• Clan Joyce of Ulster

Y-DNA of the Ulster-Scot Joyces: Part 1

Updated: Jul 20

Descended from the Joise (Joass, Joss, etc.,) family of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, researching the Ulster-Scot Joyces from a traditional genealogy point of view can be difficult to do. This is simply because many of the records have been lost to time. Thankfully, thanks to the modern science of genetic genealogy, in particular Y-DNA, we can find answers. For this topic, we will divide it into 2 parts to make it easier to digest. With this in mind, the first topic to be discussed are Y-DNA markers.


As explained by Family Tree DNA, Y-DNA “ is passed on from father to son, remaining mostly unaltered from generation to generation, except for small trackable changes from time to time.” Because of this, the Y-DNA results of males represents the Y-DNA lineage of their surname. And this is no different for the Ulster-Scot Joyces. As an example, the Joyce males of Ballynahinch, County Down, and the Joyces of Balldonaghy and Ballydugan, County Armagh, carry the same stand of Y-DNA. But you may be asking, don’t all Joyce male carry the same Y-DNA? The answer is no. As is proven by the Joyce Y-DNA Project at Family Tree DNA, there are more than several different Joyce lineages with their own history.


As stated before, Y-DNA mutates very little over the years, and one way this can be seen is by studying the Y-DNA markers of the Ulster-Scot Joyces. But what are these markers? Simply put, they are only one part of Y-DNA, and they represent the number of random mutations that occur over time. Clearly one can see how the Y-DNA signatures of the different Joyce lineages differ from each other. The differences are in highlighted in yellow. In other words, each Joyce line has their own separate ancestral origins back to a certain point in ancient history:




In part 2, we will discuss another as equally important part of Y-DNA: Haplogroups and how each sept within CJU has inherited their own unique mutations.

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