Saturday, 16 September 2017

Checking for a ‘Wynne’ connection in Dublin #3

Mam and her new DNA match, Cousin B, share 37 centimorgans of DNA, across two segments. It’s a small match, putting them in the third to fifth cousin range. Cousin B’s great-grandfather, Henry Wynne, was born in Dublin city, about 1825. Henry also had three brothers – Richard, Edward and John. IF Mam and Cousin B are related via their Wynne lines, and IF they are fifth cousins, then, Henry and his brothers were my great-great-grandfather’s second cousins.

Of the four brothers, only Edward Wynne remained in Dublin - the others all eventually found their way to Australia. So, any evidence of an ongoing relationship between our two families would most likely to be found in the records relating to Edward.

Depicting the estimate fifth cousin relationship

Edward Wynne was born about 1835, he wasn’t sure exactly when, given the spread in his age reported over his lifetime. He married Anne Mills, in St Peter's (Church of Ireland) parish, in Dublin city, on 29 November 1858. Like his father John, Edward was a slater by trade, unlike our John Wynne who worked as a shop assistant. The witnesses to Edward and Anne’s marriage were Mary Nolan and Anne Mooney, of no known relationship, to either of our families.

Edward and Anne had four children - John Edward in 1859, Henry in 1861, Bridget in 1863 and Richard Edward in 1866. Their respective Godmothers - Mary Nolan, Susanna Shaw, Margarita Horlahan and Sara Thompson - are of no known significance to our search, and were likely on Anne Mills’ side, given the children were baptised in the Roman Catholic faith. Sadly, the two eldest children did not survive.[1]

William Malone, a ‘missionary’ employed by the Presbyterian church in Ormond Quay, kept a record of his visits to Protestant households in Dublin city, giving us an insight into Edward’s life, in 1875.  Malone wrote: 
“Wynne, 89 Capel Street, Epis[copalian]. Spoke to him about his intemperate habits and told him of his danger, to which he listened attentively. Prayed with him and his two children. Wife not present, being a Roman Catholic. These two children, Richard and Bridget, are to be sent to Dominick St. Sab. School.”[2] 

Edward’s ‘intemperate habits’ likely contributed to his frequent stays in the workhouse. His admittance was recorded in 1865, with further visits in the 1870s and 1880s, and more frequent visits in 1895, 1896, and 1897, until his death there, in May 1897.[3] Yet, unlike many who died in the workhouse, he was not abandoned to a pauper’s grave, but was buried in a family plot, with a headstone, at Glasnevin Cemetery.[4]

Despite his illness, Edward rarely ran afoul of the law. Once, in 1883, he was sentenced to spend twenty-four hours in the Richmond Penitentiary, for drunkenness. The prison register contains Edward’s physical description. He was only four feet, ten and a half inches - short, even by Dublin standards. He had dark hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion, not unlike many in our Wynne family.[5]

But, regrettably, that was the only ‘connection’ found. 


[1] Church marriage and baptism registers, IrishGenealogy.ie.
[2] Dublin Presbyterian Colporteur’s Notebook, 1875’, available to members of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.
[3] Admittance register, North Dublin Union Workhouse, accessed on ($)FindmyPast.
[4] Burial register, Glasnevin Cemetery, Glasnevin Trust.
[5] Prison register, Richmond Penitentiary, accessed on ($)FindmyPast.

See start of series about this DNA match, here

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 9 September 2017

DNA Diary: Is it a Wynne match? #2

shared surname and place of origin makes for a great start, with any new DNA match. But, it could be a coincidence. That was my concern when commencing the investigation into our match with ‘Cousin B’, from Australia.  We both share Wynne as an ancestral surname and we both trace their origins back to Dublin city, in the 1820s. But, that does not ‘prove’ we’re related through our Wynne lines. 

Fortunately, several known descendants of my great-great-grandfather, John Wynne, have already taken a DNA test. There is Mam and her brother Colm, from Dublin, their first cousin Larry, born in the U.K., as well as their 2C1R (second cousins once removed), Phyllis and her sister G, from America. Cousin B confirmed her 2C and her 3C1R, both from Australia, have tested too.

I'm no scientist, but my understanding is, if we can identify a specific segment of DNA, common in both my extended Wynne family and in Cousin B’s, we must have inherited that segment from the same ancestor. We still might not ever find out their name, but we’d know for sure they were related, somehow, to John Wynne, or maybe to his wife, Bridget Hynes.

Unfortunately, we all used different DNA testing companies, making it difficult to see who matches who. Then Larry and Cousin B agreed to join GEDmatch, a free DNA database, where we confirmed they match each other. They both share a segment of DNA with my mother, thus eliminating all Mam’s maternal ancestors from this equation, and enabling us concentrate solely on her paternal line. 

Ideally, we need everyone else to join GEDmatch too. Nevertheless, the preliminary results do look promising.


Phyllis and I have been working together and identified numerous matches between our Wynne family and the Australian Wynnes:

a) Mam and Cousin B are said to be between third and fifth cousins;
b) Likewise, for Larry and Cousin B, although they share less DNA;
c) Phyllis and M are also estimated as being between third and fifth cousins;
d) Phyllis and L have a more distant match - between fifth and eight cousins;
e) Larry and L are related, being a 'shared match' of Phyllis and L, though the extent of their relationship is, as yet, not known. 

This is not exactly the 'proof' we were looking for. But, while we’re waiting for everyone to join GEDmatch, it’s encouraging to see the number of ‘coincidences’ mounting up.

It’s a good sign, right?

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 2 September 2017

DNA Diary: Seeking to demolish a brick wall

John WYNNE, my great-great-grandfather, claimed he was ninety-one years old in 1911, and said he was born in Dublin city. Yet, in the years since this record was first found, nothing has shed light on his origins. He is my longest standing genealogy brick wall. All leads have been painstakingly exhausted, more than once, and my guess is DNA is our only chance of making progress.  

So, I was delighted when my mother received a new DNA match, with a lady in Australia, whose pedigree chart says she descends from Henry WYNNE, born in Dublin city, about 1825. The amount of DNA they share signifies a relationship between third and fifth cousins. She is Mam’s closest match, when our known relatives are taken out of the equation.

DNA match, at GEDmatch

I may be chasing a bunny down a hole, as far as our Wynne brick wall is concerned–the relationship could be on another line entirely–nonetheless, I’m happy to see where this clue takes us.

It turns out Henry Wynne was convicted of larceny in Dublin, twice, once in 1843 for stealing tools and again in 1844, when he helped himself to somebody else’s ‘stone lead’.[1] After his second offence, Henry was transported, for seven years, to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), even though it meant leaving a wife of two months behind in Dublin.

Quite a lot can be gleaned about Henry from his ‘convict papers’.[2] In 1844, aged nineteen years, he was 5 feet, four and a half inches tall, of stout build, sandy hair and hazel eyes. The prison registers, on the other hand, say his eyes were grey. He worked as a slater. His father was John Wynne, and his brothers were John, Edward and Richard.  JOHN, like my great-great-grandfather! Except, Henry was Protestant.

And, when our John Wynne married Bridget Hynes, on 16 September 1849, the ceremony took place in St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, Meath Street. A mixed marriage, you might think, except at that time in Irish history, a marriage between a Protestant (practising or otherwise) and a Catholic was invalid in law, unless it was conducted by the Protestant clergy. John and Bridget would have known this. And, from 1845 onward, it was compulsory for all non-Catholic marriages to be registered with the civil authorities. John and Bridget’s wasn’t. So, we ‘know’ they were Catholic.

Consequently, it’s doubtful John was Henry’s brother. But, there are some unsubstantiated rumours our Wynne family was once Protestant. Plus, the DNA match suggests a more distant relationship. It’s possible John’s father, or grandfather, married a Catholic and brought the children up in the Catholic faith, while Henry’s line remained Protestant.

If the fourth cousin relationship is anyway accurate, we’re looking at our common ancestors being John and Henry’s grandparents. They were probably born about 1770, or so. That’s likely too early for documentary evidence to ever confirm the precise relationship, and the connection might go back even further. Still, if we can locate Henry’s origins, it just might provide a vital clue regarding where to look for John’s.

Continued at Is it a Wynne match? #2

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[1] Irish prison registers, 1790-1924, accessed on Findmypast. 
[2] Convict register, LINC Tasmania. 


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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The gardener, in the Phoenix Park

When I first started ‘doing’ genealogy, my mother mentioned her father had a cousin who worked as a gardener in the Phoenix Park, in Dublin. She didn’t know his name, and hitherto, I’ve been unable to identify him. Well, I love mysteries, so I kept looking, and now, I think I may have finally found him. He was Robert Leo Lockwood, the husband of my grandfather’s first cousin, Mary Bridget Vaughan. Here is their story. 


Mary Bridget was born on 6 January 1880, in High Street, in Dublin city. She was the eldest of two children born to John Vaughan and Margaret Wynne. Margaret Wynne was my grandfather’s aunt, his father’s eldest sister. John and Margaret’s second child was born in March 1882 and they named him John Joseph. But, within a year, in January 1883, Margaret died of rheumatic fever, leaving her husband alone with the two young children.
  
John Vaughan remarried in August 1885. His second wife was Hannah McArdle, a farmer’s daughter from Co. Wicklow. They had one son, James Augustin Vaughan, born in August 1887. In those years, John Vaughan worked as a brush-maker in Dublin, but in later life, he joined Dublin Corporation, where he was employed as a sanitary officer. This may be in keeping with another of my mother’s recollections - that the Vaughans were rat-catchers in Dublin.

Mary Bridget Vaughan grew up and married a British soldier by the name of Robert Leo Lockwood. Robert was born in Liverpool, England. After their marriage in May 1906, the newly-weds moved to Ballincollig, Co. Cork, where Robert was stationed with the army. Their eldest daughter Margaret Mary was born in Ballincollig, in August 1907, but sadly she didn’t survive. Robert was then transferred to Mhow, in Bengal, in India, where he worked as a farrier in the cavalry unit. Mary Bridget went with him and their second daughter, Nora Cathleen, was born in Mhow, in October 1909. 

Many years later, in 1937, Nora married Patrick Lawlor in Augrim Street Church, in Dublin city. Her home address at the time was given as the ‘Spa Lodge’, in the Phoenix Park. She had no occupation and by then, her father had left the army and was employed as a ‘park ranger’.

From the copy marriage register of Patrick Lawlor and Nora Lockwood, 1937

So, was Robert Leo Lockwood the cousin, remembered as having worked as a gardener in the Phoenix Park? He certainly lived there, as a park ranger. Perhaps he was. 

Sources: Copy birth, marriage and death registers, General Register Office, Irishgenealogy.ie; 1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland, National Archives; 1911 Census of England and Wales, overseas military, Ancestry.com; ‘India Births and Baptisms, 1786-1947’, FamilySearch.

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Third great-grandparents, confirmed with DNA

Just last April, I mentioned the new approach I was taking to our genetic genealogy research. I started to trace forward the descendants of known ancestral relatives, hoping to discover the names of their children and grandchildren, such that they might become more recognisable among our lists of DNA matches. 

Many of our matches, who for the most part live in the U.S. or Australia, have not managed to trace their origins back to a specific place in Ireland, making it next to impossible to connect our family trees. So, I also hoped this new tactic might help bridge that gap too. 

Beginning with Andrew Byrne - my second great-granduncle, born in Athgarvan, Co. Kildare in 1855 - I followed him and his family to Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1880s. There, I located the marriage of his daughter, Anna Mae Byrne, to James Ellsworth Coughlin, in 1909, and then the marriage of their daughter, Luella Coughlin, in 1933. I wrote about the family here

Astonishingly, my new approach has worked already. I’m now in contact with a descendant of Andrew Byrne, in America. How’s that for instant success!

Last month, Anna Mae’s great-granddaughter found my blog about her family and got in touch. Happily, I could introduce her to the names of her third great-grandparents, in Ireland. And, identify where exactly they once lived. They were Andrew Byrne and Anne Clinch, from Athgarvan, in Co. Kildare, and my third great-grandparents too.


My new-found cousin mentioned she’d tested her DNA with several testing companies, bar the one we had used – Murphy’s law! But, I took the opportunity to upload Dad’s DNA results to MyHeritage, one of the companies she had tested with, to see if we matched. And, it was confirmed, our match was well within the expected parameters for third cousins, once removed.


Our lineage back to Andrew and Anne (Clinch) Byrne has been established once again, this time in blood. And, I’ve gained a new fourth cousin in the process. It doesn’t get better than that! 

Hopefully, that's just the start of our genetic genealogy success.

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Dad’s ethnicity – according to MyHeritage DNA


Dad is Irish, born and bred.  His ancestors were Irish too, at least as far back as I’ve managed to trace. Granted, I’ve not gone back far – barely into the eighteenth century on most lines, if even. But, his known surnames are mainly of Irish origin – Byrne, O’Neill, Mahon, Donovan, Leahy, McDonnell, Lynch, Clinch, Cavanagh, Flood, Coyle, Corcoran – okay, Clinch was definitely English, though well-known in Leinster since the early fourteenth century.

FamilyTree DNA, the company who tested Dad’s DNA, wholeheartedly concurred - 100% British Isles they said - no surprises there. They have not tried to break it down between Ireland and Britain, yet. 


But, according to MyHeritage DNA, where I’ve uploaded Dad’s test results, we’re a mixed bag from all over Europe – only 69% ‘Irish, Scottish, and Welsh’, 12% Scandinavian, 9% Italian, and 9% East European, with no ‘English’. Okay, I don’t know the maiden name of one of Dad’s maternal great-grandmothers yet, but 31% DNA is equivalent to at least two great-grandparents. I’m not saying there were no foreigners in Ireland then, Mam’s grandaunt Isabella married the son of a French tailor, in Dublin, in 1892, but Ireland was no melting pot. Not at that time. And, with 31% ‘exotic’, I just don’t believe it! 

  
So beware! If your ancestors left Europe in the last few centuries, and you genuinely have no clue where to start the search, these Ethnicity Estimates could lead you astray.

Still, for me, it was worth uploading our DNA results to MyHeritage. Dad has only 83 cousin matches there, and one of them happens to be my fourth cousin. I’ve proven it with conventional genealogy. More on that soon...

MyHeritage's DNA offering is relatively new, and to help grow their database, they are currently accepting DNA results from other companies, FOR FREE. If you’ve already tested your autosomal DNA elsewhere, you might want to consider it. 

And, if you're in the market for a DNA test, many of the testing companies have a sale on at the moment. For example, FTDNA are offering their Family Finder test for US$69. 
  
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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Myles McDonnell (1899-1918)

All in all, seven of Myles McGrane’s grandchildren were named after him. Last week, I introduced you to the youngest, Myles Joseph McGrane (1904-1977). The eldest, my great-granduncle Myles Byrne (1873–1928), has also featured, as well as Myles Vickers (1900-1970). This week it is the turn of Myles McDonnell (1899-1918). 

Myles McDonnell was born on 24 January 1899, the second son and fourth child of Catherine (Kate) McGrane and her husband Peter McDonnell. And, like so many of his extended McGrane-family, he was born in Lower Jane Place, off Oriel Street, in Dublin’s north inner city.  

Portrait of Myles McGrane (1899-1918), Royal Irish Regiment
Myles McDonnell (1899-1918),
sketched by his nephew, Thomas Turp

His parents married on the 18 May 1890, in the parish church of St Laurence O’Toole’s, and they had seven children; Michael in 1893, Annie in 1895, Margaret in 1897, Myles in 1899, Rosanna in 1901, Peter in 1903 and Anthony in 1905. They all survived childhood, bar Anthony, who died, aged only two weeks, on Christmas Day, 1905.

Myles lost his mother Kate when he was only thirteen years old. She caught influenza and died on 10 May 1912.  She was probably buried in the cemetery at St Margaret’s, in Co. Dublin, in the same grave as her husband Peter, who lived until 1941. Available records for the cemetery do not commence until 1936.

Like his elder brother Michael, Myles joined the British Army and fought in the first World War. He enlisted with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, serving in their 5th regiment and later joined the 7th Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment (also known as the South Irish Horse).  He died in action on 2 September 1918, just two months before the end of the war. Corporal Myles McDonnell was buried at Dranoutre Military Cemetery, in Belgium.

William Orpen, 1917, South Irish Horse. 
A Dubliner resting on his way to Arras Front,
© IWM (Art.IWM ART 3027)
Imperial War Museums
 
It is a little surprising to find McGrane relatives among the ranks of the British army. In 1916, not long before Myles signed up, his first cousin Frank McGrane had been arrested and charged with absenting himself from British military service. He then vigorously resisted conscription, in the Irish courts. Around the same time, his other first cousin, Myles McGrane, served in the Old IRA, actively fighting the British forces in Ireland. Yet another first cousin, Frank Teeling, also fought in the War of Independence. He was sentenced to death by hanging for his part in the killing of Lieutenant Angliss, a British spy, on Bloody Sunday, in 1920 and would have died had he not escaped from prison. The McGrane family’s strong nationalist views are obvious - I wonder what they thought when the McDonnell boys enlisted.  

One thing is sure, World War I was a double tragedy for the families of Irish soldiers who lost their lives. While they were away fighting to protect the small nations of Europe against 'German' invasion, the War of Independence was raging at home. It caused a deep-felt bitterness towards the British military in Ireland. So much so, families often mourned their loved-one’s passing in private - to do otherwise might invite open hostility. Irish society certainly did not recognise the war-dead as heroes and, although 200,000 Irishmen joined the army, and up to 50,000 lost their lives in the War, they were all but officially forgotten by the emerging Free State government. 

But, Myles McDonnell remained a hero in his family. He was especially remembered by his sister Margaret (McDonnell) Turp, who emigrated to England in the 1920s. Perhaps living in England made it easier to keep his memory alive. Margaret’s son Thomas sketched the picture of Myles shown above, probably from an old photograph taken shortly before he went to war. In it, I can see the resemblance to his first cousin Thomas McGrane and even to his cousin, Benjamin Byrne.

World War I medal awarded to Myles McGrane, Dublin (1899-1918)
Memorial Plaque
Myles McDonnell (1899-1918) 

Thomas Turp later named his son 'Myles', after his uncle, and this son now proudly holds Myles McDonnell's Memorial Plaque. The Memorial Plaque, popularly known as the 'Dead Man's Penny', was issued to the next-of-kin of all British soldiers who died in the War.

Sources: Copy birth, marriage and death registers, General Register Office, accessed Civil Records on IrishGenealogy.ie; Burial register for St Margaret’s cemetery, Buried in Fingal; Myles McDonnell in Ireland's Memorial Records 1914-1918, p. 357, accessed 'Ireland, casualties of World War I, 1914-1922', Ancestry.com; Myles McDonnell in Soldier's Wills 1914-1918, National Archives; M McDonnell in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

And, a special thanks to Myles Turp for sharing his family pictures with us.

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Myles Joseph McGrane (1904-1977)

My third great grandparents, Myles McGrane and Margaret Doyle, had at least twelve children, seven of whom survived childhood and got married. Six had children of their own and all six named a son in honour of their father:

  • Myles Byrne (1873-1928), first son of Francis Byrne and Margaret McGrane (my great-granduncle);
  • Myles McGrane (1888-1892), first son of Francis McGrane and his first wife Margaret Byrne;
  • Myles Joseph McGrane (1904-1977), first son of Francis McGrane and his second wife Mary Fay;
  • Myles O’Daly (1882-1968), second son of Richard Daly and Sarah Jane McGrane;
  • Myles Jackson (1892-1897), fourth son of Benjamin Jackson and Mary Anne McGrane;
  • Myles McDonnell (1899-1918), second son of Peter McDonnell and Catherine McGrane;
  • Myles Vickers (1900-1970), second son of James Vickers and Alice McGrane.

In a previous post, I shared photographs of Myles Byrne and his wife Elizabeth, as displayed on their Memorial Card. And, Myles Vickers’ bizarre involvement in a court case in Dublin has also been discussed. So today, I’d like to tell you a little about Myles Joseph McGrane, the son of Francis McGrane with his second wife Mary Fay.

According to the register of his birth, Myles Joseph was born at 25 Lower Jane Place, Dublin, on 26 February 1904. He grew up in a large family of five older half-siblings, Elizabeth, Francis, Maggie, Maryanne and Thomas and two younger brothers, James and Michael. 

Still a boy, Myles took part in the Irish War of Independence. Some years ago, the medals awarded to him, for his part in the struggle, came up for sale at an auction in Dublin, and a photograph of them appeared in an online catalogue.

Black and Tan Medal, Survivors Medal,
‘Irish Independence’ medals awarded to Myles Joseph McGrane

  • In 1941, Myles was awarded the Service Medal 1917-21’ (first on the left), better known as the ‘Black and Tan medal’ due to the colour of the ribbon. Myles’ medal featured the additional ‘Comrac’ bar, indicating that, despite his youth, Myles was an armed member of the Old-IRA. The ‘Comrac’ bar was only added to the medals of those who actively participated in armed service, during the War of Independence. 
  • In 1971, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the War of Independence, the Department of Defence issued the ‘Truce Commemorative Medal’. This became better known as the Survivors Medal as it was issued to surviving veterans of the War of Independence, who had already received the Black and Tan medal. 
  • Myles was also awarded the ‘Na Fianna Eireann Golden Jubilee Medal’ (far right in the photograph), which was issued in 1959, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of The Fianna. The Fianna was an Irish nationalist youth organisation.

After Independence was granted, when Myles was just eighteen years old, he became a sergeant in the Irish Free State Army, thus siding with Michael Collins on the Treaty side of the Irish civil war.

Myles McGrane, Irish Army Census, 1922, Gormanston, Co. Meath
(Click on image to enlarge) 

He attested at Gormanston in Co. Meath in September 1922. He was stationed there, with the Second Eastern Division, when the Irish Army census was taken that November. He still lived with his parents at the time, at their home in Upper Oriel St, Dublin, and he named his mother, Mrs Mary McGrane, as his next-of-kin.

After the civil war, when things quietened down in Dublin, Myles became a motor driver. On 26 September 1928, he married Ellen (Nellie) Fairclough, from Clonliffe Gardens, Dublin and they raised their family at Ellenfield Road in Whitehall. Sadly, Myles and Nellie lost a seven-year-old son, Gerrard, to measles in June 1942.

Myles died, aged seventy-four years, on 28 June 1977. His wife died ten years later, on 26 February 1987. The couple share a grave at St Fintan’s Cemetery, in Sutton, Co. Dublin.

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© Black Raven Genealogy

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Traditional Irish Naming Customs – a McGrane Case Study

Irish Naming Patterns

Families across Ireland often adhered to a specific naming convention when it came to choosing names for their children. These naming practices endured from at least the end of the eighteenth century until well into the twentieth century, and are often used by genealogists today, when searching for their ancestors' unknown lineages. In fact, traditional Irish naming customs are sometimes considered the place to start, especially if there’s little to go on.

Traditional Irish Naming Customs
First son named after his paternal grandfather
Second son named after his maternal grandfather
Third son named after his father
Fourth son named after his father's eldest brother
Fifth son named after his mother’s eldest brother

First daughter named after her maternal grandmother
Second daughter named after her paternal grandmother
Third daughter named after her mother
Fourth daughter named after her mother's eldest sister
Fifth daughter named after her father’s eldest sister

So, taking my McGrane family as an example, I thought I’d check out just how effective this tool may be.

My great-great-grandfather, Myles McGrane, was born in November 1830 and his wife, Margaret Doyle, in January 1831. Both were reared in Dublin city. They got married in the Church of Saints Michael and John in Dublin on 26 January 1851. Myles and Margaret lived smack bang at a time when our traditional naming practices were supposedly most prevalent, so they should make for an interesting case study.

Their parents’ and many of their siblings’ names are reasonably well documented (by standards for the time and place), so we can easily evaluate the results.

The twelve known children of Myles McGrane and Margaret Doyle were:

Child’s name
Date of baptism
Date of death
Margaret McGrane
Dec 1851
9 Dec 1930
John Laurence McGrane
Aug 1853
15 Mar 1854
Patrick McGrane
Feb 1855
21 Mar 1855
Francis Joseph McGrane
Apr 1856
18 Feb 1931
Catherine McGrane
Oct 1858
14 Jan 1860
Sarah Jane McGrane
Aug 1861
5 Jun 1927
Mary Anne McGrane
Jul 1863
2 Nov 1937
Catherine McGrane
Jul 1865
10 May 1912
Michael McGrane
Apr 1868
23 Dec 1929
Alice McGrane
Mar 1871
14 Feb 1927
Rosanna McGrane
Feb 1873
16 May 1879
Elizabeth McGrane
Jul 1878
21 Aug 1881

By applying the Irish naming pattern to the choice of children’s names, we would conclude Myles’ parents were John and Catherine, while Margaret’s were Patrick and Margaret.  We’d have been mostly wrong, except that Myles’ father was John. But, we would have received some very useful clues - the order of the grandmothers’ names was merely switched. It’s only Margaret's father who was completely overlooked.

My third great-grandparents were in fact John and Margaret McGrane, and Paul and Catherine Doyle.

No surviving child was named after Paul, or after Myles himself. Yes, there are some small gaps in the birth order, making it a tad feasible the names Paul and/or Myles were given to an infant that was born sickly, baptised at home, and whose name never made it into the baptism register. But, the especially important family names were usually repeated if the first child died – e.g. Catherine - and these names were not.

So, perhaps Paul Doyle was an unlikeable character, who they all wished they could forget. We don’t know much about him. He was a weaver or a dyer by trade. He died in January 1872, stated age seventy-two years, having suffered an accident of some sort. He survived the accident by eleven weeks, but did not receive any medical attention. 

It’s also possible Myles and Margaret just did not like either of these two names. Neither of them were particularly popular in Dublin then.

Margaret’s two brothers were John and Patrick, her sisters were Sarah Anne, Catherine, Mary and Ellen. Myles’ surviving brothers were Francis and Michael and he also had a sister called Alice. It’s easy to see these names being featured prominently among Myles and Margaret’s own children. I’m not sure where the names Rosanna and Elizabeth came from, possibly they were simply fashionable at the time.

So, while the traditional Irish naming customs were not followed exactly in the order specified, the names of most of the children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles are manifestly obvious. Naming practices therefore do provide important clues regarding what to look out for. 

And, during the search for ancestors, if you are lucky enough to identify more than one potential family, naming patterns will likely come in handy, when narrowing down the options, at least initially.

But, BEWARE, they are not sufficient to provide conclusive evidence as to any individual ancestor’s actual name.

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© Black Raven Genealogy