One mans experience of DNA


By Matt Kelly

I joined the project in February 2008 at the suggestion of Joe Kelly, having reached the almost inevitable ” brick wall ” in my researches here in Ireland. I traced back to 1806 and possible 1780. In April 2010 I signed up to the new Family Finder service offered by FTDNA and this has proved to be the most successful and interestingoutcome of my membership of the project.

Background Information :

Since joining FTDNA I have been advised of the following matches ; 1211 exact 12 markers, 24 X 12-GD1 markers, 4 exact 25 markers, 16 X 25-GD1 markers, 108 X 25-GD2 markers, 1 X 67-GD6 marker and 3 X 67-GD7 markers. I still regularly receive information from them on additional markers being found.

So far from the Family Finder project I have been advised of the discovery of 111 “cousins “. Two of these are identified as third cousins, eight as fourth cousins and the remaining 101 as fourth to remote cousins.

Contacts :

My actual first contact with any other participant in the project was in August 2008 from a gentleman in Missouri whose ancestors went to the US in 1750 with a Quaker led group of emigrants. They came from Timahoe in County Kildare. My Kelly ancestors came from Ballymore Eustace, also in County Kildare and only

around 12 to 15 miles away from Timahoe. Yet while we both share the same surname we have not established a blood relationship, but we have become close friends and share books and music.

On July 1st 2010 I received an e-mail from a lady in Maryland telling me that Family Finder had identified her and I as most likely fourth cousins. As she had been adopted at birth she had no knowledge of her roots and I was the first blood relation she had found and discovering that I was Irish and therefore she also had some Irish blood was a major event for her. We have become very close friends and she and her new husband came to Dublin last May and met my family and spent time [ at my suggestion ] in Connemara which they loved and are determined to come back. I have been teaching her Irish and translated her wedding vows into Irish for her and through the miracle of Skype taught her how to say them. A miniature tricolour tops her Christmas tree. It came from a kind lady in the Glenmalure Inn. Amazingly she has become fascinated with Ireland and would love to move here.

Then in May of this year a young lady from California contacted me as Family Finder had identified her and her father and I as third cousins and also told me that she was about to fulfill a long held ambition to come to Ireland. We arranged to meet up, which we did and spent the day touring Wicklow. Over lunch she told me about her family in California and the interesting news that her father was, for many years a member of the ” Beach Boys ” pop group. Since she returned home I have received a considerable amount of Beach Boys memorability and the whole family hopes to come to Ireland next year when we will meet. She is very determined to establish our exact links.

Also in May of this year a lady from Oregon made contact to advise that she was her family’s genealogist and that her son and I have been identified as fourth cousins. We have been in regular contact since and she is working very hard to establish our links. She is a very interesting lady to talk to as she has deep connections with native American people and their culture. She and members of her family have been to Italy, Austria and Germany and are now hopeful of visiting Ireland.

In conclusion I can say that the last eighteen months have been very interesting and thanks to Family Finder I have met and become friends with relations I was never aware of and have standing invitations to visit, Missouri, California, Maryland and Oregon and who knows what the next year will bring.
Matt Kelly