Buggy Name Histroy and DNA Genealogy

This post marks the first anniversary of the Buggy Name History blog. Little did I think that when I started out with a few articles that I would be finding the Buggy name in countless record sets. With Buggy being such a rare name the question of “are we related?” and “was there a first Buggy/Ó Bogaig?”  invariably comes up when I meet other Buggy’s. It might have been possible to answer the first questions if the relevant genealogical records existed in Ireland for the 15th-18th century period in Ireland. Now, a number of companies offer services where you submit a sample containing your DNA. This can glean information that will possibly provide an answer to the second question.

My understanding is that the two pertinent tests are of your Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The Y-chromosome is only possessed by males and therefore is relevant to patrilinial descent and the study of surnames. We all have mtDNA but this is only inherited from your mother.

In his Irish Roots column in the Irish Times newspaper genealogist John Grenham has written about research carried out by the Trinity College Dublin School of Genetics.  He outlines that “there is strong evidence that O’Sullivan derives from a single man living, most probably around 800 AD, with the original Ryan more likely to have lived around 1400 AD. Murphy and Kelly, on the other hand, appear to have multiple, separate origins.”[1]

Grenham further oulines that “mtDNA mutates much more slowly than Y-DNA, meaning that the resolution of the mtDNA test is a lot less precise: whereas a paternal test can identify the most recent common ancestor down to a few centuries ago, the maternal line is really only accurate at the level of millennia.”[2] So potentially, there is a chance to find evidence of a first Ó Bogaig living hundreds of years ago, maybe somewhere in north Kilkenny.

I write this article to see if any Buggy’s, anywhere in the world, have had a Y-DNA or mtDNA test carried out? If you have I would be very grateful if you could share you findings in a comment on this article.


[1] Grenham, John. Irish Roots, Irish Times Newspaper online. 29 September 2009. available at  http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/magazine/column/sept14.htm : accessed 22 March 2011

[2] Ibid.

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