Slavery of the Irish and genomics

caribbeanby mdanys

My mother, who does a lot of genealogy research,  sent me this link about the huge numbers of Irish sent as slaves and indentured servants to English sugar plantations in the Caribbean. a pretty harsh reminder of just how appalling human behavior was even quite recently.

I did some more looking and impact of these Irish on the Caribbean Islands is still pretty strong. Some places, like Montserrat, had huge numbers of Irish and still celebrates St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday.

Many Irish surnames still populate the region.

And the Irish appear to have influenced the unique cadences of Jamaican English.

So now there are efforts to examine the genomes of some of the Irish descendants. ICARA – Irish Caribbean Ancestry Reconnecting through DNA – is working to reconnect these people with their Irish homeland.

One thing they are working on will look at the Y chromosomes to try to determine background. By using males with Irish surnames they hope to link both DNA and ancestral homeland.

It just started and there is a blog from the project’s leader. Its first post  discusses one of the Irish clans – Sweeney. This really caught my eye.

Since my paternal grandmother was named Sweeney, I have a little interest here. I wonder if there is a Caribbean connection in my ancestry. I bet my mother knows.