DNA Project


Curtin DNA Project

Presentation at 2017 Gathering in Ennis, Ireland,  April 2017

Google Presentation



The Curtin DNA project began in 2004 when Neal Curtin, the Clan’s founder emeritus, submitted his test swab for analysis to FamilyTreeDNA.  Since them, over 120 Curtin related individuals have participated in the program.


Initially, only males were tested because it is easy to follow the Y gene that connects the paternal surname.  These results so far have shown that the majority of male Curtins tested fall into one of two major haplogroups – R1b1 and J2, now known by their shortcut names of R-M269 and J-M172, respectively.  Haplogroups tell us where our ancestors came from 25,000 years ago and their subsequent migration patterns.  Haplogroup R1b1 (R-M269) originated in southwest Asia (Saudi Arabia) and traveled across most of Western Europe, Great Britain and Ireland.  While about 60% of the population in Western Germany, Spain, France and Great Britain are haplogroup R1b1 (R-M269), over 80% of the population in Ireland is estimated to belong to this group.  Most Curtins falling into this category have ancestors from County Clare and northern County Cork, around Mallow.   Early analysis shows at least 3 distinct subgroups – 2 in Clare and one in Mallow.


The second major haplogroup is J2 or J-M172.  This haplogroup began in the near east (Israel and Palestine area).  These folks migrated along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea – northern Africa, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain.  Less than 5% of the population in Ireland falls in this haplogroup.  Yet, about 65% of the male Curtins that have been tested are in this grouping.  J2 (J-M172) ancestors are found along the Feale River where Counties Cork, Kerry, and Limerick meet.


Testing has also revealed a handful of Curtins with Viking and African ancestors.  In addition, some individuals who do not have a Curtin surname have been identified as having a male paternal Curtin ancestor.


Recently a new test (Family Finder) has been developed by FamilyTreeDNA that allows both males and females to be tested.  The test can identify potential 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins who have a common ancestor on either the maternal or paternal side.  While the test does not have the ability to identify ancestral lines many generations back, it does has two advantages.  Both males and females can be tested and it is not restricted to the male surname line.


Testing is very simple.  You order a test from www.familytreedna.com.  They send you a kit.  Take the provided swabs and scrape lightly the inside of your cheek and return them to the company.  In about 6-8 weeks the company will notify you by email of the results.  The website will identify individuals that match your DNA and post their email addresses.  The Curtin Clan project coordinator also receives the results and can provide additional information about any matches.


It is recommended that males take the 67 marker Y-DNA test.  Females should take the Family Finder test.  Males may also take the Family Finder test to identify possible cousins in the non paternal surname line.   More information about DNA testing can be found at www.familytreedna.com.  Or you can contact the Curtin DNA project coordinator at curtinclan@gmail.com.


Costs vary for tests.  In the last few years FamilyTreeDna has offered sale prices a couple of times a year.  The reduced prices are posted on the Curtin Clan Yahoo message board that is available to Clan members.  To help in this regard, the Clan’s policy is to offer one year’s free Clan membership for any man with the Curtin surname taking at least the 67-marker test.



Dan Curtin

DNA Project Coordinator

updated April 8, 2014