Finding a place for the McFaddens in the M222 tree

In my previous post, I mentioned the DNA marker known as M222 and its affiliation with the ancient Irish king Niall of the Nine Hostages.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to briefly read the beginning of that post. It’s an exciting time for the M222+ community as research is being done in an attempt to sort the group into a type of family tree, and thus its an exciting time for many McFaddens as it appears quite a few of us belong in this category.

The research is aimed at locating unique markers within M222.  These types of markers are actually very common and it’s entirely possible that the sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages could have their own identifying markers.  I’m not an expert on the subject, but I believe the odds are better than 50/50 that a new SNP will occur every time a male child is born.  So, in theory, it should eventually be possible to show exactly how the many clans of Ireland and Britain are related to each other.  It should also be possible to determine whether different groups of McFaddens are of the same clan.

ScotlandsDNA broke the news late last year that their Chromo2 test had uncovered a number of SNPs downstream of M222.  Here is a chart compiled by Ian Kennedy of KennedyDNA.com  There are two types of boxes on this chart – names and numbers.  The names are people who have taken the test.  The numbers are SNPs.  You can see everything stems from M222 at the top.

I took the Chromo2 test and recently received my results.  You can find me in the chart under S660/S659.  That means I am S660+, but negative for the SNPs below it that have been discovered so far.  S660 likely occurred about 1500 years ago, so we’re not quite writing the Mac Phaidin origin story just yet.  But we’re getting there.

It’s interesting to note where some of the surnames fall on this chart.  On the far left, you can see McLaughlin, Donnelly, Cain… These are names that have long been associated with the Cenél nEógain, the descendants of Niall’s son Eógan mac Néill.  Then below DF85 you have names like Dougherty, O’Donnell, Boyle… Names associated with the Cenél Conaill, descendants another son of Niall, Conall Gulban.  It seems likely that these markers identify two major branches of not just M222, but the descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages.  Since these markers both stem from S660, does that mean S660 is the real mark of Niall?  It’s possible.

Many more markers will inevitably be found, so it would be unwise to make definitive statements just yet. The S660+ contingent, which includes myself, will just have to wait and see what other branches emerge.  In the meantime, as always, we’ll keep looking for more people willing to join the project.


Posted in DNA Testing, Donegal McFaddens