McCaffrey DNA Project
(Including McCaffery, McCaffree, McCaffrety, McAffrey, McCoffrey, Caffrey, etc.)

   Created: May, 2016   







                The computer, the internet and the world wide web have revolutionized genealogy and family history research. These inventions provide tools that earlier generations of researchers never even dreamed about. The discovery of DNA and the widespread use of DNA testing and analysis have provided the modern family historian with yet another powerful research tool. However, the result of any type (yDNA, mtDNA, atDNA, xDNA) of individual genealogical DNA test is almost meaningless by itself. This result must be compared with other individual's DNA results to be useful. The McCaffrey DNA Project was created in May, 2016 to provide a place where individual yDNA results and lineages can be organized, posted and compared with other results. A father's sex chromosome, his yDNA, is passed to his son and this process repeats from generation to generation forever. Usually, the father also passes his surname to his son, so yDNA is used as the basis for almost all DNA surname projects. The easily understood results of yDNA testing and this project help McCaffrey, etc. family historians identify and/or verify their paternal (father's father) ancestry in a quick and easy way. This saves time, prevents mistakes, and provides invaluable data that can be obtained in no other way. Click here for a detailed discussion of the benefits and limitations of yDNA testing and analysis.
                The McCaffrey DNA Project is for all who wish to work together to find their McCaffrey etc. heritage through yDNA testing and sharing information. Variant spellings from anywhere in the world are welcome. The project title was chosen because it is the most common variation of the McCaffrey surname found  in the United States census enumerations. If your surname spelling is missing, we'll be glad to add it. Some variations are: McAferty, McAfferty, McAffrey, McCaffary, McCaffery McCafferty, McCaffity, McCaffray, McCaffree, McCaffrey, McCaffry, McCoffrey, Caffrey, Cafferky and many more.
               Another very popular DNA test that can be purchased from Ancestry, FTDNA, 23andME and others is based on autosomal DNA (atDNA). This paragraph is primarily directed at those who have previously purchased an atDNA test and are contemplating the purchase of a yDNA test. In our instant society, we seem to want everything now and shows like Finding Your Roots, Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think Your Are? often leave some with the impression that they can completely map out a lineage in a matter of hours. This impression is reinforced by an almost constant flow of hyperbolic media advertisements, so much so that the hobby has become a fad. In particular, the website of one atDNA kit seller has many of the aspects of Facebook and popular dating sites such as Match. If you have found your way to the McCaffrey DNA Project page, you have probably realized that this hype is just that. Looking closely at others "research" can help, but this information should only be a clue/hint for you. Even printed media from the past is suspect. Long before the advent of DNA testing, around the 1st anniversary of the American revolution, the genealogy fad hit the USA with  a vengeance.  During the late 19th and early 20th century blatant fraud occurred. While more than a few "professional" genealogists were involved, Gustave Anjou and Frederick A. Virkus were among the worst. Both preyed on the pretensions of Americans. Anjou specialized in the wealthy looking for connections to royalty, while Virkus mainly invented lineages for societies such as the DAR, SAR, GAR, SCV,  Mayflower, Jamestowne, etc. applicants. The Virkus story is especially troubling since he actually did legitimate research, but when he became the least bit stymied, he just resorted to forgery. In the early days of most of these types of organizations, the applicants fee was much more important than the facts, especially if the application was supported by a well known professional like Virkus; however, the applicant did not necessarily need the scammers help since the applications were virtually unscrutinized. Most of these organizations take their roles more seriously now, but the older applications are filled with fantasy and should be only be used as as hints or clues. What is much worse is that Virkus was the editor of many volumes of The Compendium of American Genealogy, a standard reference found online and in many libraries. Virkus sprinkled his forgeries in to these volumes, along with his legitimate research. The McCaffrey, etc. surname will probably not be found in these references, but the situation serves a warning to those who might accept any person's supposed "research" at face value.
                    At one time, this page included a very long discussion of the usefulness of the various types of DNA testing.  As mentioned above, we have come to believe that DNA test kits are very often impulse buys, with almost no thought given to their usefulness. We also believe that anyone really interested in the usefulness of the various DNA tests can easily find this information online. If you are really seriously interested in your McCaffrey, etc. heritage and family history, here are our opinions. If you live in the USA, you should know that the McCaffrey, etc. surname was extremely uncommon until the mid-1800s when the massive Irish influx began. We believe that virtually all family research should start with the exploration of census data. So, by following your ancestors back through the censuses, you should easily find their recorded birth places. If your ancestors were in the USA, the 1850 census will probably be your most productive census stop. No one needs any kind of DNA test to find this information and we are not at all surprised that our cousins with Italian surnames find that their roots are mostly Irish. This is not just a suggestion, but a plan to greatly increase your probability of success. If your McCaffrey, etc. ancestors were rather recent immigrants from Ireland, your chances of extending your lineage back in time are quite small because most of the records of Ireland were destroyed long ago and/or in the more recent "troubles" of Ireland. If your McCaffrey, etc. ancestors were born in the USA, your prospects are somewhat better. Most of the McCaffreys, etc. that were in the American colonies have been at least fairly well researched by one or more experienced people. As with all family history research, fewer actual facts are available as we go back in time and more unprovable assumptions are made when the facts virtually diminish to zero. Some of these assumptions are plausible if understood and contemplated, others are merely "clutching at straws". It is up to you to decide and investigate, if you are interested enough.
                    In early times, up until literacy became widely established, the exact spelling of the McCaffrey, etc. surname in records is an almost completely unimportant research detail. Any surname that can be even remotely considered as a variation should be investigated, included all variations of Caffrey, etc. The McCaffrey DNA Project Patriarch's page might help in your research because that is the intent of this effort. These are abbreviated lineages that have been mainly well researched and confirmed by yDNA testing. They are not detailed, but you should be able to find online details.
                   If you are still stymied or simply want to confirm your research, then consider joining the project and ordering a yDNA testing kit. A 37 marker kit will do the trick in most cases. Smaller marker kits are useless; however, in the case of the McCaffreys, etc., a 67 marker kit might be definitive. Larger marker kits are only useful to very experienced DNA researchers of the PhD variety. For a female McCaffrey, etc., a yDNA kit makes a great gift for any interested male McCaffrey, etc.          
                  Make no mistake: atDNA testing does not replace yDNA testing. yDNA testing provides the surest and most efficient method for McCaffrey, etc. males to discover, extend and/or confirm their McCaffrey, etc. family ancestry.  To find relatives that theoretically might help in solving nearer term family history situations, both male and female McCaffreys, etc., as well as, close relatives of McCaffreys, etc. can utilize an autosomal DNA (atDNA) test; however, if the researcher has more than a casual interest in his or her heritage, this test should be preceded by or used in conjunction with yDNA testing.

                Our project line leaders provide research assistance to novice family historians. Along the way, we have also helped several folks extend their known lineages, some significantly. We have focused others on the best locations to continue their research.

                The Goals of the McCaffrey DNA Project are to:

        1. Help researchers of all McCaffrey, etc. families work together to find their common heritage. We do this by posting the abbreviated lineages that our project participants and other McCaffrey, etc. descendants send us. This feature links yDNA results to specific lineages and is an integral part of our project. In our opinion, a DNA project that does not include such a feature provides very little research value. To view these lineages, click on the Patriarch's link above. We do not post any information about people born less than 100 years ago. To add your lineage to these pedigrees, just email a Project Administrator your abbreviated pedigree. If you would like your name and/or your email to be displayed, please tell us. You do not have to be a DNA test participant to add your family pedigree.

        2. Identify the DNA of the ancestor families and compile them and their branches into distinct genetic lineages through DNA analysis and matches. DNA analysis is used to determine the Common Ancestors of different related McCaffrey, etc. lineages. This analysis is also useful in extending McCaffrey, etc. lines that have reached a "dead end" utilizing conventional research. Unless a participant asks to be identified, the McCaffrey DNA Project does not post the name of any member; only their yDNA results and their abbreviated lineage. The different lines are grouped by patriarch. Click on the Result's link above to see our progress.

Project Successes - DNA analysis has shown that:

        1. Living men with McCaffrey, McCaffree and McAffrey surnames share a Common Ancestor that lived less than 300 years in the past. Add to those names, living men with McCaffrety and Caffrey surnames that probably also shared a Common Ancestor that lived at least 1000 years ago, most likely in Ireland.

        2. Our McCaffrey, etc. men make up at least four completely unrelated lineages (families with separate Common Ancestors). Almost all of these individuals have deep ancestral roots in the British Isles and specifically, Ireland.

        3. "Dead end" pedigrees can be connected to a known lineage. Because a lineage connection provides a family and locality to focus on, most of these these pedigrees have been extended, some very significantly.

                The yDNA portion of our project is open to any male McCaffrey, etc. or man believing that he is the son of a McCaffrey, etc. male. yDNA is passed from father to son, but not from father to daughter. So any line that includes a female link cannot be proven or disproven using yDNA. Female McCaffrey, etc descendants can help by strongly encouraging their male McCaffrey, etc. relatives to join the project. To-date, we have project participants from the USA, Ireland and Canada, but we hope that McCaffreys, etc. from all over the world will join us.

                For those of you that are interested in your heritage, but cannot actively participate in the project, the McCaffrey DNA Project General Fund provides an alternative method of support.  The Project Administrator and Line Leaders use contributions made to this fund to share testing costs with those individuals having limited means.

                Although the McCaffrey DNA Project accepts DNA results obtained from any testing company, the preferred DNA testing company for the project is Family Tree DNA (FTDNA).  FTDNA has detailed information on DNA and DNA testing. A yDNA test ordered from FTDNA, as part of this project, receives a substantial discount. The McCaffrey DNA Project has no financial interest in Family Tree DNA and the project administrators and line leaders receive nothing but satisfaction for their volunteer efforts. The total testing fee goes to the testing company.

                To join the project and order your Y-DNA testing kit, please use the "Join" link above. The Y-DNA37 (37 markers) test is considered the minimal number of markers that will provide good results for comparison purposes. More markers can sometime be useful, but fewer markers are virtually useless.

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Project Administrator - Dave Woody [geneped AT]
Created May 29, 2016
Revised Dec 2, 2020