Saturday, November 12, 2016

Walsh Y-DNA Project


I realized I should update this blog as it has been a while.

My Walsh Y-DNA project has been successful. The main goal with doing to DNA testing was trying to prove a theory that my ancestor John Walsh (b. ~1811) had a half-brother, Martin Walsh (b. 1837). Sue Welch had shared records of my cousin, Thomas Leslie "Les" Welch that indicated Les believed John and Martin to be half brothers. In his papers, he wrote the following:

"My great grandfather, John Welch, came from Ireland and arrive in Wisconsin about 1851. With him were his wife Bridget and three children: Thomas 12, Judy 6, and Mary 2.
 "They settled in the Township of Springfield, Dane County, Wisconsin. The map of about 1861 shows that they were located in section 1. Nancy or Ann as she was known was born shortly after they arrive in Wisconsin and was shown as age 8 in the 1860 census. Bridget was born three years later and was shown as age 5 in 1860.
"There seems to be no record to show who the parents of John were but Martin Walsh, who came to Wisconsin about 1856 and who had previously gone to New Orleans after coming from Ireland, was a son of Patrick and Mary (Whalen) Walsh and this Martin was a half brother of John. Since the names were both originally Walsh it means that both were the sons of Patrick and that Mary (Whalen) Walsh was the stepmother of John. Martin and John had a brother who was a priest in Westport and a sister."

The document continues but these are the paragraphs most relevant to the discussion here. I found it really interesting that Les mentioned not only that Martin was John's half brother, but that it also mentioned two more siblings. I only wish he had mentioned who the siblings were! I have not been able to determine who the "priest in Westport" was. I assume he means Westport, Wisconsin, but it's unclear- could he mean Westport, County Mayo?

So, with Y-DNA testing, I sought to confirm Les Welch's statement that Martin and John were half-brothers. He hadn't mentioned where he got that information. I have not found any records that directly state that, but I had long thought that Martin was either a brother or son of John Walsh. I set out to prove that.

Not long after my post in January here, I got in touch with Steve Walsh who is a direct male descendant of Martin Walsh. After exchanging a few emails, we kicked off our project! He was generous enough to take the test for my project and split the costs with me. Then, with Sue's help we recruited a direct male descendant of John Walsh to also test.

I'm pleased to announce the project was a success! At 111 markers, our two lines matched at a genetic distance of 2. This fits with our theorized relationship. There is very little DNA shared at the autosomal level, but this is expected with what would be a half 3rd cousin once removed relationship between our two test takers. This is what makes Y-DNA so valuable. Based on the results I believe that John and Martin were half-brothers. I believe that if they were half brothers, or if Martin was John's son, we would have different results (particularly in the realm of autosomal DNA shared). I would be curious to see how other Martin Walsh descendants would match to us via autosomal DNA.

The other aspect to report is the haplogroup for our Walshes is R-Z255 at this time. There are more subgroups on the haplotree but we have not yet tested those SNPs to get the most specific haplogroup available to us right now.

On other testing fronts, I did find a Tice cousin willing to take the Y-DNA test, too. The test finished processing but no close matches yet. Too bad. I am hoping there will be others who test in the future!

I'm excited that I've had the chance to get most of my brick wall lines to Y-DNA test. I'm hoping that more matches will test in the future.

This year I have also received some new matches to Hurst cousins that have helped to prove my theories on James Hurst's siblings! We've received DNA matches to descendants both of Patrick Hurst as well as Ellen Hurst Rice, which have helped prove that we are on the right track with our information. DNA is changing so much of what we can do with our genealogy!!

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