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(G)l*nn*n DNA Project 


Why Glenn*n not L*nn*n?


Because the project already has 101 participants and a coordinator, enabling L*nn*ns to link in to a mature project with Irish origins with some expectation of links between a quite similar name. In fact one exact match between a Glenn*n and a Lenn*n has already been established with the first Lenn*n participant. Maps are already included on this site for L*nn*n and Glenn*n distributions in Ireland around 1850. A combined plot is illustrated below (click to enlarge, use back button on your browser to return).

small overall dot distribution

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To begin with, you need to be a male with the (G)Lennon/Lennan/Lannan/Lannon/Lannin/Linnen etc. surname.  Brothers or first and second cousins don't both necessarily need to take the test.  Your Y-Chromosome and your brother's will be identical (barring extremely unlikely mutations).  Ideally there should be two participants from each branch to allow for unrecorded adoptions, etc.. If you are a female, do encourage your male cousins, uncles, fathers, brothers etc. to participate.

It would be very helpful if you have traced your family line back a number of generations.  If you can trace them back to Ireland, so much the better, since up to now all participants believe their origins are there!  If, however, you know nothing about your ancestors, this study could help you concentrate your research on the right line. However, do not expect Y-DNA analysis to complete your genealogy for you. It will not prove your links. That you must do yourself. But it can open up new avenues.

What are the procedures?

If you are interested, the firm conducting the simple test is Family Tree DNA. Go directly to their website which answers many questions.   While the current standard price for the test is $169 for 37 markers (and $268 for the 67 marker test), group discounts can bring this down significantly. Reduced rates are available to participants in the Glenn*n project!

When you have been convinced, which you will be, get in touch with myself or the project coordinator Clarke Glennon or go to the Glennon sign up page. If you want complete details of the results within the group you will be asked to agree to share your results within that group and benefit from the results of existing Glenn*n data. For the testing company purposes, signing the waiver you will receive allows them to put you in touch with matches who have also agreed to share information where there is a match. It is suggested you avail of this possibility.

When your test kit comes, simply follow the instruction.  Taking the DNA sample is as simple as brushing your teeth, only you just brush the inside of your cheek instead.  There is about a 6-week turn-around time once you send off your sample.

When you get your results, you will e-mail Clarke the series of numbers that Family Tree DNA sends you, and he will let you know how you fit in with the existing groups or any new groups that are found.

Other testing possibilities

There are other labs that do Y-chromosome testing, but for the results to be comparable with one another, we need to use FTDNA.  The reason for this is that each lab uses different loci to test. Other firms conducting similar tests are Oxford Ancestors (although only 15 markers), Ancestry (announcing a new programme end-August 2007) with testing conducted some time ago by Relative Genetics a business unit of Sorenson Genomics), and GeneTree (now part also of Sorenson Genomics). DNA Heritage provided 23 and 43 marker testing and had perhaps the most informative website of the testing companies (but it has now been taken over by FTDNA). Up to summer 2006 it had the highest resolution yDNA test until the 67 marker test was introduced by FTDNA. Ethnoancestry is renowned for deep ancestry testing. It was the first firm to market a test for M222, the distinguishing test for the specific 'O'Neill' (Niall of the Nine Hostages) haplogroup. Testing, however, is not cheap. A German firm DNA-Fingerprint provided specific tests on many individual markers, but has quite some time ago, joined up with FTDNA.

Of interest also is the Genographic Project (NGP) run by National Geographic. The objective of this five-year study is 'to understand the human journey — where we came from and how we got to where we live today'. Scientists are visiting Earth's remote regions in a comprehensive effort to complete the planet's genetic atlas. But in addition the project invites other participants to add data to help to delineate the common genetic tree. Participants submit their DNA for testing which is carried out by FTDNA (on 12 markers for yDNA). Participants can transfer their data to FTDNA projects. If they choose to upgrade the test taken, their sample will be kept after the end of the NGP (and not destroyed at that point) so that other tests can be conducted in the future. FTDNA members can also transfer their genetic information for a small fee (which goes to help finance legacy projects in less developed countries) to the NGP. The NGP website has impressive tutorials giving a genetic overview and an atlas of the human journey, as well as details of the test procedure. The site is well worth a visit.

One should be careful in the analysis of competing offers to distinguish between firms providing continuing information on matches and those charging a fee per annum for this service. Also some companies will charge for storing data for subsequent testing of newly discovered locii, while others do not store samples. Choice will, however, be mainly conditioned by which firm is doing the most relevant surname project for your needs. For the moment, the two big combines on the block for yDNA genealogical testing are, essentially, FTDNA and Sorenson in its many guises.

Recent or deep ancestry?

The tests noted above are designed for relatively recent ancestry. They test the so-called STRs (Short Tandem Repeats) which change more frequently than SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism). SNPs (i.e. African, SE Asian, Eurasian etc.) are tested to determine very deep ancestry (haplogroups) but these can usually be inferred from STR results. Most Lennons/Glennons will belong to the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (i.e. the Western seaboard from Spain up). For the sub-results of the R1b haplotypes, including my own (R1b1c*), see John McEwan's SNP site. Of particular interest in this context is the discovery of the North West Ireland version (the so-called 'O'Neill' haplogroup R1b1c7) of R1b1c which has emerged in the 'Irish Clans' study. Results for individual clans surnames can be found in an annex to the TCD academic study 'A y-chromosome signature of hegemony in Gaelic Ireland'. The existence of this specific Irish haplogroups was predicted by David Wilson who is continuing to work on this subject. A specifically Southern Irish haplotype was also identified, but, as yet, no distinguishing SNP has been identified. A South-West Ireland variety, currently described as Irish Type III, is studied elsewhere. Similarly there was a suggested Leinster (or Irish Sea) group but the site is now gone.

Information sources?

If you want to delve further into the science and practice of Y-DNA analysis, peruse the archives of the Rootsweb-DNA-List (change the last two numbers on URL for other months). Kevin maintained an exhaustive list of surname Y-DNA projects. In my view the most rigorous study is on the surname Pomeroy. Other wide studies are on Graves, with many results in a .pdf file, and Duerninck, which also has some useful technical stuff on which mutations in two specific markers are relevant and which not. A simple, but rigorous, explanation of Y-DNA science in general is to be found on the Blair genealogy pages. Of particular interest in Lenn*n terms was (now disappeared) the Maguire project (since original Irish Lenn*ns roots may have been in Fermanagh - for information on L*nn*n/Lunny links). A vague possibility are links to the Laymon/Lemon/Lehman/Layman/Lyman project. Finally, there is now a public Y-DNA database into which you can enter your own results and search for matches. I have decided to put my own results there (but in May 2008 they had disappeared and had to be re-entered). Click on icon to go to ybase icon A later database arrival on-line, but now more intensively used, is Y-search. It has now, with the support of FTDNA, risen to become the premier public offering. You can also put your information in the Sorenson' database and search for matches there. For the record, and for my own convenience, my 113 or so markers results are recorded on a sub-page on this site. A number of markers have now been standardised using a new convention. The sub-page uses usual reporting practice up to end-2007.

Early results and future interests?

Early overall y-DNA project results would suggest at least three (G)l*nn*n separate branches (for illustration purposes called West, East and Cork). However, common ancestry of some members placed in each group is far from assured, since the rough borderline taken was based on not more than a 10 step difference in markers from the typical haplotype of the group. More than 3 differences is normally considered as taking any relationship back to the pre-surnames era.

small DNA dot distribution

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Check out the map of Lenn*n origins in Ireland page to see the potential groups we would like to document. We think we have some firm Lenn*n data for the Eastern seaboard and we feel that the Roscommon/Galway Glenn*n data could match with Lenn*n data from the same area. We would particularly like to have L*nn*n samples from Armagh/Down/Louth, Monaghan and Kilkenny/Carlow/Kildare/Wicklow. It is thought that this would enable us to positively identify individual L*nn*n branches.

Please e-mail me if you have any questions.  My e-mail address is ken lennan

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