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News & Updates

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Mar. 27, 2009 - Why You Want an Irish Passport?

Feb. 28, 2008 - Done Your DNA Test in another lab? Transfer your Results...

Feb. 12, 2008 - Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update

August 31, 2007 - New Colour Coding

July 17, 2007 - Important for All Participants

July 16, 2007 - FREE Hosting Announcement

July 15, 2007 - Online Privacy Policy

Feb. 11, 2007 - UH DNA Update

==============News Items================

Mar. 27, 2009 - Why You Want an Irish Passport?

As Posted by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter 16 March 2009

It seems appropriate on St. Patrick's Day to celebrate one's Irish ancestry. If you had one parent or grandparent who was Irish, it is possible that you could obtain an Irish Passport. In fact, there is a proposal to grant Irish citizenship to anyone descended from at least one great-grandparent who was a native of Ireland.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and probably many others can legally obtain Irish passports because of their ancestry. Why would you want to do that?

Ask any of the Irish passport holders who were safely evacuated from war-torn Lebanon a couple of years ago. They were able to get out safely when Americans and others could not, thanks to their passports and the prominent placement of the Irish Tricolours on the front of the two buses carrying them across the Syrian border.

One’s Irishness, and in particular the carrying of an Irish passport, has helped many Irish citizens avoid potentially life-endangering situations. The Irish are known worldwide for being politically neutral. Irish humanitarian workers have often reported that they are able to win the confidence of needy groups in distressed situations.

In fact, the Irish passport has helped many get through places where they would have been killed or incarcerated had they been carrying an American or British passport. For instance, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins was born in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. He was the commanding officer of the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army at the start of the Iraq war. He is now retired and works as a military consultant. He travels in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. He would never be able to travel in those areas if he used his British passport. However, Colonel Collins’ Irish ancestry entitles him to legally carry an Irish passport, which, in turn, opens doors.

All natives of Northern Ireland can carry a British passport or an Irish passport. As another former British soldier with Irish ancestry reports, “It’s not a political statement. It’s just that Irish documents carry very little baggage abroad. Ireland is a neutral country, and it has never invaded anywhere else or even fought in a war.”

An Irish passport is one of the most prized travel documents for business and security experts, as well as for journalists and aid workers in the world’s trouble spots.

Another use for Irish passports is to obtain employment in European Union countries. Anyone with an Irish passport may obtain employment in many European countries without the formalities of work permits.

To obtain an Irish passport, you must become an Irish citizen. However, Americans may hold dual citizenship. That is, Americans do not need to give up their American citizenship in order to claim Irish citizenship.

So, who is eligible for an Irish passport? For starters, Irish citizenship is automatic for people who meet these definitions:

  • Anyone born in Ireland prior to 1 January 2005 is an Irish citizen, except children of parents holding diplomatic immunity in Ireland. The subject becomes a bit more complex for anyone born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 as the citizenship and residency history of both parents becomes relevant.
  • Anyone born outside Ireland whose father or mother was was an Irish citizen at the time of the child's birth, is an Irish citizen.
  • If you have at least one grandparent who was an Irish citizen, the law infers that your parent was an Irish citizen due to his or her parent's citizenship and therefore you have a right to become an Irish citizen based on your parent's citizenship. At this time, only a grandparent's citizenship is recognized; you cannot apply for Irish citizenship based upon earlier generations. However, that may change soon.

If one of the above does not apply, citizenship is not automatic and must be acquired through application. Irish citizenship and a passport are possible for anyone with at least one grandparent who was an Irish citizen. However, an application must be made and documentation submitted. In normal circumstances, three documents concerning the grandparent are required:

  1. The full, long form (i.e. showing the names of the parents of the child) Irish birth certificate. Birth records have been maintained centrally in Ireland since 1864, and you can obtain certified copies by applying to the Registrar of Births, Joyce House, 7-11 Lombard Street East, Dublin 2, Ireland or by applying to the Superintendent Registrar of the district where your grandparent was born. Requests to the Registrar should detail the grandparent's full name, along with their date and place of birth. If not already known, this information is often obtainable from death/marriage certificates.
  2. The marriage license or certificate.
  3. If the grandparent is deceased, the death certificate; if living, a current official photo I.D. (such as a driving license, passport).

Similar documentation is also required for the parent, and even more information is required of the applicant (passport-size photographs, long-form birth certificate, notarized copies of proof of identity, etc.). 

You can find more information at the Embassy of Ireland’s web site at: http://www.irelandemb.org/fbr.html.


While today's law grants citizenship only to the children and grandchildren of Irish nationals, Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen of Ireland delivered a speech last Friday night at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. In a move to woo Irish-Americans, Mr. Cowen proposed measures to make it easier for Americans to claim Irish citizenship, reversing a restrictive course the Irish government took in 2005.

“The connections between Ireland and America remain strong,” Mr. Cowen said, “but we cannot take them for granted.”

Mr. Cowen, who took office last May, has been grappling with a slate of problems that will seem familiar to Americans. Ireland is suffering through the worst housing bust in Europe. The unemployment rate now exceeds 10 percent. The government has grabbed billions from pension funds to prop up failing banks. Public servants have seen their paychecks slashed. Bankers and architects are applying for jobs at McDonald’s. As a result, popular support for his government has plummeted.

But Mr. Cowen was cheered Sunday, at least in some quarters, for his proposal to ease naturalization by allowing Americans whose nearest Irish ancestor is a great-grandparent to qualify for citizenship, provided that they have spent considerable time studying or working in Ireland. Under current law, the most distant forebear an American could claim and still qualify for Irish citizenship is a grandparent.

“There’s an awful lot of Irish-Americans who feel very cut off by the ‘grandfather rule,’ ” said Niall O’Dowd, the former chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and a founder of the Irish Voice newspaper in New York. “This would open up Irish citizenship to a whole new generation of Irish-Americans.”

Feb. 28, 2008 - Done Your DNA Test in another lab? Transfer your Results...

Individuals that have done their DNA testing with other labs can now come into the Ulster Heritage DNA Project at much reduced prices.

Get the promo flyer here!

Barry R. McCain
Ulster Heritage DNA Project

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Feb. 12, 2008 - Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update

There is a call to those UHDP families of Scots-Irish ancestry to participate in an oral history project run by Dr Michael Roe. Full details are available on the Ulster Heritage Magazine on line site at: http://uhblog.ulsterheritage.com/ this is a worthy project and we hope many will contact Dr Roe.

Due to demand for information on one of the American presidential candidates (Mac of course) we recently posted is a short article on Senator John McCain and his County Antrim roots in the Ulster Heritage Magazine.

We urge you to look often at the results tables and if you see an error please contact us. We welcome questions also. If you see an obvious ‘match’ and would like to have a family or clan grouping, just write us. You can get to the results via the www.ulsterheritage.com page. This is a family oriented user friendly project, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

We do have some news that will be forth coming on the I haplogroup, which are well represented in Ulster. I am told that several of the I subgroups are now thought to be indigenous, meaning did not come in with the Norse, etc., more updates on this as I receive them. If we have any one that is in our project that would like to research and write on this please contact me, we are seriously understaffed and would appreciate the help.

Also, any family group that has made matches to native born Ulster families, please consider writing up a short article on your experiences, others would like to hear them. We would like to feature as many families as space allows.

Jim McKane, our web master, has managed to place some e-books on the main Ulster Heritage website. One is Rev George Hill’s The Stewarts of Ballintoy. This short book is a great read on the history of north Antrim and it also has information of families related to the Ballintoy Stewarts, the Boyds, McCahans, etc. it is a fascinating volume like all Rev Hill’s works. Two other short booklets are there also on Dunluce and the Giant’s Causeway, one by Robert McCahan and the other by Rev Canon Ford. These are facsimile copies, so you get not just a transcript, but a facsimile. These are available for a nominal fee. Jim has also added new links of interest, so please explore them. As we find these little gems that have notes on Ulster families, we will add them.

Barry R McCain

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August 31, 2007 - New Colour Coding for the Results Table

We have adopted a new colour scheme for the Ulster Heritage DNA Results table. The new scheme is as follows:

Green for the R1b1c7 members. This is the famous Northwest Ireland haplogroup also known as the Niall of the Nine Hostages group. All families and clans that have this colour belong to this group. It is a Gaelic subgroup of the R1b1c group.

White is used for those families and clans who also have links the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and are part of old Gallóglaigh clans.

Khaki (saffron) represents Gaelic/Celtic haplotypes that are R1b1c and its related subgroups. In this group are found by Gaelic and Cymreag Celts.

Silver/grey is used for those families of Norse and Norman paternal ancestry.

We hope this colour system will assist in our participants understanding of their individual family’s history.

Barry McCain

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July 17, 2007 - Important for All Participants

PLEASE remember to update your contact information on your Family Tree DNA personal page should you change your email address.

We have several 'returned emails' when we have emailed the group due to non or no longer valid email addresses. It is important to keep your email address current as this is the only way we have to contact participants with news and updates.

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July 16, 2007 - FREE Hosting Announcement

This posting is for those participants in the Ulster Heritage DNA Project that have an interest in developing web sites on their family or Clan or other Ulster themed subject.

Barry and Jim at ulsterheritage.com wish to announce the availability of FREE website hosting for sites and information related to Ulster. If you have a clan or DNA website, we would like to host it for you FREE.
If you would like to develop or have a web site of Ulster related information such as - recipes, local history, folk-lore, website reference indices, travel information - we would be happy to host the information for you.
There would be some common sense conditions and restrictions and we would need to place an AdsGoogle banner on each page to fund this endeavour.

Please send us your needs outlining your content and the approximate amount of web space required. We will do our best to work with you for the benefit of everyone.

Yours in Ulster websites
Jim & Barry

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July 15, 2007 - Online Privacy Policy

Any information collected via the ulsterheritage.com web site is only used to communicate with you and service your needs. Any personal information such as names, addresses or email addresses corresponded to ulsterheritage.com via email or forms on our web site will not be given or sold to any third party.

Email - When you send an email message to ulsterheritage.com, any personal information detailed in the message is only used by ulsterheritage.com to complete services or query you have requested.

Cookies - A cookie is a packet of information or data sent by a web site to your browser which may or may not be stored on your hard drive, and it may contain any personal information you have entered on the web site. At ulsterheritage.com, we do not use cookies.

Contact the following for any questions or concerns about this policy:-

Regular Mail:
Jim McKane
192 Baker St.
Waterloo, ONTARIO N2T 2L4

Phone: 519-744-0880
Email: jim@mckane.ca

or Barry McCain
Box 884
Oxford, MS 38655

Email: failte@ulsterheritage.com

Revised: July 15, 2007
Copyright © 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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February 11, 2007 - UH DNA Update

The Ulster Heritage DNA Project has been up and running for several months now and has already met with considerable success. Many families have already made relevant matches that have added much to each family’s history. For the present we are organising the results into clan and family groups. Those families who have yet to make a match are organised by haplogroup.

On the families with Gaelic origin surnames the families are grouped under the Gaelic spelling when there are multiple and confusing anglicised forms. We use the one Gaelic spelling as the title and then you can see the anglicised forms of that name below.

Some of the interesting themes being researched by the Ulster Heritage DNA Project include the Gallóglaigh families. These are Irish families who have roots in the Hebrides and Argyle. They were a hereditary warrior caste that functioned in Gaelic society much like the Samurai class did in Japan. The Gallóglaigh families began settling in Ulster in the 1200s and were a prominent aspect of Irish society from then until the early 1600s. Anglicised forms of Gallóglaigh surnames include; MacSweeny, MacLean, Campbell, MacCain, McDonnell, MacAllen, MacCabe, just to name a few, and the Gallóglaigh we found in all parts of Ulster. They earned top pay in their day and served and were loyal to one lord. They had a very stylized mode of dress, arms and amour and like the samurai, a code of martial behaviour that was impeccable and strict. There are effigies of these strange warriors found all over Ireland and we intend to post some photos of them in future.

Several families have already started picking up matches, the Andersons of County Antrim, the Henrys of the Bann Valley, the Diamonds also of the Bann Valley and a distinguished old erenagh family. We even have some of the now famous R1b1c7 haplogroup families, also called the ‘Niall of the Nine Hostages group.’ R1b1c7 families include the Mac Thómais clan and the Ó Catháin clan, both found in the results table. There is also a group of the ‘Niall’ lads under the R1b1c7 heading that have yet to find a match. This group is also called by the name Northwest Irish modal and the haplogroup was discovered by researchers at Trinity University in Dublin.

Another group we have is called the R1b1c Celts. They are called this as some Ulster Scot families, such as the Tweedys and Wallaces come from Cymreig Celtic ancestry. Much of the Lowlands of Scotland have roots that go back to the indigenous Celtic tribes there and this is reflected in their DNA results, but rather than being Gaelic Celts they are Cymreig Celts. They are the same haplogroup or ethnicity of the Gaels which is why we place both Gaelic Celts and Cymreig Celts under this heading. Cymreig Celts do have their own unique history and in times past language. The country of Wales, i.e. Cymru, is a part of the Isles where Cymaeg Celtic, or Welsh, is still very much spoken to this day. Large parts of southern Scotland have Cymreig roots. Cymraeg in the word for their language and Cymreig is the adjective and Cymru is the word for their country today.

Participation in the project is growing at a steady pace, Irish and Scots-Irish Americans leading the way, but also participation from throughout the Diaspora including Canadian, Australians, South Africans, etc.

© 2007 Barry McCain

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