Flies In The Ointment – More Anomalies in the Family Tree

New Matches on FtDNA

New Matches on FtDNA

Over the past week, both my parents-in-law’s Family Finder tests completed on FtDNA.  There was an odd lag in FtDNA processing and the raw DNA became available several days before the tests were released for matching.  This gave me time to upload them to Gedmatch.  My father in law’s test completed batch processing on Gedmatch just a few hours before his matches became available on FtDNA.   How incredibly satisfying it was!

As I have mentioned before, we were waiting on my father in law’s results for a few specific reasons.  One was to determine if the very close yet unexpected match was a half sibling.  As it turns out, he seems to be a first cousin.  Now we need to deduce which side of the family.

Next, I was hoping for some matches with Creed descendants to help determine whether Stephen Creed 1805-1886 was William O’Keefe’s father, or whether one of the elder Creed boys was.  I was – specifically – hoping for matches with Stephen’s wife Martha Fearnside’s family.  If these matches were present then William’s father was one of the sons.  If absent, then unfortunately we cannot deduce anything.   So far, no matches have been found but there are four distant cousins who list Montgomery as an ancestral surname.  Martha Fearnside’s mother was a Montgomery but all the matches are in America and cannot trace their ancestor beyond Virginia.  This is not helpful.

The third objective was to determine which of two possible ancestor couples passed their DNA to my father in law and a known third cousin who has tested.  This third cousin – Trevor (a pseudonym)- shared two ancestral branches with my father in law and we hoped that in-common-with matches would help us deduce the side. Gedmatch predicts the distance to be 3.6 generations to the common ancestor.  This is slightly unexpected since there is no removal – they are straight third cousins – but maybe the extra .6 is due to receiving DNA from both ancestors couples.

But there’s an unexpected development.  Trevor, Trevor’s sister, Trevor’s daughter and my father in law have an X Match and they shouldn’t.

Scan of an old postcard of New Norfolk, Tasmania circa 1870

Scan of an old postcard of New Norfolk, Tasmania circa 1870

New Norfolk has thrived since it was first settled in 1807.   First known as ‘The Hills’, it was officially named Elizabeth Town but the name did not stick.  After the Norfolk Island settlement was abandoned, a large number of the reluctant Norfolk Island settlers were given land grants around this area, and due to their presence the name ‘New Norfolk’ came into being and stuck. Eventually the town was officially renamed.

The families from Norfolk Island were mostly ex-convicts who had endured dreadful treatment until their sentences expired. Norfolk Island has a dark and still relatively unknown history.  Records were lost or not kept, the colony experienced starvation and some of the administration went clinically insane.  Evidence of sadistic and inhumane treatment of prisoners and common soldiers alike has been discovered, but the bulk of the events are still unknown.  Also unknown are the families created there – men and women were married formally or informally, children were born, people died and no record exists.  Once the colony was abandoned, we deduce what we can from records in Van Diemen’s Land.

As well as the Norfolk Islanders, many later convicts were regaining their freedom and purchasing or receiving land grants in the New Norfolk region. Added to this were the ones who were evicted from Hobart Town for their antisocial behaviour, such as James and Ann Johnson and their family (from an earlier blog post).  There were also a fair number of free citizens who owned land and created industries.  Hops and beef were particularly successful here.  Religion was not.  There was a Catholic church and an Anglican church from the early days, but the bonds of matrimony were freely tied and just as freely broken.  It was a highly tolerant community, and a very social one.  There were pockets where the pedigrees are a little difficult to determine.

By JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

St Matthews Church New Norfolk.  By JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

William Sargent 1812-1891 was a top-sawyer and cooper from Hawkhurst in Kent., He was transported for stealing timber. He found himself in New Norfolk and married Mary Ann Kingshott in 1840.  I haven’t spent enough time on this couple or their past.  They had at least seven children and lived in New Norfolk.  Two of their children were Eliza born 1843 and Elizabeth born 1850.  Eliza and Elizabeth would have had an X match of some sort.

Around the township of New Norfolk were – in fact still are – small hamlets or villages with their own local families and industries.  In the hills to the west of New Norfolk was Lachlan, a very pretty place where the living was tough.  The number of toddlers who died out here is incredible and I really don’t see why some authority didn’t take note.  Snakebite, drownings, lost in the woods … these families were barely holding it together and for whatever reason were not watching their children. It might be that they were worked to the bone, or it might be that the community was full of alcohol.  It all happened over 150 years ago and we don’t have many records.

Robert Briers and his wife Lydia Jelley were the founders of the Briers clan who are still all over Lachlan today.  Robert was a convict from Narborough in Leicestershire- not a troublemaker, he was in his late teens when he was transported for his third petty theft of food.  He seems to have had a problem with resisting temptation.  By all reports a man of little stature, he was a worker but not a leader.

Lydia Jelley was a different sort of woman.  She was a maid who systematically stole from her employers and passed the goods on to a cousin on her mother’s side who sold them in London.  Lydia was a ‘very respectable looking woman’ according to reports, quite genteel in nature, well put together, capable of good acting it would seem.  She could read and write very well, could do arithmetic.  Once transported she was a great frustration to the administration.  They really needed women of her capabilities but she just couldn’t stop stealing, even while serving out her time.

Robert and Lydia married while still under sentence, and once free they settled at Lachlan on land which was owned in Lydia’s name.  She was the one with the head for business.

Nine children were born to Robert and Lydia, including sons Robert in 1847 and William in 1851.  Robert and William, being sons of Lydia, would be an X Match to each other.

Lachlan near New Norfolk 1992

Lachlan near New Norfolk 1992

Given the subject matter here, I’m not going to come closer to living people in this blog.  William Sargent and Mary Ann Kingshott are one common ancestor couple.  Robert Briers and Lydia Jelley are the other.  For Trevor, each couple is on the X Line.  For my father-in-law, neither couple is.  But Trevor and my father in law have an X Match.

Is it further back?  Maybe.  At the Sargent and Briers generation each of the men have five ancestors who might have given them the X match.  For my father in law it is George Rigby from Essex, Johanna Burns from London, Maria Triffitt born in Back River near New Norfolk to Norfolk Island families, Alfred Morling born to parents from Cambridgeshire and Elizabeth Rawlinson born to parents from Cheshire.  I haven’t blogged about these ancestors but I think I will be, as I investigate the origin of the X Match.  A 22cM X match for a man is rather significant and likely to be a genuine match.

If I don’t find it, the alternative is the fly in the ointment – there might be yet another misattributed parental event, either in my tree or in Trevor’s.

We have a three way communication occurring regularly now between myself, Trevor’s daughter and my father in law’s new cousin. Between us, we are turning up more mysteries than solutions.

But at least we are learning to distinguish the truth from the fiction.  It’s a step forward.

Family History in the Midst of a Heatwave

Sunset in summer behind our house

Sunset in summer behind our house

Due to the current high temperatures, I was going to take a break from family history.  But then came a series of remarkable coincidences.

First, I idly logged in to each kit in FtDNA and noticed that while my daughter’s Family Finder test is now overdue, the kits for both my husbands’ parents are showing My Origins information.  This is usually a precursor to completion by just a couple of days.

A long time ago I posted my son’s My Origins results and speculated that he had gotten the Scandinavian portion (10%) from his paternal grandfather’s Irish ancestors, and the Western and Central Europe (12%) from his paternal grandmother’s Italian ancestor.  Now that I could view their My Origins results – albeit with a little final tinkering still to occur maybe – I could see that I had this exactly wrong.

I couldn’t have known back then that the paternal grandfather of very Irish surname would turn out to have British and Scottish ancestors due to a long-ago NPE, so it makes sense.  As it turns out, he comes out 96% European and 4% Asia Minor.  The European portion is a nice mix of parts of Europe but he is predominantly made up of British Isles ancestry.

My mother in law is rather different.  The first surprise is 8% Jewish Diaspora being Ashkenazi Jewish.  I have absolutely no idea where that comes from – yet.  My aunt’s kit also showed this amount of Jewish Diaspora and I have found it just four generations back.  Maybe I’ll do it again for my mother in law.

As well as the Jewish Diaspora, she is 92% European which didn’t surprise me at all. But only 27% of this 92% is British Isles and this is quite a pleasant surprise.  The majority – 57% – shows as Scandinavian. The remainder is 8% Southern Europe. This, presumably, is her Italian ancestry coming out, which is five generations back.

But due to the heat, I closed it all down.  We don’t have air conditioning.

46 degrees Celsius in the shade

46 degrees Celsius in the shade

On to the second coincidence!  About two hours after I signed out of FtDNA, I received a message on Facebook from a stranger who had searched my name.  The man was searching for male descendants of Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald born 1797 in Limerick, Ireland, who could do a Y-DNA test for him.

Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald is an ancestor of my mother in law and some part of her Scandinavian probably comes from him.  He’s also one of my favourite ancestors to research, his wife having been a born archivist and a very good writer, there are materials galore to be found about this family scattered among the descendant branches.  Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald was a wealthy man who married twice.  Two daughters survived to adulthood from his first marriage, and six daughters and two sons survived to adulthood from his second marriage. He lost five sons in infancy that we have found.

Our branch is through the second daughter to the second wife.  There is a small group of us researching this man, all of us descendants of different children of his.  I am definitely interested to see if the DNA results can find us any new cousins to this man.  It was a huge coincidence that someone would cold-call me asking about DNA tests when we had a family finder test about to come through.  This man has tested at FtDNA and has a family finder there, so it certainly will be interesting to see if he matches my mother in law.

Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald

Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald 1797-1890

The third coincidence came three hours after my message from the Fitzgerald descendant.  This was yet another cold-contact via Facebook, this time from a woman.  She asked if I was the one researching Robert Appleyard Fitzgerald and wanted to share information.  Believe it or not, she had not heard from the man who contacted me earlier and has no idea who he was.  He did not know who she was either.

This lady is a descendant of Robert A Fitzgerald and his first wife, whose origins have been something of a mystery to us for family years.  This lady had the answer, but Robert himself had always been the mystery to her.  We are now engaged in a mutually fruitful exchange of documents, since a number came down her side of the family too.  She had the first wife’s family bible, I had the emigration journal, another descendant had the portraits and photographs, another had property deeds and purchase documents … as more and more descendants meet up, the family is coming very strongly to life.

What can a heatwave really mean in the face of all this new knowledge? Although not useful for my DNA research, I have added the first wife’s ancestry into my family tree and I now understand why those daughters made the marriages they did, why they were suitable wives for very influential men.  It explains a great deal.  I can also see why Robert A Fitzgerald received help in securing a good position from the people who helped him – they knew his first wife’s family!

Nonetheless, by the full heat of late afternoon I was making basic spelling errors and the computer was showing signs of overheating.  I was forced to stop but luckily, it’s a cooler morning and though forecast to be very hot today, a cool change is expected this evening.  I look forward to continuing the investigation.

The new tally of individuals in my tree, after adding in RAF's first wife's siblings and immediate ancestry.

The new tally of individuals in my tree, after adding in RAF’s first wife’s siblings and immediate ancestry.

So How’s The Family Tree?

Family Tree - A whole lot of data

Family Tree – Just Keeps on Getting Bigger

It’s been a busy week, and too hot to do anything but just muddle through.  I have a lot of sympathy for my daughter struggling to do her trigonometry homework in 40 Celsius heat.  In some ways – yes, we are used to it.  We know all the tricks to get through.  In other ways – one never really handles extreme heat except by enduring.  Out here where power failures are frequent we can’t depend on air conditioning so we prefer to acclimatize.   Looking at a chromosome browser in these conditions only leads to mistakes.  I took an enforced break.

This was tough, given that my mother’s half sister’s kit has been processed and I have a potential million exciting revelations just waiting for me.  Instead, just to get through, I turned back to the nice, easy and relaxing paper research.  I went searching for ancestors.  I did find one fifth cousin match for my mother before I gave up, one of those dream matches where I spotted the surname instantly.  The beautiful thing there is that it confirmed a previously unconfirmed great grandparent.  I have now confirmed by DNA my closest four generations bar one individual – self, parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  There is just my mother’s paternal grandmother to go.

Someone asked me about my family tree yesterday, but due to the heat I didn’t want to face it so instead I read other people’s family history blogs.  By doing this, I found a fun game.

Back in 2012, many well known genealogists must have been feeling the way I did this week, and instead of researching they looked at a few basic stats about their trees.  They tallied up how many ancestors they had found – positively identified, with some confidence – at each generation back some nine generations.  They posted their results and I became curious about my own.

In a blog post a while back I wrote down my family tree objectives of the time.  They were:

1) Identify all emigrating ancestors, how they arrived, why they came and where they came from.

2) Take all family lines back to 1700 to enable DNA matching in the secure autosomal range.

3) Take all lines back to 1550 (start of parish records) to enable identification of all DNA matches including US Colonial, which would enable me to come to some conclusions about DNA inheritance and the effectiveness of current DNA test results.

Should I have put something easy in there, like world peace or the cure for cancer?   Well, if I don’t aim high I won’t get anywhere close.  You just never know.

The first objective is so nearly complete – I still have just the two outstanding women Mary Morgan and Bridget Bain.  I’m beginning to think that Bridget Bain might actually be Bridget Behan, but this is just a wild theory at present.  I have indeed found an emigration record for a Biddy Behan in the correct time period.  I’ll do that research after the heatwave.  Mary – well, I have that DNA match with Morgan which seems rather promising, but the lack of records make that one hard to pursue yet.

Identified Ancestor.  Blue is the total to be found, red is how many I have.

Identified Ancestor. Blue is the total to be found, red is how many I have.

I’ve done pretty well so far, but it has taken me twenty five years to get here.  Admittedly the bulk of this work has been achieved in the last ten years as British digitized records have come online, so more and more can be done.  Unfortunately I have finished the easy parts.  The rest are in areas with poor or nonexistent records, or they deliberately obfusticated the system.  DNA testing will find some of these.

My third cousins share 2nd great grandparents with me.  Although I have many DNA matches in the predicted 2nd-4th Cousin range, I have only confirmed one third cousin and that one shared a much higher total cM count of DNA (105cM) than any of the others.  The rest are probably fourth cousins, fourth cousins with some degree of removal, or fifth cousins or greater since the total cM shared averages 45cM-65cM.  They are in that prediction range because amongst the total we share one quite large segment, generally a 30cM block.

I have identified 29 out of 32 3rd great grandparents and I have all but two surnames involved.  You’d think I could get the fourth cousins.  If I can’t, there are probably NPEs or adoptions involved, or someone else has their tree wrong.

Beyond that – the 3rd-5th cousin predictions, the 4th-remote, the 5th-remote speculative – it’s a miracle if I find any.  Luckily miracles are occurring on a weekly basis for me and I am indeed starting to identify more cousins.

Tree size counts.  Accuracy counts even more, of course, but my current advice to anyone who wants to use DNA testing to confirm their paper records – get your tree to a minimum 25,000 individuals with the strongest degree of accuracy possible.  I’m at 23, 574 and it is beginning to make a difference.

My advice is particularly directed to Australians because so few in our country have tested, and the bulk of our immigration was 1800-1860.  We have to get behind that half century on as many sides as possible to use the matches available to us.

The more of us who resolve our trees, the easier it will be for everyone else, and the more mysteries we can all solve.

Tree Stats

Solving the Mystery – The Y-DNA Revelation


I love a good mystery in the family tree.  It motivates all my detective instincts.  I have always liked detective stories, logic puzzles and clueless crosswords.  There is nothing more satisfying than being presented with a few good clues and having the time to solve the whole thing.

The present puzzle was my son’s Y-DNA results which matched no one surname in particular but matched his own surname not at all.  It was something of a shock yesterday, but I slept on it and this morning I was ready to look into it with some objectivity.

First I sought advice via some FtDNA Projects, and the advice I received was immediate and very helpful.  Someone told me about the TiP Report, which gave me the following very useful guide:

TiP report closest Y-DNA Match

TiP report showing the likelihood in percentage form of a common ancestor with this match at various generational levels. closest Y-DNA Match (Click to enlarge)

I have read up on MtDNA where a genetic distance of 1 can mean thousands of years.  Y-DNA seems to change with greater frequency.  For our particular match, the most recent common ancestor was much closer.  The earliest direct paternal ancestor of our match was Richard Creed of West Pennard Somerset, born 1730.   Those percentages were highly in favour of a genealogically recent common ancestor.   Our earliest known paternal ancestor Patrick O’Keefe was seven generations above my son.  I was beginning to think the non-O’Keefe ancestor might be Patrick’s own father, since I was having so much trouble finding his origins.

Just to be sure, I looked closer to home.  The chart said the chances of a common ancestor at four generations was 70.48%.  That’s pretty high.  Four generations was Percy O’Keefe, born 1893.

The odds were much greater for eight generations – 94.73%.  Maybe, I thought, Jane had been pregnant when Patrick met her?  We really don’t know when they married, only when John O’Keefe was born.

However, there was another even stronger possibility. Mary Ann Johnson, the wife of Patrick’s eldest son John.

James Johnson "Hobart Town Police Report." Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857) 9 Sep 1834: 6. Web. 10 Feb 2015 .

James Johnson, father of Mary Ann Johnson.  “Hobart Town Police Report.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 9 Sep 1834: 6. Web. 10 Feb 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8647801>.

Adam James Johnson was a convict from Scotland. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like he was a quiet, hardworking man until he got some drink into him.  Alcohol made him violent.  He was doing very well in Hobart until he met trouble in the form of  the irrepressible convict woman Ann Livingstone.

Ann was just a child when she was transported from Scotland – still only fourteen.  She’d had the toughest life imaginable and among her several prison spells was one for prostitution at the age of twelve.  We can only conjecture what led her to those straits.  In court at the age of fourteen, she cursed the judge who passed sentence on her and held her head high.  She was a fighter. In Hobart Town, she never settled as a prisoner.  She even broke her arm while climbing over the wall to escape, then she absconded from the hospital.

James Johnson and Ann Livingstone married in 1841, and their eldest daughter Mary Ann was born in about 1838.  So was she theirs?  We don’t know, but raising someone else’s child would possibly be the first unselfish thing that Ann did.  She might have done so, she had no clues about raising children but she was always there for them.  She was her own worst enemy and her children’s too, but she certainly helped them as much as she could.

Here she is in the paper:

The Hobarton Mercury – Wednesday 9 January 1856

Assault.-Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, of Campbell-street, charged Mrs. Ann Johnson of the same locality with assaulting her, without any provocation.

From the complainant’s statement, as well as that of three witnesses, it appeared that she had been very roughly treated, having been pulled into the defendant’s yard by the hair of the head, and then, having a broom handle thrust into her eye; the complainant produced a portion of hair, which, she said, was torn off by the roots.

The defendant said, all she had to say was, that it was boxing morning, and the witnesses, called by Mrs. Johnson were all groggy (A laugh.) She called two of her daughters, who both stated, that Mrs. Davis was drunk, and that she had called one of them “most horrible names” : they saw nothing of a broom stick, nor any violence used.

The defendant was fined 50s and costs and allowed a week to pay the amount.

As best we know, the family consisted of five girls and one boy, but they were born at a time in Tasmania’s history when people could be born and married and no record be found. Mary was the eldest, then Louisa, Susan, Margaret, Robert and Sarah.

A DISREPUTABLE CHARACTER. – Margaret Johnson, aged 19, was charged with being, a person of disreputable character,and with behaving in a disorderly manner in Bathurst Street at 2 o’clock on Thursday morning.  The defendant pleaded not guilty.  Police Constable Michael Bourke deposed to the facts of the case, and the Bench ordered defendant to be imprisoned for a month. 

“LAW.” The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) 18 Mar 1865: 2. Web. 10 Feb 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8831712>

There are tons of similar reports.  The family was very difficult to live near.  As the children grew up they became as familiar with the courts as their parents.  With her very common name it is difficult to pick out our Mary from others of the same name, but no doubt she was there in court too.  In the end, the family were banned from the township of Hobart, when they moved out to New Norfolk.

Scan of an old postcard of New Norfolk, Tasmania circa 1870

Scan of an old postcard of New Norfolk, Tasmania circa 1870

It’s a lovely little town, one of the earliest settled in inland Tasmania.  It became the home of resettled Norfolk Islanders which is where the name came from.  Further inland and over the hills was the isolated town of Hamilton, beyond which there were no roads and the law never went.  A lot of families lived in the forests; loners who had no trust of societies, or who did not like people.  There were shepherds and bushmen and escapees from the law, and those who were simply pushed out of the towns for their antisocial behaviour.  Susan Johnson married John Hall and they moved out to the woods near Hamilton.  Mary Ann went with them and returned as Mrs John O’Keefe.  No marriage record has been found for John and Mary, but a marriage probably did occur.

What Patrick and Jane thought about this alliance we don’t know, but Patrick and Jane were scrupulously honest and very legally compliant.  John himself was only in court over marital matters and never for committing a crime.

"POLICE INTELLIGENCE." The Hobart Town Mercury (Tas. : 1857) 4 Feb 1857: 3. Web. 10 Feb 2015 .

“POLICE INTELLIGENCE.” The Hobart Town Mercury (Tas. : 1857) 4 Feb 1857: 3. Web. 10 Feb 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3242824>.

John and Mary’s first son was born in 1856, and the following year John was gone.  Yes, his conduct looked bad, but possibly Mary was not completely blameless.  Now that John had returned, life went on for this couple.  William was born in 1861, and Arthur in 1866.

Birth certificate of William O'Keefe, in my son's paternal line

Birth certificate of William O’Keefe, born to John O’Keefe and Mary Ann formerly Johnson

John and Mary had no more children that we know of, but we only found James a few years ago so more may show up. Mary passed away in 1881 and a few years later John married Mary’s sister Susan, who had just divorced her husband John Hall in a messy and very un-private divorce.  John and Susan seem to have been completely happy and I can’t help wondering if they were carrying the candle for each other since their young days, when Susan was newly married to John Hall and they were all out in the Hamilton woods.  They seem to have connected several times over the years.

Which brings me to John Creed born in 1838, the son of Stephen Creed and Martha nee Fearnside.

Stephen Creed emigrated to Tasmania on the Persian in 1832, and married Martha in New Norfolk in 1837.  Their eldest son was John Creed, born 16th August 1838.  Stephen Creed was a farmer according to the children’s birth registrations.  Half the children were registered in Hobart, but Stephen still gave his address as New Norfolk.  He must have travelled in.  There was a paddle steamer running between Hobart and New Norfolk in those days, which was sorely missed when water transport stopped in the 20th century.

Given the rather uncommon haplogroup, any Creed wasn’t going to do.  The Creed I sought – and hoped not to find if I’m honest – had to descend from West Pennard in Somerset, and from a particular family there.  I tracked Stephen to Victoria, when John Creed remained in Back River very very close to the O’Keefe house on the Derwent River.  The Victorian death registers give parent names.  Stephen was the son of Richard Creed and Priscilla Newport.  I found their marriage registration in Somerset, England.  We were back to the right county.  Richard was the son of John Creed. John Creed was born in West Pennard, Somerset, England.   John Creed born 1752 was the son of Richard Creed born 1730 – the very same ancestor as our Y-DNA match.

Birth registration of John Creed, Hobart microfilm records

Birth registration of John Creed, Hobart microfilm records

It wasn’t the answer I wanted, but too much is fitting together.  A project manager told me today to remember the other possibilities – perhaps an unmarried sister of John or Mary was the mother and they simply adopted William?  Or maybe John Creed’s presence is coincidental.  Can there be that much coincidence?   But as the project manager also said, the chances of a Somerset Creed meeting a woman in Clare, Ireland are very very remote.  The difference in culture and religion coupled with the geographic barrier were strong.  Of course, a Creed could have been a soldier stationed in Ireland, but all identified Creed babies have stayed very close to home and been quite traceable.  You never know, but to find a Creed of the correct family right there in a hamlet of six cottages where Mary was living in an unhappy marriage, being a woman from a family of loose morals to start with – it’s pretty suggestive.

I have altered my family tree already, to show John O’Keefe as a stepfather to William.  I’ll change it back if more data comes to light.  I’m now waiting for my father in law’s family finder test to be processed, to see if he has any matches with the families of the Creed wives.  This is what will show the generation which connected.

The worst of it is that my father in law has always hoped I would find a connection between our O’Keefe family and the famous Australian singer Johnny O’Keefe.  I don’t think it’s going to happen.

A DNA test doesn’t hold its punches, but learning the truth is extremely satisfying.  I admit I held my breath when logging in to check my parents’ tests for the first time and am glad they confirmed our relationship.  However, I’ll keep going with the testing.  I’d much rather know than not.

Y-DNA At Last

"99th Regiment Memorial Anglesea Barracks" by Nick-D - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:99th_Regiment_Memorial_Anglesea_Barracks.JPG#mediaviewer/File:99th_Regiment_Memorial_Anglesea_Barracks.JPG

“99th Regiment Memorial Anglesea Barracks” by Nick-D – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:99th_Regiment_Memorial_Anglesea_Barracks.JPG#mediaviewer/File:99th_Regiment_Memorial_Anglesea_Barracks.JPG

After a rather lengthy wait, my son’s long anticipated Y-67 results have come through, and they were a big surprise.

Everyone says that, I know.  It’s probably true too.  We think we know just what we are dealing with.  I’ve examined my son’s ethnicity breakdown, and I have researched his direct paternal line quite diligently.  I’ll tell the whole story.

My husband’s family is surnamed O’Keefe.  When we were first married, his family’s idea of family history was knowing which cemetery your grandparents were buried in.  Anyone who read my Road Trip blog posts might remember that I phoned my in-laws to ask where my husband’s grandfather was buried, and they didn’t know.  That’s how much interest the O’Keefe family has in family history.

Having said that, I’m quite blown away by the interest they show in everything I discover.  It’s new to them, it’s amazing and they tell all their other relatives. It just doesn’t occur to them that they could find it out for themselves, and they wouldn’t take the time but they are glad that I do.  My mother in law is very good with photos and mementos of family she has met, but earlier generations are just dead and gone to her. Luckily, she is very interested in the DNA angle.

Hobart. Picture taken in July 2014.  Many existing buildings were already there when the O'Keefe family first lived in Hobart.

Hobart with Mt Wellington in back. Picture taken in July 2014. Many existing buildings were already there when the O’Keefe family first lived in Hobart.

I was twenty when I married and had a patchy ten years of research under my belt.  Initially I wasn’t even interested in my family in law, not till my first son came along.  Then it suddenly clicked that these were his ancestors too and I started my research.

It was a slow start.  My husband, my father-in-law, his estranged father who no one wanted to talk about, his father who had become the hero by taking in and raising my father in law – this much the family knew.  It took us back to Percy O’Keefe born in Tasmania in 1893.  I would have faltered here but I was lucky.  Percy O’Keefe had married Lily Wilton, and she was a member of the Wilton family who made up half the population of their little town.  The first Wilton had three wives and many children to each.  Those twenty six or so children proceeded to marry and multiply, and they have a strong gene for family research.  Each and every descendant knows every family member, has photos and copies of photos, keeps every postcard, every letter.  Thus, our O’Keefe family didn’t know about the O’Keefes but the Wiltons sure did.

At this time, I forged a friendship with a man who was researching the same lines.  Percy O’Keefe married Lily Wilton. Percy’s sister Augusta O’Keefe married Lily’s brother Alfred.  Percy’s son and Augusta’s son were double cousins. Alfred and Augusta Wilton were my new friend’s great grandparents.  He was my husband’s double-second cousin (does that exist?). I’ll call him Nick.

Headstone of Rebecca Clarke who was the mother of Rebecca Clarke  wife of William O'Keefe. It took a long time to find these fragments in a vandalized cemetery and a year later there was no trace of this particular headstone.

Headstone of Mrs Rebecca Clarke who was the mother of Rebecca Clarke wife of William O’Keefe. It took a long time to find these fragments in a vandalized cemetery and a year later there was no trace of this particular headstone.  No trace remains of any O’Keefes buried here.

Nick had discovered that Percy’s parents were William O’Keefe and Rebecca Clarke and they also lived their whole lives in the same little Tasmanian town.  William born 1861 was the son of John and Mary O’Keefe.  There was another O’Keefe man in town – a shoemaker – who was no relation to ours.  My family had told me this, and Nick’s family had told him this too.  We debated asking him if he knew anything but the elderly Mr O’Keefe passed away before we could.

Twenty years ago, records were not as available as they are now.  Through visits to the archives, to the local cemeteries and to the library we deduced that John O’Keefe born 1834 was a shoemaker and that his wife was Mary Ann Johnson.  Unlike his son William, John had shifted between the small town and the nearby city of Hobart. After Mary Ann died, he married her sister Susan, when they were both quite elderly.

We have only found three children for John and Mary Ann, which seems unusual for that time period.  Records were sketchy in early inland Tasmania and it took the best part of twenty years to find those three.  All boys, called James, William and Henry.  William’s brother Henry, it turned out, was the father of the elderly Mr O’Keefe the shoemaker.  That man was Percy’s first cousin.  The relationship was that close and the family did not know of it.

After a while, we had John’s life mapped out as much as possible.  We never did find a marriage record and don’t know if the union was formalized.  His death record states a birthplace of England , which surprised us as he was surnamed O’Keefe.  He had a shoemaking shop for much of his adult life, and from his son’s birth certificate we know that John had a brother called Henry.  John O’Keefe and Henry O’Keefe can be found in many records.  Henry married in Hobart and had five children there before moving to Sydney where he had several more children.  John stayed in Tasmania.

Birth certificate of William O'Keefe, in my son's paternal line

Birth certificate of William O’Keefe

After two years of researching, Nick wrote me a letter in which he said ‘We may never know who John O’Keefe’s father was’.

It’s the sort of statement that galvanizes me into action.  At this point, I was ready to move on to other lines, but I just wasn’t having that.

I honestly don’t remember what the vital record was now, but I found him.  John O’Keefe born 1834 in England was the son of Patrick O’Keefe and Jane Kelly.  Patrick was a soldier in the 99th Regiment and came from Ireland.  John’s English birth was entirely a matter of the posting of the regiment for a two year stint in Hampshire.  From there we made great headway and pieced together a very interesting life.

Patrick O’Keefe was born in Kilmacduane, Clare, Ireland in 1811.  I have found no baptism.  He was Roman Catholic and could not read or write.  He had brown hair and blue eyes.  In the 1826 Tithe Applotment Books for his townland there are only three O’Keefe households, headed by John, Arthur and Hugh.  One of those three might be Patrick’s father and I’d wager it’s not Hugh.

Patrick was nineteen when he joined the military and was stationed first in Ennis where based on pregnancy dates he met and married his wife Jane Kelly.  The company was posted to Dublin and was then moved across to Hampshire where our John was born. Two years later in the midst of another reposting, William was born in Gosport.

By Detroit Publishing C (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.08800) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Portsmouth Harbour from Gosport By Detroit Publishing C (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.08800) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Patrick and Jane spent two years in Dorset before the regiment was sent back to Ireland.  Their third child, Edward, was born in Athlone. Then the Regiment headed for Gravesend for apportioning onto ships, guarding convicts to Australia. George must have been born at this time.  They arrived in Tasmania in 1845 and after several months were sent to Queensland.  Their fifth son Henry was born at sea on the way. Next came Thomas, born in Sydney, and the youngest two were Arthur and James both born back in Hobart.  James died of measles as a toddler.

All of this being before Federation, it was a complicated family to put together.  It has required research in every single state of Australia.  As adults, Edward settled in Queensland, Henry in New South Wales, George and Thomas in Victoria, Arthur in South Australia with one of his sons settling in Western Australia, and our John in Tasmania.  Adding in the children’s births in two counties of England, plus one in Ireland, I am still quite astounded by our success.  No one could have done this alone.  Nick, myself, a lady who descends from Edward and a man who descends from Henry were eventually able to collaborate and bring the family to life. We are all very proud.  There’s more to be done, but we have come a long way.  We don’t know what happened to William in his later years and suspect he might have spent some time in New Zealand.

Image from 'A Text-Book of Inorganic Chemistry' by G S Newth,Longmans Green and Co London, 1902 Figure 44 page 209

Image from ‘A Text-Book of Inorganic Chemistry’ by G S Newth,Longmans Green and Co London, 1902 Figure 44 page 209

Now to the DNA test.  The results were there when I woke this morning.  Being a member of the O’Keeffe Project I knew what to expect.  It’s a sea of R-haplogroups which is very Irish apparently.

My son is not R at all.  He is an ‘I’ haplogroup and not a common type at all. His haplogroup has the greatest concentration in Germany and is believed to be very old, found among the Visigoths but believed to come from a Saxon or Vandal tribe.

More than that – there isn’t a single O’Keefe among his matches, at any marker level.

At a genetic distance of one, matching 66 out of 67 markers, he matches the surname Creed from England.  At a genetic distance of six at 67 markers he matches Calder.  At various genetic distances at 37 markers, he matches Reddy and Vowell and at greater distance another Creed from the same county of England.

So what does it mean?  None of the matches are also family finder matches so they are not close.  Could the surname O’Keefe and Creed have evolved from the same origin?  It is surely possible, but what of Calder, Reddy and Vowell?  The surname exists in Ireland in its own right but at least two Irish Creeds have also tested and have a different haplogroup again.

And I thought this part would be simple!  But I have to admit, it’s impressive how much we can learn about a lineage from one cheek scrape.  Never a dull moment with DNA testing.

My Paternal Line Part Three – Those Troublesome Dillanes

Sheep paddock at Sally's Gap in Wicklow, Ireland. Photograph with permission by Laura Jane.

Sheep paddock at Sally’s Gap in Wicklow, Ireland. Photograph with permission by Laura Jane.

Edmond Dillane was born about 1814 in or near Athea in Limerick, Ireland.  He was the eldest in his family that we know of, and had at least three younger brothers.  His brother John was about three years younger.  Timothy, the third known boy was born in 1821 and William seems to have been the youngest of the four. His birthdate is not known.

The boys grew up in Athea and stayed in the area.  Edmond, as I said in my last post, married Maria Woulfe in 1834, and they stayed in the area.   John married Johanna Moore in 1841 in Athea.

Children of both couples can be found in the baptism transcriptions from the Rootsireland website, as follows:

Edmond Dillane and Mary Woulfe

Bridget   24-Jan-1835 Athea Sponsor Catherine Woulfe

Edmond 03-Feb-1837 Athea No parents or sponsors recorded

John      05-Feb-1842 Athea Sponsor Margaret Guinea

John Dillane and Johanna Moore

Edmond  18-Jul-1843 Athea Sponsor Helen Woulfe

John         18-Jun-1848 Athea Sponsors Martin and Helen Sheehy

As well as these recorded children, we know that Edmond and Mary had a daughter Johanna born around 1843, and that John and Johanna had a daughter Mary born in 1842.  One researcher provides a baptism date of 21 Jan 1842 for Mary, but I am not sure where he found it.  Possibly it has not been transcribed and he viewed the original registers.

There is a missing child for each, as a later record shows Edmond with five children and John with four.

Timothy married Margaret at a date unknown, and by 1849 he had no children so either they were newly married, or they had lost all their children.  William, it appears, married Margaret Murphy in 1839 in Monogea, still in Limerick but away from the regular stomping ground.

Kerry and Limerick in the region of my Dillane ancestors.

Kerry and Limerick in the region of my Dillane ancestors.

We know a few things about their life.  The papers are full of crimes being committed, and laments about bad landlords. One Dillane descendant heard that when her ancestor Dillanes from Athea were on the run from the authorities, they would hide with family in Glin.  The Glin residents would likewise hide out in Athea.  They were farmers and farm labourers, not particularly respectful of anyone’s authority.

They enter the official record in a more personal way in early October 1848, with an appearance at court in Abbeyfeale.  I haven’t found the actual record of this, but it is referenced later.

Apparently in October, someone stole a sheep from Patrick Richard Woulfe of Dromadda.  Patrick accused the Dillane brothers and named Edmond and Patrick Delane who has never been referenced before. They were arrested and taken to court.  In those days, the accused were kept in jail until trial.  The Dillane brothers probably had a few days to dwell on their wrongs.

It seems clear the bad feeling between Maurice Woulfe and the Dillane brothers had not started with this incident, but this was the last straw.  It must have been a tough position for Mary if this was her father.

The Dillane brothers were cleared of the stealing charge … or maybe there was not enough evidence to convict.  Maurice’s sons were in court to give evidence against them.  As they all emerged from the courtroom, one of the Dillanes said to one of the witnesses that he would have a sorer tale to tell soon enough.  This witness was named Patrick Richard Woulfe.

As a result of this threat, Maurice Woulfe anticipated trouble.  He arranged for his sons to take turns watching their stock at night.  As it turns out, he was not just being paranoid.  He knew the Dillane boys – who were now well into their thirties and not boys at all.  From this point, the court record tells the story quite well.

The Limerick and Clare Examiner of 14th March 1849 has a good account, but it is puzzling that it references Patrick Dillane who is not mentioned anywhere else.

Patrick Stack, John Dilane, Timothy Dillane, Patrick Sullivan, Patrick Delane and Edward Delane, were indicted for setting fire to four stacks of hay, on the 3d October, the property of Maurice Woulfe of Drommadda. 

Patrick Wolfe was the first witness called.  He deposed as follows:- “Lives at Drommadda; recollects the 3d October; my four brothers and father live with me; my father has a farm; there were four stacks of hay on the meadows made up; watched it the night it was burned; my brother Thomas was with me; five men came with winds of hay in their hands lit, and burned the four stacks. Pat Sullivan had the fire; knows the whole of the party (identifies them); knew them a long time; it was a dark night; was within a few perches of them when the hay got blazed; we saw them quite plain; they could not see us for we hid behind a ditch.”

This is a story that descendants of Edmond, John and Timothy Dillane have gone over again and again, seeking clues. Thomas Woulfe gave his evidence next.

Thomas Wolfe sworn; – Is a brother of Patrick Wolfe; recollects the 3d October; was along with his brothers watching the hay; the hay belonged to his father, Maurice Wolfe; saw the party; mentioned their names; identified them; witness here went on to corroborate the foregoing witness; swore that the party told him after the Petty Sessions at Abbeyfeale, that they would give him a fresh story that would injure them more.  He was witness then for Patrick Richard Wolfe, who lost a sheep; the Dillanes were charged with stealing it, but were discharged.  This was the reason he and his brother watched the hay that night.

To me, this seems a somewhat vindictive and petty reaction for five grown men, but I really don’t know the particulars. There are so many events which can lead men to unwise behaviour.  Desperation, hunger, the loss of a loved one …. we don’t exactly know so I will try to reserve judgement.

Patrick Richard Wolfe sworn and examined .. recollects the night the hay burned; Patrick and Thomas Wolfe were with him; knows the prisoners at the bar (identified them); saw them coming towards the hay; saw the four stick the fire under the hay; Patrick Sullivan had no fire …

…. the jury .. returned a verdict of guilty. His Lordship said it became his duty, considering the present state of the country and the heavy amount of crime on the calendar, to sentence Timothy Delane, John Delane, Patrick Stack, Patrick Delane and Edward Delane to seven years’ transportation, and Patrick Sullivan to 18 months imprisonment and hard labour. 

Was there really a Patrick Delane?  If so, his sentence may have been transmuted from transportation as he did not arrive in Australia with his brothers.  Or maybe he died in jail?  Edmond, John and Timothy Dillane were duly transported some three years later, along with Patrick Stack.  The four men were close associates for the rest of their lives.

In the convict records, each Dillane man listed his wife as his family – Mary, Johanna and Margaret.  Edmond stated that he had five children, John that he had four, Timothy that he had no children.  All were Roman Catholic, none could read or write.  Patrick Stack was also a married man, aged 36, and left a wife Mary and four children behind in Athea.  The indent record lists his mother Mary, his brother Mick and his sisters Mary, Ellen, Biddy and Margaret. If only the Dillane’s indent report had been so helpful!

With their transportation, my branch of the Dillane family ceased their association with the Woulfe family.  After completing his sentence, Edmond sent home for his family.  The elder four came to join him in Australia, apparently bringing word of the death of Maria – or maybe she had forged a new life without him?  We don’t know.  For the purposes of DNA matching it could be useful information.

In the year that Edmond’s children arrived, John Dillane remarried declaring himself a widower.  Two years later, Edmond and Timothy also had new wives, also marrying as widowers.  Was this because they received word that their wives were deceased?  This information is not yet available.

However it was, the Dillane brothers turned their energy and tenacity to taming the virgin forest on their own land in the district of Port Cygnet, Tasmania.  It was a tough life, but it suited them to a tee.   The Dillanes – morphed into the Dillons – are now remembered as successful pioneers of the district, leaving us with all their unresolved Irish mysteries.

Edmond Dillon and his second wife Hannah's grave at St James Catholic Cemetery, Cygnet

Edmond Dillon and his second wife Hannah’s grave at St James Catholic Cemetery, Cygnet

My Paternal Line Part Two – Athea in the 1830s

© Copyright RH Dengate and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A sheep in Ireland, probably similar to the ones around Limerick in the 1830s. © Copyright RH Dengate and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence 2.0 (see end of blog)

My last blog post was about the Woulfe family of Listowel and Athea where the records are very scanty.  Now, we approach a period of greater certainty.

The first certainty is that the surname Dillane was very common around Athea, Glin and Newcastle in the early 1800s.  Very, very common.  They used the first names Edmond, John, Mary and Bridget over and over.  I don’t really know where the family came from.  I’m guessing they slowly headed west from Fedamore, where there seems to be a greater concentration, but it may just seem this way because the records were better kept.  The Tithe Applotment Books for 1826 show Dillanes all over the place.  The name is spelled Dillane and Delane at different times, but never Dillon – it took the English convict administration to bring about that change.

What we do know is that not long after 1810, a Mr and Mrs Dillane were living in Athea, West Limerick.  There were other Dillane children of the same first names born there who were not siblings but seem likely to be relatives, so we can deduce that Mr Dillane had family in the area, probably brothers and sisters, and that he either moved there when young or was also born there.

What was Mr Dillane’s first name?  That’s the million dollar question.  Most likely it was John or Edmond.

Here is a map of Limerick in Ireland.

By Patrick Weston Joyce [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Patrick Weston Joyce [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (Click to enlarge)

The district/village of Athea is in the yellow bit on the far left, very close to the Kerry border.  The Woulfe family – and probably the Dillane family too – lived on both sides of this border, around Athea and in a reasonably sized town called Listowel in Kerry.  The records for Kerry are not available via Rootsireland yet.

Listowel and Athea are 13km (8 miles) apart, an easy walk for those used to walking.  Templeathea is about a mile and a half from Athea to the east, nowadays the two villages have grown together.  Drumadda (Dromadda) is about five miles from Athea to the south east.  Abbeyfeale was the nearest big town and is about seven miles south of Athea.

This was the home territory of the Dillane and Woulfe families.  I put together a map of their territory out of public domain maps.  It’s a quick effort but scaled correctly for roads and the river. Being different maps, the town names are a different font size and not fully indicative of town size.  I have put squares around the regions relevant to my ancestors.

Kerry and Limerick in the region of my Dillane ancestors.

Kerry and Limerick in the region of my Dillane ancestors. (Click to enlarge)

I have included Lixnaw and Glin as my father has several DNA matches who have ancestors there.  I don’t know the connection but I think there is one.

Back in the early 1800s, this part of Ireland was a rough place.  It was the time of the Terry Alts and the White Boys and other secret societies that committed savage and inhuman crimes in Ireland in the name of freeing the underdogs from suppression. As well as the societies, there were desperate poor people, starvation, crime and suspicion.  Irish Catholics were evicted from their home, often by their own Irish family members who were soldiers in the British military and never imagined their employment would bring them to this.  Women were raped, men on the Tipperary/Limerick border had their tongues cut out and their ears cut off, and the atrocities committed to sheep and cattle were at times too horrendous to mention.  Some nasty things happened in Ireland in the 1830s and 1840s.

Amongst the horrors, life went on as usual with men and women marrying and raising families.  The Woulfe family had farms. In the 1833 Tithe Applotment Records, now digitized at the National Archives of Ireland, Maurice Woulfe can be found living in Dromadda in the parish of Rathronan.  Also in the Tithe Applotment records, one John Dillane can be found living in Lower Athea, also in the parish of Rathronan.  Without having any way of proving or disproving this, I am reasonably sure that these two men are my ancestors, but that particular John Dillane could as easily be Edmond’s brother rather than his father.

On 9th February 1834, the year following the Tithe Applotment list, my ancestor Edmond Dillane married Maria Woulfe in Athea, Limerick. Each of them was Roman Catholic. Their parent’s names were not given but the witnesses were Maurice Woulfe and Hannah Woulfe.  Edmond was aged about 20, and Maria’s age we don’t know but she was probably of similar age.

Athea Footbridge By Georgelangan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Athea Footbridge By Georgelangan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This is where another uncertainty enters the story.  Edmond Dillane, my ancestor, was a convict who was transported to Australia for burning down a haystack.  The family story has it that the haystack belonged to his father in law.  This story is rather old in our family, my grandfather knew it long before overseas records were available, in fact long before convict records were easy to get.  My grandfather was not a genealogist, most of the stories he heard from his grandmother Mary Theresa Dillon, who was a somewhat formidable lady who seems to have made an impression on everyone.  She was born in Australia to Irish parents, so my grandfather did not hear it first hand.  His grandmother was a granddaughter of Edmond Dillane and Mary/Maria Woulfe.

An avid genealogist who I met twenty years ago, a distant cousin, spend all of his retirement years working in his local history centre and researching his family.  He published six books on local history which hold up as accurate to this very day.  He had been to Ireland and was quite sure that Maria Woulfe was the daughter of Maurice Woulfe. In those days I didn’t think to ask what made him sure.  He also had a theory that it was all a setup to get the Dillanes to Australia.  “In Ireland people didn’t turn in their own family.”  he assured me.  “It must have been a plan.”

This sort of setup did happen, and I have some ancestors (John and Alice McKinley of Fermanagh) who I am pretty sure did exactly this.  But not the Dillane boys.  As more evidence comes to light, it doesn’t look that amicable and our Dillanes were far from blameless.  Not only this, but we now know there were at least two farmers called Maurice Woulfe in Dromadda.   One of them was father of some emigrants to Iowa, and he appears to have died before 1838.  The other was the one our family knows so well.  Both are listed in the 1833 Tithe Applotment records.

First page of Woulfe family members at Dromadda in the 1833 Tithe Applotment Books at the National Archives of Ireland website

First page of Woulfe family members at Dromadda in the 1833 Tithe Applotment Books at the National Archives of Ireland website (click to enlarge)

Probably, one of the two Maurices were Maria’s father but each of them were about the same age, and each had a daughter named Mary or Maria.  We have no real proof that her father’s name was Maurice at all.  She does not appear to have a son called Maurice, so perhaps the whole Maurice thing is incorrect.  Nonetheless, she was a Woulfe and she does indeed have a grandson named Maurice.  So perhaps the issue was something else, and perhaps the haystack was not Edmond’s father-in-law’s but a different Maurice Woulfe’s.

With that caveat we can now examine the facts.

I found a very interesting snippet in the Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, a newspaper from Ireland which has recently been digitized. On the 27th March 1827 comes this brief statement:

Limerick Assizes:   

William Roche, for burglary and abduction of Mary Woulfe at Dromadda – Death.

(Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier – Tuesday 27 March 1827 page 4 via http://www dot britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

There’s a story here for sure, but I have no idea what it is.  It would not surprise me to learn that this is my own Mary, because something must have brought her to marriage with someone who it seems was very different to herself.

There was a review on Ireland, undertaken by British parliament in the 1830s, which covered abductions of females in Ireland.  It was apparently – supposedly – a common means by which a young man could secure a girl to be his wife, if her parents refused their permission for the marriage.  He would abduct her and keep her overnight, and in the morning a marriage was the only way to redeem her from shame, even if nothing had occurred between them through the night.  A priest from Clare was interviewed in that enquiry and stated that he had himself performed marriage ceremonies for some of these abducted girls and their abductors.  The ‘Selections of Reports and Papers to the House of Commons’ in its various volumes through Google Books are a truly fascinating read if you want to know about early 19th century Ireland.

So seven years after Mary Woulfe was abducted and presumably recovered, my Maria Woulfe was married in Athea and hereafter known as Mary not Maria.   We are now through the uncertainties and can proceed using available records.

But the post is getting long so I’ll continue in the next.

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