Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mid Argyll Kinship Group

Mid Argyll circa 1570 (c) Ulster Heritage 2015

Several years ago Y chromosome DNA results revealed that a large group of families from mid Argyll share the same paternal ancestry.  The Mid Argyll Kinship Group is a Y chromosome DNA project that was formed to study these families and to try and better understand their history and origins.  The project's goal is to research the Mid Argyll Kinship Group circa AD 800 to late 1500s. The geographic area of the study is primarily the parish of Kilmichael Glassary and the surrounding districts.

The surnames in the group are Duncan, Gray, Henry, Henrie, McAlpin, McCain, McKane, McKean, McDonald, and McLea.  In Gaelic, Mac Donnchaidh, Glass, Mac Eanruig, Mac Ailpín, Mac Eáin, Mac Dónaill, and Mac an Leagha.  The research is using both STR (short tandem repeats) and SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism)  DNA testing.

The DNA results suggest these families are indigenous to central Scotland and have living in the mid Argyll region for several thousand years.  While it is too early in the research to pronounce any conclusions there are several interesting elements that have appeared.  Several of the families appear in the primary sources beginning in the early 1400s and can be followed to the time of their migration from the area.

The MacAlpin and Henry families perhaps hold the clue to the origins of the entire group.  So many Mac Ailpín families with the same paternal DNA in the geographic region of the historical Mac Ailpín clan opens the possibility that the Cionnead Mac Ailpín descendants have been located and they established many of the prominent Houses that existed in medieval mid Argyll.  The Henrys in the group may link to the historical Mac Eanruig family, a clan from the Loch Awe area.  All the families in the Mid Argyll Kinship Group share the FGC19435 haplogroup which dates to AD 400 to 800.  Many of the participants in the study group and undergoing the Family Tree 'Big Y' test and the chronology to the TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) will be better understood at the completion of this testing.

The participating families that are the FGC19435 haplogroup can be viewed from the link below.  The other families that appear in the results are paternal kin from a pre AD 400 time frame. 

Link to the Mid Argyll Group DNA project:   Mid Argyll Group




Ross Buchanan said...

Very interesting. Will the Big-Y participants share their results with the L21 Yahoo group run by Alex Williamson and Mike Walsh? They are constructing a brilliant family tree for all L21+ Big-Yers. It is interesting to note that some have pointed the Kenneth MacAlpine finger at L1065.

Barry R McCain said...

Ross, George Chandler is handling the Big Y analysis for not only the Mid Argyll Group but also those share an earlier paternal ancestry. His project is

You can contact him via that link. Most of my work is circa AD 1400 to the present. The McCain (Mac Eáin) and McAlpin (Mac Ailpín) families are in the primary sources in mid Argyll, so we do have fairly good data on them. We know they were present there from the 1200s onward. It is very interesting, and does suggest that Coinneach Mac Ailpín's descendants were still around in mid Argyll and they have been located.

Kevin C said...

As the administrator of the Campbell project, I follow fairly closely posts/assertions/hypotheses related to Scottish DNA. I just wanted to post my own hypothesis here and get whatever thoughts are available.

First, it seems that current thought is that L1335+ is a main Scottish DNA SNP.

Within L1335, I am aware of about 10 participants who have been found positive for FGC10125+. Of these, 8 are in the Campbell project and 5 have Campbell surnames and 3 have non-Campbell surnames but have joined because of their large number of STR matches.

All of these 8 participants are in my Campbell Group 30 which is the largest, and what I call “core” Campbell group. This group has my Campbell chiefly lines and almost certainly originated in the Argyll area of Scotland. The first graphic in the link below, shows the UK distribution of the oldest known ancestors for this large Group.

I'd be happy to share STR markers with you to determine if you think you should be tested for FGC10125. Let me know.

The second graphic is from the People of the British Isles (POBI) study. When viewed side-by-side, it seems obvious to me that my Campbell Group 30, and maybe the haplogroup defined by the FGC10125+ SNP, represent a DalRiada grouping.

A more readable version of the POBI graphic can be found here:

Barry R McCain said...

Kevin, very good to hear from you. Clann Chaimbeul is a favourite research topic of mine. I know my family were technically Clann Lachlainn, but we were the Glassary group and in fact, allied to and served as captains, tacsmen, etc., for the Earls of Argyll. In fact, the fifth earl, Giolla Easpuig Donn Caimbeul, sponsored the migration of mid Argyll Redshanks to west Ulster, which is why and how my family and many others from Kilmichael Glassary parish, came to live in the Lagan district of Donegal. The book 'The Laggan Redshanks, The Highland Scots in West Ulster, 1569-1630,' tells the history of Clann Chaimbeul in Donegal. When the firth Earl of Argyll was a young man he campaigned there for the Ó Dónaill clan, interesting history. I will look at the data you posted. Email me anytime, I am always interested in Caimbeul history and DNA results.