The North of Ireland DNA Project

In taking forward its key objective of fostering an interest in family history with special reference to families who have roots in the North of Ireland and their descendants wherever they may be, the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) has established a project to use DNA testing as an aid to making genealogical connections within and between families whose roots are in the North of Ireland.

The purpose of the project is to

  • Promote DNA testing by those whose heritage is from the North of Ireland.
  • Offer information, support and training for those who test and manage DNA tests of others.
  • Share DNA results to facilitate genealogical connections.
  • Carry out research into the DNA of the North of Ireland.

inage - North of Ireland DNA Project
NIFHS on FamilyTreeDNA

NIFHS DNA Project page on FacebookDNA@NIFHS on Facebook

The Society provides volunteer Project Administrators and Co-Administrators who promote and administer the project via branch meetings, local and family history events, social media and other appropriate communication channels to Society members, their families and members of the public with North of Ireland roots.

The project covers Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA (atDNA). To aid the analysis of results, standards of testing and the efficiency of support the project promotes testing through FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), although not exclusively. Discounts are available from FTDNA if orders are placed through the DNA project.

What are the different types of DNA test?

  • atDNA – Autosomal DNA (called Family Finder by FTDNA) will provide male and female matches on all family lines for 5 to 6 generations. The test confirms relationships regardless of gender and therefore is the most useful to family historians researching all of their family lines. The atDNA test also provides percentages of your ancestral make-up (ethnicity) and FTDNA provides details of your X-chromosome which has a limited inheritance pattern and therefore helps in identifying matches.
  • Y-DNA – tests the direct paternal line (son, father, grandfather, etc.). Women cannot take the test for this line and so will need to recruit a male relative to carry out the test. The Y-DNA test is useful for carrying out surname studies, resolving problems on the paternal line and deep ancestry (identifying your ancestral origins).
  • MtDNAMitochondrial DNA tests the maternal lines of both men and women (daughter, mother, grandmother, etc.). Both males and females can take an mtDNA test. It is useful in solving problems on the direct maternal line and also deep ancestry.

Training Courses

The North of Ireland Family History Society runs regular courses on DNA testing for beginners, intermediates and advanced learners. Details are available on our Courses page.

DNA Interest Group

If you have attended our DNA courses you are welcome to join our monthly DNA Interest Group. Its purpose is to educate, to give people an opportunity to work on their matches and to learn from each other.

DNA Videos on YouTube

DNA and NIFHS – A Winning Combination (Martin McDowell)

Ballymena NIFHS DNA Lecture
(Maurice Gleeson)

Raising the Dead
(Martin McDowell)

How to join the North of Ireland DNA Project

You can join through the North of Ireland Project page on the FamilyTreeDNA website. By joining the Project you will

  • Get a reduction in the cost of your FamilyTree DNA test.
  • Receive a regular newsletter on what is going on in the project and in the wider world of genetic genealogy.
  • Receive details of DNA and other Courses run by the North of Ireland Family History Society.

image - FamilyTreeDNA logo

How to order a DNA test kit

You can order your test kit by emailing the project administrator at
Test kits are available by arrangement at NIFHS branch meetings, at the NIFHS Research Centre, from Project Administrators and by post.

How to donate to a Group Project on FamilyTreeDNA

Go to the General Fund Group Contribution page on the FamilyTreeDNA website for details.
Select the NORTH OF IRELAND project.

More information

For those who want to learn more about DNA testing for genealogical purposes