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The Quinn Genetic Genealogy Project

About the Quinn Genealogy & DNA Project

The Quinn Genealogy & DNA Project is a "free to join" genetic genealogy project that stems from Family Tree DNA.  Our project is focused on identifying the recent lineages of our project participants with an added emphasis on properly isolating our member's ancient and ancestral lineages.

This site and the information and schemes for matching individuals with known lineages is at the heart of helping you locate your ancestral families regardless of your surname.

What we are learning is that there have been numerous transliterations of the Cuinn surname over the course of 2000 years when our surname rose in Ireland from Conn Cétchathach through his son Art mac Cuinn.  Cuinn in this context translated to mean "the son of Conn."  

Cuinn is the correct and proper spelling of our surname in the Celtic, Gaelic and Irish traditions.  The Anglicized variation is Quinn. We include by default our surname with an O', Ó, Mac, Mack, Mc as the prefixes are used to mean only that the person is a decendant of a person with the Quinn surname. 

Cuinn historically is known to be the parent surname for the many variations in how the Quinn surname is spelled.

There are several elemental factors to consider when thinking of the Quinn surname.  That is, Quinn descends from Conn.  For those that bear a different surname and match QUINN's genetically, we know that this is the result of either a paternal, or maternal event that is not well documented.


Most families in Ireland claim to be descended from the Uí Néill via Ulster, which is to say they are descended from either Niall of the Nine Hostages, or Niall Glúndub mac Áedo, aka Cenél nEógain.  Ultimately however, Niall was the son of Eochaid Mugmedon making Conn; Niall's 4th Great Grandfather.  His son Art his 3rd Great Grandfather, Cormac mac Airt his 2nd and so on.

At the time of Conn, Ireland was divided equally among Conn and Mugh Nuadat.  Leath Cuinn (Conn's Half) and Leath Moga (Mugh's half) refers to a legendary division of the island.  This division stretched north of the Esker Riada of Ireland, known now as the east-west drumlin belt from Dublin to Galway Bay.

1000 years into the influence and reign of Conn's descendant families saw the death of Niall at Clontarf in 1014 with many family divisions and squabbles over land and title being the foundry to conflicts within our family.  

Unrest due to the Great Schism of Western Christianity (1378–1416) is wholly responsible for the wars between kingdoms and princes with peasant uprisings initiated over corruption of the church and how monarch's perceived themselves and their sovereinty.  

From the thesis of Martin Luther published in 1517, the Protestant Reformation would further pollute our surname worldwide and cause name variations to rise for a variety of resons.

Shortly after Martin Luther's thesis in 1550 the onset of a long-term weather event known as the Little Ice Age began to influence the whole of Europe until 1850.  

On 14 September 1607, when Hugh Ó Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety of their allies departed Ireland for mainland Europe. This is known as the Flight of the Earls. The earls left from the town of Rathmullan on Lough Swilly on a French ship with many other leading Gaelic families in Ulster were to be attained to make way for the Scots who by this time had tight allegiance to the monarchy of England.

Rathmullan was said to have bore an eye witness account to the end of the old Gaelic order, in the sense that the earls were descended from ancient Gaelic clan dynasties that had ruled their parts of Ulster for centuries. The Flight of the Earls was a watershed in Irish history, as the ancient Gaelic aristocracy of Ulster went into permanent exile. Despite their attachment to and importance in the Gaelic system, the Earls' ancestors had also accepted their Earldoms from the English-run Kingdom of Ireland in the 1540's, under the policy of surrender and regrant. Some historians argue that their flight was forced upon them by the fallout from the Tudor conquest of Ireland, others, that it was a strategic mistake that cleared the way for the Plantation of Ulster.

This event is not to be confused with the term "Wild Geese" which refers generally to Irish soldiers who left to serve as mercenaries in continental European armies in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to fight the English monarchs.  The Flight of the Wild Geese refers to the departure of an Irish Jacobite army under the command of Patrick Sarsfield from Ireland to France, as agreed to by the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691 at the end of the Williamite War in Ireland.  Many Quinn's are listed amoung Patrick Sarsfield's army of loyal supporters.

The English Civil War lasted officially from 1642 to 1651 culminating with the Roundheads deporting tens of thousands of Irish Catholics to the plantations of Barbados and the West Indies as white slaves for the production of sugar cane.  Headed in large part to become the property of the great and mighty sugar barons still loyal to the crown and her enterprise.

The Irish Famine of 1740-1741 further pressed the Irish population to seek relief from direct and daily control to the expansion of the realm in North America.

By 1845, massive European and Irish potato crops are literally destroyed in less than 1 growing season and would not become viable again until 1852 with a more robust crop in 1853.

Quinn Clans are distinctly represented within the five original provinces of Ireland.  Ireland has historically been divided into five provinces: The Connacht, Meath, MunsterLeinster and Ulster.

The Irish word for the territorial division that included Meath was cúige, when literally translated from Irish Gaelic means "fifth part."  Meath, was later incorporated into Leinster and Ulster.

Quinn, thus in Gaelic Irish tradition literally means “five ways” and becomes embedded in this tradition through Conn Cétchathach the first principal King of the Connacht as High King of Ireland.


Siol Cuinn is listed in the book descent of the Highland Clans as the founder of Clan Rory, Clan Donald and Dugal and which is attributed to maormors of The GallGael, or Norse Gaels.  The title of maormor was peculiar to the Scottish Gael, and was altogether unknown among the Irish-Celts. It was exclusively confined to the north of Scotland, and was never held by any Saxon or Norman baron.  

All a part of the maormar Norse Gaels are Siol Cuinn is associated further with Siol Gillivray, Siol Eachern, Clan Donnachie and Clan Pharlane.  From Siol Gillivray descends Clan Neill, Clan Lachlan and Clan Ewen.  From Siol Eachern descend Clan Dugall Craignish and Clan Lamond. From Clan Donachie we have Chief Robertson and finally with Clan Pharlane we have Chief Macfarlane.

These houses as well as the other houses resulting from Conn in Ireland are very much a part of the present and past Royal Genealogies for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Most particpants in our project that are L21, L21*, or L21+ descend from Scotland, not Ireland and are of Viking stock according to the "Walk Through the Y" project at Family Tree DNA identified as Scots Scandanavian Cousin.  

The following Surnames are currently in the Family Tree DNA Project:

Cuinn, Mackquein, Mackquien, MacQuinn, McQuinn, Ó Cuinn, O'Quin, O'Quinn, Quin, Quinn

Quinn Surname DNA Project is open to all families with this surname, of all spelling variations, and from all locations.  
(If your surname is not included please contact the Project Administrator.)   

Reasons to Order Your DNA Kit

  1. Help researchers from common or related families work together to find their shared heritage. 
  2. Identify how the participant's families are connected, both genetically and through paper trails.
  3. Identify and confirm genetic Lineages of ancestral families.
  4. Ultimately catalog pedigrees and genetic connections of all of the known project families.

Recommended Testing Levels

We recommend the National Geographic Geno 2.0 kit for all existing and prospective members, both male and female.  It is by far the cutting edge test and gives you the most complete understanding of your genome.  We then recommend the Family Finder tests from Family Tree DNA to obtain access to the FTDNA database.
Participating in a Surname DNA Project provides:
  • The participant's genetic DNA, which is very close (and sometimes identical) to his earliest known ancestor.
  • The participant's "deep" ancestry (Haplogroup), which identifies the paternal ancestor's prehistoric origins.
  • A sense of camaraderie, which is particularly strong for those who share a genetic ancestry
  • Stimulation to family research and renewed sharing of information
  • A wider sense of identity and relationship, as we begin to realize how much we are a World Family.
  • A chance to compare your genetic ancestry with those of your Surname and the spelling variations
  • Your genetic matches who do not share your common surname
  • The knowledge to understand our ancestors better - particularly where the records have been lost

Click here to order a DNA test in the Quinn Surname DNA Project project and here to connect with us on Facebook.

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