Sunday, 18 February 2018

DNA Diary: The Jacksons

Happily, I’ve now identified two more lovely cousins among my top-ten DNA matches at Mary and Tom are brother and sister and a match on my mother’s side.

They are my third cousins once removed.[1] Luckily, they both had a small family tree online, and although it only contained the names of their parents and grandparents, their relationship was immediately clear. Their paternal grandparents were Thomas Jackson and Mary Josephine Flynn, from Dublin city, and the ‘Jackson’ surname had cropped up in my research previously. 

Last summer, during my quest to identify all the grandchildren of Miles McGrane and Margaret Doyle, I discovered their daughter Maryanne McGrane married Benjamin Jackson, in Dublin, in 1883. Mary Anne was the younger sister of my great-great-grandmother, Margaret (McGrane) Byrne.

Benjamin and Mary Anne had thirteen known children, seven girls and six boys, all first cousins of my mother’s grandfather, James Byrne. So far, I’ve only followed the fortunes of the three eldest boys - Thomas, Benjamin and Miles Jackson. 

Miles Jackson was born at 63 Belview Buildings, Dublin, on 3 January 1892. He was only five years old when he died on 14 March 1897. He suffered from asphyxia, having bourn a bad bout of laryngitis for six days. Even though he received medical attention, without modern-day antibiotics, they were unable to save his young life.

Benjamin Jackson was born at 63 Belview Buildings on 30 October 1890. Sometime after he left school, he got a job as a liftman with Jacob’s Biscuit factory, one of the largest employers in Dublin. He never married. Unfortunately, Benjamin died in a horrendous accident at work, when he was only twenty-one years old. On 20 February 1912, he fell three stories, about fifty feet, to the bottom of the lift shaft at Jacob’s factory and died of shock, having fractured his pelvis in four places. The inquest into his death was reported in the newspapers.

Benjamin Jackson, Accidental death, 1912, Jacob's Biscuit factory, Dublin,
Irish Times, 23 February 1912, p. 3

How sad was that!

Thomas Jackson, Benjamin and Mary Anne’s eldest son, was born in Meath Street, Dublin, on 21 August 1885. Like for his brothers, Mary Anne signed the birth register with her mark, indicating she could not write.

When Thomas was fourteen years old he got a job as a labourer in the cooperage department of St James’s Gate Brewery, a.k.a. the Guinness Brewery. In time, he became the foreman there.

He married Mary Josephine Flynn on 10 October 1910, in St Catherine’s Church, Meath Street. They had five children together. Mary Josephine died in Dublin on 24 December 1937, and Thomas on 1 February 1953. My new DNA matches, Mary and Tom, are their grandchildren.

Relationship with the Jackson cousins

[1] One sharing 48 centimorgans across 3 DNA segments, and one sharing 42 centimorgans, across 3 DNA segments, falling within the range of third to fourth cousins on

Sources include: Copy birth, marriage and death registers, General Register Office, accessed on Irishgenalogy.ieThomas Jackson (1885-1953), Genealogy, Archives, Guinness Storehouse

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. How fortunate that your new-found cousins provided a brief tree for comparison. One of my pet peeves is the absence of a tree in my list of matches.

    1. Yes, it's disappointing not to find a tree, though I'll forgive them that if they answer my messages ;-)

    2. Awful tragedy. Workplaces could be so dangerous before modern safety rules.

  2. I've been surprised how often I can figure out my match if they only put their name and their parents! Also, I'm amazed at how much you have found on this family. I bet/hope your 'new' cousins appreciate your work!

  3. Thanks Dana, sadly, I can rarely figure out a match - our documented roots are still a tad too shallow. But, hopefully that will change in time.


I look forward to reading your comments, even more especially if you're related to someone mentioned in this post.

Comments are visible publicly. You may also contact me privately by email - blackraven.genealogy [at] gmail [dot] com.