Sunday, 26 March 2017

A DNA disappointment

Not all DNA discoveries are satisfying, I learned this week.

Several years ago, I found a tree on Ancestry that, as well as being Dougherty, had similar names to my Dougherty ancestors, and the added bonus? This Dougherty had originally settled in South Hero, Vermont in the 19th century.

South Hero is where my 2nd great grandfather Marcus Dougherty originally settled after arriving from Dungiven, Ireland. His brother James, who became a Congregationalist minister, also initially settled in South Hero, before moving on to the nearby villages of first Milton and then Johnson.

I should mention that yes, there were other Dougherty families in those areas of Vermont in the early to mid 19th century, and no, so far there is no DNA connection with any of them.

But, what were the chances that this Dougherty could not be a relation of mine? I mean really. I was seized with this idea for years. Literally.

For several years, the owner of that Ancestry tree and I messaged back and forth sporadically. Earlier this year, he announced that he was doing the AncestryDNA test. This was exciting news. His results came back this week, and much to our shared dismay, we don't appear on each other's lists of DNA matches. Nor does he appear on my siblings' or cousin's DNA matches. At my suggestion, he uploaded his raw data to This is a site where people can post their raw DNA data from tests conducted by Ancestry, 23 And Me and Family Tree DNA, but it also gives a much more details breakdown of DNA, chromosome by chromosome. Yes, there really are that many genealogy geeks like me out there.

I compared our DNA on GEDMatch, and we share only a very small amount of DNA in one chromosome, not enough to consider us relatives on any level. Boom.

He's now trying to figure out his next steps in his hunt for his ancestors. And me? As I say,

The never ending story continues.....

© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2017 All rights reserved

Immigrant Ancestor -- Edmund Hobart (abt 1570-1646)

Another 10th great grandfather of mine was Edmund Hobart, who arrived with his wife and several grown children (the number varies) in New England in 1633. His son, Rev Peter Hobart was a vicar in England, but held strong Puritan beliefs and ran afoul of "the strict doctrines of Anglican England", which led the Hobart family and other Puritans to leave for New England.  

Soon after their arrival, Edmund, his sons Peter and Joshua and other recent arrivals from Norfolk, were the original settlers of Hingham, which today is part of Greater Boston. The town was incorporated as Hingham in 1635, named after their former home village, Hingham in Norfolk. It was a town born of religious descent, according to this Wikipedia entry.

Edmund Hobart and his wife Margaret (Dewey), said the Puritan minister Cotton Mather, "were eminent for piety...and feared God above many". Together, they had at least nine children. Margaret seems to have died not long after they arrived at Charlestown in 1633. He went on to marry two more times, fathering more children, before he died in 1646.

Edmund is the descendant of a family "established in East Anglia for many centuries", says one source. One of his brothers, Henry Hobart (abt 1560-1625), was a distinguished politician and barrister, and was knighted in 1603. The name has appeared as Hubbard or Hoberd, but Hobart became the most common spelling. Edmund's great grandfather, James Hobart, was knighted during the reign of Henry VII.

Colonial Families of the USA
Edmund himself must have been a man of some substance, because he was able to afford to send his son Peter to Cambridge University. Says this entry about him, "a university education in those days was a luxury only indulged in by the well-to-do".

Edmund was a well regarded senior member of the Hingham settlement in New England, serving as constable and a commissioner (the equivalent to today's justice of the peace).

I descend from Edmund and Margaret through their daughter Rebecca (1611-1655), who married another immigrant ancestor, Edward Bangs (abt 1591-1677) as his probable third wife.

The never ending story continues....

© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2017 All rights reserved

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Brick Wall -- the Diamonds

I have a brick wall with my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Ann Diamond (abt 1802-1842). I know absolutely nothing about her parentage.

The records at the Dungiven church where she and my 2nd great grandfather Marcus Dougherty (1794-1864) likely married only go back to 1825.

Scrolling through Find My Past's excellent Irish collection, I see that the Diamond name was very common across what is now Derry and Antrim in the north, in places like Magherafelt, Ballymoney and Coleraine. But I have no leads at all. Are there clues to Mary Ann's family in the names of her children? Was her eldest daughter Catharine named after Mary Ann's mother? Was her third born son John James named after her father? Her other children's names, Thomas, Isabella, James and Mary Louisa are names used in my Dougherty lines. Her last born son was Joseph. Could that be a name on the Diamond side?

Maybe I'll check church records in Magherafelt, Ballymoney and Coleraine for a marriage record of my 2nd great grandparents.

Another mystery is if the origins of the Diamonds in Ireland were Jewish. Did my line eventually assimilate or convert? The history of Jews in Ireland is an interesting read. A really interesting read. They were always a small community, even more so in the 21st century.

My grandfather included the name Diamond in his fourth son's name. He in turn passed it on to his own son.

Sometimes just when you think a mystery will never be solved, a crack appears in a brick wall. I'm waiting for that in my Diamond line.

The never ending story continues.....

© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2017 All rights reserved

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Immigrant Ancestor and Brick Wall -- Thomas Butler (1781-aft 1819?)

Sometimes are more challenging than others when writing about my immigrant ancestors. This is one of those times. In fact it's a brick wall.

I don't have a record of the death of my 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Butler, but he probably died in Nova Scotia after moving there with my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Southwick (1788-1865) some time after their 1806 Massachusetts marriage. Their son Samuel my 2nd great grandfather, was born in Halifax on 16 Mar 1816. That date is relied on by many researchers, but I'm still looking for more confirmation of that. Perhaps it comes from a long ago family bible.

Back to Thomas. He was born, like so many of my ancestors, on Cape Cod, in Falmouth. His parents were Captain (he was a sea captain) John Butler (1751-1794) and Parnel (also spelled as Parnal) Hatch (1759-1842). He was their eldest son. John, according to one story, was lost at sea, serving with the British Navy. Thomas was the only one of his siblings to go to Nova Scotia, so far as I know. A few years ago, I found a listing of the births of John and Parnel's children, with Thomas as the eldest listed first.

Falmouth, Massachusetts vital records, 1750-1831, v2
I've never found Nova Scotia arrival records for Thomas Butler and Mary Southwick, and I've never found a record of Thomas' death. Several researchers say that in addition to my 2nd great grandfather, Samuel, that Thomas and Mary possibly had three other sons. No surviving source information on any of them seems to exist (and I've looked), aside from their names and possible birth dates: Thomas b 1810, James b 1812 and Sames (?) b 1819. I've often thought that James and Sames are the same person. But apparently Sames does exist as a given name. James was the name of his grandfather, James Southwick, and following the generally accepted naming patterns of the time, it seems likely that this is fairly solid. But whatever happened to James Butler?

Mary Southwick Butler died in 1865, in Stewiacke, Colchester, Nova Scotia, likely in her son Samuel's home, which has always made me think that perhaps if Samuel did have brothers, they all died young.

I don't know Thomas' occupation -- was he a seaman like his father or a blacksmith like his son, or a farmer? I don't know where he died or where he's buried.

Some of my indirect Butler ancestors were United Empire Loyalists, a third cousin tells me. But not my direct Butler ancestors.

Despite all of these negatives, to end on a positive note, by fathering his son Samuel, Thomas was responsible for one of my several lines putting down Nova Scotia roots, so I do appreciate him for that. And Samuel? Well, he fathered 17 children (!) by two different wives. But that's another story for another time.

The never ending story continues.....

© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2017 All rights reserved