DNA testing is one of the fastest growing and exciting aspects of genealogy today. Faced with seemingly insurmountable roadblocks, researchers can turn to technology in attempt to find new evidence. Every researcher of our McCraw line has been unable to make the connection between William Maccraw and his place of origin. Family lore points us to the Isle of Skye in Scotland, but countless attempts have been made to document this all to no avail. The US McCraw Family Association turned to DNA research over a decade ago and have been taking advantage of each new leap in technology and each new test available to get us closer to solving the riddle of William I. Due to incontrovertible DNA evidence as analyzed and categorized by Family Tree DNA of Houston, Texas, via DNA submissions from several of our family members, combined with the persistent efforts of the late Dr. Faye McCraw Moore, we have no doubt that our family's origins are deeply rooted in Ireland going back 800 years. We also know that our family can be traced further back in history - some 2,500 years - to the Basque area of northern Spain.
The results of our McCraw/McGraw DNA testing have opened a large window into our relationships and ancient history. We learned that the original spelling of our name was MacCraith, and we descend from Echtighern, the older brother of Brian Boru, King of all Ireland. We learned that our clan in Ireland was Dalcassian because our DNA carries the Dalcassian DNA profile. We learned that our place of origin was County Clare, probably around the area of Island McGrath just south of Ennis.
We continue to look to the results of genetic testing to close the 800 year gap between our family's origins as MccCraith (the modern day Clan McGrath of Ireland) and where our family lived prior to William Maccraw's arrival in the New World – specifically, Virginia - in the early 1700's. Although the testing has thus far been inconclusive, the deeply held tradition of William's emigration from the Isle of Skye certainly points toward a Scottish connection.
There are two groups that are part of the Family Tree DNA program that are especially relevant to us and our research: The "MacRae/McRae" Group Project and the The McGrath Clan DNA Project. The MacRae/McRae project focuses on Scottish ancestries, but it's reach also includes Ireland. The McGrath Clan project was established by the Clan McGrath in Ireland. Currently our association is participating in the MacRae/McRae project, but all of the results are compared against others in the Family Tree DNA database.
How does it work? For the Family Tree DNA program, a swab is taken of the inside of your cheek to gather cells. Those cells are then tested for comparison. To establish our link in the past, back through William to his ancestors, the testing done is Y DNA testing. Only males can test Y-DNA because it is the gene that makes a male a male. It is passed directly from father to son and represents a nearly unbroken chain that moves through all recorded history. Because this is an unbroken chain, the closer the strands of DNA are to matching, the closer the familial relationship. As the database of results from those tested continues to grow, the greater the likelihood that we will be able to break through our roadblock with William I.
After the passing of Dr. Faye Moore in 2014, coordination of our DNA program was taken over by Tim McCraw of Georgia. If you are interested in joining our DNA Project, you can visit the following LINK or you can Email Tim to find out more information. Family Tree DNA advises males to test at either Y-DNA37 or Y-DNA67.
There is much more to learn about the results of our DNA program in our past newsletters. These are available in the Archives section of our site.
What can we learn from DNA testing?
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