Since Ireland was the first European country to adopt inherited paternal surnames it should come as no surprise that the Irish lead the way in using DNA, surnames, and place names to literally pinpoint precisely where one’s direct male Irish ancestor lived approximately 1,000 years ago.

This means that for the first time ever anyone with Irish ancestry can reconnect with Ireland in a way that their ancestors could only ever have imagined. The new Irish Genetic Homeland Finder website takes genealogy into a whole new orbit. It came about from collaboration between Dr Tyrone Bowes of Irish Origenes and Brad Larkin of Medical Incentive Technologies LLC, both of whom are passionate about Ireland and Irish DNA. 

The Genetic Homeland finder is an interactive website that can be used by those simply curious about their own Irish surname, or those interested in the many Irish surnames that appear in their family tree.

Registration for is free, there are no monthly subscription fees, and the initial six search queries are also free, subsequent querying of the databases does require a small fee on a pay-as-you-go basis.

So simply input your Irish surname or surnames of interest, select where farmers with that surname cluster, placenames, and castles associated with each surname (or surnames of interest). Press the search button and zoom in on the interactive map to reveal the areas where they localise.

The method works so well for Ireland because farmers with a particular surname can still be found farming the lands their ancestors settled hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Those farmers in turn gave their name to place names where they lived and to the castles that they built.

It’s a beautifully simplistic way of uncovering where your ancestors lived prior to leaving Ireland. For example, you may have McCarthys, Sullivans, and Donovans in your family tree, simply input these into the search engine and reveal on the interactive map where these surnames co-localise and hence where your Irish ancestors lived.

Each search is saved so one never has to pay for the same search twice. Nearly 5,000 Irish surnames are represented which corresponds to nearly 9,000 farmer clusters, thousands of placenames, and nearly 1,400 castles associated with over 400 prominent Clans and Families.

If one has had a commercial ancestral DNA test one can take the analysis to a whole new level of detail. With that DNA test one can reveal the surnames of your ancestors neighbours from a time when he first picked his surname (about 1000 years ago), simply input those surnames into the Genetic Homeland search engine and reveal where those surnames originate, where they co-localise is where your ancestor lived when he first picked his surname. Think about that. Not many can actually say with scientific certainty where their direct male ancestor lived 1000 years ago! Since the DNA does not lie, one can confirm the link with a simple commercial DNA test of people living in the identified area.

All this would not be possible without modern technology. The creators hope to add further search criteria soon including ‘Battle site locations’ and clans and families that fought in each, a database of hereditary roles and families associated with them, be they mercenary, religious, law, poetry, history, or medicine, and also a Pre-Norman Clan map of Ireland to augment the number of Irish themed maps that are already available. There is a wealth of information available about one’s medieval ancestors and the creators see it as their role to reconnect you with your Irish ancestral past and maybe one day to help you plan your route to Ireland to visit the places where your distant relatives still live, the places named after your ancestors, and castles where you know with DNA and scientific certainty that your ancestors once lived.'

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