Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress at DNA Project--updated Feb 2009

Feb 2009 update--we now have located the Irish homeland of DNA project member C-42: his ancestor Joseph Cullen was born in 1870 in Loughgall in northern County Armagh. This is right in the middle of the large "Lough Neagh" cluster of Cullen, another member is C-37, whose ancestors are from Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone

Both C-42 and C-37 belong to the "Northwest Irish" group called R-M222, which is associated with "Niall of the Nine Hostages". Perhaps these two members represent different families who took the Cullen name independently centuries ago, but there is some DNA evidence that indicates they are descended from a single Cullen ancestor. So for now, I am placing them both in our "Lough Neagh" lineage, but we need to test more Cullens from Armagh and Tyrone to confirm this.

After about 2.5 years organizing the Cullen DNA project, we are starting to make some satisfying connections. This month we saw a match between one of our original members who is an Irish-American Cullen with roots in County Waterford, and an Irish Cullinan from Co. Waterford. This confirms an old family story that the name was changed to Cullen upon arrival in New York.

Our other major Irish lineage so far identified is the Co. Wicklow line, which turns out to be related other Wicklow chieftans, like the Byrnes and Kavanaghs. Most Irish Cullen from other counties have heard of the Wicklow Cullens and wonder if they are connected to them--the answer so far is no!

Here is an updated map showing our 14 members with a known origin in a specific village or parish in Ireland.