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Taylor Group R1b-Niall

This page is about the Taylor Y-DNA macro-group designated
R1b-Niall. Apart from matching the "Niall of the Nine Hostages" 12-marker haplotype, these members do not match each other sufficiently to establish a common paternal ancestor within genealogic time. Some may also be included in other groups.


Taylor Group R1b-Niall Members
Kit #
Name Earliest* known ancestor Hap grp Score
Lo Hi
_30516 Taylor
Isaac Taylor (1700 IRE - 1781 VA)      
_87421 Taylor William Taylor Sr. (1858 -1951)      
159728 Taylor        
159728 Taylor, Robert Taylor (1692 VA - 1758 NC)      
208145 Taylor George Taylor (1794 IRE - 1851 NY)      
214497 Taylor        
218302 Taylor        
N57984 Taylor Schuyler Taylor (1838 ? - 1929 KY)      
* Earliest = Most distant

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About this Group

This super-group consists of those who match the 12-marker "Niall of the Nine Hostages" haplotype, but do not have genealogically significant matches with other project members. Their paternal lineage origins lie in Ireland, but we can say little about their most recent ancestries..

Niall was a 8th century Irish chieftain or king; his descendants ruled Ireland for many generations and had many sons. This is among the more common haplotypes and those with it often have thousands of matches at the 12-marker level. It is recommended that they test at least 37 markers.

Genealogically, Taylor Family Genes takes presence of the Niall haplotype to indicate Irish paternal ancestry. It is so common in Ireland that it does not indicate a particular lineage within a genealogical time frame.

What FTDNA Says

The following is quoted from the FTDNA FAQ on this 12-marker haplotype:

What does the Niall of the Nine Hostages badge on my personal page mean? faq id: 409

The Niall of the Nine Hostages Match badge on the My Account - Personal Profile page of your myFTDNA account means that you match exactly or are a close match to the historic Irish Modal Haplotype (IMH). The IMH was documented in a 2006 Y-chromosome population genetics study. Niall {Accompanying table deleted.}

In 2006, a group of researchers explored the frequency of haplogroup R-M269 and the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype (WAMH) in Ireland. They showed that haplogroup R-M269 accounts for 85.4% of the lineages in Ireland, but that a distinctive haplotype is found there at a frequency of 8.2 to 21.5%. The authors attribute this Y-chromosome signature to Niall of the Nine Hostages, a medieval warlord.

Niall of the Nine Hostages received his name from the taking of hostages as a strategy for playing mental havoc upon his opponent chieftains. He is known in folklore as a raider of the British and French coasts. Supposedly slain in the English Channel or in Scotland, his descendants were the most powerful rulers of Ireland until the 11th century.

Niall's descendants were called the Uí Néill. It is their prolific production of progeny to which the journal article's authors attribute the modern frequency of Niall's haplotype. The authors state:

Gaelic society placed great emphasis on family relationships organized around a strongly patrilineal system (derbhfine) in which land and title could be handed down to successors chosen from within a kin group of malelineage relatives. This wider inheritance cohort resulted in a decreased likelihood of dissociation of lineage from power (O'Croinin 1995). Also, whereas medieval Ireland was Christian, earlier marriage customs persisted and allowed divorce and concubinage.

For your match with the haplotype of Niall of the Nine Hostages, Family Tree DNA uses our Y-DNA12 marker set and allows for a single mutation, i.e., a genetic distance of 1. Notably, in our database Niall's signature is from .6% to 1.0% of our male customers.

Modern surnames:

(O')Neill, (O')Gallagher, (O')Boyle, (O')Doherty, O'Donnell, Connor, Cannon, Bradley, O'Reilly, Flynn, (Mc)Kee, Campbell, Devlin, Donnelly, Egan, Gormley, Hynes, McCaul, McGovern, McLoughlin, McManus, McMenamin, Molloy, O'Kane, O'Rourke, and Quinn.

Moore, L., B. McEvoy, E. Cape, K. Simms, and D. Bradley (2006, February). A y-chromosome signature of hegemony in gaelic ireland. The American Journal of Human Genetics 78 (2), 334-338.

Y-DNA Values

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Group Niall: Haplogroup = R1b

  • DYS names in red designate faster-changing markers.
  • "Count" is the number in the group who've had the marker tested.
Markers & Alleles
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Genetic Network

With grateful thanks to McGee Utilities and Fluxus Engineering, we calculated the genetic network diagrams below.

Network diagram
Fluxus Network, 12 markers

Reading the Fluxus Network Diagram

The network diagram gives a pictorial representation of how members of this genetic family may be related. It depicts inferred genetic branches of the paternal lineage and may be helpful in documentary research.

  1. The inference criterion used to build the diagram is maximum parsimony or "Occam's Razor". This criteria (fewest possible assumptions) may not be the most appropriate in all instances.
  2. The diagram is not proof; it is one interpretation of available geneitc data. Alternative interpretations may be possible.
  3. ySTR data is "noisy"; it contains some unexplained variability. .
Notes on the diagram:

Revised 03/13/2013