Males of either Irish or Scottish origin bearing the surname Kennedy can help the study of the Kennedy surname by submitting, usually free of charge, a cheek swab from which their DNA can be extracted. This is needed to explore where the paper trail cannot take us, for example the relation between the highland and lowland Kennedys. I lead the way having tested with five different DNA testing organisations. By comparing these sets of numbers with other Kennedys, some measure of how long ago we were all related can be obtained. The project is primarily based at DNA Ancestry (Ancestry.com), although the results are compatible with the former DNA Heritage and the SMGF project. More advanced ('SNP') testing is also sometimes done either at ScotlandsDNA or FullGenomes, an emerging company I am supporting. Funding is usually available if a paper trail to Britain or Ireland exists. If you are considering testing with any organisation please contact me to discuss and get the latest industry advice - I've tested with them all!.
Kennedy DNA results
As of May 2013, 95 DNA kits have been returned. When the lab has extracted the DNA, full analysis and information about matches will be supplied to the participant. I then encourage people to share their results in open databases (some, of course, exercise their right to keep their results private). So far, several different groups have emerged although all are in an old large grouping associated with the Atlantic facade of Europe. This proves that both Irish and Scottish Kennedys are indigenous (at least in the era of surnames) to their traditional homelands. The Irish Kennedys match well with other names from the O'Brien group of families as would be expected and thus confirm the Kennedy history from the Irish annals that places them in the family of Brian Boru. The Scottish Kennedys are demonstrably separate from the Irish, thus disproving certain old histories claiming that they came from Ireland. The big remaining puzzle is the relation between the lowland and highland Scottish Kennedys. Here the evidence is hard to interpret because of the mix of lines in the highlands, one major line of which is border-line related to the main lowland branch. It is to be hoped that with a few more highland and Aberdeenshire/Caithness Kennedy men doing the test, this picture should be clarified. Another group I am keen to explore further are Kennedys from the Irish 'midlands', by which I mean the areas between the separate genetic groups in Munster and Ulster. Anyone between Galway in the west and Leinster (excluding Dublin) in the east is of interest. Dublin Kennedys would need to provide proof of their rural origins elsewhere in the country. As of May 2013 a number of new technologies and research initiatives have emerged onto the scene which will further aid us in ironing out the fine details - if you are interested in hearing the latest drop me a line.
For further information please contact the project.