As of 1/7/2009 we have 12 project members, with 3 McHale lines. The largest group
contains 8 McHales who match closely but have no paper trail connecting the families (2 do
trace back to adjoining farms in Cum Lahardaun at the time of Griffiths Valuation). The 8
are in Haplogroup R1b1b2a1b and are L21+, a recently discovered ydna SNP that is heavily
concentrated in Ireland. These 8 families do all trace back to the general area of Lough
Conn and Lough Cullen in Northern County Mayo.
Four results differ - two of those are brothers from Mayo who are positive for the M222+
marker, which is a SNP downstream of L21+. This means that while there is a common male
ancestor (pre-McHale) farther back in time, they are not descended from the same McHale
The last 2 are a McHail and a Mitchell who match closely but differ from the other McHales.
We have a number of male ancestors identified dating to around 1780-1820. Those male
ancestors, who share a common ancestor at some point, are Walter, Anthony, Philip,
James, Patrick, and Richard. By participating in this project, you can help to further align
McHale families into more closely related family groups. Testing of more McHales would
allow us to identify more individual family lines and to group others into those individual
branches. If you do not know the townland where your McHale ancestors lived, DNA testing
could help you by matching you with the correct McHale ancestral line and townland.
The original McHale - possibly named Cele (a first name) lived many years ago of course,
possibly 1,000 years ago, but the "clan" is one family based upon current results.
One of the earliest written mentions of a McHale is from the Annals of Loch Ce of 1257.
" A great depredation was committed by Aedh O'Conchobhair on O'Ruairc, about Easter.
Maelpatraic Mac hEli, airchinnech of Cill-Alaidh (erenagh of Killala), was slain." (Maelpatraic
means servant of Patrick, a name often taken by early priests.)
We have not yet, from this small sample, seen a split between the supposed Irish McHale
family and that of a Welsh Howell family that adopted the McHale surname. Additional SNP
testing is being conducted on several participants to see if they exhibit any markers that will
help to answer that question. The results so far indicate that this is an old Irish family. It is
of course possible that there was a Welsh family and they either have not shown up yet in
the testing or the line died out.
Unlike other Irish clans, the McHale line is not showing unrelated family trees. At least at this
point it is one tree with branches. Some clans have different family trees with some
unrelated members adopting the clan name, or descendants taking on surnames to
differentiate their line. We are not seeing that with McHale. In this case, it appears that the
clan was truly one family that grew over time.
Please order at least a 37
marker test. If you have had
DNA testing completed
through a company other than
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)
please contact me via email.
Sept of the Clan Keale
Books of Survey and Distribution
Cuming, Addergoole , County Mayo
Names of Proprietors in 1641
Theobald Bourke, 1/2; and
The Sept of the Clan Keale 1/2
To whom the Forfeited Lands were
conveyed: Ulick Bourke
owned by Theobald Bourke, 1/2,
and The Sept of the Clan Keale,
To Whom the Forfeited Lands were
conveyed: Forfeited to William
Shaw, and Ulick Bourke
Flax Growers List of 1796 - some
McHales were spelling the name
McKeale (as in Sept of the Clan
Keale), later changing it to McHale.