Knowing that Cowhey was such an uncommon name, I never thought I'd find a group like this, yet here it is!
Why am I so interested in this project?
As I mentioned on a A Light That Shines Again, a blog about the related Tierney family's genealogy, I've been tracing the various branches of my family tree for a long time. My efforts, however, have gotten me back only a couple of centuries. Genetic genealogy, however, offers the opportunity to learn about a family's deep ancestry, and enables others who share the same surname within their genealogy to determine just how they might related.
A simple cheek swab test can provide information about your patrilineal family tree many generations back, particularly with regard to where the family originated. It can also provide you with connections to other descendants of the same family line that are living today - distant cousins who share the same heritage. This information can be shared with others through a Y-DNA surname project like the one mentioned above.
Because of the nature of patrilineal genetics (identical genes passed down from the father to son, father to son, father to son, and so on...), you must be male to test Y-line DNA. (The other type of frequently used DNA test is matrilineal or mitochondrial DNA, otherwise known as mtDNA. For more information see the Ireland Heritage mtDNA project.)
Take a look at the frequently asked questions section (under the For Newbies tab on the left sidebar) on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy website for more information about how DNA testing works and what information it can provide.
If your name is Mr. Cowhey or Mr. Coffey (or if you use the Gaelic surname Ó Cobhthaigh), and you are interested in learning about your genetic heritage, contact the Coffey/Coffee Y-DNA Surname Project.
Similar projects are available for other Irish surnames (not to mention surnames of other backgrounds). You can find more information on some Irish surname projects at Irish Heritage DNA Project and the Ireland Heritage Y-DNA Project Family Tree DNA, although the list is by no means exhaustive. (Tierney and Kennedy, for example, surnames for which I know that there are projects available, are not listed on Irish Heritage.) It's exciting to be researching family history now that technology is aiding us in so many amazing ways, including the area of genetics. Genealogy has never been as easy or as rewarding.