Does DNA have a part to play in genealogy?.

This week Travellers have been recognised by the State as an indigenous ethnic minority.  At a recent Irish Family History Centre expert workshop on Traveller Culture one of the many things we learnt  was the part that DNA played in identifying Travellers as a genetically distinct group, long predating the Famine.  It’s worth considering if DNA could help your research.  

Occasionally we are commissioned to do research by a client who, as part of their initial research, has undertaken a DNA test genetically linking them to a family in a specific area within Ireland. For instance I recently undertook research for an Australian client who had DNA evidence to suggest a link to a 19th century family in a specific parish in county Down.

Does DNA have a part to play in genealogy?  The answer is obviously yes, any help in direction with a difficult case (and we get them!) is useful.  But DNA isn’t a magic lantern with a genealogist appearing in a puff of smoke with full and detailed family tree.  DNA can be used to direct us and sometimes progress a research project, and vice versa,  so genealogy and DNA can potentially complement one another.

If DNA is a route you wish to pursue, bear in mind that the Irish Family History Centre has DNA kits for sale in their shop. With more and more people taking  DNA tests and ever expanding databanks, it may just provide you with a much needed breakthrough.


By Expert Researcher

Helen Moss 

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