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O'Keeffe DNA Project

A DNA testing project is available for those with the O’Keeffe surname. The laboratory that will conduct the testing is
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) in Houston, Texas.

Please read below for information:

The Importance of DNA testing for Family Historians

Taking a yDNA test can help to verify your family genealogy. We use the results of our members’ lab test to compile an “archetype”. We can compare that archetype with the results of any O’Keeffe descendant’s yDNA test to help confirm their lineage. As a tested member, you can confirm your own lineage to our archetype and at the same time be assisting other members by adding to our database of knowledge.

Who is Allowed to take the DNA Test?

Only males who are descendants of an O’Keeffe or variant spelling of the surname can take the test. The test uses the Y-chromosome which is only passed from the father to the sons. You do not have to be a member and will receive emails from Family Tree DNA when individuals match your markers. Membership in the O’Keeffe Clan will give you access to additional information and results.

The Best Test to Take.

We recommend testing for the 37-marker test. The minimum one should consider is the 25-marker test, and one can upgrade at a later date if desired. The higher the numbers tested, the more reliable the results will be.

The Use of DNA Testing For Genealogists.

Genealogy has to date been based on oral tradition and documentary evidence. In the past few years the science of genetics has offered a new tool – Y-DNA testing. Our DNA is made up of a number of chromosomes. The Y chromosome is only held by a man and passes from father to son. Where, therefore, people of the same name share the same DNA signature, there is a high degree of probability that they also share a common ancestor. If oral tradition and documentary evidence also support this relationship, the degree of probability is significantly heightened.

The Origins and Distribution of the O’Keeffe (and variant spellings) in Ireland Over Time.

A recent Trinity College Dublin genetics study estimated that there were approximately seven distinct areas in Southern Ireland where this clan had its origins. The Griffith’s Valuation of The Tenements in the 1850’s showed these seven counties listed by largest O’Keeffe numbers in order: Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford, Kerry, Clare, and Tipperary. DNA testing may show very different results of origins, as it goes back much further in time. We know in the 12th Century, the O’Keeffes were pushed from central and eastern part of County Cork to the Duhallow area.

People Who Can Participate

This DNA project is primarily for group members’ benefit, but guest researchers and anyone from around the world will be encouraged to participate in order to build as comprehensive a database as possible. The findings of the project will be made available to all, within the privacy protocols described at Family Tree DNA. If you are a female researcher, you could encourage your male O’Keeffe relative to take a yDNA test on your behalf.

Administration of the O’Keeffe Group Project

There are two Group Coordinators. Jack O’Keefe and Joseph O’Keefe. Jack will review ‘requests to join’ sent to him by a potential new member via an email from Family Tree DNA. The acceptance process is as simple as verifying that the new member be a direct male O’Keeffe (or variant spelling), and be tested at Family Tree DNA. Options are available for customers to who wish to transfer their DNA results from other lavoratories. See Family Tree DNA Third Party Transfers.


Family Tree DNA maintains strict privacy protocols which can be viewed on FTDNA website:
The DNA data belongs to the individual DNA provider and can only be released to a wider audience with the express permission of that provider.

How to Join the Project

Visit the Family Tree DNA’s website first to review their policies and procedures. Secondly, go directly to the O’Keeffe Group page. (second link)

Click ‘Join Request’ in the black bar at the top of the page.

Next click ‘Purchase a Test to Join This Project’ at the bottom of the page.

Type in relevant information about your most distant ancestor, and only use caps for the first letter when needed. As mentioned earlier, a 37-marker test is desired for this project, but a minimum 25-marker test can be a good start. Both the 25 and 37 marker tests can be upgraded during FTDNA seasonal discount programs at a later date.