Launch of new DNA regions in Ireland

Posted by Kristen Hyde on January 9, 2019 in AncestryDNA, Ireland

When we launched Ancestry’s detailed genetic regions in March last year we knew it was a major step in the journey for us to empower customer journeys of self-discovery. Back then we were proud to have the granularity in our database to be able to detect 13 distinct genetic regions in Ireland, helping tell the story of Irish migration throughout the world.

Now, 18 months and 10 million DNA tests later, we are now even prouder to offer 92 distinct regions in Ireland. We now have the capability to break the Irish population down by province, county and in some cases, parish!

Our DNA science team has made this possible by combining Ancestry’s unique DNA network of over 10 million customers and over 80 million family trees. Remember this is neither the beginning nor the end of the journey – the more DNA samples that are added and family trees that are built the greater the granularity that will become available.

New regions reveal new insights into Irish migration

The granularity of these new regions is already prompting us to research further into Irish history to match some of our new regions to known migrations and where we can point to new ones. Some notable examples include migrations from Clifden and Connemara to county Cork in the late 1800s. Movement from Leinster to the US and Australia in the early 1900s and, of course, migrations during the famine from the west coast in the 1850s.

A key feature of the history of Irish migration that we see confirmed through these new views is that migration from Ireland happened in distinct waves.

• In the early 1800s it was primarily Presbyterian flax farmers from Ulster seeking new opportunities in Pennsylvania. This was driven by the Penal Laws in Ireland which affected Presbyterians just as much as Catholics.

• Post Famine in the 1850s we see a major spike in migration from Connacht and Munster to the east coast of the United States and Canada. Greater granularity in DNA communities in these regions (and Donegal) today is a direct result of how hard hit these regions were by the famine in the 1840s.

• Whilst there was post-famine migration in Leinster too, it is in the early 1900s that the population of the province begins to migrate at scale. Most of these travelled for economic opportunities to the United States and Australia.

• A key feature for all these migrations is that by leveraging our historical records and DNA database we see secondary migrations within North America.

These show that after the initial waves settle on the East Coast, their descendants begin the American dream by moving to new towns being established in the interior.

Seeing more detail in personal results

Looking at my own results, I have seen an evolution from Eastern Ulster (this was quite a large region in the old algorithm – stretching from Antrim to Wicklow) as my primary origin region to South East Leinster. It is a great relief to a proud Leinster supporter to say that my province is in my DNA, but it also more accurately reflects the birth locations in my family tree.

Using Ancestry’s matching algorithm coupled with new regions, I have been able to knock through a long-standing brickwall in my family tree by leveraging a fourth cousin match (from a Member in the US) with strong links to the Wicklow, Carlow, and Wexford community.

We’re proud to announce these new regions are now available for all of our AncestryDNA users. Log in to your AncestryDNA account today to view your updated results.

Interested in taking an Ancestry test? Discover your unique story by ordering your DNA kit online at

This blog post was written by Dave Rooney, Director of International Analytics for Ancestry IE.


Past Articles

Soldiers’ hidden details in the WFA PRC Ledgers

Posted by Kristen Hyde on November 9, 2018 in United Kingdom

The Western Front Association’s Pension Record Archive includes approximately 1.5 million ledgers of claims made to the UK Government’s Ministry of Pensions. These ledgers provide a wealth of information that is unlikely to be available from other sources. The largest section within the ledgers is approximately 1.2 million pages of records for Soldiers, Royal Naval Read More

WWI Pension Ledgers: Exploring the role of Merchant seamen in WWI

Posted by Kristen Hyde on October 4, 2018 in Collections, Research, United Kingdom

David Tattersfield, trustee from The Western Front Association, introduces the WWI Pension Ledgers to Ancestry, and explains the specific value of the Merchant Marine Cards by way of two key events from WWI history.  Most British First World War historians focus their attention on the battles fought by the British and Commonwealth Armies in France Read More

London City Directories: Learn more about your ancestors’ neighbours, trades and business

Posted by Kristen Hyde on August 1, 2018 in Research, United Kingdom, Website

What are the London City Directories and what value can they bring to your family history research? London Metropolitan Archive’s Public Services team explain the valuable detail to this collection, and how the London City Directories can be helpful for your exploring your ancestral connections to the London area.  What are London City Directories and Read More

Knitted Together: Jigsaw discover diversity is in the very fabric of who they are

Posted by Kristen Hyde on February 26, 2018 in AncestryDNA, United Kingdom

Back in October 2017, we collaborated with British fashion brand, Jigsaw on the launch of their Autumn/Winter 17 campaign, ‘♥immigration’. The campaign celebrated the inherent cultural diversity that is at the heart of the Jigsaw brand, and aimed to challenge the traditional notion of ‘British’ style. But diversity isn’t just stitched into the fabric of Read More

The diverse working world in the East India Company and India Office registers

Posted by Kristen Hyde on February 19, 2018 in Collections, United Kingdom

For 200 years, the East India Company was the leading trade operation for exotic goods like cotton, silk, indigo, salt, tea and opium. Was your ancestor a ‘factor’ helping negotiate sales with local European merchants? Or did they serve in the company’s huge private army? Caroline Kimbell, from the Senate House Library discusses the history Read More