DNA-R1B1C7-L ArchivesArchiver > DNA-R1B1C7 > 2011-08 > 1313177641
From: tuulen <>
Subject: Re: [R-M222] Milligans, Johnsons, Jordans, McCamish
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 15:34:01 -0400
Fortunately, nobody ever told me any wild stories about my Morrison family
history, and so no matter what I discover I will not be disappointed. I was
born in the US, my father was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and migrated along
with his parents to the US when he was just an infant, and his father and
father's family were from Northern Ireland for the few generations that I
was aware of. But just where my family might originally have come from was
a complete mystery to me.
So, just out of curiosity, I made an Internet search. I had assumed the
name was originally from somewhere in Scotland, and so that is where I began
looking, but it did not take long to find a tangled Morrison history there.
Realizing that I needed expert help, I contacted the Morrison Society of
North America. The MSNA is promoting a Morrison DNA project, largely
because the Morrison name was popularly adopted hundreds of years ago by at
least several different families who otherwise are not genetically related
to each other, so that a DNA test could help to tell which historic Morrison
family one of today's Morrisons come from, and I was invited to participate.
It was then quite a surprise to discover that I do not match any of the
known Morrison DNA groups. What? How could that be? My name is Morrison!
At Family Tree, I am included among page after page of obviously Irish names
as distant relatives. On the Family Origins page, where percentages of
national relationships are shown, Scotland appears at about 2.5 percent,
Northern Ireland appears at about 3 percent and Ireland appears at about 6.5
percent. Then, I have a 35/37 match with another Morrison. He and I
exchanged e-mail, and it turns out that his family traces back to Ulster,
too. He and I also are in the M222 group. I am genetically related to at
least a few ancient families known to have once lived in northern Ulster,
predominantly in and around Counties Derry and Donegal, clusters as the
geneticists call them, and none of those genetic clusters appear anywhere
Again, too bad that ancient names do not have DNA!
On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM, <> wrote:
> Hi Doug,
> Our 'family history' tends to conform to our ethnic identity (or our
> ancestors' <grin>) as we tend to lose details that could cause the neighbors
> to raise eyebrows about us, or worse. This is especially so in Ireland.
> I always, always check a surname book, first thing. For Ulster, there's
> Bell's book, variously named "Book of Ulster Surnames", as well as sometimes
> Scotch-Irish, if memory doesn't fail me. By 'Scotch-Irish" I believe he
> meant 'maybe Scots, maybe Irish". Whatever title you find it under, it seems
> to be the same book, an inexpensive paperback. Rule number 1 of using this
> book is USE THE INDEX. That's because if you look up your surname, you might
> not find it because it is under another name. Or there are additional
> treatments under other names. And so it can lead you to other names your
> ancestors might have used. Surnames in Ulster are very very recent and while
> many were proud of their clan -- a surname was just something the English
> pegged on you so they could find you to tax you, imprison you, or other
> unpleasantries. You often had two versions: one for 'them' and one by which
> your friends knew you. THis continued till 1900, says this book, but I
> suspect it's still going o!
> Morrison --197 -- he says in Ulster it could be of English, Scots or Irish
> origin. He gives a Donegal origin in a learned sept of O Muirgheasain (from
> muirgheas or sea valour), erenaghs of Clanmonay in Inishowen. To me this is
> very interesting because we have had DNA matches with the McCamishes on
> Inishowen. It has sparked a fantasy of them moving eastward with the
> advancing O'Neills, over the centuries. Also according to one story I heard,
> with the O'Donnells 'took over' Inishowen, their cousins all left but for
> one clan, which stayed on near Moville, and they later took the surname
> McCormick. I haven't located a McCormick of this origin to compare with my
> Anyway, Bell gives a trail of anglicizations like O'Mrisane. Which gave
> rise to Bryson in Co. Derry (and Brice and Bryce, also used in Donegal for
> Then it gets interesting: a branch of the Donegal Morrisons migrated at
> some point to Lewis and Harris in the Scottish Isles, where they became
> bards to the MacLeods of Dunvegan. Their chief had a seat at Habost Ness in
> Lewis and was hereditary judge for the island. Besides these guys, there
> were other Scottish septs: two of Clan Buchanan that descend from
> illegitimate sons named Maurice.
> So if you think Morrison is only a Scots surname, it means you haven't
> checked this book. He compiled it from a number of other sources -- you can
> check all them instead, but it takes longer <grin>.
> Then to make it more confusing, our ancestors actually were not so
> concerned as we sometimes think about a man's origins. So if he married a
> gal in the community and adopted her religion, whatever that might be, they
> accepted him. There are many clearly Irish surnames among the early
> Presbyterians in western Pennsylvania. These names tell us right where they
> came from: the North coast! So it's handy that they were not.
> Finally, it wasn't till around 1600 or so that Scots Gaelic is recognized
> by the linguists I've read as a language separate from Irish. As late as
> 1700 many of the Presbyterians in the Bushmills area of Antrim couldn't
> speak English (from book on Presbyterians and the Irish language). They were
> one big happy family, all speaking the same language and part of the same
> Gaelic culture. When my Andersons came with the McDonalds circa 1550, they
> spoke a common language with the locals. Of course the army was a might
> short on women, but it wasn't hard to find an Irish girl to marry. To assume
> a man was ethnically Scots because his Y chromo might be, might be a little
> incorrect <grin>.
> Especially in the sea kingdom! We see the ocean as a barrier -- but to the
> people in Ulster and western Scotland it was a super highway. (I learned
> this in a history of Ireland in the 1500s) So of course people on one side
> were a lot like the guys on the other side -- and thought little of which
> side it was they lived on today.
> In a eclesiastical history in County Down there is the story of two Kellys
> (I got Kellys from Co. Down) who had a conversation around 1650, if memory
> doesn't fail me. The one was a settler and the other a local Irish fella,
> both Kellys. The settler from Galloway said that his family had a story that
> they'd come from County Down with St. Ninian when he went to Scotland to
> convert the Scots (abt 700 AD). The Irish Kelly said that was interesting
> because his family had a story that when St. Ninian went over some Kellys
> had gone with him.
> So! Is a Kelly of County Down Irish or Scots? The answer is he's whatever
> it is he wants to be. Ethnicity isn't genes or even history.
> We couldn't find a researcher in Ireland who was willing to research the
> McCamish surname 'back' into history. It's way to easy to make money
> retrieving easy to get records from the last 200 years. I finally went to
> Salt Lake. The library has a wonderful collection of parish histories and
> other books. Microfilm I can order! It also has published, indexed, copies
> of the Parliamentary Papers relating to Ireland back into the reign of Queen
> Lizzy. These contain the names of many ordinary Irishmen, of course badly
> spelled. I was able to ID a number of McCamishes or possible McC's,
> including one who lived in central Ulster and was implicated in the Rising
> in 1641 (or 2, I forget). The origins of the McComish clan can be traced
> through them. Also apparently a McCormick from the Armagh area (as I recall)
> went to the south and was involved in the Armada -- financing ships to
> invade England. So there should be a genetic trail unless the English found
> all his descendants.... Fascinati!
> ng story -- begs to be turned into a novel! All kinds of interesting
> things were in those books, some of which might be out of copyright and in
> google books. Alas, most ofl these names were patrynomics and not surnames.
> I once 'met' a man on the INternet who was able to trace his Campbells back
> from Ireland to Scotland in the 1500s. They were with the McDonalds too, and
> apparently Queen Lizzie had spies among them who wrote home. These papers
> can be a wealth of information. She did have a good spy network, she did. In
> fact, a lot of what we know about Irish clans in Ulster before the
> Plantation comes from letters composed by a local man who rode about and
> collected it. It's published in Hanna "The Scotch Irish", which can be found
> in many places, including free in Ancestry.
> However this is all that bad word -- research. The thing we hoped DNA
> genealogy would let us avoid. Alas, no.
> There was also the fella whose surname was MELVILLE. Post Famine migrants.
> An expensive researcher in Salt Lake couldn't find them in the 1880 census
> and didn't do Irish genealogy, but did tell him it was impossible to do
> (while providing the marriage record in the USA which identified the county
> of origin in Ireland and the names of the parents -- the Irish genealogical
> pot of gold). I checked my Irish surname books and learned it was MULVIHILL.
> Found them with no trouble at all in 1880 census. Also found them in
> Limerick, living on the road to Kerry. Not surprisingly, NOT related to the
> Mulvihills who live in the estuary of the River Shannon. Nope, they have a
> private marker shared with the Kerry Mulvihills. They're Scots Galloglass,
> not Irish (but we're not telling anybody <grin>). A surname book is
> L inda Merle
> >Thank you, I enjoyed reading your report, and I can only guess as to how
> >much time and effort you have invested in getting that far with it, as I
> >now beginning to appreciate.
> >I am a Morrison whose family traces back to the late 18th century in
> >Armagh, but until recently I had simply assumed that my family had
> >originated somewhere in Scotland. After all, Morrison is a Scottish name,
> >right? But no! My DNA evidence now clearly points to Ireland, and I have
> >discovered an ancient Irish Morrison family, too, complete with many
> >different name spellings, although I have not been able to find any
> >connection between my name and the historical name. Too bad that names do
> >not have DNA!
> R1b1c7 Research and Links:
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message
|Re: [R-M222] Milligans, Johnsons, Jordans, McCamish by tuulen <>|