Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Making the Most of DNA Testing

Lately, I've been focused on really delving into my DNA results. Perhaps it started with Randy Seaver's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" post on Genea-Musings about autosomal DNA matches.

When I composed my post that day, I realized I wasn't maximizing my opportunities to use Family Tree DNA to my advantage. First task? Fill out my family tree.

I know when I look at potential matches, the first thing I check for (besides their name and the proximity of the match) is whether or not they have a family tree. If they do, I click it and see if there are any names I recognize. This is such a great tool we can use as a jumping-off point to learn more about how we might connect with our matches, so I filled mine out to make it easier for others to do the same.

Since my DNA tests are both the mtDNA and autosomal, it's the autosomal matches that will probably give me the most bang for my buck.

I also confirmed people I know who are absolutely my relatives, which is a grand total of one. One of my maternal uncles had his DNA tested with Family Tree DNA and, of course, our mtDNA results are the exact same since his mother is my mother's mother.

Initially with my Family Finder (autosomal) DNA test, I was going through and pinpointing those matches who mentioned the name "Murphy" or "Nova Scotia," and contacting them since Emma Anna Murphy remains my biggest mystery ancestor.

However, I've decided this is the wrong way to go about contacting matches. I should be contacting ALL of them, one at a time, to initiate a conversation and see if we can find a common ancestor, so I can confirm the relationship. My strategy there is to start with the "closest" Family Finder matches and work my way down. Of course, not everyone responds to an email from a stranger regarding genealogy.

I will use the ability to make notes next to a match to keep track of people I've contacted and see if I hear from anyone. It should be interesting!

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Black Sheep Sunday: Edward Callahan of Galena, IL

The first time we meet Edward Callahan in America is when he purchases land in Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois in September of 1845. The following year, he weds Mary Riley in Galena on 23 May 1846.

Edward, four of his brothers, and his sister all came to Illinois. The brothers lived out their lives in Illinois, the sister spent the rest of her life in Nebraska, but it was Edward - my husband's third great-grandfather - who had the most tumultuous life.

The Callaghan or Callahan family of County Fermanagh was part of the mass emigration away from Ireland when the potato famine hit. Six of the children of Thomas Callaghan of Annagulgan came to the U.S. Five settled in well. Edward seemed to also have everything going for himself - property, a wife and children - until 1859.

On August 31, 1859, Edward's wife Mary died at the age of 35 in her home. What happened?

It wasn't the usual culprit - disease or difficulty in childbirth. The report was that her husband had possibly beaten her while he was drunk, even perhaps struck her over the head with a leaf from a black walnut table. Mary remained "insensible" throughout the night, and died early the next morning.

Although the newspaper reports throughout early September 1859 show that Edward was arrested, jailed, and then released when the sheriff could not find evidence of violence against Mary, Edward decided not to stay in Galena. In November of 1860, he went to the courthouse with two of his brothers, whom he appointed his power of attorney.

The next record of Edward is in 1863, when the The Galena Gazette reports that Edward returned from Pikes Peak and got into a scuffle in town. He was injured by a gunshot from the sheriff and arrested with two of his brothers. The three brothers went to court the following month and paid fines for the disturbance. It's possible Edward was chasing the gold rush in Colorado - we don't really know.

After 1863, however, he left Galena again for good.

What became of Edward Callahan of Annagulgan, Roslea, County Fermanagh and Galena, Illinois? We don't know.

My husband's 1st cousin, once removed, has researched the family extensively and was kind enough to share many family documents with me beyond what can be found online. It's possible Edward simply disappeared and we just don't know what became of him. Another possibility is he returned to Ireland, as there is a record of an Edward Callahan who married back in "our" Edward's hometown to Catherine McCaffrey in 1867. That Edward went on to Australia and had two daughters, both of whom ended up in Massachusetts.

How can we connect our Edward with the one who emigrated to Australia? Because of an 1899 of Edward's brother, James, which lists his siblings, nieces and nephews. The will lists not just the five children Edward and Mary had in Galena, but two additional daughters of the same name as the Edward who married in Roselea in 1867.

The first is Susan Callahan, whose marriage in Hanover, Plymouth County, Massachusetts to Bernard Degan lists her as a daughter of Edward Callahan and Catherine McCaffrey. It verifies she was born in Australia. They lived in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

The second is Catherine Callahan, sometimes Kathleen, Callahan, who did not marry, but did have a child named Grace Theresa Callahan, who married Oscar Tipping.

Finally, there is an Edward Callahan who died in 1895 in Errasallagh, in County Fermanagh near Roslea.

The return to Ireland is still conjecture and we may never know what became of Edward, but it's interesting and a little sad to look back at his life. Edward's five children, two of them very young (one a newborn!), lost their mother and then their father left them not long after that. It's a good thing Edward had a "village" to raise his children, thanks to his brothers.

That Irish temper really got the best of Edward, it seems!

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: James Cassidy

I don't think I've posted much about my Cassidy ancestry, so here we go!

My great-great grandparents, Hiram Frederick Haley (1870-1952) and Rosanna Cassidy (1870-1940) helped raise my grandfather/their grandson, Hebert Benjamin Haley, Jr. (1926-2014).

Grandpa Haley had many good things to say about his grandma "Rose" and I became very intrigued by the Cassidy family's origins. Rosanna was born 3 June 1870 in Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts to James Cassidy and Mary Ann Livingston.

I don't know much about James and Mary Ann, even after twenty years of research. Mary Ann was born about 1844 in Ireland. According to her death certificate, her father's name was George Livingston. Her mother's name could be Nancy or Mary, and the maiden name could be Bell or Cassidy.

Mary Ann married James Cassidy on 4 May 1869 in North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

I know slightly more about James and have been able to put together a leafier family tree on him.

James was born about 1839 in Ireland to John Cassidy and Rose Brady. I've identified at least 2 of his siblings, both of whom also came to Brockton, married, and had children. James and Mary Ann had 4 children of whom I am aware.

Mary Ann (Livingston) Cassidy died in Brockton on 11 June 1886 and is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery there.

James lived another 15 years before he died at the age of about 62. The obituary itself is a very short blurb about the funeral and his pallbearers - Patrick Riley, James Brady, Patrick Brady, and James McEntee - and the interment at St. Patrick's Cemetery.

But prior to that there were two articles in the Brockton Daily Enterprise and The Brockton Times on Tuesday, July 23, 1901.

Please note, The Brockton Times article is slightly graphic as to the injuries suffered by my great-great-great grandfather:

James Cassidy's obituary: "Stepped to Death" in Brockton, Massachusetts

I'll never forget when I read these articles on microfilm at the Brockton Public Library several years ago. At the time, I was simply following up on the death certificate I had, which gave the cause of death as "Compound fracture of the skull."

This is probably one of my most surprising finds on my family to date.

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Autosomal DNA Matches Do You Have?

Once again, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings brings us Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Autosomal DNA Matches Do You Have? Visit his blog for the original post.

1) Have you had your autosomal DNA tested by a genetics company? Which companies?

2) How many autosomal DNA matches do you have at each company, by approximate relationship?

3) Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment to the original post, or on Facebook or Google+.

So, my answers are:

1) I've had an autosomal DNA test done through Family Tree DNA.

2) My matches break down as follows:

20 2nd to 4th cousins
104 3rd to 5th cousins
188 4th to Remote cousins

I've never really gotten anywhere with my Family Finder test, which disappoints me. One match was of major interest to me, because her ancestral surnames mention Nova Scotia, so I hoped maybe, just maybe, I'd found a cousin through my elusive great-great grandma Emma Murphy. Furthermore, we have an X-match, which I don't quite understand.

It would be so neat if I could connect with one of my Family Finder matches and work together to find the common link!

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan

Surname Saturday: WOOD of Beverly, MA & Blue Hill, ME

Growing up, I often heard from my dad that our family had "founded" Blue Hill, Maine. I really didn't know what he meant, but I grew up with the knowledge that Wood was pretty much from Blue Hill. When I researched my ancestry, however, I learned much more about the origins of the family in America and how they ended up in Blue Hill, Maine.

Israel Wood is my 7th great-grandfather. If I were a male, instead of female, I would have Wood Y-DNA.

Born perhaps December 1677 in Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts, Israel married Edith Dodge on 9 March 1708/9 in Beverly. It is possible Israel is the son of Anthony Wood and Mary Grover, who were married 11 June 1666 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts. However, I have yet to find proof of Israel's parentage.

Israel died 18 October 1743 in Beverly and is buried in the Ancient Burying Ground there.

Of his many children, it was Joseph Wood, born 15 February 1719/20 in Beverly who settled Blue Hill. After marrying Ruth Haskell on 11 January 1740/41 in Beverly, Joseph Wood and another man - John Roundy of Andover, Massachusetts - went to Blue Hill, Hancock County, Maine.

The area was actually first known as North Andover, then as New Port. It was 1789 that the town charter established its name as Blue Hill.

Joseph Wood died 20 June 1813. A tablet commemorating him and his wife says:

Here lie Joseph Wood and his wife Ruth Haskell.
He landed near tide mill island April 7, 1762 and
was one of the two men who founded the town of
Blue Hill, Born Feb. 26, 1720, Died June 20,1813.
This tablet was placed here by Mr. Wood's great great
grand daughter Effie Ober Kline.

My Wood ancestry goes:

Generation 1: Israel Wood, born December 1677, died 18 October 1743, both in Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts. Married Edith Dodge on 9 March 1708/9.

Generation 2: Joseph Wood, born 15 February 1719/20 and married Ruth Haskell on 11 January 1740/41, both in Beverly. Died 20 June 1813 in Blue Hill, Hancock County, Maine.

Generation 3: Joseph Wood, born 27 December 1750 in Beverly. Married Eleanor Carter on 11 September 1776 in Blue Hill, Maine. Died 18 Dec 1811 in Blue Hill, Maine.

Generation 4: Andrew Wood, born 20 February 1786, married Hannah Ober 4 June 1805, and died 15 November 1850, all in Blue Hill, Maine.

Generation 5: Benjamin Stone (or Stover) Wood, born 24 Jan 1826 in Blue Hill. He married Susanna Whitmore about 1845 in Oceanville or Deer Island, Hancock County, Maine. He died 30 April 1881 in Sedgwick, Hancock County, Maine.

Lemuel Augustus Wood, 1845-1925
Generation 6: Lemuel Augustus Wood, born 1 November 1845 in Blue Hill. He married Georgianna Winsor (of the Duxbury, Massachusetts Winsor families) on 2 September 1884 in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He died 20 June 1925 in Plympton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Generation 7: Lewis Preston Wood, born 15 February 1892 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was the only child of the marriage. He married Ruth Evelyn Wood (not of any relation; her father was from Manchester, England) on 6 June 1917 in Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island. Great-grandpa died 17 March 1981 in Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Generation 8: My grandfather

Generation 9: My dad

Generation 10: Me - one of two daughters or, as some of our friends from school still know us, "the Wood sisters."

Copyright (c) 2016 Wendy L. Callahan