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DNA Testing and the Kelley DNA Project

Family myths are common in every family and ours is no exception.  There have been many family researchers attempt to break through what Harold O'Kelley in his book "Four Families Through Georgia" calls the Fog of History.  Perhaps the greatest reason for this fog which results in family myths is the common disinterest by the youth in the history of their family. As a young teen I was intrigued by J Fred O'Kelly's book about James Stamps O'Kelley, my great great grandfather, but was soon forgotten when my interest in girls, cars, and life took over.  I remember a few stories my elders told but it is likely what they told and what I remember is not the same and that creates the fog of history when we are unwilling to consider that maybe we remember the oral stories incorrectly and that is how great uncles become grandfathers and the maternal names of great grandmothers become lost or replace with names not associated with our family.   With that in mind, data that can not be confirmed by government documents, church records, or very old bible pages should always be viewed with some skepticism. 

Unlike J Fred O'Kelly, Alethea Jane Macon, and Harold O'Kelley, our family researchers of our past, we have new and affordable DNA science to aid our research.  DNA cannot tell is of am ancestor who lived 200 years ago was an uncle or a grandfather but it can aid us in discovering if the line of people our family stories claim we descend are true.  DNA can be a powerful tool but to be useful we need a sampling of one and sometimes two males from a male O'Kelley from Thomas, Charles, Benjamin, and Francis, four of the brothers who are known to have descendants and from a male O'Kelly who descends from Rev James O'Kelly.  If you are a male of one of these lines, and your last name is O'Kelley, O'Kelly, Kelley or Kelly and can trace your male line back to one of the above ancestors and you have already tested please consider sharing your results. Yours could be a very important clue.  if you are not of our family but suspect you may be a lost line, DNA can prove or disprove such possibilities.

DNA testing is not free, a 37 marker test will cost about $169 and a 37 marker test will likely be all that is needed, you can always upgrade later if needed.  To begin it is recommended that you join the Kelley DNA Project at Family Tree as this will provide you the discounted rate.

  1. Click here to begin a Signup process with the Kelley DNA project.

    • Signup process allows you to Join the Kelley DNA Project (no fee) and

    • Allows you to setup an account at Family Tree DNA, buy your test kit on line using a credit card, and then set back and wait for about a week for the test kit to arrive.

    • During the Family Tree DNA signup process you will establish a username and password that will permit you to log into your account.  Safeguard this information because you will need it to view your matches and retrieve your DNA results.

    • Please make me aware that you have completed these step so I can add you to my watch list and I will be glad to help if you have difficulties.

  2. When you receive your test kit, you will find three swabs and three small containers with soapy liquid in them.  Follow the instructions but basically you will go at least one hour without food, water, smoking or chewing gun and remove the first swab and do a cheek scraping from the inside of your mouth then place the swab in on of the three small containers.  Wait four to five hours and repeat.  You can do this over several days if you desire. 

  3. Once completed, place all three containers that should be holding the swabs in the included mailer, put postage on it and mail it. 

  4. It will take about four to six weeks and Family Tree DNA will send you an email making you aware that your results are in.

  5. Log into your Family Tree account that you created during the Signup process and from the menu you can view your matches and view your results.  It is that easy. 

This is the best method for determining if the family that Alethea Jane Macon constructed in her 1969 book is valid.  While we think it may be correct only DNA testing can prove that certainty.  DNA has already told us we descended from the same ancestral stock as the Hy-Many native Irish O'Kellys what DNA can do now is aid in finding any lost family that may still live in Ireland and possibly in time reconnect us to that family.

Members of our family who have tested