Mary Lee Becker
Confusion Regarding Historical Genealogies of Ulster
The information contained in the following quotes from, "The Catholics of Ulster," by Marianne Elliot (2000, 1st. pub. Allen Lane, The Penguin Press.), could have important ramifications for Y-DNA projects that are geared towards establishing Y-DNA sequences for clans of Ulster. It also shows the absolute necessity for these Y-DNA Projects, such as our Oriel Septs of Ireland DNA Project, if researchers are to sort out these various clan family lines, and establish their genetic connections with known clans of Ulster, in general, and Oriel (Airgialla) specifically:
Page 18 & 19:
"The early Middle Ages thus witnessed the oft-repeated process in Irish history of subject-peoples being pushed down the social scale and on to less fertile land. Notable too in this period was the tendency both of conquered and conquerer to simply assume the pedigrees of the more ancient peoples. Falsification and confusion of genealogies became a matter for complaint by the poets....By the time of the Norman invasion in the twelfth century, it had become impossible to trace lineages with certainty to an ancient past."
The next paragraph then goes on to point out, "the trend towards surnames from the eleventh century onwards..." as a means of obtaining power.
Specific to the history of the Oriel (Airgialla), the book states:
"The pressure of the Ui Neill dynasties had greatly reduced Airgialla territory by the twelfth century to that roughly co-existant with Fermanagh, Monaghan, Armagh, and parts of Louth."
On the McMahons:
"The O Cearbaill (O'Carroll) dynasty were replaced as the kings of Airgialla in the twelfth century by the Mac Mathgamma (MacMahon), who remained effective rulers of Monaghan to the end of the old order at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Their lineage could be traced to AD 700."
And, on the Maguires:
"More dubious was the Airgialla descent claimed by the Fermanagh Mag Uidir (Maguires), who only emerged into history at the end of the thirteenth century."
Oriel Septs of Ireland DNA Project