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DubhGhaill / Doyle Y-Chromosome DNA Surname Project

DubhGhaill / Doyle Y-Chromosome
DNA Surname Project

 For Surnames DubhGhaill, Doyle, Doyel, Doyal, O’Doyle, Doyelle, D’Oyly, D’Oyley, D’Oyle, Doyley, Doylee, Doiley, Doley, Duley, Duly, Duely, Dueley, de Oiley, d’Oilly, De Oilgi, Ollie, Oyler, Olley, Oulley, Oullie, Ollie, Owley, Oyly, Oilli, Oiley, L’Oyle or their relatives …

Looking for long lost cousins?

Many Irish clans now have yDNA surname projects.  

One of the most amazing scientific discoveries of the past 50 years is that of DNA testing which can make a very strong contribution to the field of genealogy.   Put simply, a Y-Chromosome is passed from father to son with only a slight change every 500 years or so.   This means that it should be possible to test the extended members of a family group to see if they really do come from the same genetic root.   On the other hand it is also simplistic to believe that all members of a clan hold the same surname because of a biological patrilineal connection.   In-laws, friends, servants, and other associates may well have paired the name of their leader with their own Y chromosome.

The goals of Irish yDNA surname projects usually include the primary one of finding of relatives in Ireland.   The goals sometimes include the desire to verify paternal ancestry and the identification of place of origin of the family.   A history of the clan and its various branches can also be part of the goals of Irish Surname projects.

It has been the case for years that "Irish" yDNA Surname Projects have attracted people from many countries but they held little interest for the Irish who were still resident in Ireland.   The argument has been that Irish who live in Ireland “know where they come from” and don’t need to do DNA tests.

However, Irish yDNA Surname Projects really need Irish-based participants to get involved in yDNA testing, for several reasons:

Irish-based families may wish to connect with relatives, who may have emigrated in times past, where there is no paper trail or living memory to help with making these connections.   How many people in Ireland can say “most of my family emigrated in the Famine and we have no idea where they went or who their descendants are”.   Or “we have no contact with branches of our family who left Ireland a long time ago”.   Must this be the case?   DNA can open doors for the Irish who have lost track of relatives.   Please note that the science of DNA is still evolving and that membership of an Irish Clan is based on one's inherited and chosen identity and not on bloodline descent alone.

Also, if more Irish men were involved in yDNA Surname Projects it would help the Irish diaspora who need yDNA results of Irish-based participants, to serve as "benchmarks" in their genealogical research.   It is an exciting way to bridge the gap between the sometimes sad lonely emigration of the past and the modern world of global communications.

In conjunction with Family Tree DNA Ltd. at the University of Arizona, we have started a DNA project to try and see if we can confirm that DubhGhaill / Doyle ‘cousins’ in Ireland, Europe, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and elsewhere can trace their roots back to a common genetic ancestor.

If you are male and a Doyle (or other spelling variation) and you think that your family came from Ireland originally and would like to take part in the DNA project please click here Family Tree DNA.   We strongly recommend that you order at least a 37 marker test (US$149.00) or better again a 67 marker test (US$238) as this will provide more accurate information than the basic 12 marker test.

DubhGhaill / Doyle Y-Chromosome DNA Surname Project Group Administrator  -     mrdoyle@pac.com.au


The project is a tool-kit that assists people in finding out which groups they belong to; verification of relationship; or just trying to find additional information, to hopefully piece together the chaotic history that makes Ireland so interesting and fascinating, yet frustrating; when putting the fabric of your family together.

While it may be nice to know your distantly related or a descendant from a particular Icon of Irish history, surely it’s the excitement of being able to link with some distant relative in the Ireland, US, Australia, Canada, South Africa, South America or any other place on earth; or to be able to place yourself within a particular group or region that is the true benefit of the DNA project

A Doyle (or derivatives) surname of itself can often hide the real origin of a family.   With religious changes and great movements of people, names can be changed to suit the circumstances families face.   In Irish history this has been a common thread in regard to names and many people may find that by tracing the name the family now has, they hit brick walls, where the line ceases.

The name DubhGhaill (Doyle) has been around for more than a thousand years, but from that name other surnames have devolved.   While some of these changes can be shown through the traditional paper traces, some have started in mystery.

Irish families often faced the hardships of war, famine and poverty and many children were often "adopted" out to allow for the survival of the group.   One example was when land was rented by Spinsters, then they might "adopt" a male child from another family, who would use their name as his.

Therefore DNA-testing gives us concrete evidence for identifying and separating family lines.   Y-chromosome DNA testing is especially helpful because the male Y-chromosome is handed down, father to son, basically unchanged through the generations, except for rare mutations which, in themselves, can be helpful indicators of branching.

Accessibility to family DNA testing is doubtless the greatest technical advance in the history of genealogical research because -- at long, long last -- we have a tool to break down those brick walls!

So what are you waiting for?

The Ireland yDNA Project website is at:



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 Last updated 7 December, 2013