Friday, September 29, 2017

The AncestryDNA Results Are In!

On September 19, 2017 I wrote about the new adventure into DNA that I had started with my father.

The AncestryDNA results arrived on September 27, 2017 and now we start on a brand new genealogical adventure that goes beyond researching our Moynahan ancestors using paper records.

We are now in the brave new world of chromosomes, centimorgans (abbreviated cMs) and genetic loci.


One of the first things you are given is your ethnicity summary and my father's ethnicity results indicate that he is 76% Irish and 5 % Scandinavian. (I plan to write a later blog post on the remaining 19% ethnicity regions.)

76% Irish is a really high percentage and I am curious how many other Ontarians whose ancestors arrived in the early 1820s have a similar ethnicity count? (More on Ancestry ethnicity here:

The other thing you notice right away are "Genetic Communities" (places where my father's ancestors most likely lived in the past few hundred years) and my father's results indicated two genetic communities: Munster and Connacht which are two of Ireland's four provinces.

Connacht Genetic Community

Through our family history paper research, we already knew that the Connacht province is where the Brodericks, Cavanaughs, McNallys and Husseys came from in the mid-1800s. It was great to have the DNA confirm our paper records.

Munster Genetic Community 

Through our family history paper research, we already knew that the Munster province is where the Moynahans, Brennans, O'Learys, Roaches, and Bowlers came from. Again, it's reassuring to have the DNA confirm the paper records.

Read more about AncestryDNA Genetic Communities here: 

 DNA Matches

The next things that I looked at were my father's DNA matches. WOW!  AncestryDNA compares your DNA to the DNA of every other person in their database to determine who you might be related to—and how.

In my father's results, there are 264 pages with 50 DNA matches on each page! This translates to 1320 folks who share varying amounts of centimorgans (cMs) with my father's DNA!

 From AncestryDNA:

So I looked at my father's ancestor's surnames for his first to fourth cousins (the relationships are a little more complicated - like fourth cousins twice removed etc.. I will explain that later on a different blog post)

If you look at my fathers fourth cousins ( cousins who share my father's 32 great-great-great grandparents) I have a LOT of unknown surnames still! These are ancestors born in the 1700s when the paper record keeping was not what it is today. But DNA may help us locate ancestors that the paper records could not.

Calculating cousins

Initial Observations of My Father's "DNA Matches"

The purpose of this blog post is to just share some initial reactions to my father's AncestryDNA results (it has only been two days since we received them) and not go into great detail here.

So I will close with some general observations.

One thing that I noticed immediately was how many potential DNA matches have absolutely no family tree associated to them. I do know some of the DNA matches and I know for a fact that these folks DO have well-researched trees so I am suspecting that perhaps many are not making their tree information public?

Here are some of my additional observations having only started my investigations into my father's potential DNA matches.

  1. The Matches That Were Known Beyond Any Doubt: I located lots of matches that were known and beyond any doubt related to my father. The DNA has now confirmed it. Some surnames that have shown up as DNA matches for my father (and the levels of Confidence):
    • MOYNAHAN: Possible range: Close family - 1st cousins; Confidence: Extremely High
    • COUGHLIN: Possible range: 1st - 2nd cousins Confidence: Extremely High   
    • LYONS: Possible range: 1st - 2nd cousins Confidence: Extremely High
    • MURRAY: Possible range: 1st - 2nd cousins Confidence: Extremely High  
    • DUFOUR: Possible range: 2nd - 3rd cousins Confidence: Extremely High
    • BRODERICK: Possible range: 3rd - 4th cousins Confidence: Extremely High
    • HESS: Possible range: 3rd - 4th cousins Confidence: Extremely High
    • CASEY: Possible range: 3rd - 4th cousins Confidence: Extremely High
    • BRODERICK: Possible range: 4th - 6th cousins Confidence: Very High
    • ANNAL: Possible range: 4th - 6th cousins Confidence: Very High
  2. Distant Cousins On Paper Now Confirmed Through DNA: Distant cousins whom I never knew and have never met or connected with previously except through my paper research have shown up confirmed relatives through DNA matches with my father. One case in point is a long standing confusion about multiple Martin Brodericks (those darn Irish naming traditions). These Brodericks from Texas (arrived in the U.S. just after the Civil War, first settling in Michigan) were on my father's DNA match list as: "Possible range: 4th - 6th cousins; Confidence: Very High".
  3. There are LOTS of Orkney, Scotland DNA matches:  When the DNA match does not have a tree sometimes you can ascertain at least what regions they are from. In one particular case that was listed on my father's DNA match: "Possible range: 4th - 6th cousins Confidence: Extremely High" showed a 1917 Kirkwall, St Ola, Orkney, Scotland birthplace!
  4. Tilbury Moynahans showed up! If you follow my blog, you are aware how much energy I have been putting into tracking down present day Tilbury Moynahans. (see my previous posts ) ThisTilbury Moynahan showed up on my father's DNA match list as "Possible range: 4th - 6th cousins Confidence: High"
  5. My Coughlin Genealogical Brickwall Might Get Busted: Going through the list of my father's DNA matches, one of the approaches is to refer to the "Map and Locations" of your shared DNA match and William Henry Coughlin is showing up on the maps. Its up to me to figure out the details now.

I plan to post more updates about the DNA adventures in the future. Details about living relatives will NOT be included. hides all information about living people and genealogy bloggers do too.

AncestryDNA White Papers


  1. I really appreciate sharing this great post.Keep up your work.Thanks for sharing this great article.Great information thanks a lot for the detailed article.
    genome testing kit

    1. Thanks for taking the time to post your kind comment on my blog Jhon_mac

      I am currently using my father’s DNA to focus in on potential Ireland matches, as we are planning a trip there soon. Can DNA help me pinpoint townlands in Ireland? I’m hoping it can!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.