I'll admit it. I'm a nerd. And in some eyes maybe a little weird because one of my interests has been in genealogy and my family history. It's not something I've spent a lot of time writing about here but for a number of years it was a consuming passion. Without going into a lot of detail I am descended from four Roamn Catholic Irish convicts on my paternal Grandfathers side, from a bunch of orangemen on dad's Mum's side, and on my Mum's side a mxture of English, Scot, Irish and Australian Aborigine.
A few weeks ago I read in one of the local papers about the DNA Ancestry Project. For a fee anyone can have their DNA examined and linked to various genetypes and the related places of origin. For example did you know that in 5th Century Ireland there was a King called Niall of the Nine Hostages, who had 12 sons and from whom as many as three million people alive today are descended. In fact one in every five men in north western Ireland and one in ten men in Scotland carry the same Y chromosone DNA as Niall.
For men there are two types of tests that can be done - the Y chromosone is passed down the male line from father to son, and that of the mitochondrial DNA we all inherit from our mothers and their mothers. Women of course can only do the second test because they don't carry the y chromosone.
So at some stage in the next few months I think I will order a participation kit. Tracing my female line should finally confirm my aboriginality on mothers side, and given Michael Joyce,my great great Grandfather, came from County Galway it will be interesting to see if I am descended from Niall of the 9 hostages.