Colla has. Surnames in this subgroup are McGuire, McManus, Byrne, Corrigan, Donohoe, McCauley, Garvey, Plunkett, McCown. A number of people have been found to have the L69 SNP. L69 is a sublclade of L513, which in turn is a subclade of L21.

The 67-marker modal DNAs of the subgroups listed above are shown in the following table.

The genetic distances among the 67-marker modal DNAs of the subgroups listed above range between 11 and 20 as shown in the following table. Calculations were made using the FTDNA 111 Mode BETA version of the McGee Utility. The method of computing genetic distance is the hybrid mutation model. If a marker has a null value for one person and a positive value for another, the marker is ignored. So, the genetic distances between the Clan Colla modal and other modals ignore marker 425 and are a little low. As an example, see Colla Versus Niall DNA.

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History Lessons

Verification of Ancient Irish History

DNA testing has verified that Ely Carroll existed in Munster. DNA testing has also corrected some ancient genealogical connections that had historically been thought to exist. South Irish, Brian Boru, and Ely Carroll had previously been thought by some as descended from a common ancestor, Olioll Olum. DNA testing has proven otherwise, as they have different SNPs and significant genetic distances between their modals:

  • 9 between South Irish and Brian Boru,
  • 13 between South Irish and Ely Carroll, and
  • 12 between Brian Boru and Ely Carroll.
The fact that some historic connections are contradicted by DNA should not be taken as a denunciation of all history.

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Deep Ancestry

Patrick McMahon analyzed the geographic distribution of the members of the L21 project at FTDNA in January 2011 and made the following observation.

Assuming today's testers are a random sample, these results support the views put forward by many that the L21 SNP occurred somewhere north of the Alps (about 4,000 years ago) and the L21 population drifted Northwest over time concentrating in the western fringes of the British Isles mainly in Ireland. North of the Alps would most likely be Germany or France where the original (presumed) high numbers would over time be replaced by further waves of migrants or simply driven North by more advanced civilisations.
How they made their way to Ireland is open to conjecture. The shortest sea journey then (3,000 to 4,000 years ago) as now would be from France to Southern England. However, they could have made their way directly to Ireland from Brittany (or via Cornwall or Wales). The figures support the view that there was no significant migration towards the Eastern parts of Europe and only minor ones to Scandinavia and Spain with the main thrust through Northern France to Britain and Ireland. Archaeologists have termed these peoples (and the proto-Collas are part of this population) as 'Bronze-age' Britons.
L21 Map from Eupedia

For a good presentation of the origins, age, spread, and ethnic association of Europeans see The Peopling of Europe and Eupedia. Following is a haplogroup timeline taken from Eupedia. "ybp" is years before the present.

Haplogroup timeline from Eupedia

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How to Explain DNA to Your Family

One of Lee Morton's relatives had asked sometime ago about DNA and the Bowes family. At the time, he wasn't comfortable with DNA itself, but he didn't give up and spent a hours on it, consulting Martha Bowes and myself. Here is what he came up with.

Traditionally, family historians and genealogists research family history using the so-called “paper trail”. They start with preliminary talks with immediate family members which yield varying insights into a particular family’s history. Once in a while, these searchers may “hit it big” by finding significant work already done by a family member. At some point, the researcher must continue the process back in time by following the paper trail.
The paper trail involves searching through various documents looking for life events of ancestors. In no particular order, documents include birth certificates, baptism certificates, marriage records, divorce proceedings, military records, death certificates, cemetery records, newspaper obituaries, City Directories (old telephone books), census records, and many others. Generally, a researcher works through these records from the certainty of known events backwards through time.
More affluent or otherwise well-known ancestors sometimes leave behind a treasure trove of genealogical information in the form of written family histories. The Carroll Family of Ireland and Maryland is a good example. Charles Carroll the Settler (1661-1720) was born and raised in Ireland, was a wealthy land-owner there and came to Maryland in 1688. His son Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702-1782) and Grandson Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) continued the family dynasty in Maryland, mainly through extensive land holdings and farming. Charles Carroll of Carrollton became a highly respected politician in Maryland and was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
When Charles the Settler came to the US in 1688, he brought an Irish manuscript with the genealogy of the O’Carroll Clan which remains in the possession of current-day Carroll descendants. The Carroll history, both in Ireland and Maryland, is covered extensively in a book titled “Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland – A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782” by Ronald Hoffman in collaboration with Sally D Mason, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2000.
According to Hoffman’s book, the Maryland Carrolls were descendants of the Ely O’Carrolls of the Slieve Bloom Mountains which run for about 15 miles across the southeastern part of County Offaly in the Irish Midlands. Quoting Hoffman, Ely O’Carroll was the territory in which the O’Carrolls originally lived in Munster during medieval times. It encompassed parts of the modern counties of Offaly, Northern Tipperary and Laois.
The progenitor of the Carroll branch that produced the Maryland Carrolls was a Chief of Ely named Daniel O’Carroll from Litterluna in the northeast corner of Ballybritt. Daniel’s great-grandson, who died in 1377, was the last of the Litterluna Carrolls to be called a “Chief of Ely”.
The pedigree for Charles Carroll of Carrollton goes back before the creation of surnames in the 10th century AD, so it includes other names besides Carroll including Meagher, Tracey, Flanagan, and Dooley, as well as Bohan and Bowes.
Jeane (Reisinger) Robinson (1948-2013) and I had independently researched our respective Bowes lines for years before we “met” on line about 2008. We both knew that our common great-grandparents were James J Bowes (1850-1896) and Catherine “Kate”(Haley) Bowes (~1859-1905) from Girardville, PA, near Pottsville in Schuylkill County. We also knew that James’ parents were Michael Bowes (1803-1865) and Anna “Nancy” (Wall) Bowes (~1815-1872) who were born in Ireland, and came to the US about 1848, and settled in the Pottsville area.
Jeane herself unearthed a few more major discoveries. She found that Michael Bowes was born February 20, 1803 in the civil parish of Muckalee in County Kilkenny, and his parents were Denis Boe and Mary Delaney. Michael married Anna Walls in Cretinclough, Muckalee, County Kilkenny on March 6, 1832. We don’t know, but possibly Denis and Mary were born there as well, probably in the early to mid 1700’s.
What does DNA have to with genealogy? Well, we are talking about a part of DNA that is handed down from father to son just like surnames. It is called Y-chromosome DNA. Only males have it. Your DNA is contained in the cells of your body. And all the cells in your body have the same DNA, even your spit.
Jeane had just been introduced to DNA and was looking for a male ancestor line from herself back to James Bowes of Girardville. Being a female, Jeane has no Y-DNA and there were no males in her family with a straight line to James Bowes. My DNA would only tell us about Mortons. So we had to find a male Bowes whose father and grandfather, etc. were direct male descendants of James J. Bowes. That’s when we met Tom Bowes. Even though Tom has no interest in genealogy, he agreed to be tested for all of us and we entered the world of DNA with absolutely no knowledge of it nor of what we might discover.
Tom's DNA would not do us any good unless other people with Bowes and related surnames got their DNA tested as well. Fortunately, a company named Family Tree DNA started testing people's DNA in 1999. They are the largest company in the business, and one with an excellent reputation for quality work. FTDNA now has a database of a half million people. That's a small portion of the population, but big enough to be helpful. The database is available to the public online through various projects administered by volunteers approved by FTDNA.
People who have their DNA tested at FTDNA can join multiple projects. A surname project has people with the same or similar surnames but not necessarily the same type of DNA. A DNA-specific project has people with the same DNA but different surnames. One of the first things learned from Y-DNA testing is that there is a variety of DNA types among people with the same or similar surnames. And, there is a variety of surnames among people with the same DNA. The main reason is that surnames were not adopted until the 10th century AD, at which time people who were related took different surnames, usually based on their given name. And a lot of unrelated people had the same given name.
You sign up online for FTDNA, and they deduct the cost from your credit card. They mail you a kit containing scrapers you use to sample your saliva by swabbing inside your cheek. (You don't have to spit!) You return the scrapers in receptacles and a mailer provided in the kit. You get final results on line two months later. The cost depends on how much of your DNA you have tested. You can upgrade later if you find you want to test more than you signed for originally.
Tom signed up for his test in February 2010. When results from his sample came in, I quickly realized I was in way over my head with the technicalities of the DNA science and language, and never learned to interpret the data provided by FTDNA. Luckily, there are volunteers at FTDNA who can do that, especially if there is a group of clients searching for the same ancestor. Luckily again, there was a group interested in the name Bowes.
My first contact was Martha Bowes who was administrator of the Bowes surname project at FTDNA. Later, I became aware that Peter Biggins was working on an Ely Carroll DNA project. Also, Jeane Robinson talked to Martha frequently and was able to work her way through the technicalities and strange DNA language to reach some well-founded conclusions. Jeane stayed close to Martha building an understanding of what Tom’s test meant for us. As Jeane put it: “In our Y-DNA (i.e., Tom’s), we have a gene sequence that came from a man whose ancestors lived in the Ely Carroll area of Ireland. He had a gene mutation that set his descendants apart. The reason we are sure we are from Ely Carroll is because a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton with known roots to the Carroll clan of Ely Carroll, is a DNA match to us. So, if his roots go to Ely Carroll, (there is a paper trail to show that this is true in Irish history), and we are a genetic match to him with this unique mutation in our Y-DNA, then our roots go back Ely Carroll. DNA doesn’t lie, we match.” To be clear, we ourselves do not have a line back to Charles Carroll, but we do have a line back to the Ely Carroll clan.
So, in 2008, a current-day descendant of the Carroll family of Maryland agreed to be tested by FTDNA. Two years later, Tom Bowes had his DNA tested by FTDNA, and the results proved a DNA match between the Carroll and Bowes families. The certainty of DNA proves that beyond a doubt. This is not to say that the Bowes family is descended from the Carrolls – there is no evidence of that. But we are related to them – and therefore to a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
As to when that Bowes – Carroll relationship occurred in time, we have no evidence of that, and may never find it. It could have been 300, 500, a thousand years ago – or more.
The clincher in this study is that Tom's DNA matches not only the Carroll of Maryland DNA but also the DNA of people with other names that are supposed to be descended from Ely Carroll, including Meagher, Tracey, Flanagan, and Dooley.
Lee Morton, October 20, 2013

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Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782
Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782 by Ronald Hoffman, The University of North Carolina Press, 2000 (paperback 2002).

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  • Kevin Carroll has a website at Carroll Roots.
  • Martha Bowes has an Ely Carroll Yahoo Group which has messages, files, and links relating to Ely Carroll. The purpose of the group is to learn about Ely Carroll from material submitted by group members and ask questions of group members. You can send messages to the group, respond to messages submitted by others, add Internet links and files relating to Ely Carroll, and learn from links and files submitted by others.
  • The Ely Carroll DNA Project is designed to attract Ely Carroll descendants, encourage testing pertinent to Ely Carroll DNA, and promote Ely Carroll research.
  • Martha Bowes has a web page that discusses the Bowes Ely Carrolls: Bowes One-Name Study.
  • Tyrone Bowes, a member of our project, has started a business that attempts to help people find where they are from in Ireland. See his Irish Origenes.
  • Peter Carroll, a member of our project, has a web site at South Wales Carrolls with many Ely Carroll links.
  • The Heritage Office of County Offaly has a document on the Ballindarra Castle of Ely Carroll.
  • Jack Wilson maintains a web page on the Maher, Meagher, Mahar Surname.
  • Larry Maher has a Clan Cian-O'Carroll website.

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