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Family size

Inspired by my friend Dara’s similar post, I thought I’d take a look at family size in some generations of my family. I’ve gone for 3 generations, as before that, I can’t be certain I know all the siblings in each family. I also took a look at the infant mortality. In my parents’ generation,…

The Rotunda Strikes Again!

This is my great-grandfather, Peter Reilly. He died when my grandmother was just a young girl and we didn’t know much about him. She always said he came from Cork but on the 1911 Census, his birth place said Dublin. Reilly is a very common surname* and I hadn’t any luck finding a birth cert…

Lopsided Matches?

If, like me, you’ve embraced genetic genealogy as a valid way to advance your family tree, then you may have found that one side of your tree has yielded a lot more matches than the other. This is certainly true for my maternal lines versus my paternal lines. In this post, I take a look…

The Importance of Reviewing your own Research

I’d been aware for some time that the parents of my ancestor James Lawless (1857-1920) were called Thomas and Bridget but didn’t know much about them or her birth surname. When James married in 1876, the church just recorded his parents as Thomas and Bridget Lawless. By playing around with records* a few years ago,…

Playing around with DNA Painter

I’ve been playing around with DNA Painter, which is a nifty little tool to help triangulate DNA matches. You create a profile and then paste in the chromosome matches from FTDNA or Gedmatch (or any of the others, except Ancestry). The latter is still lacking a chromosome browser so unless you can persuade a match…

The proof is in the pudding

There’s been a lot of negative press recently about DNA testing and at least some of it is ill-informed. Personally, I don’t feel it’s any more “dangerous” than posting on Facebook or any other social media. The value for me far outweighs the risk. Just look at this family mystery I solved with the help…

William George Kent 1888-1915

William George Kent is, to the best of my knowledge, the only member of my extended family to die in World War I, though many others, closer to me, fought and lived. He was my first cousin three times removed, or to put it another way, he was my maternal great-grandfather, Frederick Walters’ first cousin.…

Remembering the RMS Leinster

The story of the sinking of the RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918 is one that always loomed large in my family because my great-great grandfather, Michael Joyce MP, was aboard when it happened. He survived the disaster but more than 550 people lost their lives. The figures are not exact because travel between Ireland…

Perseverance is worth it!

One of the common problems for the family historian exploring the new world of DNA testing is people not replying to your messages. I tested my great-aunt (now 92 & going strong) in the summer of 2015 with Family Tree DNA. As one of only two remaining in my grandparents’ generation, I thought it was…