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Ireland is one of Scotland's closest neighbours, and their shared heritage runs deep; it is reflected in surnames (Mac or Mc?), language (Gaelic) and not to forget their national drink (Whisky or... More
Anybody who has taken a simple painless commercial ancestral Y-DNA test (which only explores your paternal ancestry) will potentially have matched many people with lots of different surnames, and... More
Don Anderson, who is an adoptee from Oregon, has released a book which is a must read for all adoptees wishing to uncover the identities of their birth parents. Its also a must read for anyone... More
The DNA does not lie and upon commercial ancestral DNA testing the people who appear as a genetic match to you share a common ancestor with you, it is merely a matter of when that shared ancestor... More
A Sample DNA Case Study which shows how the NEW Scottish Origenes Surnames, Clans, Castles and DNA maps can be used together with a simple painless commercial ancestral DNA test to rediscover your... More
DETAILING the origin of approximately 4,000 different Scottish surnames, the Medieval territories of 400 of the most prominent Scottish Clans and Families, and the precise location of 1000 Scottish... More
Surname distribution mapping reveals that the Graham surname is associated with Scotland and bordering English Counties. Since farmers with each surname still concentrate in the area where one’s... More
The beauty with the DNA approach to researching one’s ancestral origin is that the DNA does not lie! The area identified in an Irish, Scottish, English or Welsh Origenes personalised DNA report can... More
Surnames evolve over both time and distance, and change usually at the whim of an administrator who simply records an unfamiliar surname as he hears it. In this manner similar sounding surnames... More
The New Scottish Origenes ‘Scottish Surnames and DNA Map’ can now be purchased by clicking here. The map details the precise origin of approximately 4,000 Surnames that are associated with Scotland... More
At Family Tree DNA’s  annual conference in 2012 I presented results demonstrating that the Scottish 'Valentines' were descended from a MacGregor who had changed his surname sometime in the early... More
I’ve been busy recently doing Case Studies and working on a Surnames and Y-DNA Map of Scotland (previewed here). But this Valentine Case Study is one of my all-time favourites and I’d like to share... More
Paternally inherited surnames first appeared in Scotland in an agricultural based society. Since land ownership, or rather farmland tends to be handed down from father to son through the generations... More
On the 9th of May I gave a talk at the request of Irishgathering.ie to the ‘Sons of the American Revolution’ who were visiting Ireland. It was there that I met Charles McMillan. Charles had taken a... More
The more genetic markers one shares with another individual who has also taken a commercial ancestral Y-DNA test, then the more recent one’s common male ancestor lived. Hence matches at the 67 and... More
Sometimes a quite remarkable Y-DNA Case Study comes along that I will try my best to get published in a Genealogical magazine. The latest one published in Family Tree Magazine details the Paterson... More
I recently completed one of the most in-depth genetic genealogy Case Studies for a gentleman based on the Isle of Man called Bill Henderson. He had contacted me to do a free analysis on his Y-DNA... More
Every successful Irish, Scottish, or English Origenes Case Study tells an interesting story, some like the Durkin Case Study are easy to solve, others like the MacKenzie Case Study which features in... More
I was a guest speaker for Family Tree DNA at the 2013 Who Do You Think You Are LIVE event in London. The slides for that talk can now be downloaded by CLICKING HERE. This is my second set of talks... More
Mr McReynolds contacted me hoping that I would be able to interpret his commercial ancestral Y-DNA test results and help to solve the mystery as to the origins of his McReynolds ancestors. After the... More
I was invited by the world’s largest commercial ancestral DNA testing Company 'Family Tree DNA' to give a talk entitled 'Pinpointing a Geographical Origin' at their 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy... More
The Royal house of Scotland sprang from the Kings of the Scots, who constituted only one of the 6 peoples inhabiting the modern lands of Scotland. Yet when Kenneth, son of Alpin, united the Picts and... More
When one thinks of Scottish surnames, one almost always thinks of those that begin with Mc’ or Mac.’ This is an over simplification as Scottish surnames are quite diverse and reflect the various... More
Scotland was first settled roughly 10,000 years ago after the end of the last ice age. The first reference to the people of Scotland comes from Roman sources that referred to the people north of... More

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Clan MacKenzies Norman-Irish Roots as Revealed by Commercial Ancestral DNA Testing

Every successful Irish, Scottish, or English Origenes Case Study tells an interesting story, some like the Durkin Case Study are easy to solve, others like the MacKenzie Case Study which features in the current issue of Family Chronicle Magazine take a lot of work involving research of the historical records for the surname from the medieval period. Since these records are so old their content has fallen into the realms of myths and legends and are all too often dismissed. This is indeed true for Clan Mackenzie who’s founding ancestor was actually recorded as a ‘Peregrinus et Hibernus noblis ex familia Geraldinorum’ or ‘a noble stranger and Hibernian of the family of the Geraldines,’ being driven from Ireland with a considerable number of followers in about 1261, was received graciously by king Alexander III, and remained at court. Colin Fitzgerald and his followers subsequently aided the Scots against the Vikings at the battle of Largs in 1263, for which he was rewarded the lands of Kintail, his descendants and his follower eventually became known as the MacKenzie’s.

Historically the Normans repeated a pattern of conquest and settlement, which sometimes involved assimilating the language, culture, and surnames of the people they conquered (and married into). In addition they very often took new surnames based upon, and in honour of prominent members of established families. Take for example the Norman Prendergast Family. They arrived in England in 1066AD with William the Conqueror, were granted lands in Wales which they completely vacated for new lands acquired in the Conquest of Ireland which began in 1169AD. In Ireland the Prendergast’s settled mainly in Wexford, Kerry, and Mayo. In Kerry and Mayo they adopted new surnames like Fitzmorris/Fitzmaurice and McMorris, the latter after they had completely adopted Irish ways and customs. Given this constant pattern of conquest and settlement it can be very difficult to pinpoint one’s Norman ancestors to a single specific area based on Y-DNA matches. However, in Ireland the highest density of people with Norman surnames are still found in County Wexford where the Normans first stepped ashore in 1169AD. It was County Wexford that was key to cracking the true founding of Scottish Clan MacKenzie, you can read the full Case Study report here. What will your DNA reveal? To find out contact me here for your FREE CONSULTATION

Irish Origenes

English Origenes