Welcome to the DNA Project

Welcome to the blog for the O'Malley DNA Project. This blog is complementary to the main project website on FamilyTreeDNA and will allow more detailed updates on the project.

The DNA project has several objectives but one of the primary aims is to identify people who are close genetic cousins to each other so that these people can collaborate, share genealogical information, and thus help each other to break down the Brick Walls in their own particular family tree research. If sufficient members join, it will hopefully be possible to determine the various origins of the O'Malley surname (and its many variants) and their evolution over time.

This project is hosted on FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) and you can easily access it by either googling “O'Malley FTDNA” or simply following this link here.

The project is open to anyone (male or female) with a suspected O'Malley ancestor, especially anyone whose surname is O'Malley or one of its many possible variants, including any of the following names … Mailey, Mailly, Malee, Maley, Malia, Malie, Malley, Malley/O'Malley, Mallie, Maly, Mealey, Meally, Mealy, Melia, Mhallie, O'Maley, O'Malley, O'Mally, O'Mealey, Omaley, Omalley, Omally

All three major types of DNA are accepted by the project, whether it is Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, or autosomal DNA (e.g. Family Finder). However, the primary focus of the project is the O'Malley surname and its inheritance along the direct male line (your father’s father’s father’s line). Hence Y-DNA is of particular importance. A Y-DNA-37 test is the minimum recommended for reliable allocation to a particular genetic family and all members are encouraged to purchase (or upgrade to) at least this 37-marker test.

You can join the project in several ways:
  • If you have already done a DNA test with FTDNA, click here
  • If you haven't done a DNA test with FTDNA ... 

You can view general information about the project, its goals, and some background information on the FTDNA website.

  • FTDNA Project Home Page - if you ever forget the weblink, you can easily access the project by simply googling “O'Malley FTDNA”
  • Overview - some relevant details re project logistics
  • Background - this gives a brief description of the history of the project
  • Goals - a brief summary of the specific goals of the project
  • Pedigree Page - this is where we post the O'Malley direct male line pedigrees of project members
  • Results - this gives a brief summary of the project status, group by group
  • Project Statistics - this includes the total number of members to date & the tests that have been taken by group members
  • Email the Administrator - just click here

Maurice Gleeson
Project Administrator


  1. Hello. I am John O'Malley and live in New York City. My father was Arthur, his father was Thomas, and his father was James O'Malley. James immigrated to America in 1872 and was born in 1860 or 1862 (all according to several different census records). His was (who also immigrated around the same time) was Mary O'Malley. I believe O'Malley was also her maiden name. James came from Swinford in County Mayo. According to a family tree on Ancestry.com done by a descendant of my grandfather's brother, James father was John O'Malley.
    I was given a 23 and Me test for Christmas, which I thought was quite accurate based on one other nationality that came to America in the early 1700's. Anyway, my Paternal Haplogroup results are different than what I see on your site. According to 23 and Me, it is S660, preceeded by S660 (3,000 years ago) and M269 (10,000 years ago). Am I reading this right or do I not have a more precise reading. I'm happy to upload these results (I may have not accepted that privilege) or do the Y37 test or Big Y if you think that will help. Also, according to 23 and Me there is another O'Malley in England with the same S660. Also 23 and Me says that S660 is relatively common with 1 in 91 customers, which to me doesn't make much sense unless we're talking about Origins and Migrations time periods. Thanks. Let me know if I can help.

    1. Hi James, the SNP marker S660 is also known as DF109 or DF105 (SNP markers frequently have several names). This is a DNA marker that is shared by participants in Group 3 of the O'Malley DNA Project, and Group 3a is believed to have ancestral origins in Mayo, where your ancestors come from. So your DNA may be consistent with Group 3a of the DNA Project, but ideally you should do the Y-DNA-37 test to see if you are a close match to people in that particular group.

  2. Maurice
    Will do. By the way, James was the name of my ggrandfather. I'm John.

  3. Hey there! I have repeatedly tried uploading my raw DNA data (obtained via Ancestry) but keep getting an error message. I can tell you that I have an O'Malley (Ellen O'Malley born in Ireland, 12/1873) on my father's side. I wanted to get further confirmation as I don't really know my father (who was adopted) and only recently found his biological father (Francis May) which is how I found Ellen O'Malley (Francis May's grandmother). Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Jenn, you will need to contact the FTDNA Helpdesk for assistance with uploading the file. Cheers, Maurice

  4. I am surprised to find myself and my late father showing up in the O’Malley DNA Project blog, but there we are in the commentary under Group 3(e). We are the Currans mentioned there who learned from YDNA and later from autosomal tests that we were Gallaghers until 3 generations back. Does the O’Malley-Meloy connection mean we were only Gallaghers temporarily as well? Perhaps that would explain why we remain “unassigned” in the Gallagher Project as well as in the Curran Project. There are three Gallaghers among our closest Big Y matches, but none farther afield.

    We have two Offaly Molloys among our Big Y matches, but no Meloys. We have a couple of autosomal matches with Meloy ancestors. An O’Malley from Ballinrobe is one of few persons who is both a Y and Family Finder match to my father. We have at least one Y67 match with a Mayo Gallagher and a large number of Mayo autosomal matches whom we can’t explain.

    You can colour me baffled in Canada.

    1. Hi Moose, great questions. It would not be unusual to have several DNA switches along a direct male line during the last 1000 years. Shifting political allegiances in Ireland over the course of the last millennium could have resulted in several name changes as families swore allegiance to whichever chief happened to be in power at the time.

  5. Geoff Melloy mg_melloy@hotmail.com19 December 2021 at 15:47

    Moose, I'm the Melloy under BY11548 > A10680. I have spent many hours over many years trying to unravel the history of my name. It seems to me that BY11548 corresponds to the branch of the Cenél Conaill kindred (descendants of Conall Gulban), which is the main Gallagher branch. There are several Gallaghers and probable Gallaghers and former Gallagher lines under BY11548, which to me would suggest that your genetic forebears were Gallaghers for a very long time.

    As for the O'Malley connection ... there are a couple of Kilcoynes under A10680 who trace back to county Mayo. This is what leads me to wonder if my Melloys go back to O'Malleys. However that would mean the O'Malleys (or some of them) branched off the Cenél Conaill line at some early stage. I don't know if that's likely or not - it would be surprising though as there are no actual O'Malleys under BY11548.

    Sorry for this rather rambling post .. it's way past my bedtime here in Australia ... juswt thinking out aloud I

  6. Looking again at my comment in the broad light of day, it seems a bit silly. Of course the O'Malley's as a whole didn't need to "branch off" BY11548 - but it's possible that my Melloy forebears were Mayo O'Malleys who took on A10680 dna by whatever means, and who later underwent a slight name change. (the Mayo link being provided by the 2 Kilcoynes - I don't know what connection the A10680 Craig has with Mayo - if any.)

    1. Further to my previous comment: There is now a Hoban in "my" A10680 group. Hoban is apparently a Mayo surname .. so the Mayo link is now a bit stronger. However the name Mulloy was also concentrated in Mayo in 19th century, so maybe that's that most likely candidate for my possible Mayo Melloy origin, rather than O'Malley.

  7. Hi my family come from castlebar I stay in Scotland but my father and grandparents came for castlebar , pheasant hill farm my gran father name is Walter bourke and he had 3 son’s Peter, Patrick,Walter Bourke my family tree is telling me that we are related to grace O’Malley though her husband Richard Bourke we have been told that in our family that the Bourke’s money was stolen, my great grandfather was ulick Bourke and when I’ve tried to find our family tree it’s coming up we got royal bloodline.. I don’t know if any one can help . Annamclelland44@gmail.com

    1. Hi Anna, join the Facebook group and ask questions there. Someone may know of your family. :-)

  8. Hi Maurice,

    Can you transfer LivingDNA test results onto FTDNA? I done a ‘deep ancestry test’ with them a while back, and want to transfer that data to FTDNA. They gave me R-DF109, which meant nothing to me. But doing some research, and with the help of your content, I see that this is a O’Malley Haplo? Was interested by the Offaly sub group, as my roots are in Offaly going back hundreds of years, but (as far I know) I have no family with the O’Malley name. So a bit confused. Sorry for the ignorance, only just starting out on this DNA thing.


  9. Hi, my maternal grandmother was a Maylia. I’ve traced a fair way back to County Mayo. This branch of my family really interests me and I would love to find out as much as possible. I’ve tried going backwards from my grandmother but also trying to look at the really old O’Malleys and coming forward. I recognise a lot of the common names but these are not the easiest to trace.

    1. Please join the DNA project and we can see where you fit in to the genetic family tree for the O'Malley's.


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