Through DNA research: Finding one’s true surname & origin

March 20th, 2012 by Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain

Garry Bryant & Brian BoruI’m one of the few who became interested in genealogy when a child. I would sit beside my great-grandmother and ask her to tell me stories about her parents and her grandparents. Her answer wasn’t encouraging, “I really don’t have much to tell, my parents and family never talked about themselves very much.”

Years later while in the military during the Vietnam War, I spent one weekend writing down the various stories I had heard in my youth, and didn’t think about it much till after I left the military in 1976.

Upon returning home to Boulder, Colorado, I was looking out my bedroom window one afternoon which looked over a portion of the city, at which time my grandmother Vivian Alcorn (traced the Alcorn lineage to 1788 to Glenveagh, Donegal, Ireland) passed the room and entered saying, “You look depressed. What’s wrong?” I told her that of the 60,000 men and women who died in Vietnam, I’m sure some of them would have liked to live, and it’s a shame that I can’t trade places with one of them.” At her suggestion she encourage that I do my genealogy, which has put me on a 30 plus year love affair which has turned into a passion for family history and Gaelic culture.

Rebirth Through Genealogy

After years of research and having nothing but brick walls left, I decided to put things together and publish my findings. I have to admit that in the beginning was the hope that I could link into nobility, but all I was finding was a bunch of dirt farmers and miners. One evening with all my charts spread out I noticed a pattern emerging. Perhaps there wasn’t any noble blood, but there were noble spirits. Thirteen fore-fathers had served in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), and I was the twenty-sixth in the lineage to have served in an American war. Plus another sixteen had served as ministers. One minister was thrown into prison for treason against the British Crown in 1773 his crime was being a “dissenting minister” in Virginia.

On 19 September 1993, I suffered a massive brain-stem stroke, the kind that usually happens in two kinds of accidents: 1) a head on auto crash at 90 miles an hour, or 2) a pro football lineman on an NFL football team, who buts head with another player. Neither had happened to me. While in the ICU for the first four days and dying, I remember a voice in my head saying, “In you flows the blood of a warrior. You are a descendent of the great High-King Brian Boru. Fight, Fight!” Over the next month in the hospital I had come up with a plan to re-form the O’Brien Clan of Ireland. There was no clan society in existence. It was time to establish one.

Why O’Brien? My parents were divorced when I was eighteen months old. I met my father for the first time when I was ten, and in that meeting I was informed that the surname had once been O’Bryan (whatever spelling). That my 3rd great-grandfather was John O’Bryan, who with his wife Mary, left Ireland and came to Canada about 1830 for religious freedom being devout Catholics. John and Mary’s son, William, ran away from home at around age fifteen, because his parents wanted him to become a priest, yet William had other ideas, and when he left home dropped the “O’” of O’Bryan, and added a “t.” Such is the story of how the surname was changed. I remember being in the hospital bed, angry. I would like to meet Grandpa William and punch him in the nose, for when he dropped the “O’” the family lost its Gaelic birthright. My birthright, my family’s identity!

For some folks that identity isn’t wanted. I was walking in a mall parking lot and overheard a young teenage girl ahead of me say to her mother, “I hate our name, Mackinnon! The mac says to everyone what my origin is.” I wanted to stop her and say, “Never be ashamed of your surname! Do you not know that the Mackinnons were the hereditary physicians to a clan chief in the Highland’s of Scotland?” I envied her because her surname did cry unto the world, “I’m a Scot!” My surname didn’t. Was I O’Brien, a Bryan, or a Bryant? I’d do almost anything to know.

Finally the winds began to stir, and an acquaintance of mine, Patrick O’Shea, traveled in the summer of 1996 to the Emerald Isle, where he met Sir Conor O’Brien, The O’Brien, Chief of the Clan O’Brien. Patrick told him that I was working on creating a clan society, and Sir Conor gave him his business card and told him to pass it on to me, which he did.

A few months later in January of 1997, PBS (Pubic Broadcast Station) in conjunction with KBYU, aired the first program titled ANCESTORS (my Straughan/Strachan family history was program six). ANCESTORS, was a ten part series, that became the most subscribed PBS program in PBS history. A large genealogical conference was held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the fall of 2002, where a group from BYU (Brigham Young University) was soliciting blood donations to build a DNA database. I was use to getting needle pricks so I volunteered. In the following years I read with interest the new avenues being created with genealogy and DNA research. Even read the book Seven Daughters of Eve, by Oxford professor Alan Sykes, which I found fascinating. Often, I wished to try the DNA surname projects but couldn’t afford the cost.

Killernan Graveyard, Kevin O'Brien 1981Then in 1997 & 1998 I met with Sir Conor O’Brien. He extended his patronage and support to the project; joining the executive board was one Kevin J. O’Brien of Buffalo, New York. Kevin and I spent hours on the phone and emails building the “O’Brien Clan of North America.”
I was envious of Kevin’s heritage, for he could trace his O’Brien heritage back into County Clare, Ireland, to about 1760, and still had family he was in communication with who live near Killarnan. His family came from just down the road from the now ruined Leamaneh Castle, famous as the home of the infamous Maire Rue O’Brien.

At the turn of the century in 2000, I got a phone call from a Mr. Mike O’Brien who lived in California. He didn’t like the webpage of the O’Brien’s, for it wasn’t updated as much as he would like, so he created his own group. Not wanting to have two clan societies, Kevin and my-self shut down the O’Brien Clan of North America, and went our separate ways.

O’Brien DNA

Yet over the years I have wondered if I really was of the blood of King Brian Boru. There was the family tradition, Federal census records, and William’s death certificate, all stated that William Bryant’s parents were from Ireland, and that his native tongue was Irish. But branches of the Anglo Bryan’s and Bryant’s went to Ireland too. So what is my surname origin? Which ethnic blood flowed in my veins?

The first weekend of May in 2007, Kevin O’Brien called several times, but I was away at the North-West Sectional Olympic Fencing Tournament in charge of the armoury. When I returned home I was told that a Kevin O’Brien had called, several times. On Monday night, Kevin called and informed me that he was often at the O’Brien Clan internet site and was one of the first six to sign up for the DNA surname project conducted by Family Tree. Currently there were 89 in the project, he said. Of those 89, only one file matched closely to the O’Brien baseline that was being used and that DNA belonged to Kevin! Who then informed me that a week ago he was looking up O’Brien matches at the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy site and came across my pedigree, for he recognized the ancestral names from an article I had written for the late O’Brien Clan journal titled Lamh Laidir. This was news to me. One of the conditions in volunteering for the DNA project years earlier was that one would not receive any data about the outcome. The fact that my pedigree showed up was of no concern to me, my name and all those still living named on the chart were protected. Kevin instructed me to type in the surname of Bryant, when the DNA markers were displayed he had me change a few of the marker numbers, and switch the search from surname to “search by match (%).” What now was displayed on the computer monitor would blow me away. Of the 37 DNA markers being displayed, Kevin’s chart and my chart matched 37 out of 37! The first O’Brien file was that of his cousin who still lived in Ireland, the other O’Brien file was Kevin’s. He then said, “I remember you wondering if you really were an O’Brien, well you are cousin!” Trisha Tolley of Sorenson informed me that within eight to ten generations (1600-1720) Kevin and I descended from the same ancestor.

Kevin continued to search the DNA databases and in 2009 another O’Brien match was found. The O’Brien Clan database has grown to over 150 participants, and Anne O’Brien matched Kevin and me 100% at 37 markers. Anne’s father, Frank O’Brien, had immigrated to America in the early 1960s, and was from Cusheen, some ten miles east of Ennis. Here she has traced her lineage back to 1800. She has gone a step further and had her DNA done to 67 markers which helps narrow down relationships. Kevin also has recently extended his markers to 67, and he and Anne have only one marker different, indicating that they are very closely related. To further this story, should be Dennis O’Brien of Australia, who at 37 markers is only two markers off of Kevin, Garry and Anne. Indicating that further back at about 1480-1540, they share a common ancestor. Dennis’ family is from north-east section of Limerick.

Another O’Brien has been added to the Killarnan extended lines. Bernard O’Brien of New Zealand is one marker off of 37. His family’s origin in Ireland is a couple miles west of Killarnan. And another Australian, Pete O’Brien, his ancestors were a couple miles east of Killarnan. And John O’Brien of Florida, his ancestors came from eastern Clare and he is one marker off of 37. It appears that Kevin, Anne, Garry, Bernard, Pete, John, and Dennis are from the same O’Brien branch, proved through DNA. What would be interesting is to see if the O’Brien lineage of American CNN reporter/anchor Soledad O’Brien connects into this line too. Soledad’s O’Brien line is said to come live within a mile of Killarnan.
Enter your DNA results at
ysearch.org (Y chromosome results)
mitosearch.org (mtDNA results)
www.dna.ancestry.com

You should also consider posting the news of your DNA research on genealogy boards and forums like:
http://genforum.genealogy.com
http://boards.rootsweb.com

Kevin’s research has shown that his O’Brien family, were not native to Killarnan, that they came from the east before 1760, probably during the Cromwell transplants. Garry has the theory that the four lines descend from the Mac-I-Brien Arra branch of the O’Brien’s of Dromoland when the families split during the O’Brien inter-clan war that ended in the battle of Dysart O Day in 1318. Having no one with proof of descent from the Mac-I-Brien Arra to use as a baseline for DNA markers, this remains only a theory. (See this website for a recent discovery in DNA research markers identifying the descendants of the Dál gCais Tribe of Thomond; and the author’s [Dennis Wright] email at info@irishtype3dna.org).

The only problem with this story is that the DNA markers have done their job in providing data where the paper trail fails. So what is the problem? This wets the appetite to know more and the data doesn’t exist for more information to find additional connections.

What is important is discovering the right birthright. The real surname! Guess that voice of long ago was right; I do have the blood of a warrior, and I am a “son” of King Brian Boru.

P.S. – However, my good wife won’t let me change the surname back!

51 Responses to “Through DNA research: Finding one’s true surname & origin”

  • Patrick M OBrien Says:

    Very interesting idea. Who does one contact for thew testing . Who interprets the results? How long does the process take — from test to results. What is the approximate cost ? Will the results tell you from what part of the family line you might be from–area of the country ? Lots of interesting questions I would like to explore further.

    [Reply]

  • Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Says:

    Patrick: There are many companies that do the testing. The O’Brien Surname Project is with FamilyTree DNA. The cost varies upon how many markers are tested. I’d suggest a minimum of 37 marker test, but the 67 marks is more data. Roughly a 37 marker test is about $200. They will help interpet the data. As for what section of the O’Brien tree, one needs to get with Dennis Wright who has ploted out the 200 participants.

    [Reply]

    LEOBrien Reply:

    How can I get in touch with Dennis Wright?

    [Reply]

    Paul O'Brien Reply:

    Is the email in the post not working? info@irishtype3dna.org

    [Reply]

    Lynda O'Brien Reply:

    Thank you Paul.

  • mjames Says:

    my O’Brian family came from Drummond, in the 1850′s I am decended from a Patrick O’Brian born 1820 or so..how many could there be…oh wait…alot! lol

    [Reply]

    Paul O'Brien Reply:

    More than a few!

    [Reply]

  • Ryan Patrick Guthmiller (Morris) Says:

    My wife has been digging into the genealogy on my fathers side which I know absolutely nothing about, however, O’Brien seems to be the lineage from that side of the coin and now I am interested in finding out just how deep that relation may or may not be. Is FamilyTree DNA fairly accurate in their determinations and findings?

    [Reply]

  • Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Says:

    Ryan – FamilyTree DNA is accurate, but it won’t help you in your case because your surname is not O’Brien. To find out the O’Brien line you need to determine if that ancestor has a brother living or a direct made descendant who can do the Ysurname DNA search. Only males carry this DNA.

    [Reply]

    John J. Hart Reply:

    My Grandmothers name was Lucy O Brien born in Cashel in the County of Tipperary 1909. Her father was Edmond O Brien of the same location. I was always told that we were related to Brian Boru and that my grandma was the last of the descendants to be able to be buried in the cemetery within the rock of Cashel compound. I have know idea if that is true, either items really, but am interested in 37 to 67 marker test if it help me figure out my heritage. Thanks for the info, I will check it out…My 14 year old daughter would be very pleased as she is reading novels about Brian Boru.

    [Reply]

    John Hurley Reply:

    Hi John,my great grandmother was Lucy o brien,I’m researching my family tree ,can I ask who she married,
    Yours sincerely
    John Hurley
    Co limerick

    [Reply]

    Peter R O'Brien Reply:

    My gr.gr.grandfather Thomas O’Brien wed Catherine Dunphy before 1810; had two known children -
    John, baptized 22 June 1811 & Michael b. 14 Sept 1820 in St. John the Baptist church in Cashel -
    Thomas was a merchant and lived on the main street – Both boys came to America in the 1840′s, farmed, died and buried French Creek, Allamakee co. Iowa – Would like to compare notes with you -
    Peter R O’Brien – email pobrien1@socal.rr.come -
    Have 67 marker DNA -

    [Reply]

  • Dennisob Says:

    Thank you Garaidh for your story.

    It’s funny how we often do not remember the stories of the “older” generation. I too was lucky to know most of my great Aunts and Uncles. It was the womenfolk who were the best at telling the family story. Fortunately one of them wrote a book, which she gave to me when I was 15. It started a near 50 year search.

    Also, like Kevin I also have a 4th cousin who resides in the same Limerick County cottage that was built in the 1820′s by my o’Brien ancestors.

    In regard to DNA; I would encourage any person with the name O’Brien or one of the variations to get their DNA tested, preferably through FTDNA. this is becasue we have started to get great deal of information and data collection. We currently have around 200 good results registered but we need 10 times that. We also need Irish results, at this time there are about 5 Irishman in the system.

    Thanks to Sir Conor, and the finding of the L226 link, we have a base line to work with so we can make reasonable assumptions about how the various O’Brien’s are connected. However there needs to be an understanding that not all O’Brien’s come from King Brian. There were other O’Brien clans around.

    I really hope that this new Clan site will start generating more interest. I’m happy to assist anyone who has questions.

    The search has only started.

    [Reply]

  • james blocker Says:

    where, in north carolina, is a Bryan Clan of America i can join?

    thank you,

    james blocker

    jmsbo203@centurylink.net

    [Reply]

    Paul O'Brien Reply:

    Our experience for local chapters, here, is brand new James so though there may not be anyone in them online, we have email addresses in each and are introducing everyone to the new online experience. Get in the N. Carolina chapter here: http://obrienclan.com/community/chapter?gid=53
    More will follow and please, invite your family!

    [Reply]

  • Joe Kelly Says:

    You guys seem to forget the only other Irish Clan to support King Brian was the Clan Ó Ceallaigh of Ui Maine.
    We also lost many men, including our King, Main Mor Ó Ceallaigh, and his son.
    Our own DNA research clearly shows the Ó Brien’s were/are genetically related to the Ó Ceallaigh Clan.

    Joe Kelly
    Ireland

    [Reply]

  • Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Says:

    It is really hard to find interested members of the clan in your area. In 1998 I sent letters of invitation to every O’Brien (various spellings)on the Wastach Front (Utah) to meet and form a local chapter of the O’Brien Clan. Not one person showed up. So if you find know one hang in there, or you be the first to start the local chapter.

    [Reply]

  • kathiweb Says:

    I am fascinated with this talk of O’Brien DNA testing. Is it more accurate with male descendants with O’Brien surname or does it also work with female descendants. My great grandfather was an O’Brien born in Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare. My great great grandfather was born in Ahnameadle, County Tipperary.

    [Reply]

  • Desmond O'Brien Says:

    Hello fellow O’Briens! I’m first generation Irish born in London! My dad was from Lismore Co Waterford! I would like to take part in the DNA project! All my fathers side of the family live in the province of Munster as far as I am aware for centuries! Any info would be very helpful to me! And I’ve always had great pride in my family name! Deasuin O’Briain

    [Reply]

  • Dennis O'Brien Says:

    Hi Desmond
    Its fairly simple; go to “www.ftdna.com” order a test kit, I would recommend the 37 markers; register as a member of the O’Brien Surname Project”; and after completing the test and sending it back,within a few months you will get your results. As the Administrator of the project I will keep an eye on the result to see what it shows.
    Go for it

    [Reply]

    Judith OBrien Reply:

    Dennis,
    I’m only child (female)and father, grandfather, great-grandfather all deceased. I DO have a son. Should I order kit for male line and have him take the test? Would that work since his father is not O’Brien? Please advise. Thanks.
    Judy O’Brien
    jobrien42@att.net

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    Judith,
    A female O’Brien needs to have a brother, father, uncle, male O’Brien cousin, etc., to do the DNA Y-chromosome test. The Y-chromosome is only passed from father to son. Since your son has a non O’Brien surnamed father, the Y-chromosome test will not work for him.

    [Reply]

    DonOBrien Reply:

    There is no downside to 67 markers? The O’Brien Surname project will still know if I only match at 37? Since I only have records back 4 generations to my ancestors once in Mass, USA, I’d love clues to who/where my great-great grandparents might be related to or came from.

    [Reply]

  • William OBrien Says:

    Hello. My name is William. I’m trying to make a family tree for my daughter unfortunately I have not had much luck on the O’Brien side. I’m told my great grand father James Paddriac (or Pattrick) O’Brien came to the U.S. before the 1916 rising but returned shortly before to fight but all I have to go one is my grand father’s stories. I was wondering if any one has used Anscestry.com? If so was it helpful?

    [Reply]

  • Jack Joseph O'Brien Says:

    My father’s name is Joseph Patrick O’Brien. His family is from Boston/Rhode Island, and all I know is that we were one of the first Irish families to come to the ‘new world’. Additionally, we found out that we married into an aristocratic English family called Atwood. Apparently, there were two Members of Parliament, two knights, including the chief of the Kings guards, and later, the keeper of the Kings stables in my family, which was ‘verified by a genealogist’, or so it appears on the family tree he drew up for us. Ironically, our aristocratic privileges seem to have been revoked due to my ancestors marrying into an English family. And honestly, it’s all down hill from there! If any of you could somehow tell me more I would not only be interested, but impressed. Unfortunately, I am not in contact with the O’Brien side of my family, as my parents are divorced and my dad sucks.

    [Reply]

  • Adrian Martyn Says:

    “The only problem with this story is that the DNA markers have done their job in providing data where the paper trail fails. So what is the problem? This wets the appetite to know more and the data doesn’t exist for more information to find additional connections.” That’s not quite true! There is a huge amount of information in sources such as the Gaelic-Irish (and Anglo-Irish) annals, especially on the Uí Briain! And almost all of them are now online at http://143.239.128.67/celt/

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    True there are other sources, but mainly if one can’t find data in parish registers, land deeds, the paper trail dries up quickly. It is evident that Kevin O’Brien’s family in western Clare came from somewhere else before 1750, but the paper documents don’t exist anymore. Kevin and I are 100% matches at 43 DNA markers. Reading local histories and talking to old folks in the area he learned that his O’Brien’s came from somewhere else. The various annals are good only for prominent families.

    [Reply]

  • Heidi Eady Says:

    I would like to know how to find out the O’Brien name DNA with Ancestry DNA. I did the Ancestry DNA and they send me possible generations I could compair but not going back very far. It would be impossible to find the link. I don’t think I could upload it to compair there are no numbers.

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    Heidi,
    Contact Dennis with your numbers and use the YSearch site. My tests were done by SMGF who have since merged with ancestry.com. Just before that happened I did some search and didn’t get the same results as I had a few years earlier. SMGF contacted me that some of their numbers had changed for certain markers and sent me an update which had many of the earlier search results plus new ones. So yes it can work with modifications. Contact Dennis for details.

    [Reply]

  • James Vincent O'Brien III Says:

    I am a member of both The O’Brien project and the R226 project. Would be glad to share my Family tree and DNA results with fellow O’Briens. My clan in Chicago back to the 1870′s and Ireland before that. E mail is w4amp at att.net

    [Reply]

  • Dana E. O'Brien Says:

    Okay, what am I? My mother was a McBrien (JoAnne R) born in Burlington, Iowa and my father was a O’Brien (Dennis Earl, or Obe as he was always called) born in Hannibal, Missouri, As a young girl, I thought that dad and mom had to be related. But there is no doubt, that I got a double dose of ‘Brien. I’ve had a devil of a time getting information on family history as there were grandfathers who abandoned family,etc. I wish I could do a dna test, but I am female.

    If anyone recognizes these names, please contact me.

    Slainte!
    -Day O’Brien
    Denver,Colorado

    [Reply]

  • Cathy Merritt Says:

    Hi. My father, Ronald O’Brien, just did a DNA test through Ancestry.com. Is there some way that we can get those results and use them on The O’Brien project to see what line of the O’Brien’s we come from and find other O’Brien’s we are related to? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • keith o brien Says:

    just curious , have any of the current o briens of thomond, participated in the dna project or is there some reference / marker for them.., just because im an o brien, doesnt necessarily follow that i descend from brian boru.. different branches / spelling, name changes , etc etc.. ive got back as far as 1780 on the o brien side , theres a big gap to brian borus time !! itd be nice to have a reference..

    [Reply]

  • Catherine O'Briant Says:

    Thank you for sharing. For me my earliest recorded paternal lineage is 6th ggrandfather patriarch Patrick O’Briant b. Aug 1740–d. 1806 Granville Co., NC. Patrick’s place of birth has not been proven yet. It was rumored that his family were indenture servants coming to America to avoid persecution in Ireland. His death is documented by the Administrators of his estate listing his wife and all his children. NARA record submitted dated 1827 Family Frazier-O’Briant Bible 4 pages indicates my earliest known O’Briant. The (t) was added to the surname to symbolize the “cross” and their Religious Protestant faith upon coming to America. Purchased property in 1769 a part of Virginia now known as North Carolina. Patrick O’Briant ancestors were a part of the early founding settlers of Feb. 1772 Granville Co., NC purchasing 350 acres. Enlisted Aug 1777: Patrick and 5 of his sons were Patriot supporters of America’s Independence against Britain. All served during the Revolutionary War and documented with the Natl Archives in DC. Patrick O’Briant including family ancestors are written in “The History of Granville County North Carolina” along with several sourced documents of Genealogy. Now with the resources of science I found out my male yDNA is along with 4 of my dad’s cousins which is R1b1a2a1a1b4h R-L226 Irish 03e group. This is so interesting to learn! Blessings be, Cat

    [Reply]

    Erin O'Briant Reply:

    Hi Cat!
    I’m pretty sure we are cousins, as my father’s family is from North Carolina, and I have seen our O’Briant ancestors on the 1790 census. How interesting about the Revolution! I had no idea. Also, what is the meaning of the Irish 03e group? I just happened upon this while browsing – lovely coincidence.

    Best,
    Erin

    [Reply]

    Catherine O'Briant Reply:

    Hello Erin,

    Based on the our same spelling and locations I certainly agree :)

    R1b1a2a1a1b4h R-L226 Irish 03 is one of many DNA researching groups focusing on the Dalcassian clans, and descendants of Cormac Cas and Brian Boru Genealogy.

    From the myFTDNA website http://www.familytreedna.com/public/R-L226_Project/default.aspx Group C (459b=8, 395S1b=15, 481=23)
    these website can explain specifically …basically what it’s saying including my own yDNA there’s 5 submitters at present that tested positive towards a DNA link to the lineage of Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig (aka: King Brian Boru)

    That’s still a far cry from where my researching has stalled because the last significant documentation I’ve been able to verify are those mentioned earlier in the above message

    If you should be interested in comparing our family lineage you can find my O’Briant Genealogy on Ancestry.com

    Regards, Cat =^. .^=

    [Reply]

    Don O'Briant Reply:

    My grandfather, Samuel Herod O’Briant, was born in 1893 in Durham, N.C. According to our family tree, he was a descendant of Patrick O’Briant from Granville County.

    [Reply]

  • jwob3 Says:

    Hello cousins!
    my 3rd G-Grandfather Dennis O’Brien was born in Kilrush, Clare about 1828, according to his death certificate his parents’ names were John and Elizabeth.
    we’re an imaginative crew! John -> Dennis -> Dennis -> John A. -> John W.sr -> JohnW.jr -> Me :)
    7 generations…… two names….. (of course, typical large irish families, my dad was the oldest of 7, etc…)
    Dennis left Kilrush in 1846 and joined the 88th Regiment of Foot (A REDCOAT! GHAST!!) married Ellen Cummings in Stockport, England, fought in the Crimean war and was shot in the ass… (ball puncture of left femur and buttock the record claims) unfit for service he was mustered out the the British Army, managed to have two daughters and then move the family (mother-in-law and Ellen’s brothers in tow) to Rhode Island (in the middle of our Civil War) and they settled in Fall River, MA (where one of Ellen’s Cummings nephews would become a popular mayor)
    i hope some day to visit Kilrush and hopefully learn more about John and Elizabeth (other than their names!) and i fully plan on at least doing the 67 marker DNA test (if not the comprehensive) once i can scrape some extra cash together…… the newest addition to my branch of the O’Brien Clan, Molly Elizabeth, is only 4 months old and formula/clothes are taking up any spare income i have at the moment….

    [Reply]

    Kevin J O'Brien Reply:

    Descendant of Dennis,
    I would like to see your Y-DNA results as my O’Brien family is within 15 miles of Kilrush. I have 6 different O’Brien families from the area that all show a common ancestor in the O’Brien Group of FTDNA.
    I will be looking for your results.
    Slan,
    Kevin J. O’Brien

    [Reply]

    jwob3 Reply:

    My more recent family is growing…. 9 month old and twins on the way :)
    Once I can scrape a few extra nickels together I’ll be doing the testing…
    How many markers did you get tested to?

    [Reply]

    Kevin J O'Brien Reply:

    I did the 67 marker. Eventually you may want to get the 67 but you can start with the 12 marker and see what you look like.
    There will be a Y-DNA sale for O’Brien’s in April for the Celebration of the Battle of Clontarf 1000 years of Brian Boru’s death.

    Kevin

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    One can begin with 12, and on a sale go to 37 markers, or wait for the sale and go for the 37 markers to start. I did the 12 then 37. Congrats on the upcoming twins!

  • Nicolette O'Brien Says:

    Can a female take dna test? I get confused with all the science stuff :)

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    No Nicolette, females do not have the Y chromosome which is used in surname search. You will need to have a brother, uncle, father, grandfather, or male cousin who have the surname of O’Brien (however spelled). Sign with Family Tree-DNA the O’Brien surname project.

    [Reply]

  • Phyllis Bryant Says:

    Hello, I am a Bryant living in Robeson County, North Carolina, listed as a Native American. We had my father’s DNA tested and it showed that his earliest ancestor was Irish. Not the Atlantic Irish Group that came over in the mid 1800′s but another group they are not sure what his subgroup would be. My Dad’s family has been here a long time.

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    No Nicolette, females do not have the Y chromosome which is used in surname search. You will need to have a brother, uncle, father, grandfather, or male cousin who have the surname of O’Brien (however spelled). Sign with Family Tree-DNA the O’Brien surname project.

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    Sorry Phyllis for the wrong response.

    I don’t know what to tell you. Go to the Ysearch site and post your DNA marker numbers in and see what matches come up.Go to http://www.ysearch.org/

    [Reply]

  • Timothy O'Brien Says:

    This is an awesome site! My father is Paul O’Brien and my grandfather was Leo O’Brien. All of us are from Boston…big surprise! The newest addition to my family tree is my four year old son, Colin O’Brien.

    My father has done a lot of geneology research but there’s only so far back he can go. I just ordered the DNA test and am eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I’d like to do what I can with the results to help out the registry. Please let me know what needs to be done. Some of the info on this site is a couple of years old.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    Person to get in contact with is Dennis O’Brien or Kevin O’Brien, they are in charge of the DNA project. You can contact them here at this site.

    [Reply]

  • ELIA MARGARET OBRIEN Says:

    i am margaret obrien. i just received my dna from ancestry.com. i dont know what to do? my father is timothy allan obrien. i am (female) the one who did the dna test and 1st one the list~ “irish” ethnicity. trying to see where this will go…i can not go further than my great grand father John Michael OBrien who lived in Alabama….what do you advice.

    [Reply]

    Garaidh Eóghan Ó Briain Reply:

    Contact Kevin O’Brien/Dennis O’Brien for they are the directors of the DNA study.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply