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McMichael / MacMichael surname project

This is a Y-DNA project that seeks to learn more about the genetic genealogy related to surnames deriving from the Gaeilc MacGhilleMhìcheil / Mac‘illeMhìcheil along with variant anglicizations, also from the Irish Mac Giolla Mhichíl along with variant anglicizations, etc. McMichael / MacMichael may also represent families in the areas of Lowland Scotland, who took the surnames McMichael / MacMichael even as Gaelic was on the wane and English was becoming more established.

The Gaelic form of the surname is MacGhilleMhìcheil / Mac‘illeMhìcheil (roughly pronounced as "Mahk-'illyeh-Veekhel," translated as Son of the Servant of [St.] Michael) with common anglicizations of McMichael, MacMichael, Carmichael*, McMichaell, McMicheal, McMichel, McMichal, McMichall, McMichiel, McMickel, McMickell, McMickle, McMahill, McMihil, McMihill, MacMichil, McMichell, McMichill, McMitchell, MacMitchell, MacMichie, McMichie, McMichan, Meikle, Meekle, Mickle, Mickel, Mitchell*, Mitchelson*, Michael*, Michaels*, Michel*, and Michaelson*; less common are McGill, McGillimichael, Gillmichael, Gilmichael, McKilmichael, Kilmichael, MacIllimhicall, Mcllvichil, M’Ilvichall, etc. Also, the Irish form of the surname is Mac Giolla Mhichíl (roughly pronounced as "Mahk Yullah Veekhel," translated as Son of the Servant of [St.] Michael), with common anglicizations of McMichell, MacElmeel, McElmeell, McElmeil, McElmell, McIlimchell, McIlmail, McIlmale, McIlmall, McElmell, Mcilmale, McIlmall, McEhill.

There are separate Surname Projects for:

There are multiple separate lineages that have taken the surnames in this project. Sept lists dating back to the 19th century, when clan societies and tartan manufacturers attempted to capitalize on the enthusiasm and interest for all things Scottish, have posited McMichaels / MacMichaels as septs of Stewart clans (Galloway, Appin & Royal), MacDonald clans (South & Clanranald), the Irish clan Connolly. These traditional associations have been likely validated in the case of only one project participant to date. Other authorities have noted that some McMichael / MacMichael lineages to be of Scottish Lowlander origin.

We kindly appeal for Y-DNA testing and project participation by men who currently reside in Scotland and Ireland, and whose families have historically resided there. Members are encouraged to upgrade to at least 67-marker STR testing; 111-markers is best. Also, members are encouraged to perform haplogroup testing to determine their terminal SNP; next generation sequencing (NGS), e.g., Big Y or equivalent testing for novel SNPs is best.

Project Goals The McMichael / MacMichael Surname Project has been organized for all who wish to work together to find their common heritage through Y-DNA testing and sharing of information. The project is open to all McMichaels / MacMichaels from Ireland and Scotland and their descendants, and those who have a genetic link to the McMichael / MacMichael families listed on our results page. All variant spellings are welcome. If your surname spelling is missing, please submit it for addition.

The goals of the project can be summarised as follows:

To identify members (and hence their family branches) that are more closely related to each other (those that have similar genetic signatures can be grouped together into genetic families and can be considered to be related to each other genetically).

To help members establish to which genetic family they belong (this may allow them to "piggyback" onto the established genealogies of other members in the group, for example the member who has the family bible and can trace his line back to the 1500s).

To confirm paper-trail evidence & traditional genealogies (a positive match between two members who believe they are descended from the same common ancestor on the basis of traditional documentary evidence can help confirm that relationship).

To help to focus further documentary research (members of a genetic family are closely related and should work with each other to try to identify the common ancestor).

To identify the likely geographical origin(s) of each genetic family.

To study the evolution of the surname from its earliest origins to its present day forms.

To document and publish the results along the way so that others can derive the maximum benefit from the project.

Current project Y-DNA results There are currently four distinct lineages of McMichael men represented in the project. One man whose surname was previously spelled MacMichael has joined, with the lab awaiting receipt of the kit.

  • The largest group, dubbed the North Antrim Cluster, has five participants. This cluster is working to discover its terminal SNP. The current haplogroup is R1b>L21>DF49>DF23>ZP148, ZP149>ZP179-ZP186 (validated with a Caldwell man, with likely origins in Ayrshire, and a Portuguese-heritage Rodrigues man, whose terminal SNP is ZP181), with 12 high-quality SNPs recently validated between two McMichael surname-bearing men. These SNPs are pending quality-assurance checks and naming.
  • The next largest cluster has a haplogroup of R1b>L21>DF49>DF23>M222>S658>DF104>DF105>FGC4133>FGC4134>FGC4125. This lineage is related to Griersons and Milligans, which fits into a larger kinship of Griersons/Greers and Milligans/Millikens/Mulligans all of Dumfriesshire in southwest Scotland.
  • Another lineage with one participant represents a match to Carmichaels of Lismore, "Leinster Modal" or "Irish Sea Haplotype," R1b+>L21>Z255>Z16429. This participant's haplogroup is proving elusive in that Z16429 represents an upstream block SNP, and not known to be a terminal SNP. Further testing is being pursued.
  • The last lineage likely represents that of Norse-Gaels being I2a2>I-M223>Z161>CTS6433>Y9161, which indicates an origin in southern Argyll (Knapdale and Kintyre) and the Islands (Islay, Jura, Gigha, and Arran). Testing to resolve the terminal SNP between Y9161 (Carrs and Kerrs) and Y17942 (McGugans and McGoogans) is planned.

Two surname variant, Mitchell, men are included. One of these men is a descendant of James, 5th High Steward of Scotland; this Mitchell's lineage is R1b>L21>DF41>S775>S745>Z38845>BY11987. One man, closely related to the North Antrim Cluster, with a surname of Richardson is included.