Saturday, 24 June 2017

DNA Diary: Calling all Cousins!

Are you related to someone mentioned in this blog?  Do you even share their surnames and place of origin? And, have you already tested your autosomal DNA?

It has come to my attention there are quite a few people out there researching my ancestors and potential ancestors, who have already tested their DNA. But, they used a different testing company. So, we have no chance of ever matching, UNLESS we both upload our results into the same database.

I’m no expert, but, I've also recently concluded the only way to really progress on this DNA Genealogy journey is to gather together an assortment of my parent’s known second, third and maybe fourth cousins. This way we’ll be able to identify the matches we have in common and flag them as probably being related somewhere on our common lineage.

This will help bring my DNA research back in line with the basic principles of genealogy research - i.e. start with what is known and work backwards from there. And, working together, we might discover another cousin, who also matches us on the same shared segment, enabling us to identify the specific ancestor, or ancestral couple, who bequeathed that DNA segment to us all.

Down the road, we might meet enough cousins to be able to label all our DNA segments with the name of the ancestors who donated them. Then, we’d know anyone else sharing the labelled segment must also be related, somehow, to the named ancestors. Well, that would be the dream!

So, if you’ve already tested your autosomal DNA at AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe©, PLEASE upload your test results to GEDmatch. It’s easy and FREE and it only takes about ten minutes. And, let me know if you do! Even if we don’t match, you will gain access to another list of DNA cousins, perhaps including that one person who will help you knock through your genealogy brick-wall.

Also, you can now upload your results to Family Tree DNA, again without it costing another penny, and gain access to all your matches in their database too.  You never know where your cousins are hanging out. 

Image courtesy of PhotoFunia

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A grave error? - Charles Byrne (1878-1879)

Charles Byrne was the fourth son of Francis Byrne and Margaret McGrane, and a younger brother to Mam’s grandfather, James Byrne. He was born at 12 Upper Mayor Street, in Dublin, on 6 March 1878, and was baptized in St Laurence O’Toole’s church that same day. He was probably named after Francis’ brother Charles.

Margaret did not get around to registering her son's birth until the end of June. Presumably to avoid a late registration penalty, she then claimed Charles wasn't born until 4 April 1878, by which time the family had moved to 18 Upper Jane Place. Still, her delay provides an accurate timeline for when the Byrnes first lived in Jane Place, a neighborhood that became their home for nearly a hundred years.

Soon after his first birthday, little Charles died of scarlatina, otherwise known as scarlet fever.  His no doubt heart-broken mother carried his remains to Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, where he was buried on 13 April 1879. He was interred in the section of the graveyard known as St Patrick’s.

When Charles’s father died many years later, in December 1912, he was buried with another baby named Charles Byrne. Their grave was in the St Bridget’s section of the cemetery. This little Charles died in 1891, coincidentally when he was also a year old. Initially I thought our family was somehow related to the second baby too, or that there was a mix-up of some sort with the graves.

This Charles was the son of George and Harriet Byrne. George worked as a policeman, living on the south side of the river Liffey. Our Francis was a labourer, working in the Dublin dockyards, and living north of the river. Their lives were quite different and no connection between them could be found. 

Now, Glasnevin Trust have confirmed my great-great-grandmother only purchased the grave in 1912, two days after her husband’s death and twenty-one years after the funeral of the second Charles. There is no longer any reason to suspect a connection with George and Harriet. The cemetery was known to sell on graves, if they had not been purchased outright, after a specified time had passed.

Glasnevin Trust also confirmed our baby Charles was buried in an Old Angels’ plot. Such plots were communal graves, shared by many other babies. Being what was considered a ‘poor ground plot’, it would never have been available for Margaret to purchase. But, I wonder did she know this in 1912? Did she think her husband was laid to rest with their baby son? Or, was it merely a coincidence a so-named child shared his grave? 

Sources: Church and civil records on; Burial register for Glasnevin Cemetery (pay-as-you-go); Image from Pixabay.

Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 10 June 2017

DNA Diary – Clynch update

Perhaps you remember from my recent posts – The Clynch Connection and The Clinch family of Aurora, Illinois – I concluded I’d probably need a DNA match to prove my Dad’s relationship to the Clinch family of Aurora. Well, the good news is I’ve now ‘met’ a living descendant of Martin Clinch and she has already taken a DNA test.  

You may also remember, Martin Clynch, along with his supposed siblings Edward and Mary, left their home in Blackrath and Athgarvan, in 1854, for a new life in America. I’m nearly certain Martin and his siblings were related to Dad’s second great-grandmother, Anne (Clynch) Byrne, who lived in the same townland in Co. Kildare. Anne could even have been their sister, a theory being they were all the children of Patrick Clynch and Catherine Murphy, from Athgarvan.

My prospective ‘cousin’ agreed to upload her DNA results (for free) to GEDmatch, a third-party company providing tools for genealogy research. We were then able to compare her results with my Dad’s. Sadly, however, they don’t match. For matching purposes, it is generally accepted ‘cousins’ should share at least one matching segment of 7cMs or more, and they don’t. 

When I lower the thresholds though, they do share several smaller segments, signifying a potential relationship. Then again, Ireland is a small country, and people generally descend from same limited gene pool. So, small segment matches are to be expected, even if people are not related in a genealogical timeframe. Plus, this match is not at all convincing.

Dad’s matching DNA segments with a Clynch descendant 

You get 50% of your DNA from each parent, about 25% from each grandparent and on average 12.5% from each great-grandparent, etc. You have 32 third great-grandparents, so receive an average of just over 3.125% (1/32) from each one. But, DNA is inherited randomly. The deviation from average increases with every generation, so it’s possible to receive far less than ‘average’ from any individual ancestor. And, the odds on two descendants inheriting the exact same section are obviously even higher.

Source: ISOGG Cousin statistics

If our most recent common ancestors were Patrick and Catherine Clynch, Dad and our potential cousin are fourth cousins, once removed. Statistics show less than half such cousins show up as a DNA match, i.e. there is a 52% probability of no detectable DNA relationship. And, it’s quite possible our most recent common ancestors were even earlier than Patrick and Catherine, making the likelihood of matching even more remote.

But, there is one thing in our favour - Martin Clinch of Aurora has many descendants, so there’s a chance one of them may share Clynch DNA with Dad. Maybe someday I’ll meet a match.

© Black Raven Genealogy 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Buried in Fingal

Last month, Fingal County Council released a superb new FREE online database called ‘Buried in Fingal’. It contains the details of 65,000 people buried in graveyards across north county Dublin, from the late nineteenth century onward. It was exciting to think these registers might contain the answers to many of my open questions! 

St Sylvester's Cemetery, Malahide, Co. Dublin, 2016
Yellow Walls Cemetery, Malahide, 2016

First off, I found my paternal grandfather, James Byrne. He died at his residence in ‘Far Yellow Walls’ on 22 December 1964. He was buried that Christmas Eve in the graveyard at Yellow Walls, Malahide.[1] 

Burial of James Byrne, 1964, St Sylvester's Cemetery, Malahide, Co. Dublin
Burial of James Byrne, Yellow Walls Cemetery (click on image to enlarge)

We always knew James shared a grave with his wife Lena (O’Neill) Byrne. I cannot show you the page with her details unfortunately, as it failed to load fully to the website. But, by downloading the register for the entire cemetery, I could scroll to the relevant page and see her entry. It confirms she died at her residence on 27 October 1956 and that James organised her funeral the following day. He paid a £5 burial fee, or maybe that was the cost of the plot.[2] 

James Byrne’s father, Michael Byrne, died in Yellow Walls on 22 December 1927 and by unhappy coincidence he too was buried on a Christmas Eve.[3] had hoped these registers would confirm where exactly he was buried. The Yellow Walls Cemetery opened in 1918, but he’s not there. So, he was probably interred in the Abbey Graveyard at Malahide Castle, the original burial ground for the area. If he is there, no tombstone was ever erected on his grave. 

Fingal County Council maintains the Abbey Graveyard, as well as its records, but they have not been published on their new website.
This also scuppers my chance of answering a second burning question - Was
Peter Radcliffe, my fourth great-grandfather on Mam’s side, buried at the Castle, too? Peter died in Yellow Walls in March 1887, more than twenty years after his wife, Anne.[4] We know Anne was buried at the Castle, because Peter erected a tombstone there, in her memory.[5] Peter also fought through the courts for many years to protect his right to be buried beside her, so it would be nice to know, for sure, if he realised this goal.[6]

Anne Radcliffe (c.1799 – 1866), Castle Abbey Graveyard, Malahide, Co. Dublin
Anne Radcliffe (c.1799 – 1866)
Transcript of tombstone, Castle Abbey Graveyard

My final question relates to my granduncle Michael Byrne - James Byrne’s youngest brother. Where was he buried?  He is said to have died in England about 1962 or 1963, so his death isn't registered here. I cannot find a record of it in England either.  Dad remembered his uncle's body was brought home for burial, as he attended the funeral with his father, but he could not remember where exactly it took place. They were planting the winter cabbage at the time and could only spare one day off work, so Michael must have died around August.

I found the burial of Michael’s son, Patrick Byrne. Patrick was fatally injured in a tragic accident in February 1960, when he was crushed between two oil tankers at a depot in Co. Cork.[7] He was buried in Balgriffin Cemetery, but there is no sign of his father there.[8] He’s not in Kinsealy Cemetery either. I suspect Michael was buried in St Colmcille’s, in Swords – their records are not managed by the Council. If he was, it would seem no tombstone was ever erected on his grave either.[9]

So, while ‘Buried in Fingal’ is a great new resource for Dublin genealogy, and I hope other councils and parishes (i.e. Swords!!!) across Ireland quickly follow their example, unluckily for me, my questions weren’t answered this time.

© Black Raven Genealogy

[1] Burial of James Byrne1964, Yellow Walls Cemetery, ‘Buried in Fingal’, Fingal County Council. 
[2] Burial of Lena Byrne, 1956, Yellow Walls Cemetery, ‘Buried in Fingal’.
[3] Death of Michael Byrne, 1927, Balrothery, Civil Records, 
[4] Death of Peter Radcliffe, 1887, Balrothery, Civil Records,
[5] Black Raven Genealogy, ‘Abbey Graveyard at Malahide Castle’; Michael Egan, Memorials of the Dead, no. 9, 1996, p. 153. 
[7] Irish Times, 18 February 1960, p. 6.
[8] Burial of Patrick Byrne, 1960, Balgriffin Cemetery, ‘Buried in Fingal’.
[9] Fingal Heritage Group, “Rest in Peace”, no. 1 - Fingal Cemeteries, St Colmcille's, Swords.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Finding ‘Wynholm’ for Aunty Anne

My Aunt Anne often tells fascinating family stories, passed down to her by my grandmother. Sometimes, I even find evidence to prove the stories true. Several years ago, my aunt recalled ‘Wynneholme’ as the name of our Wynne family home in Newcastle upon Tyne in England and asked me to locate the house. It was certainly an apt name for the family home, but, try as I might, I never could find it.

The only address uncovered for my great-grandparents in Newcastle was their home at 297/9 Two Ball Lonnen, in Fenham. This is where Patrick Wynne died on 21 December 1937.[1] The family operated a successful grocery business there for many years and lived in the rooms above the shop. The shop was still in business when Teresa (Carroll) Wynne died there, some twenty years later, on 9 July 1958.[2] 
297 Two Ball Lonnen, June 2016, Source: Google Street View

The electoral registers for Newcastle upon Tyne are now available online and they have thrown further light on my great-grandparent’s various residences in the city.[3] We ‘know’ Patrick Wynne first settled in Newcastle when he returned from Australia about 1915, but the registers were not kept during the war years, so I can only track his movements from 1918 onward. 

Between 1918 and 1925, Patrick and Teresa Wynne lived at 136 Violet Street, Benwell, close to the River Tyne. These houses were built during the nineteenth century for workers in the successful Armstrong armaments factory. It is where the family lived when they had their children Brian Patrick Wynne in 1918, Nora Teresa Wynne in 1920, Terence McSwiney Wynne in 1922 and Laurence Wynne in 1924. I don’t know yet where they were in 1916, when Eileen Mary Wynne was born, but perhaps they were already in Violet Street. 
Violet Street, Benwell, when the houses were being demolished, 1967/8
Source: Newcastle Libraries, Local Studies Collection. (Public Domain) 

Then, for eight years, between 1926 and 1933, Patrick and Teresa resided at 13 Riddell Avenue, Fenham. They were at this address when their sons Maurice O’Carroll Wynne and Brendan Patrick Wynne, both born in Dublin, joined the electorate in 1928 and 1932, respectively. 

From Riddell Avenue, they moved to Two Ball Lonnen, also in Fenham. And, in 1934 and 1935, for two years only, before my Aunt Anne was even born, the Wynnes lived in a house called ‘Wynholm’ on Two Ball Lonnen. Beginning 1936, their address was shown as ‘297/299’ along the same road.

It is difficult to tell if ‘Wynholm’ and ‘297/299’ were the same property, or not. The houses follow an unusual numbering pattern. There were many gaps, perhaps arising because some of their neighbours did not vote. Still, by examining our family’s position in relation to their named neighbours, it seems they may well have moved to a new house between 1935 and 1936. What do you think?

Two Ball Lonnen, Fenham Ward, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1935 and 1936

So, it’s not entirely clear if I’ve located the actual house known as ‘Wynholm’, but I have definitely found evidence it existed and was situated on Two Ball Lonnen.

[1] Death certificate, Patrick J. Wynne, Dec. 1937, General Register Office, England and Wales.
[2] Death certificate, Teresa J. Wynne, Sep. 1958, General Register Office, England and Wales.
[3] ‘Newcastle Upon Tyne, West, Register of Electors’, for years 1918 through 1937, Tyne and Wear Archives, Newcastle Upon Tyne, accessed on (subscription site). 

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Clinch family of Aurora, Illinois, continued

The Aurora Daily Express [1] told of the horrible death suffered by Edward Clinch, on Thursday, 16 January 1890. Edward was originally from the tiny village of Athgarvan, in Co. Kildare, same as my third great-grandmother, Anne (Clynch) Byrne. I’m investigating just how they may have been related.

‘The fate of Edward C. Clinch, whose body was brought here yesterday was another illustration of the great risks which a man takes when he enters the employ of a railroad company. Mr. Clinch, a man about fifty-five, had been in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy company for some time. He was formerly an oiler in the Aurora yards but has lately been acting as flagman at the crossing between Clyde and Hawthorne. He boarded at 803 Jefferson avenue, going to work on an early train and out again at night.’
The death of Edward Clinch, Aurora Daily Express, 17 January 1890

The morning after he was killed, an inquest was held into his death and the verdict was published in the newspaper:

‘After hearing all the evidence the coroner’s jury returned a verdict “that Edward Clinch came to his death at LaVerne, Cook County, on Thursday morning, Jan. 16th, by being run over by the forward section of freight No. 61, which had broken in two. That said death was in great part the result of his own carelessness, but we further find that the head brakeman was not at his post, at the rear of the forward section, as required when a train breaks in two, and this may have contributed, in a measure, to the fatality.”’
Verdict of the Coroner's Jury, Aurora Daily Express, 18 January 1890

Edward’s funeral was held that Sunday afternoon at St Mary’s church, Aurora. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery nearby. A photograph of his headstone, found online here, shows he is buried beside a ‘Mary Murray 1837-1897’. Although I’ve yet to find concrete proof, and despite the understatement of her age by about twelve years, I suspect Mary Murray was Edward’s sister. Mary Clynch was baptised in Athgarvan, in 1825. It would be strange for them to share a grave, if they were not related.

These articles help connect Edward to an 1880 federal census enumerated in Aurora, where he was working as an 'oiler'. Here, Edward Clinch was named as the brother of Mary Murry’s husband, John Murry. But, given he doesn’t share John’s surname, it’s possibly more likely he was John's brother-in-law, and Mary’s brother. 

The Murry-Clinch household in Aurora, Illinois, in 1880 

If I’ve identified the right family, Mary’s age was understated by about twenty-five years. This may be a stretch, even for the nineteenth-century Irish who often had little clue when they were born, but another factor connects the household with my target Clinch family:-

Also, living with John and Mary Murry in 1880 were their ‘adopted’ sons Ed and Pat Clinch and daughter Clara Clinch. These were in fact some of the children of Martin Clinch, Mary and Edward’s suspected brother, who died in Aurora in 1871. Edward, Martin and Mary Clinch had all sailed to America together in 1854. 

So, while there’s plenty to suggest Martin, Edward and Mary were closely related, and probably siblings, apart from their mutual origin in Athgarvan, nothing seems to link them directly to my third great-grandmother. So, I'm back to hoping a DNA match will come to the rescue and confirm a relationship.

And, as far as I can tell at this point, only Martin Clinch and his wife Catherine Fox had descendants. Their eldest daughter Maria was born in Athgarvan before the family emigrated, while the rest of their children were born in Illinois - Edward about 1859; Katie about 1860; John about 1862; Pat about 1865; Laurence about 1867 and Clara about 1869. 
Clinch household, 1870 Census, Aurora 

Katie married Hugh McNally in 1882 and had six children with him, adding the McNally surname to Dad’s list of potential DNA matches. Clara married Ole Arneson in 1908, but the couple seemingly had no children.  Sadly however, there are no likely Clinch or McNally matches appearing among our DNA cousins, just yet.

If you descend from Martin Clinch (c. 1816-1871) of Aurora, I would love to hear from you! blackraven.genealogy(at)gmail(dot)com.

Continued from The Clynch Connection.

[1] Aurora Daily Express, 17 January 1890, 18 January 1890.

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Clynch Connection

The goal this week was to ascertain who, if anyone, my Dad’s great-granduncle, Andrew Byrne, followed to Aurora, Illinois, when he left Ireland for America around 1887. Immigrants often sought out the support of relatives who had already established themselves.

My objective was twofold. First, if an earlier generation of Andrew’s family was found, I wanted to check and see if their descendants were listed among Dad’s DNA matches. Secondly, any information gleaned about Andrew’s aunts and uncles might help reveal the identity of his grandparents - my fourth great-grandparents - whose names remain unknown.

And, I believe I now know who Andrew Byrne followed to Aurora, if indeed he spent time there. It’s a probable family connection I’ve pondered before.

The early emigrants
On 12 May 1854, before Andrew Byrne was even born, the Ticonderoga docked in New York having sailed from Liverpool, England. Its passengers included Edward Clynch, aged 33 years; Martin Clynch, aged 35; Catherine Clynch, aged 25; Mary Clynch, aged 30; and an infant Mary Clynch. They were accompanied by Rose Darcy and Ellen Keally, both 26 years old.  I recognise all these names from Andrew’s birthplace in Athgarvan, Co. Kildare. Andrew’s mother was a Clynch from Athgarvan!

Passenger list from the Ticonderoga, arriving in New York, 12 May 1854

Martin and Edward soon made their way to Aurora, Illinois, where their surname morphed permanently to Clinch. The both claimed U.S. citizenship at Aurora courthouse on the same day in 1860 and in the census that year, Martin was found living in Aurora with his wife Catherine, daughter Mariah (aka Mary), born in Ireland, and an infant son Edward, born in Illinois.

Why do I recognise these emigrants?
Andrew Byrne was the youngest son of Andrew Byrne and Anne Clynch, my third great-grandparents. Edward Clynch was Godfather to Andrew and Anne’s son Thomas Byrne, baptised in August 1838. Mary Clynch was Godmother to their first son Andrew in November 1843. Ellen Kealy was Godmother to their son Edward in November 1850 and Rose Darcy was Godmother to their daughter Anne in May 1853.

Plus, Martin Clynch of Athgarvan married Catherine Fox in the parish church in Newbridge, on 28 August 1853. Their daughter Maria was baptised on 22 January 1854, just a few months before they all up and left the country. Maria’s Godfather was John Byrne, possibly Andrew’s elder brother and my great-great-grandfather John, born in 1841. And, subsequent records for Catherine in Aurora confirm her maiden name was Fox.

Does this help identify my fourth great-grandparents?
Athgarvan was a tiny village back then, and the Clynch surname was relatively rare in Ireland, so there’s little doubt my Anne Clynch was related to this Clynch family. And, although her son Andrew wasn’t born until March 1855, after the emigrants had all departed, and despite not having any 'proof' he contacted them in Aurora, Andrew surely followed in their footsteps.

I’m thinking the three passengers, Martin, Edward and Mary, and possibly my third great-grandmother Anne, were the children of Patrick Clynch and Catherine Murphy. No other Clynch family has been found in the village around the time. Their daughter Mary was baptised in February 1825. She would have been in her thirtieth year when the Ticonderoga crossed the Atlantic.

Regrettably, there is a gap in the Newbridge parish registers between 1795 and 1819, around the same time Martin, Edward and Anne were likely baptised. So, it may not be possible to ever link them directly to Patrick and Catherine.

Still, when Griffith published his Valuation in 1853, Patrick Clynch and Anne’s husband, Andrew Byrne senior, were near-neighbours at Athgarvan Cross. And, a few years later, possibly in the immediate aftermath of Patrick’s death, Andrew Byrne senior took over the lease on Patrick’s cottage and garden. 

I mentioned this last year in my post entitled ‘Succession Rights’. It suggests a close familial relationship, although it also suggests traditional inheritance practices were disregarded - ‘the land’ passed out of the Clynch family name. Perhaps this occurred because the rest of the family had already emigrated, or maybe it’s what prompted them all to leave.

Excerpt Griffith’s Valuation, Athgarvan, 1853

But, I have some niggling doubts regarding Anne's precise relationship to Patrick and Catherine. In 1833, Andrew and Anne married in the neighbouring parish of Suncroft, not in Newbridge, and marriages traditionally took place in the bride’s parish. Also, while their eldest daughter was called Catherine, in line with traditional naming patterns, Andrew and Anne did not name a son, Patrick.

So, there’s still much to do to prove Patrick and Catherine (Murphy) Clynch were Anne’s parents. Patrick may have been her elder brother, or perhaps even her uncle or cousin.

Granda’s proposed path to Patrick and Catherine Clynch

Sources consulted: 1854 Passenger List; Edward and Martin Clinch, Naturalization Index; Martin Clinch houseshold, 1860 census; Newbridge, Catholic Parish Registers; Griffiths Valuation, Blackrath and Athgarvan

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Update on Andrew (Byrne) Burn’s descendants in Chicago

Before my holidays, I admitted not being able to locate Anne Mary Byrne, my first cousin three times removed, who was born in Dublin city in September 1886, and ‘went missing’ in Chicago. I’d hoped to identify her descendants to see if any of them were listed among Dad’s DNA matches.

She’d last been located as a fourteen-year-old, in 1900, living with her parent’s, Andrew and Annie Burns, at 3402 (all other records suggest they lived at number 3400) Irving Avenue, Chicago.

Now, I’ve found her.

In fairness, she hadn’t moved. Ten years later, she still lived with her widowed mother in the family home, at 3400 Irving Avenue. Admittedly, Anne Mary was easy to miss. Whereas, in 1900, she had been listed as Annie Burns, born in Ireland in September 1886 - by 1910, she had married and was going by the name Mary Coughlin, born in Illinois about 1888. Still, there’s little doubt this was the same woman.

For some reason, I didn’t spot her mother in the 1910 census either. Then, while reading Marian’s ‘Tuesday’s Tips’ at Climbing My Family Tree, I found a new-to-me website – One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse. I entered Annie’s details in the census search engine and she showed up in the results, bringing her daughter with her. Granted, Annie Burns had knocked seven years off her age since the 1900 census, possibly explaining the difficulties tracing her.  

Burns Household, 1910 Census, Chicago 

Mary Coughlin, who during her lifetime was also known as Anna, May and Anna May, married James Ellsworth Coughlin. The couple went on to have at least eight children in Chicago.  When their daughters later married, they added the surnames Gough, Alston, Eble and Blake to my list of Coughlin cousins. Any one of them may one day turn up among our DNA matches, though it seems that day has not yet arrived.

Interestingly, the birth records for some of James and Mary’s children claim Mary was born in Aurora, another city in Illinois. This is clearly incorrect. Irish birth and baptism records place her birth firmly in Dublin city. But, she was taken to America within the first few months of her life. Perhaps, she desperately wished to be 'more American' and her earliest memories were of Aurora?

Birth of Marguerite Coughlin, 1926, Chicago

In 1892, as soon as ‘Andrew Byrnes’ was granted citizenship of the United States, he registered to vote. This was probably Mary’s father, my great-great-granduncle. And, although other records confirm he didn’t go to America until 1887, the voting register says he’d lived in Illinois for seven years, and moved to Cook County four years previously. So where did he live when he first arrived in Illinois?  Aurora, in Kane County, perhaps.

Andrew Byrnes in the Voter Register, Chicago, 1892*

When people emigrate, they often go where they’ll have support, i.e. where their older siblings, or their aunts and uncles, have already set up home. So, while I found no record of any earlier generations of my family in Chicago, maybe that’s because my great-great-granduncle initially followed his family to Aurora.  

And, that’s where I’m going to look next. 

Chicago, Illinois, Voter Registration, 1892, accessed by subscription at (click on image to enlarge).

© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 22 April 2017

On Holidays…

In case you wondered at my recent absence from the blogosphere, for the past couple of weeks, instead of hunting dead people and telling their stories, I’ve been away on holidays. And not in a part of the world where my ancestors likely visited much either, but in Jordan, a spectacular Arab kingdom in Western Asia. 

That’s not to say none of my progenitors ever visited the region. Chances are some did. Remember Isha, my ‘clan mother’ – well, 21,000 years ago, give or take, research suggests she probably lived in the Near East. So, perhaps I did walk in the footsteps of my (distant) forefathers. 

Here’s a taste of where I’ve been:

Discovering the lost city of Petra (Jordan)

Horse-riding through the Wadi Rum desert, for six days

Sight-seeing in Amman and floating in the Dead Sea

What an amazing trip! 

And, next week, hopefully, I’ll be back on the trail of my ancestors…

© Black Raven Genealogy