• David Joyce

Y-DNA and the Ulster-Scot Joyces: Part 2

As observed in part 1 of this discussion, Y-DNA is a fairly encompassing topic. And it is due to this large amount of information that has allowed Clan Joyce of Ulster to advance as far as it has. In part 2 we’re going to discuss the concept of haplogroups, and how this hierarchy of Y-DNA mutations has proven incredibly useful for genealogy. But what are haplogroups? And why are they important?


Imagine, if you will, the existence of the human race which stretches back hundreds and hundreds of years. Originating in Africa, humans now populate the entire world, and this can be seen in the Y-DNA of the male lineages from every part of the world. To this end, haplogroups are just simply branches of the human race. To be more specific, haplogroups are born at the birth of male ancestor, after which this Y-DNA mutation is only passed down his direct male descendants. However, this isn’t the whole picture. As can be observed in the following image from Family Tree DNA, new haplogroups can spilt off from a larger haplogroup:




Born into existence at the birth of Laird William Joass (1632-1707) or his father, Thomas Joise of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, R-Y11201 is a haplogroup that exclusively belongs to the Joise family. And as an extension, it also belongs to the Ulster-Scot Joyces. This can be seen by the subset haplogroups: R R-Y43252, R-FTB42619, and R-FTB53897 which were born with different Joyce descendants. Namely, Valentine Joyce (b. 1700) of County Armagh, and Alexander Joyce (1720-1778) and George Joyce (b. 1721) of Ballynahinch, County Down. To this day, hundreds and hundreds of Joyce male descendants have inherited these mutations.



Because of the conclusive nature and strength of Y-DNA evidence, it has become a crucial part for establishing new septs within Clan Joyce of Ulster. There is, however, another type of DNA that Clan Joyce of Ulster has implemented in their studies: autosomal DNA. While it is preferred to use Y-DNA with male lineages, for those Joyce descendants whose lineages only go back to a female ancestor, Autosomal DNA has also been useful. This will be discussed in upcoming Y-DNA of the Ulster-Scot Joyces: part 3.

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