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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…

The stranger in the grave

Glasnevin cemetery claims to have 2 million people buried within its walls, and a substantial portion of my Dublin ancestors are there. I got the full details of a grave for a family of Longs, who were related to my great-grandmother, Mary Agnes Long. John Long, a butcher, his wife, Mary Teresa Long née Waters and…

DNA helps solve a family mystery

My ancestor Thomas Henry Guerins had a younger brother called Joseph Francis. Here is the family on the 1911 census in Limerick city. He disappeared at some stage in the late 1910s and was never seen again. Using a combination of traditional genealogical research methods and DNA testing, I’m thrilled to say that I found…

Ancestors in surprising places

I’ve written extensively about my MP ancestor, Michael Joyce before but I had never identified his parents’ marriage. Richard Joyce and Bridget Tubbs‘ oldest recorded child was born in 1847, so there was a likely marriage date of 1-2 years before that but nothing showed up in the various Limerick city church registers. There was…