Most of his contemporaries thought he was a blackguard, but his descendants take a more nuanced view. That's the fate of Ned Kelly, cold blooded killer or freedom fighting folk hero, depending on who you ask.

In May, genetic links to the controversial Australian outlaw will be the focus of the next Kelly clan gathering in Dundrum, County Tipperary.

Kelly was born in Australia about 1854 and went on to win a fearful reputation as a lethal hoodlum who led authorities on a merry trail for years until he was finally captured for his crimes and hanged in Melbourne in 1880.

According to the Irish Times the key speaker at the May 17 - 19 Kelly gathering will be Australian Aidan Kelly, the clan’s chief recorder on genetic genealogy, who will be presenting the latest analysis of the Kelly Y-DNA study.

Mary Kelly, one of the event organizers and a spokeswoman for the Kelly Clan Association told the Irish Times: 'The purpose of our event is not to condone his reputation but to share the importance of genetics in tracing family connections.'

You may want to take that swab now. You never know who might turn up in your ancestral tree.