Map showing distribution of R-M222 & my family through the ages.
Haplotype, a contraction of the phrase "haploid genotype", is a set of closely linked genetic markers present on one chromosome which tend to be passed en-bloc from father to son and are not easily separable.
Deep Clade tests are carried out to determine which haplogroup, or major branch of the Y-chromosome tree, a male test result belongs to.
If you have an exact match to the markers of Niall of the Nine Hostages what does that mean? Basically NOT that you are related to this potentially fictional character but that you have a Haplotype called R1b1c7 or the Northwest Irish Modal Haplotype.
A study conducted at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, found that a striking percentage of men in Ireland (and quite a few in Scotland) share the same Y chromosome, suggesting that one in 12 Irishmen may come from a common male ancestor. Niall is known in folklore as a raider of the British and French coasts. Supposedly slain in the English Channel or in Scotland, his descendants were the most powerful rulers of Ireland until the 11th century. In the study scientists found an area in northwest Ireland that 21.5% carry the R1b1b2e genetic fingerprint.. The concentration is strongest in Sligo and northernmost Donegal. The pattern is scarce in Southern Ireland. The R-M222 pattern is real and constitutes a significant minor percentage of the Irish population, which is predominantly R-M269.
Studies also that outside of Ireland, approximately one in 10 men in western and central Scotland also carry the gene, and 2% of European American New Yorkers carried it as well, likely due to the historically high rates of Irish emigration to North America.
The man with the first R1b1c7 mutation would be the haplogroup's founder, and all his male descendants would have that mutation. Likewise, the founder's pattern of STRs would be passed on to his male descendants; but as more and more generations go by, the faster mutating STRs would start to drift away from the founder's original pattern. By examining the diversity of STRs in men who share the same SNP, you can estimate how long ago that founder lived. The diversity of STRs among men who are R1b1c7 puts the founder back about 3,400 years ago, about twice as long ago as Niall of the Nine Hostages lived. So it's extremely unlikely that everyone with the Trinity "Niall" pattern is descended from the high king.
As nobody has actually tested DNA from Niall’s remains, it is impossible to say that Niall is the ancestor (and some argue that there never was a real Niall). For instance, Mrs. Niall could have only reproduced with the friendly neighbor, or a large fraction of the men with the signature Y chromosome could be descended from Niall’s promiscuous uncle George (I don’t know if there was an uncle, or if his name was George - it’s just an example). Or they could have descended from any other male in Ireland at that time.
The broad Irish R1b population is thought to have entered Ireland from an Iberian refugee some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago following the last glacial maximum. The NW Irish variety appears to have developed in Ireland within the last 3,000 to 5,000 years.
On Family Tree DNA this signature is found in 0.6 of 1% of the entire Family Tree DNA database. It is characterized by the following Markers when their 12 marker test is applied:
A more detailed signature appears when we apply the Y-DNA 25 marker test and compare to the apparent signature of the Ui Neills. A listing of those values appears in the table below. The full spreadsheet with matches is shown on this page and gives around 50 matches that are 23/25/24/25 or 25/25
On many of the FamilyTreeDNA matches it is not possible to see people's DNA. Only where they have put the info on ySearch can one see it.
I have done a fuller analysis of around 100 near matches (23/25, 24/25 or 25/25) here.
R-M222 Haplogroup project
It is difficult to see where exactly the non parental event has occured in the Grant family. The dna is NW Ireland and the family came from Kilkenny. The most likely explanation would be the Civil War time. O'Neill and his Ulster Army had remained loyal to Rinuccini. In June 1648, he declared war on the Supreme Council and marched against Kilkenny. Although he failed to capture the Confederate capital, he spent most of the summer pillaging the surrounding country and manoeuvring against Inchiquin and Confederate forces in Leinster. There were arond 2000 horse and foot soldiers in the Ulster Army here. Perhaps an opportunity for a NPE!