The O’Dea/O’Day/Dee (DNA) Project

The 10th International O Dea Clan Gathering, organised by the Dysert O Dea Clan Association (http://odeaclan.org/), will be held in Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland, from Thursday 10 May 2018 to Sunday 13 May 2018, to mark the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Dysert O Dea on 10 May.

In conjunction with the 2018 gathering, we have set up the O’Dea/O’Day/Dee (DNA) Project at: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/o-dea-o-day-dee-project/about

At the clan gathering, Paddy Waldron, co-administrator of the DNA project, will talk about our O Dea DNA, as well as holding a workshop for all who are interested in using DNA for family research. Paddy will explain the various genetic origins of the O Dea surname and the pros and cons of DNA testing, and will show attendees how to make the make the most of testing, including determining whether they descend directly from Conor O Dea who led his clan at the battle in 1318.

This is an appeal to O Deas worldwide (and those with derivative surnames such as O Day and Dee) to submit their DNA for inclusion in the analysis to be presented at the May 2018 clan gathering and also to attend the gathering.

If you are already a customer of FamilyTreeDNA, then all that you need to do is click on the JOIN button at: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/o-dea-o-day-dee-project/about

We invite male clan members and other O Deas who have not already done so to take the FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA37 test (or higher), which can be purchased at a special project rate of USD149 (plus shipping) via https://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=ODeaODayDeeProject#/shoppingCart?pid=1676

If you are female you can’t take the Y-DNA test as you don’t have a Y chromosome. You will need to find a close male relative with the O Dea surname to take the test on your behalf.

For some time now, clan members have had considerable success at establishing our different family trees, as can be seen by the number of family trees that have been submitted to our clan archive in the Local Studies Centre of Clare County Library in Ennis. Most of these are now catalogued and can readily be found and consulted at the library and are also available online to Financial Members of the clan. The diligent research and written records handed down to us by our ancestors, indeed the good memory of somebody in our family or a family connection, all have helped us in our quest to find our relatives. It is a matter that we should all be grateful for and any family that has a member who pursues and compiles such records, is a treasure.

Many clan members have succeeded in pushing the boundaries back to the latter half of the 18th century and have successfully located their ancestors from that period. Beyond that timespan, however, there are few in our O Dea Clan who can go further back in time to claim their ancestors. With this in mind and to tie up some of those yet unconnected and undiscovered ancestors, the DNA project has been established.

Why submit your DNA?

Taking a DNA test today has become more affordable and increasingly popular. Companies such as FamilyTreeDNA and AncestryDNA have been advertising their autosomal DNA kits. Millions of people have put their DNA results in genealogy databases and the numbers are growing every day.

As a surname organisation, we are more interested in the Y-DNA that follows the male line, like the O Dea surname, than in the autosomal DNA that comes equally from both parents and (on average) from all four grandparents, etc.

Whether you have already taken a test or are considering doing so or have taken one but aren’t sure how to interpret the results, there will be something of interest for you at the clan gathering. We hope to meet you there!

How can we use a DNA test?

A DNA test can be very insightful, enabling you to make connections with distant relatives, verify your research and potentially break down brick walls. There are some downsides to bear in mind, however. Firstly, a note of caution. How prepared are you to be surprised? How would you feel if you discovered that your family line wasn’t actually yours? Be prepared to uncover that you might not be genetically related to who you think you are. You might discover illegitimacy or adoption in your recent past that you were unaware of.

Also understand that DNA testing is not a substitute for genealogy research; rather the two approaches help to corroborate each other.

The Y-DNA test doesn’t tell you exactly how you are related to your DNA matches, but just gives you the genetic distance between you. The smaller the genetic distance, the closer the relationship.

What can a Y-DNA test do for me?

For a start, it can help verify your research. It can indicate that you have the correct ancestor, when you match people who also descend from that person. DNA testing can reassure you that your ‘paper research’ is correct. This is a real benefit to testing. Finding matches in the databases will corroborate your research.

Another reason to test is to connect with relatives in the databases. The vast majority of connections will be distant cousins, just because statistically we have many, many more distant cousins than close relatives. Making contact with your newly discovered cousins, particularly those to whom you are more closely related, may assist your research. For example, they may be able to tell you what happened to people who disappeared from your tree, if they are a descendant. They might have family stories or documents that you don’t have. They may have broken through a brick wall that you are confronted with. By working together, you might be more successful in progressing your research than you would be alone.

When you look at the matches you may also get tantalising clues that you can explore further. For example, you might find that locations keep coming up. While you might not think you have anyone in your tree from that village or town (or even country!), this may be an indication that in fact you do.

There are challenges thrown up by DNA testing. As well as the potential shock of finding that your tree isn’t right or discovering paternity surprises, a downside is that making the most of the results can be time consuming. It may be fairly obvious how you are connected to some people, but often it isn’t and working out how you are, takes time. Many people in the database will not have a public tree or maybe have not done any genealogy at all, so unless you contact them and they are responsive, many matches can be a dead-end.

Having an O Dea Y-DNA database will be an obvious help to many in the clan. So we encourage as many members as possible to take the test.

James O Dea
Paddy Waldron
Co-administators, O’Dea/O’Day/Dee (DNA) Project

Post expires at 23:59 on Sunday 13 May 2018

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