Genetic Genealogy: Discussion, Debate and DNA
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Genealogy is the oldest known Irish academic discipline; inscriptions written on ogam stones at the time of St. Patrick were used to encode the ancestry of important local warlords. This interest continued through the middle ages and into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when one’s genealogical background was vital to those seeking officer posts in foreign armies and in making claims to land. In more recent eras, genealogical research has been fostered and developed in particular by the Irish diaspora who have deepened our understanding immeasurably by quarrying non-Irish sources to immense effect.
To the traditional tools of the historian, science has now added the study and analysis of human DNA, allowing us to take snapshots of family history for periods in which documentary evidence is lacking. For its full value to be appreciated, however, this DNA evidence has to be evaluated in light of surname history and linguistic etymologies of particular names.
This presentation provides an overview of current investigations and their potential in what is still, despite its ancient status, a continuously evolving field.