AncestryDNA Genetic Communities First Look! My Moms Munster Irish Connections

By Diane Haddad

I’ve been hoping DNA testing would shine some light on my Irish origins. But since I’m just 1/16 Irish through a set of third-great-grandparents on my mom’s side, her DNA test might be more useful than mine in this regard.

We haven’t made any connections with cousins who know where we come from in Ireland, but we did learn Mom is a “likely” member of what AncestryDNA calls the Munster Irish genetic community. The company is beta testing a genetic communities experience for members who test results put them into these groups. Here’s what Mom’s beta looks like:

Genetic communities are genetically connected groups AncestryDNA has identified that show where your family probably lived over the past few hundred years. The Munster Irish were from the province of Munster in southwestern Ireland, where counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick are.

I already knew from records that our Irish ancestors came from Cork and Kerry, but this would be big news for someone who knew only that he was part Irish.

Clicking on the overview and timeline arrows at the left gives you some history of this genetic community during that time, and shows you migration paths for the group. My Irish ancestors were famine immigrants who arrived sometime before about 1850 (the date of their marriage record in Cincinnati).

You’ll also see who in your tree was part of the migratory group

You can zoom in to see an area more closely.

You might be able to click on a “historical insight” below the overview to learn more about a topic related to that heritage group.

Clicking Connection on the community’s home screen explains how you came to be a member of this community, shows you common last names in the community, and lets you view matches also in the community.

So if you haven’t done much genealogy yet, being placed in a genetic community automatically gives you new information about your possible family history, and points you to a starting place for looking through your matches. Even as someone who’s done some genealogy research, I liked seeing my family as part of an international migration and learning more about the historical context for their lives.

I’m not quite Irish enough to be in this community with Mom, but I am in the “Netherlanders and Northern Germans in the Midwest” community (she is too).

Have you been placed in any genetic communities? What do you think of the beta experience?